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Toyota Highlander Maintenance and Repair



  • bdymentbdyment Posts: 570
    You can't turn on the dome light from the dash.
    In my Limited model the two map lights can be turned on by pressing them.

    Unfortunately if you leave a door ajar, the lights will stay on until the battery is dead.
    This is one of the features I said should be added to the Highlander in my Toyota survey. A battery saver. For gosh sakes the Focus has this as standard equipment.

    Also I agree with you on the lack of illumination on some switches. Also I think you will find that the gauges are hard to read under some daylight conditions.

    However, the pros far outweigh the cons. Overall a great vehicle.
  • sams_6sams_6 Posts: 15
    I agree. Highlander is very good in the important features like ride, acceleration, and reliability. Comfortable and quiet too. I did quite a bit of research and drove a number of vehicles before deciding on the HL. The lack of an opening rear window was something I overlooked but it wouldn't have changed my decision.

    I just think it's funny that some small handy features that have been included in other makes of cars for years, if not decades, have still not made it the Toyotas.

    One last thing - I haven't yet had trouble reading the guages in sunlight but I do have trouble reading the radio when I'm wearing sunglasses. My sunglasses are polarized and I suspect that the radio's digital display is also polarized.

    Thanks for the response about the dome lights and battery saver (or lack thereof).
  • sams_6sams_6 Posts: 15
    Want to hardwire my radar detector into new HL. In my previous vehicles I simply mounted the unit high on the windshield near the rearview mirror and tucked the wire under the head liner and inside the windshield pillar cover.

    My new HL however has side curtain airbags mounted into the windshield pillars and I don't want to mess around with them. Anybody suggest a good (and simple) route to get a wire up to the roof liner near the rearview mirror?
  • georgeb7georgeb7 Posts: 35
    My wife left the driver side door open on our 2005 V6 Highlander and the dome light did not automatically go off.
  • typesixtypesix Posts: 320
    Highlander does not have battery save feature, so therefore light stays on. Even if it had the feature, the light would stay on till the battery gets too low,then the light would be shut off.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Toyota wants to hold back a few reasons to buy a Lexus.....

    No memory seat in the Sienna....??
  • sams_6sams_6 Posts: 15
    My 97 Explorer interior lights shuf off automatically after about 30 minutes. I left the tailgate window open overnight a couple of times and it didn't kill the battery. Another time I was carrying a load and must have bumped the dome light switch to 'on'. Again, the lights shut themselves off well before the battery was drained down. Same thing if I turned on the cabin lights from the dashboard (another feature lacking in the HL).

    Just was wondering if my new HL had a feature similar to the one in many domestic cars for over 10 years.
  • vlanman25vlanman25 Posts: 49
    HI: With about 2000 miles on a 2005 Highlander, I've discovered 2 paint chips. Granted it's Boston in March with lots of sand and stone on the road but this seems excessive to me given the short time. Has anyone else noticed this? Without a shield or bra is there anything that can be done to slow this down? Will waxing help?

    Regards and safe driving,
  • loucapriloucapri Posts: 214
    the dashboard illumination knob has nothing to do with the interior dome light.
    you just need to press the light itself. that's how it works in my wife's HL.
  • Toyota refuses to acknowledge their engine/tranny hesitation problems, so that should tell you something...
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    " Toyota refuses to acknowledge their engine/tranny hesitation problems, so that should tell you something... "

    Exactly....I agree with you 110%.

    Both, in fact, I'm sure ALL manufacturers have had similar vehicles with difficult problems to fix, like the HL hesitation, Toyota sludge issue, Accord tranny, CRV PTTR & engine fires. I won't get in to the domestics.

    Does that tell you something?
  • ecotrklvrecotrklvr Posts: 519
    My 2002 HL has a switch right on the dome light. It allow it to ON, or OFF, or Door-Actuated. While some might prefer the dome light to be workable by the driver only, I like it the way it is. Easy for front-seat or rear-seat passengers to use it this way. All of the Asian manufactured cars use I've ever driven use this scheme.

    Did Toyota get rid of the switch in the 2004-2005 models?
  • Please forgive me as I am not very car-technical!

    Both the ABS and VSC lights have recently started to appear on my 9-month old 2004 CVX Kluger/Highlander. The appear and disappear randomly for no apparent reason. I took it into the Toyota mechanic who 'cleaned' the ABS sensors and sent me on my way. This 'fix' lasted for a day and the lights appeared again. I visited the mechanic again and it's been in the shop for over 2 days (and counting). The mechanic is checking the wiring between the sensors and the 'actuator' and, if that doesn't work, they have indicated that they will need to trace all the wiring through the transmission to the CPU.

    The Toyota mechanic mentioned that he has never seen this problem before. Has anyone else seen this problem so I can help my mechanic help me! I really need my car back for the weekend!
  • bdymentbdyment Posts: 570
    The dome light is above the rear seats in the Limited model with the moonroof. It does have the switch that you mention, but you can't reach it from the front seats. There are two map lights near the windshield that can be turned on by pressing them.
  • tab1reb2tab1reb2 Posts: 3
    Hello. I recently had my 04 Highlander tires rotated and the tire sensor light came on. I called the dealer who told me how to reset the light myself, which worked for only a few miles. I reset it a couple more times and it kept coming back on. When I took it in to the dealer, he apologized and informed me that the instructions he gave me were for a 4 Runner. He reset it properly and so far it's been fine. Perhaps your dealership is using the incorrect reset method.
  • tab1reb2tab1reb2 Posts: 3
    A few months back, I turned out of a parking lot and my VSC light went crazy and the wheels locked up. Completely, totally locked. I couldn't get above 5 mph before it would happen again. I was only a mile from a dealer and still had to have it towed. The dealer said he had never seen this happen before and was stumped for a couple of days and then was finally told by Toyota technical support how to reset the VSC computer (I would have been much more comfortable if they had replaced the computer as they originally thought they'd have to do). Since then it's been ok, but to be honest, I'm terrified it will happen again in a more dangerous situation (driving at high speeds or when making a left turn in front of oncoming traffic, wet roads, etc). Thankfully I wasn't going fast at the time it happened.

    Has anyone else had this problem? I have seriously considered trading the HL in after that because it's a potentially very dangerous malfunction. I'd love to hear any thoughts on this or hear from anyone else that's had this happen--has it happened again after being reprogrammed?
  • sams_6sams_6 Posts: 15
    Still the same on 05 HL. Most domestic cars have the same functions (on/off/door) on the dome light(s). They also allow the driver to turn them all on regardless of setting by turning up the dashboard illumination control all the way. Turn the illumination knob back down and they go back to their previous mode.

    Reason I asked the original question is:
    1) I couldn't figure out how to turn the dome lights on from the driver's seat. Turns out you can't.
    2) the dashboard illumination control has a noticeable detent when you turn it all the way up (as expected) but it doesn't fo anything. Acutally, I noticed later that this action does make the shift indicator light and clock go extra bright when the headlights are on.

    Anyway, when I pull over at night to fish a map out of the seat back pockets, it'd be nice if I could turn on the center dome light from my seat so I could see what I was doing. That's all. It's a feature that has been in american cars for about 40 years.
  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 734
    However, I don't think that you could diasble the dome lights coming on with the doors open on domestic cars without putting tape over the door jamb switch.

    When I first started driving Japanese cars many years ago (about 1971), I noticed this difference as well, and missed being able to turn the dome lights on without reaching up and over my head...On the Highlander, I would have to have 6 foot long arms. At least we can reach the front map lights easily! I quickly adjusted, and would much rather have the reliabilty, refineness and resale values of the imports versus the ability to turn on the dome light from the drivers seat on the domestics.
  • sams_6sams_6 Posts: 15
    Anybody know how to remove interior windshield pillar cover? I've got an 05 HL with side curtain airbags mounted in the pillars. I want to get the cover off so I can run a wire up into the roof liner. I don't see any screws or fasteners. I definitely don't want to mess up the airbag.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Check the brake fluid level and/or make sure the brake fluid reservior float switch isn't intermittent.
  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 734
    Well..I did this on an '03 without the side curtain install the auto dimming mirror w/ outside temp/compass. The trim piece just kinda pulls out, there are snap-in type fasteners built in...however, I share your concerns on the airbag-equipped model. Perhaps someone with a service manual will chime in with the answer.
  • sams_6sams_6 Posts: 15
    Does anybody know if the rearview mirror on 2005 HL uses a camlock mount or a wedge mount?
  • Thanks for the advice - I'll pass this onto the Toyota technician. If it's not this problem, do you have any other thoughts because it has really stumped the technician and he's about to rip the car apart to check all the wiring!
  • kadskads Posts: 27
    Nobody wants a car with a problem, but it happens to them all. Assuming the number of problems is small, it's what the company does when a problem happens that counts. The concept is integrity and seems to be unknown to Toyota.

    The point I tried to make was:

    Honda has a transmission problem, admits it, fixes it and extends the warranty.

    Toyota has a transmission problem, won't admit it and won't fix it.

    In the future, I'm dealing with a company that demonstrates integrity, not just talks about it.
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    Have you read the CRV forum in regards to the "Pull to the right (PTTR)" problem? Or how about the CRV engine fire issue that Honda has blamed sloppy technicians?

    Go talk to the people over there and they will tell you that Honda is as you feel Toyota is.

    I feel for people who have made a significant investment only to have a problem with the vehicle and then feel like they're not getting any respect from the manufacturer.

    I'm not saying any of these problems don't exist. It's just that in my experience reading these boards, no manufacturer is perfect.
  • robert19robert19 Posts: 2
    Is your vehicle a 2004 Toyota Highlander?
    If it is the same thing happened to me and I was instructed to drive to the nearest service station and have them check the tire pressure, because that could have been the cause of the problem. If it was the tire pressure, then why didn't the "Low Tire Pressure" light come on?
    I know how you felt. It scared me to death because I had no control over the vehicle. I had AAA tow the vehicle, because I was not going to drive it.
    The mechanic told us later that they have been having a problem with that part. We only have seven thousand miles on the vehicle and as far as we're comncerned, it's not even broken in. Also, the dealership told us that it would be three to four days to get the part. If they've had a problem with that part, then why isn't it stocked locally?
  • tab1reb2tab1reb2 Posts: 3
    Yes, it is a 2004 fwd 4 cyl Highlander that probably had about 6,000-7,000 miles on it at the time. What part did they replace on yours? On mine they only reprogrammed the VSC computer after having to be guided through it by someone over the phone at Toyota Technical Support (I would have preferred a replacement). As I said, that doesn't make me feel terribly confident that it won't happen again, with possibly dangerous results.

    If your mechanic said they've had this problem on more than a few vehicles, this should absolutely be a recall item. It's a dangerous malfunction and I've seriously considered trading the car in for fear it would happen again, but it sounds like this is a feature on most new cars so there's no guarantee it wouldn't still be a problem on a different vehicle.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Insofar as I know, understand, there are only two sensors, uniquely involved in VSC activation. A yaw sensor (lateral accelerometer)is mounted low and near the center of the car. The RX's is under the rear seat. The second sensor is a stearing wheel rotational position sensor.

    Vehicle speed is also key to having the firmware operate correctly.

    I would first be suspicious of the yaw sensor, maybe having come loose from its "moorings", possibly even internally.

    I have long suspected that the engine hesitation symptom many are reporting as occuring in an accelerated turn has to do with the VSC detecting impending roll-over and thereby quickly dethrottling the engine.

    But that doesn't explain the straight ahead hesitation.
  • typesixtypesix Posts: 320
    Highlander low air warning does not measure air pressure, it measures rotational speed of the wheels and when one wheel is different from the others, low air light will come on. If all 4 tires are low by the same amount, the light will not come on since all 4 will have same rotating speed. Another item not described properly in owner's manual.
  • hmurphyhmurphy Posts: 278
    That makes sense. When the light came on in my HL, both rear tires were at lower pressure than the fronts.
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