Due to the oil-leak problem described below, I plan to sell my 2000 Toyota Sienna (TS) for a song and buy a replacement minivan—ideally another TS or a Honda Odyssey. I’d rather pay cash and avoid taking out a loan, so I’m looking for something between $1.5K and $3K. I saw a 2002 TS XLE listed for $1800, but I’m leery since the seller stated the mileage is unknown due to cluster replacement. Per the Inter-webs, the mileage should’ve been entered on the replacement odometer. Sooo, how big of a red flag is this? Is it even worth checking out the vehicle?
I had a copacetic 2000 Toyota Sienna… until the oil-drain plug fell out while driving it following an oil change three months ago. A mechanic shop near where my vehicle stalled replaced the plug and said that the engine was fine; plus the gas station that did the oil change offered three free oil changes to compensate for replacement of the drain plug and part of my AAA membership fee (for the towing). My satisfaction with this outcome was short-lived, though, as I soon discovered my TS has been leaking oil since this incident.
I took it to my regular mechanic who said the engine was wearing out and somehow—can’t recall his explanation—this is pushing oil out. He stated it would cost $400 to repair the leak, but that it wouldn’t resolve the problem source and leaks would eventually reoccur. In lieu of the repairs, he stated that $400 could buy a lot of oil. However, it’s inconvenient to keep cardboard under my TS to keep oil from dripping onto the ground.
Now I am wondering if there really was damage caused to the engine from losing the drain plug/oil whilst driving on the highway, or if the engine’s “wearing out” forced out the plug. To clarify, there were no oil leaks beforehand, and my TS has about 220K miles on it—opinions? (Sheesh, it just occurred to me to run these questions by my mechanic, but I’d still appreciate community feedback.)