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"To Keep Or Not To Keep"

This might belong in Buy/Sell forum but since mechanics hang out here I felt it a better place to post.
My Sienna XLE,which I have owned since new,currently has 93K miles on it. It has had regular oil/filter changes at 3k intervals,transmission fluid replacement every 30k,accessory belt as needed and water pump with timing chain replaced at 89k. There have been recalls which I have had performed and to date no major mechanical issues(???)

Current issues include:
a driver’s side passenger door that will not close(reverses when it gets near to closing),

rear tailgate hatch that also reverses sporadically when near closing( seems to happen more when vehicle is parked on a incline)

head lights and dashboard light that flicker very sporadically when using the control switch as a turn indicator and moving headlights from low to high beam

cracked dashboard that will be replaced if I own the vehicle when the replacement is actually available ( I believe Toyota is banking on attrition to take care of this issue as i have been told it will be at least a year before my replacement is available

All of which brings me to ask if I should consider keeping this vehicle,which my wife enjoys traveling in for any significant distance or should I replace it with something less prone to recurring mechanical issues due to age and mileage? If I keep it what are expected major issues I can expect?

Thanks for the thoughts

What year?

Only after getting estimates to repair all the problems can you make a decision. Keep in mind these problems really effect your current value. A simple dash cover will at least keep the cracks from drawing your attention.

Thanks VOLVO_ V70

I hope there will be some Toyota Techs who will weigh in with their
thoughts on what major issues/repair costs I can reasonably expect in the
future given the age and mileage of the van

Thanks VOLVO_ V70

I hope there will be some Toyota Techs who will weigh in with their thoughts on what major issues/repair costs I can reasonably expect in the future given the age and mileage of the van

2004 model

But Volvo has a good point. It’s much better to have a trusted mechanic inspect it and give you a list of what’s needed. We’d just be guessing blind.

No one can predict what will fail on a vehicle tomorrow, next week or a year from now. That is why the manual comes with service schedules.

Drive it until you need to put a new tranny or engine in it. You should get another 100k miles out of it. A few hundred here or there is cheap compared to a car payment and full insurance.

I do not necessarily agree with “drive it until it dies” philosophy. Does the car have any rust? It is 12-13 yrs old.
Also, how are you going to pay for replacement, do you have enough cash? Do you still need a minivan or maybe you could get by with a more economical car?

You are ALREADY driving one of the most reliable vehicles out there

ANY vehicle will need maintenance, and will have its share of problems, “due to age and mileage” as you put it

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This can be dangerous…a new control switch is in order.

With the fluid change intervals you have been using, you engine and transmission should be good for many more years. If you can open and close the doors and hatch manually, that is just a minor annoyance.

If you live someplace where rust can be an issue I would have the car looked over for that. Have your mechanic check it over like you were going to buy it, then decide.

Keep in mind, even Toyota techs don’t have crystal balls. A lot will depend on where and how the car was driven. For example a car driven on rough dirt roads wears out very quickly.

First, you should do the timing belt now if that vehicle has one (if you keep it). I have a 2007 Highlander with the 3.3-liter V6. I suspect you may have many of the same parts on your van. A few years ago I asked myself this same question when it was time to do the timing belt. I think I have put about $5K into the vehicle since it hit about 75K miles. I am planning to add up all the work I have done and do some sort of report. I LOVE this vehicle and it was worth it to me. That said, if you can afford it, move on would be my advice. Some common Toyota issues from that era:

  • Frozen Brake Calipers
  • Wheel Bearings
    Like the members above say, it is a very reliable vehicle year and make, so if you do go long with it, it will be stuff like that you will be doing. I also had flickering headlight and replacing the guts behind them and the bulbs fixed it.
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The frozen Toyota brake calipers, does that occur more often in areas that see a lot of corrosion and/or road salt?

Since I live in Southern California, those things aren’t really a factor

If stuff like that is a bother to you, suggest to trade it in on a new or newer vehicle. I keep my vehicles a long time, but I don’t mind the associated work-a-rounds that are required. For example if the lights flickered a little, I’d either ignore it, or see that as a benefit during the Christmas lighting season … lol …

Vehicles with lot of automatic gadgetry are going to need work to keep it all functioning, and that can indeed be a time & budget burden on the owners. So if this seems like you, I think it is time for a newer vehicle.

I own a 2004 Sienna in the snowbelt. It has 215,000 miles with original engine and transmission. I have had two timing belts changed (with water pumps) and two replacement sets of sparkplugs. My biggest issue has been rust which is now finally starting to eat up the frame. I think this is the last year I will get out of it because of the rust but the mechanicals are still great. Still have the original starter and alternator. Keep it!!!

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@db4690 asks a good question. Do brake calipers have more problems in salty areas? I say almost certainly. All four of my Highlander’s eventually froze and I also had a frozen caliper on my Lexus IS, Supra and my dad’s Celica’s froze. We have crazy salt here, so it may be a thing. The wheel bearings failing may be related to the same issue. The potholes and frost heaves here are ridiculous.

I have had pretty good luck with cleaning and lubing the sliders on my calipers with each brake job and every year or two, even if I don’t need new pads. I have replaced one caliper due to sticking but the other three have been replaced as a preventive maintenance. Not bad for 215,000 miles in the snow belt.

Maybe your sliding door tracks need to be cleaned and lubed. Resistance to forward travel might be interpreted as a person in the door path and it automatically reverses. If this is the case, it’s a cheap fix. If it gets to the stop and reverses, you need to clean the contacts. Try an eraser first since it’s another cheap fix.