Toyota Sienna Sliding Door Hinge Problems (Plus 4 DIY Tips)

Everyone knows Toyotas are reliable, but even parts of reliable cars can wear down after heavy use. Since most people buy minivans to haul kids and lots of gear, the sliding door hinge on the Toyota Sienna is one part that often wears out over time.

How Do Sliding Doors Work on the Toyota Sienna?

The Toyota Sienna has an center and a lower door hinge, which is also called a hinge roller or a hinge assembly. Each hinge has a set of ball bearings it rolls on, allowing the door to open smoothly.

The power door mechanism uses a cable to pull the door open and closed. The cable is attached to the center or upper hinge (the one next to the window).

What Causes Van Sliding Door Problems?

2016 Toyota Sienna sliding door

Most people who buy a minivan get a lot of use out of their sliding doors. Over time, the grease on the door rails will start to break down, bearings go bad, and the door hinges wear out.

As the hinges age, you may notice the door is harder to open than it used to be. A power sliding door may not close properly, and may bounce back open or start to close on its own. You may also experience intermittent clicking or popping as the door operates.

Toyota offered an extended warranty for center sliding door hinge problems, and this hinge is most likely to be the cause of your issue. If you notice any of these symptoms, it may be time to replace the center hinge, or possibly both hinges.

Sliding Door Closes On its Own

When you open the sliding door, you should hear a click as the door locks into place. If the door does not click into place, the door is likely to close on its own, especially if you are parked downhill.

As an additional safety check, you can try pushing the door back to make sure it is fully locked into place. If you hear a click when you do this, it’s probably time to replace the center door hinge.

Door is Hard to Open

If your hinge is failing, it won’t move as easily as it once did. The door should open with little more effort than it takes to pull the handle. If you have to pull hard on the door, chances are good that your sliding hinges are aging.

Door Won’t Stay Closed

A sliding door that won’t stay closed or opens up on its own like there’s an obstruction in its path may have an issue with one of the hinges. Before you replace the hinge, verify that there is nothing stuck in either rail. You may want to clean out the rails every so often to make sure the door can move freely.

Noisy Door Operation

As your van ages, grease needed for the door hinge bearings may wear out or wipe off. You may notice a scraping, grinding, or squeaking noise as the door moves.

Sometimes all it takes is a bit of grease to make your door open like it did when it was new. If regreasing the rails does not help, it may be time to replace the hinges.

Potential Safety Issues

When you notice erratic behavior in your sliding door, it is very important to get it repaired as quickly as possible if you have small kids. Doors that close automatically when the child or parent is not expecting it could cause serious injury if the door does not detect an obstruction in its path.

Sliding Door Replacement Tips

If you plan to DIY this job, here are some tips to help your repair to go a bit more smoothly.

1) Put the Door in Manual Mode

Toyota Sienna sliding door manual mode

You don’t want the door to close on you while you’re working. Make sure you put the door in manual mode to disable the motor.

2) Support the Weight of the Door

Once you disconnect the hinge(s), you will need some way to support the weight of the door. A floor jack works really well for this, and will allow you to scoot the door back and forth as you work for easier access.

3) Grab Some Lithium Grease

You may need some grease for the rollers once you’re finished to ensure smooth operation. Grease the path that the rollers follow. You may see some remnants of the original grease to help you figure out where to apply the new grease.

4) Be Careful Around the Back Glass

The back glass is very delicate. Be careful removing and installing the center hinge. Do not pull on the glass. There is a trim piece near the rear that will need to come off in order to get the hinge out.

Video: Replacing a Center Hinge Roller

For more information, South Main Auto Repair (not a sponsor) has a helpful video on this particular issue.

Toyota Sienna Sliding Door Hinge Replacement Cost

We recommend Parts Geek for the best prices and selection.

Aftermarket hinges can be replaced for as little as $40, and that will be your cost if you are doing the work yourself. An OEM replacement hinge runs around $80 for the center hinge. Expect to pay around $200 in labor costs if you take your van to a shop.


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