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Toyota Highlander Maintenance and Repair



  • Sorry about the repetition...but I don't want to loose this thread. There are too many of us having this problem to let it go...and we are getting new members everyday that might not be aware.

    So file a complaint if you are experiencing the hesitation problem with the '04 Highlander here;

    Click on "secure submissions" and fill out the simple form. When you get towards the end of filling out the form, you'll be asked the component. Click/highlight "POWER TRAIN:AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION." Some have posted under "VEHICLE SPEED CONTROL:ACCELERATOR PEDAL" so file where you want. There are (8) complaints under PT: Auto Trans and (2) under VSC:Accel Pedal at present posting.

  • wainwain Posts: 479
    My new 04 Highlander 2 wd has a slight but noticeable wear pattern developing on the front tires at 4000 miles. the pattern is only on the most outside tread section on each front tire (the tire sections on the center or on the inside - facing the engine -do not have this wear pattern). neither do the rear wheels.

    If you stand next to the say drivers side front tire, and face the car, and run your hand across the top of the tire going from front of the car toward the rear of the car you feel sharp edges on the front edges of the tire segments in the outside tread section. If you run your hand the other way, across the top of the tire from rear going toward the front you do not feel anything.

    whats causing this?

    I see it/feel it on a lot of other cars/suvs.

    is it :
    a normal
    b excessive front toe in?
    c something else?
  • kadskads Posts: 27
    Why resign to "live with it"? It's not a "feature" that increases your safety or a buyer will pay for when you sell it.

    Just like the oil sludge problem, Toyota is taking advantage of their customers.

    They need to get some corporate integrity and do the right thing instead of pinching those dollars and converting them to yen back in JAPAN.
  • Wain, I've seen that many times and it could be caused by under-inflation, sharp cornering and or poor alignment.
    I'd rotate the tires, fill to 3-5psi above the rating (cold) and have the alignment checked.

    Here's a description of common tire wear problems.
    Excessive Toe;

    Excessive toe-in/positive toe results in outside edge wear of the tire. Excessive toe-out/negative toe results in inside edge wear of the tire. Toe is easily adjusted on most vehicle steer axles.
    Excessive Camber;

    Excessive positive camber: smooth wear patterns on the outer half of the tire tread. Excessive negative camber: smooth wear patterns on the inner half of the tire tread.

    Excessive Caster; Caster is the angle of steering axis tilt when viewed from the side and while it does not affect wear, it does affect the vehicle's handling and tendency to track straight down the road.
  • After reading my message again, I guess it does sound like I am resigned to live with it, but that is not really the case. I cannot ALWAYS reproduce the problem. In fact, the last two days have been without incident. I travel a lot and when I am not in a rental, my work is 3 miles away. so the HL doesn't really see a lot of road time. I really just need to make the time to get it to the dealer.

    I do not think this is a penny pinching issue. I have access to some biG tiMe transmission experts (no names, please) and they seem to think it might be a software or accelerometer problem. That is not a difficult or expensive fix. It would be to Toyota's advantage to fix it if they knew how. I think they might not know what the problem is.
  • fvpfvp Posts: 147
    I'm lucky in that I don't have any of the problems discussed here [hesitation, brake issues] on our '03 V6 4WD.
    My problem is a rattle in the dash and/or steering column. I had this fixed once about a year ago by replacing the steering box and it's hardware. Now a rattle in the dash caused the dealer to call Toyota and they reported many complaints of a dash rattle that's cured by replacing the nozzle assembly under the cowl.
    They are going to do it next week and I'll let you know if it works.
  • "nozzle assembly under the cowl."

    fvp what is that????????????
  • As I had indicated, I went to the dealer. They drove it and said "they all do that" "It's operating as designed". He did acknowledged the "behavior" of the trans when he drove it. Then, he pulled around a brand new Limited and we drove that ... sure enough ... hesitation on upshift, abrupt downshifts, releasing downshifts into stopped traffic, shuddering trans as it's deciding what to do.

     For those who are not experiencing these safety and reliability problems, it's puzzling. Maybe Toyota's got different revisions of SW out there and some tranmissions actually work. Count yourself lucky.

    Today I opened a case with Toyota. They'll have the regional guy call me next. I indicated:
    -safety issue: hesitation in trans when accelerating
    -safety issue: downshifting abruptness releases into stopped traffic
    -reliability issue: the combination of the above in normal driving conditions causes trans to "shudder" at times.

    I will absolutely file a complaint with the nhtsa as recommended. Thanks for persisting in this. I'm just wondering if I should go through the Toyota chain first or not.

    Interestingly, I read a number of posts by the same individual who goes to lengths to "explain" or "justify" this transmission's operation as not unusual, or some kind of continuing effort to implement VSC safety features .... safety features???? Makes you wonder.

    We are now looking for a used car for my son. I'm sure I don't want him behind the wheel of this car, especially as a newer driver. We drove a number of Taurus', Sebrings and Stratus', Malibus and Impalas'. NONE of them drive crude and unsafe as does my new 2004 Highlander.

    If you're considering a Toyota - DON'T DO IT - they are starting to push crap out the door.
  • Daytimer, glad to hear you opened a case!
    As far as following the Toyota chain, by all means. Thats the way to do it.
    As the saying goes, "take it to the top."

    I'm convinced that Toyota WILL have to do something about this. They (Toyota) has too much at stake by just letting this very serious issue slip by...and the consumer won't let that happen.

    BTW, Taurus is a good auto as is Honda if you are looking for a vehicle for a first time driver.
    Good luck!
  • fvpfvp Posts: 147
    I have no idea what they are referring to - it has something to do with the washer nozzles located behind the dash and under the "cowl".
    My receipt says: Part number: 55950-48020 nozzle assy. defr. They had to order it with delivery on Tuesday.
    I don't think that's the answer, but my dealer claims that Toyota has had many complaints regarding this part and that's where they plan on starting. I have not read many reports on this board about dash and/or steering column rattles so perhaps it's isolated to my unit. It took 4 days to find a bad steering box that caused a rattle last year.
    Sounds like a long shot but who knows?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Explain, yes, justify, absolutely not.

    I personally think anyone stupid enough to purchse a FWD vehicle has a perfect right to encounter all the hazards thereof without any interference whatsoever.

    No, really, I think the automotive industry is going to far to coddle us and in the process there are taking all the fun away.
  • In addition to being stuck with Toyota's transmission screw up, we paid too much for it. Toyota's profit was $10.24 BILLION in fy2003, more than GM, Ford, and Daimler-Chrysler combined!

    At Toyota and Lexus dealers, and the Edmunds Town Hall website, owners frequently complain of hesitation and surging in 2004 models (Camry, Highlander, Sienna, ES330 and RX330). Yet, Toyota claims there is no defect, and no safety problem with the transaxle and drive by wire throttle/software system—this is “normal” performance because all their cars do it.

    Based on the NHTSA database of 2004 owner reports:
    • There are 13 reports of accidents with property damage, personal injury and one death related to the transmission/throttle system. (7 times the equivalent Ford and Honda accident rate!).
    • Owners of V6 models (Sienna, ES330 and RX330) are 15 times more likely than Ford and Honda owners to file a hesitation/surging complaint—Could it be because a) they have more problems b) Toyota refuses to acknowledge (or fix) the problem and c) it’s NHTSA’s job to step in when a manufacturer won’t voluntarily correct their safety defects?
    • The majority of V6 Toyota owners filing a hesitation/surging complaint state the car is unsafe. (Of the significantly fewer transmission complaints from Ford and Honda owners, none reported it as a safety hazard!)
  • Reporting a problem as a safety hazard (whether it is or not)is one way to get NHTSA's attention and the complainants know it.
  • Sorry folks but when I see this on the "back burner", I just need to resurface I'm Scottish so I'm not giving up. :)

    I don't want to loose this thread. There are too many of us having this problem to let it go...and we are getting new members everyday that might not be aware. Hey, maybe this will get it resolved!!!

    So file a complaint if you are experiencing the hesitation problem with the '04 Highlander here;

    Click on "secure submissions" and fill out the simple form. When you get towards the end of filling out the form, you'll be asked the component. Click/highlight "POWER TRAIN:AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION." Some have posted under "VEHICLE SPEED CONTROL:ACCELERATOR PEDAL" so file where you want. There are (8) complaints under PT: Auto Trans and (2) under VSC:Accel Pedal at present posting. As of 9/23/04 that is.

  • wbaywbay Posts: 34
    Ah! There's the rub. Coddling the consumer. But what they're really doing is trying to insulate themselves from lawyers.

    I agree. If I buy a car that is more likely to roll over than another, so be it. Trying to engineer a driver out of a rollover accident by having the car stall at a critical moment is asinine. It's like trying to prevent Humpty Dumpty from falling off the wall by booby trapping his ladder so he falls off the ladder rather than the wall.

    Engineers being driven by we'll have cars that refuse to start because we might get into an accident. "What's that?" "Oh that's my $32,000 Highlander paperweight. It doesn't drive, but it makes a heck of a decoration, don't you think?"

    By the way, someone mentioned that using snow mode and turning off the overdrive helped the hesitation issue. I tried it, and for me it did not help.
  • Wain, you can check my posts on this issue noted at same point as you found it. I had the same problems which are secondary to excessive "toe-in" settings from the factory. The howl from the tread became so loud we could not converse among passengers. I asked dealer to check, but my wife didn't request readings from the allignment equipment. Afterward they said nearly all four wheels were out of spec. This adjustment helped a little, but problem continued. A few months later I requested, at my own expense, readjustment of toe, and while the settings were "in spec", they are excessive when they result in "cupping" and noise. I asked the mechanic to take fronts down to "0 degrees" toe, which he resisted, but I told him I was paying for it and was aware this could affect handling. The tires are now wearing evenly and less noise, and handling is not affected whatsoever. So unless you want that nuisance forever, you'd best consider my approach as nothing else worked.
  • hlendgame, my dealer told me the rear end clunking was caused by defective struts. Mind you these are manifesting at 13,000 miles! They had to special order the replacements and will fix free under warranty. Yet, Toyota seems to be cutting corners, or their suppliers are. I've had at least a dozen Toyotas, all of the bought new, and never had any problem at all until this 04 AWD HL V6. I'm beginning to think Toyota is slipping on quality. Even my tires were wearing down at alarming rate, see other posts.
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    I've got a 2004 HL and it has been flawless, much better than I expected. I even paid close attention to the items discussed here, and it's fine. This is my first Toyota, been a Honda man for the last 5 yrs. I've owned an Odyssey, Accord, and a CRV. None have been without reported problems from others, Odyssey - brakes & hesitation, Acord - tranny, CRV - fires after 1st oil change.
  • Thanks for the info. I have only heard it a couple times and I always have the radio cranked, so I am never really sure I heard something. I have a really steep drive, so I will be sure to pay attention when coming/going.
  • After another frustrating drive home today, I finally filed an official complaint with the NHTSA. I can't say that the hesitation/surging problem has been a true 'hazard' for me (yet), but it has sure made driving my brand new $32,000 vehicle unpleasant. Only 59 payments to go!
        Maybe if enough of us make our voices heard, Toyota will come up with some sort of fix.... And you're right about new members- I've seen a handful of new HL's in town lately. Maybe a few of these new owners will have the same problem.
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