Toyota Sequoia Transmission Problems

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The Toyota Sequoia is a full-size SUV known for its durability and versatility. The Sequoia has been a popular choice for families and those needing a spacious and capable vehicle.

Unfortunately, for many people, their car experience has been one of many issues. There are plenty of Toyota Sequoia transmission problems that you need to be aware of.

The common issues people face are:

  1. Issues In Gear Shifting
  2. Transmission Failure
  3. Noise When Shifting
  4. Getting Stuck In Park
  5. Unintended Acceleration
  6. Car Not Accelerating
  7. Transmission Slippage
  8. Noise While Driving
  9. Shaking And Lurching
  10. Dragging Clutch

With the help of this article, you should be able to mostly avoid these problems and figure out which model is best for you.

I will talk about the specific years you should avoid so that you do not have to deal with any transmission-related issues.

10 Signs Of Transmission Problems In A Toyota Sequoia

Wondering if your Toyota Sequoia's transmission acts up? Here are the reasons why

If you think you are dealing with transmission issues in your Toyota Sequoia, this section of the article will be pretty helpful for you.

I will list the various signs of transmission issues in the car and what you can expect from the causes.

1. Issues In Gear Shifting

Difficulty or resistance in shifting gears is very common in the Toyota Sequoia. Improper gear engagement, along with general difficulty, is to be expected.

Worn shift cables, clutch issues, or manufacturing defects can cause the issue. The stiff or hard-to-move shifter and grinding noises are easy signs to identify the problem.

2. Transmission Failure

This is the complete breakdown of the transmission system, which leads to power loss and no gear engagement.

This is easy to identify as your transmission will cease to work. It is caused by wear and tear, overheating, or manufacturing defects.

3. Noise When Shifting

Grinding, clunking, or whining noises during gear changes are never good, especially in the Toyota Sequoia.

They indicate issues with synchronizers, worn gears, or clutch components. You should be easily able to hear the sounds to identify the problem.

4. Getting Stuck In Park

This is yet another easy-to-feel issue. A malfunctioning shift interlock system usually causes the inability to shift out of park gear.

Another sign is vehicle being immobile. This is an issue you will have to fix if you want to drive your car.

5. Unintended Acceleration

Sudden and unintended increase in vehicle speed without driver input is usually caused by various sensor problems or a plain transmission defect.

This problem is very common in some of the Toyota Sequoia models written below. Signs include sudden and rapid acceleration without pressing the accelerator pedal.

As you can imagine, this poses a serious safety risk.

6. Car Not Accelerating

Lack of power or delayed acceleration during driving usually indicates issues with throttle control or a defect in the transmission.

Signs include sluggish acceleration, hesitation, or jerking during acceleration.

This issue can cause many problems when driving, so getting it fixed before driving at higher speeds is recommended.

7. Transmission Slippage

As the name suggests, transmission slips out of gear and causes loss of power and erratic shifting. Signs of this problem include gear slipping and delayed acceleration.

You can face this problem if your Sequoia’s clutch plates are worn, have damaged gears, or low transmission fluid levels.

8. Noise While Driving

I have already mentioned the noise you can hear when shifting.

Signs include grinding, whining, or rattling noises, which can be caused by wear and tear, lack of maintenance, or manufacturing defects.

Unusual noises during driving can also occur, indicating issues with gears, bearings, or other components. Diagnosis and repair of the underlying cause may be necessary.

9. Shaking And Lurching

When a vehicle experiences shaking and lurching during gear shifting or while moving, it could indicate various transmission issues.

Signs of the problem may include rough gear changes, jerking or jolting motions, and vibration.

The causes of this problem could be worn-out transmission mounts, damaged clutch components, or simply internal transmission damage.

10. Dragging Clutch

A dragging clutch in Toyota Sequoia occurs when the clutch fails to disengage completely. This results in difficulty in shifting gears or abnormal clutch pedal behavior.

Signs of this issue may include difficulty shifting gears and grinding noises during gear changes. The cause of this problem could be a worn-out clutch disc.

Transmission Clutch Damage Reports

In the years between 2007 and 2009, many lineups of the Toyota brand suffered from transmission clutch damage, also reported in the Toyota Sequoia.

The majority of drivers felt harsh shifting and transmission slippage. I have already discussed these problems above, so you should know if you face them.

Car owners often had to get their clutch assembly entirely replaced. In other cases, the ECU had to be reprogrammed.

In both cases, you had to go to the dealership or risk the problems causing disruptions. Technical Service Bulletin also addressed this issue.

The problem drivers report is transmission slipping or harsh shifting, accompanied by one or more diagnostic trouble codes.

The recommended solution for this issue is to replace the C1 clutch assembly and reprogram the Electronic Control Unit. Doing so would help address the issue and optimize the transmission’s performance.

One thing to note is that Technical Service Bulletins are not recalled. They are simply guidance for customers and dealerships to help diagnose and address issues.

The fact that a TSB had to be launched indicates the problem is a major one in the Toyota Sequoia.

VSC Traction System In Toyota Sequoia

There are plenty of problems that have their specific reasons for existing. In many instances, there are cases where the problem has no visible cause.

This can make debugging or finding a solution very difficult or costly.

This was the case for earlier models of the Toyota Sequoia, where the VCS Traction System would engage for no concern able reason.

As you can imagine, this is very dangerous at higher speeds. It would often engage at higher speeds, cause violent shaking, and even activate the brakes.

For this reason, I recommend you avoid earlier models of the Toyota Sequoia, as this problem can potentially be life-threatening.

Is The Toyota Sequoia Worth Purchasing Despite These Transmission Problems?

Despite all of the issues that I have highlighted, you should know that you should not completely dismiss the Toyota Sequoia.

The car has made significant improvements in recent years. Most of the reported problems were in older models, as discussed below.

The latest models do not have any form of issues. While every vehicle has quirks, the new Toyota Sequoia models are still worth considering.

Remembering that vehicles undergo continuous updates and improvements every year is important.

Toyota, as a company, has been hard at work to maintain a high commitment to customer satisfaction and reliability.

This has often resulted in the development of more advanced and refined vehicles. Hence, you should check out the newer models of the Toyota Sequoia.

Which Year Did Toyota Sequoia Have Transmission Issues?

Most of the transmission problems discussed above were found in the earlier models of the Toyota Sequoia.

If you have any questions, I will state the exact years and their problems in this article.

This will help you avoid bad models and convince you to buy a more recent model from the lineup.

1. 2001 Toyota Sequoia

The Toyota Sequoia 2001 model has faced significant backlash due to its transmission issues, which numerous owners have reported.

Complaints range from delayed shifting and jerking to slipping between gears and complete transmission failure.

Evidently, the transmission issues in this model have been a source of frustration for owners and have had negative implications for the lineup straight out of the gate.

This is one of the few models of the Toyota Sequoia that I recommend you stay away from.

2. 2002 Toyota Sequoia

The 2002 Toyota Sequoia model has experienced notable transmission issues, including rough shifting, delayed shifting, and complete transmission failure.

In many cases, they have found their transmission to not work properly. It had many issues besides the transmission, which made it even more difficult to recommend.

3. 2003 Toyota Sequoia

Overall, looking at the 2003 Toyota Sequoia, you will see that it is a pretty good car. There were a few transmission problems that deserve to be discussed.

People saw that the car would get stuck in the park and could not shift to the proper gear.

Also, people noticed that the car would sometimes jolt and suffer from unintended acceleration.

4. 2005 Toyota Sequoia

The NHTSA caught some issues in the transmission of the 2005 Toyota Sequoia.

Hesitation while driving, jerking while driving, and forward surging were very common in this particular model.

Instances of failure were also common with the transmission, which was not appreciated.

5. 2006 Toyota Sequoia

From the release of the 2006 Toyota Sequoia, smaller issues plagued the car. People complained about noise while driving the car and faced some form of hesitation.

In some cases, the transmission had to be replaced by owners.

6. 2008 Toyota Sequoia

There were only a few issues that deserved to be addressed when it came to the 2008 Toyota Sequoia.

People saw that the gears would get stuck and unable to shift. Others noticed acceleration was difficult, and sometimes the car would accelerate suddenly.

7. 2014 Toyota Sequoia

Jumping to the 2014 Toyota Sequoia, most complaints regarding the car were about the transmission.

Regarding this model, people talked about how they would hear a droning sound when driving the car.

Transmission slippage was common, and people found it very difficult to shift at lower speeds. Overall, this model might be one you should avoid if you are too fearful.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.1 What Are the Recommended Steps To Take If You Experience A Sudden Transmission Issue While Driving The Toyota Sequoia?

If you experience any transmission issue with your Toyota Sequoia while driving, you need to immediately pull over your car and turn it off.

Then you must wait for roadside assistance to take you to the nearest dealership or repair shop to assess the issue.

Q.2 Are There Any Specific Maintenance Requirements For The Transmission In A Toyota Sequoia?

The transmission of the Toyota Sequoia is pretty standard for the component.

That being said, you do not need to carry out any form of special maintenance. Simply take care of the transmission as you would any other, and it should stay healthy.

Q.3 What Are The Long-Term Consequences Of Driving A Toyota Sequoia With A Known Transmission Problem?

You should avoid driving a Toyota Sequoia when you know it has any form of transmission issue.

Prolonged driving of a car with a bad transmission can further degrade the transmission. It will eventually reach the point where you have to get the transmission replaced entirely.

Q.4 How Does The Transmission In A Toyota Sequoia Compare To Other SUVs In Its Class In Terms Of Reliability And Durability?

Compared to other SUVs and cars in its class, the Toyota Sequoia’s transmission has generally been reliable.

As you have no doubt read, this reliability and durability vary depending on the specific model year. Make sure you avoid all of the bad models mentioned above!


If you can choose the right model, Toyota Sequoia transmission problems are few and far between.

Try and avoid the earlier models listed above, as these are the only few models in the lineup that display transmission issues.

Aside from them, you should be perfectly fine to buy any of the newer models in the car’s lineup.

If you already have an older model of the Toyota Sequoia, you should be able to identify the issues you are facing and then move toward getting them fixed.