Skip to Content

22 Dead-Serious Problems Of A Toyota Sequoia

22 Dead-Serious Problems Of A Toyota Sequoia

The Sequoia can last a very long time but isn’t perfect, which is to be expected as there is no such thing as a perfect car. This means that the Sequoia experiences quite a few common issues that we will discuss in this article. Before jumping in, here is a quick recap first!

2008 – 2022 Toyota Sequoia have had problems with the V8 engines consuming an excessive amount of oil as well as oil leaking and a gas smell in the interior of the 2008 – 2014 years because of a worn seal. Other issues include steering wheel vibration (2014-2016), Non-deployment of airbags (2011-2012 and 2018 – 2019), and various electrical problems.

Now it’s time to go in a more in-depth look at all of these issues, which will give you a clear idea of how reliable or unreliable the Sequoia actually is.

Engine Issues

The 2008 – 2022 Toyota Sequoia is available with a host of V8 engines, typically known to be reliable, but with specific common issues worth discussing in greater detail. These engines make lots of power and are relatively thirsty for fuel, which also leads to higher oil consumption/leaks, which is the first engine-related issue we will discuss with the Sequoia. Besides that, the Sequoia also experiences problems with broken valve springs and excessive gas smell.

Excessive Oil Consumption and Leaks

A few 2011-2021 Toyota Sequoia owners complained about an issue where the 5.7L V8 leaks oil from the camshaft tower sealer. The problem here is that the engine is slightly angled toward the driver, which means that the oil flows in the direction of the cabin, and when it reaches the exhaust, it causes fumes that can find their way into the cabin.

The video below explains the issue for the same 5.7L engine found in the Tundra.

This issue was so widespread that it even started an online petition for Toyota to recall both the Sequoia and the Tundra for the same issue. Some have even stated that this leak has caused the Sequoia to burst into flames which is obviously not good at all.

While it’s not as severe in other Toyota models, vehicles like the Camry and the Prius can suffer from similar issues.

Broken Valve Springs

A broken or damaged valve spring can cause the Toyota Sequoia to refuse to start or even stall while driving on the highway. Furthermore, many 2008 and later Toyota Sequoia owners also experienced engine misfiring and sputtering, sometimes even shuddering the car left to right. The fact of the matter is when a valve spring breaks, it can cause a lot of damage to the rest of the engine.

Toyota even issued a recall because of this issue, BUT NOT on this engine which has caused quite a stir among Toyota Sequoia and Toyota Tundra owners that have faced this issue. Apparently, it can cost a few thousand dollars to fix this issue which is probably why Toyota isn’t quick to acknowledge it.

Excessive Gas Smell

Breathing gas vapors is a severe issue that simply can’t be ignored. Sadly, that is a bit easier said than done if you are an owner of a Toyota Sequoia. Owners of the 2008-2014 Sequoia model complained about fuel, and potential sulfuric/rotten egg smells penetrating the cabin and being extremely unpleasant.

A worn-out seal around the gas cap can cause fuel odors to enter the cabin, but this issue can also be attributed to a faulty fuel pressure regulator. As far as the rotten egg/sulfuric smell is concerned, it is likely due to catalytic converter issues.

To read more about the types of gas a Toyota Sequoia can and cannot take, read this article we wrote earlier.

Vehicle Speed Control Issues

The Vehicle Speed Control System is designed to automatically control the vehicle’s speed, which means that the system can potentially operate the car’s acceleration even without a driver’s input. This is the case with the Toyota Sequoia and the Toyota Tundra, and one serious issue here is that these were prone to sudden uncontrolled accelerations. Other similar issues are related to putting the car in neutral without touching the brake and the dreaded vehicle stability control problem.

Uncontrolled Accelerations

Probably the most frustrating issue of them all is when the 2008-2010 Toyota Sequoia decides to accelerate by itself without any driver input. Issues like these tend to be quickly dismissed, as many similar problems with other cars were caused by the accelerator pedal getting stuck behind the floor mat. However, the issue here was real because the Sequoia truly did accelerate by itself.

This was also why Toyota recalled the 2008-2010 Toyota Sequoia models in January 2010 (10V017000), as they had to replace specific components that caused friction that could engage the accelerator pedal. However, many owners of 2010 and later Sequoia models also complained about this issue, but these cars weren’t included in the recall.

Car Going In Neutral Without Pressing The Brake

One owner of a 2013 Toyota Sequoia reported that his car could engage neutral even without a key in the ignition and without touching the brake. Understandably, this caused the car to roll backward and almost end up in an accident. The owner did state that he contacted Toyota, but nothing was done about the issue is not covered by both standard and even extended warranty.

Vehicle Stability Control Issues

One owner of a 2012 Toyota Sequoia complained about the VSC light constantly going on and off without apparent reason. However, the real issues were more common across later models, especially the 2018 Toyota Sequoia, in which the VSC system could either decelerate or accelerate the car by itself. It became apparent quickly that this issue was severe and had to be dealt with.

This is why Toyota recalled specific 2018 Toyota Sequoia models (18V122000) back in February 2018, as the vehicle stability system was known to fail and increase the chances of the Sequoia ending up in an accident.

Electrical Issues

Almost all cars these days come with some form of electrical issues as modern vehicles are equipped with all sorts of necessary and unnecessary features, all of which can fail at some point. The Toyota Sequoia is known to suffer from issues associated with exterior lighting, issues with door locks, chewed-up wires, and dimly lit gauges.

Exterior Lighting Issues

One owner of a 2011 Toyota Sequoia stated that he experienced reoccurring issues with the high-beam indicator coming on and off sporadically. This issue was also reported for a few 2009 and 2010 Sequoia models as well. It seems like this issue is down to a faulty headlight relay which needs to be replaced. However, one owner stated that these issues persisted after they replaced the relay.

Door Locks Issues

One owner of a 2011 Toyota Sequoia complained about the electric door latches failing, a common complaint for the 2010 Sequoia. However, the owners of the 2012 Toyota Sequoia model were the ones who complained about these issues the most. They reported failing electric door actuators on all four doors, even after replacing them with genuine Toyota parts.

Chewed Up Wires

Believe it or not, Toyota used soy-based wiring harnesses for many parts of the Toyota Sequoia electric systems, which are often really popular with rodents. One owner of a 2014 Sequoia was furious that he had to pay for new wires saying that this was an apparent manufacturing defect. 2016 Sequoia and 2017 Sequoia owners also complained about this issue.

This issue also spawned many enthusiastic law firms trying to capitalize on a potential class action lawsuit thinking that owners of these Toyota vehicles deserve some form of compensation.

We’ve seen this same issue, usually connected to soy wires in several Toyota vehicles. The Prius Prime suffers from this issue and the Toyota Tundra has the same problem.

Dimly Lit Gauges

A few owners of the 2016 Toyota Sequoia complained that the dashboard lights were too dimly lit, making them hard to read in direct sunlight. It is said that the Sequoia Premier model uses more powerful bulbs, which should be installed in other Sequoia models for the driver to be able to see the gauges more clearly.

Airbag Issues

Airbags are some of the most critical safety components available in modern-day cars. They are also extensively regulated by the government, so even the slightest issues can lead to recalls, as airbag defects are dangerous. This also means that many cars today, including the Toyota Sequoia, can experience problems with airbags.

These issues include faulty airbags, defective airbag inflators, airbags failing to deploy, problems with the airbag control module, or problems with some of the associated sensors. Either way, now we are going to list the two airbag recalls that were issued for the 2008 and later Toyota Sequoia; these go as follows:

  • 13V014000 – Toyota recalled Certain 2010-2012 Sequoia models back in January 2013 due to problems with the front passenger airbag occupant system, which may fail to deploy the airbag when needed and thus increase the chances of injury.
  • 18V685000 – Toyota recalled specific 2018 and 2019 Sequoia models in October 2018 due to problems with the electrical control unit, which might fail to deploy the airbag when needed and thus increase the chances of injury.

Steering Issues

Steering system-related issues also seem pretty common with 2008 and later Toyota Sequoia models, which is not all that surprising as all previous generations of the Sequoia also suffered from all sorts of steering system-related issues. These include problems with lower ball joints, excessive steering wheel vibrations, and issues with the power steering system.

Lower Ball Joint Issues

Many Toyota Sequoia models from the 2000s experienced issues with the steering system lower ball joints shearing off. These issues were solved for later models, but some 2008 Sequoia owners also complained about suffering from this issue. Toyota also recalled more than half a million pre-2008 Sequoia models, which means that this was one serious issue on earlier models.

Excessive Steering Wheel Vibrations

Owners of the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Sequoia models complained about the steering wheel suffering from excessive vibration levels when the car is driving at both slow speeds and highway speeds. One owner of a 2014 Sequoia said that he took his car to the dealership, where they balanced his tires, aligned his suspension, and did many other services, but none completely solved this problem.

One owner of a 2016 Sequoia complained about the same issue while also saying that:

This vehicle has excessive vibration in the steering wheel / vehicle when at 55MPH or higher. I´ve been numberous times to the dealership for this issue and they keep telling me this is normal.


This issue remains a mystery to this very day as many owners are still complaining about it, but Toyota refuses to acknowledge it as an issue.

Issues With The Power Steering System

Power steering system issues aren’t overly common with most cars these days. Still, the Sequoia suffers from these issues because both were initially caused by manufacturing defects which later caused recalls. It is said that the power steering assembly on the 2008-2022 Toyota Sequoia has a serious design fault that can cause leaks. These leaks eventually lead to a complete loss of steering power assistance which can be a severe problem. These recalls are:

  • 21V920000 – Toyota recalled specific 2008-2022 Toyota Sequoia models back in November 2021 due to a power steering system manufacturing defect that can cause a power steering fluid leak and eventually a complete loss of power steering assistance.
  • 21E103000 – Toyota recalled specific 2008-2022 Toyota Sequoia models back in December 2021 due to a power steering system manufacturing defect that can cause a power steering fluid leak and eventually a complete loss of power steering assistance.

Problems With The Equipment

This group of issues will cover a wide variety of weird and unusual problems that plague the Toyota Sequoia and have even led to a whole host of recalls. These include problems with the seats, wheels and issues with the power windows.

Issues With The Seats

There are two rather unusual issues reported by a bunch of Toyota Sequoia owners where the seat heating mechanism can either short circuit or become damaged and thus burn through the seats and cause injuries to the driver and sometimes even set the whole car on fire. This resulted in these two separate recalls:

  • 14V743000 – Toyota recalled specific 2005 – 2011 Toyota Sequoia models in November 2014 due to the electric seat heating mechanism failing and causing damage to both the seat and the driver.
  • 16V396000 – Toyota recalled specific 2005 – 2011 Toyota Sequoia models back in June 2016 due to a copper strand heating shot circuiting within the seats of the front two passengers and thus increasing the risk of fire.

Issues With The Wheels

These issues include problems with the TPMS system and the lug nuts. The first problem was reported for the 2008 and 2011 Sequoia models, where the car didn’t alert the driver about tire deflation. This eventually caused a recall because a lack of TPMS is against US Federal transport regulations.

  • 11V148000 – Toyota recalled specific 2008-2011 Toyota Sequoia models back in March 2011 because they failed to comply with US Transport regulations demanding all cars to have TPMS systems that alert the driver if they notice tire deflations.
  • 17V311000 – The other issue is down to defective lug nuts prone to cracking and causing the wheel to detach from the car. Toyota recalled specific 2003-2017 Toyota Sequoia models in May 2017 to replace these lug nuts.

Power Windows Issues

To top off this list, we are also going to mention an issue where Toyota’s engineers failed to grease up specific sliding electrical contacts within the doors, which were prone to short-circuiting after a few years and melting the power window master switch completely. This issue was first fixed typically, but it was immediately apparent that this was a manufacturing defect which eventually led to a recall.

  • 15V689000 – Toyota recalled specific 2009-2011 Toyota Sequoia models back in October 2015 because the sliding electrical contacts within the doors were not protected by lubricants, making them vulnerable to moisture, grease, and debris. These would eventually lead to short-circuiting and melting off the master power window switch.

Have More Questions? Join Our Facebook Group!

Do you have any more questions that weren´t answered in this blog post? Join our free Facebook group and ask your question there. We promise you you´ll get an answer from one of our team members. Join the group here!