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Toyota Highlander Maintenance and Repair



  • mckeownmckeown Posts: 165
    I'll second the Geo H/T S 051's. My wifes 04 Toyo's lasted 40K. Put these on back in October and they have been great. We live in Northern NJ and have Mountains and many 2 lane roads. These have been great.
    Looked at Tire Rack, but back in Sept when I ordered these, Discount Tire had them for $72 with a $50 rebate and free shipping. I have used Tire Rack since 1985, before the internet and ordered from ad's in Car & Driver, but with free shipping and the $50 back, they were $59.50 shipped back in Sept. Today Discount tire is $89 free shipping, and Tire Rack is $82 + $36 shipping(to NJ) ($91 per tire shipped).
    End of my $.02
  • Thank you very much for your feedback. My main objective at this point is to improve gas mileage, especially with our ever escalating fuel costs. The free flowing muffler sounds like this could also help in this respect and I'll definitely investigate this further.

    I also added a "Tornado" air insert and since then the most I got is 32.1 mpg and my average is 27.5 (i.e. I do a lot of city driving vs. Hwy). Do you or anyone else in the forum here have any experience with the Tornado insert?

    I'm always looking for economical ways of improving mileage and would welcome any comments in this respect.

    Thanks again, Marcel
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    I would respectfully suggest you ditch the K&N and the Tornado, which have been extensively tested and found of no measurable value (except the K&N will allow you to clean the filter rather than replace it as with OEM filters) and go back to either stock air filters or investigate a Cold Air Intake AND a free-flow exhaust system at the same time. The intake-engine-exhaust are like one big pipe. No sense messing with one end if you aren't going to do something to the other end.

    Also you can be sure not to use "defrost" mode excessively as this activates your AC---also put a few more pounds of air in your tires (just a few), check your wheel alignment and consider synthetic oil. All of these can give you some very modest increases in MPG.

    Another concern of mine about oil-type air filter is how they might place debris on the MAF sensor.

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  • desertguydesertguy Posts: 730
    I would respectfully disagree with you regarding the K&N filter. There have been a myriad of tests that show the increase in HP and mileage. While not great, it is still an increase for a reasonable price. It will pay for itself by being the only air filter your car will ever need.

    As for the Tornado, it has been extensively tested as well and has been proved to do nothing. More distressing is that I now see the knowledgeable Sam Memmolo from Two Guys Garage hawking this thing. I have lost a lot of respect for him as he knows better. Anything for a buck huh!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    Never saw a credible test yet to validate K&N claims, but if you see one, post it please! New info always welcome.

    Trick is to make sure that something ELSE wasn't also done to the vehicle prior to dyno testing. Even if you modify the air box that the K&N drops into, that can give you maybe 2 HP at very high rpm. Worth the trouble? Well it's your dime.

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  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The only valid test would be to remove any and all intake filters, run a dyno test, install the K&N, run a dyno test, install the OEM filter, etc.

    If there is any restriction to airflow at it will only be at WOT and max engine RPM, Maximum intake airflow. Just how often is your engine in that range of operation?

    I'd be willing to bet that the difference between no filter at all and the OEM filer is less that 10%. That means that the K&N can only increase HP by about 5% and then only at WOT and maximum engine RPM.

    So on the average the K&N is worthless for anything except the racing venue.
  • tsotsitsotsi Posts: 98
    I believe part of the confusion about the value of K&N filters to fuel economy comes from the different products K&N offers. They also sell intake systems that flow air more freely than the stock systems, which are designed to be quiet enough to be unobtrusive. Naturally, the K&M intake systems use K&N filters. It always amazes me that so many people believe that Toyota engineers (or car engineers in general) don't know how to make efficient intake and exhaust systems. They also know about the trade-offs.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "....flow air more freely....."

    Except for something called an intake butterfly valve which is the major restriction 99.99% of the time. And then downstream of that you have the intake valves. Aren't those closed 75% of the time?

    And how many of you have ever heard the intake NOISE from an unrestricted intake path? Maybe pleasent during brief WOT throttle periods, especially for boy-racer personality types, but for most of us a quiet engine compartment is more, MUCH more, desireable.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "....flow air more freely....."

    Except for something called an intake butterfly valve which is the major restriction 99.99% of the time. And then downstream of that you have the intake valves. Aren't those fully closed 75% of the time and only fully open for maybe 3-5% of the time?

    And how many of you have ever heard the intake NOISE from an unrestricted intake path? Maybe pleasant during brief WOT throttle periods, especially for boy-racer personality types, but for most of us a quiet engine compartment is more, MUCH more, desirable.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,338
    let's get back to Highlanders....there are topics on K&N that we can participate in, so hopefully some of you will join in over there as well:

    K&N Filter Topic

    Now, back to Toyota!

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  • rushmerushme Posts: 22
    We have been trying to decide if we want a Highlander for months now. Decided to check out the new Rav 4 before making our choice. We like the maturity of the Highlander better, and the way the Rav's rear door opens w/ the ugly tire on the back doesn't help it out...

    I do have a few Highlander concerns and perhaps should be posting this elsewhere?

    1) Do the 05s and 06s have paint that chips as easily as previous years? After going back and reading old posts about the paint, it really seems to be a problem. I don't want to get a new black vehicle, then have half the paint chip off!!

    2) Will the Highlander be likely to depreciate more than usual after the redesign later in the year? If we go with a 4 cyl, will it be difficult to sell after they become obsolete later this year? Would getting a 3rd row be helpful for resale 5 years from now?

    Thanks in advance!!
  • junepugjunepug Posts: 161
    We have a 2003 Highlander V6 silver with 35,000 miles and have experienced no paint chips. The finish looks the same as the day I drove it home. My driving is a mix of city and expressway.
  • I have a 05 V6 in Silver and have driven it about 15000 miles with no chips that I can see. The Silver paint seems as hard as any I have owned. I can't tell you about the black though. We love ours, no complaints at all. Good luck!
  • There's a local dealership that has a 2002 Highlander with 107,000 miles on it. (172,000 kilometers). If I was going to purchase it what should I watch out for and what particular tests could I have my mechanic perform to confirm that I wasn’t going to run into expensive repairs. Also do you know of any websites that have good advice for buying high mileage vehicles?

  • greg27greg27 Posts: 1
    Highlander 06, steering noise when the car is cold. Once warmed up the noise disappears. Please advise if it is normal
  • lgjavalgjava Posts: 48
    I have a 2003 millenium silver that has no paint chips after almost 3 years. But then again my car is rather atypical in that it's gray in front and silver in the rear! The only paint problems I've had with my ersatz paint job is the rear hatchback has a blister coming off near the one rear wiper. On the other hand I have swirls of faded white clear coat that's hand sized on the front quarters over the front wheels and too on the rear bumper. I've managed to cover some up with wax, but not too successfully. Oh yeah, my car was bought BRAND NEW.
  • rushmerushme Posts: 22
    Thanks to those who posted about paint. If anyone else has had paint problems please keep posting as I won't be buying immediately! I think I would be afraid to go through the car wash if there were too many people with problems.

    Glad to hear several of you have had no problems with the silver. Sorry to lgjava, blistering paint on an expensive vehicle, such as this, is unacceptable.

    Thanks again,
  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 734
    I have an 03 Highlander and an 05 Highlander, both bought new. The 03 is Gold, and the 05 Red. The 03, which has about 30,000 miles, has 2 small chips on the leading edge of the hood, which were direct hits from flying road rocks, one of which hit the windshield after the hood, leaving yet another small crater. (I heard it hit the hood then saw it hit the WS.) Oh the hazards of AZ roads... That's why we have zero deduct. insurance on our auto glass in AZ. The 05, almost a year old, has no chips, after about 15,000 miles, and it is now used for all of our road trips. opinion? A new car is only new while on the dealers lot. Buy that Highlander...enjoy it, and don't worry too much about chipping paint, I bet it's no different than any other new cars paint in respect chippin g from road debris. And I seriously doubt that any changes were made in the paint or it's application since this model was created in 2001. Just MHO.
  • Recently, when my 1 year old '05 4-Cyl H1 with 25,000 km., hits the slightest bump there is a faint but discernible external noise: from the passenger side/under hood. Reminds me of the squeak, squeak, squeak' noise that a pet hamster's wheel makes as its turning.
    Dealer has (1) replaced the serpentine belt and (2) installed updated belt tensioner as per Toyota TSB....still the squeak.
    Help please.
  • mckeownmckeown Posts: 165
    My wife had something like that on her 04. Dealer never found it. I finally did. I put a stickey piece of foam, like a self adhesive weatherstripping, under the hood prop rod. When it sits in it's holder, it vibrates just enought to squeek or sound like a loose rod against the inner fender. So I put foam between the radiator support and the rod when it's clipped in place.
    Noise gone for over 2 years now.
  • Have an '01 gold HL and am happy to say haven't had any paint problems so far.
  • tbltbl Posts: 1
    Can someone provide a how to for changing the spark plugs on a 2002 Toyota highlander?

    It looks like the intake manifold has to be removed, is this the case?

  • Here are my 2004 HL LTD experiences. Take them for what their worth.
    Replaced front differential( 2 weeks out of service)
    replaced RF wheel bearing ( 1 day)
    replaced navigation display which controls nav /radio a/c etc.(2 Days)
    in shop right now replacing right strut and unknown steering part due to front end noise (2 days)??
    Rear brakes? (No, I always release parking brake ) went in <20K miles
    Transmission is mushy
    Brakes are mushy
    All in 2 years and 24k miles.
    Heaven help out of warranty repairs.
    I have owned thirty vehicles during my life.
    This without question is the worst vehicle breakdown/ repair rate I have ever seen.
    Anybody interested in a loaded 2004 H/L , Soon to be all new.
  • FYI fkohn
    I have my 04 highlander in the shop. Service manager said that they would fix my steering issue which sounds like yours. He said there was a TSB on it now and could not get parts as over 300 in backorder. Now looking @ March for parts replacement! Sounds like they do have a problem. Hope this helps
  • Man that sounds almost as bad as my Dad's '73 Vega (most unreliable vehicle ever to leave detroit; on the first day he drove it home it had not one, but 2 problems; it was all downhill after that). In CA they have a lemon law; not sure if they have one in NY.
  • jrhflajrhfla Posts: 13
    Saga update: I took my 04 HL into my Toyota dealer today for visit # 2 armed with the posting responses from this owners' forum. I had a new service writer who seemed very diligent.

    Bad news. Worse news. Worst news.

    Bad news: The problem is a loose steering column shaft assembly. It's "OK" for now. Just irritating to deal with every day. It will eventually need replacement.

    Worse news: The part will cost $240 plus labor (all day) plus a wheel alignment. Estimate: $500.

    Worst news: It's not covered by the 6 year/60,000 mile drive train warranty - only by the 3 year/30,000 mile warranty. My car has 50,000 miles on it now.

    I bought a Toyota for "quality of product". This is a very major disappointment. I would expect this kind of failure from the Big 3 but not Toyota.

    It looks like I'm stuck paying for this repair unless anyone can suggest a "Plan B".

    Thanks for the help. :(
  • jrhflajrhfla Posts: 13
    For what it's worth....I had a similar problem on a GM car I owned a few years ago. The squeak turned out to be caused by a dried out rubber-like bushing or gromet at the top of a McPherson strut. The bushing was replaced and the squeak stopped. A shot in the dark....
  • The strut is the part that is on national back order
    Claims the part will be in this week.
    Really concerned with the longevity of this vehicle.
    Unfortunately I like the HL and have a very good dealer, so my tendency is to ride a little longer.
  • edhedh Posts: 246
    what is the tsb number for the steering column creak fix???
  • bdymentbdyment Posts: 569
    Yes. The tsb number would be great to have. I also have the creaking noise in the steering column. Very annoying.
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