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Toyota Highlander Maintenance and Repair



  • I would get the oil changed between 4 and 5000 miles. Look at your service book for recommended intervals . Follow the book or find them online at Some dealers try to sell increased "visits" and I don't think you need to do that. Just follow the book. :)
  • mdhuttonmdhutton Posts: 195
    Like Nissan said, follow the recommended schedule in the back of your owner's manual religiously and you can't go wrong. BTW, your first recommended service is an oil change and tire rotation at 5000 miles.
  • After the "oil maintenance required" message popped up in my Multi-Information Display, I had my dealer to do oil maintenance last Saturday. On Sunday and Monday the alarm went off for 4 times. Every time I had to use the remote to stop it. It never happened before in my 18 months of ownership. Just wondering whether this has to do with the visit to the Dealer.

    Any reply / information will highly be appreciated.
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    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?

    Read and understand your owner's manuals, that information is in there. If you're not familiar with it and you go to the dealer for service, you will end up having all kinds of un-necessary maintenance done.
  • mdhuttonmdhutton Posts: 195
    Your dealer should reset it for you during service. Mine always has.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I think he means the intrusion alarm...
  • Does anyone know how the side mirror defrosts work or have a schematic? My driver's side mirror doesn't heat up and I can only find 3 wires going to the mirror - which seem to be for the adjusting motors.

    Apologies if this is a repeat - I thought I'd asked this before but couldn't find my original post.
  • Sorry, I should have been more descriptive. I meant Burglar or intrusion alarm.
  • I have a 2008 highlander. Hopefully it is the same.The manual says.
    1. On cars with manual air conditioning system. Turn on the rear window defogger. it is located on the bottom right of dash
    2. Cars with automatic air conditioning system also turn on rear defogger. This shows !!! plus mirrors on control..
    Both run about 15 mins & shut off

    Hope this helps
  • How much?
    What engine size?
    Base or Limited?
    Smoked in?
    Any body work?
    Power seat?
    JBL stereo?
    Steering wheel radio buttons?
    Cloth or leather?
    etc. thanks :D :)
  • this might be a repeat send to you
    close to book value
    yes, every way
    no, regular Toyota single CD player/radio
    cloth, tan/beige/camel whatever
    dark red paint
    I'm too tall for this car, it operates flawlessly, newish tires on factory alloys
  • I just had my rear left and right wheel bearing replaced by my dealer this week.

    My Highlander is a 2004 with 66500KM.

    The Left side was so lose and loud that they did not discover the right side until they test drove it after replacement of the left side, then they scheduled me to replace the right side.

    I have extended coverage so it was covered, but apparently it would have cost me big time.

    Sounds and runs great now, hope these bearings last more than 60000km
  • Hi from Russia:
    Sorry for the potential repeat, but I skimmed this forum over all topics raised about whining at speed and failed to find a suitable remedy.
    I bought my 4WD 2.4 - 05HL couple years ago with 25Kml and have now 57Kml. At about 40 Kml I began to notice some annoying whining sound from under the car at 35-45 km/h speed regardless of AC on/off and at any AT selector position except for the R and N – neutral. In my case the whining does not change with engine RPM and car turnings that makes alternator belt and wheel bearings being innocent Replacement of fluids in transfer case, rear differential and automatic transmission did not eliminate the problem. As of now, I suspect that transmission is to blame since sound comes off instantly when I set up selector to N. Sound sometimes is variable (something like “whioo –whioo-whioo”) especially when I take my foot off the gas and coast within the above speed range.
    I would appreciate any suggestions and experience in this acoustic issue.
  • edhedh Posts: 246
    when car is cold spray the underside of the car and all running gear with water to see if the noise change
  • I did it with silicon spray the other days - no change in whining sound. I wash my car regularly from underside also due to salt used in our northern area - no change also.
    Nevertheless, thanks for reply.
  • hello...did you ver find out the problem...I'm having the same noise.

  • rzepa1rzepa1 Posts: 55
    Anyone replaced cabin filter yet ? Is it behind the glove box ? If so, how one goes about removing glove box ? I have 2008 HL.
  • byumgrbyumgr Posts: 14
    Open the glove box completely. Push inward on both sides at the back and you should be able to lift out the glove box to get at the cabin filter.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    I am planning to suck the brake fluid out of the master cylinder reservoir of my 2004 Highlander and refill with fresh. I know it would be better to bleed the system but that's a hassle and over time the fresh fluid will mix with the old fluid and refresh it somewhat. I can repeat the process in a couple months and refresh it again.

    There's a "strainer" (for lack of a better term) in the opening of the reservoir. I can't quite tell how it's attached but it doesn't respond to a light tug nor is there anything obvious to grab to get it out. Has anyone removed this and if so, how does it come out?
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    Upon closer examination, I see that the strainer can be removed by lifting it slightly and rotating about 1/4 turn.
  • How do you know when it is time to replace the timing belt? I have 80,000 miles on my 2004 highlander and the dealer has been telling me for months now to have it replaced.
  • Start looking for a deal at a dealer. I replaced mine @ 90000 along w/water pump
    That was 2 years ago for about 650.00 for both. Sometimes the dealers have coupons online or in the mail.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Your dealer has a kid, or kids, in college and needs your money to pay their tuition. Keep your money for your own kids and ignore the timing belt issue until at least 150,000 miles. The 90,000 miles estimate was established way back in the last century, late '80's, when timing belts were fairly new to the automotive industry.

    I know of at least 2 LS400's, a 91 and a 92, that have over 200,000 miles and still going strong with factory original belts.

    Not a recommendation for others, mind you.
  • Ignoring the timing belt until 150k miles with an 'interference engine is 'dicey' in my book !
  • phrosutphrosut Posts: 122
    You can go to and put in the specifics for your car and learn whether or not it has an interference engine.

    My '03 HL V6 3.0 is NOT an interference engine according to Gates. I did not query any other year models or engines.

  • budhbudh Posts: 109
    I didn't replace the timing belt in my 2002 V6 Highlander until after 155,000 miles -- because I knew it was a NON-interference engine. The worst that would happen is that it would die on the side of the road. (I had it replaced right before the nasty winter weather hit last year.)

    Bud H
  • sdesde Posts: 42

    We have an '05 Highlander Limited with approximately 45K miles. All of a sudden, I've noticed that the Passenger "Airbag ON" light intermittently blinks on and off, even though there is no passenger in the car. I have nothing on the passenger seat, and the airbag malfunction warning light itself is not illuminated. All that's happening is that the "Airbag ON" light stays on for a few seconds, then goes off, then goes back on... etc, at seemingly irregular intervals. I looked under the seat, and I see no objects that might interfere with the seat sensor.

    When an adult sits in the passenger seat, the "Airbag ON" light stays on, and when my six-year-old sits in the seat (only as a test), the "Airbag OFF" light stays on. So that's all good news. I'm concerned, however, that when the seat is empty, the "Airbag ON" light blinks on and off. I would have expected that an empty passenger seat should result in neither light being on.

    Does anyone have any ideas? Thanks so much!

  • sdesde Posts: 42
    A correction to my previous post... it's the "Airbag OFF" light that keeps blinking, not the "Airbag ON" light. Everything else I wrote is correct. Sorry for the confusion...

  • Do any readers on this forum know how to access behind the radio and HVAC controls? How does one remove the grills and radio to get access to the "guts " of the systems under the dashboard? My car rattles or cracks when we experience cold temps, particularly on washboard roads I suspect the vent ducts are rubbing on one another. Really irritating noise. Thanks in advance. Diesel Clyde
  • tsotsitsotsi Posts: 98
    It sounds like you have two issues -- cold temps and rattles. If by "cold temps" you mean the heat control knob doesn't have any effect, you should pull off the black heat control knob (it pulls straight off) and make sure the lock nut is tight. Sometimes the nut is loose and the control wiggles back and forth and the wires break. This has been discussed earlier in this forum.

    If you just want to get behind the controls, the silver (on my car) bezel (that surrounds the radio, heat, clock, air outlets, etc) is held by spring clips and pops right off. Best to be careful not to break the clips or scratch anything.

    Your car should still be under warranty and I would advise giving the dealer a shot first. If something is broken . . . or you break something . . . you are going to need parts and they are outrageously expensive. The work isn't particularly hard, but can be a bit tricky if you haven't done it before.
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