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Toyota Highlander Hybrid - Hybrid System Problems



  • Two different times- car started running rough, lights came on, car quit. Paid to have all 6 replaced- no problem since-keeping my fingers crossed.
  • I am currently having this car died and they dealer is saying its the inverter and they want $10k to fix my car. Oh and I have a trans axle leak and they want $7 k to fix. Anyway, my car has 120K miles on it and they refuse to fix it...I have to fit the bill...and to make matters worse I still owe $10k on it. Is there any recourse you can recommend? I call the law office that had a class action suit against toyota selling highlanders knowing there is a problem with the 2006/07s and they informed me the case was dropped and that they cant help me...I'm at a loss of what I can do...What is left for me to do. Meanwhile I sitting by the phone waiting for some A-hole from toyota to call me and tell me what financal arrangements we can come up with for me to pay to get the work done...HELP!!!!!
  • Same problem, inverter, 10k to fix. I settled with Toyota - they agreed to buy my car for 11k so I would drop my case.
  • Has anyone had any luck pursuing complaints with recall on inverters with this mileage?
  • Well guys... this will be my final post. I was one of the earlier posts, when my inverter died Jan 2011. They replaced it under the warranty, as I only had 68K miles on the car. I struggled with the decision to keep it or sell it, but with the additional repairs required (cracked air box, induction flush, power steering link and brakes and rotors) at the time, I thought I was over the hump.

    Not so. That same year Dec 2011 the wheel bearing and hub broke and the front stabilizer links needed to be replace. Finally, just last month, Oct 2012, my inverter died again! I had it towed in and they were VERY VAGUE on what the problem was especially when I insisted that I already had the inverter replaced at the very same dealership prior to the recall. The only thing they said is that they replaced the inverter, but NOT THE COMPUTER CHIP!?!? This time the computer chip was bad but I also needed to replace my regular battery as it was dead. 2 days later, I paid the $225 for the new battery and took my car home. The very next guessed it... my inverter is dead AGAIN! Another tow ride into the dealership, where they do not call me for 2 more weekdays. Finally, they call very excited to tell me that there is nothing wrong with the car, just a wire was not tight enough during the last repair. When I picked up the car, I had to ASK that they pay for the second tow. I left the dealership, determined I would never see my service crew again, and drove straight to another dealership and traded in that "DAMN CAR"!
    So, my friends, thank you Edmunds for the blog and to all those that contributed to it, it has made a huge difference in handling this situation. And to Toyota... well let's keep this a family show and just say you will never get my business again!
  • Our highlander had 117k and we were able to get the inverter replaced. Originally, when it went out, the dealership told us that the serial numbers did not match the recall. We kept pushing Toyota to investigate and replace the part. We worked with the case manager from Toyota and the dealership and requested that a Toyota field tech come and look at our car. They tested the inverter and later replaced it for free. It took a couple of weeks to get the person out to look at the car, but obviously worth it. We traded the car in two days later because we didn't want this to happen again, as we doubt they would fix it twice!
  • I am hoping they will buy mine too. May I ask, how many miles were on your car. I have 120,000 and I pray I get at least 11K for it...and help with a new loan.
  • 105000 miles...Toyota was going to fix it for free but we did not want the car back, it is a death trap and only a matter of time before this problem kills people...I wish you luck, the people at Toyota are complete [non-permissible content removed].
  • We ended up trading it in. We got $9500 for it. We owed considerably more but need a reliable car.
  • Is this the season for the 2006 hybrids to break down?. I had the same inverter problem last week. The cost: $9300 only because they assured me that this was the 3rd generation inverter and it was going to work fine. I wanted to extend the life of the vehicle instead of buying a new one and because the dealer was offering only $1000 for the car "as is". Got the car back yesterday at 7:30 am. Rode 25 miles...lights on again: check hybrid system/check VSC. Now I don't feel safe driving it at all! The service guys were oh, so amazed when they saw me this morning. Now is a waiting game...Keep you posted.
    BTW I did receive a call from Toyota Headquarters yesterday but only after I sent an email.
  • ruth72ruth72 Posts: 3
    edited December 2012
    I took my car in last week to have the windshield washer receptacle flushed out because something else had been inadvertently put inside it, so they had to disconnect the 12volt battery to get to it..when I drove away from the auto shop my display started to flash "check hybrid system, check vsc, check AWD" alternately. I called the shop the next morning, brought it in, and they said they reset the codes, but next day 10 miles later the same info starts flashing again.
    So I begin my research online and see mention of inverters going bad, I wonder if this is what's happening to me, and did removing the 12volt battery trigger it somehow? I replaced the 12volt battery last summer with no issue.

    I live on an island in the middle of the gulf of Alaska and there is no dealer here...does this car problem sound familiar to anybody else's?
  • Anyone still check this board? My 2006 HH died this Monday 1/21/13. Getting minor avoidance so far from dealership. So far they have asked me to approve $285 in diagnostics and given no diagnosis. Three full business days and they let me know tonight they have contacted 'technical assistance' for my 'unusual' problem and still can't figure it out. I looked on the Internet for ten minutes and feel confident it is probably the inverter. Same exact symptoms and error messages. (Do they really not know or do they plan to jerk me around?) The car stalled in traffic, luckily I was pulling into a parking garage and not on the interstate.
    Feeling thankful to have read this thread before beginning any type of discussion with Toyota. :confuse: :sick:
  • Would let them know that there is a problem with inverter on 2006 and also electrical system (my problem with coils on 2008). You could contact Toyota and start a case file asking for Toyota to fix problem since this is a known defect. I negotiated fix price with the local dealer after research. I have a problem with paying a diagnostic fee for a known problem.
  • kenduffkenduff Posts: 19
    If it is the inverter, 06's are covered on the recall, they should fix it for free, dispute the charge they gave you.. Good luck
  • Yes, be sure to use this info! Our dealer really didn't know what to do so it was best to contact Toyota and get a case manager. Request that they send a tech that knows hybrids. Be persistent, patient, and good luck
  • I took my Highlander hybrid in to the deal, and it turns out that a small drip needs a new radiator. Since I have the Hybrid they tell me I have to go with a new Toyota Radiator. I have dealt with the inverter when my car died on me while I was driving, so scary. I just feel like Toyota has control over my car since it is a Hybrid. The quote was $1200 but they seems so high for the radiator, anyone have any input.
    Thanks in advance. :confuse:
  • Hi - I've been thinking of buying a HH but after reading these forums I'm not so sure. I see many of the HHs were fixed via recalls, are these now safe?
  • stevegoldstevegold Posts: 185
    edited March 2013
    Don't even consider a HH. They stink even when they are working. You can buy mine.
  • heh - why do they stink?
  • ytallentytallent Posts: 11
    Think again. I have a 2008 and am waiting for the next electrical breakdown and it is not even close to the mileage on an even more troubled 2006 you are considering. If you want to be stuck in an unsafe vehicle whose battery may be the next thing to go . . .
  • famwaldfamwald Posts: 114
    I'm looking at the HH because of the gas mileage, and am alarmed to read here about the inverter failures.

    Would anyone know if the current models have a different and more reliable inverter system?

  • ytallentytallent Posts: 11
    Really don't know-Consumer Reports doesn't have the newer ones rated as troubled but don't know if this is a viable rating.
  • stevegoldstevegold Posts: 185
    I have a 2004 Prius that is great and a 2007 HH that sucks even without the inverter problem. The mileage is not good and the car is not nice. The newer models might be better but not 2006, 2007, 2008 or whenever they changed.
    It's not a comfortable car and not worth the HH premium and if you get the inverter problem, you're totally screwed. Why look for trouble?
  • famwaldfamwald Posts: 114
    Thank you for the replies, ytallent and stevegold. I appreciate the comments. I may scratch this one off the list of contenders. Replacing any hybrid inverter, even if it is eight years old and out of warranty, would kill our budget as we would be fully retired by then and on fixed income.
  • segnovasegnova Posts: 1
    Last night I was driving my 2011 Highlander Hybrid and suddenly the power steering and brakes stopped working while I was driving. A loud warning sensor went off and several messages crossed the screen, including "Hybrid System Failure. Pull the vehicle to a safe spot and call the dealer immediately." Thank God I was able to roll off to the side of the road without hitting anyone or getting hit. I called Toyota Roadside Assistance, who told me not to even try to drive the car anymore, and they came and towed the car to the dealer.

    Today, the dealer called and told me there is nothing wrong with the car. Apparently the messages I saw are not showing up on the computer, and the messages are gone now. They suggested I come and pick it up. They dismissed my idea that the computer chip had also failed. I called Customer Service at 1-800-331-4331 and they took my complaint and indicated that it is up to the Customer Service person at the dealership how to handle it. (According to the Service person, the Customer Service rep told him to tell me there was nothing they could do for me.) I'm to expect a call from him in 3 days or less. I'm leaving the car at the dealership until this is worked out because I'm afraid to drive it. Does anyone have advice for moving forward?
  • ruth72ruth72 Posts: 3
    hi, i read your post and am interested in what you do next. i have a 2007 hh and am concerned as i will be giving it to my college student son soon and worry about whether or not he will be safe in it. we've never had a problem except for the time a repairman took the battery out to repair something else and forgot to leave a charge going to the engine so the codes were all messed up and then it did what you just described your car doing the day after i left the shop. they were able to come out and reset the codes however and i haven't had a problem since.
  • ytallentytallent Posts: 11
    Personally, I would not give a car to my child even if it has not quit in traffic yet. I would trade it in on a another used car with a better record. There is very little, if any warning that it is about to die. I would not risk my child's life.
  • samrulsamrul Posts: 1
    I bought my 2006 HH several years ago with 90k. It now has 192k. No problems but am concerned about the cost of the replacement battery and when will that be.
  • johcojohco Posts: 1
    I have the exact same problem with my 2008 HH. Dealer says power inverter needs replacement cost= $9,140.
    How do you get a case manager?
  • coffeymomcoffeymom Posts: 2
    When this happened recently to my 06, the dealership took a long time with the diagnostics, but in the end I didn't need a case manager. This is a known problem and they should fix it. If your dealership isn't cooperating, ask the service manager to get you in contact with a Toyota case manager. Go as far up the chain of command as it takes. No excuse for the inverter not to be covered by Toyota. At all.
  • ytallentytallent Posts: 11
    Talk to the General Manager of your dealership and tell them you know that HH has a history of this failure even though the recall is not for the 2008. You want a Toyota case manager and you want resolution of this problem and no you will not pay that price to fix a known failure that is a recall on the 2006 and 2007 cars. Obviously this is a problem on later model Toyota HH too and Toyota should fix it for free. Others can offer better advice as I didn't have to go this far yet!
  • nylove64nylove64 Posts: 8
    I got my 2006 Toyota HHB fixed in 14 months, I wrote many of letters, they had a recall In February of 2011, you have to google it. I still lost, I had to make the 406.00 a month payment and insure it, than to top it off I ended up paying a few 100 dollars for rotors that went bad from sitting, a new battery and my drivers window won't work, I think when the inverter blew my windows were left down and it rain in my truck and shorted the power windows.
  • gregpghgregpgh Posts: 1
    2008 Highlander Ltd Hybrid - 125,000 miles. Last Friday, my wife and daughter pull out onto a busy highway -and hear a "pop" sound and the vehicle just dies - All warning lights come on ...luckily she was able to get to the side of the road.

    We take to the dealer who explains it's the hybrid inversion part - and that the repair will cost $11,000. We review with the case manager - and they offer $1,500 toward a new car. That's it -- claiming they look at number of Toyota's bought (this was our first), if routine service is done at dealership(s) (we didn't), and number of miles out of warranty. No appeal process - our case manager said the decision is final - he basically replied - sorry folks, you are screwed. Any suggestions from any of you would be appreciated!
  • kenduffkenduff Posts: 19
    They did the same and said to us, same thing happened to us, :lemon: we sued and got 11,000 for our car, Toyota are a bad bunch, good luck.
  • s_weavers_weaver Posts: 8
    I am so sorry to hear about your highlander! I am not sure that your highlander is part of the recall? Toyota told us the same thing at first; that basically we were out of luck and that they would give us $1500 towards the repair, which is like a drop in the bucket. Because ours was within the recall, we were able to push Toyota to get a tech to check it put. The dealer told us that our car did not have the part number with the recall, but the tech was able to verify that the part was, and they fixed it. We kept calling the case manager and demanded that Toyota send someone to look at it, because the dealer wasn't able to "open the box" because the technogy is so complicated that special training is needed. The day after they fixed it, we dumped the car. We lost $10,500 because the value went down so much, but we felt like it was a gamble to keep driving it. When I was feeling desperate, I did find some used parts online. Problem is that you don't know if they too are junk, but I thought we may have to fix it then dump it. The parts were much cheaper online from junk yards and such. Good luck.
  • ytallentytallent Posts: 11
    Would say to the case manager, you are aware that the 2006/2007 are under recall for the very same problem and you want it fixed or you will sue the dealership and Toyota as your family could have been killed and this is a known problem with the Highlander Hybrids beyond those model years. Consumer Reports states there are problems with them up until 2012 model. Also report it to the National Safety Board. I imagine they don't want to have to extend the recall to 2008s. I plan to sell my 2008 as it has nearly 80,000 miles on it immediately.
  • cfebrescfebres Posts: 3
    My 2006 THH was under the recall. I took it to the dealer and they fixed "whatever it was". When I had the problem with the inverter and mentioned the recall the dealer said it was some other piece not related to the $10k problem. I got $1500 from Toyota, $600 from the dealer (I call it keep quiet money) repaired the car and so far it has been running fine. Toyota had to send an "expert" because none of the mechanics at the dealer knew how to replace the inverter. I contacted a lawyer and he said that the guarantee was over, so no recourse. After having 3 toyotas in my lifetime now I want out and far away.
  • bcrawfilbcrawfil Posts: 1
    Well my 2008 HH was running fine with no problems until one morning 2 weeks ago. I was 20 minutes into a drive made a turn, hit the gas pedal and the dash board lit up and all power is gone! I managed to coast into the left turn lane to get out of traffic on a 6 lane road. After an hour of trying to restart the car made a call to get towed. I did not take the car to Toyota but to an independent shop. They diagnosed the problem as the inverter and quoted $4500 to repair. I decided to see what I could get from Toyota since the issue was the same as the recalled 06 and 07. I had the car towed to the Toyota dealership I bought it from and they diagnosed the same thing claiming that they had not heard of this happening but to 1 or 2 other HH. I managed to get Toyota to agree to pick up half the 9800 total bill. I had 126000 miles on the car and for me that meant that I still had another 75000 miles that I got out of my Honda's before this Toyota. I decided to let them fix it for someone else as my wife insisted that I not drive that car again since this could have happened on the highway that is under construction with no way to get out of traffic. I let them have the car as a trade in an bought a used Honda CR-V with way less miles. So I'm back to a car company that does stand behind their cars. I will report the HH to the NHTSA to help the rest of you that will probably see this problem going forward. GOOD LUCK to you and thanks for this post to help me see what was going on with my former HH. :lemon:
  • My story is the same as so many others, but I am still posting here just in case there is better news regarding Toyota stepping up to do the right thing. My Toyota 2007 Highlander Hybred was doing just fine. I had 238,000 miles (often 200 miles a day ) when the warning lights went on and I coasted to the side of the road. Towed to dealer and spent $230. troubleshooting the problem. Repair costs $8,700. I'll file a complaint. The dealership called immediately to try to sell me a new car... no chance. Really sorry to hear so many stories of people being hit hard financially. Should be help some where.
  • ruth72ruth72 Posts: 3
    im sorry to hear about your car, i assume it was a bad inverter? just wondering how much the inverter (if that was the problem) cost and how much the labor cost out of the total $8700 bill.
  • cd94539cd94539 Posts: 3
    Bought a Certified Pre- Owned 2008 THH in 2011 and thankfully I bought the extended warranty from Toyota directly that extends warrant coverage through 2014. Vehicle has ~68K miles on it now. Last month I would see a "Hybrid System Overheated" message mometarily flash on the small screen with a bell tone alert about 2 x wk. Took it it for svc and had them check for it. They charged me $150 for troubleshooting and tech could never replicate it. Said there were no error codes in computer. I was miffed but nothing I could do.

    Now it's acting up way more often, maybe 2 x day. Happens when you go from stop to rapid acceleration (throttle 2/3 open) and is easy to reproduce. I took a video of the message and took it in. The Svc Advisor said this time there would be no troubleshooting charge and he would have his Sr. Master Tech work on it.

    They took the same video and sent it to Toyota Tech Svcs. TTS made the tech take a "snapshot" of the computer output and send it in. Next day they advised tech to flush and replace inverter coolant at my expense as this was a maintenance item that is usually done at 90K service. I was on the hook for @$269. I gave then the ok to proceed :( Today the tech did the flush and replacement, problem still there. Again he had to take a "snapshot' and send to TTS. Finally TTS are convinced, that its an intermittent inverter failure problem. Inverter has been ordered. The Svc Advisor says its like $14,000 job and he wants it done and off his books. I guess they don't like having expensive parts sitting in inventory. So far Svc Advisor says it's covered under warranty

    Will Update when Inverter is replaced. Hopefully the battery has not taken a beating cause that's also $10K+ job.
  • As of 9/4/2013, Toyota has agreed to a voluntary recall for exactly this problem so I am hoping all parts and labor will be covered by them and I get my diagnostic fee refunded. The car has been in the shop for 6 working days still waiting for Toyota to ship Inverter parts to the dealership.
  • After waiting seven working days, finally got the vehicle back. Toyota replaced the whole inverter and had the inverter cooling system flushed and replaced. Was covered by the Recall and the 100K warranty on the hybrid system. Service advisor says I got one of the last inverters in stock and they are going to bill Toyota close to $10K for the repair.

    People who come in for the recall repair work from now on will have the component board insider the inverter with the failing Power FET Transistors replaced at a cost of about $4K to Toyota.

    I plan on selling this car within a year when the extended warranty runs out. No way I want to have repair bills like that paid out of pocket.
  • My Highlander stayed at the dealership for 14 months, I wrote many letter to every official I could think of, my recall notice came exactly 2 years ago this month. I still ended up paying for a new battery, rotors had new rotors and being that when it lost power my window was left down and it rained probably shorting out the window box so I'm stuck with that $400.00 repair they wouldn't accommodate. I had to pay the monthly payment of 406.00 and full coverage insurance. I also had to spend 4,200.00 on a 97 Honda just to keep my job. I wonder if their is any compensation for all this money I lost??? anyone have any ideas??
  • Shame on Toyota! I paid the whole 10k. I wish I could have a recourse to get my money back. If someone has any ideas write!
  • I need to get the 75,000 mile service done on 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid .... does it have to go to the dealer for this or would a local shop be OK for it ?
  • tfryartfryar Posts: 1
    My Toyota dealer just replaced my radiator with a new factory radiator for $700 so get a quote from another dealer. Still high, but I don't want to mess around with it because it's a hybrid.
  • 89fj6289fj62 Posts: 20
    When at all possible I buy Toyota OEM. You can find generic radiators for most cars. as for prices I paid $400 using a discount Toyota dealer to buy a radiator about 10 years ago. So your price probably is about right.
  • bbb99bbb99 Posts: 58
    I'm in the market for an suv, there is a 2008 HH for sale with 64k on it for $20 in my area. Should I stay away? Far away? I've read a lot about 06 and 07 inverter problems but not many on the 08.
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