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Highlander Hybrid Brake Problems



  • bryankmbryankm Posts: 4
    Actually, what I think saved me was that I have competed in Olympic Weightlifting for many years. I honestly think most people including my family would not have survived that impact or at the very least wouldn't have walked away from it. My body was pushed to the very limit and it is used to absorbing impacts, I hesitate to think of what might have happened if my wife or 7 year old son had been in the Highlander with me. I do give the Toyota structural engineers props though, the cabin bore more of the forces of the crash then I think most designers would even consider and it held up well ( 1 to 2 inches of compression)
  • app2app2 Posts: 2
    I have the same problem with my Highlander Hybrid '06. It gets worst during cold months. I first noticed it during winter months when I was still in Pennsylvania and then when I moved to California it became less. I complained this issue many times to the dealership services but they only told me that its the regeneration of the brake system with hybrid system. They said I will get use to it. I dont know what they really meant about, what does a woman knows about stuff like that. But it was pretty much of a big deal to me because its a safety issue, plus I always have kids riding with me. When i read your post and others it became clear to me i am not crazy. I will surely file a complaint about this. Thanks for the link.
  • app2app2 Posts: 2
    I have the same brake problem with my '06 Highlander hybrid. It slip very often particularly during cold season. The dealership just ignore me and said I will just get use to it. Many times I have avoided accident related to the brake problems, i would say i am proud to be a very defensive driver but the question is how long i can avoid it. By the way, the inverter broke down while I was travelling with kids on a busy freeway after 56k miles and just had the major service done prior to incident. The engine suddenly shut down while driving 70mph on a freeway, it wont turn on again. The inverter cost $8200 to replace it. It may happen to you too if you still own the Hi hybrid. I filed complaint to NHTSA, Toyota really need to address the problem. Its a safety issue.
  • myrafmyraf Posts: 32
    Hi i have had the same problem with my 2006 toyota hh,what have you done about the nverta,did the dealer take care of the repairs,please respond,there are a lot of us out there who have had the same problems,we need to get together
  • I've simply informed Toyota (twice) and told the dealer about the issue. Toyota doesn't acknowledge that a problem exists. The dealer mechanics have acknowledged it in asking them about it - but offer no fix. I believe it is simply seen by dealers as an "eccentricity" of the regen braking and not a safety hazard. And Toyota would rather it disappear until a major problem is discovered. I no of nothing to do other than re-think my braking closure rate to allow for the "slip."
  • I recommend filing a complaint online with the National Highway and Transportation (NHTSA). It takes 2 minutes, and that is the way that we can all band together to show that there is a problem, regardless of what Toyota says!
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited November 2010
    "..everything "heats" up.."

    Yes, including the tire treads.....

    Keep in mind that you are driving a FWD vehicle that is potentially a very DANGEROUS vehicle to be driving on a wintertime adverse condition, slippery, roadbed. Add to that the fact that your hybrid "wants to" make use of regen braking, FRONT WHEEL BRAKING ONLY, as a priority, a HIGH priority, and you have a somewhat (potentially) deadly mix of technologies.

    Loss if traction, even momentarily so, on the driven, FRONT, wheels of your vehicle is a matter that requires INSTANT and URGENT attention. On a standard FWD with TC even the slightest level of wheelspin/slip arising from too much engine torque being used for conditions will result in INSTANT TC activation, engine dethrottling and braking of the engine driven wheels.

    ABS is simply the "inverse" of TC, prevention of wheel lockup or skidding MUST be attended to INSTANTLY otherwise loss of directional control leading to an accident it far too likely.

    So, with even the detection of the slightest level of impending (IMPENDING) front wheel lockup or skidding due to regen braking the braking mode MUST be switched. Regen braking, FRONT ONLY BRAKING, must be quickly disabled in favor of frictional braking ONLY, front and REAR frictional braking.

    So, now, how should that transition be handled...?

    The initial application of frictional braking in this instance MUST be, by default, calculated at the factory to be LOWER than the previous regen level. Otherwise we would soon find ourselves in the very same "boat"....impending wheel lockup/skidding and continuing ABS intervention.

    So yes, in these instances, transitions from regen braking ONLY to frictional braking as a result of impending wheel lockup detection there MUST BE a transitional period of "lighter" braking. I don't see that the design engineers had much of a choice in this matter.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    On the hybrid Escape series Ford uses a regen braking control technique wherein the level of regen braking allowed before transitioning to combined regen and frictional is modified as a function of OAT. The colder it gets the less regen braking will be allowed before frictional braking is included.

    Your HH might well have the same feature. And/Or more likely the "gain" used to detect impending lockup is increased as the OAT declines below, say, 35F.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    edited November 2010
    The new FWD or F/awd Ford Explorer has a new technology they refer to as Curve Control. It seems to operate by dethrottling the engine and the use of braking if the system decides that you're driving to fast for the road curvature.

    It'l be interesting to know how well that works in real life conditions....
  • Forgot to mention that I did post the incident on NHTSA months ago.
  • utschyutschy Posts: 1
    I agree with you. I have called toyota who tell me to see a dealer. Why, so they can charge me $100 to tell me nothing is wrong with my vehicle. I can't tell you all how happy I am to have found this forum so I know I'm not crazy.
    In my experience the slight shift of acceleration or lurching forward happens at less than 15mph and maybe at even less than 10mph. It is just very surprising and disturbing when you have to "all of a sudden" add extra braking power as you are coming to a stop.
  • Contacting Toyota or Gov has proved useless in spite of similar problems on other models of Toyota.
    They will only pay attention to a class action suit unless there deaths (see acceleration problems).
    Let's get together and sue them and maybe we'll get their attention!!
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    That "lurch forward" is the result of the coastdown full fuel cut technique being disabled due to the road speed now being too low to sustain the engine above stall.

    During coastdown periods the engine is starved of fuel, FULLY starved, and the transaxle is sequentially downshifted in order to keep the engine turning over above the point of stalling. Once a "too" low speed is reached fuel flow is restored and the transaxle is upshifted. That last bit is why you feel a "lurch forward", due to the "relaxation" of engine compression braking.
  • almjalmj Posts: 1
    I drove 2009 Highlander in Oct 18 2012 at 2:30 from the dealership,and at 12:00am Oct 19 2012,it was back in the dealership parking lot.I hit the side barrier and no air bag were enagged, as i side the side of the truck which kept on moving in spite pressing the brakes.
    The truck slipped in black ice at 60 kmh, and failed to be controlled as the brakes did not even slow down it as there were dry patches too,but i did not have winter tires then.I got this truck repaired on Dec 18th 2012.
    The highlander was in the dealership body shop for two months.
    After driving for three weeks,Jan 22nd 2013, i had a second accident this at the speed of 25kmh at the play ground zone as the second car ahead stopped with no apparent reason,but my brakes failed again,this time had to apply the brakes hard as the low end delivery truck did and the highlander brakes failed even after pressing hard.
    My first cost for the repairs were paid by my insurance and it was $15000
  • My Highlander has 68,349 miles and I've owned it since it was brand new. This week my brakes have failed to work when shifting from park into gear while brake is fully engaged. Warning lights flash but don't stay on long enough to read. Brakes then worked within a couple seconds and the car operated normally until shifting gears. Problem is escalating however, because now the brakes stop working for a second or two, intermittently, when driving. My brake fluid is normal. I'm bringing it in to dealership tomorrow but ask that anyone experiencing brake issues report them immediately to the NHSC. They investigate after 100 filed complaints and although their are hundreds of blogs reporting this issue, as of 12-5-13 I saw only 12 complaints filed. Mine should be up in the next 72 hours.
  • I meant to say that I recommend filing a complaint online with the National Highway and Transportation (NHTSA). Please excuse the error.
  • paulw10paulw10 Posts: 1
    I have a new and different 2007 Highlander Hybrid braking problem. My left rear brake is running extremely hot. So hot, that I have burned my fingers touching the rotor. (All of the other 3 rotors are running fine; barely any warmer than the outside temperature. And, the rear brakes, calipers, and rotors were just replaced by the dealership about 7 months ago. The car has 166K miles on it, and there are no outward signs of a brake problem other than a hot smell and touch. No noise, skips, or any actual braking problem whatsoever.) I took the car to the dealership, they checked it out, and told me everything was fine. Specifically, the service tech wrote, "Pins are free, pads are free, calipers are free, no hot spots on rotors. No issue found at this time."
    That brake is still running just as hot, as I almost burned another finger checking it. Where do I go from here?
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,652
    edited March 2015
    Brakes are going to be hot to the touch if you have been driving around and using them, so describing them as hot to the touch seems normal. That's basically how your brakes work. They change the kinetic energy of your moving car into heat. If your left rear brake was actually dragging, first off, you might feel it in the form of the car pulling a bit. But the rotor would get REALLY hot and probably warp and the service tech would have seen evidence of that.

    Since you had the rotors changed, the smell could have come from the protective coating on the rotors that keeps them from rusting as they sit on the shelf waiting to be installed. A lot of people also notice a burning or hot smell when you replace exhaust parts. Same thing there. The protective coating burns off, but it's normal. If the brakes smelled hot, it's because they are. That smell will dissipate as the coating burns away. Have you checked the other brakes? I'd wager they may be just as hot and it's just that the smell got your attention and you noticed how hot rotors actually get.

    I had a brake pad start to drag on a rotor one time. After about a 10 mile trip to the store one evening, I parked and noticed a hot smell. When I got out and looked at the wheel where I thought the smell was coming from, the rotor was glowing red! So if something was touching as you were driving, you'd know.

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  • Bought a 2006 HH (57,208 miles) from a dealer last month for my daughter, noticed the "transition" in the braking as the vehicle is almost at a stop. For us,so far, we feel this change in how the braking feels only in the last second or two of braking, as the vehicle is almost at a stop. I have been interested to read the experience of others here.
    Brought it back to dealer last week, they report to me today that I am feeling the transition from regenerative braking to friction braking, and it is normal. In other (my) words, get used to it, this is how this vehicle brakes. For now, I am willing to monitor this issue on this car, since we bought a 1-yr warranty and the braking distance does not seem to be affected. I will monitor this forum and would appreciate any updates about Toyota service bulletins or recalls.
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