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Toyota Highlander Hybrid Engine Questions

maverick777maverick777 Posts: 2
edited April 2014 in Toyota
Bought a limited version in March and on two occasions since, it just won't start. Turned the key, lights come on, then nothing. Waited a few minutes, then it started right up. Taking it to the dealer for a system check, but has anyone experienced this?


  • mroczkamroczka Posts: 11
    I,m wondering my dealer has a new highlander hybrid that came from Indiana with 245 miles on it and i,m assuming it was mostly highway miles, would this be a problem with this car because of breakin of new engine. Would I have problems down the line. Years ago there were certain steps that told you how to properly break in a new engine, and not drive it at certain speeds consistently. Does this apply to the highlander hybrid? Thank You in advance Frank
  • nomorebenznomorebenz Posts: 109
    I'm no pro on this but I think you don't need to worry about piston glazing. Especially with this dual engine system and only 245 miles. The manual says just to avoid harsh driving during the first 1000 miles, i.e. acceleration, braking & towing.
  • nomorebenznomorebenz Posts: 109
    I'm little unsure. Are you saying that the Gas engine is not coming on or that you can't engage the drive system?
  • It's really strange: tried to unlock the doors using key fob-didn't work, Manually opened the door-interior light did not come on. Waited a-while, turned key in ignition-dash lights came on, then slowly faded. Got a ride home, came back, and it started right up. Has happended twice. Dealer check today showed nothing wrong.
  • nomorebenznomorebenz Posts: 109
    Definitely sounds like a problem with the 12 volt battery system as opposed to the hybrid battery.
    I'd check the connections and the battery indicator located on the battery itself. Look for any items that might be draining the battery such as open doors, lights etc.
    If you find nothing amiss then take it back to the dealership and have them focus on that system.
  • typesixtypesix Posts: 321
    Owner's manual will tell you how engine should be broken in.
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    So-called "harsh" driving is how most people actually drive today. :sick:
  • ctillotctillot Posts: 1
    Could someone please help me find the location of the oil filter on a 2007 Toyota Highland Hybrid LTD, V6, 4wd-i. I have looked from underneath and above and cannot locate a filter at all. When looking for a replacement at the auto parts store, the filter appears to be a standard sized filter.
  • sale3sale3 Posts: 1
    hi! could anyone out there help me start my 06 highlander hybrid!
    This hh was bought with moderate front end damage, its all fixed now but it doesnt start!
    When i turn ignition on red triangle warning light is on and also it says check vsc system! no ready light what so ever! the electrical kw gauge doesnt move at all it sits at the bottom bellow #0! does anyone have any ideas what could this be?
  • erikperikp Posts: 3
    May be a fried inverter!
    My HH came to a complete stop on the highway on June 25. The message read "Check Hybrid system" and "Check VSC System" I had to have it towed 50 miles to my dealer. It took them three days to realize the inverter was cooked. If not for the warranty, it would have cost me $7000.00 to replace on top of the $208.00 tow charge. They were told by Toyota that only 1 other case of this had been reported. I am now a little leary of the future when the warranty runs out.
  • erikperikp Posts: 3
    If you turn on one of the Map lights on the mirror before getting out, it will stay on after the other lights fade out. The battery does not like this much and I don't recall this setting off one of the warning chimes, ie, "Moonroof Open", "Key in Ignition".
  • Ran into the same problem. The filter is underneath and behind the exhaust manifold in the front of the engine. Remove the plastic panel from the bottom of the front bumper to access the filter. You will also see that Toyota thoughtfully provided a unique drip catch basin below the filter.
  • sdo11sdo11 Posts: 2
    I'm having a similar problem. I go to start the car and it says "shift to park." The car is in park. I'll try several times and sometimes it starts. Sometimes I can start is hours later. I've taken it to the dealer and they say they can't find anything wrong. The last time I got it back from the dealer, it wouldn't start the next day. Had to get it towed in. Once again the dealer couldn't find a problem. The dealer said they called Toyota in California and no one else has had this problem. Either I'm getting told a line or other dealers aren't reporting the problem to corporate.
  • sdo11, I'm having the exact same problem with the "shift to park" thing. (See my new post under "I think my HH is possessed.") It's happened three times in the last two months. So far, the dealer is equally unhelpful. Any updates? I am so frustrated.
  • sdo11sdo11 Posts: 2
    HH: Sorry to hear you are having the same problem. The service mgr gave us the Toyota national complaint line. They set us up with their dispute settlement program. We had an arbitration hearing. We heard back that from the independent arbitrator that Toyota has to buy the car back. (We were still under warranty.) We are now waiting on Toyota now. They have up to 30 days to buy it back.

    My suggestion is the next time it happens to you, take pictures of the of the gearshift lever and the gauges. We took pictures with our cell phone. I think that helped. You may ask the service mgr if they want to send a mechanic to the car's location when you have the problem. That was one of the suggestions the district Toyota rep said at the hearing.
  • Check your OIL level!
    We have had the same non-starting problem with our '06 HH (55 K miles) for the last two months. We had previously noticed that the dealer who services both our HH and our Prius consistently overfilled the oil, not just a little, but over half a quart. When we last took the Prius in for service, and they overfilled it again, we insisted that they refill, and get it on the mark. The master mechanic agreed that this over-fill could be damaging, and said they would check their metering. He also said that this over fill could reduce mileage, and might cause starting problems, in addition to damaging the engine. The non starting took place when the vehicle had not been used, at least over-night, or after being driven 400 miles after being serviced, and parked on an up slope.
    Subsequently we took the HH in for service, and had the fill only to the mark. NO STARTING PROBLEMS IN THE WEEK SINCE. The absence of the problem does not prove the cause, but it is worth checking.
    We have experienced this overfill problem in Southern Nevada, Idaho, and Utah, at Toyota Dealerships with both Interminable Wait & Quick Lube operations.

    Speculations on overfilling:
    Inaccurate metering of new oil.
    Inaccurate meter dial setting by grease monkeys.
    Not following specifications.
    Not changing the oil filter (but charging for it?)
    Incomplete removal of old oil, too quick, oil hasn't settled.
    Oil viscosity may not be right for the ambient temperature.
    Cumulative slight over filling (unlikely as we've used three dealerships.)

    If non-start recurs, we'll get back to you. Also be sure the gas cap is TIGHT, but that hasn't been our problem. Computers rule, d a r n it!
  • jaskerjasker Posts: 3
    I am having the same problem with the shift to P when parking message. I have called the dealer who said on the phone he'd never heard of it. I tried to start it 5-6 times same problem. 30 minutes later it started up. I noticed after shifting to neutral and the back to park to see if that fixed it that the car rolled a little and then clicked back into gear. I am going to document it like you said with pictures before taking it in. What have you found out after the 30 days?
    Thanks for posting!!!
  • NOW STARTING AND RUNNING WELL since the engine oil level was corrected. MPG has improved too over the same terrain, but that may also be influenced by less heated use. -CW
  • jaskerjasker Posts: 3
    Update on my problem:
    Okay it's shift to P when starting not parking first off. I went back out and had my camera ready and it started of course. But 15 minutes later I had the shift to p message again. This time I took the picture of it. Also tried it once more right afterwards and then another problem occurred. The whole screen went blank with only the green bulb and the doors open light with no sound from the engine at all. It was like the battery was dead. Then I took the key out and the car started dinging like I still had the key in. The overhead lights were dimmed but stuck on and the parking lights in front of the car are stuck on. The dinging stayed on even when all doors were closed. I'm definitely taking it in now!
  • tony75tony75 Posts: 1
    Hi, I am having the exact same problem and took the car to the dealership. They could not find anything wrong, and also claimed that they had never heard of this problem before. They tried to tell me that I didn't drive the car enough or that I left the lights on. Thats when I got mad. Have you had any success in solving the problem?
  • jaskerjasker Posts: 3
    I did take it to the dealer. They said it was the battery and replaced under warranty. So far I have had no problems since. We have had this problem for almost 6 months and we remembered later that we called the dealer the first time it happened and they told us to check the gas tank and make sure to click it 3 times which is similar to another posting. The problem went away for a while after that but came back. Hopefully it's solved now. Did they replace your battery?
  • jldavisjldavis Posts: 8
    Out of the blue, my car would not start tonight. It's brand new - 2008, and 6000 miles. It's been working wonderfully, but is is dead as a doorknob. Would not even attempt starting. The door light was on, but extremly dim. Something under the hood was making a very meek pathethic sort of whirring noise.

    I did recently have an oil change, and have gotten the Shift to P message - both seem to have been mentioned in other forum postings where the HiHy does not start, but I did not see anyone posting about the weird noise too.

    Any ideas?
  • rodonnellrodonnell Posts: 37
    While I have not experienced this problem, (yet) I suspect it is related to the battery. The door light dim is a dead giveaway that the battery is low. Probably not related to the oil change, more likely a light was left on. The whirring noise is a normal sound, although it may be weak because of the battery as well. There are several systems that get powered up when you turn the key, the water pump and power steering to name two. I think the "Shift to P" is also a symptom of the battery charge state being low as well. Computers do not like to operate with a low voltage condition.

    May I suggest you perform a test of the battery charge. Should be fully charged and between 12 and 12.5 volts.

    If you cannot start the engine, try a jump start like you would with any other vehicle. Once running measure the battery voltage again, should be more than 12.5 volts, between 13 and 15 would be normal.

    If this fails, it seems a trip to the dealer is in order.

    I am beginning to think there is a systematic failure in the charging systems for HH based on what I have been reading in these posts. I have a hard time believing all the people experiencing problems with the battery running down and failing is because the owners have left a light on.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    " I have a hard time believing all the people experiencing problems with the battery running down and failing is because the owners have left a light on. "

    You would think that Toyota would have sprung the 50 cents or so for a circuit to shut off the interior lights after 10 minutes. My last three cars have had this feature.
  • greegree Posts: 1
    We've accumulated 85,000 miles on our 2006 Highlander Hybrid, and I'm wondering what Toyota recommends as the timing belt change interval. Does anyone know?

    BTW, so for our only failure has been a window lift motor, under warrantee.
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    It would be in the owners manual if it's a recommended change. Check there.
  • Interesting issue. One day a few weeks ago when temp reached 115 in parking lot at work. Drove in to work at 8AM, HH 2006 Limited 2WD, 60,440 mi. Parked in parking lot all day cam out at 4PM to go home thermo in dash said outside ground temp 115.

    Car started like dream. Drove out of PL made a couple of stops to merge. couple of L&R Turns. Then enroute to freeway entrance accelerated and moved to center lane to pass city bus disgorging passengers. All of sudden warning displays all over, but no bells, saying "hybrid failure, go to service" of words to that effect.

    Luckily work only 10mins from Toyota Dealer and was able to avoid getting onto freeway and take back road to dealership. Left car running with failure displayed on dash for all to see. Grabbed my serivce writer and then sat down for what turned out to be 2hr wait.

    End result was diagnosed as ECU failure but part out of stock. Dealer was able to reset/overcome failure mode and let me drive off, thinking part was coming from CA and I could come back in three days to get fix (covered under Hybrid warranty.)

    Had two appointments canx as part remained out of stock, and then magically delivered.

    After two hours of work I have had car back now nearly two weeks. Runs like a dream and even the problem I had when travelling at 70mph and feeling car hunt as it tried to maintain steady speed has gone away (even though dealer had "reprogrammed" ECU firmware about three months ago -- and complaint still remained.)

    Was wondering if others had this problem, especially since ECU was so hard to come by. Either this ECU (failed little so no need for stocks in USA) or (failed a lot and spares across USA were being depleted as a result.)

    Thoughts, comments?

  • Your recommended interval is at 90,000 miles. I had the timing belt replaced in my 07 HH last month at 94,000 miles.

    By the way, I had it changed at Priority Toyota in Petersburg VA. I was quoted $290.00 for the job over the telephone. When I took it in for the appointment, was questioned by the service writer who thought I had a chain. After verifying it indeed has a belt, was called an hour later by the writer who mentioned the price was quoted wrong because the Hybrid requires much more work. Seems funny to me because there is no serpentine belt or other parts to remove from the front of the engine. The dealer honored the price as quoted.

    Got a call two hours later informing me the work was completed. Interesting, the Toyota Website and All Data quote 2.7 hours for the belt replacement on the HH.

    Dealer gave me back the old belt and reported there was no leakage in the seals or in the water pump.
  • 400e400e Posts: 41
    Am nearing 30K miles on my 2008 HH and asked the dealer for info on that service. They gave me a brochure which lists all the usual inspections, oil change, air filter replacement, etc. but in addition replaces differential oil and does a "fuel induction service." All to the tune of $469!

    I am very tempted to do the oil change and air filter replacement myself, then go to an independent mechanic to do the visual inspections called for. I don't see the need for the other services the dealer wants to do as they are not specified in Toyota's literature.

    What have others done? What do you think about these added services, like "induction service" and differential oil change? (Not even sure that's relevant as no rear differential on the hybrid.)
  • You are a smart guy 400e. What you experienced from that dealer is the typical marketing ploy used in the automotive repair/service industry.

    I have followed the manufacture's recommendations for maintenance on my '07 HH and have had ZERO problems in 117,000 miles. When you replace your air filter, dont forget the cabin air filter behind the glove box.
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