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Toyota Highlander Hybrid - Hybrid System Problems



  • Phoenix AZ I was so happy with my HH that my friends bought one and my sister bought the new Rav 4. I have a 2006 HH and bought extended warranties because I have learned not to trust any car. On Friday my biggest fear happened. I work at another hospital 61 miles from my home. I have 1 1/2 hour drive in traffic. I try to get out of the traffic by leaving early. I made it to the I-10, 51, 202 and McDowell intersection and the Air Port exit and went to the middle lane in very High Density traffic with large trucks, trucks with trailors, and drivers who are doing 60 to 70 miles an hour. I pulled the the middle and the car just died. I had no power and was stuck in the middle. The dash lite up with all alerts and the message was CVA service. I tried to put the car in park and in neutral to start it. Nothing. I turned on the flashers, called 911 and the Department of public safety was alerted then I braced for impact with my cell phone in hand. I called my Toyota Service and asked a service person what to do and he said "What do you want me to do" I said I am going to get killed here I need to know how to start the car. He said the alert was a traction alert and he could not help.
    The DPS officers three of them with two miles of back up, blocked traffic and one pushed me out of the way to the side. I called AAA for towing. I waited for over an hour was almost hit by three cars on the side of the road.
    I have an extended warranty, the car has 113,500 miles on it. I have taken the car to the dealer for all service and new tires and any work. The dealer has been calling to get me to trade the car in and get a new one.
    The regular battery was changed in May 2010 just wanted to change it.
    I have been told it was a faulty battery and it would be replaced and when it was replaced the car still didn't start. The dealer waited to 4:30 to tell me " I have bad news it is the inverter that went out". My extended Warranty refused to pay. I was told there is no one else who can fix this, and the cost was $7900.
    They are going to talk to the Owner of the dealership on Monday.
    I am so satisfied to have found this website and read the stories. This car is a danger on the road, I have already seen my friends and told them what happened that drive the HH. I have taken all weekend thinking about how I could have caused a major wreck and someone could have died and the delay to get help and sitting there with all the cars and tractor trailors buzzing, and diving around me. I work in an emergency room and I thought I would be a patient in my own hospital trauma center.
    These cars need to be recalled. This is so dangerous. I will talk to the manager today. They made me wait all weekend and think this out. I do not want this car back on the road fixed so it can happen again. I am afraid of Toyota hybrids on the road now. I have to say how I would like to put a sign on the car and park it in a public place explaining what happened until the safety issue is bought to the public. I am so lucky to be able to write this experience. I will contact the NHSTA this morning 888-327-4236, and could be calling a lawyer, the news paper and local advocates. I was truely looking in the rear view mirror thinking, this could be my last day.
  • myrafmyraf Posts: 32
    Dear John, there are a lot of people with our, problem search hybrid problems and you will find honda's hybrid and other first generation hybrids are having problems' ,we first generation hybrid owners are the pigs for the industry,the sacrificed lambs,my personal e mail is myra , my mobile # is 9519739167 i have free mobile to mobile and i would like to talk to you further ,we need to band together and make federal state and local officials aware of this problem,we need to contact everyone on the internet who are having hybrid problems.,there is an auto safety hotline,search it,and we need to get in touch with consumer reports magazine and make formal complaints to all these agency. also have the name of the president and ceo of toyota motors of u.s.a. and there address,they are here in torrance calif,which is near long beach calif ,there executive offices are off the 5 fwy in southern california,please let's be in touch I'm talking to people in new jersey and new york who are talking class action,i also have the lawyer's name that sued toyota in a class action because of acceleration problems that killed a family of 8 in san diego that brought toyota to it's knees,also won a class action against a major tire mfg ,he is in newport bch also so calif, his name is mark p robinson jr,read about him on the internet,i have the names and tel# and emails of others,lets all get together before one of us gets killed.I also would like to sue toyota for deceptive sales practices,not fully informing the consumer know of existing hybrid problems and the costly repairs involve (into the the thorsands and in some cases ten's of thousands of dollars after warranty's expire.Just got back from the highway dept and the officer recommended that i report my problem to the bureau of automobile repairs,it's called B.A.R. here in the state of calif,maybe your state has one,also the state consumer affairs dept,better business dept and the attorney general's office in your state.Good luck and please call me.I think the least touota can do is give us fair market fallur
  • myrafmyraf Posts: 32
    in there is an article about the voltage distortion can cause problems in all electrical equipment in hybrids,i was never this when i bought my vehicle,were you misleading and deceptive sales practices, advertising is misleading,read all about,there are more surfacing,
  • myrafmyraf Posts: 32
  • After a week the service person called and told me that the situation was under review. I called may mechanic who have their own shop and Toyota parts told them the cost for an inverter is $500 and the Power Converter is $4800 with a new battery. The big battery. The next day since I did not call them I had another call and they was offered for them to fix the inverter for $7200 if I would pay for the Labor $720. I still don't know what the out come is going to be and what the warranty will say. I want to see what happens. I think the Nissan recall of 2.1 million late models that stall and die while driving and cannot be restarted could be a sign that Toyota is next to recall. The BMW fuel pump causing stalling and loss of power was quick on their recall.
    That may help to get something done. From what I understand on the Nissan recall it is cars 2004, 2005, and 2006. I am wondering if there is any connection to the parts manufacturer and suppliers of the electronics.
    I have reported my experience to the Attorney General office, The Federal Agencies, and Toyota.
    I am still having anxiety when I drive through the area where the car stalled. I am writing a thank you letter to the Department of Public Safety and The Traffic reporter Detour Dan in Phoenix. He Saves Lives. I will respond and continue the fight but I want complete the process. My friends and family come first and our road ways need to be as safe a they can be with all the budget cuts and highways not being maintained and so many people driving old unmaintained cars it is not safe really. People drive so fast and out of control. I am so lucky I did not have a accident and get hit. I really don't know how I was missed.
  • I'm sure you read my story. I eventually reached a settlement with my purchasing dealer to replace the inverter (with the new part!) for $1200, but not until threatening (and preparing to) to picket the dealership. I also kept calling the Toyota regional rep until they finally took my call. They threatened to take back their original contribution of $2000 (out of $9000) if I continued to act in "bad faith" by insisting on statistics concerning Highlander '06 inverter failures. The would say nothing other than, "we have no knowledge of a problem with that vehicle". I think the dual pressure of pitting the dealership against Toyota helped in my situation.

    Everyone needs to return the paper work sent out by the feds after filing your complaint. The process of pressure is slow and I feel bad for those owners who are still stuck or even those who have moved on without resolution. However, I think it is only a matter of time before Toyota will answer for this. The service bulletin alone points an ugly finger to one batch of cars, but how many? Toyota is willing to roll the dice with the lives of their customers.

    I think it might be time for a newspaper ad. Start small and local, but send links to bigger news outlets.

    Stay tuned Toyota.
  • myrafmyraf Posts: 32
    i'm with you ,i think we should look to run a newspaper ad in the wall st journal or new york times,,lets get in ,what newspaper and reporters exposed watergate we can call this toyotagate ,hey i like that,we need to expose the dangers involved with these hybrids,even if toyota fixed my problem i 'am scared to death to drive one of these hybrids because of my near death experience,someone has to get kill in order for the fed's to do something ,there is a federal motor vehicle safety standards-code of federal regulations auto safety hotline,it is the office of defects investigation within the nhtsn(odi) ,we need to fine someone in the media,i keep asking everyone i know,let's all keep in touch at least once a week and up date each other regards myra
  • I was called by a different service rep to tell me the car was ready. I had the flash back of all the cars flashing by me in the car. I went and secured new financing to go and get a new car just in case the dealer and Toyota said no. I talked to many friends who said "the car had not been a lemon so if they fix it why not drive it". Last night I saw myself behind the wheel and my family and the cars flashing by and I have never had anxiety but the incident really affected my thought of what the experience was like to have your car stop in a busy highway and being helpless. You react but any minute a huge truck with pipes on it could have hit me and rolled over into many cars. I saw the cars flash by as I was calling 911,
    Even my wife changed her mind to the thought of buying a new car and she had said MY and the family safety comes first no matter what the cost. Then when she talks to her co workers and discuss what happened and the willingness of the dealership to fix the car and financial issues she now has started to say " if they warranty for one year and they will fix it and the car is not a lemon, to by a new car would only give us a warranty for 36,000 miles or 3 years or a purchase of a extended warranty and increase car insurance she says now we should keep the car and drive it". This is about safety and the ads that Toyota spends $1 million an hour on safety. So what are they finding out for their investment.
    I will get my car and I am taking it to a mechanic I know and trust. I am lucky to have someone I can trust. He can also be helpful to answer questions. He is able to work on Toyota cars and when he called about parts he was given a different price for this repair. Who is telling the truth. What is the cost, why is it so different for $7900 to as much as $14000. I have not been asked not to go public and if they do I am going to my lawyer and the news paper. There or so many issues and the bottom line is Safety. I could have killed other people and affected so many lives and my own. I made the drive again this Friday one week after the incident and when I was coming home there were 18 car accidents on the Phoenix Highways and I drove my rental a Nissan Altima Hybrid and was very scared all the way home in heavy Friday night traffic. I will keep posting my experience and next steps
  • myrafmyraf Posts: 32
    h joihn,i know what you are going threw,i have the same fears,i'm scared to death of these vehicles.Are you fixing the car,the dealer told me my car was only worth 9,000 if it was running as a trade-in so why shouldi fix it for14,000 dollars ,when i bought it new for 49,000 with up grades,it doesn't math out,throwing good money after bad,i won't ever feel safe in a hybrid again,my life is worth more than 14,000 dollars.I'am in the processof writing the president and ceo of toyota motor corp here in southern california,if you and i and others would like to set up a meeting please contact me,maybe we can all see him at the same time with our concerns,the executive officers are here in torrance calif,contact me if interested myra
  • myrafmyraf Posts: 32
    i don't listen to others when it comes to my and my family's safety,these vehicles may not be lemons but there is a bunch of us that got defective hybrid components.and also we were never told at least i was never told of the un-godly expense involved in repairing these vehicles,there should have been a disclosure some where in the paper work ,deceptive sales practices indeed,car salesmen are one step above a snake.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "i was wondering if the hybrid system can be disconnected and just have the car run on the gasoline engine onyl,anyone out there know something about disconnecting the hybrid electrical system and convert the car to total gasoline "

    The Toyota HSD requires the battery and hybrid system be operational or the vehicle won't move. There is no "gas only" mode.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Plus you would not have a "no move" option other than shifting into neutral or "holding" the brakes.

    Minor issue, that.
  • Hi All
    Came across your site as the same thing happened to me last week! I was driving
    to get on a busy three lane bridge in downtown Cleveland. My 06 HH just died as I was entering the ramp for the bridge. Needless to say it was pretty horrible. It was 745am with very busy traffic and I was stuck on a far left hand lane with the same thing coming up on my dash. Check Hybrid System. After a tow to the dealership, I found my bill to be 7500.00. Unfortunately, I had 102,000 miles on my car! Of course the warranty expires at 100,000. After contacting the Customer Service for Toyota, which was completely worthless with a rude customer service rep who questioned my loyalty ? if you can believe that, my dealer negotiated 3500 on his part and I am paying tomorrow, 3700! They acted like they were doing me such a favor! I still owe 14,000.00 on the car!
    I wanted to make sure that my incident was on record here so that any new customers may be deterred from purchasing also.

    I would be more than happy to join in a group complaint to Toyota!
  • It has been two weeks since I wrote what the out come was. I went and to my credit union and paid the car off which was hard to do and took a big chunk out of the safety fund. The dealership paid for the inverter $7000 and half of the labor $900 . They replaced the new battery purchases in May for free because it had been affected in the incident. The dealership gave a yellow service and one year warranty and unlimited miles. I understand how anxiety and Post Trauma Syndrome works and as I drove it to work and passed the spot where I was stuck, I could not believe someone didn't get hurt or all those cars and trucks missed me. The car is driving like new. The gas millage is back up. The Supervisor handled the final sign off, and he said since they did this repair it was done because I was such a good Toyota customer. This is about safety. I have received a letter from the AG office and they are looking into the incident. I really have been stressed and worried about the car and it is easy to say they did me right. Did they? So they have not tried to tell me not to comment or have a gag clause. This is a serious problem. Bottom line all dealerships and all customers need to be treated the same when the car almost kills you. I will continue to share what the next action will be. I read these experiences and I know why we bought this car and my friend who are enviormentally concerned and we paid the extra to break start breaking away from cars the affect the enviorment Honda, and Toyota Prius and Camry's and Highlanders. The word must get out and the Truth needs to be known.
  • myrafmyraf Posts: 32
    The are many of us that are experencing the same problems with our hybrids,we are getting in touch with our state consumer affairs ,or state and federal representives,and i also have the name and address of toyota of america president and ceo,i,m in the process of writing him a letter and may seek legal representation,there may be a class action here,i paid 49,000 for my toy hh 4 years ago and it only has 108,000 miles and needs 14,000 dollars worth of work,this is outragious,not to mention i almost got killed,,here is my telephone #call me or i will call you 951 973 9167 ,i get free moble to mobile and nights and weekends,spread the word about these hybrids they are death traps
  • irina2irina2 Posts: 23
    edited November 2010
    Just read your message from June 2010. Same problem with us. 2006 Highlander Hybrid died due to invertor failure. Now Toyota wants $9300 to fix. Is anyone keeping track of how many of us are out there--2006 Toyota Highlander inverter failures, after warranty runs out? Maybe Toyota will listen if there's enough of us and compensate us for the costly repair...especially now that we know about the production break down in VIN numbers. I have a complaint in to NTHSA also and waiting to hear back from their office which is deciding whether to launch a safety invetigation. I now know this forum prohibits organizing folks for a legal action, but is it also prohibited to organize people to go to the media? If not, I would love to have people respond back to me who would like to give me their contact info so we can have a group of 'real people' to contact the media.
  • irina2irina2 Posts: 23
    I'm in the same boat as you...inverter failure at over 100,000 miles in 2006 HiHy. I see that some folks on this forum have been able to 'sway' Toyota to pay for the repair at the regional level...yet I can't seem to get anywhere. I, too, am in So Cal. Do you think maybe you can email me and we can discuss how to approach the So Cal regional reps and get what the others seem to be getting?

  • Hi Irina – I just sent you an email and copied the other owners who've reached out with the same issue. Our inverter issue happened in September. The car sat at Toyota for almost a month and my husband finally got in touch with the Dealer owner who then escalated up through Toyota. We negotiated to only pay for the cost of labor, which was $990 and then Toyota agreed to give the dealership the part as “good will”. I believe we only got a 1 year warranty on parts/labor. Our car had 115,000 miles when it happened. My husband left a voicemail for the dealer and said he wanted to get the regional reps name, phone, address, his supervisor and so on, all the way up the chain, so that he could tell our attorney where to send legal correspondence. I think that’s what finally got their attention because the next day we had resolution. It was frustrating and the worst part is that I didn’t feel safe driving it after that.

    If you haven’t already done so make sure you call the the Customer Experience Center @1-800-331-4331 to start a case. I think this helped everyone track the issue once the dealer got involved. Also, please file a report with national highway traffic safety administration (tel # 888-327-4236). I filed the report in September and just yesterday received a letter confirming my incident.

    I’m happy to report that we just traded our Highlander in this weekend for a new Cadillac SRX crossover, which was only a few thousand dollars more than what we originally bought the Toyota for 5 years ago, and I couldn’t be happier! Good luck with the situation and keep us posted. We need to ban together though to make something happen!
  • irina2irina2 Posts: 23
    same story with us. inverter failure almost killed my husband when his car stalled on a busy LA freeway. difference is the CA toyota corporate doesn't seem to care and is sticking us with the bill of $6700 (after giving us the generous $2500 towards our repair). I'm planning to contact Myra...hopefully she can help me. Can you please email me back at my direct email: Perhaps you can give me your phone number and I can call you to talk about a few things...and some advice.
  • I see all these messages and the danger out there and the safety. I am still driving my care because it is fixed. Could it happen again? I think so. Yes I would love to be a part of any action that makes our roads safer. I work in a trauma center and see all the effects of car accidents. My experience is still so real and when I drive by the spot where the car stalled. I don't know how I did not get hit, hurt or killed or kill someone. I did call my wife and told her to go to work she is a nurse and I told her I could be a trauma in my own hospital. She did not think it was funny and there was nothing funny about it. I cannot express what it was like to be sitting in the middle of freeway, cars, trucks, semi, going by at 65 to 75 mph. You cannot do anything as they flash, dart and weave around you. I felt better when the traffic started to stake up and slow down. Two miles back cars were having to stop and I don't know what accidents the car caused behind me.
    Yes I would be willing to participate and tell my story. Where are the Lawyers. Where are the advocates. What is up with the difference of repair quotes. Mine was $7.900 and many have reported up to $14.000. Are they crazy? Where is all the safety money for resource going.
    You have my email and I will be watching. I have not heard any more from the AG office or Toyota.
    They fixed it but did not tell me to shut up about the experience.
  • irina2irina2 Posts: 23
    Still no change for our situation with Toyota. Contacted our local dealer (unfortunately our car had to be towed to a different dealer than the one which sold our car) to ask him to 'go to bat for us' but got a lukewarm reception from the general manager (can't talk to owner). Car still in the shop--now I've committed to start the repair, my share being $6700. I'm going to keep fighting to have Toyota corporate give me a 'good will' deal for the part, like they've done for some of you out there...but time is running out and my car will be ready by the end of the week. I don't understand why there's a discriminatory business practice going on here--some folks are helped with the total cost of the expensive part, but not us. We're all over 100,000. We were equally traumatized by having my husband's car die in the middle of a busy LA freeway. I don't know how to contact anyone in a position of power. I've combed the website. I've now submitted letters to NBC and NPR. Any other ideas for me from anyone? Help!
  • tx78746tx78746 Posts: 3
    edited December 2010
    It has now happened to me. I pulled out in traffic on a major roadway and it all shut down. Had it towed to a dealership in Austin and got the word it is going to cost $14,000 to fix. I have talk to Toyota but so far they are saying there is nothing they will do since it is out of warranty. I have seen in other post Toyota gave some relief, but they are adament to me. Is anyone recently got a more favorable response with this issue.
  • myrafmyraf Posts: 32
    we are all in the same boat,whether toyota fixes our cars or not we must hold toyota responsible for all repairs,parts and labor,let them fix what they want and we can sue for the rest and if they fix one persons car they set a presidence and must fix all,they can't pick and choose who' car they want to fix,we have a great lawsuit ,count me in,and if we get a lawyer it is much less expensive and it will hit the news.we all must get in touch with the president and chief operating officer i have the address and name,let me know and i will post it,,i also wrote my state rep and congressmen and put them on notice i was informing them of the safety issue concerning these defective hybrids she forwarded my letter to the FTC along with her own letter of concern,just keep the pressure on our elected officials,they are suppose to protect us the consumer
  • I'll email you directly. I have only spoken to a couple of levels at the 800 331 4331 number for Toyota. I have ask the dealership for the name of Toyota's regional rep. but was told they could not give it to me. The dealer did said they would contact Toyota and let me know. That was yesterday. No response back so far. What did you do with the vehicle? That is an interesting quote from Toyota. I don't know when the production break was but I bought it very early on. My milage is about 144,000.
  • myrafmyraf Posts: 32
    my car is sitting in my driveway because i 'm waiting to talk to the toyota case manager on monday,if toyota won't fix my car ,i will talk to an attorney
  • myrafmyraf Posts: 32
    Hi everyone,just spoke to an attorney who has a class action against toyota,they are in san diego,i gave her a little insight of what has been happening with our cars and i also gave her this web-site,she said she will get back to me and that if she can't help,she will help me find an attorney,i really feel toyota is discriminating against some of us because they have done good will for some owners and donated the parts with the same problem and have denied others,whats that all about,she agreeded with me that's discrimination and when they did that that is against the law,I'am also getting in touch with the aclu we other denied owners may have a discrimination legal action.
  • All,
    I posted back in July that I'd gotten a 'heads up' on the 06 HH from a friend who'd been stranded on I-55. With mine at 93,000 miles, I thought I was driving a freakin' time bomb! The blue book on it was $18k (it had all the bells & whistles and was in excellent condition for the mileage). However, in pedaling it from dealer to dealer the best I could get was $13,000, and even Toyota would only give $12,000. I am fortunate enough to be rid of it now and WILL NEVER BUY A TOYOTA AGAIN! I'd like to be included in a lawsuit that exposes their unlawful practices -- I paid the extra money to get a 'hybrid' instead of a regular gas engine and when it came time to trade in, the 'hybrid' was a pariah.
    Unfortunately, with more and more problems surfacing here, I would think it is going to be VERY DIFFICULT for someone to get any decent value on the trade-in.
  • irina2irina2 Posts: 23
    Can you please explain your post? Did you have an Inverter failure after warranty? Are you contacting the media--in which case what is the status? I am keeping a list of owners with this situation, so I'd like to add your case to my file if your case is similar....
  • myrafmyraf Posts: 32
    GO on to search toyota and you will find a news article toyota to fix 650,000 prius hybrids for heat risk causing inverta failure,model years 2004 to 2007 we highlander have the same issues and i know we have the same componets,my salesmen told me when i bought the car it was the same hybrid units as the prius,not only that we could have a discrimination suit why does toyota give parts out of good will to some and not to others,we need to check with the aclu. also someone told me about abc's world news tonight video about the electronic coponets in toyota
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