Rough riding Toyota Sienna

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psteinx
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Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by psteinx »

We've got a 2014 Sienna with 121K miles. Tires (Goodyear Assurance) have 7-8 32nds on them.

We had an expensive repair done (at the dealer) on the suspension in July 2023 - replaced front struts and rear shocks, top plates and bearings (complete shock replacement) - total around $2869. Plus tire alignment and balancing.

The vehicle still rides rough on rough roads. Of course, there's a bit of judgement call there - how rough is the ride versus the road quality, but it feels noticeably worse than it should, especially for a car where, presumably the suspension is *not* tuned for sport driving but for comfort.

Of related note, the interior of the car (3rd row) has been a bit squeaky/rattle-y since not long after we got the car. We've never really been able to chase this down, not sure if we ever tasked the dealership with doing so.

I don't want to chase ghosts, leaving the car at the dealership (time & money) for little apparent gain. This is mainly my wife's vehicle and she takes it in a lot and they seem to find a lot of issues- total repairs EXCLUDING tires of about $12.8K since the beginning of 2019 (~5.5 years) and the car has not been driven that harshly (IMO), nor is it *that* old or high mileage.

Any thoughts on whether the rough-ride is likely an easy fix or a gremlin, and on the overall high repair costs of this vehicle? Our kids are mostly out of the nest (one still in college), but I still like the versatility/hauling capacity of a minivan. Not sure, though, that we want to commit to another (buy a new one) for ~10 years, and in any case, new Siennas seem to be in short supply.
Last edited by psteinx on Mon Jul 08, 2024 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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bd7
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by bd7 »

Make sure your tire pressures are set exactly as specified on the door sticker and not more. If there are two sets of specs, try the lower one.
02nz
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by 02nz »

When you say "the vehicle still rides rough on rough roads," do you mean that the ride quality did not change with the repair? Has the ride been this way since you bought the vehicle?

I think at least part of the reason for the rough ride is that Toyota used a fairly crude torsion beam rear suspension on the Sienna, until the current gen, which got an independent rear suspension. (The main competitor, Honda Odyssey, has always had an independent rear.)
rockstar
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by rockstar »

Could be your tires. Some ride rougher than others.
Topic Author
psteinx
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by psteinx »

02nz wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 4:10 pm When you say "the vehicle still rides rough on rough roads," do you mean that the ride quality did not change with the repair? Has the ride been this way since you bought the vehicle?

I think at least part of the reason for the rough ride is that Toyota used a fairly crude torsion beam rear suspension on the Sienna, until the current gen, which got an independent rear suspension. (The main competitor, Honda Odyssey, has always had an independent rear.)
I think the ride was noticeably smoother after the repair(s) last summer, but has degraded, since. It's noticeably rough now.

I don't know if there is some standardized machine to test suspension/roughness that a typical dealer would have. But we do have multiple vehicles in the household, and the Sienna, which one would think would be tuned for an especially soft ride, is, I think, noticeably rougher than the others.
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lthenderson
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by lthenderson »

I have a 2017 AWD Sienna which uses run flat tires at a fast clip with normal driving. On a previous thread, I learned that if you over inflate the tires by 4 psi, they wear slower. This has certainly been true but at the cost of drive quality. I definitely can feel the bumps in the road more. When it starts feeling noticeably smoother, I know to check the air pressure in the tires and top them off again.

From past experiences with other vehicles, higher mileage tires are often made from harder compounds and thus give you a rougher ride than the lower mileage tires made from softer compounds.

As for noise, the main source of my squeaks tend to be things left by kids in the rear storage compartments, cup holders and such. Emptying it out gets rid of them.
Topic Author
psteinx
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by psteinx »

rockstar wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 4:11 pm Could be your tires. Some ride rougher than others.
After going through 4 sets of tires (including the original OEM) in the first 93K miles of the vehicles life, I had Goodyear Maxlife Assurance tires put on at 93K. Those tires have lasted well (7-8 32nds still, at 121K miles. But maybe there was a bigger comfort trade-off than I'd reconed with?

Also, my wife was taking the vehicle to the tire shop for low pressure warnings a lot over the winter. They ultimately replaced all the TPMS sensors I think, but perhaps they also overinflated the tires a bit to quiet my wife. I'll check at some point.
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psteinx
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by psteinx »

lthenderson wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 4:32 pm As for noise, the main source of my squeaks tend to be things left by kids in the rear storage compartments, cup holders and such. Emptying it out gets rid of them.
I *think* the rattling relates to the 3rd row seat that goes up/down, and/or to the "8th seat" that normally sits stowed to the side of the trunk. Occasionally I check/try to tighten these things, but it's possibly nature-of-the-beast that these things are hard to fully secure and/or maybe the hinges and whatnot are a little old over time. Then again, maybe I (or the dealer) could tighten some screws or something.
rockstar
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by rockstar »

psteinx wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 4:33 pm
rockstar wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 4:11 pm Could be your tires. Some ride rougher than others.
After going through 4 sets of tires (including the original OEM) in the first 93K miles of the vehicles life, I had Goodyear Maxlife Assurance tires put on at 93K. Those tires have lasted well (7-8 32nds still, at 121K miles. But maybe there was a bigger comfort trade-off than I'd reconed with?

Also, my wife was taking the vehicle to the tire shop for low pressure warnings a lot over the winter. They ultimately replaced all the TPMS sensors I think, but perhaps they also overinflated the tires a bit to quiet my wife. I'll check at some point.
Tire PSI goes up as it gets hotter outside. Might be the weather.
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lthenderson
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by lthenderson »

psteinx wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 4:35 pm
lthenderson wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 4:32 pm As for noise, the main source of my squeaks tend to be things left by kids in the rear storage compartments, cup holders and such. Emptying it out gets rid of them.
I *think* the rattling relates to the 3rd row seat that goes up/down, and/or to the "8th seat" that normally sits stowed to the side of the trunk. Occasionally I check/try to tighten these things, but it's possibly nature-of-the-beast that these things are hard to fully secure and/or maybe the hinges and whatnot are a little old over time. Then again, maybe I (or the dealer) could tighten some screws or something.
Also check the scissor jack. Have to tighten it fairly tight or it will come loose with time and rattle in the side storage compartment where it lives.
tibbitts
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by tibbitts »

psteinx wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 4:23 pm
02nz wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 4:10 pm When you say "the vehicle still rides rough on rough roads," do you mean that the ride quality did not change with the repair? Has the ride been this way since you bought the vehicle?

I think at least part of the reason for the rough ride is that Toyota used a fairly crude torsion beam rear suspension on the Sienna, until the current gen, which got an independent rear suspension. (The main competitor, Honda Odyssey, has always had an independent rear.)
I think the ride was noticeably smoother after the repair(s) last summer, but has degraded, since. It's noticeably rough now.

I don't know if there is some standardized machine to test suspension/roughness that a typical dealer would have. But we do have multiple vehicles in the household, and the Sienna, which one would think would be tuned for an especially soft ride, is, I think, noticeably rougher than the others.
I would be surprised if there was such a machine available to any dealer.
niagara_guy
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by niagara_guy »

+1 tire pressure. there should be a decal in the driver's door jam, follow it exactly for both front and rear.
niagara_guy
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by niagara_guy »

Accutire tire gauges that I have seem to be very accurate, many tire gauges are not. It's best to check tires before car is driven in the morning, that is the 'cold' tire pressure. You will find the 'cold' pressures on the placard on the driver's door jamb.
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illumination
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by illumination »

psteinx wrote: Mon Jul 08, 2024 3:56 pm
I don't want to chase ghosts, leaving the car at the dealership (time & money) for little apparent gain. This is mainly my wife's vehicle and she takes it in a lot and they seem to find a lot of issues- total repairs EXCLUDING tires of about $12.8K since the beginning of 2019 (~5.5 years) and the car has not been driven that harshly (IMO), nor is it *that* old or high mileage.

On a sort of unrelated note, I think your dealership/service writer sounds awfully aggressive with suggested repairs. Something's not right if you've sunk that much into a new-ish Toyota. That has never been my experience.

Were Toyota OEM struts and strut mounts used? They should have been for a nearly $3k repair. Who's idea was it to replace all the struts? For the mileage, it makes sense, but it also sounds like someone that's constantly looking for things to fix.

Where I see this is if you put in aftermarket struts like KYB, they have a firmer ride. Not usually what people want on a minivan.
They also very well could have simply messed up the install. The spring could not be positioned properly in the strut mount.

Also a good idea to check tire pressure and match with door tag. Get a good, accurate dial tire gauge, not the $1 pencil stick ones. I've found dealerships like to routinely overfill tires. Probably because most people are bad about filling their tires and they dont want people coming back with low sensor lights.
Topic Author
psteinx
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by psteinx »

Tires are supposed to be 35 psi. Rears *are* 35, fronts are, if anything, a little low (30-32). Yeah, this is with a cheap gauge measurement, but I don't think that is the main problem.

(Checked the scissor jack again to see if that is the source of the rattle - it was secure - not the source.)

Not sure how to tell if the struts and such were done with OEM parts, but they *were* done at a Toyota dealership, so I'm guessing they were done with the right parts. (I have the invoice, and it shows some #s, but I'm not sure if those are part codes or labor codes or what.)

===

Yes, I *do* think the amount of repairs on this vehicle feels a little excessive, which is part of the reason I'm asking here rather than just taking it straight to the dealer. That said, *I* was the one who felt the suspension was bad last summer and took it in, asked them to look at it, and, IIRC, OK'd the suspension work. But more often, my wife takes the vehicle in (she's primary on this vehicle), and it's possible she's a little bit of a "car hypochondriac" and either getting too much done or doesn't know how to probe the dealership's responses correctly. Lots of the work seems to be fluid flushes of one system or another.

Still, if this minivan is gonna be $2-3K per year in repairs going forward, I'd be more inclined to swap out of it. Holding me back are at least 2 issues:

* I'd like a minivan for a while longer (2-5 years), but am not sure my wife or I want/need one for the next ~10 years
* Siennas seem to be in short supply and thus are likely to be effectively overpriced (I'm assuming full MSRP + perhaps some other nonsense + maybe get on a waitlist, etc.) Maybe Honda Odyssey is better - I dunno. I *do* like the high MPG that new Siennas have.

Also, maybe it's normal for minivans to need a lot of repairs like this? They're heavy and FWD which I assume puts strain on suspension and brake system.
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lthenderson
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by lthenderson »

psteinx wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 8:35 am * I'd like a minivan for a while longer (2-5 years), but am not sure my wife or I want/need one for the next ~10 years

Also, maybe it's normal for minivans to need a lot of repairs like this?
We're in a similar position in wanting our minivan to last another two to maybe four years and then to move onto another platform for a vehicle. Ours only has 128,000 on it and we average about 15,000 miles per year on it so I'm rolling the dice that we can get it out of it without having to get another and eat the lion's share of vehicle depreciation that happens in those first couple years. Ours differ in that our Sienna hasn't had any mechanical issues at all. I had the brakes redone once but still have the original struts and shocks.

Perhaps you could list out all the repairs that went into the $12k in repairs since 2019. That might give others more of a sense if your Sienna is a lemon, they are normal scheduled repairs, or if your dealership mechanic is trying to fleece you a bit.
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psteinx
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by psteinx »

lthenderson wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 9:32 am Perhaps you could list out all the repairs that went into the $12k in repairs since 2019. That might give others more of a sense if your Sienna is a lemon, they are normal scheduled repairs, or if your dealership mechanic is trying to fleece you a bit.

Code: Select all

1/23/2019	 $633 	Wipers, A/C maintenance, tire rotation & alignment, brake flush, fuel/air induction service
5/29/2019	 $810 	A/C maintenance, transmission fluid, engine coolant system, misc. small stuff
9/20/2019	 $70 	Windshield repair
5/23/2020	 $129 	Oil Change + state inspections
9/22/2020	 $665 	Rear brake pads & rotors +  warranty flat repair
5/4/2021	 $1,265 	Driver armrest replace, wiper blades, oil change, driver front door lock
6/9/2021	 $589 	Passenger front door lock
5/30/2022	 $1,147 	Rear rotors + oil change + tire rotation + wiper blades + front brake pads & rotors + brake fluid flush
5/16/2022	 $-   	Fuel door replace
6/3/2022	 $459 	Driver side outer tail light replace
8/9/2022	 $323 	Battery replace & general diagnostic
1/20/2023	 $283 	Oil & intake throttle body & wipers
7/13/2023	 $174 	Oil & Cabin air filter
7/27/2023	 $4,513 	Replace front struts & rear shocks, rotate & balance tires, general diagnostic, wiper blades, engine drive belt, HVAC clean, AC/maintain, coolant system exchange
2/12/2024	 $1,560 	Fuel/air induction, intake throttle body, fuel system cleaner, spark plugs, winter tuneup
6/10/2024	 $142 	Oil Change + state inspections
Total	 $12,761 	Total

Topic Author
psteinx
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by psteinx »

Most of that stuff was at the dealer. A bit (mostly smaller stuff) was done elsewhere. List is not 100% complete, but has most stuff.
bobn60014
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by bobn60014 »

psteinx wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 9:47 am Most of that stuff was at the dealer. A bit (mostly smaller stuff) was done elsewhere. List is not 100% complete, but has most stuff.
Looking at that list, I bet that 3/4 of it was unnecessary. And it certainly was overpriced.
goaties
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by goaties »

I also have a 2014 Sienna, about 90K. The only thing other than oil changes has been front and rear brakes and rotors last year. Also, water pump replacement. I top off fluids and change air filters and wiper blades and battery myself. I would say you are getting fleeced to a pretty large extent. What the heck even *is* "fuel/air induction service"?
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by sport »

Try to find an independent auto mechanic that specializes in Toyotas. That dealer is "taking you to the cleaners" with unnecessary repairs at very high prices.
finite_difference
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by finite_difference »

sport wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 10:39 am Try to find an independent auto mechanic that specializes in Toyotas. That dealer is "taking you to the cleaners" with unnecessary repairs at very high prices.
+1. If you are in Illinois I’d take it to the Car Care Nut.
The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. - Thich Nhat Hanh
bobn60014
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by bobn60014 »

finite_difference wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 10:49 am ....
+1. If you are in Illinois I’d take it to the Car Care Nut.
Agree, but due to their popularity, long wait times for appointments are normal.
FrugalConservative
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by FrugalConservative »

One huge issue... using the dealer.

Your cost would be 25-40% cheaper if you found a trusted independent mechanic.

Your dealer has been taking you for a ride. Many of the things you paid for you didnt need. AC maintence, twice in the matter of a few months, doubt it? Throttle body cleaning that frequently , nope.

You really need to understand the work they are doing and why you dont truly need it. Change the filters and wiper blades yourself at the very least :oops:
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lthenderson
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by lthenderson »

psteinx wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 9:46 am

Code: Select all

1/23/2019	 $633 	Wipers, A/C maintenance, tire rotation & alignment, brake flush, fuel/air induction service
5/29/2019	 $810 	A/C maintenance, transmission fluid, engine coolant system, misc. small stuff
9/20/2019	 $70 	Windshield repair
5/23/2020	 $129 	Oil Change + state inspections
9/22/2020	 $665 	Rear brake pads & rotors +  warranty flat repair
5/4/2021	 $1,265 	Driver armrest replace, wiper blades, oil change, driver front door lock
6/9/2021	 $589 	Passenger front door lock
5/30/2022	 $1,147 	Rear rotors + oil change + tire rotation + wiper blades + front brake pads & rotors + brake fluid flush
5/16/2022	 $-   	Fuel door replace
6/3/2022	 $459 	Driver side outer tail light replace
8/9/2022	 $323 	Battery replace & general diagnostic
1/20/2023	 $283 	Oil & intake throttle body & wipers
7/13/2023	 $174 	Oil & Cabin air filter
7/27/2023	 $4,513 	Replace front struts & rear shocks, rotate & balance tires, general diagnostic, wiper blades, engine drive belt, HVAC clean, AC/maintain, coolant system exchange
2/12/2024	 $1,560 	Fuel/air induction, intake throttle body, fuel system cleaner, spark plugs, winter tuneup
6/10/2024	 $142 	Oil Change + state inspections
Total	 $12,761 	Total

The only things I see outside of what I would call normal for any vehicle that age would be the armrest replacement, passenger door lock and fuel door, all relatively miner except for the high prices you are being charged for those and everything else.
tibbitts
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by tibbitts »

Prices do seem a little high but unless you "have a guy" (ignoring the trial-and-error involved in finding one) independents aren't always that much cheaper.
ondarvr
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by ondarvr »

People have the option of educating themselves about the vehicle they own, or pay the price of not doing it, and dealers love the uneducated customer.

Go to a Sienna owners forum and start reading everything about your model year you can find. This will give you a good idea of typically required maintenance and longevity.
conservativeinvestor
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by conservativeinvestor »

1/23/2019 $633 Wipers, A/C maintenance, tire rotation & alignment, brake flush, fuel/air induction service
5/29/2019 $810 A/C maintenance, transmission fluid, engine coolant system, misc. small stuff
9/20/2019 $70 Windshield repair
5/23/2020 $129 Oil Change + state inspections
9/22/2020 $665 Rear brake pads & rotors + warranty flat repair
5/4/2021 $1,265 Driver armrest replace, wiper blades, oil change, driver front door lock
6/9/2021 $589 Passenger front door lock
5/30/2022 $1,147 Rear rotors + oil change + tire rotation + wiper blades + front brake pads & rotors + brake fluid flush
5/16/2022 $- Fuel door replace
6/3/2022 $459 Driver side outer tail light replace
8/9/2022 $323 Battery replace & general diagnostic
1/20/2023 $283 Oil & intake throttle body & wipers
7/13/2023 $174 Oil & Cabin air filter
7/27/2023 $4,513 Replace front struts & rear shocks, rotate & balance tires, general diagnostic, wiper blades, engine drive belt, HVAC clean, AC/maintain, coolant system exchange
2/12/2024 $1,560 Fuel/air induction, intake throttle body, fuel system cleaner, spark plugs, winter tuneup
6/10/2024 $142 Oil Change + state inspections
Total $12,761 Total

1/23/2019: red flag
5/4/2021: red flag
6/9/2022: red flag
1/20/2023: red flag
7/27/2023: Wtf
2/12/2024: Wtf

Find the service manual for your car and only go by the recommended services at the recommended interval unless something is specifically broken.
IMO there is a lot of probably uneeded expensive maintenace in your list.

As for the rough ride, it's too hard to provide any feedback with the information provided, seems like the suspension shouldn't have been replaced at this age and mileage for the car, why was it replaced?
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illumination
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by illumination »

bobn60014 wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 9:54 am
psteinx wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 9:47 am Most of that stuff was at the dealer. A bit (mostly smaller stuff) was done elsewhere. List is not 100% complete, but has most stuff.
Looking at that list, I bet that 3/4 of it was unnecessary. And it certainly was overpriced.
+1

I'd find a good independent shop to start getting the car serviced. Just a lot of "wallet flushes" imo.

You cant really trust a dealership, service writers are essentially sales people and they have to hit sales quotas. I've seen them pull so many obvious BS recommended repairs over the years, brakes might be the absolute most notorious.

It's a 10 year old minivan, I'd just follow the owners manual and not chase perfection. I've owned 5 Lexus and several were well over 100k miles. I dont think I've put $13k in repairs for all 5 of them combined.
cubs1999
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by cubs1999 »

psteinx wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 9:47 am Most of that stuff was at the dealer. A bit (mostly smaller stuff) was done elsewhere. List is not 100% complete, but has most stuff.
Any chance you're in the Chicago suburbs? There's a great shop that is mentioned on here that also has a YouTube channel.

You Sienna does seem to have had a minor work done. I think my GFs has had less and its older and has more mileage.
cubs1999
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Re: Rough riding Toyota Sienna

Post by cubs1999 »

bobn60014 wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 10:55 am
finite_difference wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 10:49 am ....
+1. If you are in Illinois I’d take it to the Car Care Nut.
Agree, but due to their popularity, long wait times for appointments are normal.
I see you two beat me to it :)

The wait times were about 4-5 weeks out last time I checked in May.
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