2020 Toyota Sienna Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical, suspension and steering issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

By Brian Jones | Updated on

By Brian Jones | Updated on

Driving a minivan might not seem cool these days, but Toyota aims to appeal to a larger crowd with the 2020 Sienna. After all, the automaker claims it is “the one and only swagger wagon.” Still, owners find that this vehicle doesn’t quite behave the way it should, whether it be the electrical system, suspension or steering.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2020 Toyota Sienna

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Engine
5
Fuel/propulsion System
5
Electrical System
3
Power Train
3
Fuel System, Gasoline
2
Unknown Or Other
2
Steering
2
Wheels
1
Seats
1
Electronic Stability Control
1

Problems with the Electrical System

The Toyota Sienna is supposed to be equipped with the latest technology and equipment, but it needs to have a reliable electrical system to run it all.

Yet, that’s not what this owner talks about in an Edmunds review. “As far as the rest of the technology is concerned, the best thing about the Lane Assist and Lane Keeping is that they are easy to disable—imagine someone cutting you off at 60 miles per hour, swerving to avoid hitting them, and having a ‘safety’ feature steer you right back into the incoming car.  I just wish there was a way to turn it off permanently.”

Even from the convenience side of things, Toyota is aware of problems. Service Bulletin #T-SB-0071-20 discusses a myriad of problems, including phones not auto connecting, intermittent black screen, abnormal phone book sorting, inability to switch Bluetooth devices and trouble with the voice recognition. It’s hard to have swagger when the basic systems won’t even work properly.

Problems with the Suspension

Part of having swagger is having the ability to move in a way that causes others to notice. That’s what the Sienna does, but not in a good way.

Here’s another Edmunds review to read. “Not happy the way this minivan drives. Is bumpy and I can feel when the shifts happens more than usual the car buckles at times when shifting. My whole body shakes while driving it (minimum) but it makes the whole experience terrible.”

Part of what helps a vehicle run smoothly is the wheels. However, the company talks about troubles on this front as well. Service Bulletin #T-TT-0528-19 states that the chrome wheels might start bubbling or peeling. It’s hard to be cool if main components are falling apart at the seams. In fact, the Sienna could be labeled as the outsider in a world of vehicles that really do look and perform well.

Problems with the Steering

Most importantly, owners want to know that they can control their minivan, especially while driving with a vehicle full of children.

Yet, this NHTSA complaint states otherwise. “While driving on hwy, suddenly Engine Light came on. Also, I lost acceleration. When I press gas pedal, no response from car. Vehicle was slowing down so pulled into gas station. When I stopped the car, Engine Light was still on, Traction Light came on and Steering System light came on. Also Engine Light was solid and it was not flashing.”

The steering concerns go even deeper, with there being a recall. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V532000 states that some Sienna vehicles have steering shaft extensions that weren’t manufactured correctly. If these fracture, the driver could lose complete control over the minivan and cause an accident. Because nothing says swagger more than a vehicle that can’t keep itself on the road.

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Complaint Data

CategoryElectrical System, Engine, Power Train
DateSep 28, 2022
StateTX
Description
For a month prior, there were intermittent incidents of the van shuddering and the rpm needle jumping upon ignition. Sometimes the van would have a hard time accelerating before jerking and driving normally. No issues before this started in late july and no indication when/where would occur. •september 15: drove the van all day running errands. It drove normally. Filled up the gas tank (gulf gas station), then continued errands. About a half hour later, while at a stop sign, a notification appeared that the “traction control system has been turned off” and the check engine light came on. Tried to move through the stop sign, but the van would barely go. Applied the gas, but no results. Able to turn onto a side street and had to have it towed to toyota of irving. The service advisor stated the issue was due due to bad gas and indicated the van needed to be flushed and the fuel injection system cleaned. Paid 5 for these repairs. •september 17: started van in driveway. Shuddering and rpm needle jumping again. Drove normally. •september 21: same as above. •september 25: drove the van all day with no issues. Filled up with valero plus gas. As we pulled out of the gas station and sitting at the light, the traction control message and check engine light again appeared. The van would barely go to get us through the traffic light and into a nearby parking lot. Once we parked, the screen displayed the following message:"a malfunction in the electronic control of the engine, throttle, or automatic transmission has been detected." had the vehicle towed to toyota of irving. The service advisor called 2 days later to say they cannot detect any issues.
CategoryFuel/propulsion System
DateSep 15, 2022
StateTX
Description
The van has been periodically hesitating, rough idles, and when parked the rpm revs. On 9/13/22, the van was shaking, hesitating, and would not accelerate. It was undrivable and had to be towed. We took it to toyota of irving where they charged us 5 to flush the gas and clean the fuel injection system. Despite this, it is still hard idling and hesitating.
CategoryFuel System, Gasoline
DateMay 20, 2022
StateMA
Description
The contact owns a 2020 toyota sienna. The contact stated while driving approximately 60-65 mph, the vehicle stalled temporarily. Several unknown warning lights were illuminated. The contact depressed the accelerator pedal and was able to continue driving. The contact later received notification of nhtsa campaign number: 20v682000 (fuel system, gasoline) and the vehicle was taken to the dealer for the recall repair. The contact stated that the fuel pump was replaced; however, the failure recurred a year later. The vehicle was taken to the dealer however, the mechanic was unable to duplicate the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and a case was opened. The failure mileage was approximately 10,000.
CategoryEngine
DateMar 19, 2022
StateAZ
Description
Engine stalled in heavy traffic after full stop at red light. No warning lights. Managed to pull off the road. Still no warning lights. Turned engine off then started normally. Drove to destination normally. After about one hour parked started engine but it stumbled on and off for the next few minutes but did not die. Has not reoccurred. Outside temps were in the 60's. It was first trip of the day. Incident occurred about 4 miles from origin. Symptoms occurred again 6/2/22: starting from full stop (engine was idling normally), gave it partial throttle whereupon engine stumbled (died very briefly), master warning light lit briefly, all power was lost. Consumer applied additional throttle, engine stumbled then began running normally and warning light extinguished. Remainder of trip was normal. Vehicle was taken to local dealer after first incident but dealer reported no issues were found.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateOct 26, 2021
StateNC
Description
Jack provided with vehicle failed during change of tire.
CategoryEngine, Power Train
DateJul 18, 2021
StateTN
Description
Car has about 16,000 miles. When accelerating slowly from a stop, vehicle hesitates, shakes, and runs rough as it slowly progresses thru first, second, & third gears. After transmission gets in fourth gear, hesitation and roughness goes away. This issue is rapidly getting worse.
CategoryEngine, Fuel/propulsion System, Unknown Or Other
DateJun 11, 2021
StateFL
Description
On june 3, 2021 I experienced a drastic loss in power and all warning light illuminated on the dash , was able to get of the highway to a safe area and vehicle ceased to function . This happened after the fuel pump recall was performed at ed morse toyota in delray beach around february. It had been functioning perfectly up until this massive failure. When tow truck operator arrived and tried to start, is caught fire and was severely damaged.
CategorySteering
DateApr 06, 2021
StateCA
Description
Tl* the contact owns a 2020 toyota sienna. The contact stated while driving 55 mph, the steering wheel was difficult to steer. The contact stated no warning light was illuminated. The vehicle was not taken to a local dealer or an independent mechanic to be diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer had not been informed of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 6,200.
CategoryFuel/propulsion System
DateMar 27, 2021
StateIN
Description
The fuel pump needs replaced and has been recalled. The recall can cause an increased risk of a crash. We still haven't had this replaced in a timely manner and it's not safe for my small children.
CategoryFuel/propulsion System
DateMar 16, 2021
StateGA
Description
This vehicle is owned by emory university. Emory university was notified last year (october) that the low pressure fuel pump may stop operating. To date, there has been no repair offered by toyota. 2020 toyota sienna as such emory university will not let us operate it until it has been repaired. Nearly six months later, no repair.
CategoryWheels
DateFeb 08, 2021
StateID
Description
Tire wear on inside of tires all tires have been rotated every 4k miles now having to replace 4 tires at a cost of 50. 00
CategoryFuel/propulsion System
DateJan 21, 2021
StateFL
Description
Tl* the contact owns a 2020 toyota sienna. The contact received notification of nhtsa campaign number: 20v682000(fuel system, gasoline) however, the part to do the recall repair was unavailable. Ed morse delray toyota(2800 s federal hwy, delray beach, fl 33483) was contacted and it was confirmed that parts were not yet available. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue and gave her a loaner vehicle. The contact had not experienced a failure. Vin tool confirms parts not available.
CategoryPower Train
DateDec 23, 2020
StateTX
Description
Purchased rental program vehicle and immediately had vehicle serviced at the dealership. Received a phone call from service advisor that automotive technician had found a mechanical problem. It was stated that a hose had come loose/apart in the axle and fluid was leaking. Now, we had purchased vehicle day before and the following day dropped vehicle for service at dealership. As a consumer, I need a maintenance baseline. The brief time driving the vehicle, there was no visible/audible clue that mechanical issue was present. Exact description of warranty work performed [driver side front axle assembly, axle coming apart internally] replaced driver side front axle assembly. Fortunately, vehicle was being serviced and this component did not fail while in motion.
CategoryFuel System, Gasoline
DateDec 16, 2020
StateCA
Description
Tl* the contact owns a 2020 toyota sienna. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the vehicle intermittently jerked and lunge forward while the accelerator pedal was depressed. There was no warning. The contact then received notification of nhtsa campaign number: 20v682000 (fuel system, gasoline) however, the part to do the recall repair was not yet available. Victory toyota (5 heitzinger plaza, seaside, ca 93955, (831) 393-3020) was contacted and it was confirmed that parts were not yet available. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The failure mileage was approximately 4,000. Vin tool confirms parts not available.*dt*jb
CategorySeats
DateOct 20, 2020
StateMD
Description
Please note that the toyota all weather floor mats included with the 2020 sienna do not allow the 2nd row seats to slide back and forth on the rails without getting jammed on the mats. My son was in the 3rd row and the seat got jammed n the mat and he could not exit the vehicle.
CategoryElectrical System, Engine, Steering
DateJun 21, 2020
StateTX
Description
While driving on hwy, suddenly engine light came on. Also I lost acceleration. When I press gas pedal no response from car. Vehicle was slowing down so pulled into gas station. When I stopped the car, engine light was still on, traction light came on and steering system light came on. Also engine light was solid and it was not flashing
CategoryElectrical System, Electronic Stability Control, Service Brakes
DateOct 15, 2019
StateTN
Description
Dear to who concern this case, on august 26, 2019, I purchased a brand new car, sienna, toyota 2020 from principle toyota on 7370 winchester rd, memphis, tennessee 38125. I discovered that there are major issues with the car. I was guaranteed by the dealer that the car is in perfect working condition before purchase. However, after driving the new car for few days, the key remote stopped working and I revisited the dealership to get it fixed. I talked to jimmy rocker, one of the sale associates, and he transferred me to the toyota service center. After few more days of driving the car, more problems emerged. The car warning monitor indicated 'awd system malfunction 2wd mode engaged, contact your dealer' as well as 'brake override malfunction, visit your dealer'. Not only the warnings, the car suddenly stopped on the highway. Luckily there were no cars behind me, otherwise I would have been injured. The second time I revisited the dealership, I encountered chris thompson, the new car director at principle toyota. I suggested him to inspect my car and finding a solution for it. I have tried to explain to him how it was dangerous for me and my family. I have two kids who are driving with me and if the situation happened again, we would have been fatally injured. Chris did not listen to my story but instead told me that the car does not belong to him and he just walked away in front of our conversation. I was very disappointed because of his indifference towards my situation and the type of customer service I received was not expected from a well-known company like yours. To ensure the safety of kids and my family, I demand a replacement of the car as well as any compensation associated my spent time at the dealership. I hope there will be a reasonable solution for my case. Best regards, [xxx] redacted to protect personally identifiable information pursuant to the freedom of information act (foia), 5 u. S. C. 552(b)(6). *cc *tr

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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