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Toyota Hybrid Highlander Interior & Passenger Comfort Concerns

montlakedawgmontlakedawg Posts: 6
edited March 14 in Toyota
I have a brand new (1 week old) 2007 Highlander Hybrid Ltd. It came with "heated" seats, although heated is a misnomer. They simply do not come on until at least a half hour passes and then they are only on for about 3 minutes. My commute is 15 minutes so they are essentially worthless. Our other vehicles with heated seats, all BMW's, work great - the seat is hot within about 1 minute of driving. The dealer says our seats work fine, although their gauge indicates the seat only gets to be about 77 degrees, which is barely even noticable to my bare hand (the pre-heat temp was 68 degrees). Anyone else have problems with their heated seats?
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Comments

  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    We had the same impression the first time we used our heated seat. It seemed too weak and took forever to heat up. We never had it checked. Then one cold winter morning, we turned it on again and it seemed to heat up a bit faster and so we have been using it since.

    It does not seem to heat the entire seat cushion nor the whole seat-back. On cold mornings, <=30-F, I can barely feel it on my bottoms and only feel it around the center to mid back, nothing around the sides or shoulder blades.

    We found that if we wear no more than a shirt and a sweater, the heat comes through the clothings OK and does heat us well enough. If we put on a jacket, then we can barely feel any heat at all.
  • I have a 06 HH Limited, bought in Sept. 06. No problems, and I wear a long top coat in winters. It warms so well, and quickly, I seldom even turn on the heater for my morning commuet (15-20 minutes).
  • Thanks for the quick reply desertfox1. Sounds like cdptrap and I should ask for your seats! It also sounds like we have similar commute times - you said they warm up quickly, can you estimate how quickly (1 minute, 2, more?) so I can tell my dealer? Also, if you by chance bring your HH ltd in to the dealer anytime soon, I'd love it if you could ask them to measure with their "laser thermometer" (my dealership in Seattle says just about everyone has one of these) how hot the seats get. I have a feeling this is going to be an ongoing issue for me and my cold butt . . . Thanks!
  • nsxwesnsxwes Posts: 84
    My heated seats work very well and warm up within a minute or two, but then again, I am in Northern California and a really cold morning is in the high 20s or low 30s. What I can't believe that in a $42K vehicle, it only has one temp setting. My daughter has a VW Jetta and you can choose one of five temp settings. The loaner BMW X3 that I drove last week had three settings. Those seats were warm within about 30 seconds.

    Wes
  • I will try to remember to have the seats checked. I would say within 2 minutes they are warm for me. Wouldn't just an electronic thermometer also work if you laid it on the seat and timed it will the temp goes up?
    FYI - It is 18 degrees (high) today here. I am now using the heater also.
  • After 60,000 + miles, my drivers seat heat has become inop. only staying on for a few minutes before shutting off on it's own. Is there a circuit breaker for this or is it on a thermostat. Thanks
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,860
    The place you want to post this question would be over in the Chevy Silverado & GMC Sierra Group

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  • I'll see what kind of thermometers we have and video tape the results so I can show the dealership. NSXWES's reference to the X3 is amusing since that's our other car. Those seats, like my 3 series coupe I traded in, heat up in about 3 blocks, and stay on all the way to work. My butt sure misses my old car.
  • HHLtd06 - my heated driver seat usually takes no more than about 1 - 2 minutes to come on... does it make a difference if you have teh button on already or when you manually activate the seat heat?

    the regular heating system is somewhat worse... usually I turn the fan on myself to get it going as the auto seldom starts up in the first 4 minutes, even though the outside temp is reading -17!

    buddy of mine has a Mazda 6 whose seats start warming up as soon as the button is pressed...
  • Yeah, I tried both starting it with the button off and on, but the results are the same. I eventually can feel a little bit of heat, but that lasts for maybe 10 seconds. If I drive long enough, the heat will come on in full force for about 20 seconds and then is completely off for maybe another 5-10 minutes, then on for 20 seconds, then off, etc. Makes for a fun dialogue with my wife on longer drives as we'll both give each other updates on when we suddenly will feel heat in our respective seats: "WIFE: Hey, I've got heat. Darn, now its gone.; ME: I've got nothing."

    I'm with you on the regular heating system - even though the auto was on and working when I turn off the car, the next morning, I have to change the "mode" for it to come back on. I'm just thankful it barely gets freezing up here in Seattle. Negative 17 sounds horrible.

    BTW - to top it off, my gas mileage is no better than what I get when I drive my wife's X3. The dealership service department told me that I don't have a long enough commute for the hybrid system to work, WHAT???? So our X3 gets 15 MPG on my 4 mile commute (about 10-15) minutes, and is rated at 17 MPG city. The hybrid gets 15 MPG or worse for the same route and is rated 31 MPG city??? I would be happy with something in the mid-20's, but I'm certainly not a happy hybrid owner at this point.
  • Yeah, I tried both starting it with the button off and on, but the results are the same. I eventually can feel a little bit of heat, but that lasts for maybe 10 seconds. If I drive long enough, the heat will come on in full force for about 20 seconds and then is completely off for maybe another 5-10 minutes, then on for 20 seconds, then off, etc. Makes for a fun dialogue with my wife on longer drives as we'll both give each other updates on when we suddenly will feel heat in our respective seats: "WIFE: Hey, I've got heat. Darn, now its gone.; ME: I've got nothing."

    I'm with you on the regular heating system - even though the auto was on and working when I turn off the car, the next morning, I have to change the "mode" for it to come back on. I'm just thankful it barely gets freezing up here in Seattle. Negative 17 sounds horrible.

    BTW - to top it off, my gas mileage is no better than what I get when I drive my wife's X3. The dealership service department told me that I don't have a long enough commute for the hybrid system to work, WHAT???? So our X3 gets 15 MPG on my 4 mile commute (about 10-15) minutes, and is rated at 17 MPG city. The hybrid gets 15 MPG or worse for the same route and is rated 31 MPG city??? I would be happy with something in the mid-20's, but I'm certainly not a happy hybrid owner at this point.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Ford was recently granted a US patent seemingly oriented toward their hybrid Escape and Mariner. The first idea was to dramatically reduce the level of regenerative braking when the climate was nearing or below freezing. The second was to disable ALL regenerative braking the instant the anti-lock system activated.

    Regenerative braking CAN result in the anti-lock system becoming inoperative on a extremely slippery roadbed surface, just as would/might actual engine braking result in an unsafe situation on a FWD vehicle. And, obviously, as the OAT declines the potential for loss of directional control due to POWERFUL regenerative braking at the front on an icy roadbed increases dramatically.

    Suppose Toyota and Lexus have recently licensed and adopted these same procedures?

    In the wintertime the engine already needs to run more often to keep you WARM and the catalyst HOT. With the adoption of the patent techniques the engine would need to run even more often, or at higher power levels, to keep the hybrid battery recharged.

    I could see that reducing the level and duration of seat heating might be a good move considering these circumstances. Are even like operating two A/Cs with a too small genset in a MH, lock one out while the other runs (heats).

    Cloth seats, here we come...!
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,784
    "I'm with you on the regular heating system - even though the auto was on and working when I turn off the car, the next morning, I have to change the "mode" for it to come back on."

    Are you sure it isn't a "feature"? My Ford Freestyle auto climate control keeps the fans off in cold weather, until the engine heats up, at which time the fans come on to blow (warm) air. I can over ride the fans if desired, but I personally don't like cold air unless it's hot outside and I need A/C! ;)
  • Did you find a solution to this problem? I have the same problem with my 2 week old 2007 HiHy. I took it in and they said that they heat up. On my and my husband's insistance, they measured it a 86.2 degrees...I'm not noticing it either. What is it SUPPOSED to be?

    Dealership (Michael's in Bellevue, WA--we bought from Burien, but Michael's is closer to us) said nothing is wrong. I can't believe it.

    :cry:
  • susannahmpsusannahmp Posts: 6
    So a couple of months later, I am still working with the dealership on this problem. After Michael's dismissed me, I called Toyota Corporate and then the dealership where I bought my car...Burien Toyota. It's about a 40 minute drive from my house, but they agreed to make an exception and pick up my car and drop off a rental.

    Today is the fifth time in (maybe fourth...who knows by now..).

    They tweaked the computer and the amount the seats cycled and it worked for about 1/2 a day. They then got in a Toyota rep who said, yeah, the seats aren't working. They replaced the seat covers and elements and the drivers side bottom started to work well, but the backs did not heat up and the passenger side didn't work at all.

    Yesterday, they took the car again since the Toyota Engineer was coming in and after a day of working on it, he found that 2 pins in the junction box were not connected.

    SOOOOOO, they SAY they work and they test well, but we shall see (I should get car back today.

    This has taken farrr too long. If you think the seats aren't heating up enough, they aren't. They should be mighty toasty.

    :mad:
  • I haven't checked in in a while so I'm glad to read that I'm not the only one having this problem. Toyota of Seattle said that my heated seats range from 84 degrees to 104 degrees and that it cycles between those temps. Considering the human body is at 98.4 degrees, basically, I won't feel the heat every time it cycles below my body temperature, which is almost all of the time. They don't seem to have a solution. Please let me know if Michael's Toyota in Bellevue was finally able to fix it and I will take it there! Thanks so much - even though it is finally summer, I still want these darn seats to work.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Your body's "core" temperature is supposed to be 98.6F. Your body's surface, skin, temperature is typically a lot lower.

    You are driving a hybrid, you know....
  • I wonder if that's where I am now. They said it was two pins that weren't connected and now the heat is worse than it was before.

    Keep pushing back. Toyota Corporate is involved in mine. If more people complain, they'll have to do something about it.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,860
    I'm going ro rename this discussion to make it our home for interior issues for the Highlander hybrid.

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  • Sorry to bother you folks:
    From Calgary, Alberta Canada:

    Have 06 Highlander, with same heated seats activation problems as described here. (very long, sometimes never to activate, just barely starts to activate, then cuts out and cycle repeats) Nothing like any heated seats I have ever seen (including previous SIenna)

    Has anyone found a resolution to this? Would your dealer (who solved it) help by passing to our dealer?
    We are being bounced back and forth from Dealer to Toyota Canada who assert this is "normal"!
    Since delivery (now over 1 year) have had over 35 contacts with Dealers/Toyota Canda. (This is ridiculous!)
  • It's frustrating isn't it!?!

    I've come to terms that this is just a poor design. This time of year, I keep them on all the time and every 20 minutes or so--if my trip is that long--I get some toasty seats.

    Luckily, I live in the relatively mild Puget Sound Area. I feel for you in Calgary!

    Toyota Corporate was MISERABLE with this case and finally just dropped it. I don't know if its an open or closed case. This summer they never called me back (didn't need the seats this summer).

    The guy at my new dealership said that they do suck and this is just how they work. Terrible, I know. But, since I don't expect them to work, when they come on, it's a nice surprise.

    Isn't that terrible?
  • Frustrating - no kidding!

    Really appreciate your response post, sincerely.

    While I would agree its a poor design (or poor choice of parts, some heating pads are identical to that [useless], There appear to be owners of Highlanders whose seats work as you would expect. (and our Sienna they were fine).

    I'm not sure I am prepared to leave this as is.
    I am absolutley shocked at Toyota corp. terrible response.

    If by some miracle you find out something, please post it.
    I certainly will.

    can anyone out there reading this pass along a solution?
    Are you reading this: someone at Toyota Corp?

    Thanks again to susannamp
  • Well, post here if you ever resolve it--I'll follow up!
    It just caused me SOOO much stress for months, I wasn't able to enjoy my new totally cool hybrid SUV!
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    You don't suppose they went to a lower wattage seat heater, along with LED bulbs and HID headlights, in order to conserve hybrid FUEL...

    And they may have licensed Ford's patented technique that results in less regenerative braking capability duirng the winter months, as a SAFETY matter, thereby requiring them to make extra/additional fuel conservation measures.

    Now I understand why our Prius has cloth seats.
  • Just bought a 07 HH, does anyone know if there are inserts available for the ashtray to convert it to a coin holder?

    Thanks in advance.
  • monte8monte8 Posts: 75
    Ashtray?

    What ashtray?
  • Any issues or recommendation on resolution on having the windows down & severe reverberation while driving above 35 mph ?
  • I've had this happen on most cars.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,860
    Most every car seems to do this now. The last one of mine that I can recall not doing it was my 1966 Chrysler Newport.

    Perhaps it's because that car wasn't as aerodynamic as newer cars and the airflow across the rear windows not as smooth.

    The entire effect is much like blowing across the top of a sode bottle and creating a tone. only in this case teh "bottle" is the interior of the car and the opening is the window. The frequency of the vibration is so low you feel it more than hear it.

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  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "Most every car seems to do this now....."

    How so very correct....

    Manufacturers have been addressing the issue of ventilation loss for about 15 years now. The idea is that once the cabin air is "conditioned" don't let it flow "out". Bottom line is most new cars are so well insulated and sealed that the only air outflow path is the smallish exhauster port provided, usually in the bottom of one of the rear quarter panels.
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