The Toyota Sequoia has been around for a while. It was introduced in 2001 as a full-size SUV meant to fill the gap between the Toyota Land Cruiser and the Toyota 4Runner. As it is with many cars, it comes with problems that are unique to it.
This makes it necessary to know which Toyota Sequoia years to avoid. The information provided in this article is based on the problems recorded for each model. We’ll also tell you about the Sequoia years that are safest to buy.
Quick Answer: Avoid Toyota Sequoia Year Models 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
We recommend staying away from Toyota Sequoia models manufactured between 2001 and 2008. Compared to models made after 2008, earlier versions of this full-size SUV recorded severe defects in their construction and drivability.
The Toyota Sequoia seems to have been plagued by several issues in its early years. The most common include brake, body/paint, steering, engine, and suspension failure—these present safety issues.
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Which Toyota Sequoia Models are Safe to Buy Used?
The Sequoia has been around for about two decades now. In that time, it has gone through various changes and improvements to make it the vehicle it is today. As mentioned earlier, the first models made between 2001 and 2008 weren’t that reliable.
However, there are still plenty more to choose from that provide excellent service and reliability. Owners of these model years have reported fewer problems when compared to earlier owners. We recommend buying the following Toyota Sequoia year models:
- 2009 Toyota Sequoia
- 2010 Toyota Sequoia
- 2011 Toyota Sequoia
- 2012 Toyota Sequoia
- 2013 Toyota Sequoia
- 2014 Toyota Sequoia
- 2015 Toyota Sequoia
- 2016 Toyota Sequoia
- 2017 Toyota Sequoia
- 2018 Toyota Sequoia
- 2019 Toyota Sequoia
- 2020 Toyota Sequoia
- 2021 Toyota Sequoia
Looking at the progression of the Toyota Sequoia, it’s easy to tell that after 2008, Toyota made some significant changes to ensure the vehicle was more reliable. The first generation, which ran from 2001 to 2007, seemed to have had many problems.
The second generation brought significant improvements, such as a rear independent suspension that improved ride comfort. Models made since 2009 have produced fewer complaints. Most of the problems involve the brakes and engine.
It’s good to point out that the complaints are very few and far between. Some model years barely produced any complaints at all. For others, only one or two complaints were made. Most vehicles that registered any problems had already covered more than 100,000 miles. This shows that the Toyota Sequoia is a reliable vehicle that does not disappoint.
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Which Toyota Sequoia Years to Avoid
There are several Toyota Sequoia years that you should avoid. Most of these cover the earlier models made between 2001 and 2008. They don’t do well when offering the reliability needed by most drivers. Below is a list of Toyota Sequoia years to avoid.
- 2001 Toyota Sequoia
- 2002 Toyota Sequoia
- 2003 Toyota Sequoia
- 2004 Toyota Sequoia
- 2005 Toyota Sequoia
- 2006 Toyota Sequoia
- 2007 Toyota Sequoia
- 2008 Toyota Sequoia
The most common problems with these model years involve the brakes, steering, engine, body/paint, and suspension. Some years also came with a rear hatch handle that stops working at about 90,000 miles. Earlier Sequoias also experience severe problems as they age.
Some of the worst problems reported included an erratic VSC traction control system, transmission failure, and a cracked manifold gasket. In addition, the engine may fail and die at as early as 100,000 miles. We recommend avoiding the 2002 Toyota Sequoia, which recorded the highest number of problems.
Suppose you own a 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, or 2007 Toyota Sequoia. In that case, you’re also likely to experience other problems such as a faulty rear window, a malfunctioning ABS brake, or a VCS light. Plus, issues like acceleration loss, air injection system failure, excessive rusting, rear-end clunk noises, a leaking camshaft tower, or a battery that runs down are also present.
A few of the problems pop up at 3,000 miles or thereabouts. Others are experienced when the Toyota Sequoia has more than 90,000 miles on the odometer. The 2005–2008 model years record fewer problems when compared to the 2001–2004 model years.
You can purchase any Toyota Sequoia made since 2009 with much greater peace of mind. These models perform exceptionally well and showcase the highest levels of reliability. To stay safe, we recommend staying away from all the years mentioned.
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Common Toyota Sequoia Problems
Overall, the Toyota Sequoia is a relatively reliable full-size SUV with good durability and longevity. However, it has several problems any potential buyer should know.
- Rust issues: Many Sequoia owners have complained about the SUV’s rusting problems, particularly its frame. Apparently, the Sequoia’s large metal frame is very susceptible to rust and corrosion, causing the SUV to rust out pretty quickly.
- Transmission problems: Earlier models of the Sequoia were reported to struggle with transmission issues. Unfortunately, transmission issues are pretty expensive to fix. For Sequoia, expect to have repair costs as high as $3,500 because the transmission system has to be replaced or rebuilt.
- Faulty oxygen sensor: Many reports of the 2001-2004 Toyota Sequoia models’ defective oxygen sensors. As a result, the check engine light illuminates, which can be frustrating since it can mean many things. A broken oxygen sensor may result in symptoms like rough idling and poor fuel efficiency.
- Ball joint issue: Many model years of the Sequoia (2001 to 2008) have suffered from premature ball joint wear. Experts have determined that Sequoia’s ball joints are more vulnerable to wear and tear because of a production issue.
Toyota Sequoia Problem Counts by Year
Below is a list of the number of problems reported by owners on platforms such as Car Talk Community, Carcomplaints.com, and Carproblems.com. These problems cover all the models since the year 2001.
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