Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Toyota Highlander Maintenance and Repair



  • toyotakentoyotaken Posts: 897
    They are plugs that are installed at the dealership after the vehicle is unloaded from the delivery truck. They go into the spots in the frame that are used to attach the hooks the delivery truck use to tie down the vehicle so they don't bounch during transit. They don't usually forget to put them in, but it does happen occasionally. It's basically so that dirt and water don't get up inside of the frame through those holes. Hope this helps.

  • bikeman3bikeman3 Posts: 85
    What dealer sold you this car? :)
  • luvmycar1luvmycar1 Posts: 3
    Can anyone tell me if they are familiar with this...
    I have 4 warning lights on my dashboard and the dealership can't find the cause for them. VSC, ABS, BRAKES, and TRAC OFF. The car rides fine but the ABS locks up slightly sometimes when coming to a stop. They have had my HL for 4 days now! A body shop worked on a minor repair to the back of my car and now this has happened. Anyone?
  • tsotsitsotsi Posts: 98
    Thanks for the info, toyotaken. Since I was pretty sure the dealership would make up a story to excuse their mistake rather than give me a straight answer I am happy to get the real scoop. This dealer also delivered the car with the tires significantly underinflated -- a real safety concern. I won't be returning to this dealer again and will tell the truth about their poor prep work on the car if Toyota sends me a questionaire.

    Someone asked for the name of the dealer. I am not sure this forum should be used to badmouth a particular dealer even though they seem to deserve it. Someone fill me in on the protocol here. The dealer is in northeast Florida.
  • billseribillseri Posts: 2
    Does anyone know how to change the cabin filter on a 2003 Toyota Highlander. I know it's behind the glove box but I can't figure out how to lower the glove box. Also are there any manuals like Chilton's or Haynes available for the 2003 Highlander?
  • junepugjunepug Posts: 161
    The instructions are on page 266 of the owners manual The screw you remove is a weird looking thing. Be careful after you remove the screw and lower the glovebox. A plastic part broke and caused the glove box not to fit properly. I was able to "super glue" the part together and it is working ok now.

    Good luck. Baring any problems, the job should not take more than 15 minutes.
  • tsotsitsotsi Posts: 98
    Even though I just bought my new Highlander I would like to understand more about future maintenance. The 4-cylinder engine and 4-speed automatic look like real beauties, but there isn't much information about them in the owner's manual or even on the internet. My maintenance guide says to change the automatic transmission fluid at 60,000 miles if the car is used for towing but doesn't say anything about changing it if it is driven normally. Is it possible the fluid is good for more than 120,000 miles?

    And apparently the engine valve clearances need to be checked only every 60,000 miles. One hit on Google mentioned that the camshafts have to be removed to change the valve clearances. I have seen this on motorcycles, but not on passenger vehicles. I am assuming that the valves won't need adjusting even at 60,000 miles but just in case -- do the camshafts really have to be removed to change the shims? If so, does this mean removing the timing chain and disassembling the entire front of the engine? I am not exactly worried about his because I am pretty sure the valves won't need adjusting. My Honda Accord, with rocker arms, went 107,000 miles without needing a valve adjustment and the valve train on the Toyota 2AZ-FE looks more bulletproof than the Honda's.

    What makes this funny is that I was pleased to find out that the Highlander engine has a timing chain instead of a timing belt. I thought that would simplify maintenance. But if the camshafts ever have to be removed, the timing chain might make it more difficult.

    I would love to know more about this engine. Any gearheads out there who can fill me in on the details or recommend a source of reference material? I really like to know more about the technical details then are given in the owner's manual.
  • billseribillseri Posts: 2
    Thanks for the info. and word of caution. I'll attempt to change the filter tomorrow.
  • kam108kam108 Posts: 16
    I recently bought a highlander, and also found the plugs in the glovebox. I wouldn't have known about them if I had not read your post. I called the dealership service dept to ask about them. They said to just leave them in the glovebox! I guess I'll have to put them in mylself. This makes me not trust their service dept, which is unfortunate since they are the closest to me. :mad:
  • loucapriloucapri Posts: 214
    i believe someone did explain what and why there are plugs in your glovebox in the Camry board.
  • tpoztpoz Posts: 4

    Thanks for your info. I also had to normalize the sunroof. It worked as per your directions. I don't understand why the dealers don't do this as part of the car prep or at the factory.

    Much appreciate the info.

  • desertguydesertguy Posts: 730
    " I don't understand why the dealers don't do this as part of the car prep or at the factory."

    I agree 100%. It is unbelievably stupid for a dealer not to automatically normalize the sunroof before delivery. There may be a reason why it is not done at the factory since it is included in the owner's manual but as far as I'm concerned there is no excuse for the dealer not doing it. I had to do it on mine and it is no big deal, but it starts you off on your HL ownership with a bad impression of their service right off the bat.
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,584

    The rubber plugs cover two points which are used for securing the car during delivery. The emergency towing eyes found in the tool storage area are screwed into these points at the factory and then ued to tie the vehicle down during delivery to the inwards port or dealership. They are then removed and placed in the tool storage area, one going into a plastic clip and the other just lieing around. The rubber plugs should be placed over the tie down points as, hopefully there will never be a need for a tie down point again.


  • ecotrklvrecotrklvr Posts: 519
    Hi - As an owner of a 2002 Highlander with the same engine (OK, mine has 5 HP less) - I think I can ease your mind on all points.

    Mine now has 67,000 miles. It's never towed anything, and the fluid has never been changed. The fluid looks and and smells fine. I'll probably change it next year or so, but purely as a preventative measure - that is, if I haven't bought something else by then (I really want something with a manual transmission). All in all, the 4-speed auto is more reliable than the 5-speed in the V-6, and behaves better as well. However, if you are going to tow something for any great distances, you should change the fluid at 50-60k miles.

    My valve lifters sound fine as well. Yes, adjusting them is crazy hard. But odds are you'll never have to. My '96 Maxima had the Nissan VQ V-6 that used the same method of valve adjustment, and it's still never been adjusted. Now at 130k+.

    This is a great powertrain. I've owned it for only 6 months, but it consistently amazes people who ride in it for the first time how smoothly, quietly, and powerfully this engine can move this 3500 lb. vehicle. Averaging over 20 mpg as well.

    All I can recommend is going to synthetic oil at about 1000 - 2000 miles, and use the Toyota filter (less than $6 regular, and less than $4 on a monthly sale). I've been using Mobil 1 for many years, and now they have oils rated for up to 15,000 mile changes. The Toyota air filters are a great value as well - $15 or less on sale.

    Enjoy your Highlander!
  • thock33thock33 Posts: 6
    The vibration problem was corrected for a time when different wheels were installed, but is now starting again. Have you considered that water may be getting into the tires when air is added? Most air compressors will accumulate water that must be bled off frequently. I remember hearing years ago of a problem much like yours that was traced to water in the tires. You might think that the water would be evenly distributed at road speeds and not effect balance, and this may be true when the wheels are placed on the spin balancer. But when the tires are on the road they are no longer round because of the reduced radius at the ground contact point and they may go way out of balance. Just a thought.
  • tsotsitsotsi Posts: 98
    Thanks for the information. One reason I bought the 4-banger was because I had heard that some of the 5-speeds, used with the V-6, had an annoying hesitation. The 4-speed certainly seems like a nice gearbox -- it appears to almost read my mind when it comes to shifting. Also, I like to do some servicing on my cars myself, and there is much more room in the engine compartment with the 4-cylinder, something important for a shade tree mechanic.

    I am planning to at least measure the valve clearances myself after 60,000 miles and am pretty confident that is all that will be needed. I am still puzzled over the very limited list of maintenance items though. Okay, I guess it is possible the automatic transmission fluid will last for 120,000 miles, with gentle use. But what about the brake fluid. Most car companies recommend changing it every two years or so because it is hygroscopic and the water in it will boil when the fluid gets hot and can also cause rusting. I guess it is possible that changing it when new brake pads are installed is often enough so they don't see any point in making it a separate item.

    The funny thing is that when I bought my Highlander the dealer seemed more interested in making money then prepping my car properly. I can't figure out why the maintenance schedule doesn't give him a chance to make more money. Not much profit in oil changes.
  • How do you reset the Maint Req flashing light when your approaching 5000mile intervals? :D
  • Mine did go on at 10,000 miles? What's up with this flashing light approaching the 5K intervals?
  • mckeownmckeown Posts: 165
    After you do the required service for the vehicle interval, turn the key to ON without starting the vehicle. Push the odometer button until ODO reading is displayed. Turn the key to off. Now PUSH AND HOLD the odometer button AND turn the key to ON again WITHOUT starting the engine. Wait 3-5 seconds until the 'Maintainence Required' light goes out, Now the interval is reset.
    On US spec vehicles, when you are within 500 miles of the next interval, the light flashes after startup for 15-30 seconds as a reminder. Within 50 miles of the next interval, the light stays on until reset.
  • Thanks mckeown!
Sign In or Register to comment.