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Toyota Highlander Maintenance and Repair



  • martman1martman1 Posts: 4
    Brand new highlander limited-v6awd-loaded-The color is all black-1000 miles-water spots on car donot come out(bird droppings)-I notice clear coat paint seems very thin. I have used a very mild car wash soloution(mothers) from dealership. Can anybody suggest how to keep this car clean.Did dealership wax car before I picked it up, do I need special cleaner?. Sounds crazy, I am afraid to take to my local car wash, or rub to hard on paint, to take water spots out. Am I going crazy just trying to clean a new car that is painted black?
  • mcmattmcmatt Posts: 80
    Sounds like you are very protective, that is probably a good thing when it comes to the chance of swirls.

    My recommendation is to just take it to a detailer. Don't tell them how worried you are, however. They have more tricks than we do with clay bars and conditioners, etc.

    The spots sound like hard water spots, but they would know for sure.. We have a black one also, but we haven't noticed the spots. We do use a brushless automatic car wash sometimes. It seems OK so far.

    Good Luck
  • sin21856sin21856 Posts: 14
    Hello, I was just wondering if anyone else has had this problem. Yesterday as I was leaving my friend's house I noticed that a bunch of warning lights were on (engine light, brake light, abs...and a couple of other ones!). I was just a block away from his house when I noticed, so I immediately pulled over and turned the car off. I started the car again after a minute and only the engine light stayed on. We decided that it'd be best to pull into my friend's driveway and check it out. We found nothing wrong with the engine, nothing noticebly loose. I just got my oil changed last weekend so that probably isn't the problem. We left the car there, went to the gym, and came back a few hours later. I turned the car on and the light still stayed on, so I decided to bring it in to the Toyota dealership the next morning so they can check it out. I wake up early and head to the dealership this morning and since I don't have an appointment, they won't be able to get me in till Monday. What do you think happens next? I get back in the Highlander to head to work, and now the engine light's off! Arg!!! This happened once before, all the warning lights turning on I mean. Same deal, except this time all the lights went out before I could get to the dealership...they said there's not much they can do unless the light's on. What should I do? Keep my appointment for monday and let them check it out? I'm not sure if they'll do anything since none of the lights are on now. Is this just some glitch or should I be worried...this has only happened twice but its really annoying since the Highlander is still pretty new...its a 2k1 Limited with 20K miles. Thanks for any advice you can give.
  • pdalpsherpdalpsher Posts: 136
    I'd still take it in to get it documented...just in case. It may be an electrical or sensor problem. This isn't good since it's just like the story of the kid the cries wolf...sometime the lights will work, it will be a real problem but it may not be taken seriously due to the number of 'false alarms'.
  • brad_22brad_22 Posts: 154
    Might want to check your fuel door. I didn't fasten mine tight enough one time and it caused the engine light to come on (strange feature...).

    Anyway, it gave me fits trying to figure out the problem.
  • k_timek_time Posts: 7
    Goldston post #55 is right. I own a 2001 honda accord and it has the same wupping sound when the two rear windows are down. Just open one of the front windows and the sound will go away.
  • k_timek_time Posts: 7
    We just bought the 2002 4 cyl Hl this week. The performance of the engine with full air conditioning on in 90-degree weather is not to bad. The acceleration is almost in line with my 2001 accord ex, I expect even greater performance when I start putting premium gas in it.
  • cmunizcmuniz Posts: 604
    The most common problem is a loose gas cap. Make sure that you hear a couple of clicks when you tighten it after gasing up. If the light stays on it is a problem with the emission system and can be driven, but should be checked by the dealer. If it blinks, then then it's a more serious problem and should be taken to the dealer asap. If I am not mistaken once the light comes on it sends a code to the computer that the dealer should be able to pull out even if the light is off when he checks it.
  • sin21856sin21856 Posts: 14
    The dealership looked at the HL today and they're ordering a new controller/monitor free of charge since its still under warranty. Thanks for the advice everyone :)
  • crrnamcrrnam Posts: 2
    I just read message #179 from spensiv66 regarding tire/road noise. Has anyone experienced this problem or is anyone aware of its resolution? I just drove my new 2002 HL AWD 6cyl (7,000mi) from my home in the Washington, DC, area to San Diego, CA. I had no problems on the trip and during my first week in this area. Then about a week ago, I started experiencing the same type of problem discussed by spensiv66 -- an intermittent tire/road noise when driving on the freeways at highway speeds. At first I too thought it was simple road noise, but I noticed that it was occurring on a variety of road surfaces. Today I took the car to a local Toyota dealership where the problem was evident during a test drive. In talking to my service manager this evening, they are stumped and are contacting the Toyota factory for help. Can anyone offer any suggestions? I'm trying to head back to Washington, DC, but, as long as this problem persists, I'm hesitant to get started.
  • madmommadmom Posts: 1
    I too have had a problem with a squeaking noise which seemed to be coming from the dash. I have likened it to finger nails on a blackboard---most annoying. It isn't in the's the cowl rubbing on the windshield. This is why temperature, speed and wind direction appear to impact the problem. The dealer tried weather stripping on the inside of the cowl which worked for a while but the problem returned gradually. They are now replacing the cowl which (I hope) will permanently resolve the problem.
  • macmacmacmac Posts: 35
    I have a 2001 Highlander. I too thought that the sound came from the dash. Mine squeak came from the rear view mirror. The sound bounces off the wind shield and distributes the sound all over the place.
  • crrnamcrrnam Posts: 2
    After much teeth gnashing and hand-wringing, the service technicians at Toyota Carlsbad in Carlsbad, California, appear to have solved my tire/road noise problem. Fortunately, the fix was a simple one -- improper reinstallation of the splash/engine guard after an oil change at a local area quickie oil change establishment. The technician's comments may be of interest: "Whoever performed last service on vehicle did not reinstall engine guard correctly. It is supposed to go under front bumper skin cover, not over. Installed guard correctly, test drove, and noise is gone."
  • hammersjslhammersjsl Posts: 11
    I've noticed a color problem with the black plastic areas of my dashboard and interior door trim. In areas where the doors have been scoffed up as well as a small spot on the top part of the dash, the color appears to be rubbed off. I've tried cleaning the areas and the marks are still there.
    Does anyone have any suggestions on how to repair/clean these types of marks? Is the color on the vinyl pieces actually painted, and if so, is there some kind of touch-up paint that is available?
    On a quality note, I'm kind of disappointed by this problem. I figured that Toyota would have colored the interior plastic pieces so that they could stand up to reasonable wear.
    Thanks for any suggestions.
  • joandeejoandee Posts: 3
    As soon as the car moves 5-10 feet, a "clicking" noise is heard in the rear somewhere. It sounds very similar to the click one would hear with an automatic door lock. The Dealer does not know what it is. We drove another one and it does the same thing. It only occurs when the car is first started. I have read the other posts about "clicking" noises, but I do not have a sunroof or a spoiler, and it does seem to be coming from "down" in the rear, not the roof.
  • b717b717 Posts: 38
    It is the self test of the ABS system.
  • joandeejoandee Posts: 3
    Thank you very much. You are better than all the service people at the dealer. They "guessed" it had "something to do" with the automatic transmission." They ignored me when I questioned how the noise could be in the rear of a front wheel drive vehicle. Thanks again.
  • robnaorobnao Posts: 29
    I am also very picky when it comes to the looks of my all black HL, but I messed up and washed it when I did not have enough time to dry it. This left water spots (wonderful San Diego hard water) that do not come off. I have tried MOTHERS brand clay bar, it helped, but if you look closely there are still spots. I have yet to try a MCGUIRES product (scratchX, I think) that is supposed to get this stuff off without scratching (clear coat safe), I will post how it works. The instructions state that if this product does not work take the vehicle to a professional detailer. I would never use polish paste or a rubbing compound it will most likely scratch the clear coat.
    As for normal washing, any quality car wash should be safe. Never use dish soap, it is too harsh and it strips the wax. Any quality liquid wax (MOTHERS, MCGUIRES, etc.) should give you good results. I say liquid wax because CONSUMER REPORTS reported liquid wax generally had the least amout of scratching compared to pastes in their tests. They also reported that most waxes start to loose effectiveness after about 1 month, even the ones that claim much more.
    As for the brushless car washes, they should be safe, nothing is actually touching the paint except water. I had no place to wash my HL for the first 2 months I owned it, so I used these several times with no ill effects. I did notice though that after some time there was still a slight dirt film that only a regular hand washing would remove. I would never use one of those roling brush car washes, they can scratch the paint.
    Hope this helps. Happy HLing
  • pdalpsherpdalpsher Posts: 136
    There was some discussion of water spot removal recently on another Board...the waxes, etc no Zaino posts. Sorry I don't have the exact name in front of me. The folks on this board can tell you exactly what you need to know about keeping you HL looking like new.
  • seahskerseahsker Posts: 6
    Thanks for the information on the click noise mine was coming from the front wheel area and ABS would make sense.

    I have trouble with water spots from both the left and right side mirrors. The guys at the car wash dry them off but water seems to be collecting inside the mirror housing. I don't know how you can dry this area when you can't even see it.
  • gwleonggwleong Posts: 36

    I know this issue has been raised before, but I don't recall the solution. I have a 2001 H/L 'non-limited' that has finally developed this rattle. Can anyone provide the solution to this problem?

    Thanks in advance!!

  • bikerjohnbikerjohn Posts: 52
    I'm bringing in my 2002 Highlander for its first full service next month. Does anyone know if there is a TSB to fix the sunroof popping noises?
    I read about the problem on this site last year before I bought mine, and sure enough, I have the same problem.

    Other annoyances I want to have them fixed are the rattling glove box, creaking drivers seat belt latch and a vibration/buzzing sound coming from the accessory plug cap. The last one took me a long time to find. When I leave the cap off, the noise is gone.

    I also want them to check the wind/road noise. When driving above 50 MPH, it is louder then I think it should be. I'll have them check door seals & the splash engine guard mentioned in post 223.

    If anyone knows of fixes for any of these things, please let me know before I attempt to get the dealer to fix. Thanks
  • goldstongoldston Posts: 110

    I fixed the rattle in my 2001 H/L by using little rubber pads with adhesive backing that you buy at home depot to the glove box door. It seems that the latch in not quite holding the door tight as it should be and you get a slight rattle. I also had to do the same fix to my wife's 2002 H/L.

    I hope this helps.

    Best Regards, Philip
  • tmc1417tmc1417 Posts: 11
    Last week I had my 01 HL in for its 15,000 mi service and had a list of things for them to fix including the all too common glove box rattle, sunroof clicking and the wind noise while driving in strong crosswinds. They fixed the rattle and clicking without any questions..but when it came to the wind noise they said they could not reproduce it (I had given them the TSB # on it and the fix I had gotten off this board..and OH how they hate it when you do this...they give you THE look like how dare you know anything.) I asked how they thought they could reproduce the noise and they said to bring it in when the winds are gusting over 40 miles an hour and they would take it out and see. Like I can plan ahead for that! Any suggestions from those who have got this fixed without having the service dept reproduce the noise themselves?
  • b717b717 Posts: 38
    I got the same runaround from the service dept.
    The bulletin states the seals will be replaced upon customer report, it does not require the tech to witness the symptom. As long as the VIN number is within the range of VIN's identified
    on the bulletin they are authorized to change the door seals. The wording is very clear and after pointing this out, they went ahead and changed mine in April and the cure works vey well. Good luck.
  • sin21856sin21856 Posts: 14
    Arg! My engine light went on again for no particular reason, while I was on a road trip this weekend. I brought the HL to the dealer earlier this month and they said it was a faulty ECU and replaced it, now it's on again. Anyone have any wild guesses as to why the light would turn on? I've driven the HL under normal driving conditions, have about 22K miles on a 2k1 Limited model...this is the 3rd time the light has come on since I got it. I've made sure to check the gas cap and other suggestions that have been posted before...this problem just seems very random and has me a bit worried that something might be terribly wrong with the engine. Well, I'm taking it back to the dealer tommorow at 7am (wohoo!) so they can take a look at it, again. Can anyone provide me more info regarding the crosswind noise and the TSB regarding that problem? Where can i get info about about the TSB, such as the VIN numbers affected? I figured that if I'm there then I might as well have them look at that too cause the noise does get noticebly loud on the freeway. Are they suppose to inform us somehow of these fixes? If not, how do I get informed of any fixes to existing problems that I might just regard as normal, not knowing any better. Thanks for the help!
  • cmunizcmuniz Posts: 604
    On another car I had, a bad spark plug set the light off. Also, it might be an O2 sensor or other pollution control device. The code should tell the dealer what it is, unless some electrical problem is ruining your ECU. Those are my guesses.
  • pasqualpasqual Posts: 22
    Has anyone located an aftermarket maintenance manual for the Highlander. Factory manual's price is out of this world.
  • ash732ash732 Posts: 5
    I recently bought a 2002 HL Limited. When I asked the delaer what is the ideal "schedule" to break in the engine, he told me drive only up to 55 mph for the first 1500 miles. He said it would help in the long run. It will take me at least 6 to 8 months to break in the car this way (I only drive it on weekends). How have some of you driven (what is ideal) ?

  • cmunizcmuniz Posts: 604
    Although you shouldn't drive over 55 mph for long periods of time, I believe you can exceed it from time to time w/o any problems. The most important thing is to vary the speed a lot and don't come to any sudden stops if you can avoid it. Driving it in a variety of conditions is ideal.Most break in periods are 1,000 miles, not 1,500 but I don't remember what the manual says.
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