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Toyota Highlander Maintenance and Repair



  • garywigarywi Posts: 54
    Hi Tom,

    I had an appt with a Toyota field rep for next week, but I have to travel unexpectedly for business. My appt will be early Feb.

    I would say keep getting the word out on the problem. There is no reason a $31K Toyota should vibrate through the steering wheel. Not only is it bothersome as these vehicals are of the "highest" quality, but vibration kills or slowly breaks down electrical components. My entire steering column vibrates. What will that do long term to all the components in that steering column?

  • tomdtomd Posts: 87
    It's frustrating because I basically like the vehicle a lot. I'm impressed with the overall build quality and I like the way it handles and I am very impressed with the pep of the engine. It's just too bad that there is an element of refinement that is missing from the drivetrain that is present in the Camry and ES330. It's almost like they deliberately tuned the engine and exhaust to feel and sound more like a truck. Maybe the redesign due out this spring will address these issues.

    BTW, I don't know if I asked you this before but is your's slow to warm up as indicated by the temp guage?
  • matthewmatthew Posts: 11
    I was just told by the dealer that the part is now on back-order. Gee, I wonder if it is on back-order because so many replacement are going on!
  • Hi,

    I was reading your issue with your 07 Highlander. I have the exact same problem with mine. It is awful - I have a 2002 highlander and it drives better than my 07. I have taken it into Toyota 4 times now, they replaced the exhaust system (which did not stop the vibration) and only 1 out of 5 mechanics said they could feel the vibration. I am going up the ranks until this gets resolved. As you said a vehicle that costs this much should not vibrate at all. Mine is at the 2000 RPM mark also. I have a District Service Representative that is supposed to call me by Monday or Tuesday. Have you had any luck on yours - if so please tell me what you have found out so I can get mine fixed. I told Toyota I don't even want the vehicle. That's how bothersome it is. Thanks for any feedback you can give.
  • matthewmatthew Posts: 11
    I am not sure we had the same problem. We did not have a vibration, it was an erratic dull klunk sound coming from the steering column. Toyota ended up replacing steering shaft [non-permissible content removed]'y. The noise seems to have disappeared.
  • tomdtomd Posts: 87
    My 07 V6 does the same thing. The interesting thing is that it is not consistent. Sometimes it is bad and other times it is barely noticable. However, the other day I was in highway traffic where I was holding a steady 55 to 60 and on small grades, I was really bad. This speed corresponds to about 2000 RPM. I am wondering if there is a problem with either a sensor of fuel injectors. The engine in general seems to sound different every time I drive it. Sometimes it sounds quite refined similar to my '99 ES300 and other times it sounds pretty loud and crude with a rough, boomy exhaust sound when idling. It is especially crude and loud when the engine is cold and it is dismally slow to warm up. My wife's V6 3.0L Mazda Tribute warms up twice as fast. I'm sorry I didn't at least drive the RX350 to see if it is quieter. It's a shame that Toyota seems to have dropped the ball here because basically I love the car. It it just the rights size for me, not too big. It is very comfortable and has really good power, very responsive.
  • garywigarywi Posts: 54
    I go back to the dealer on 2/15 for a list of issues including vibration in the steering column. I have an appt with the field service rep. I am sick to my stomach over this 07. I wish someone would come in the night and take it from my driveway. Most of my list relates to this aweful transmission. I have added one more thing that just started. When I pull up into the driveway, and put the trans in park, it "thuds" out of gear. Keep in touch with how yours goes. Gary
  • My 05 Highlander Ltd with 6 JBL Speakers seems to ocassionally generate an intermittent tweaking noise when the radio is on (similar to interference on a speaker phone when one places a blackberry/cellphone near the unit)under no specific conditions/varied base&treble and different stations and appears to be focused on the rear right speaker. I have taken the car 3 times to the car dealership since the noise appears to come from the rear right speaker and they have not been able to replicate the issue. The dealer has said that they will not replace the rear right speaker since they were unable to replicate the problem. I do not have any electonics/phones mounted around the radio or the speakers. I am wondering if anyone has a solution since I suggested there may be faulty wiring or insufficient insulation but the technician assured me neither is the case. Would appreciate some help. Thanks
  • Please let me know how your appointment goes. I am waiting on a district service rep to contact me - it was supposed to be today by 5:00 but did not happen. I feel the same way you do - I don't want the vehicle. This is my 3rd Toyota and never had an issue until now. Unbelievable.
  • Hey there-

    Believe it or not, this may be a transmission issue. A problem with one of the shift modulators will cause what is called a 'shudder'. This shudder is almost always felt by the driver through the steering column/steering wheel and will often viberate enough to cause keys in the ignition to jingle. Often the diagnosis can be made by manipulating the speeds and RPM's to cause the transmission to shift in and out of specific gears and feeling for the shudder. Shudders are usually more noticable when the transmission is hot. The shudder could also be the overdrive shift modulator and that can be diagnosed by disengaging the overdrive and checking for shudder in the method mentioned above.

    I don't know if this is your problem or if this helps, but I thought I would mention it. I don't have alot of experience working on Toyota's, but a good bit on other products from Japan.

  • ggurr54ggurr54 Posts: 30
    if your steering wheel vibrates check your tires. It sounds like you may have tread separation. This should be checked immediately
  • garywigarywi Posts: 54
    This vibration happens in every gear between 1900-2000 rpm. This is engine vibration as a result of poor dampening, either by poor engine mounts or through the steering rack, in my opinion. Gary
  • Thank you for your input. I am noting all inputs so I can maybe jog something in Toyota's mind of what would cause this. I've taken the vehicle into the Toyota dealership 4 times so far, so today I contacted Toyota Corporation and I'm supposed to get an appointment with a factory representative. I'm hoping this can be fixed because it is an awful driving experience. Thanks again!
  • The original post indicated that the viberation was RPM related and not MPH related. Tire/balance/alignment issues are usually MPH related. RPM/gear viberations (AKA SHUDDER) are almost always tranny issues. Tread seperation is fairly obvious and extremely rare, even on factory tires. I probably does warrant a quick check, but odds are that this is tranny/drive train related.

  • tomdtomd Posts: 87
    I agree with garywi. I think it is actually a vibration problem. It is not a shudder when the tranny is shifting. If you hold the RPM steady at about 2K, especially under some load, in any gear, like going up an incline, it feels and sounds like an out of balance resonance. It's kind of how a manual tranny would feel when going too slow for a particular gear.

    Does anyone know if the motor mounts on the Highlanders are actively controlled? I seem to remember reading somewhere that when they put the 3.3L and 5-sp into it in 2004, they went to active mounts but I may be wrong. If they are, could they be malfunctioning?

    The strange thing is that it is not consistent. Sometimes it is hardly noticable. That's why I wonder if it could be:

    1. Injectors malfucntioning
    2. Intermittent bad sensor causing incorrect fuel mixture and/or ignition timing?
    3. Malfunctioning VVT-i
    4. Spark problem due to bad coil, wire, etc.

    To go along with this, the idle is often rough and boomy sounding - don't know if there is any relation.

    With several of us having this problem, there is something generic going on.

    Is is possible that when they tweaked the engine/tranny control software to get rid of the tranny hesitation that this problems was introduced as an unintended side effect?
  • garywigarywi Posts: 54

    Let's keep in touch. I am pressing Toyota for acknowledgement. I want them to say, yes, I see the problem, instead of the vehicle is performing as designed.

    Also, does anyone know of one of these performance hand held's that allow you to change the shiftpoints of the transmission. I see them all for US trucks and some rice rockets. I would love to change the RPM points of when this tranny shifts into higher gears. To me, it's shifting up to 5th gear way, way to early.

  • It is impossible for me to diagnose without seeing/driving the vehicle. Unfortunately it has been my experience over the past 9 years that complaints regarding steering column viberation (if not front end related) are drive train related. Shift modulators are not purely RPM sensitive, and if on an incline with speed drop the sensor can initiate or attempt to inidiate a downshift with is almost undiscernable to the driver.

    I'm sure that Toyota will step up and get tot he bottom of this. Please post the ultimate resolution - my money is stil on tranny/drivetrain.

  • tomdtomd Posts: 87

    I agree about the shift points. For me, even though I can feel a slight vibration at 2K in any gear, the most noticable is on the highway in 5th gear where 2K corresponds to about 60 MPH. It does feel somewhat like the engine is laboring right a that point, contributing to the vibration. I wonder if with the 5 speed, is it possible that 5th gear drops the RPM's lower than overdrive did with the 4 speed at a given speed? If so, this might be making the problem worse.
    Just a thought.
  • I was wondering if any other Highlander owners experienced this malfunction. My temperature control seems to have a large dead spot. When I spoke to the parts counter I was informed this was a $700+ part. This has to be just a simple rheostat. Any help would be appreciated.
  • Gary,

    Where are you located? I live near Raleigh, NC. I have contacted Toyota Corporation - this seems to be the best bet. They are working on setting up an appointment for me with a factory representative. The customer service person I spoke with said she did not feel that the district service representative was the answer - That a factory representative would be. This made me think they have had many complaints. Please contact Toyota Corporation if you haven't at 1-800-331-4331. We need to get as many cases documented as possible to get them to fix this.
  • robnaorobnao Posts: 29
    I have a 2002 limited and the drivers side sun visor recently started to fall down into the line of sight, it would not stay in the up position. My wife normally drives this vehicle and she uses the visor every day. When I called the dealer here in Hawaii I was quoted over $700 for a new visor! I realize there is a "home link" garage door opener and a vanity mirror in it and it is leather wrapped, but over $700 for a sun visor!!! I have the platinum extended warranty, but they are saying this item is not covered because it is not in the "covered" section of the warranty, but it is not in the "excluded" section either. Anyone have any suggestions?
    By the way, this is only the second problem I have ever had with this vehicle, the first was an idle sensor.
  • jrfierojrfiero Posts: 123
    Not that it answers your questions, but my 2001 had that problem almost immediately, and Toyota replaced it no questions asked. I'd keep on the warranty company.
  • edhedh Posts: 246
    design defects (not enought pre deliver testing-)
    back up lights are really dim due to poor lense design
    and remote key fob springs are weak- put it in your pocket with other keys and it goes off
  • tixtix Posts: 27
    Good luck. My SUNROOF broke, in the open position and they want to charge me $1,400 to fix, when the sunroof purchase option is only $900. I was only a couple thousand miles out of warrenty too.
  • tixtix Posts: 27
    Good luck. My SUNROOF broke, in the open position and they want to charge me $1,400 to fix, when the sunroof purchase option is only $900. I was only a couple thousand miles out of warranty too.
  • check posting #3853
  • Part of the problem with the back-up lights seems to be the tinted glass in the rear. Brighter bulbs would help a good bit.
  • garywigarywi Posts: 54
    OK, My appt is on 2/15 with a "field service rep"? What is a factory rep?
  • When I called Toyota Corporation and spoke with a customer service representative and explained my situation - I told her that the dealership was going to contact a district field service representative and she said that I would probably need to deal with the factory representative. The factory representative deals more closely with the production line of the vehicles - the field service representative deals with the service departments. The factory representative has asked me to go drive another highlander at the dealership to see if it feels the same way. I'm sure it probably does because I feel this issue is on all the vehicles. Anyway, they said they would have the factory rep come to the dealership after I drive another one and they would try to make me happy one way or another. I'm hoping for some good luck because I am so discouraged by the hoops I've had to go through.
  • eddieeeddiee Posts: 25
    Same thing happened to my 2002. It was replaced under (3/36K) warranty. $500 just for the part. This must be a known problem. I would push for extended warranty coverage. Since then I never pull mine down completely, to try to "save it". Others have suggested trying to "gum up" the piece that rotates.
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