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Toyota Highlander Hybrid - Hybrid System Problems



  • I it looks like I was bit by the inverter problem. I lost power on a busy street in Houston. Luckily no one was hurt but it was a little scary. I reported the incident on the NHTSA website and referenced PS 11-005, which appears to be the open incident on the issue.

    I also Emailed Frank Borris and gave the reference number to the incident.

    Frank S. Borris
    Office of Defects Investigation
    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
    1200 New Jersey Ave SE, W45-302
    Washington, DC 20590
    (202) 366-8089
  • my 2006 died out sun march 6 2010 while on i55 near pontiac,il 121 miles from home in chicago had car tow to a local tow shop overnight the closest dearler is in boomington 20 miles to the south. waiting on what cause it to died out had the same warning about check hybrid vsc code interested in the vin break after i get everthing ill post more only has 57000 miles on it but it was scary as hell trying to get to the shoulder. please email me for my fax number thanks
  • irina2irina2 Posts: 23
    Can you please email me a the TSB-0386008 info (the .jpg file)? My email is set to public.
  • I only have about 57K. I Just spoke with toyota and they confirmed it was the inverter and covered under warranty.

    It looks like a bunch of people that were not as lucky. This set of posts was very helpful.

  • I had the same nightmare... Could not believe a car could be running so smooth and then totally die. I had just gotten off the interstate on a very rainy night... So glad I read all your posts as well as the Lexus 400 h
    There is an inquiry..thanks to all of you who took the time to write up about the problem - html
    same inverter?
    I called Lexus..waiting..I am over the warranty, wanted my car to last a long time...I
    Have defended the hybrid to sooo many people.
    Yikes..still cannot believe this.
  • ablevyablevy Posts: 1
    Ok...I'm been reading this blog and I am really scared! Today, my 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, with approximately 145000 miles, suddenly shut down...just minutes after someone commented to me about how they could not hear it running. It was running really well with no indication of problems to come.

    The engine shut down with warning lights of Check Hybrid System and Check CVS! I attempted to restart it but it was obvious from the way it sounded and steered that something was drastically wrong. I had the car towed to my home and have not yet contacted a dealer about repair.

    My husband has just gone back to work after over a year of being unemployed due to his plant closing....I cannot BEGIN to come up with the kind of money being discussed on this blog to repair my car....and I really need my vehicle!

    I will have it towed to the dealership tomorrow! I had planned to have another mechanic look at it, but that doesn't appear to be the wise thing to do, with the information I have now! I will keep you all posted about my outcome and welcome any advice that you could provide to me so that I can get off on the right foot tomorrow. Anything in particular I must know, say, or do on that first visit with the dealership?

    Please help!
  • In my profile, you can find my email address. We're not allowed to post it here. If you email me, I can send you a copy of the invoice. They donated the part as goodwill for me and then I only paid labor of $1,000. Maybe my invoice will help you negotiate. My car had 115,000 miles on it.
  • I just got a call tonight from Precision Response on behalf of Toyota. They asked a bunch of questions and said they are investigating what happened. They wanted to know the weather conditions, how fast I was going, what happened when the car shut down, if it made a warning noise, where we had it towed, etc. Thought that was very interesting. Did any else get a call from them?
  • irina2irina2 Posts: 23
    No. But I think this is because of the class action suit that was just filed against Toyota regarding this Inverter failure issue.
  • nylove64nylove64 Posts: 8
    Yes I got a call too...Maybe this is the begining to some help
  • I purchased my HH new in 2006. 2 yrs ago my inverter failed while on the freeway on-ramp. New inverter installed, covered by warranty. Yesterday my wife was sitting in the parking lot when the 2nd inverter failed. Less than 100K miles on the vehicle so I assume my 3rd inverter will be under warranty. I'm going to demand to see the old part and get a copy of documentation that the inverter they install this time is new and of the redesigned lineage. Anything else I should do (other than sell this lemon)?
  • My apologies for jumping the gun. The dealer just called to say it was due to my 12V starter battery (not the hybrid) battery. The symptoms this time were so close to what happened when my 1st converter failed that I mistakenly thought it was another converter failure... Still, it is quite disturbing that a 12V battery fault can cause so much trouble. Though I guess that can be the case with most any modern (i.e. computer controlled) vehicle. Would be nice if the Highlander computers were smart enough to display that it is the 12V battery at fault.

    And not that I needed to employ it in this situation, but remember the proper jump-start sequence for connecting jumper cables. Positive dead battery to positive donor battery, then negative donor battery to a grounding bolt on the dead car (not the dead battery). Start the donor car, then (hopefully) the dead car. Disconnect cables in reverse order. This is an abbreviated version of how to jump start a car. Of course read your owner's manual for a full description. Bye for now (and hopefully for a long time) :)
  • astamperastamper Posts: 1
    We have a 2007 Highlander Hybrid. Took it in this morning for its 55,000 mile service. Got a call a few hours later that after the service the car died while on its test drive. Dealer had it towed and got me a rental. They said it's the inverter. Thankfully it's still under warranty and thankfully I wasn't driving the car. I'm wondering if anyone has had problems once you got a new inverter? We have 2 little kids so we're wondering if maybe it's time for a new car. I'd hate for this to happen again.
  • alize323alize323 Posts: 1
    I have a 06 highlander hybrid and my inverter failed. Problem is that it has 107,000 miles on it and its no longer covered under warranty. I really can't afford to pay for this part, dealer is asking for over $8000 for the part itself, not including the labor. My biggest problem is that my husband and I both work for the same company and we have been advised that the company will be closing down by the end of the month..Imagine if I couldn't afford this part while I was working, now unemployed this is a nightmare
  • irina2irina2 Posts: 23
    Alize, feel free to email me preferences are set to public...i may have some useful info for you. Irina.
  • cbjamescbjames Posts: 1
    Need help with inverter failure on 2006 hybrid highlander
  • nscznscz Posts: 1
    I am in Canada but live in the USA and my 2006 hylander hybrid died without warning- same problem- check hybrid system, check CSV system. I have no warranty as I have 165k miles on my car and now am trying to get to the USA.
  • alardinalardin Posts: 2
  • alardinalardin Posts: 2
  • jim06jim06 Posts: 5
    I too was a victim of Inverter / Converter failure Sunday on Hybrid Highlander with 67k. As I accelerated from approx 10 mph we heard a pop and the vehicle lost power. Although the engine was still running when you depressed the gas pedal the vehicle was disabled. We are lucky there was enough forward momentum so we were able to limp to the side of the road. We towed it to a Toyota dealer where it was diagnosed with Inverter failure......They have since called me to inform me that the repair was covered under my warranty....We..... as of Tuesday are waiting for PARTS....BEFORE WORK CAN BEGIN. I will keep you informed as to what transpires. If any one has a copy of the Technical Service Bulletin regarding this repair or any other information I would appreciate it....

  • Because of this website and the continued failure of the inverters in the Highlanders my friends are dumping there cars.
    I have not commented in a while. I have been in contact and gave my story of how my car almost killed me to the National Auto Safety representative. I have not heard anymore. I did hear there is a class action suit started in Southern California. I only hear now from more victims. I really do not see why they have not pulled these cars off the road. I cannot believe the dealers that are asking more then the cars are worth and will not fix these cars. I had a friend who builds cars and he called to get a price for the inverter. He could purchase one for $4500. Are the dealerships just lying? When they charge $8000 to $14.000. It is pretty transparent that Toyota is not looking out for our safety and the safety of others.
  • irina2irina2 Posts: 23
    One has to wonder, also, even about the wholesale price of $ was that determined??? This is a brave new world we have all entered into--buying cars with weird parts like INVERTORS... parts that haven't been around long enough to have market forces set the actual cost... Toyota can just pick a number and charge us... and that's what they did... and those of us backed into a corner just paid up... I spoke with a very sharp mechanic in the LA area who was willing to give it a try and actually fix someone's broken inverter (he has background in working with electronic gadgets)... and he was thinking it could cost in the many hundreds, rather than in thousands... but he couldn't offer any guarantees... but that might be an option for someone out there who has a spare car... and lives in the LA area... I have his contact info... we couldn't do it because we needed a fast and definite fix
  • jim06jim06 Posts: 5
    Well the HIGHLANDER has been in the shop for going on 5 days now. The first day towed to the dealer, the second day, diagnosis of the problem, day three order parts and begin work, it has been on the rack for the past two going on three days now. The service writer has been calling me every day with updates and promises that it will be ready today. So far I am satisfied with thier performance. We have only one issue left to discuss, and that would be the cost of towing. I reviewed the Toyota " NEW VEHICLE LIMITED WARRANTY INFORMATION HANDBOOK " and it states on page 10 under " TOWING " " WHEN YOUR VEHICLE IS INOPERABLE DUE TO FAILURE OF A WARRANTED PART, TOWING TO THE NEAREST AUTHORIZED TOYOTA DEALERSHIP IS COVERED " So we will see were that all goes....I will keep you up to date as " OPERATION INVERTER REPLACEMENT " moves forward.
  • Our 2006 HH Limited is now on its 3rd Inverter Converter assembly. The first one failed at 7200 miles as we were driving down from the mountains on I-70 into Denver. We were in the right lane & the Error stated flashing and the vehicle shut down with heavy traffic we had enough speed to get off at an exit. Three weeks ago we were headed up hill accelerating and at just over 40 MPH ther was a loud 'Bang" the Engine shut off and we got over to the shoulder. The VSC, Hybrid & AWD System Failures where all flashing. This time the Engine would restart but the throttle had no affect & shifting into Reverse or Drive did nothing. Luckily we only have 88,900 miles so the Warranty covered it again ($11000 here in CO).
    We also had a Power-steering ECU failure (due to corrosion ???) & a mysterious 12V battery failure that were not covered by Warranty. I am trying to convince my wife we need to dump this garbage before we have a failure that is not covered & the repairs are more than the trade-in value.
  • karen80karen80 Posts: 5
    I originally wrote on this blog in January/February when my inverter failed. I have been following the updates ever since. I filed my complaint with the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration in March. I received an email from them today collecting information for the federal investigation. One of the questions they have is whether I had the broken inverter in my possession. Unfortunately, I did not ask for it back. For the new folks to this blog, please ask for the inverter back so that the US department of transportation can look at them. Also, if you have not filed your complaint, I strongly encourage that you do so. It only took me 10 minutes to complete the on-line complaint form at
  • jim06jim06 Posts: 5

    Thanks for the information...I filed my complaint with the NHTSA this morning regarding our inverter failure.....I will be going to pick up our Highlander this morning, I will try to get our inverter back....Lets see how that goes....Just a bit of info for everyone I posted yesterday regarding getting reimbursed for towing. The dealer told me to bring them a copy of tow receipt, they will submit it to Toyota corporate along with thier warranty work order and the dealer will reimburse us when they received thier $ from Toyota....
  • jim06jim06 Posts: 5
    Good Morning Steve
    I too have been bitten by the dreaded INVERTER FAILURE....I was hoping you could forward the TSB regarding this issue to me...If you have it posted somewhere let me know....It sure is funny how you can't find this on the internet anywhere....

  • jim06jim06 Posts: 5

    Picked up the Highlander this far everything seems to be fine......
    I did ask the service writer for the old inverter back.......He told me they had to send back to Toyota. He actually showed me the warranty form they have to fill out and send back with the dead inverter...He showed me the invoice from Toyota for the inverter $7367.00 for just the inverter. He took the copy of the receipt from the towing company and said we should be getting a check back for the towing fee in 30 days. So far we got the car back at no cost to us...should have the towing fee soon steo trade this POS in before it blows up again.....
  • jhellisjhellis Posts: 2

    I have a 2007 Hylander Hybrid and experienced the dreaded inverter failure. I still owe on the car, have been asked to pay $10,000 for the repair, and Toyota will do nothing because it has 120,000 miles. My vin is 70020221 and it died, so I am not sure about this "break" determination. I would welcome any advice on what to do besides calling NHTSA, the FTC, and my Attorney General. Thanks,
  • irina2irina2 Posts: 23
    Hi jhellis, I'm not sure if the VIN breakdown would apply since your car is a 2007 (I believe that whole issue with the TSB was for 2006). Have you tried calling/writing Toyota corporate and taking the angle that you know of real people that either had a complete fix for free (as good will -- see prior entries on this forum) or had at least partial help towards the us...we got $2500....and we were well over 100K miles. Also, if you're in the LA area and you really don't want to pay $10K consider contacting a mechanic to try and fix it (I can give you more specific reference of someone who wants to try, if you contact me by email...hope I'm allowed to say that...I've had previous entries removed for suggesting people contact me, my email is set to 'public'). I still think going to the media is an important avenue...but I tried that and didn't get anywhere...but it's now a few months later and now that there's a NHTSA investigation, maybe someone will be interested in the scoop. Someone else suggested if you know someone with a large Tweeter following, to tweet out about this inverter failure issue and associated people will start to listen and a buzz will ensue that will reach the deaf ears of Toyota. I feel your pain.
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