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Toyota Highlander Maintenance and Repair



  • robsisrobsis Posts: 160

    Although I have not replaced the ones on my Highlander, yet, I have replaced several on other cars. A friend, who runs a $2 Mil/yr auto repair business (and has been in the business for 30 yrs) gets his from Carquest. He said the Napa ones are junk and rarely has any warranty claims on the Carquest (He provides a 1 yr, no questions warranty on most parts like tailgate shocks). I have since bought the Carquest and have been very happy with the quality.

  • jrfierojrfiero Posts: 123
    On Monday I started my 42K mile 2001 V6 only to hear bad knocking from under the hood. I shut it off immediately and checked to be sure there wasn't anything caught in the belts or otherwise obvious. My wife came and started the engine while I watched/listened under the hood - sounded like a worn out old engine with no oil! Awful! Oil level is fine, Mobil 1 since break-in, less than 5000 'tween changes. Started it a third time and it purrs like a kitten, as previously. Been running fine ever since. It had been less than 24 hours since it had last run.
    Any ideas?
    Hopefully this isn't the beginning of a sludge issue - shouldn't be, because of the synthetic. Guess I'll go look on the sludge forum.
  • jeff32jeff32 Posts: 1
    I have a 2005 Toyota Highlander AWD. Has anyone experienced a hesitation problem? It occurs all the time but I feel it most when the AC is on. It happens when starting out from stop signs as well as at low speeds when quick acceleration is needed. It appears to me that it's a transmission problem. Any help for a solution is appreciated.

  • desertguydesertguy Posts: 730
    Click this link to find a discussion of this issue:
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    It doesn't sound like the sludge problem to me, but you may want to check it out to be safe. You would see some oil usage if it was sludge. Also, some smoke from the exhaust.
  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 734
    This may or may not help, but some years ago, I had a vehicle that sounded like what you describe...bad knock. Took it the dealer, later in the day, the call came that it had a broken piston! Time for a new on... anyway, we bought a new car, and of course, the old trade needing an engine was worthless, so, even tho it sounded like heck, we drove it home. Lo and behold, on the way home, it quit making noise,and sounded normal again. I contacted a shop forman at a dealership in another town that I knew, and he explained it to me....a small piece of carbon had stuck in the fuel injector, causing the horrendous sound! Our dealer never even opened the hood! Just condemed it basedon the sound. i Needless to say, we never went back to that dealer!

    We sold the car to a friend who owned it for many years putting many un-eventfull miles on it.

    Might not apply here, but thought i would relate this to you.
  • ncb81ncb81 Posts: 7
    Hi all my first time to post here. I bought my2005 highlander last July base model V6AWD . I have the same problem but it happened when I passed the 3000 miles on my odo. when I'm slowing down between 40-30 mph the vehicle propel forward. I dont have problem with the hesitation but these one concern me. This is my wife vehicle so right now I'm driving this vehicle and my wife driving my 4runner. I'm going to the dealer for 5000 miles service this weekend any TSB on this that I can show the service manager? Thanks all
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "propel forward..."

    This may be one of the symptoms of the engine or throttle hesitation, you'll have to judge. These transaxle's tend to upshift during closed throttle coastdown situations, some describe it as the "slingshot effect".

    Rather than actually being propelled forward (which is exactly how it feels) what is actually happened is a great proportion of the engine compression braking is being alleviated due to the upshift.

    The other symptom is the effect of being bumped from behind just before coming to a full stop. Again that is a result of the transaxle upshifting to alleviate engine compression braking.

    If those fit the description of what you're experiencing then you might want to read some of the posts in the hesitation thread.
  • bobgordonbobgordon Posts: 156
    Sometimes this can be caused by carbon.
    You can pull a spark plug or two and look at the condition; very black plug indicates a carbon build up in the engine upper half.
    If so, you can buy a "Top Engine" cleaner which is introduced through the fuel system or take it to your favorite shop/dealer for cleaning.
    Good luck! :)
  • ncalncal Posts: 1
    Looks like your problem is not isolated. My 2001 Higlander does the same thing. The tires have been balanced many times and the brakes and rotors have been replaced at my expense. I have consulted with the service manager at the local Toyota dealer and their excuse is that the belts in the tires are starting to slip.
    Before I spend almost a thousand dollars on tires I don't want to waste my money.
    I telephoned Toyota Canada and they told me to contact my local dealer? What a run around. Obviously Toyota knows about the problem is but does not want to fix the problem. Like you I am thinking of dumping this vehicle, even though it is a great vehicle. Will an international class action suit work?
  • robsisrobsis Posts: 160
    ABS actually only leaves 'impending' skid marks. It is the small amount of rubber left on the road just as the wheel stops spinning and before the ABS reacts to 'unlock' the wheel to allow for rotation. These marks are visible within a short time of occurring; however, can be blown away by a strong wind, or washed away by rain. They can also go away just by people driving and walking over them. To actually determine a more accurate speed based upon skid, impending skidmarks need to be used if available. Many times by the time a trained officer arrived on a scene, these were gone. If you found them, they looked like a series of small marks on the road, usually in a straight line, ending at or near the impact point. A way to look for them is to get low on the ground with a decent source of light (it was easier for me to find them at night as I had a great portable spotlight...the sun didn't always cooperate!)

    My training was courtesy of the California Highway Patrol and Northwest Traffic Institute. We tested several vehicles where we slammed on the brakes and came to a complete stop with both ABS active and inactive. There were some interesting results that none of us expected. ABS was designed to allow control during braking and just the nature of the beast produced slightly longer stopping distances in controlled dry situations (that is, a clean, dry surface devoid of debris). I remember a test with both a Corvette and a Mercedes. The Vette stopped almost 10 feet shorter from 70 MPH without ABS. The Mercedes, which had a better ABS system, was only a few feet longer with ABS; however, it was longer every time. Tires played a major role when things got wet or when the roadway had debris. Also, the ability of the driver to 'feel' the brakes and prevent lock-up. We put dirt or crushed rock on the track. We had a snow machine and also sprayed water on the track. The temp was too high, so we used a formula developed by the tire industry to 'create' ice by adding soap to water. The distances were closer in the snow; however, on our 'ice', the ABS ruled the day as the non-ABS vehicles basically went out of control every time. You could tell who the good test drivers were as they could control their stops better. They were, however, longer every time without ABS and the final point of rest was always a guess. The ABS, however, certainly did not totally rule on the 'ice' and only did really well when we put on tires designed to interact with a wet/icy environment.

    It was interesting when ABS first came out and people got into several rear-enders with these cars. They always had this puzzled look on their faces when I arrived and would exclaim that their ABS must've failed. They thought, as many still do today, that ABS will stop you faster, so they could keep driving fast in the rain or follow closer in heavy traffic at speed. They even thought that it would prevent their skidding on ice! Our tests, and others done by many of my colleagues, proved that was definitely not the case. I have always thought that car salesman kind of oversold ABS, at least initially and that the stories just kept being repeated. I even had drivers tell me that they could drive longer on a set of tires 'cause their car had ABS and that would compensate for the thinner tread!

    ABS is a great tool and one of an arsenal of safety features; however, your basic premise that ABS vehicles stop in a longer distance is correct. Throw in the variables of tire condition and roadway condition, and the difference gets lost.

    Long answer, I know; however, I hope I addressed your question.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Yes, and your answer is just as I suspected.

    Speaking of the salespersons over-selling, I think in most cases they were misleading the public. Unintentionally, since they hadn't a clue (as is with most salespersons) as to the technical details.

    If you read the owners manuals I think anyone would conclude that the manufacturers are now making a good attempt to correct the misunderstanding.

    In the meantime I am waiting impatiently for some bright automotive engineer to realize that if VSC were hooked up to ABS then ABS could be prevented from activating unless loss of directional control is impending.
  • Is anyone aware of a recurring problem with earlier highlanders concerning a severe mold and mildew smell within the interior? I have seen this problem referenced with older Sienna's and other Toyota vehicles.

    I have tried flushing the air intake with water and spraying can after can of lysol, plus baking powder placed on the carpet and nothing is helping.

    I have seen other references to needing to clean out the evaporator system with products such as BG?

    Toyota dealer has not returned my phone calls which is no surprise. I can't wait until the next Consumer Reports questionnaire so I can provide additional feedback on this problem.

    Have had a bad oil burning smell with the vehicle since the beginning and now it's equally smelling on the inside.

    Last time I buy a Toyota.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    just Toyota owners that are having mold and mildew problems. If you check the lincoln Aviator thread you will see that Ford just repurchased someone's car over this.

    Mold and mildew and instances of unexpected windshield fogging throughout the industry can be pretty much laid at the feet of a Japanese company by the name of NipponDenso, Denso US, in the US.

    Some manufacturers now provide a means of disabling the A/C indefinitely, Toyota and Lexus via a C-best option. In the past I avoided these problems by disconnecting the A/C compressor clutch during the cool or cold winter months when it is virtual useless and can actually be harmful.

    It also helps if you leave the windows down in the garage each night if you have used the A/C during the day.

    Google for: EED "Electronic evaporator dryer" for more detail and a possible long term solution.
  • bexbex Posts: 1
    Anyone else have this problem? I have a 2001 V6AWD and the symptom is that the "Temp" knob is stuck at 65 degrees! I am told that the whole Heat/Air Panel needs to be replaced - not just the switch for the knob - since it the is "auto" style heating system. It only has about 62K miles on it. Seems too soon for this to be happening??
  • Does anyone find the backup lights on an 2005 Highlander not bright enough? My back windows are tinted and yes my eyes arn't what they used to be either but that aside I find them almost useless. My Corrola lights shine with what seems to be twice the brightness. Does anyone know if the bulbs can be changed for brighter ones?

    Regards to all,

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    One of the very first things I do when taking delivery of a new vehicle is swap out the ~12 watt backup bulbs for halogen, 50 watt on the driver's side and 20 watt on the passenger side.
  • goldstongoldston Posts: 110
    If you don't me asking, where did you find the brighter replacement bulbs?
    I've never thought or knew that there were brighter bulbs available and I think this is a great idea.

    Best regards,

  • This forum is to search for fellow drivers who might have some advice. If Highlanders have a hesitation issue -- and some obviously do -- then let people talk. My relative's Highlander has what I think is dangerous hesitation. It seems that the dealer is in denial. Putting a muzzle on people doesn't help.

    I'm personally struck by how many people ARE complaining of hesitation issues -- and it gives some of us ammunition when going to a dealer.

    Case in point: a friend of mine has an Acura mdx. It had the transmission fail prematurely. The dealer wanted $3500. I did some research and pointed out to my friend that the mdx has had a problem with early tran. failures. He went to dealer with the information and was quietly told that, oh, gosh, Acura would cover most of his repair cost after all. :blush:
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,583
    Please direct comments on the hesitation issue to the specific board addressing them. On each occassion that the topic appears on these pages, the invective raised drives away many readers/posters. As a case in point, I avoid posting on this board because it is devalued by the lengthy rehashing of the same issue.

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