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Toyota Highlander Maintenance and Repair



  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    Have you been towing anything? I wouldn't expect the fluid to show any signs of being burnt if not. I'd get a 2nd opinion.
  • tomdtomd Posts: 87
    Gary, I was wondering if you still get the vibration at 2000 RPM? I found something interesting. It seems to be much worse when the car has been out in the very cold for a long time. The other day after having it a a fairly warm gargage all night, I went on a fairly long trip to the airport and it was running like a top. Could hardly notice any vib. at all. I really enjoyed the drive. However, after sitting outside all day at work yesterday with the temp. in the low teens, the vibration on the way home was awful. I don't know if it might be a motor mount issue or just the combination of the air/fuel mixture and ignition timing based on input sensor data causing this vibration. It is definitely RPM related and not speed related since it always does it at 2000 RPM at various speeds in any gear. I know that ajdjezio couldn't get the rep to admit that there was a problem so he traded his in on a Honda Pilot and I'm sure that if I bring it into the dealer, they are going to say that either they don't feel it or that it is normal. I don't think Toyota is going to put any engineering resources on this vintage Highlander unless it is a safety issue since the new one is coming out this summer. Anyway, when the car is running good, I like it a lot but it is really strange how it seems to change day to day. Even engine noise and engine coarseness changes. Very frustrating. I will interested in seeing if the 2008 is much better.
  • epaluchepaluch Posts: 6
    Nope, no towing. Very easy driving only. Thanks for the input. Confirms what I was thinking.....
  • jrfierojrfiero Posts: 123
    I took my 2001 V6 AWD Ltd in for its annual safety/emissions inspection at 55,000 miles, and the inspector noted I need new brakes all around. He didn't fail me, but said they wouldn't last a year and recommended doing a brake job sooner rather than later.
    What have your experiences been?
  • mcmmcm Posts: 11
    Hi Jonas,

    I also have a 2001 V6 Limited AWD and just had the brakes done last summer at about 55K miles. I didnt complain as all I have had done was replace tires at 35K as well as wiper. Oxygen sensor failed at 58K but nothing else in 6 years. Still have orifinal battery as well!

  • jrfierojrfiero Posts: 123
    Mike -
    Good point about the battery, mine's original also. I was going to replace it preventatively before the winter, but didn't get around to it.

  • toyotagaltoyotagal Posts: 215
    I was wondering about the tires since when I asked the salesman he said something about them either installing Goodyears or Michelins but I had no choice. And he did say that they were "soft" tires. In my opinion something that is one cheap and to sell vehicles based upon a nice "soft" ride.

    When I get replacement tires they always last a minimum of 65K.

    It is too bad that we can't have an "option" as to the tires we get on new Toyotas.

    My old Camry got only 20K on its tires and again the replacement tires went over 65K.
  • mcmmcm Posts: 11
    The tires that they provided were junk and it was tough to stretch them to 30k miles. They were the OEM BF Goodrich's (forgot which ones) but they are actually designated as passenger car tires. I went for the Micehlin LTX M/S with a 75 aspect ratio rather than the 70 as recommended by Toyota so I could use the "light truck" tire. They give a great ride, look brand new, and will never puncture given my city driving (or even light off road). Im in Wash, DC and they have been great in nasty weather. Only problem is that the larger tires give inaccurate mileage etc reading as they are one size larger.
  • mcmmcm Posts: 11
    As I almost begged them to do the brakes finally I'll probably do the same preventative replacement for the battery ahead of winter '07/'08. I'll let you know if it dies earlier to save you the pain :)
  • garywigarywi Posts: 54
    The Highlander is to hard and too stressful to drive. The transmission in the 2005-2007 Highlander is a big defect. Shifting problems, wrong gear for situation, hesitation, always in overdrive. I bought a 2007 Honda CRV. IT'S WONDERFUL. Its transmission not only adjusts for throttle position and speed, but also the grade of the road. Example, if you are traveling on a flat or slightly down hill road, the transmission will not just shift all the way through the gears like the obselete Highlander. The Honda will STAY in the appropriate gear, 3rd or 4th, until 5th is appropriate. IF you let off the gas on a hill, you get engine braking. Who would have thought?! The Honda is not in a rush to get to 5th and does not get stuck there like my old 2007 Highlander. Go read about it on the Honda web site. I encourage everyone I know to dump the Highlander as Toyota will do nothing about this.
  • billranbillran Posts: 113
    I am sorry to hear of your bad experience. I have had my 2005 Highlander V6 AWD for over two years and 35K miles and love it. Fast smooth acceleration and a quiet smooth ride and drivetrain that is as good as any I have driven, and better than most. I also have a couple coworkers and a neighbor with the same cars and I have talked to them a lot, and they have nothing but great things to say. In fact I have yet to meet anyone in real life who does not agree that the Highlander is one of the best mid sized SUVs available today.

    We liked ours so much we recently got a 2007 so both my wife and I would have these wonderful, safe cars to drive. Based on Toyota's published sales data there are way over two million Toyotas on the road with this exact drivetrain, and you will be hard pressed to find enough people with complaints to total even one tenth of one percent of those cars.

    I am happy you found a car that you like. We love our Highlander and would highly recommend it to anyone.
  • desertguydesertguy Posts: 730
    Same here. No problems in 25K miles. We still love it. Any Honda shoppers should read their boards before buying. They are far from trouble free.
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    Ditto here as well. I've got 3 Toyotas (Tundra, HL, and Tacoma) and a Honda CRV in the family, none have been perfect (but close).
  • toyotagaltoyotagal Posts: 215
    It is nice to hear that many folks love their Highlanders since I have an 07 on order. I was getting a little worried after reading all the sour grapes about the "shifting" problems. Since then I have interviewed at least 6 current Highlander owners with nothing approaching those problems either.

    IMO it must be a very, very small number of vehicles having this problem since the Highlander continues to be near the top of the Consumer Reports reliability reports.
  • goldstongoldston Posts: 110
    We have two Highlanders. One for the wife(2001) and one for me (2002). Both are 2WD Limited and both have been great automobiles.
  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 734
    In 2003, we bought a new 2003 Highlander V6 2WD and loved it so much, in mid 2005 we added a 2005 limited V6 2WD to the family. They have both been excellent vehicles, the 3.3L V6 and the 5 speed automatic in the '05 feel more powerful than the 3.0L 4spd automatic on the '03, and the '05 also gets better fuel mileage. They have both been virtualy perfect driving vehicles, with only 1 or 2 minor warranty issues combined. Quite possibly, 2 of the best vehicles we have ever owned, and I have owned over 45 vehicles in my 55 years.

    Before buying the 05, we read with great interest on these same forums, about hesitation issues that a repeated few were reporting. We test drove many, many examples of Toyota corp vehicles with this engine/trans combo, and never did experience the dreaded hestiation, so we bought it. I will say, that for a while, I half expected it to raise it's head, but.....It has been almost exactly 2 years, and about 30,000 miles of perfect performance.

    When the Camry Hybrid came out in June 06, I just had to have one, and we decided it made sense to replace the "older" of the Highlanders with a more fuel efficient vehicle, so we traded the 03 HL on the 07 Camry Hybrid.

    It does make more sense to have one utility vehicle, and one "economy" vehicle, (rather than 2 SUVs) altho, had it not been for the Camry Hybrid, I would probably made a new personal record for the time owned on a single vehicle with the 03... I suspect that the '05 will now take that title, as we love it, and have absolutely no reason to even consider it's replacement in the forseeable future.

    To stay more or less on topic, on the '05, we change the oil at 5,000 mile intervals, rotate the tires (5) at 7,500 miles, and I just changed the air filter. Other than that, i don't think the 05 has been to the dealer for a single warranty issue...and I am VERY picky... and sensitive to sounds, rattles, hesitations, surges, vibrations, etc.

    Sorry for long post.
  • toyotagaltoyotagal Posts: 215
    Don't be sorry for the long post. Lots of encouraging stuff for us potential Highlander buyers. I keep reading about the "hesitation" issues. However, I have test driven at least half a dozen Highlanders and cannot identify this as a problem. Nor can I get that issue from any current Highlander owners in my area.

    I am not saying that it doesn't exist, I can only say that it is not in my actual experience either test driving or discussing the issue with Highlander owners.
  • desertguydesertguy Posts: 730
    Remember, people with problems tend to post on these boards. Owners with no problems don't. The vast silent majority is out here. You are making the right decision. Just test drive the actual car you are buying and don't take it off the lot until it is to your satisfaction.
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,783

    The observation that "Whingers post, happy folk keep their mouths shut" seems apt. That said, I had some minor issues with the shift points for the trasnmission in my 2005 Klugerr (Highlander). Problem was largely fixed by a Flash of the ECU to amend trasnmission shift points. However, shifting can be a bit rough as a consequence of driving patterns. The transmission control is adaptive and responds to recent driving patterns. When the problem has cropped up, I have found that very rapid acceleration / deceleration through three cycles solves any transmission shift issues.

    Now having mentioned this, I responded to one poster explaining the remedy and that it was a consequence of his recent driving pattern. His immediate response was to interpret it as confirmation of his view that the vehicle was defective. Reminds me of onw mechanic who assured me that the one part he could not fix was the nut behind the wheel!


  • edhedh Posts: 246
    where is there any written mention of a transmission being adaptive?
    I think thats an urban myth
    How does thst work in a rental car fleet?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The way it works....

    All individual driver "learned" techniques, traits, driving styles, are ERASED each and EVERY time you shut the engine off.

    The system starts learning driver adaptive techniques as soon as you start the vehicle in motion, within a fairly short time it will have you "sorted" into one of four categories and within ~4 minutes you will be refined into one of sixteen categories. Thereafer it keeps only a three minute history upon which to "bin" your driving style. So it will (re)learn as you go, change your driving style on the go, it will adapt.
  • toyotagaltoyotagal Posts: 215
    Finally something that makes sense. I kept seeing all these posts noting that the Highlander adapted to only the "primary" driver. Not to any driver withing a few minutes.

    Hence it was beginning to seem that a Highlander would only operate at its best performance when the "Primary" Driver was operating it.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The reason the dealers service personel are confused is becuase there are two types of adaptive "learning" involved. For instance prior to DBW the engine ECU had to "learn" the proper control voltage for the idle air bypass control solenoid. Of course it would then remember that indefinitely as long as it had battery power.

    There are literally dozens of engine and transaxle operational parameters like that it must learn and remember indefinitely.

    But not unique driver parameters.
  • tixtix Posts: 27
    All I have to say is just wait until your Highlanders have more miles on them. Thats when the trouble begins. I have a 2004 with over 50,000 and more and more issues keep coming up. I know I am not alone. Ask any auto repair shop about the issues that Toyota is experiencing. If a mechanic won't buy one, that says something!
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    I'm already past that, still no problems. Maybe you need a new mechanic.
  • toyotagaltoyotagal Posts: 215
    I am sorry to hear that you had troubles with your Highlander but Consumer Reports continues to rate the Highlander as among the most reliable of vehicles in its class. And this is after responses from thousands of vehicle owners.

    The truth be known there isn't a single vehicle made on the road with no problems for that model. But I will continue to pursue the ones with the least problems based upon surveys of thousands of owners.
  • gasman1gasman1 Posts: 321
    Sorry for your troubles, but we traded our last HL with almost 6oK trouble-free miles on it. Our current HL has almost 13K trouble-free miles. We were conditioned to warranty issues as normal until we started buying Toyota vehicles. Our Matrix has 37K is like our 3 HLs have been and has only been in for scheduled maintenance.
  • ledyardledyard Posts: 2
    I'm glad to hear you've had good luck with your HL. I've had an '06 Avalon for 18 months; guess I purchased one of the first few...mine has been in the shop 7 times with everything from leather seats ripping, ABS problems, wheel assembly being replaced, to now, the steering column has to be replaced. Needless to say, I'm looking at purchasing a Highlander, but a wee bit skeptic on Toyota. I know Toyota makes a good product, unfortunantely, I was not lucky enough to get one.
  • gasman1gasman1 Posts: 321
    Our salesman owns two Avalon's and pushed us to try one last year when we bought the '06 HL. We didn't like it ONE bit. My brother-n-law and his wife purchased an Avalon and loved it. I won't try to defend Toyota with the problems that you've had (and shouldn't have had).

    If I were you, I'd approach the salesman... "I like you and I like Toyota, but I don't like the Avalon that I purchased..." If you have a great dealership (like I do), they will bend over backwards to make you a super deal. If they try to steal everything you have, then it's time to find another dealership. Like I said, you should not have those problems on their flagship model and if you did, the dealer should be all over making you happy. Best of luck!
  • nifty56nifty56 Posts: 279
    For all those who love their HL and have 0 problems why are you here in the Repair - Maintenance board? If I had no problems I wouldn't waste my time being here, just curious. I am here as I am thinking of a purchase but so far its a no go. Tested a demo and didn't like the shifting, hestitation etc. The Acadia is by far better than the HL, even the new Mazda CX9 would be a better buy. The Mazda also has some shifting problems I may be able to put up with, but not as bad as the HL. :sick: Good luck to all you HL lovers...
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