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Toyota Highlander Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning

i have a 2005 Toyota Highlander with approx. 12,000 miles on it and the air conditioning works intermittantly. Since the problem is not all the time i'm afraid i'm going to spend make many many trips to the dealer trying to get them to find the problem. Has anyone else had this problem with the A/C working now and then??
Thanks for your replys


  • Hi,

    I have a 2003 v6 Highlander 4WD. It has the manual 3 knob controls for the heater. I am looking to switch it to an Automatic Climate control. Can this be possible? If so what do I need to get this done? Someone told me that the wiring is different.
  • Hi Slimes,

    Was checking the forum and noticed your question. I know it was Dec 31 when you posted, but have you done anything with this. I too, was considering changing to Automatic Climate Control in my 01 Highlander. Were you able to accomplish this or is the wiring indeed different? I already have a replacement panel. Thanks,

  • kenlwkenlw Posts: 190
    can you describe the symptoms a bit more; like when it isn't working, what is it doing, blowing warm air? Does the fan remain on? Does the compressor stay on? etc
  • Yes the fan stays on and the temperature control works. I get the cool air or warm depending on where the control knob is. When i push the AC button it doesn't light up and there definitely is no cold air coming out. Just air----
    I'm wondering if when the radio/CD had to be replaced if they messed up something then and it has just now shown up. The whole radio system died last month and had to be replaced :)
  • kenlwkenlw Posts: 190
    I think the system may just be low on freon. You can have it checked, but since freon doesn't disappear on it's own it usually indicates a leak somewhere; which depending on where that leak is can be expensive.
  • I took the car to the dealer today and they said they readjusted the control knob. Sounds like of "iffy" to me but the AC does work now so we'll see. If it goes off again it'll go back right away. My warranty expires in December so i want this stuff fixed before that.
    Thank you for your reply and help :)
  • I have 2002 Highlander. Had my evaporator replaced today. When they put the dash back together, the compressor will only come on when control is on Defrost. Any ideas?
    Thanks, Gary
  • I'd like to also convert my '05 Highlander from manual to automatic climate control. I pulled the controls out last night and was able to match the main plug with a photo from an automatic climate control from an '04 Highlander. However I do not see a plug for the fan switch control, and I'm afraid there might be some electronics involved here. I bought it anyway, and am going to try. I may have to get the wiring diagram book ($$$) but it's a start... I'll post back if I have any success.
  • phrosutphrosut Posts: 122
    I already have the auto climate control but I wanted to mention that the complete service manuals on CD I found on eBay for ~10 or 15 bucks if I remember right (I bought them when I bought our '03 HL in 10/02).

  • I have a Toyota Highlander that doesn't provide heat for the cabin. The engine temp gauge is normal, but I'm getting cold ambient air from the vents. I have been using the A/C lately but tried heat today due to a cold snap. Is there some system that bypasses hot water from the cabin? My wife was driving and she heard a "pop" and remarked that the car never warmed up, I drove it this morning and there was no heat in the cabin. The coolant level is normal. The thermostat must be working or the car would overheat if stuck closed, or over cool if stuck open.
  • I have a similar problem. I have electronic climate control and I only get hot air if my controls are above 77 degrees or so. Any idea what the problem is? I hate to go to the stealership. Help!!
  • 2001 Toyota Highlander - instrument panel lights for clock, AC, air intake won't light up. When heater-defogger is turned on, hot air blows out air conditioning vents, but no warm air comes out windshield vents. Makes for very dangerous driving conditions in cold, wet weather. Help!
  • I have an 05 highlander that I bought new and I am having that trouble right now, however mine has now stopped working on the heat side. Guess what, it's the control panel and it is going to cost $740.00 for the part alone. Go get yours fixed right now if it is under warranty.

    I am trading mine in asap for something else. With the other problems that I have had, I will not be getting another Toyota. :mad:
  • cpipercpiper Posts: 1
    The other day, the A/C started blowing hot air and the A/C wouldn't work. Another $600 bill I thought... A friend recommended a small garage so I took it there. The mechanic checked the temp. of the A/C pipe in the engine compartment and found it was cold. He pulled off the large dial..the one going from hot to cold... and found that the switch behind it was loose and on hot air. He tightened it up and the A/C engaged.
    Cost:0$ but a $20 tip!
  • webgoodwebgood Posts: 95
    This appears to be a major source of complaints, particularly as the HL's get older, and has been addressed in other posts, but maybe not so clearly. The temperature control knob in the center begins to feel a little "wobbly". It should be nice and firm when turned and you should slightly feel position indents or stops as it's turned. Pull straight-out on the knob, it comes right off, and tighten the retaining nut on the control post, push the knob back on. Same for the airflow direction knob to the right.
  • I have an '04 Highlander. I will get heat intermittently, even though the engine is hot and the temperature knob turned fully to the right. Turning the knob to cold and then back to hot usually works, but often it takes 2 or 3 times. Sometimes heat is coming out, and then is just goes cold. The knob isn't wobbly. Any ideas?
  • webgoodwebgood Posts: 95
    Sorry kleutster, I don't know enough about the inner workings to venture an intelligent guess. But, just for the heck of it try checking the temp-control assembly...grab the knob with all your finger tips and pull straight out. It comes right off and will slip right back on. Check the assemble to see if it's locked-down in place with the nut. Beyond that, off to the Toyota or import car specialist. Regards, BGood :confuse:
  • ladyk1ladyk1 Posts: 1
    I fixed my Highlander's temperature control problem, thanks to looking it up and finding out about the wires that broke. Long story short, I called Toyota to see if there were a lot of complaints about this being reported. There are web sites everywhere that address this particular problem, yet Toyota doesn't acknowledge a problem. I would like to suggest that everyone who has had, or is having this problem, to please call and report it. The number is 1-800-331-4331. Perhaps they will design it better next time, or maybe even recall it (but I doubt it). Anyway, I saved about $800-$900 by fixing it myself, rather than take it to Toyota. Thank you to all who posted info about this problem.
  • Hey Webgood,
    After posting my problem (#19), decided to check if the nut on the heater knob post had come loose. Sure enough, it was loose enough to cause the irregular heating issue. Amazing. I'm so glad I found this forum and your posting. It saved me hundreds of dollars, I'm sure. Thanks again.
    To everyone else, it's an easy thing to check and rule out.
    As Webgood said, the heater knob should be nice and firm when turned and you should slightly feel position indents or stops as it turns. Mine didn't until I tightened up the nut.
    Pull the heater knob straight off and feel if the nut is loose.
    Keep spreading the word. :)
  • webgoodwebgood Posts: 95
    Hey kleutster, that's great! I can't take credit for it...wise and experienced people discovered it and posted here on Edmunds some time ago; I just passed it on. Thanks to Edmunds and the moderators for hosting such a great and resourceful forum!!
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