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Toyota Highlander Hybrid - Hybrid System Problems



  • eriweneriwen Posts: 15
    My 2006 HH, 87,000 miles, went from driving perfectly to sounding like a cement mixer with the check engine light flashing. Then the Check CVS System warning came on and a few seconds later started flipping to Check Hybrid System - these warnings flipped back and forth while the check engine light continued to flash. I was seconds from home (and, thankfully, not going very fast) so practically coasted into the driveway. I had it towed to my mechanic who hooked it to the computer -- one of the error messages stated Fuel Low even though the tank was full. They had to finish another car so mine sat. The next day, I started looking for issues with the car and found this forum. The inverter problem sounded exactly like what happened to me -- I phoned NHTSA and got a claim # and was given the # to Toyota national. While waiting to connect to someone there, I found the post stating there is a recall effective June 29. Toyota also gave me a case # and sent the info to the dealer, so I had my car towed to Toyota.
    The service guy immediately said it did not have to be the inverter since the check engine light came on.
    Yesterday they call to tell me it is not a hybrid problem; it is an engine problem: problem with the short block at the bottom of the engine, engine won't spin, crank shaft is being blocked, & -- get this-- pieces of the engine are OUT OF PLACE. They want me to agree to pay 1100 to start to diagnose and it could cost up to 6K to repair! He suggests I trade it in since it is a five year old car -- heck, I always keep my cars about 10 years!
    I flip out and tell them with a 5 year old TOYOTA at 87,000 miles, this should not happen. I call the on-site customer service manager to complain (who I had met the day before). How would engine pieces of a TOYOTA just start breaking off? I call NHTSA and file a complaint. I call Toyota National to complain. I go back in and show the records of the maintenance on the car (like clockwork). The service manager called some "higher up" and they are proceeding this morning by taking off a pan (not that I know what pan) to see why the crank shaft turns one way and stops and turns back and stops, but won't go around. Once they see if they can determine problem, the regional person will be called again.
    I again reiterated how ridiculous it is that this is not covered by Toyota and the reason I bought the brand is because the vehicles are supposed to last for well over 100K! (No, I did not have an extended warranty -- too expensive at the time; in hindsight probably something I should have done.)
    They are well aware I filed a complaint with NHTSA. I told them if I keep the car, I want the inverter replaced immediately!
    Sorry for the length of the post, but if anyone is told pieces of the engine are "out of place" they should contact NHTSA (1-888-327-4236).
    I will keep you apprised of what Toyota does -- or does not -- do for me.
  • eriweneriwen Posts: 15
    Toyota dropped the oil pan and saw internal damage, finding a lot of metal chunks. It seems something let loose in the engine and now I needed to authorize them to take the engine out of the car ($500) to see if there is any damage to main bearings or oil starvation. THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE. The service mgr said it does not seem that anything I could have done would have caused this damage. They need to see if my mechanic did anything wrong through these years or if it just happened. He told me that if Toyota DECIDES to help, I need to participate in paying for part of this - replacing the short block -- $4500 or so - and perhaps Toyota would pay 50%. I asked why I had to pay any part of it since it seems this is a a failure on Toyota's part, and he told me they would expect me to "participate" since it is out of warranty, over 60,000 miles - a five year old car with 87000 miles.
    There has to be something wrong with an engine if parts of it start loosening! I am going to contact NHTSA tomorrow to give them an update on my case. I don't know if I can ever buy another Toyota again.
    Has anyone ever heard of this happening with an engine?
  • eriweneriwen Posts: 15
    When I spoke to Toyota customer care - national - and asked the same question - what if I trade in the car and don't fix it but then there is a recall on the problem I had, the person told me that if I can prove I owned the car with the problem then they sometimes pay -- not sure what they would base the payment calculation on? But he said there have been times Toyota has paid a person who got rid of a car because of an expensive repair before the recall went into effect.
    This may be a complete lie, but it is still something to pursue.
  • eriweneriwen Posts: 15
    Oops, I typed CVS System in my post -- must have drugstores on my mind! It is CSV or something like that!
    Still waiting for the engine to be examined and to be told the status/diagnosis. At this point, all I know is they are giving me a rental car. Even with the 50% offer from Toyota, if the engine just fell apart on its own, why isn't Toyota willing to stand behind their product? The 50% I have to "participate" in is based on the retail price, while the 50% they are "participating" in is probably based on wholesale -- not quite even here.

    I am nervous about keeping the car after 100,000 miles after reading all of the posts. Possible major A/C problems? OMG. Only 13,000 miles to go.

    At least they are going to replace the inverter issue because of the recall. However, I am still nervous about it and going to consider getting rid of it at the 100,000 mark. It is a bit late for me to get an extended warranty for a year, and it is probably too expensive!
  • eriweneriwen Posts: 15
    edited July 2011
    I heard from customer service at Toyota today. They determined that the valve spring broke in the engine! My local mechanic got my hopes up saying that should be covered under the Power Train warranty - possibly up to 100,000 miles -- but I just did an on-line search and called a different Toyota service and was told the Power Train warranty is still 60 months/60,000 miles. That is quite lousy. Not very happy with that kind of warranty on the engine.
    I am waiting for the manager of the service department to call me with a quote. My local mechanic told me to call him once I get the estimate. I doubt he can help if Toyota was willing to pay half, but I will see.
    I keep thinking, "What if I had been on the interstate doing 70 mph? Would my daughter and I be okay?"
  • crtnupcrtnup Posts: 1
    ugh - it seems it is our turn... no previous problems with 2006 H which I love - regular maintenance (and new tires last week, btw) and it just shut down on a busy road yesterday CSV message and then the check hybrid system msg). Thankfully I was able to coast to the shoulder, but the potential for disaster was there (in the right lane, no traffic in my way at the moment, etc.)... lights not dimming and tank full of gas... 106,000 miles on it... awaiting the service report and truthfully, sick to my stomach. I have loved this car... regardless of what the outcome is, should we consider selling (cut and run response)?
  • I just got my recall statement in the Mail. We all are so lucky that our cars didn't kill or injury us. I drove by the spot on the highway taking my wife to jury duty this morning. I still sweat when I get close to where there could have been a serious accident. They did fix my car and it has not had any problems since but this was a very serious fault and reading all thes comments just makes me think that Toyota was just going to not respond to the seriousness of this problem that people could die or get injuried. Thank you all for making this happen. These cars are out there and when I see another Highlander I try not to get in back of it.
    Thank you all and there is resolve coming.
  • socallrsocallr Posts: 2
    I think the plan to not get behind a Highlander is a good one.

    I have been an enthusiastic fan of my "06 Highlander Hybrid from the beginning. I loved my car so much that when, last July, I suddenly and completely lost power (read: inverter assembly failure to the--covered under warranty still--tune of $8K) I believed the dealership when they said, "Wow, this is so weird. We never see this."

    Fast forward to this July, one year after they replaced the inverter assembly, when I was driving home to southern California and my car failed again! This time I was going about 75mph on I-40. Fortunately, I could pull over safely and not cause an accident. Fortunately, I have about 1200 miles left on my warranty, so the repair would be covered even if they hadn't issued the recall. Unfortunately, I have really lost faith in Toyota--at least as far as the Highlanders go. My husband and I are likely to replace the car, that is once we get it back from the dealership. (Two and a half weeks and counting!)
  • eriweneriwen Posts: 15
    I am still waiting for my repaired car. Toyota told me they practically have to replace the entire engine since the weakened valve spring came off and did a lot of damage -- to the tune of $11,000! No extended warranty, 87,000 miles, 5 years old. They "asked" me to "participate" in the repair for the amount of $2500. Then the dealership will pay some and Toyota will take care of the rest. They will only warranty the new parts for one year/unlimited mileage. I think they should warranty for 3 years/36000, and I am going to start my letter writing today. I have updated NHTSA about the defective engine (I think if a valve spring weakens and breaks off, the engine is defective.) and copied Toyota national and the dealership. Today I am going to write everyone I can think of to complain.
    I, too, have lost faith in Toyota. I don't know what I am going to do yet, but once I can handle a monthly payment I am getting rid of this car. This car that I have loved and talked glowingly about since I got it. Toyota is not standing behind their product.
    Today I am going into the third week without the car; it took them about 8 days to pull it all apart and figure out the problem, as I have posted. The service people at the dealer could not be nicer, but I want a better warranty, a smaller amount - or zero - to participate, and Toyota national to "step up" and admit there was something wrong.
  • n3tel3n3tel3 Posts: 4
    Dealer says $10K to replace inverter, BUT only after that is done can they see if the transmission is OK. He was kind of hinting that sometimes the inverter damages the transmission. I've not heard that one before. That may bring the total bill to $15,000.

    Not a lick of trouble until now. Dead on the side of the road at 119,500.

    Just a sudden loss of power under moderate acceleration. There may have been a small noise, not sure?

    Called NHTSA and filed a report. This IS most certainly a safety issue. I recall a few years ago a minivan ( I think ) stalled on Route 50 a few miles East of DC, and all (4?) occupants were killed when they were rear ended. Same situation can occur with this problem.

    Where is Toyota on this?
  • karen80karen80 Posts: 5
    Toyota has an active recall on the inverter so you should not be charged a DIME!!! I live in Arlington, VA, and I use the Toyota dealership in the Cherrydale neighborhood. They told me I had a "crack in my air box" that needed to be replaced at the same time my inverter failed. It seems like most people are getting told that it is their inverter and "something else" just to run up the cost. You should have gotten the recall notice in the mail at the end of July, maybe it is sitting around in a stack of junk mail. Either way, your dealer is well aware of it and should have told you up front.
  • irina2irina2 Posts: 23
    I just want to clarify something about the reacall notice... the one I got said "We will send you another notification when the replacement parts are ready and preparations are complete"...all in red. (There was a CODE 104 in the bottom left hand corner). Are you all talking about this initial notice, or did you get some 2nd notice sent already?
  • socallrsocallr Posts: 2
    I spoke with an agent at the Nat'l Customer Care center when I was dealing with my '06 HH a few weeks ago. What she told my (summarized) is this: Toyota has identified the IPM--the part identified in the recall notice--as the reason for the inverter assemblies to fail. To replace that IPM, Toyota must finish designing the new piece, manufacturing it in bulk and distributing it to dealers. Toyota expects the FIRST of these newly-designed parts to hit the dealerships in JANUARY, 2012. Until then, the recall serves only as a mechanism for individuals who experience an inverter assembly failure to have the inverter replaced for free, even if the car is out of warranty.

    Until these new IPMs come out, everyone driving a HH subject to recall is at risk for experiencing the failure. When I pressed the woman at CustCare for a better response from Toyota, she was very understanding, but Toyota is not going to take any further action. That is why I, within 24 hours of receiving my "repaired" HH, traded it in on a new Subaru Outback. DON'T DRIVE BEHIND HHs.
  • Brought our '06 HH into the dealership this week for an oil change & tire rotation. I asked about the recall, and the service manager said they are still waiting on Toyota for the replacement/repair.

    So far our HH has been running great. Haven't had any problems yet. (knock on wood). 65K miles to date.
  • same thing happened to me 3 days ago, Toyota will not help, you are on your own, it will cost about $10,000 to replace the inverter. let the NHTSA know this happened to you as I did...good luck...Ken
  • Gosh seems this is a common problem, my HH cut out on me on the freeway this week, i was going 70 mph, got a warning Check Hybrid System and lost all power in the car. i was able to coast to the exit but was nearly run over by a semi truck, scared the crap out of me, kid was with me and was screaming with fear. Had it towed to the dealer who said inverter was out, car had over 100,000 miles so was out of warranty...cost to fix $10,000. ..called Toyota and have a case set up, lets see what happens...I'm just glad my daughter and myself are still alive. Be careful all HH owners, someone is going to die as more HH run up the miles....
  • This happened to me a well, last night at about midnight, doing about 65 on the interstate 95, in the left lane. All of a sudden it stopped dead. I had my daughter in the car as well. I managed to coast to the shoulder, remarkably, where we waited 45 mintues for a tow, with my daughter crying and squeezing my hand every time the rush of wind from an 18 wheeler rocked our car; she was terified of it falling over the guardrail. I researched this online, and found that in very late June, Toyota recalled this part. (Well, the IPM within the inerter - I am expecting them to find that my inverter failed because of some other part to avoid replacing it fo free. I am waiting to hear from the shop. In reading post 181 by kenduf, I am taking your comment that "You are on your own, Toyota won't help" as to mean that they won't help with replacement of the inverter as a precautionary step? A few others have posted that Toyota did replace the part when it failed. If this is gets fixed, I, too, will dump this car (which I otherwise just love) and replace it with something else, and I will avoid Toyota's on the road, too. I can only imagine the horrible accident that can occur when one of them makes a sudden stop on the highway. I was very lucky to be able to coast to shoulder.
  • Good luck to you rescue 131. I had a "battery failure" awhile back in my 2006 HH and the battery was replaced for $239. (?) I had made the effort to trade the HH it in but as we all know, trading and buying a car take time and after two attempts, I put it off even longer. This week when my wife heard about the recall, she insisted on my getting rid of the HH. She stated she would not let me drive my 3 children in my car until the car was gone. So luckily, the dealership had a Honda Odyssey with similar mileage, 90,000 and the trade was fair. I got $13200 for the HH 2006 (I owed $11000) from my dealer for an Odyssey that cost $12000. I took the deal and ran...I was in the dealer for less than 1 1/2 hours and feel relieved. Now I can with peace of mind drive my 3 children, age 10 and under, in my van. I am a 40 something father, so the van is not what I had in mind but I love the sound system, the smooth ride, and my children love the DVD. It is much more kid friendly than the HH. Get out of the HH while you can!
  • bad luck, sorry this also happened to you, Toyota case manager "Robert" called me today and said they are not helping with repairs. He said because it was a later model, mid to late 07 it is not being recalled. I said it was the same problem as the early model, he said the NHTSA has not made them recall the late 07's, only the early model. seems to me that as the later models rack up the miles problems will happen. BE WARNED do not drive behind Toyota Highlanders if you value your life. Getting it towed to the wreckers this week...funny thing he also said was that if I had got my oil changes at their dealer they would have fixed the problem, I had my oil changes done at a Jiffy Lube.......Toyoto sucks big time...good luck to all other Toyota owners out there...your going to need it..I filed a case with NHTSA you should do the same, phone them do not Email them... :lemon:
  • My car died at a highnspeed on the internet, with my child in the car. I just hear from the Toyota service center. While my car happens to be one of the recalled Vin numbers, Toyota themselves informed me that even were it not, Toyota would have to pick up the inverter, because The Federal Gov't makes them warranty this part for ten years or 150k was unclear to me whether this only applies to hybrids, or all highlanders. But as this came right out of the Toyota Service Center's mouth, anyone who is stuck with a bad inverter should look into this! This warranty is above anything Toyota has sold with the car. You don't have to have it written in your warranty, or to have purchased it separately. It's federal gov't mandated. My car will be ready tomorrow! It was a ten grand bill, including a replacement battery. I'm walking away out only $150. I hope this helps some of you.
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