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Toyota Highlander Owners: Dealer & Service Experiences

mkstringmkstring Posts: 53
edited March 2014 in Toyota
Wow, I get the first post. And, since mine been in the shop for 27 days, I can at least write something.

Our repairs were from slamming into concrete divider along the tollway in Houston at about 60 mph. I dodged a tire tread and being unused to the vehicle's handing, lost control and fishtailed down the tollway.

Damage is about $4,800. Front and rear fenders (the covers and the actual bumpers), both driver's side wheels and rims, and left rear quarterpanel, and various interior things. We had it towed back to the dealership we bought it at, and their services dept is on State Farm's service network (meaning the service dept does the estimate). Had 90% of the parts after a week, but not the wheels and rims. Had 99% of parts after 3 weeks, and this week they were to paint and align the wheels, put in the last 1% parts due in 3/14, then send it to have a final review, then to make-ready. I call 3/15 to check status. And, I'll post a review of its condition after I get it back and have some time with it.


  • A tip of my cap to Dianne at Carson Toyota for being the first dealer in Cal to find the HL I was looking for, to offer me a great price, come through promptly with the deal, and get the vehicle shipped up to the Bay Area pronto. Anyone in Cal looking for an HL should check the high volume carsontoyota site just to see how these vehicles are being configured, option-wise -- and who knows, you may find what you're looking for. At the least, you'll have a competitive quote to take to your local dealer.
  • twillowstwillows Posts: 5
    My HL has been flawless for the first 30 days of ownership. However yesterday when I went to open the cargo door, no amount of clicking the keyless entry or manually using the key on the cargo door would allow me to open it. Took it to the closest Toyota dealer (I did not buy it there, but made no difference to the service department, they still treated me like "family") and the mechanic determined that a clip that held the actuating lever had come off. He put a new one on and lock works perfect again.
    When I took possession of the HL 2/16, the console was unavailable via the Jacksonville port where some US accessories are added. Since the consoles are now available to current purchasers I contacted the port and have an appointment this coming week to drive there from Orlando (133 miles) and have it added to my HL for the same $199 list price as if I had ordered it that way.

    PS...they also said I could add on any other port installed option if I wanted, but I had already ordered my car just the way I wanted.

    Consoleless in Orlando . . . but not for long.
  • I have been looking for a 2-wheel drive HL,with the standard features,and what are some prices that they are selling for.
  • twillowstwillows Posts: 5
    Suggest you go back to goldston "Toyota Highlander Owners: How Much Did You Pay?" Mar 9, 2001 7:25pm and look for pricing information in "How Much Did You Pay" section, address given above.
  • mcurtinxmcurtinx Posts: 3
    Is it worth purchasing an extended warranty on this new model. I was offered a 6 year 75,000 mile Toyota Platinum Warranty form the dealer for $490.00 and I have one week to decide. I typically drive approximately 10,000/yr, thus I kind of like the security of 6 years of protection, as opposed to 3 years- covers most everything except items that normally need replacing. The MSRP on this plan is ~$1100.00 Opinions?
  • mkstringmkstring Posts: 53
    As promised in post #1:

    After 6 weeks, my Highlander is back in the garage (and being used for everything, I might add). After really annoying the service advisor with calls every three days, and some minor setbacks in painting and metal work, I must say that the results were worth the wait - the vehicle was returned to factory condition and we're very pleased.

    It took about 4 1/2 weeks to get ALL the parts in. The wheels and some seals and gaskets took the longest. The dealership reworked the back driver's quarterpanel (which on inspection Sat. is one big piece running over the doors!) and repainted most of the driver's side.

    It was slow, but we feel the service was top-notch. The advisior even told us that we would not get it back until he was satisfied with the repair. He meant it, and it really impressed us that some one we don't know and has no personal interest in our HL cares that much about their work.

    Location: Don McGill Toyota, 11800 Old Katy Rd, Houston TX.
  • dniehusdniehus Posts: 83
    $490 is an astounding price for the 6 yr/75,000 mile Platinum Toyota warranty. Best I'd previously heard is $650 (which I'm considering when my HL comes in in early May. How did you get such a great price offer. By the way, I'd grab it without hesitation! Could you ask your dealer if they'd be willing to sell such a policy to other HL buyers elsewhere in the country? By the way, where are you? If you prefer to respond privately, please feel free to email me at


  • novice11novice11 Posts: 6
    Family just purchased a HL Limited last weekend from Fred Haas Toyota in Houston. Reasonably priced, considering availability. At closing was offered extended warranty that covered through the 75,000 mile/72 month period. Forget what it was called, but do not recognize the Platinum name as being it. They were offering it for $1,250.00. I declined. They would not budge but said I could purchase anytime during the original 36 month warranty period. Question: Anyone else in Houston area know if I can purchase one later and if so, what would be a reasonable price.

    Secondly, with all the safety features Toyota put into the HL how come the door locks do not automatically lock upon placing the gear into drive or obtaining a speed of 12-18 mph. Or is the HL I have defective and in need to have the computer or alarm system reset in order for this to happen. Anybody else notice this. Thanks
  • sjzsjz Posts: 33
    Good luck with the new HL!

      I purchased a Toyota Extra Care Platinum 75K/72 month "$0" deductible warranty from <> for $690 via the internet. They don't list the HL on their site, but when I called, they told me it was the same price as the Avalon. My dealer offered the Extra Care Gold for $1500. You have 3 years/ 36K to decide if you want it. I was able to pay via credit card, with no tax (out of state). There may be even better deals out there.

      My doors don't auto-lock either, unfortunately (V6, AWD, limited). I don't believe that feature is available on our car.

  • aruseraruser Posts: 5
    My HL has been in the shop now for 16 days. It started with the Check Engine light coming on and they thought it was a bad solenoid valve in the tranny. After replacing the solenoid valve they have determined that I need a new transmission and I'm still waiting. Anyone else with a similar experience?
  • mkstringmkstring Posts: 53
    aruser, I'd be pretty safe to say that you're the first with any major problem like that. Unfortunately, parts are a big hangup for these things since they're new and made in Japan.

    Any ETA on the tranny getting in?

    And, I'm sorry it looks like you got a bad one -- :(. Out of hundreds of good things, this marks the third bad thing I've heard.

    Hope things go better,
    Michael aka "wrecked on the way home from dealer and it was in the shop for 35 days"
  • aruseraruser Posts: 5
    Michael aka "wrecked on the way home from dealer and it was in the shop for 35 days" -

    Thanks for checkin in. It took two weeks to get the right solenoid valve. The dealer will let me know tomorrow when they think they'll have the part. They said they would pull the tranny out of another Highlander if necessary.

    I feel like I'm breaking up a "townhall" love fest with the HL with his bad news.

    - Allan
  • mkstringmkstring Posts: 53
    Well, IMO, car owners need to realize that it's a machine and subject to mechanical difficultly (exp auto transmissions - those things are amazing). Yes, in general Toyota scores high on reliability and there's some really positive points about the HL regarding the factory it's built in and the support it's getting. Nevertheless, it's a vehicle. I've liked all the vehicles I've owned (except that buick), which is why I bought them. Most were toyotas, and I really liked the Honda Accord I had (traded in on the HL).

    Kudos to the service shop if they're willing to work with you and pull another tranny.

    From my standpoint, bad experiences deserve to be noted as much as the good ones. The wind noice thing is really making a flap in the big discussion group, and that's not so good. Then again, they're driving 85 - so I don't have too much sympathy ;-). I tend to think your issue is isolated, since no other posts mention it. But, not all HL owners are online :).

    Good luck!
  • jscottojscotto Posts: 5
    My autobuytel dealer has told me for the last two weeks that my HL limited is still at the U.S. port but has not been put on a truck to be delivered yet. Is this possible or do you think my dealer blowing smoke?? I purchased the HL for a great price ($500 over invoice) but am worried about whether this is too good to be true. So far, the autobuytel dealer experience has been a good one, however, I am skeptical on whether he is being totally honest with me. Any thoughts??
  • jrfierojrfiero Posts: 123
    Anyone noticed unusual brake pedal feel? Mine's mushy, goes too far down before it takes affect, and I can push my pedal all the way to the floor with the engine running standing still.
    And, the brake assist assists me way too early - surprised me a couple times, then the ABS kicks in and the thing still doesn't stop too well.
    Any comments?
  • sjzsjz Posts: 33
    I'm assuming your brake fluid level is OK, and there are no visable leaks? Could be a bad master cylinder. In any case, I suggest that you bring your HL back to the haste!
    My HL stops just fine, ABS only kicked in a couple of times (sand, wet, etc.), pedal does not go to the floor. This seems like it is specific to your vehicle, and not to the HL (or any car) in general.
    Good luck,
  • lacmtalacmta Posts: 1
  • shl72953shl72953 Posts: 53
    This is something every HL owner experiences. It's kind of a case of, "If it hurts when you do it, don't do it." I haven't heard of anyone taking their HL back although that would solve the problem. If someone in the back seat wants the window open, I generally open the moon roof. I'm certain Toyota knows of the problem as everybody, and I do mean everybody, has complained. Whether they will do anything is not known. Toyota seems pretty arrogant when it comes to resolving problems Americans have with their vehicles. Little sixty year old aftertaste, I suspect. Can't tell you what to do, but the HL is pretty good other than the popping sound.
  • jregerjreger Posts: 1
    I have a '95 Camry, and I experience a similar noise problem when the only window that is open is a rear window. Likewise, I need to open a front window to equalize the noise. I would not say that my ears pop, but it's a loud vibration noise that is rather uncomfortable, and I can't stand it. Until I read the two messages related to this, I thought I had a unique situation. Now, it sounds to me like this is a Toyota problem in general. And, apparently, they have not solved the problem in 6 years!
  • mkstringmkstring Posts: 53
    I had it in a 90 Buick Regal with BOTH windows down (it was a 2 door). With the windows down just right, the pressure variance drove me nuts. I got it on my HL yesterday. I don't think all cars are immune to it, nor do I think the HL's are the only one to have it. I just rolled the windows up :).
  • awchan13awchan13 Posts: 44
    The local Capitol Toyota dealership here in San Jose screwed me over on my lease and registration. I've been working with them for the past month or so trying to get things straightened out. All I have to show for it...they're offering a Gold package upgrade or 3 oil change coupons to quiet me down. I've complained to the GSM, and Customer Rep, but really to no avail. I suffered through not getting calls returned and flat out lies to my face (I even called them on it). They basically say, you got screwed, tough it up. We'll slap our Fleet Manager's hand for lying to you, but there's nothing else we can or will do for you. If you want true customer service in San Jose, go somewhere else. If you want more info, feel free to contact me.

    basically: I am a visiter to Cali. I was told that it would be possible to register in Washington (my residency), I was told I was getting a 5.92% interest rate, and I was told I couldn't get 15,000 miles/year only 12k. All were lies, since this was the first time i've ever dealt with a lease, they took full advantage of me. I signed, trusting them (my mistake). They added a $460 California registration fee and I found out later that they gave me a 7.92% rate (using a lease calculator). I called the fleet manager, who I dealt with, and he failed to return my calls for two weeks, then flat out lied to my face. Then spoke with the GSM and worked with her for a week (she also let me know i could've gotten 15k miles/year), then she passed me on to the head of the financial department. And he informed me that she was basically done dealing with me. I contacted their customer service, she said everything looked "fair" and offered me a Gold package upgrade, or 3 free oil changes to keep me quiet. Don't know that there is much else I can do. But whatever you do, don't go to the dealership.
  • mkstringmkstring Posts: 53
    awchan13, i think it's safe to say anyone that reads all the Highlander discussions will know your plight. I might mention that putting the issue in 3 discussions is equal to "cross posting" in newgroups and is general considered bad "netiquite". And, I'm just mentioning this as a i heard ya and just wanted to let you know.

    I wish you luck in trying to resolve the issue. I leased for 5 years, didn't get a whole lot off MSRP but the finance manager was a relative. I got a 37% residual in 5 years, and it really was the only way we could have "afforded" the vehicle. Again, best of luck and even though to you got a bad deal, you got a great vehicle.
  • I have had my Highlander for a week now and have also experienced the noise with my back window opened. Not being familiar with power windows (just moved up from a Civic-DX with none of these fancy gadgets) I accidentally opened the left rear window instead of the driver's window. I had just crossed some railroad tracks and thought my tire had failed. I have heard a similar noise when I had a tire develop a bubble. I checked the left rear tire for a bubble and for excess heat. Nothing. I was planning to take it to the dealer tomorrow. Guess Toyota already knows about this problem. Is there any solution?
  • nevrlandnevrland Posts: 3
    I picked up my Highlander yesterday and opened a rear window to see if I had the same problem everyone else has. Yes, I do...and it is exactly like the 97 Volvo 850 that I just traded-in! The volvo dealer said that cars now are designed to run with the AC on. If you open a rear window you must open a front window. Doesn't seem to be a Toyota problem. Had a friend with a jeep cherokee do same test and had same result.
  • awchan13awchan13 Posts: 44
    Every car that I've owned previously does the same thing too. Honda Accord, Toyota Corolla, Nissan Sentra. It's a little worse in this one, but it's not surprising.
  • sxsahasxsaha Posts: 15

    Guys I am in the market to buy a 4x4 V6 HL Limited with some extra goodies like LA, EJ VD,SR etc. But slowly I am veering away from toyota becoz of the two dealer experiences I have been having.

    I negotiated with a dealer for the HL $600 above invoice. we agreed he called me to the delaership and then jacked up the price by 1000 dollars, inspite of deciding on the price and trading faxes. but i just walked away from the deal as I did not want to pay 1000 dollars above predetermined price.

    Second time the same thing happenned. I was just on my way to pay and pick up the HL and the dealer called again to say the price has been jacked up by 1000 bucks, I threatened to walk away from the deal as I did not want to pay 1000 dollars above predetermined price, he relented and now he is giving me the HL for $32,200 which was decided.

    But these experience have left a bitter taste in my mouth and now I cannot trust any and my wife are pretty disappointed due to this. Anyway if i dont go for HL then its toyota's loss ( not that they care ) but nevertheless they may lose a buyer.
  • gwkisergwkiser Posts: 326
    Sxsaha, obviously you like the HL because you were willing to persue the price you wanted to pay. I say buy the thing and enjoy it. (FWIW, our dealer tried to pass off our with a single play CD unit instead of the 6 CD changer. ) It really is worth whatever headaches you have to go through to get it. Just stick to your criteria and keep an eye on the figures in the final paperwork. .
  • novice11novice11 Posts: 6
    My family purchases a HL Limited V6 in March. Two weeks into driving we kept hearing a clicking noise from the left rear wheel well area. Sounded like a piece of metal strap lapping against the inside of the fender well.

    Took it to the dealer, and after a week, they said it was fixed. They actually had to strip out the entire rear cargo area down to the metal and then re-weld the inner fender. Claimed the Unibody construction had not been properly welded! Just what a new owner would want to hear.

    Picked up vehicle and noticed same noise, now worse and also coming from the right side as well. Put vehicle back in dealership. Contacted Gulf States Toyota in Houston, Texas. People spoke with were extremely nice and understanding of concerns of the car being re-welded. Said they would be in touch with me in 2 days. Once I walked out the door, never heard another word from them. Even after calling and leaving a message. Oh well.

    Vehicle again repaired this time by disassembling the rear struts, putting in new rubber gaskets, and greasing the mounts. Another week in shop. Claimed another HL had came in with similar problem and was able to diagnose both vehicles problems!

    Anyone else hear of this.
  • frenzslfrenzsl Posts: 1
    Anyone bought a HL 4X4 LL V6 in the Chicago area or south of Chicago for $500 over invoice? Please give me the dealer name--I am in the market to purchase. Thanks
  • gwkisergwkiser Posts: 326
    Yikes, sorry to hear about the rewelding. That's frightning! I don't know that I would have let them fix it for me. "GIVE ME A NEW HL!!!" But then, my wife tells me I tend to overreact!!!!

    Regarding the rubber gaskets on the struts, yes, I have heard of this. This particular problem was a problem on some Avalons (like my '97) except on the front. The noise was a muffled thump, which happened when going over speed bumps, etc. The dealer never really eliminated it completely, but did reduce the noise significantly. BTW, I think I'm beginning to hear a similar noise from the front right of our HL as we speak. I'll be monitoring it to see if it develops more. Perhaps it's normal for this model. Good luck with GST. I haven't had to deal with them yet and hope I never do. Having to deal with one of their dealers is trying enough. Just hold your ground and stay informed via resources like Edmund's and Yahoo Clubs.
This discussion has been closed.