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Toyota Highlander Maintenance and Repair



  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706

    Passenger side rear wheel bearing ONLY plus over 100,000 miles.

    No correlation.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    For my first 50 years of driving, car ownership, I only replaced batteries after they had failed, definitively FAILED.

    No more. Nowadays with all of the computers and various electronic control components on board it is now too probable that during the "beginning to fail", later period of battery life, the marginal voltage will/might result in component failure.

    So, for me, any indication, even slight indication, of my battery entering its life's final phase and it get retired.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,571
    Interesting and it does seem to more common to read about electrical problems around the forums "cured" by a new battery. Maybe we'll see more secondary battery applications to provide more consistent standby juice to the electrical components.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    I guess after 5 1/2 years, the OE battery doesn't owe me anything. I'd rather replace it prematurely than take a chance on it failing somewhere that would require a tow. Hadn't even thought about the possible effects of a weak battery on all the electronics but that's a good point.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    At that price you can be sure you got re-refined engine oil, maybe even locally done...paper coffee filters.

    You think a Toyota dealer would use re-refined oil? I know they use NAPA filters instead of Toyota brand but I can't imagine they would use "used" oil since they have a warranty to protect.
  • I replaced my 2001 original battery this month with a WalMart Evermaxx South. The cost was about $75 and the battery got a fairly high rating in consumer reports.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    I plan to go with the Evermaxx North.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    You're assuming something detrimental would happen if re-refined oil were to be used. I wouldn't.

    The problem lies in the customer not being informed.
  • I have an '04 4-cylinder. Changing transmission fluid in a general maintenance brochure from my dealer is recommended every 30,000 miles. What does the owner's manual say?
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    What does the owner's manual say?

    I too have an 04 4 cyl HL, and the owner's manual says nothing about changing the transmission oil, ever, quite surprising IMO.

    Anyone know how easy this is to DIY?
  • It is easy to drain and change the ATF. Put a drain pan under car, remove the drain plug and let the old ATF drain out. This will drain about 1/3 of the ATF out of the transmission. Start the engine and let idle for not more than 1 minute, this will help pump some of the old ATF out of the torque converter, into the pan and out the drain.After you have drained all you can, put the drain plug back in tight. You have drained about 1/2 the fluid out of the transmission. Pour in 3 quarts of new ATF through the filler tube using a long skinny funnel. Start the engine, and check the ATF level, slowly add fluid until it reaches the full mark with engine running, parked on a level surface. Since this service changes 1/2 the fluid, I would suggest that you do this service every 30,000 miles or every 2 years, whichever comes first. This will prevent the ATF from becoming old and sludged.
    Good Luck,
    E.D. in Sunny Florida
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Not to very surprising given the dealer's need to continue to pay his kids college tuition, even in a recession.
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    Not to very surprising given the dealer's need to continue to pay his kids college tuition, even in a recession.

    I'll play devil's advocate here, why would I want or need to change the transmission fluid when the owner's manual does not say so. Tranny fluid does not break down like engine oil does, and I have never heard of Toyotas having transmission issues.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "....Why would I want or need..."

    A bit of a long story...

    At about 40,000 miles the ATF in my '01 F/awd RX300 appeared dirty, brownish, and smelled burned, the smell of a 1/4 watt resistor just after it "encounters" 10 watts.

    I may or may not have contacted my dealer at that point but I have records indicating that I contacted Lexus via email. The response I got from corporate said that I should contact the dealer for further information/advice.

    Yeah, sure, my dealer even composed and published their own scheduled maintainance document. You can guess, I'm sure, just how much more extension was the requirement in the dealer's document vs the factory owners manual.

    My '01 RX300's owners manual made no mention of ATF scheduled maintainance one way or the other.

    But I went ahead an asked the dealer, who said...

    The ATF needed to be flushed and refilled at least every 15,000 miles.

    What, WHAT..??!!

    But then Lexus corporate confirmed the dealers statement.


    A design change was made in the process of upgrading the Camry transaxle to make it robust enough for the RX300 SUV. As it turned out there was an unforeseen design flaw in the new transaxle design.

    Google for:

    wwest abolition hesitation -dfg

    Toyota and Lexus do not wish to acknowledge the design flaw. If the information to change the ATF as often as needed came from the corporate level that would be an implicit admission that the design is flawed. A form of the Japanese "heads-down" culture.

    So, you should at least check the condition of your ATF at each and every oil/filter change.

    The design flaw was introduced in about '98, had spread to the entire Toyota and Lexus FWD and F/awd fleet by 2003, and remains to be a significant problem even today. Not to say Toyota and Lexus have not tried several fixes in the interim. DBW adoption being the most successful of those, but then that "fix" brought with it yet another set of problems.
  • webgoodwebgood Posts: 95
    I have an '04 V6 AWD. The Scheduled Maintenance Guide has it at 60,000 mi or 72 months (and again @ 120,000 or 144 mos) under "Additonal Maintenance Items for Special Operating Conditions-TOWING"...'Replace transmission fluid or oil'. If I were you, I wouldn't mess with it. Regards, BGood
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    So, you should at least check the condition of your ATF at each and every oil/filter change.

    I double checked the owner's manual and it does say to inspect the tranny fluid every 30K miles/36 mos, and if towing, to replace it every 60K miles/72 mos.

    I check all the fluids and tire pressure at least monthly so I should be good as long as I see the tranny fluid is bright pink.
  • ryan99ryan99 Posts: 46
    As it pertains to the steering column "clunk", does it tend to get worse or is just an annoying thing to deal with. I have an 04 with a subtle clunk that sounds and feels to be coming from the steering knuckle and I am out of warranty. I can deal with it as long as it doesn't get any worse...Thanks, Ryan
  • edhedh Posts: 246
    can you grease it?
    noise may be the intermediate shaft- from column to rack
  • My 2004 highlander battery seems to be ok. Did you look into the circle to see any colors? That should indicate what might be left on the battery life.
  • edhedh Posts: 246
    never had any colors from day one, died in oct 09 at 55000 miles
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    The battery life indicator indicates ok but there's no indication how much life is left. I can only infer that since it's fully charged, it's not on its last legs.
  • Not sure what the prior part of this message was about, but let me make a suggestion about the steering wheel "clunk. (I also have an 04). When the factory tires wore out, I put some high performance Michelins on and shortly thereafter felt a "clunk" when I turned sharp right or left. Mechanic couldn't find anything but we think the softer tires give; this is borne out by the fact that the outer edges of those tires wore out after 20,000. (In fact, my highlander sort of "eats" tires!)
  • Your Highlander should never "eat" tires. You have an alignment and front end problem. Fire your mechanic and find a good one who knows what he is doing.
    I have an 04 Highlander with 120,000 miles, and all my Firestone tires (with over 20,000 miles on them) wear perfectly evenly.
  • The Goodyear Integrity tires on my 03 lasted 28000 on mostly hwy driving. Wore on edges. No alignment needed. Went with Coopers and they lasted 30K, then Goodyears different style Fortera Triple tread and got 33K. The last three tire just wore out across the tire not on the edges. My 03 is FWD and I think that has something to do with it.

    I also have a Jeep Liberty that has the same Goodyear Forteras and they wore out the same on a rear wheel drive vehicle. Now the Forteras when I bought the had a 70000 mike tread life guarantee. I usually rotate every 5K, and get an oil change at the same time. I don't neglect my cars.

    To summarize, all tires today are lousy at wear. Some are actually a fraud.
    I gave up recommending tires a long time ago
  • The Goodyear's that came on the car lasted over 40,000. When I went to the Michelin's is when I started to hear the "clunk" on sharp turns. I think they sort of "rolled over" and thus wore out the edges. Then I went to Firestone with no better results. I tried to go back with the original Goodyear but not available so I have something close. I've been religious on rotating them and they are doing a little better. As for the alignment, I have the car aligned every time I put on new tires. And I've used three different garages one of which I'd used for years with my other vehicles. But in reference to one of your comments, I don't consider 20,000 miles to be good at all for the life of a tire.....

    Anyway, I was just trying to give a suggestion as to what the "clunk" someone else had might be....
  • My 04 Highlander was at about 80,000 and the transmission became sluggish and even wouldn't drop into a lower gear a couple of times. Because I couldn't take off work to sit at the dealership half a day to get it flushed, I picked up the supplies and took to mechanic near my work. I had double the amt. of fluid needed because the dealership actually flushes the system with fluid. Local mechanic drained and replaced fluid and I took all of the extra back for a refund. No problems since. So in terms of cost and just the environment, I wonder how necessary "flushing" vs. draining is....Certainly costs more.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    I replaced my OE Michelins at about 36,000 miles because I got a nail thru the sidewall of one and didn't want to put one new tire with 3 old ones. They probably had another 5000 miles left in them.

    I replaced them with Bridgestone Alenzas. They look like new after 8000 miles.
  • Has anyone used General Grabbers HTS on their Highlander?
  • I have Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza on my 2004 Highlander. They are rated at 65,000 miles and are doing quite well. I have about 30,000 miles on them so far and they still look pretty new. They are priced a good bit higher than the competitors, but they are well worth the $$. (P225/65R17)
  • Hi,

    I have driven about 3750 miles in my new 09 highlander after having bought it last May. when should i take it for my first service?

    Please let me know.

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