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Toyota Highlander Maintenance and Repair



  • robsisrobsis Posts: 162
    ABS actually only leaves 'impending' skid marks. It is the small amount of rubber left on the road just as the wheel stops spinning and before the ABS reacts to 'unlock' the wheel to allow for rotation. These marks are visible within a short time of occurring; however, can be blown away by a strong wind, or washed away by rain. They can also go away just by people driving and walking over them. To actually determine a more accurate speed based upon skid, impending skidmarks need to be used if available. Many times by the time a trained officer arrived on a scene, these were gone. If you found them, they looked like a series of small marks on the road, usually in a straight line, ending at or near the impact point. A way to look for them is to get low on the ground with a decent source of light (it was easier for me to find them at night as I had a great portable spotlight...the sun didn't always cooperate!)

    My training was courtesy of the California Highway Patrol and Northwest Traffic Institute. We tested several vehicles where we slammed on the brakes and came to a complete stop with both ABS active and inactive. There were some interesting results that none of us expected. ABS was designed to allow control during braking and just the nature of the beast produced slightly longer stopping distances in controlled dry situations (that is, a clean, dry surface devoid of debris). I remember a test with both a Corvette and a Mercedes. The Vette stopped almost 10 feet shorter from 70 MPH without ABS. The Mercedes, which had a better ABS system, was only a few feet longer with ABS; however, it was longer every time. Tires played a major role when things got wet or when the roadway had debris. Also, the ability of the driver to 'feel' the brakes and prevent lock-up. We put dirt or crushed rock on the track. We had a snow machine and also sprayed water on the track. The temp was too high, so we used a formula developed by the tire industry to 'create' ice by adding soap to water. The distances were closer in the snow; however, on our 'ice', the ABS ruled the day as the non-ABS vehicles basically went out of control every time. You could tell who the good test drivers were as they could control their stops better. They were, however, longer every time without ABS and the final point of rest was always a guess. The ABS, however, certainly did not totally rule on the 'ice' and only did really well when we put on tires designed to interact with a wet/icy environment.

    It was interesting when ABS first came out and people got into several rear-enders with these cars. They always had this puzzled look on their faces when I arrived and would exclaim that their ABS must've failed. They thought, as many still do today, that ABS will stop you faster, so they could keep driving fast in the rain or follow closer in heavy traffic at speed. They even thought that it would prevent their skidding on ice! Our tests, and others done by many of my colleagues, proved that was definitely not the case. I have always thought that car salesman kind of oversold ABS, at least initially and that the stories just kept being repeated. I even had drivers tell me that they could drive longer on a set of tires 'cause their car had ABS and that would compensate for the thinner tread!

    ABS is a great tool and one of an arsenal of safety features; however, your basic premise that ABS vehicles stop in a longer distance is correct. Throw in the variables of tire condition and roadway condition, and the difference gets lost.

    Long answer, I know; however, I hope I addressed your question.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Yes, and your answer is just as I suspected.

    Speaking of the salespersons over-selling, I think in most cases they were misleading the public. Unintentionally, since they hadn't a clue (as is with most salespersons) as to the technical details.

    If you read the owners manuals I think anyone would conclude that the manufacturers are now making a good attempt to correct the misunderstanding.

    In the meantime I am waiting impatiently for some bright automotive engineer to realize that if VSC were hooked up to ABS then ABS could be prevented from activating unless loss of directional control is impending.
  • Is anyone aware of a recurring problem with earlier highlanders concerning a severe mold and mildew smell within the interior? I have seen this problem referenced with older Sienna's and other Toyota vehicles.

    I have tried flushing the air intake with water and spraying can after can of lysol, plus baking powder placed on the carpet and nothing is helping.

    I have seen other references to needing to clean out the evaporator system with products such as BG?

    Toyota dealer has not returned my phone calls which is no surprise. I can't wait until the next Consumer Reports questionnaire so I can provide additional feedback on this problem.

    Have had a bad oil burning smell with the vehicle since the beginning and now it's equally smelling on the inside.

    Last time I buy a Toyota.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    just Toyota owners that are having mold and mildew problems. If you check the lincoln Aviator thread you will see that Ford just repurchased someone's car over this.

    Mold and mildew and instances of unexpected windshield fogging throughout the industry can be pretty much laid at the feet of a Japanese company by the name of NipponDenso, Denso US, in the US.

    Some manufacturers now provide a means of disabling the A/C indefinitely, Toyota and Lexus via a C-best option. In the past I avoided these problems by disconnecting the A/C compressor clutch during the cool or cold winter months when it is virtual useless and can actually be harmful.

    It also helps if you leave the windows down in the garage each night if you have used the A/C during the day.

    Google for: EED "Electronic evaporator dryer" for more detail and a possible long term solution.
  • bexbex Posts: 1
    Anyone else have this problem? I have a 2001 V6AWD and the symptom is that the "Temp" knob is stuck at 65 degrees! I am told that the whole Heat/Air Panel needs to be replaced - not just the switch for the knob - since it the is "auto" style heating system. It only has about 62K miles on it. Seems too soon for this to be happening??
  • Does anyone find the backup lights on an 2005 Highlander not bright enough? My back windows are tinted and yes my eyes arn't what they used to be either but that aside I find them almost useless. My Corrola lights shine with what seems to be twice the brightness. Does anyone know if the bulbs can be changed for brighter ones?

    Regards to all,

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    One of the very first things I do when taking delivery of a new vehicle is swap out the ~12 watt backup bulbs for halogen, 50 watt on the driver's side and 20 watt on the passenger side.
  • goldstongoldston Posts: 110
    If you don't me asking, where did you find the brighter replacement bulbs?
    I've never thought or knew that there were brighter bulbs available and I think this is a great idea.

    Best regards,

  • This forum is to search for fellow drivers who might have some advice. If Highlanders have a hesitation issue -- and some obviously do -- then let people talk. My relative's Highlander has what I think is dangerous hesitation. It seems that the dealer is in denial. Putting a muzzle on people doesn't help.

    I'm personally struck by how many people ARE complaining of hesitation issues -- and it gives some of us ammunition when going to a dealer.

    Case in point: a friend of mine has an Acura mdx. It had the transmission fail prematurely. The dealer wanted $3500. I did some research and pointed out to my friend that the mdx has had a problem with early tran. failures. He went to dealer with the information and was quietly told that, oh, gosh, Acura would cover most of his repair cost after all. :blush:
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,783
    Please direct comments on the hesitation issue to the specific board addressing them. On each occassion that the topic appears on these pages, the invective raised drives away many readers/posters. As a case in point, I avoid posting on this board because it is devalued by the lengthy rehashing of the same issue.

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Grapham, good idea, really good idea.

    Now, since it was your idea would it be okay if we made you reponsible for contacting all those with the hesitation symptom. All those newbies who have never been "here" yet and let them know that it's not appropreate to post questions on that particular subject on this thread.

    Going "first" to the most obvious thread is not PC.

    Or maybe the host can retitle the thread...

    "Do not post questions of engine/throttle hesitation here."
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,347
    We've been through this already. If a newbie comes in with a hesitation type post, please someone (or me if I see it first), direct them to the Engine Hesitation Forum.

    People who are regular posters in the Engine Hesitation Forum can invite newbies to that forum but should not be posting their problems here, as this is a general topic for the Highlander.

    So basically anyone who isn't a newbie, and who is posting lengthy messages about the Engine Hesitation Problem here, may have their posts removed, as per Host's best judgment on keeping the peace.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • A related issue was discussed in the Toyota Highlander Owners: Accessories & Modifications board a few months ago (starting with post 924) -- someone wanted to buy just the black plastic radio/AC front plate because it was weathered, but the dealership said they don't sell it separately, would have to buy a whole new radio/AC unit for ~$600 -- I checked in the service manual and sure enough there is only a part number for the entire unit. If you're technically inclined you could try opening it to see if it can be easily fixed or perhaps find a shop that will be willing to attempt this. Perhaps an autobody shop could help as they have access to national wholesalers of used parts pulled from totaled vehicles and thus you could get a replacement for reduced cost?
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
    To make it bit easier, I have provided a link at the top of the page for the discussion in Maintenance & Repair.

    Edmunds Manager UGC Click on my screen name to send a personal message. Need help navigating? Check out Getting Started in Edmunds Forums.
    Need help picking out a make/model, finding inventory, or advice on pricing? Talk to an Edmunds Car Shopping Advisor

  • pax1pax1 Posts: 1
    since i bought my 2004 highlander (v6-AWD), i never bothered to alter the locks when the engine is started. i dont think i ever got the manual. i always have to lock and open the door's button manually

    can anybody advise on how to change it to automatically set all door locks when engine is started? thanks
  • billranbillran Posts: 113
    Yes, Thank you.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,347
    Great Karen, that should make things easier for everyone. Good idea!

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    Karen, thank you, that is a good idea. :)

    However, I think there will still be some newbies who don't notice it and, thinking that this this is the place to post Highlander-related problems, will post about hesitaiton here. So, I hope everyone who hates this issue can be polite in directing them to the Engine Hesitation board.
  • I have the same problem, as do two other people I work with who own Highlanders. I had the same experience at the dealer, they called it "routine maintenance" and lubed it, which worked for a while, but now it's back. In poking around the last couple days, I think there was a TSB issued on this. Would be nice if there was a permanent fix.
  • Thanks West, hopefully the higher wattage doesn't melt the plastic.


  • edhedh Posts: 246
    I had the window noise TSB run- no effect!!!!!!!!!!!
    . they put on new rubber pieces- problem is still when full up, the window pulls away from the inside door rubber at the elbow level. noise comes in.
    I will take it back again.
  • edhedh Posts: 246
    there is no water control valve- Toyota left it out to save money. they use an air door- which does not work as well.
  • robsisrobsis Posts: 162
    Thnx for the info. It is nice to know in case I run into the problem later. I s this on all of the new toyotas?
  • lastarlastar Posts: 30
    I am considering a Sienna or Highlander V6 and wanted to hear from owners of both on their experience. I know the specs say they can tow up to around 3500 LB, but wanted to know if they have any engine or tranny problems over time.
  • desertguydesertguy Posts: 730
    If you get the tow prep package, you get an engine oil cooler, a transmission oil cooler, a power steering oil cooler, an upgraded radiator, and a 120 watt fan coupling. I would think these would go a long way toward easing any strain on the trans or engine.
  • lastarlastar Posts: 30
    I agree and appreciate your post, however I'd like to hear from owners who've been towing them for a few years of vacations.
  • edhedh Posts: 246
    I do not know - mine is an 04.
    In mild weather with heat control on full cold you still get about an 8 degree "add" of temp that is the outside air is heated that much- happens in summer too- ac has to overcome it.

    No water control valve tho - they should be but hard to retrofit one as the hoses are between back of engine and the firewall- I put one in an old american car but hoses were easy to get to on the fender inside
  • rugby65rugby65 Posts: 81
    My 2003 has same wind problem at drivers side door. My warranty is getting close to running out and I was planning on taking it in to see if they really could fix it.
    If they couldn't fix your's I doubt they could fix mine.......If you do take yours back to dealer and they resolve it please let us know.........
    I would really be up set if they screwed up the door panel and made it worse. It may be one of those things I'll have to live with.
  • edhedh Posts: 246
    odd about the wind noise - the made in Japan cars they say are better made-
    mine came badly mis aligned (gross front wheel wheel toe in) and with this wind noise.
    maybe they are slipping in Japan.
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