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Toyota Highlander Maintenance and Repair



  • bobgordonbobgordon Posts: 156
    It's possible that moisture is in your brake system but that new of a vehicle, I'd doubt it unless the system has been opened or worked on.
    I'd still look at the master cylinder. The thing is that a wearing/worn master cylinder can fail at one point, then be fine at another. What should be done is to pull the master cylinder away from the power booster unit and inspect to see if there is any evidence of brake fluid at the back seals/o-rings. This can be done without removing the brake lines.
    Good luck.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Please remember that a failure within the anti-lock braking system, a check valve blocked open by debris, for instance, can result in temporary, non-recurring failure in just the manner you describe.

    The anti-lock system has the ability, in failed mode, to fully release the brake pressure at all or any individual wheel.
  • pratanvpratanv Posts: 2
    I would really appreciate your reply. I've just bought a 2005 Highlander and after 2 weeks there is steering wheel noise, whichs occur when the car is moving and the wheel is turned. I took the car in and and they also said it is the noise form the cable and after they change the cable the noise did not go away, and there is nothing they can do about it. How is your experience ?. Thank you.
  • 04owner04owner Posts: 1
    I'm not looking for a solution any longer. I'm expressing my deep disappointment with my Toyota Highlander. My Highlander has not lived up to the quality car set by Toyota standards. I have owned mine for 6 months. Here are the list of things that have been wrong with it. Complete brake failure. The bracket collapsed during an evasive maneuver and locked the brakes to the floor which also caused the front rotors to catch fire! Transmission leak. The dealer changed the gasket to fix the leak. One week later it was worse. They found a crack in the transmission case and when it went into overdrive the pressure squirted the fluid out the crack. Monday it goes in to the shop so they can find that elusive steering "popping" when turning the wheel while cornering at any speed. And they will be trouble shooting my sunroof which I wanted to use for the first time in nice weather as to why the auto open/close does not work nor will it stop at the closed position and you have to "guess" at when it is sealed. I actually thought I was trading up when I gave up my Camry. I'd like to believe that not all Hilanders are like this. I think mine was built on a Monday after Mardi Gras.
  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 734
    It is certainly unnerving to hear of the issues you have had. My 03 Highlander V6 fwd has been absolutely perfect, for 25,000 miles. One small bit of help for you...the sunroof needs to be "normalized" (2004 and later years) The instructions are in the owners manual. A friend bought an 04, and had the same complaint, and in 30 seconds the normaliazation fixed his only complaint with the vehicle.
  • I am stuck on whether to buy a used 04 2WD Limited highlander or a 05 EX-V6 Accord. I know they are two different vehicles but I have always driven a car and wanted a SUV. Some of my concerns
    Highlander -
    Hesitation problem
    Gas milage 18/25
    Seats are more comfortable

    Accord -
    better gas milage 21/30
    cost is a little cheaper
    nice ride/nice accerlation
    I am really torn, any input would be greatly appreciated.
  • hmurphyhmurphy Posts: 278
    I think you answered your own question when you said these are "two different vehicles." It's difficult to equitably compare a sedan and an SUV.

    On the other hand, I traded an 03 EX-V6 Accord for an 04 V6 HL Limited and have never looked back. Yes, the gas mileage is much worse, but that's about the only drawback. I haven't experienced the hesitation problem on the Highlander, by the way.

    My perception is that the HL is put together a bit better and uses higher-quality materials than the Accord, but that's just an individual opinion.

    One caveat: If you don't get the V6 HL, you might not be as satisfied with the acceleration as compared to the V6 Accord.
  • snakehairsnakehair Posts: 120
    We own a '01 HL limited and a '03 Accord EXV6. I use the Accord for commuting and fun driving (it really is a blast to drive) and the HL for any hauling and long trips (even with the lesser mileage it is much more comfortable). Neither has been "bulletproof" but pretty close in comparison to each other as far a reliability. Accord has rattle and squeak problems, HL hesitation and mushy brakes. Drive them both. They are two different animals, but both worth the money.
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    We traded our 01 Accord LX 4 cyl for an 04 2WD Highlander 4 cyl. The big differences we saw was so much more room and easier to get in and out, plus driving an SUV on the highway where we sit up higher is so much better than a car. I'd recommend deciding car vs. SUV then take your pick from there.
  • gerrym1gerrym1 Posts: 1
    Has anyone experienced any problems putting air in the spare?
  • snakehairsnakehair Posts: 120
    Have never had the spare out of the well. I carry an inexpensive air pump that works off of 12 v outlet just in case I need to replace a flat tire.
  • desertguydesertguy Posts: 730
    I have experienced no problems getting air in the spare. What is your situation?
  • yftyft Posts: 2
    Thanks for offering the review. I also own a 04 Highlander V6 AWD and has been pretty happy about its performance so far. I just wanted to share a problem I've experienced recently. After I had my HL tire rotated, the low tire pressure light went on. The mechanic who rotated the tires told us that a lot of the Toyota's tire pressure sensor went bad. We brought the SUV in the dealer to have it reset. They've done it twice so far and the light came back on with in half an hours driving. The dealer had mentioned that they need to download something from the internet to reprogram the sensor but when we brought the HL in a different service guy said he never heard about the internet thing....sounds like the dealer has different stories about it. Anyone can shed some lights? Thanks!
  • bikeman3bikeman3 Posts: 85
    I also carry the same thing and its helped me out twice, got it at walmart I also use it to pump up my bicycle tires as well, my whole family carries one of these in there car at all times. Cost about twenty bucks
  • msfashunmsfashun Posts: 1
    What does the VSC message mean?
  • hmurphyhmurphy Posts: 278
    I would try resetting it yourself using the instructions in the owner's manual. I'm not sure why the dealer would need to reset it.

    The manual does state that you need about an hour of continuous driving above a certain speed (can't remember exactly what speed and I don't have the manual handy) to properly reset the system.

    When mine came on (because the tire pressure was actually low), I waited to reset it until I needed to take an hour's drive on the freeway.

    You might want to try a few more things yourself (following the manual) before downloading stuff from the Internet, etc.
  • junepugjunepug Posts: 161
    I am a very happy owner of a 2003 Highlander non-limited V6 with 25,000 trouble free miles. Sounds to me like you should look into the lemon law in your state. All of the people I know with Highlanders are not having any problems.

    Looks like you are right about it being a Monday car after saki.
  • stantonb1stantonb1 Posts: 51
    It is going back quite some time when I last posted regarding my 2001 Highlander and the constant problem with soft braking. I went crazy with Toyota, their dealers and factory service representatives. Toyota insisted that my Highlander was performing up to factory specifications. I did not agree then and I still feel that the vehicle has poor brakes. I wrote to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and wanted to bring a class action suit against Toyota. I did have an independent mechanic drain the system and refill it with DOT 4 brake fluid and also had brake hose yielding corrected. I was told that the master cylinder being used in the Highlander is not adequate and should be larger, of course Toyota denies this. The Toyota dealers and the Toyota service network can care less about this brake problem and are arrogant. The vehicle now has 30,000 miles. I did replace the front brakes with Thermo-quiet premium semi-metallic asbestos free severe duty brake pads, with sound insulators. These were replaced even though the original Toyota pads were still good because the Toyota brakes were making noise and we couldn't stand it. The vehicle still requires increased brake pedal stroke when stopping.

    My solace is that I purchased a 2004 Mitsubishi Endeavor. Consumer Reports just ranked the Endeavor the most reliable SUV, with Highlander finishing third. The Endeavor's 1st year reliability has been outstanding according to Consumer Reports.
    We take the Endeavor back and forth from Phila., PA to NH a round trip of 800 miles and love it. The gas mileage is much better then we ever got with our Highlander and the Infinity sound system puts the JBL to shame. I hook up my iPod and am in heaven.
  • hmurphyhmurphy Posts: 278
    Sounds like you made the right choice to move on to something else.

    I had a similar problem with the brakes on my last car, and I didn't feel better until I traded it in.

    Best of luck with your new car!
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    " After I had my HL tire rotated, the low tire pressure light went on. The mechanic who rotated the tires told us that a lot of the Toyota's tire pressure sensor went bad. We brought the SUV in the dealer to have it reset. They've done it twice so far and the light came back on with in half an hours driving. The dealer had mentioned that they need to download something from the internet to reprogram the sensor but when we brought the HL in a different service guy said he never heard about the internet thing....sounds like the dealer has different stories about it. Anyone can shed some lights? "

    I had the same problem, see the fix in msg #2310.
  • yftyft Posts: 2
    Thanks hmurphy and mikefm58! I saw mikefm58's low tire pressure series yesterday after I posted my message. Read the manual last night and did the reset this morning with a close to an hour drive to work. So far the light hasn't come back on yet. Hope this is it!!

    In addition, I normalized the moon roof after reading some postings on the subject. It works beautifully (We always thought it's a design flaw to have to guess whether the moon roof is closed completely).

    Love this forum!!!
  • herzogtum71herzogtum71 Posts: 470
    Isn't this the light that comes on when the computer system senses slippage in your drive wheels? Or am I confusing it with something else?
  • commish1commish1 Posts: 30
    So I make my complaint with Toyota about my hesitation problem. The guy on the phone sounds puzzled about the problem but later admits to the problem. He tells me that my compliant was taken. I then get a call from my dealership in ref. to my call. They set me up an appointment with the service mgr. (We both know this is a waste of time but a necessary evil). I go in that day and take him for a test drive. I drive and he acknowledges that there is a problem. He then asks to drive the car and acknowledges it again. On the way back to the shop he tells me again that it is the "drive by wire technology" and that Toyota needs to come up with a fix. As we are getting out of the car I ask him if he can give me a receipt to show I was there on that day. He says no I will send you a copy of the letter that I am going to send Toyota. Well 3 weeks goes by and oddly enough no letter. I call him and he says "oh you didn't get the letter, I will send you another copy". Well I of course knew he never sent or wrote the letter but was going to be happy just to get it. I didn't call him out on it, just a mental note. A few days later my envelope arrives. I breath a sigh of relief and open it. He sends me a copy of the reciept that he said I didn't need because there was going to be a letter. This tells me that he definetly didn't write the letter. I'm sure he'll deny it but if you weren't writing a letter you would have just given me a reciept then and there like they do for all customers. Then I read the reciept and he has the nerve to say that he hooked it up to the machine and there was no problem. He also wrote that we could not replicate the problem. Now i'm pissed and he won't return my calls. I owned a Dodge all of my life and went to Toyota because of their reputation. Boy was I duped!
  • cmunizcmuniz Posts: 604
    I recommend that your write a letter to the dealership with a copy to Toyota USA with the info you provided in your post. You need to make them aware of the lies and the lack of service you have received. Not sure that it will solve any of your problems with hesitation, but at this point the dealer needs to know that you won't tolerate being lied to and that you are an unhappy first-time Toyota owner.
  • havokhavok Posts: 18
    Go for the HL. The 6th and 7th generation Accord V6s (>1998) have well-documented trany failure rates. This is a design flaw in all tranys connected to the V6(J30 series) engines found in the Accord, MDX, Odyssey, Pilot, CL, RL and TL. Engines are awesome but tranys are POS.
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    The last info. I heard on the tranny issue you mentioned was that it was traced to a part within the tranny that was produced by a supplier. Honda extended the warranty on affected trannys to 7 yr/100K miles.
  • kadskads Posts: 27
    We've got an 04 v6 highlander with the transmission problem toyota is trying to ignore.

    Drove an 05 V6 Accord with 5 speed auto today and it really puts toyota to shame—in fact, absolutely no comparison. Imagine this--it actually accelerates WHEN you push the accelerator, not a few seconds later. Always downshifts smoothly and immediately to the right gear on demand also.

    If toyota really can't figure out how to fix their problem, they need to fire their management and just send their engineers out to copy Honda's far superior drive by wire/5 speed auto transmission.

    If you’re considering toyota vs Honda, Honda wins every time—by two or three seconds!
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    " If you’re considering toyota vs Honda, Honda wins every time "

    Owners of the previous generation Accord that had their transmission replaced will disagree with you. Honda extended the tranny warranty for affected vehicles to 7yr/100K miles. That should tell you something.
  • sams_6sams_6 Posts: 15
    How do I turn on the interior dome lights from the driver's seat? Both lights are set in 'door' position and both come on when I open the door.

    I assumed that (like in most cars) I could turn on these lights voluntarily by twisting the dashboard illumination stem all the way counter-clockwise until it hit the detent. However, that action does absolutely nothing.

    Is my HL broken - should the interior lights have come on when I did this? If not, how do I turn them on?

    One other question - if I leave an interior light on, or leave a door ajar, will the lights shut off automatically at some point or will they run until the battery is dead?
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