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Toyota Highlander Maintenance and Repair



  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Please keep in mind, remember, snowchains ONLY on the front of any vehicle is potentially a very hazardous situation. Due to rear tire/suspension clearance snowchains cannot be fitted to the rear of the HL, RX, or Sienna.

    Baically it would be best, safest, not to take a FWD vehicle into a area where adverse roadbed conditions might exist, and certainly not a vehicle wherein rear snowchains cannot be fitted along with fronts.
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,786
  • sage3sage3 Posts: 47
    I have an 01 4wd with 42K, and occasionally have engine knocking ( like marbles rolling around the engine) with acceleration especially when climbing a hill. Toyota dealer states it is a detonation problem and using higher octane fuel should help. It appears that when using 93 octane the noise is not present.
    This is actually mentioned in the manuel page 180 under Octane Rating.
    I am wondering if anyone else has esperienced this, and did you do anything about it? I would rather not have to pay for the better gas since my work does involve alot of driving...
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    Thanks for your reply. Yes I know this is a problem in Toyota, and actually several other makes, too. But should this be happening? What has changed in engines to make them less tolerant of missing an oil change? As I mentioned above, it is only in recent years that I have become diligent in oil changes due to the sludge problems being reported. I never had a problem with sludge when I was not diligent in oil changes. This has not always been a problem...and it still does not seem to be a problem in all Toyota models or in many other makes of car. It is disconcerting to read of sludge problems after the 2002 model year in the Toyotas with the problem when this was supposedly fixed with the minor tweaking. Maybe this 2003 with sludge reported here is an anamoly.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    I did a quick check of Edmunds and the NHTSA and Center for Auto Safety complaint sites and can report that these sites really have very few complaints of sludge in 2003 and beyond Toyota models as compared to the pre-2003 time frame. I know this doesn't mean much since these sites really don't represent Toyota owners as a whole, but it is encouraging to see less reports in comparison to previous years. Maybe the tweaking did some good, or possibly the publicity of the problem has made owners more alert to maintenance needs.
  • rpell46rpell46 Posts: 15
    If you're "pinging" and engine timing is not the cause, you can almost cut the difference in the cost of having to use a higher octane in half by experimenting with periodically filling up with premium. It might be only every third fill or even every other, but it will cut down on the extra cost. Do NOT buy the PLUS (89 octane) grade. This is blended at the pump at a ratio of 2 parts regular(87) and one part premium(94). The difference in price does not reflect this ratio and will actually cost you more than if you fueled with premium periodically.

    Good luck.
  • rpell46rpell46 Posts: 15
    I'm really disappointed in the FM reception on the radio in my '03 HL. I've tried a better antenna and added a signal booster, but a number of relatively local stations still either fade-in and out or are static plagued. Of course, the local Rock or Rap stations are "loud-n-clear" but the stations I enjoy, soft rock, jazz, etc., can't cut it. I'm in the NYC area and this occurs outside of the city as well. Is anyone else experiencing this? Any solutions other than replacing the radio?
  • suvtimesuvtime Posts: 58
    Has there been any word from Toyota on fixing the hesitation problem with the Highlander yet? I'm still considering buying an 04 or 05 but have been waiting due to this problem.

    The transmission is supposed to adapt to your driving style, so how does it handle households with 2 or 3 drivers. I've even seen that some car rental places will rent out Highlanders. Can the transmission adapt to a new driver almost every day.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Artificial Intelligence.

    In cars, insofar as driving style is concerned, "AI" is restricted, typically, to the past ~180 seconds of history. Within ~60 seconds of having started the car and put it in motion the "intelligence" has mapped your driving style into one of 4 types. After 180 seconds the mapping is more refined and you will now be mapped into one of ten driving styles.

    Thereafter it keeps a running history of the past ~180 seconds and if you change your driving style it will adapt and remap you into another "bin".

    There a second level of "learning" involved with newer vehicles but that has to do with basic operation of the engine and transmission.

    For instance if you disconnect and reconnect the battery on my 93 Ford Ranger PU it will now have to "relearn" the proper power duty-cycle to use on the fuel injectors and the solenoid controlling the idle air bypass valve to achieve idle of 760rpm and the correct output from the exhaust oxygen sensor.

    Starting from a factory ROM approximation it automatically adjusts the air/fuel mixture at idle using the oxygen sensor output as feedback and then remembers the "settings" required to keep the engine at ~760 RPM and low emissions.
  • edhedh Posts: 246
    Several people here on edmunds talk about a drivers window road noise problem caused when the window is all the way up the rubber seal moves away from the glass letting road noise in. Other windows may do that too who knows.

    Mine, when the window is all the way up at 70MPH you get road noise. If you bump the window down 1/8 inch the road/wind noise quits. When you bump the window back up, the window pulls away from the lower rubber seal, the one where your elbow would be if you lowered the glass and rested your elbow on the window.

    Is there a fix for this? anything from the factory????

  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 737
    My dealer fixed this on my 2003 Highlander...they claimed to never seen it before, but where able to fix it. I'm not sure what they did, but the window is tight to the weather-strip with the window all the way up. Much less air/road noise now. The only window I had that problem on was the drivers. This has been the only issue in 25,000 miles. Hope this helps.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    No word from Toyota yet, to my knowledge. You may want to check out the Engine Hesitation forum (there is a link to it under "Helpful Links" on the left side of this forum, right under Advanced Search.
  • edhedh Posts: 246
    Any idea how they fixed the front windows road noise (at 60 MPH)?
    I was on the interstate yesterday. both front windows do it.
    If you lower the window 1/8 inch or so the noise really drops. If you raise the window fully, as the motor drives the window up, the window bottom just above the door bows out and the glass pulls away from the inside rubber piece, allowing a gap that lets in the noise. A lot of noise.
    is this a defect they all have???

    what stops the upward progress of the window glass/ is that point adjustable? If you leave it down an 1/8 inch it rattles when you slam the door.

    If this fixable by a dealer or is it a defect??????
  • johnny5johnny5 Posts: 13
    ACGC, I finally had the 15K checkup and they noticed the clicking this time and also gave the same explanation you seem to have gotten with the added information that the spring was somehow involved with the electrical connections for the airbag in the steering wheel. I can live with it.

    They also fixed a problem that had developed with the heater where it would only blow air at full temp unless set at 65 where it would shut the heat off completely. They replaced the entire unit under warranty and gave me a loaner for the extra day it took to get the part in.

    Great Service experience.
  • mscolejmscolej Posts: 1
    I own a 04' 4WD Highlander Limited, and it has had a hesitation from standing start and low speed acceleration. Has anyone gotten a fix for this. I was told it was the traction control system kicking in and zapping the power.

    I also have a vibration(jiggle) thru the whole truck that starts at 70 mph and gets worse as you go faster. The tires have been balanced (road force) 3 times, they have replaced a drive shaft and, and taken all 4 wheels and tires off of an 05' still no resolution for the vibration. They are calling Toyota Tech Support today to see if they can help. Has anyone experienced this and more importantly had it fixed.
  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 737
    edh...I really don't know what the dealer did to fix it on my 03, but it IS fixed...I believe that the window still goes up the same distance, it just doesn't bow the top of the lower door panel when fully closed anymore. It was just the drivers door that had this issue on my vehicle. We looked at several other 03 and 04 Highlanders on the dealer's lot, and a few (maybe 2 or 3 out of 10 or so looked at) showed the bowing on the driver's door with the window fully closed, none at any other door.

    BTW, we just bought a 2005 HL Limited to add to the family, and none of the Highlanders we condsidered buying exibited this.
  • spencer327spencer327 Posts: 106
    2004 HL LTD V6AWD. I have front end noise last 2 weeks. started at 15000 miles builds with speed, very noticable decelerating. Sounded like tire noise so I used it as an excuse to get rid of the goodyears and got michelins. The noise is still there. On the road a swerve to the right keeps the noise, however a swerve to the left makes the noise disappear till you center the steering.
    Has anybody heard of this?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    failure "noise" is often directionally sensitive.
  • edhedh Posts: 246
    wheel bearing?
    off road stuff?
    teen age drivers?
  • spencer327spencer327 Posts: 106
    driven by senior citizen , highway only, conservative driving. 5000 miles hwy, 10000 miles local stop and go. Brakes look fine. I will see what my dealer comes up with.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    that Paul Newman is a senior citizen, a VERY senior citizen!

    You know, the 80+ year old that drove a Daytona Prototype in last month's 24 hours of Daytona.
  • spencer327spencer327 Posts: 106
  • spencer327spencer327 Posts: 106
    noise is front differential. At least a week before Its available. I am really starting to question my choice of vehicle.
    Brakes,tranny now differential. At least this is a problem, that can be fixed.
  • ddpstcddpstc Posts: 44
    After changing oil at 4700 miles, I could not reset the Maint Req light in my 2004 HL that keeps showing up above the Fuel guage. I followed the manual, turned the ignition key to lock, press down the trip meter button, then turned the key to ON position for 5 seconds, the number resetted to 0000 but the Maint Req light keep showing up. What did I miss?
    Why does Toyota make it too complex to reset the Maintenance Ligh? In my Honda CR-V, all I have to do to reset the maintenance light is to insert the key to a reset hole, why can't Toyota make it simple for driver?
    Is there a way to disconnect the fuse to the Maintenance light for good? Most cars in the market have no maintenance light and they worked fine.
  • loucapriloucapri Posts: 214
    i hate the maintenance light!

    I mean, that little oil change sticker the dealer put on is good enough.
  • herzogtum71herzogtum71 Posts: 470
    It sounds like you did everything right. Was the light working properly before the oil change? I believe after 4500 miles it was supposed to flash for something like 12 seconds each time you started the vehicle. You may have a short of some kind that they should take care of under warranty.
  • middleageguymiddleageguy Chicago areaPosts: 42
    I had to have the Toyota dealership show me how to clear out this light. Turn the ignition (don't start) to Accessory. Hold in the black trip button until the odometer turns to 0000000. The light should turn off.

    The good news is the light did not go on at 10,000 miles.
  • mckeownmckeown Posts: 165
    Accoring to the Shop Manual (and my wife's 2004 now has 27K on it so I know this works).
    Key on...doesn't matter if the engine is running or not, push trip button until ODM is displayed.
    Key off......push and while HOLDING Trip button...Key turned to on (do not start engine). After 5 sec. of holding the Trip reset, the Maint Req inducator should turn off.
    This will reset it to the Next 5K interval. Approx 4500 miles from now the Maint Req indicator will stay illuminated for 15-20 sec after the vehicle is started as a subtle reminder that the next Service Interval is nearing.
  • edhedh Posts: 246
    is an unnecessary frill.
    i would rather have auto locking doors when u drive off
  • jbolltjbollt Posts: 737
    I had a Honda Civic that had the maintenance light, but it came on at 10,000 mile intervals, and that seemed way too long for an oil change, altho that is what Honda stated in the manual for that car. We always change oil at 5,000 miles. If I have to reset the light, oh well... Perhaps it should be an owner setting to specify at what mileage the light comes on? or not on at all? That would allow for the different usage types (normal or severe) :-)

    Everyone is different. I hate the auto locking doors, and always disable them when I get a car that has them. Just personal preference. I think that a vehicle in the class of the Highlander should offer the auto locking doors, but also allow for personal settings. BTW, I had my dealer set the remote so all the doors unlock with one push of the unlock button on the remote. (this should also be able to be done by the owner) My wife prefers the ability to only unlock the drivers door with the remote, so her car takes 2 pushes to unlock all doors.
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