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Toyota Highlander Maintenance and Repair



  • hmurphyhmurphy Posts: 278
    I learned to drive on old manual Subarus, which is why I would never use my left foot to brake.


    My left leg will probably never "forget" the strength required to push the old Suby clutches all the way down, and would instinctively try to do the same with the brake. Bad news!
  • wbaywbay Posts: 34
    I had to resist saying something nasty about wwest's assertion that left foot braking was the root cause of the hesitation...idle speculation I figured. But now it turns out there are really people who use both feet to drive with an automatic!!!!!!!!!! Scary.
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    I just rotated the tires on my '04 HL for the first time. I didn't know about the reset button so the warning light came on shortly after. So I double checked the pressure in all 4 tires and then hit the reset button until the warning light went out. But the warning light came on again when I drive. Is there anything else I need to do? What a pain!!!
  • I think the idea about left-footed brakers contributing to the hesitation problem originated in the article from the Pittsburgh newspaper and that wwest was just interested in whether that was true.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I NEVER said left foot braking was the root cause!


    I said, assuming my theory is correct, the hesitation symptom would likely occur more often with left foot brakers. Zero time between throttle valve opening and brake release.
  • edhedh Posts: 246
    do it again like owners man says I had same problem

    too much electronics on cars
  • ecotrklvrecotrklvr Posts: 519
    edh - I'm with you. Give me a stick shift, and let me do the driving. Cars are being designed for the inept driver. When the designers flub something like this reset procedure, we all suffer.


    As a last resort, I'd recommend writing down the radio pre-sets, as well as any radio security code - and then disconnecting the negative battery cable for a minute. (I don't know if the Toyotas have a security code; I have a Honda with that, so just a warning. I'm still shopping for the Highlander). But the power-cycle trick has worked for me before.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    I can't find reference to left-foot braking contributing to the hesitation problem in the Pittsburgh article ( ). The only time I heard of it was when you mentioned it earlier in this forum.


    My mother was a left-footed braker (scary, her brake lights were always on!) and she said it was how she was taught to drive in the mid-1930's.
  • bdymentbdyment Posts: 569
    Not Scary!! if you do it correctly. The key is do it correctly. Also re: the lady who states she learned to left foot brake in the thirties--what foot did she use for the clutch? her right?
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    I agree that left foot braking can be done safely but what was scary with my mother was what she was doing to her brakes AND how she must have confused those following behind her! Fortunately for her, my father bought her new cars regularly and no one ever rear-ended her. As for learning to brake with her left foot in the 30's - this is what she told me. I wasn't born until the 50's and from the time I was old enough to recognize the difference, she had automatic transmissions. I just figured she felt like she had to do something with the left foot when she switched to automatics, but when I critisized her for riding with the brakes on and suggested she try right-foot braking, she told me that she was taught to brake with the left foot and was too old to learn a new trick!
  • bdymentbdyment Posts: 569
    Thanks for the update. A great story. I'll bet she will never change.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The throttle was sometimes on the stearing column (along with the spark advance control) and the gearshift was a floor mounted pedal much like the clutch pedal today.
  • junepugjunepug Posts: 161
    How could anyone "left foot break" in the 30s?? Weren't most autos manual shift back then? I always had to have my left foot available for the clutch, which on small sport cars, was very close to the break.
  • junepugjunepug Posts: 161
    Nowhere in my comments did I mention that we are experiencing hesitation. We have a 2002 Camry V6 and a 2003 Highlander V6 with no hesitation problems.


    My comments strictly referenced how dangerous it is to use the left foot to brake.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Do you know how the foot controls were arranged back then? I do know that the starter was a foot engagement, the "gear shifter" was a foot pedal, but I don't know where, which side of the gear shifter the brake was (maybe it was a pull handle?). And was there a clutch pedal?


    Something in the back of my mind seems to say that the brake pedal was to the left of the "shift" pedal. If so then you shifted with your right foot and used the left for braking.
  • junepugjunepug Posts: 161
    The three pedals were arranged, from left to right, clutch, brake, gas. The starter varied from vehicle to vehicle. I remember an old delivery truck that had the starter above the gas pedal. You had to use the ball of your foot to operate it and the heel of your foot to pump gas to help it start. One other position for the started I remember was on the dashboard left side.


    The hand break was usually on the far left side and involved pulling a rod to set it until they developed the foot emergency brake. Most of the cars I have owned had the emergency mounted on the central hump.


    The last car I had with a manual shift was a 1996 Chevy Cavilier<sp> with the hand brake on the center hump.


    With a manual transmission and a clutch pedal, it would be almost impossible to brake with the left foot since that foot was required to operate the clutch when stopping the auto.


    I still think it to be dangerous to use the left foot for braking.
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    I've done it twice already and it just came on again tonight. Any more ideas before I take it to the dealer? I really don't want to bother with disconnecting the battery as ecotrklvr suggested.
  • pilot130pilot130 Posts: 319
    I actually owned one--a 1927 Sedan. (It had 1943 plates on it when I bought it in 1968!!!) It came equipped with an electric starter--the only option available when new!

    It had a spark advance lever on the left of the steering column, and a throttle lever on the right.

    There were three pedals on the floor, and one of them was linked to a tranny control lever which operated somewhat like an aircraft control stick.

    The three pedals were, as I remember, (1) Brake, (2) Forward, and (3) Reverse---in that order left to right.

    To make the car go forward or backwards, you had to step on either one or the other of those "Go" pedals, but when you stepped on the forward pedal, the vehicle started out in "low", and when sufficient speed was achieved, you released the pedal and the tranny would automatically shift into "high." This same shifting control could be achieved using the tranny control "stick"--pulling on it to engage "low" gear, then releasing it when you wanted to shift to "High."

    Braking could be accomplished in two ways--(1) By pressing the brake pedal, and (2) Pressing forward and reverse pedals at the same time--the car would stop instantly! (It was more effective than the mechanical brakes the car was equipped with)

    The Model "T" transmission, in many ways , had features of automatics today---planetary gearing for one thing.

    The engine ignition was a magneto system, with separate magneto coils for each of four cylinders.

    "Tuning" the engine was accomplished by adjusting each magneto coil until it buzzed at a very high pitch--hence the latter day expression "Tune Up."

    I restored the car to original and drove it as a display for several years before selling it to a collector. Kinda wish I still had it, even though it was the most cantankerous car one could imagine!

    And yes, I know this is a Highlander forum, but the Model "T" pedal/stick control system is probably why some still use the left foot for braking.
  • mckeownmckeown Posts: 165
    This also happened to my wife 2 times just before Christmas. Seems 3 tires were at 34psi and 1 was st 22psi. All looked 'normal'. Put air in the 'low' tire and no more light. Since then we put over 2000 miles on the vehicle over the holidays.

    Soooo just a little low on air in 1 tire seems to trigger this. If it continues to work this way, I like it. Lets us know if we have a tire low, or 1 with a slow leak before we wake up some morning to a flat we just didn't see coming.
  • cdlcdl Posts: 1
    Hi Gang,

    The "Left Foot Braking" discussion is actually very interesting. But to just bring this back to the Highlander problem, I do have the Highlander "Hesitation" problem. Actually, my wife drives the vehicle and when she first complained about it, I just thought it was her driving "like a girl". But after a couple of times driving it myself, it certainly has a very bad case of the hesitation...and there are no feet on the brake. Although I've found that if you give the car a little gas whilst stopped, you can take off like a normal vehicle after taking your foot off the brake..apparently "pre-loading" the system fools some computer somewhere... I can't wait until Toyota finds a fix for this as it is a very dangerous problem when trying to jump into very busy traffic... This is our first Toyota...and if they don't fix it, it will be my's that bad... Those of you who don't have the problem, knock on wood, you are very lucky...
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    Any possibility that the spare tire is monitored? I made sure all 4 tires on the HL had 30 psi.
  • bdymentbdyment Posts: 569
    No. I understand that the system works with the sensors in the ABS/Traction Control unit. It measures the difference in diameter from tire to tire. If you have a low tire it is able to tell the difference compared to a properly inflated one.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    there will be a fix for the hesitation problem.


    Absent the installation of a clutch pedal, or some way, method, to "forewarn" the transmission ECU that the driver "now" wants to accelerate.


    I was just reading about the new Volvo series, XC90 FWD and AWD. The FWD version completely uncouples the driveline the instant you apply the brakes and there seems to be a few complaints about the car remaining in neutral when gas is applied.


    The Volvo AWD system has so many modes its hard to grasp. For instance as you accelerate into a turn the system biases the engine torque to the rear and then as you exit the turn more torque is routed to the front.


    I am now more convinced than ever that what we are seeing is an attempt by all FWD vehicle manufacturers to reduce the instances of loss of control on slippery roadbeds due to inadvertent application of front braking.
  • ecotrklvrecotrklvr Posts: 519
    I just read an interesting article in Road & Track this month. It was about Tire Pressure Monitoring, among other things. Seems that, on the Toyota, the pressure isn't really monitored at all - to save cost, they use the ABS wheel RPM sensors, and check the relative speeds of all 4 wheels/tires. This system will give a false alarm (False Positive) if you had all 4 at the same pressure, but one (or more) tire was a different size. On the flip side, if all 4 tires are the same brand and size, and ALL were under inflated, there's be no warning at all from the system. Plus, the trigger level for a warning is stated as 25% RPM difference - a pretty big pressure difference to get that low. So keep using those tire pressure gauges, folks!


    Not stated in the article is that a bad ABS Sensor may give you a Low Tire Pressure warning. It would be a good idea to make sure this isn't your problem - for safety's sake.
  • loucapriloucapri Posts: 214
    YES! I owned a old Chrysler Conquest and that thing was a pain!! Did the same thing too->


    "The only way to keep them running when it was damp was to keep your foot lightly on the gas, and brake with your left foot."
  • seems to be in post 9761 in the Highlander forum, in reference to something that appeared in the Chicago Tribune.


    Sorry I misinterpreted your comment, junepeg. Are there no right-footed brakers on record as having the hesitation problem?
  • wbaywbay Posts: 34
    "Are there no right-footed brakers on record as having the hesitation problem? "


          I'm willing to bet most of us with the hesitation problem are right-foot brakers.

          Yet another occurence of the phenomenon this morning, pulling out in front of a long line of cars. Knew it was going to happen, so didn't freak out about it, just shook my head and wondered why Toyota hasn't sent me a platinum gilded letter inviting me to have the problem fixed at their expense and pronto.
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    I checked the spare tire, only 20 psi, and the tires on the vehicle are all at 30 psi. When I rotated the tires, I rotated the spare in, so the current spare used to be on the driver's side rear. I filled the spare to 30 psi and reset the tire switch, keeping my fingers crossed.
  • ecotrklvrecotrklvr Posts: 519
    Mike - You gotta let us know how this turns out! I've passed up on two good used Highlanders, mostly due to all the posts of Hesitation, and now possible false Tire Pressure Warnings. It would be great to hear that there was a magical sequence to the reset - like with ignition off, or on; or ignition on-reset-ignition off; or something like that.


    The earlier post about the malfunctioning moonroof normalization procedure "cure" makes me believe there is a "back door" reset to some of the problems we see posted here. That one is apparently listed in the Owners Manual on page 34. It doesn't surprise me that the Toyota management doesn't spend much energy broadcasting this info from the Engineers in Japan. I've worked as a Field Engineer for 4 foreign-owned high-tech companies in the last 14 years, and it's amazing how close to the vest some info is kept. Don't forget that Toyota USA is only a distributor for much of the product here - and does very little of the nuts-and-bolts design engineering.
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