Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Toyota Highlander Maintenance and Repair



  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Even with the cooling fins the front brake rotor is a whole LOT stronger than the solid rear.
  • Maybe it is stronger, and maybe not. Not sure what you mean by "stronger" anyway. Kind of irrelevant in a discussion about warping. But the ventilated front rotor isn't as structurally or thermally stable as the solid rear - which was the point of the post about warped rotors.


    They can't and don't make front rotors non-ventilated, because they have so much more work to do at the front of the vehicle - they need a way to cool themselves so they don't wear out and/or warp even faster than they already do. The downside is that they are more prone to warping than solid rotors.
  • phrosutphrosut Posts: 122
    I posted my "opinion" a long time ago, but so far it has not been disproved:


    After severe braking, if you remain stopped and allow all of the brake pad heat to transfer to only one spot on the rotors, I think you are at risk for rotor warping. Any vehicle, some more vulnerable than others.


    Whenever I have braked severely enough that I think there may be some heat buildup, I "inch" forward every few seconds to distribute that heat more evenly over the entire rotor.


    This hypothesis has little basis in scientific fact. I spent over a decade in the auto repair and brake/tire field, and only 'think' this to be a factor in rotor warping from my personal experience. I have about 34,000 miles on my HL so far, but I have NO warped rotor vibrations.


    Other drivers may think I'm impatient at some stoplights, as I keep inching forward. They probably don't realize I'm just attempting to more evenly distribute some heat to my rotors.


  • Phil - I like your idea - I'm going to start this procedure immediately.


    Not only does this approach have the ability to do what you wrote, by moving the contact area between pad and rotor, evenly around the rotor for more even heat input to the rotor - it also allows the rotor's vents to get a slightly different "view" of the surrounding air at each "inch", to allow for more even heat output from the rotor to the air.


    I really like this idea. It reminds me of a tip my Dad gave me when I was 16 - after driving thru water, or even a deep puddle, apply the brakes for a few seconds while driving to allow them to drag and heat up, to dry out the drums and linings. I've never seen this concept in an Owner's Manual - just as I'm sure we'll never see yours - but they are both based on proven principles and sound logic.
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,783


    Maybe we do things differently down under but the instructions to apply brakes gently to dry them after a water crossing is routinely inserted in owners manuals and driving instructions her in Australia.

    Maybe we see more water than you do




  • Graham -


    I suspect we see it as well, but just don't cross it. So much well-drained concrete over here.


    What are your thought about the rotor-cooling technique that Phil came up with?
  • Graham -


    I suspect we see it as well, but most don't cross it. So much well-drained concrete over here.


    What are your thought about the rotor-cooling technique that Phil came up with? Also, is Kluger pronounced with a hard or soft "g"? Put another way, does it rhyme with the German pistol Luger, or with "luger" - the crazed folk that race on ice-slicked tracks?
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,783


    The day I picked up my Kluger was the all time wettest (and coldest) February (summer down under)day on record for Melbourne so the car got its first wading moment lesss than a minute after I got in. It was well baptised! We had six inches of rain in the day and are still cleaning up a fortnight later.


    The pronunication appears to be like the pistol with a hard "g".


    The brake cooling seems to make sense although I am still getting used to the need to have to hold the brakes on hard to stop. I've been driving a manual for many years and tended to rely on modulated braking to reduce brake force in the final stages of a stop, effectively easing off to viturally no brake by the time the car coasts to a stop. With an automatic's tendency to run on, I find I have to brake right down to the line in the Toyota so am still having a few moments! It's a bit disconcerting to ease off the brakes expecting the car to coast to a halt only to find it apparently taking off again.




  • I too wish that Toyota would make the Highlander/Kluger available with the manual trans - at least with the 4-cylinder. This is my first auto trans since 1993, and it's OK. Just OK. It really does a very good job, for an auto.

    Is the Honda CR-V (or equivalent) available in Australia? My last vehicle here was a 1999 with a stick. Great vehicle, but the 2005's seemed cramped for me, so I picked up the Highlander instead. So far, so good. Seems very well sorted out.
  • acgcacgc Posts: 2
    Hello to all,

    Just wanted to add a review after one year of ownership, then ask a question.

    I bought a '04 Highlander 6 cyl AWD after looking at Pilot and Pathfinder. Bought it because of ride and MPG and because dealer did work with purchase price (which Honda wouldn't).

    After one year I offer the following comments: the car is practical for trips to Vermont and is excellent in snow. The car has the infamous "hesitation" under certain circumstances but I have learned to live with it (though it bothers me for a $30K car). It rides great, gets decent gas mileage compared to other SUVs'.

    The problem's I seeing now after 15K miles and am asking if anyone has had the same problems are these:

    When turning, I feel "clicks" through the steering wheel, i.e., it just doesn’t feel smooth. Like you were going over bumps (but I’m not). I have never experienced this in any other car. Does anyone experience this?

    Also, over the last couple of weeks, the heater/ac fan in the dash has started a chirping and mild squealing noise that I’m sure will get louder. Anyone ever dealt with this??

    Looking forward to any responses or answers. Much appreciated.
  • ACGC, I have an '04 LTD with 14K miles and am experiencing the same faint clicks in the steering that you seem to feel. I notice it more at low speed and mostly while turning, more to the right than to the left. It's frustrating, since at my last servicing the service manager reported that the problem was not reproducible. It appears to be getting a little more pronounced as time goes on. It's due for its 15K servicing soon, so I'll post again to let you know if they find anything this time.
  • The noise in the heater fan may be from debris falling in through the air intake. We had it on our '01 and was told it was fairly common. Taking the glove compartment down looking behind the cover for the cabin air filter might show if there is any twigs or leaves. Steering wheel clicks may be caused by the spring inside the steering wheel to keep electrical contact while the wheel is turning. Haven't had it on the HL but clockspring problems were common in the Dodge Caravan.
  • acgcacgc Posts: 2
    thanks for your reply (and johnny5 also). as a follow-up, when the car was brand new, only experienced the steering wheel "clicking" very rarely, now it is more common. the explanation of possible "spring" for electrical connection makes sense. Something to keep an eye on also.

    When it gets warmer, I'll take a look at the cabin filter, because the squeaking noise from heater fan does seem to come and go. thanks again.
  • hmurphyhmurphy Posts: 278
    There was an article in the NY Times about potential failure of the brake booster in 2004 RX330's.

    I don't know if the HL has the same part, so I don't want to be an alarmist, but I thought I'd share the link.

    (Note that you have to register on the NY Times site in order to read the article.)
  • lojloj Posts: 1
    I have an '01 Highlander and three times in the last week it has started making a loud noise. The noise only lasts a few minutes until I slow down or come to a complete stop. The noise sounds very much like the thudding one hears when driving on a flat tire. Of, course the dealer has been unable to duplicate the noise and therefore is unable to offer a suggestion as to what is causing the noise. Has anyone else had this noisy problem?
  • Hi cin8

    I have a 2001 V6 4WD Highlander 78500 miles. I only have this Intermittent start up problem at summer time (very hot day over 110).Do you find the way to resolved this issue? I took it to dealer , but they can not find anything wrong!

  • Hi All

    I have a 2001 V6 4WD Highlander 78500 miles. I only have this Intermittent start up problem at summer time (very hot day over 110).Do you find the way to resolved this issue? I took it to dealer , but they can not find anything wrong!

  • 590116590116 Posts: 32
    I had a somewhat similar experience for the first time today (2002 HL V6): was driving in light rain (at about 36 degrees temp) at 65-72mph and would get a sound like hitting the "rumble strip". I'd slow and it would abate and then go away completely. A while later, same thing. It went on for miles if I stayed at speed. Nothing on the roadway that appeared to be the cause. Tires seem fine. It was very much a "fluttering" like something loose and flapping rapidly. Could spray from other cars be a cause? It lessened when rain slackened and roadway was dryer.

    Any ideas?
  • nimrod99nimrod99 Posts: 343
    2003 V6 AWD ltd with 40,000 miles.
    Been having an issue with braking (see post 2370).
    Finally installed new brake rotors and pads. Wow - what a difference. All problems have gone away. I discovered 2 new issues.
    1) One of the brake pad anti rattle clips (not anti squeal shims) was broken and had almost worked it's way out of the groove, allowing one end the pad to be "loose" in the housing. This probably contributed to the rattle noise I used to hear going over the lane divider bumps. I replaced them all and now my pads dont rattle anymore.
    2) My right front wheel bearing seems a little loose. I noticed on the dial indicator I was using to check rotor run-out, that I could "rock" the rotor (it was bolted down using the lug nuts). The play at the outside diameter was about 0.005". The service manual says the acceptable axial play at the center of the hub, just outside of the large axle nut should be less than 0.002". I only found this information after I had finished putting the wheel back on.
    I think at the point where the dial indicator was located (at the OD of the rotor) a .002" movement at the bearing would be magnified (using simple proportional scaling)

    My question to anyone knowledgeable about wheel bearings. Can I tighten the center nut on the axle to take out some of the play (it says to tighten to 220 ft-lbs). The service manual says to replace the bearing.

    Has anyone had any problems with their FRONT wheel bearings?.
  • skochskoch Posts: 1
    Is there anyway to reset the onboard average gas mileage computer? I find it odd that the average gas mileage cannot be reset after you refuel or during a trip. The Toyota dealer couldn't find an answer.
  • bdymentbdyment Posts: 569
    Unfortunately there is no way to reset the average gas mileage computer on 2004 and 2005 Highlanders. Some of the earlier models seem to have a reset button incorporated in the info. screen.

    As you have found it resets when refilling. I agree that this is a strange way of doing things.
  • bobgordonbobgordon Posts: 156
    I see a lot of 4WD/AWD front bearings go bad. They are not adjustable (current vehicles) and it's usually the right (curb) side that goes first. This is due to the road surface is more rough along that side than the left causing bearing failure...not to mention the "curb".
    The value you have for the wheel bearing is a factory pre-load setting. The bearing is a "sealed" bearing and should be replaced if the axial play exceeds the recommended value.
    In other words, the axle shaft nut CANNOT be tightened to remove any bearing play.
    Hope this helped.
  • boblaxboblax Posts: 4
    I have 2001 HL. We can reset the on board average gas mileage computer by hold the info button when showing average gas mileage for more then 5 sec. I hope your HL can let you reset it.
  • nimrod99nimrod99 Posts: 343
    Thanks for the input.
    Being paranoid as I am, I re checked the right side bearings last night.
    Sure enough, I could "feel" a little rocking with the wheel jacked up off the ground.
    However, when I put a dial indicator on the hub, I could not measure any movement (book says limit is 0.002"). I couldn't get the hub to move axially, and even when I "rocked" the rotor (with it bolted to the hub) the play at the point of measurement was imperceptible.
    I did confirm about 0.005" rock at the OD of the rotor.
    Look like it's OK.

  • annatovaannatova Posts: 2
    My brakes just failed on my 2003 Toyota Highlander. Has anyone heard of any problems with Toyota brakes? Or why this might occur? I was parking my car and was moving slowly; the brake pedal simply went to the floor - really weird.

    I am not even sure whether to take the car to a dealer to evaluate or an independent mechanic for a objective evaluation.

    Any comments or suggentions greatly appreciated.

  • bdymentbdyment Posts: 569
    I don't know about the 2002 and 2003 models, but the 2004 and 2005 will not set the way you indicate. I wish my 2004 V6 LTD would reset via the info. button. No one seems to know why Toyota changed this feature to a refill with gasoline default.
  • cmunizcmuniz Posts: 604
    The 03 should still be under warranty. If so, I would start with the dealer to get it looked at/repaired without cost to you. If they give you a hard time or won't fix it under warranty, then consider another repair shop. Several people have complained about "mushy" brakes, but none to my knowledge about a complete failure.
  • bobgordonbobgordon Posts: 156
    I agree that your vehicle should be inspected by the dealer since it's still covered under warranty.
    Two things will cause your brake pedal to go to the floor;
    1)An open in a brake line resulting in loss of brake fluid.
    2)A malfunctioning master cylinder.
    Check the fluid level in your master cylinder and this will help you in determining where the fault might be.
    In either case, I would NOT drive your HL. Contact your dealer and have them arrange a towing company to come pick it up.
    Good luck and keep us posted.
  • annatovaannatova Posts: 2
    Thank you for the suggestions. The car is at the dealer and so far they've determined the master cylinder has not failed and it does not appear there is a leaking brake fluid. A friend suggested there might be moisture in the line and recommended having the brake line flushed. The dealer also test drove the vehicle and says it brakes fine. I'll ask them to look into the problem further. A second opinion is definitely a good idea.
  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 734
    annatova and all...very scarey feeling...A few years ago, late 1999, my wife experienced complete brake falure in a 1998 Dodge Grand Caravan, that resulted in her rear ending the car in front....she was going only 25 mph. The dealer claimed they found no failed parts, and determined all was operating as designed. hmm...we still think the ABS was at fault, perhaps when it was in the process on "pumping" the brakes, it "forgot" to re-apply once. Truely scarey, and my wife was no longer comfortable driving the car. We bought an 2000 Avalon, and now have a 2003 Camry and a 2003 Highlander. We have not experienced any soft, mushy or strange brake feel in either car.
Sign In or Register to comment.