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Toyota Highlander Hybrid



  • I am an owner of a new 2007 Highlander Limited Hybrid, otherwise a technological wonder. I had a frustrating experience with the check engine yellow warning light that appeared on my dash. The owners' manual only said to take it to a dealer. A snow storm intervened, so it took two days to get to the dealer. They had to connect the engine to the diagnostic computer to interpret the error code. I decided to wait to see what the problem was, so after over an hour, a young woman announced that my car was ready. "What was wrong?", I said. She does not know and says I will have to talk to the service manager. So what was the big problem that gave me so much grief for two days? The gas cap was not tightened! (In Oregon we are not allowed to pump our own gas, so a gas station attendant left the gas cap loose!) The service manager explained to me that this was a federal government requirement to prevent gasoline vapors escaping into the air, adding to air pollution. He further explained that it takes the engine 12 to 14 hours to sense that the problem is corrected and to reset the warning light!

    My feature that I would like to see: Have the engine's computer interpret these engine error codes and write a human understandable interpretation on one of the two displays of the Highlander. It does this for other simple problems. Why not the engine errors? And make the reset time faster.
  • I wish I'd had that on my Mercedes ML when it happened to me. Dealer told me the same thing. So it goes...
  • The new Highlander will be shown at the Chicago Auto show on Feb 13, 2007 See press release at:
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    I heard exactly the same comments from one who also has seen the new model. Dramatic
  • Sorry if this is redundant, but can a HighToy Hybrid run when out of gas? In other words, what happens if I run out of gas? Does the battery allow me 3 miles to get to a station, or am I FORD? Thanks. :sick:
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    If it's like the Prius, then the computer will probably shut you down before you run out of gas, just so that you don't actually run out of gas. I've had it done to me twice in my Prius. It looks and feels like you've run out of gas but you're just limited to low power to get safe or make a U-turn and go back and get gas. I've driven about a mile in this low power situation. Filled up with 11.2 o/o 11.9 Gal and continued on my way.
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    Twice, we unintentionally ran our HH fuel-level down to where the warning light came on and I pumped in 15.5+ gallons of gas. If I remember correctly, the capacity is 17.1 gallons. That meant we were within 1.5 gallon of hitting empty. So you can run it pretty low but risky though.

    Even if the car lets us drive on battery power only, it depends on how much energy it has and how far and how fast it needs to go. The battery can deplete itself well before the car can reach a gas station.

    It is safest to just pump some gas.
  • I recently had to replace the touch screen on the nav system, after less than a year. The dealer said this is a pretty common problem. Should I worry about this after the warranty runs out?
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    I've never been a proponent of Extended Service Agreements. I think I've been proven correct through the 90's and early part of this decade.

    Now I'm not so certain. The powertrains are still good as gold well in excess of 100000 mi in just about every vehicle now. It's all the rest of the new electronic stuff that might go wrong that's a ticking bomb for all the vehicle makers. It used to be power window motors ( rarely a problem now ) or HVAC ( almost never a problem ) or.....

    But now it's the electronic controls of all of these mechanical items that might need replacement/repair. Your laptop or desktop cost what? $300? $800? $1400? There are about 10-20 of these in every vehicle these days.

    I just had a vehicle with an electronically controlled transmission that was balky and throwing an error code. The solution: replace two controllers ~ $4800 + labor. These were not part of the transmission they were controllers for it and only covered under the 3/36 Basic Warranty.... and I work at a Toyota store and sold it to myself!!! I traded it in on another vehicle.

    Moral: Get the Extended Service Contract which will cover everything for 100,000 mi and rest easy.
  • I'd like to make two of the suggestions a reality. Has anyone wired a switch into their car for control over the daytime running lights? I'd love to kill those sometimes.

    Has anyone hooked up a trailer hitch? Any suggestion on best price? (I want mine for a bike rack as well, therefore the cheaper/lighter the better)

  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    You can buy an OBD II Code reader for $149 on-line. This OBD II reader can be connected to all newer cars (post 1996??) to read the error code.

    Our SIenna had a check-engine light ON a while back too and error code matched that of gas cap problem. So I bought a $15 gas cap to replace the old gas cap and reset the light. The light never came on again. That saved us a day at the dealership and a minimum charge of $85.
  • Stupid question for a hybrid novice. What happens when it is 10 degrees outside and you start the car, and just are driving around town? Does the engine run for a bit to heat up the cabin?

    Related to this, what if its 98 degrees out and you are only driving around town. Does the electric power the AC well enough?
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    The ICE (gas) engine always comes on to heat up the catalytic converter and the engine oil upon start-up regardless of outside temperature. Normally, it runs for at least 30-seconds. At 10-F, it may run longer to reach normal operating temperature.

    If we use hot air for the cabin, the engine will run more often to heat the air for the cabin. Mileage will suffer a bit but it beats getting frost-bites. We have heated seats so we turn those on.

    When it is hot, the initial 30-sec burn is still the same. A/C gets the cabin cool relatively fast. We have driven in 110-F weather (southern CA desert) and the car was comfortably at 70-F.

    You should be comfortable in this car.
  • There is an easier method to get a HH running if the 12 V battery is dead - easier than what is listed in the HH manuals.

    Using a 12 V battery, like in one of those "auto jump starter" devices sold at auto stores and other stores, I unintentionally proved that a HH can quickly be started with just a small amount of 12 V DC electricity at - 10F (Minnesota, 2/5/2007).
    My "jump starter" device has a small 8 Amp hour lead acid gel battery.

    I can easily pick and hold this small battery in one hand. It weighs less than 10 pounds.
    1. Attach small battery to the battery under the hood.
    2. Put in key, this is now 12 V to the HH hybrid ECU (computer).
    3. Start and go (no waiting); no jump starting with another car and no jump starter cables.

    Plugging this "jump starter" into the cigarette adapter in the HH may work.

    1. This small battery supplies 12 V DC to the Hybrid ECU.
    2. Turn key; hybrid ECU turns on the converter (288 V DC to 650 V AC inverter AND the 288 V DC to 12 V DC converter)
    3. Start HH and go, using the 288 V HH battery.

    So I found a way to what I listed at
    #3394 of 3401 Jump starting a HH, just wonderful by sebemismnusa Jan 11, 2007 (3:12 pm)

    Keywords: jumpstart dead battery
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Be aware that Ford was just awarded a patent concerning two techniques apparently developed for use on their Escape and mariner hybrid FWD (of necessity) SUVs.

    The first technique involves dramatically reducing the level of regenerative braking as the OAT declines toward freezing and below. The second technique involves disabling regenerative braking entirely the instant ABS activates.

    In freezing climates the potential for encountering a slippery roadbed increases and the first technique will help to alleviate the number of accidents from loss of control due to inadvertently braking (like engine braking for non-hybrids) of the front wheels in those climates.

    Obviously with ABS activation there is the potential for regenerative braking (or engine braking for non-hybrids) to interfere and not allow the wheels to rotate even with no braking.

    Soon coming, undoubtedly, to a hybrid Toyota near you.
  • nsxwesnsxwes Posts: 84
    Check this out. Looks like Toyota has been listening. It looks really good.

  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,719
    "Obviously with ABS activation there is the potential for regenerative braking (or engine braking for non-hybrids) to interfere and not allow the wheels to rotate even with no braking."

    I can't speak to Ford, but the problem with the Prius (with a similar hybrid system) was that the CPU was not allowing the wheels to spin. I don't know if it was the central computer or the traction control that was to blame, but they were trying to keep the electric motors from over heating.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,719
    If it doesn't offer an I4 with the hybrid, they are still on the wrong track. With the electric motors, it doesn't need the V6.

    At 500 extra lbs, unless they up the electric HP, that thing is going to get worse (real world) MPG than the current model.
  • nsxwesnsxwes Posts: 84
    I agree that a I4 would be a nice option. An I4 plug-in hybrid option even better. But, I personally enjoy the performance aspect of the HH and the increased power, larger size, better options and what appears to be pretty impressive styling looks good to me too :-). I suspect that sales will be quite good. Wes
  • Can you please tell me where you bought that jump starter and who manufactures it. I,ve looked in a few stores and I can,t seem to find it! Thank You Frank M.
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