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Toyota Highlander Owners: Meet the Members

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  • paterdpaterd Posts: 14
    My hubby talked me into looking at a new one, you're right, the used ones are that much less, besides I haven't been able to find one around here! I must say though, so far I am disappointed with the upholstery, it looks like the only choices are a very light beige or very light grey. What are they thinking of using such light colors for a car interior/upholstery! Now I will have to spend more and get leather, which I don't really want but it's better than trying to keep a light colored fabric clean!
  • Yea the HL interior is light overall (not sure how prevalent this trend is on other Toyota models); the HL's cousin, the Lexus RX330, has a dark interior but costs 10K more. (The edition of the HL that's sold in Japan has a dark interior.) Keep looking at the HLs until you discover which one appeals to you the most!
  • adestadest Posts: 4
    I have been looking for references to HL with rattle/vibration problems. I bought a 2005 in August, and found that there was a buzzing noise at certain RPM just under my feet - it didn't sound right. So, with less than 2000 miles on it, I took it to the dealer. After 2.5 days of test driving with techs (half could hear the buzz, half couldn't), finally the shop foreman drove with me and heard it for himself. He found it came from the steering rack, where he'd also found some lubricant that had come from "somewhere". I was very upset that now they were going to start replacing parts to try and find out what was wrong. They finally admitted that this was not just "normal" vibration noises. (kinda knew that when I took it in!)....

    SO, I made a deal, wrote a check, got screwed over royally by the dealership, and drove away with a 2006 just last week. The 2nd or 3rd time I drove it any distance, I noticed that there's a rattling in the driver-side door! If I pull the door handle tighter while driving it goes away. It seems to be coming from the inside of where the shoulder restraint mechanism is - but nothing I adjust or press on makes a difference.

    I have tried to ignore it, and I have been through and through trying to get the techs to hear what I'm hearing, I'm close to tears, and my husband and I are arguing over it. (he supported the trade-in hoping we could just walk away from the problem vehicle) Why oh Why did I trade in my Tundra???

    I'm at my wits' end. I've always driven Toyota. (7 in my life so far) This has me feeling like they are just riding on the coat tails of their reputation - not earning it anymore.

    I'm really not THAT noise sensitive - but this is right at my ear, and I would expect that esp after paying much more to finally have a "new" vehicle, this would not be an issue. Especially after spending so much time pleading with them before that the steering-rack vibration wasn't just in my head, I am just emotionally and mentally exhausted with it.

    I'm going to take it to a DIFFERENT dealer's service department and see what they can do. I just can't stand the thought of dealing with the same jerks at the first dealership.
  • I think taking it to another dealer is an excellent idea -- even after buying the first HL you should have got a vehicle you were completely satisfied with.

    Rattling problems are not exactly uncommon to HLs unfortunately. Since women's hearing is more sensitive to higher frequencies, if the service department happens to have a female tech (mine does), you might see if you can get her to do the test drive. I hate rattling problems because even the simple ones can be difficult to isolate.

    Generally HL owners are very happy with their cars. Been poking around the Toyota Tacoma and Ford Ranger Problems and Solutions forums as I'm comparing these two vehicles, and although Toyota's generally have less problems than Fords, for example, and although both in most cases produce solid vehicles that their owners are very happy with, occasionally both will produce a lemon.

    Its good to hear from both owners who are satisfied with their vehicles as well as those who aren't so we all can make informed decisions. In any case hopefully you'll get the problem fixed sooner or later; keep plugging and keep us posted!!
  • adestadest Posts: 4
    Hi landdriver,

    I took it to a different dealer's service department, had a tech drive it, and he immediately heard it. In this case, it's right next to the driver's ear - even with the radio on, it's obvious. They determined it was coming from the seatbelt's upper "adjustment assembly" and ordered a new one.

    They got it in today, and let me come right over - took about an hour total for the installation. And it's quiet. Sigh. Even on rough roads. ALTHOUGH, as you say, women have good hearing, and mine seems to be especially good (it's a curse - I didn't blow out my eardrums as a teenager). So, I can barely hear "something" going on in the column the seatbelt is attached to. It's only just enough to make me worry that it will start up again. And I'm sure now I'm tuned into it.

    A friend at work almost at the same time bought an identical 2004 highlander to mine (4cyl, etc), and we went to lunch today. NO rattles anywhere in her used 2004 with 33,000 miles. Very solid.

    I'm hoping this really is the fix. My nerves are wearing thin. I'm hopeful...
  • adestadest Posts: 4
    Oh - P.S. to landdriver:

    I had a Tacoma for a while. I bought it new in 2000. That was the last time I bought a Toyota that I didn't have to take back to the dealer with a problem sometime during the time I had it. (for a little over 2 years).

    It was a manual transmission, and my commute is 16 miles of stop-and-go traffic. It was not very comfortably laid out for a small (5'5") woman, even though it's a small truck. I suppose the automatic transmission version might have been more comfortable.

    So, I traded that in for the REALLY comfy (and Quiet) Tundra (V6 - automatic trans). BUT wanting better mileage and a back seat that could seat adults, I traded it in for the (first) Highlander.

    If I could undo everything, I'd wash it all away and keep my Tundra - got its rated 17-19 mileage and sometimes better. Looking back, it was a big mistake to trade it in - even though it HAD been through the whole "gas cap not sitting right" fiasco - making the engine light come on.... They finally replaced the neck to the gas tank, and, finally the charcoal cannister before the light stopped coming on. (didn't listen to me on that one either - just kept telling me I wasn't putting the gas cap on right!).

    Anyway - I'm rambling - the point is: my first vehicle was a 1985 Toyota extra cab pickup that was wonderful - that's why I got the Tacoma. Not quite as simple anymore as they used to be, but the Tacoma was a reliable little truck! Quiet, too!
  • Hi everyone!

    My name is Klara and I live in San Diego.

    I've been reading these forums and they have been so helpful! Yesterday, my DH and I bought a black '03 CPO HL Limited. I haven't taken delivery on it yet since they are taking care of a few things for me first.

    In the meantime, can you recommend some accessories I might need? The HL came with the standard Limited features. I'm thinking I need a trunk organizer - but what kind would you recommend? Any other recommendations?

    TIA!
  • P.S. to adest:

    Glad to hear some good news re your HL!!

    Yea, people on these boards occasionally mention Toyota's quality isn't quite as impeccable as it used to be...
  • One nice thing is the tonneau cover, but being a Limited your's should already have this. Not sure what you have in mind in terms of trunk organizers but if it doesn't have one already get the Toyota '01-'03 black cargo net ($45) for the cargo area -- is really useful for keeping groceries and the like from sliding around. The Toyota carpeted floor and cargo area mats are very nice looking if your's doesn't already have them (~$150?). And possibly Lexol leather cleaner and Lexol leather conditioner (~$10ea) if your's has the leather seats.

    Some people are really into the smoke-colored hood bug deflector ($80?) and sunroof wind deflector ($80??) for dressing up the exterior (and would look especially slick on a black HL), but this is a personal preference thing. Other options include fender flares (~$600?) and gold emblems (~$100??), but these are not too popular (ask to hold one of the gold emblems up against the vehicle before shelling-out the cash). Wait awhile before deciding to add some aftermarket speakers.

    Hope you enjoy your HL, and YWIA (you're welcome in advance)!
  • I just bought a new black 06 V6 FWD Highlander. On retrospect, I wish I had bought a 4WD, but it too late now. I traded in my Subaru Impreza. I very much like the new car.
    I am wondering if anyone can recommend a mat for the back that is long enough to cover the back with the second row down. I want to protect the seats from my bike when I lay it down in the back. I considered a bike rack for the back, but apparently it needs a hitch, which I dont have, plus I dont want it sticking out the back.
    Also, the HL didnt come with an alarm. When I called, the salesman said it did have an alarm if the window was broken, etc. But I couldnt find it. I took it back and another salesman said none of the Toyotas have alarms. Do you all have one? Did you install one? Is it worth it? I live in Phoenix...lots of car thefts here.
    Otherwise I love my new car.

    j.
  • jenny:

    Never seen a long cargo mat as you described but perhaps if anyone else has they'll chime in. I have the standard size cargo mat and whenever I haul something, after folding the second row seats down, I flip the cargo mat over onto the second row seats so any scuff marks will only get on the back of the mat and on the cargo area floor normally covered by the mat; that way you normally don't see the scuff marks when the mat is flipped back again. If this doesn't work out perhaps an auto upholstery shop can make a custom mat or you can get a bike rack at a later date; maybe there's an aftermarket one out there that doesn't require the hitch?

    Second salesman was wrong as many of the HLs indeed have factory alarms. I think all the HLs with the remote keyless entry system have the anti-theft and engine immobilizer system with the red blinking "Security" LED -- this is their most basic alarm system -- if the door is forced open the horn will sound repeatedly and the lights will flash; you can test this by pressing the red "panic" button on the remote fob. I don't have the optional glass breakage sensor so am not sure how to tell if you have it; if you still have the window sticker it should list this if your HL has it; perhaps the owner's manual may say something about it too. Lastly there is an optional VIP RS3200 alarm system that is more comprehensive than the standard anti-theft and engine immobilizer system that possibly the dealer can install so you should ask them about it.

    The FWD is a very nice vehicle so I think you will be very happy with it but if you really want to you can get one of those "AWD" chrome badges (the parts department sells them) and affix it to the back of your HL so people will think you have the 4WD!

    Glad you love the HL and welcome!!!

    L
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,552
    G'day

    You will find out that you have an alarm soon enough. Leave a passenger side window down when you pull up at hom. After locking the car with the remote, wait a minute and then lean in, unlock the passenger door and open it.

    It's not the full on motion detector type affiar but the horn going off at midnight confirms the alarm works. I think you can also test it by unlocking the passenger door with a key rather than the remote

    Cheers

    Graham
  • adestadest Posts: 4
    Hi landdriver,

    Alas, I knew it was too good to be true....

    After driving to my mothers this weekend, and back (about 240 miles round trip), the noise was back just as bad as if I'd never taken a half day off from work to have it "repaired".

    On the "up" side, the power, accelleration, etc., was very good - better than the first Highlander that had the issues they started throwing parts at. At least there are relatively few parts that could be causing this - AND it's nothing to do with anything under the hood.

    But everytime that thing starts buzzing - it's like is saying "You just wrote a huge check to have ME".... (the amount I paid the dealership to get out from under the first one).... You don't even want to know. They didn't do me any favors - though they sure acted like it.
  • adest:

    Sorry to hear they didn't fix the problem! If you haven't done so already be sure to take it back to the service department and ideally have the same tech drive it who immediately heard it the first time you were there. And make a big deal about having to take time off work again so as to give them motivation to find the true cause of the problem this second go-around!!

    Keep us posted!!!
  • Hi,

    I just bought my HL, the first week in November. My wife had the family share in Toyota with two camry's and I with Honda. She finally convinced me to test drive the HL, as I was thinking it was about time to trade the 92 Accord in. I was only looking at over 200,000k without any major problems. That's even factoring in a tour in Europe with it. I'm in the process of changing out the factory radio and adding a 8-pack CD Changer in the center console. I hope to enjoy the HL as long as I did the Accord.
  • Good Day Karen,

    My name is Eric, Just traded my RAV 4 to a 2006 Highlander base. I had the worse experience with WESTBURY TOYOTA in Long Island NY. I got so Screwed by the sales people and the finance manager. I have love toyota since there quality and performance are so good. The only thing is the people who you buy the cars are really the worse people that you never knew will messed your life with the worse deal ever on the trade and buy of a suv. I just bought the car Dec 3 and i'm still so stress out since then because the dealer never did commit with there promises and deals that was agreed upon the table and paper work. Until now i haven't got the money for my RAV 4 the overpayment that i should have got i even tried to call, email the customer service of the dealer it seems that they don't care once you got the suv. Never had a experience on trading car, i'm not sure who to call to get my money i even complain to the toyota customer service. They call me and told me that the dealers are independent and they don't have anything to do with them. I guess toyota don't care since you bought the car already. Do you have any idea who i can go to get this people give what they owe me? I'm getting frustrated and not sure if i go to an attorney or the BBB to get all this issue resolved. I emailed, called and mailed them but they don't give a sh*t about the it.
  • lgjavalgjava Posts: 48
    Yeah I know they really like to stress you out don't they?

    Anyway though eric, you can always take them to small claims court right?

    They'll tell you anything at a dealership. When I was buying my Toyota Highlander, the manager said, "I never sell a car without the floor mats." Not!
    $220 was added to the bill. They did take $1000 off the price of the car though. One thing that really bothered me when I was buying my new car was the finance guy (or whatever) asked me the mileage on the Highlander that I'd just test driven. I said 60. So he sort of emphatically shook his hand in a slashing motion and said 50. Like the represented mileage of the car is somehow debateable? Whatever.

    Just as I was about to drive off the lot, the dealer came running out with the "Passport to Convenience" booklet and backhanded it into the glove compartment with a sort of Grinch-like smirk. I should have thought something was up at that point.

    You wanna hear something really funny though? I had my oil changed yesterday at the dealership that sold me the car. So I went to pick it up. Outside it's pouring rain, and my car is parked right next to this clown-colored car with garish mismatched panels. I think my dealership is trying to tell me something! Sort of like park the car in the middle of the lot in the rain and make the customer walk to his "land of the Misfit Toyotas car."

    Anyway, I thought it was kinda funny, because the sold me a brand new car with several repainted panels.

    Yep, they can get you with the money you pay, that is the price, or the quality. Or both. And then the little petty nick nacks as well.

    Try small claims?
  • Joys of car buying experience's.

    I went to one dealer who told me not to shop around. I am buying a $30000+ car what makes you think I won't shop around. He would not let me walk out the door without a deposit. I gave in and gave him $100 deposit. Then I found a better price and he told me to buy the car from somewhere else and hung up on me.

    The car that he wanted to sell me was already traded to another dealer that I had visit earlier.

    I complained to Toyota national but that was useless. I am pretty sure nothing will be done about it.

    I finally did buy my 06 Highlander Limited from a dealer who sold it to me at invoice price. I also did get my college grad. rebate of $400.

    The dealer that I did buy the car from treated me with respect and was never pushy. He bent over backwards to get me the details of the car and price and when he would get it. He also did not hide the invoice price. He plainly just told me what it was and it did match the paperwork he showed me on the new car.

    Since it was a dealer trade the car does have 31 miles on it but thats all good. I am going to enjoy the highlander once I get it at the end of this week.

    With all the horrible experience I hear from other people, I think toyota needs to start looking into some of these dealers, they are going to lose customer's. I almost went to Honda but my dad told me just find another dealer.
  • paterdpaterd Posts: 14
    Here I am again, still haven't gotten my Highlander, I just hate new car shopping. Today I found out my Credit Union has a 2004 Highlander with 40,000 miles ( they say "low mileage"!) but I think that's a lot of miles for a 2 year old car. Also the color is green and I sorta had my heart set on blue. They want $24,725 for it, does that sound like a good price?
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