SANFORD, NORTH CAROLINA -- My 2000 Sienna suddenly started consuming oil so we took it to Fred Anderson Toyota in Sanford to find out why. They changed the oil, replaced a gasket and said bring it back in 1000 miles for an oil consumption test. That's what I did. Thing is, the van doesn't use oil the first 1000 miles after an oil change. But it uses a LOT between 1000 and 2000 miles. So at 1000 miles the dealer says it's not using any oil, there's no problem.
A thousand miles later, it's using oil and smoking on start up. I couldn't take it in the day I noticed the smoking, so I added some oil and took it in a couple of days later. Since I had added oil, the dealer said they couldn't confirm that it had used any oil. In their opinion, there was nothing wrong with the van. They would, however, do another oil change and we could do another oil consumption test "if" it used oil again.
This answers was not acceptable to me, so I came home and did some research. That's when I found out about the oil gelling issues that these Toyota engines have had. I went back to the dealer with this information. They assured me that they checked for engine sludge and there was none. Still, when the zone manager was at the dealer, we had him look at it also. He said that Toyota had very strict rules regarding documentation for oil gelling and that it wasn't the dealer's fault if they couldn't confirm there was a problem.
I have no choice but to keep driving it. I have to have a vehicle that can accommodate 4 kids in car seats. While on an out-of-town trip, the van starts smoking tremendously and the smell of something burning was quite strong. I had hours of driving before I got home, so I added oil and drove home. I took it to the dealer the next day. I get the same story, "We don't detect a problem." They said that because I added oil, they can't confirm that it is using oil! By this point I've decided that they aren't incompetent, they're just trying everything they can to avoid admitting there's a problem that will require a fix at their expense.
Once again they changed the oil and told me to bring it back when it starts using oil again. They told me not to add any oil to it and don't worry if I run it without oil (yeah, like that won't void they warranty).
So this morning my husband called them to tell them we were bringing the van back in. They said they would look at it, confirm it's low on oil, document it and add some oil. That's it! When he asked what happens after that, they said they would contact the zone manager after they confirm it's using oil and he'll decide what happens next. So, I'm heading out the door to Fred Anderson once again. So they can see that the oil is low and add some more. Have I mentioned that the dealership is 45 mintues away? I no longer have any hope that anything will be done to fix my van. This is the first Toyota I've ever owned. I can promise you I will never own another one. If I had it to do over again, I would have bought the Odyssey instead.