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Toyota highlander 2017 transmission issues

vijay_carsvijay_cars Posts: 9
edited November 2017 in Toyota
I bought a 2017 Toyota Highlander XLE AWD in April 2017. Since then I have put in 7000 miles on it and most of them are highway miles. From last week I noticed a whining sound coming from th car when the car goes to speed > 20 MPH. I took it to the dealer, they tested it and have ordered a "Transaxle assembly". They would give me a call when it is available as it is currently back-ordered.

Has anyone else having similar issues? Is it safe to drive the car with such an issue?
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Comments

  • I leased same vehicle in August & have 4500 miles on it with both highway & local driving.  I noticed hard downshift when stopping, then whining & rough upshifting. It was intermittent for a week.  Then became almost undriveable.  Took into dealer & was told I need a new transmission. They too are backordered.  I have been waiting over 30 days & am debating on filing a Lemon Law claim.   I am 1 of 200 waiting for transmission.  Think Toyota has a big problem on their hands with this new 8 speed transmission they used this year.  
  • MAKE THAT 1 of 201 waiting!
    Our 2017 limited platinum with just 10,000mi went out today, all the EXACT symptoms described in the last two posts. 
    Im FURIOUS!!!!!
  • I got my vehicle fixed after 42 days. I called Toyota and they have agreed to repurchase my vehicle. They aren't interested in offering a replacement.

    Is the issue fixed in 2018 Highlander? I really like the car and would like to go for the 2018 but skeptical because 2018 highlander is basically the same 2017 Highlander.
  • Make that 1 of 202! I am furious too. My 2017 Highlander Limited transmission went out at 15K. See the video I have posted on YouTube

    @cpsmith13 , I agree, they do seem to have a serious issue on hand with their new 8-speed Transmission design.

    @Vijay, Thank you for your post. How easy/difficult for you to convince Toyota to buyback your car. I may consider that option, and bring my Business to other company.

    I am very disappointed in Toyota, especially after driving 300K miles with my previous Toyota cars (Camry and Prius combined). But, this recent experience (inconvenience rather) with Highlander has certainly convinced me to try out other car manufactures in future.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,454
    jaivin_p said:

    Make that 1 of 202! I am furious too. My 2017 Highlander Limited transmission went out at 15K. See the video I have posted on YouTube

    @cpsmith13 , I agree, they do seem to have a serious issue on hand with their new 8-speed Transmission design.

    @Vijay, Thank you for your post. How easy/difficult for you to convince Toyota to buyback your car. I may consider that option, and bring my Business to other company.

    I am very disappointed in Toyota, especially after driving 300K miles with my previous Toyota cars (Camry and Prius combined). But, this recent experience (inconvenience rather) with Highlander has certainly convinced me to try out other car manufactures in future.

    Yep, that noise would drive me nuts, too. B) :'(

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  • berriberri Posts: 9,742
    I know a lot of people look down on them, but why not just use a CVT? Seems to me an awful lot of brands are having issues with these 8 and 9 speed transmissions. With those many gear ratios it seems it approaches a CVT anyway.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 4,956
    CVT's no matter how you try are going to have specific limitations and lifespans. Yes the multiple ratio transmissions are approximating the same thing and the complexity of them is causing some growing pains, but once the bugs are worked out, they should prove to be more durable than a CVT and the more important part is the real transmissions are better serviceable and repairable.

    Case in point, there is no way that a CVT would have survived this long in my 2010 Escape which will be over 250K in a very short time. It's six speed transmission doesn't even get the fluid dirty anymore between the half services at 30K intervals.
  • berriberri Posts: 9,742
    I've heard complaints about the feel of a CVT, but personally haven't really noticed it in rentals. I know the CVT in the old Ford whatever they called that tall station wagon off of the 500 had a reputation for a weak tranny. But does say an Altima that has a CVT have a noticeably worse transmission reliability rate than something comparable such as an Accord that uses a conventional transmission? I also wonder if transmissions are getting too complicated and high tech leading too all these complaints on various new 8 and 9 speed transmissions?
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 116,408
    berri said:

    I've heard complaints about the feel of a CVT, but personally haven't really noticed it in rentals. I know the CVT in the old Ford whatever they called that tall station wagon off of the 500 had a reputation for a weak tranny. But does say an Altima that has a CVT have a noticeably worse transmission reliability rate than something comparable such as an Accord that uses a conventional transmission? I also wonder if transmissions are getting too complicated and high tech leading too all these complaints on various new 8 and 9 speed transmissions?

    The Accord uses a CVT, as well.

    Many, many problems reported on the Nissan CVTs.

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  • Make that 1 of 203?

    We purchased a new 2017 Highlander XLE 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 8AT 8 spd transmission) after comparing it to several other vehicles in it's class. Toyota touts quality and safety features as their biggest sales pitch, seems it's there every time we turn on a TV. The transmission problem occurred at 8,253 miles, lucky for my wife, she was at a red light when the transmission failed and nobody was injured. You could move the shift lever back & forth at will but vehicle would not move when accelerator was pressed. The vehicle was hauled to local Toyota dealer on a flatbed & sat at the dealership for 52 days. We were told by dealer that a "new" transmission was back-ordered from California. After picking up the vehicle I noticed the work order stated part number 30510-48600-84 "REMAN ATM" and "CORE RETURN". Re-manufactured parts should not be used to repair a brand new vehicle under factory warranty, which hasn't seen it's first oil change. The day after picking it up I drove the vehicle around and excessive power train noise was present. Vehicle went back the the shop & they replaced both front wheel bearings at 8,392 miles and it sat in the shop another 3 days. Neither one of these repairs should occur on any new vehicle or a vehicle under 100,000 for that matter. Toyota Customer Service has been less than helpful & we're currently going through the lemon law process. Toyota has lost another long time customer, if I could rate the 2017 Highlander 0 stars I would. So far all I've gotten out of Toyota is that they can't offer anything! Lemon law in our state clearly states "A car that has been out of service due to warranty repairs for 30 or more cumulative business days."

    @vijay_cars , I'm also curious as to how you got Toyota to buy your vehicle back?

    I don't trust this vehicle & have serious safety concerns, driving a new car with major mechanical issues.
  • @leech_lake @jaivin_p

    I am in California and California's lemon law states "if the car is with the dealer for a single for more than 30 days then the car is a lemon". I called Toyota customer care number, stated the state law and they agreed to refund me.

    If you want a replacement, mention them you want a replacement instead of a refund. I asked for a refund and then changed my mind. They won't give a replacement now.

    I also had to pay around ~$2300 for using 7200 miles before the issue came up. Hope this helps.
  • Make that 204!! My 2017 with 7600 miles started whinning at 40 mph about a month ago. Brought to local dealer who said Toyota will replace the transmission but its on back order. Called Customer Care....waiting to see what they say. Previous three Highlanders didn't go to dealer for anything but regular maintenance. Also thinking about Lemon Law here in Mass.
  • Just lost my transmission yesterday w/ 11,735 miles...needless to say I am pissed. Limited model 8 speed.
    Non in country. They told me 3 on order due to come in ?. They don't know when.... :'( Also can't tell if the 3 coming in to the country are spoken for. The Service guy at dealer is doing everything possible but his hands are
    tied because of the lack of info from Toyota computer system. I was in the Parts business and I can't understand
    why Toyota's system is so lacking. NOT IMPRESSED w/ Toyota. Will never buy or lease another one!
  • The 8 speed transmission in my 2017 Highlander Limited failed two days ago. It has ONLY 1700 miles. My wife was driving it on a busy city street through an intersection around 20MPH when it made a sudden noise and then the car was coasting as if it was shifted into neutral. She was stuck in the middle of the street unable to drive forward or reverse. The engine was running, revved upon pressing the accelerator and the shift lever would move into all of the gear settings, but the car would not move. Several minutes earlier she was on an eight lane 65MPH highway. Imagine the safety issue if the transmission failed there! It was towed to a Toyota dealer who just called me and told me that the transmission requires replacement but there are now 300 Highlanders waiting ahead of me. They can't even give me an estimated time until repair. I am not happy about the time it might take to repair the car but even less happy about having my NEW car torn apart for a major repair. Unlikely it will be reassembled without causing future problems! I'm looking into my options as this is unacceptable.
  • About 3 weeks ago (today is 2/20/2018), my 2017 Highlander (around 13K miles) started having a high pitched noise when going over 40 mph. The whine would go up and down when the transmission switched gears. The noise would come and go and be more noticeable at times. A week and a day ago today, my wife was driving the Highlander when she heard a grinding noise and the vehicle would not accelerate, but the engine would rev. Luckily she wasn't rear-ended by the vehicle behind her. She pulled the vehicle off the road, shut it off and started it back up again and drove it home. I immediately took it to the Toyota dealership and noticed the whining noise was gone during acceleration, but it would whine during deceleration. The mechanic at the dealership took it out with me for a drive and could hear the noise. He told me there is a known problem with the 8-speed transmissions where a clip inside the transmission becomes unseated and can cause transmission problems. They found what they claimed was the last transmission in the country (USA) and started the process of having it delivered. The transmission came in today, 2/20/2018, and they are supposed to be in the process of replacing it. I can't believe they haven't issued a recall on these transmissions, although they seem to be trying to fix the issue with all the comments I've seen on this string. This is the first Toyota I've bought and I've bought a lot of different vehicles over the past 32 years I've been driving. Good luck everyone with your repairs!
  • Update...Will get my rig tomorrow morning. I hope hope the new one lasts through my lease w/ 2 years left.
    If it was MY car I'd be furious. Still pissed about the inconvenience...dealer is doing a great job keeping me informed of the progress!
  • orangeman99orangeman99 Posts: 83
    edited February 2018
    One of the reasons to NEVER put money down on a lease. If you get a refund, that down payment is gone for good.

    2 weeks ago I leased a 2018 XLE with the same 8AT transmission.
  • I got my Highlander back today. It was dropped off at the shop on 2/12/18, so a total of 9 days out of service. The CSR couldn't tell me if the replacement transmission had the clip issue taken care of. I find that hard to believe. Shouldn't there be an ID# somewhere on it that shows the manufacture date? Anyway, at least I got my vehicle back. If they have to fix it again, I guess the dealership with get another $6.6K from Toyota! I'm planning to file a complaint on the NHTSA website. My wife was really lucky when the tranny let go temporarily as she could have been rear-ended.
  • Update. Got my transmission replaced towards the end of January 2018 (Problem was first noticed in November-2017). The dealer (Toyota of Nashua, NH) replaced the transmission in a day. I was impressed!. Overall they did a great job replacing the transmission. However, I do feel slightly more vibrations compared to before. I will bring this to their attention during my next visit, and hoping they can fix it. I did manage to secure 8-year Platinum Warranty plan from Toyota at no cost. Oh, well, here is the bottom line: This is our third and LAST Toyota for sure. If they would have recalled the transmission proactively, I would have given them a second chance. But, two things are clear to me: 1) Enough people have already experienced this problem, and more people are looking to understand this problem (My youtube video has 300+ views since I posted on Jan-10,2018); 2) Toyota clearly wants to hide this problem, and let their customer figure out the problem themselves. Oh well, on a latter note, GOOD-BYE TOYOTA!
  • Same story for me. 2017 Highlander purchased in April '17. Car broke down in Nov. There wasn't a transmission in the country. They said I needed a new transmission and transmission coolers. There was coolant found in the transmission fluid. I had a loaner car for 34 days. The car was repaired and I'm driving it since then but I also qualified for the lemon law so I have the option of money back minus a certain amt for driving it 5k miles before breakdown or get a new car for the cost of that same amt. I opted for the new car but now I'm worried as I read these stories. The new car hasn't come off of the assembly line yet. I was told it was a range of VIN numbers which this happened to. There was another one at my dealership which happened in 3k miles.
    I also HATE the Scout navigation system on this car and have had many problems with it.
  • And I'll add that our family has owned Toyotas for over 20 yrs...2 4runners, Tacoma, 3 highlanders, Venza...
  • cfccfccfc said:

    I also HATE the Scout navigation system on this car and have had many problems with it.

    I agree. The Nav system sucks. I use Google Maps on my cell phone connected via Bluetooth.

  • After having a new transmission installed in my 2017 Highlander XLE, I was happy to be back in my own vehicle on February 21, 2018. However, I started to notice oil spots on my garage floor, so I put it on ramps and crawled underneath. I found 2 different leaks. The first was coming from the front, right axle where it connects to the transmission. The other leak was on the driver's side and appeared to be coming from a seal where 2 large pieces of the transmission were bolted together. Off to the dealer I went with only 600 miles on the new transmission. The dealer told me they could have the problems fixed within a couple days (this was on Wednesday March 14). When I called today, Friday March 16, I was told the parts they wanted to replace could not be replaced separately and they would have to install another new transmission. Now I'm looking at options to get out from under this vehicle. I called and filed a complaint/case with Toyota. I'm supposed to hear back from them within 1 or 2 business days. By then, the 2nd transmission should be installed...sigh. The dealer said they will appraise my Highlander once it is out of their shop to see what my options are.
  • jaivin_pjaivin_p Posts: 3
    edited March 2018
    Total views are now 625 and counting....I hope Toyota sees this Blog and take some action! Reposting the video, in case you missed it.
    BEFORE TRANSMISSION REPLACEMENT.




    ISSUES AFTER Transmission Replacement





  • I have a 2017 just coming up on 15,000 miles. At 10,000 the vehicle developed a "bucking" sensation, the dealer said there was no issue. If there was the check engine light would come on because the car is so smart. Now it has this whining sound somewhere between 10 and 20 mph and increases with speed. After learning of this blog it does not look good. The car is scheduled to go in 5/4. Hopefully it does not quite prior and leave sitting in middle of road.
  • calin_v1calin_v1 Posts: 1
    edited May 2018
    I have the whining noise on a 2017 Sienna with 11k miles and the dealer refuses to fix it saying "it's normal operating noise". What would you recommend? Go to another dealer? Call Toyota? Call a lemon law lawyer?
  • I got my vehicle fixed after 42 days. I called Toyota and they have agreed to repurchase my vehicle. They aren't interested in offering a replacement.

    Is the issue fixed in 2018 Highlander? I really like the car and would like to go for the 2018 but skeptical because 2018 highlander is basically the same 2017 Highlander.

    Does anyone if the issue fixed in 2018 Highlander? Thanks so much.
  • berriberri Posts: 9,742
    Don't the Highlander and Sienna have basically the same drivetrain?
  • ali_a22ali_a22 Posts: 1
    I found this thread after researching an engine whine that started on my 2017 Toyota Highlander about 10 days ago. The car is currently at the dealer.... here's whats going on with mine. I want to share this since other people are obviously having similar issues and it may help more recognize problems with their vehicle.

    Started getting a very noticeable engine whine at just under 10,600 miles. I am the one who drives this car 99% of the time and I knew something wasn't right. We just barely hit the one year with this car and I know how it drives and what it should sound like. This was something very different and had not happened before. We purchased this car new in May of 2017, it is a 2017 Toyota Highlander LE Plus.

    I took it into the dealer three days ago. I went on a drive with a mechanic/tech and he could hear the noise as well. He had not heard this sound before and apparently my Highlander is the first at my dealer with this problem (which did surprise me as I knew this is a widespread issue). I told them I wanted it checked out based on what info I had found online -- that it could be a major transmission problem.

    My dealer put in a request to Toyota engineering and they have been working on the car for two days. Toyota is aware of this issue but wanted my dealer to check every possible part of the engine in case it could be something different than the transmission as it's an expensive fix for them. So... 2 days later a new transmission has been approved by Toyota and I'm just waiting to hear from my dealer when they will be able to get one. I have been assured my vehicle is safe to drive for now but I'm still a bit wary. I am hoping to get it back today as I'm sure it'll be at least a week (or weeks it may seem based on others) for a new transmission.

    My husband and I are very frustrated though I feel sort of numb about it all. This is our first Toyota and the most expensive car we've ever bought. We went with Toyota because of their good reputation and we haven't had the best experience so far. I also had my car in a few weeks ago multiple times for an air whistle noise and door seal problem on the front passenger side. I'm starting to wonder if we have bad luck got a bad Highlander. Ugh! My dealer has been wonderful though and they are taking care of us. I do not blame the dealer, just frustrated with the overall situation. Never expected to have to have a full transmission replacement on a car with 10,000 miles.

    I'll try to add video of my engine whine somehow. Looks like most are youtube links. I have one at lower speeds and one at higher speeds. Similar noise to the first one above in post by jaivin_p.
  • ellie26ellie26 Posts: 5
    I was thinking about leasing/buying a 2018. Do they have the same transmission problems?
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