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Toyota Highlander Maintenance and Repair



  • Thanks, when my son brings it home from school, I will replace. no oil usage issue (oil and filter changed every 3k or 3 months) since new. but a new pcv valve makes sense. rr70
  • grw55grw55 Posts: 2
    To xraykid:
    Did you solve the leak problem? Was the leak from the rear tail light assembly?

    How did you stop the rear tail light from leaking...........did you use silicone around the tail light?

    Did the tail light need some sort of gasket?

    I have a tail light that clouds up with condensation inside the see through plastic. I also see water drops inside when I remove the bulb access cover in the rear compartment.
  • grw55grw55 Posts: 2
    To all members:
    My 2006 Toyota highlander leaks water. I get pools of water in the back seat floor boards.

    I suspect the water may be entering thru the rear tail light assembly because condensation forms inside the tail lights.


    Does it need some type of gasket?

    Should I seal around the edges of the tail light casing on the outside of the car with silicone?

    Any advice would be helpfull.
    From grw
  • j06j06 Posts: 90
    edited October 2011
    How long the Toyota break pads last ?? Mine 2006 HL front pads changed at 25K, 50K ... now @ 57,500
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    The pads on my 04 HL lasted until 67K before replacing for the first time.
  • j06j06 Posts: 90
    you changed the back ones ??

    I do not know if the dealers are recommending changes to keep up with daily sales goals. One time at 37K they recommended to change the battery. I said; do not have money this time. I will change it for the next service. And they never mentioned it after that. Now at 57,500 :)
  • I also have a 2006 HL. In my opinion, brakes are the real weak point on this vehicle. I had to replace my rear pads and rotors at 70k Kilometers, or about 43K miles. My front ones had to be done at 90k kilometers, or 56000 miles. I am very easy on brakes and have never had to replace pads that soon on any other vehicle. If I leave the vehicle outside for a few days in damp weather, the brakes lock up with rust and let go with a real loud snap when you apply enough pressure to the accelerator.
  • I've not had this problem with my 2001, but if I did, the first thing I would do is disassemble the taillight lense and check the factory gasket for any breaks or misalignment. If so, I'd buy a replacement gasket from the dealer, install it and see if that resolved the problem.

    Before taking the lense off, I'd also make sure the mounting nuts are tight. If loose, allowing a gap between the lense and taillight housing, that would also allow water to enter.
  • I replaced all of my brake pads at the same time on my 2001, at 80,000 miles. Even then, the wear indicators weren't making any noise. However, one of the pads had started to crumble, so since I was going to replace that one I decided to do all of them at the same time.

    Perhaps the later model Highlanders wear through pads faster?
  • phrosutphrosut Posts: 122
    Sorry to take so long to reply splendor2, I just got back from a trip without internet.

    I was gonna get mine online from that midwest Toyota dealer and read many reviews. But then (as I probably said) my local dealer matched their price and for another couple of hundred, gave me all my money back (including that couple of hundred) when I hadn't used the warranty by the time it expired.

    The main "catch" was the short time limit to apply for the refund, and you also had to prove you still owned the car.

    A worry that wasn't warranted: what if I needed a $900 warranty repair 6 months before I would get all my warranty money back? Pay it and gamble there'd be no more problems or let warranty pay and lose the 2 grand refund?

  • already changed the air/fuel sensors on my wife's 2003 highlander w/ V6. Now I am going to install a new O2 Sensor. I see that the sensor passes through a grommet in the floor pan, but on first glance its not real obvious the easiest way to get at the connector from inside. Is there an easy access through the carpet ? (I'm really hoping I don't need to pull the seat or carpet liner to get this installed)

    thanks in advance,
  • Hi All,

    I have a 2002 HL V6 AWD with VSC (Automatic). It has been the best car ever, now has 117K miles, and requires older car oil. I've been experiencing repeating thumping when decelerating, whether in gear or neutral. Not sure if it is related to brakes, transmission or something else. Didn't see anything quite the same on the forum so far. Thoughts and experiences appreciated.

  • jrfierojrfiero Posts: 123
    " I see that the sensor passes through a grommet in the floor pan"

    I don't think so. If its the rear bank O2 sensor, there is a connector at the back of the engine, and I needed two people to disconnect it. See post 4360.

  • nikon5400nikon5400 Posts: 4
    edited December 2011
    My new highlander was delivered from another dealership with 1kmi oil change sticker. The dealer I purchased truck from said I don't need to change it until 5kmi and also said my truck comes with synthetic which can be changed every 10kmi.

    Should I change it at 1kmi?

    Also, my truck calls for 0w20 but I stocked up with 12 or so gallons of 5w30 synthetic. Can I use 5w30 instead (Pa area)?

    Also, what's the shelf life of synthetic oil?

  • phrosutphrosut Posts: 122
    edited December 2011
    The shelf life of synthetic oil is at least as long as dino oil... meaning, you will expire before the oil does.

    Using the heavier weight oil could mean 1/10 less mpg. If you live in a very cold climate, that oil could make it marginally more difficult to start in the morning.

    Change it at 5K if you want to be overly cautious. I change my HL oil ever 10,000 miles (just approaching 120K now) although I COULD be going over twice that mileage between changes.

    I've been using synthetic since about 1978.

  • I iust installed 4 new Michelin ltx m/s2's on my '05 Highlander. While driving 70+mph why does my steering wheel vibrate? I'm very uncomfortable when this happens.
  • Try rotating the tires side-to-side. If that doesn't solve it, try doing a regular tire rotation. If that doesn't solve it, are you running on the factory stamped steel wheels or the factory alloys? If running on the stamped steel wheels, try switching to the alloys.
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    My guess is that they didn't balance one or more tires correctly. I'd first take it back and have them double check the balance on all the new tires.
  • My dealer did it. My guess was the balancing too. If I don't drive high miles should I do an alignment? Here in WI theres alot of potholes in the winter so I was gonna wait until Spring.
  • Other than the balancing, not sure on the vibration but I willl tell you that I put some of the higher quality Michelins on my 04 Highlander. When I first put them on, I could feel a sort of "clunk" when I turned sharply right or left. Had it checked out. Couldn't find anything; garage thought that since the tires were softer for the better ride, they were giving on a sharp turn and that was what I was feeling. The edges became slick in no time and I needed new tires at 20,000 miles on them. (I think the 04 was the first year there was quadra-track so I always thought that had something to do with it.)
  • Probably unbalanced, I always recommend General HTC Tires. Better price better ride. Check out tire rack for consumer comments.
    As for the clunking sound check to see if any service bulletins were issued by Toyota, I seem to remember something about that.
    I have an 03 HIGH/ 148K miles
    The Goodyear tires stink, would assume Michelin would be great.

    I have found that calling around on tires works. You can save 30-40 bucks per tire
  • Now let's say I bring it back to get re-balanced and they also check the weights, but I run into the same problem? What's else could it be?

    I also changed the battery recently and my Highlander just barely turned over yesterday. Could it be something like the alternator or it might need a fuel injection cleaning?
  • phrosutphrosut Posts: 122
    When batteries are replaced, it is standard practice to verify the proper charging voltage with (at least) a multimeter.

    If you had the battery replaced and they didn't check, 'bad' on them.

    If you replaced the battery yourself and didn't check, you need to verify that the alternator is working.

    "Barely turning over" has absolutely nothing to do with how clean the injectors might be.

  • Why would it take much longer to start up with a new battery? Other than the fact that i live in WI and its freezing cold.
  • Okay I just got back from the dealership and they tell me that one tire was bad. It had a spin rate of 181 which is one of the worst tires they tested they say. But. The new one has a spin rate of 17. I'm not sure what all this means but what concerns me the most is why they put the bad tire on in the first place. They tell me it coulnt have been avoided. Is this true?
  • We've had a 2012 Highlander SE for a few weeks now. When we first got the car, I wasn't thrilled with the steering. I would have called it mushy and imprecise. But now both I and my wife are concerned. I can can move the wheel back and forth about 1/8 turn at highway speed and still be going in a straight line. Reminds me of a 70s American boat with power steering -- like the 1977 Jeep Wagoneer I once owned. My wife has complained that it seems to "wander" on the highway and doesn't handle that well. I noticed the one test drove before buying had steering that was less responsive than I'd like, but this has me worried. I'm used to driving a BMW -- and this is not even close.

    Anyone else have a similar experience? Do we have a problem -- or is this the normal behavior and just a bad design?

    Not wishing to end up in a feature on 60 Minutes ...
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,783

    What you are describing is uncharacteristic. The Kluger/Highlander handling is not exciting, but very predictable. There should be understeer and it should feel a bit "mushy" if you are used to a good handler like a Subaru or BMW. The up side is that there are huge reserves of safety.

    I would suggest that you check tyre pressures precisely using a good (recently calibrated) pressure gauge. You can then try lifting pressure about 2lb above recommended.

    I have found with modern cars that it is vital that you have a four wheel balance and wheel alignment done regularly (about every 10-20,000 km). This dramatically improves handling and reduces tyre wear; I am getting 95,000km from a set.

    Finally, adjust your expectations. If you are used to driving a BMW which has superb handling, go and try a few more routine vehicles. You may find that your tastes have become just a little too refined!




  • bdymentbdyment Posts: 569
    Something is wrong with your steering. There should be no play in the wheel. An eighth of a turn back and forth is definitely a concern. Off to the dealer.
  • luckyseven - I've spent a few hours googling and can't seem to find instructions for water pump swap on a Gen 2 Highlander from the PS wheel well. Nor can I figure out how to PM you on this Edmunds forum (and I'm a techie guy). Any leads in the right direction are appreciated.
  • phrosutphrosut Posts: 122
    I can't help with the procedure but I WOULD suggest that you install a Toyota water pump. I have friends that own auto repair shops and I've been told aftermarket pumps don't last as long as the factory part and can cause timing belt problems if they fail. These shops would normally install aftermarket parts but not for this car.

    One shop had a HL in for repairs after an aftermarket pump failed that they'd installed only a year before.

    I hope you post the directions for wheel well replacement if you find them. I'm nearing 125K on our '03 HL and plan on waterpump and timing belt replacement in the coming months.

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