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Highlander Hybrid Electrical/Lighting Problems



  • wolfcalwolfcal Posts: 19
    just an added note:
    the new 12volt battery that toyota service installed is now a 84month battery(7year), all i can now figure is that in 2005(2006model) they didnt make a 12v battery that lasted longer than 3 years...
    oh well, car is now running great again.
  • gvurgvur Posts: 2
    I think the issue may be the capacity of the orginal 12 volt battery is simply to small. The small capacity is not suited for normal loads when the vehicle is parked and the battery is not being charged (computer, hydraulic brake "booster" motor, radio, lights left on, etc).

    These loads on the battery, when the vehicle is off and not charging the battery, will cause the battery voltage to drop. If a lead acid battery voltage remains in a discharged state for a long period of time, sulfates build on the lead plates SHORTENING THE LIFE AND REDUCING THE CAPACITY OF THE BATTERY. The life of a lead acid battery is directly related to the charge maintained on the battery.

    If the majority of trips are short (say < 10 minutes), this does not allow enough time for the 12V battery to recover to a fully charged state (~ 12.6 volts). The ability to recharge the battery (when the vehicle is running) is further hindered if additional loads such as heated seats, rear defrost, etc are being used.

    I have noticed this problem on my 06 HH 12V battery. I have found the voltage as low as 12.1 V (~ 35% charged). Last night is was 12.3 V (~ 60% charged) so I put a battery charger on it to top the voltage back up around 12.6V as a preventative maintenance strategey to prevent sulfates on the lead plates and to maximize the battery life.

    My other vehicle is a 03 GMC Sonoma which has a significantly large capacity 12V battery. It can easily maintain a 12.5 to 12.6V charge when not in use for extended periods of time. My pervious vehicle was a 97 GrandAM, and the orginal ACDelco battery was still good after 9 years - likely due to a good charging system and large capacity battery....

    I would be curious if the people who have had premature battery failures:

    - normally make short trips less than 10 minutes
    - ever drained the 12V battery down (i.e. left a cabin light on over night) and possible required a booster.

    If you normally make short trips, I would recommend using a battery charger periodically to ensure the battery voltage is always topped up to ensure maximum battery life (if you are anal like me). Or maybe Toyota should install a large capacity 12V battery.

  • wolfcalwolfcal Posts: 19
    wow, you have some knowledge on batteries,,thanx,,,why didnt toyota think about are correct, my 06 hh is used daily for short trips, with heated seats on ect...long trips once a month or so, and in cold weather...i now understand the shortened battery life....
    here is my latest posting on all forum sites i am on:

    latest update from chris:
    I wrote toyota corporate about my concerns with it taking 4 days to find the battery was my problem and that the battery is the achilies heal of this vehicle.. surprisingly i was assigned a case number and a corporate manager called concerns about the service centers not looking at this battery will be addressed to a corporate service officer and the idea that there is not back up to this battery or a sensor, will now go to corporate engineering review......dont know how or why my email was assigned a case number, but the manager who called me had talked to the service manager at the center that worked on my car, before calling me the second time....ok, im impressed,,,and my car does work great now....

    there ya go
    i love my hh and would buy again over and over
    parting thought:

    adding a sensor to this battery should be a simple task for our old gas cars the alternator kept your system running until you turned the car off (in battery failure situations), i do not want the alternator back, because we have a power source..the hybrid batteries...couldnt some brilliant engineer find a way to draw power off the hybrid batteries through a source of voltage reducers or something like that, to power the computer in a complete battery failure. and put up a warning, go to dealer now.....just thinking outside the box...
  • mgingoldmgingold Posts: 1
    I love my new Highlander Hybrid 2008! Question: I am in the habit of leaving my purse and keys in my cars overnight while parked in my garage at home. Is this safe with a hybrid? Will it drain the battery?
  • bdymentbdyment Posts: 570
    I don't think it will drain the battery, but it sure will make it a lot easier for a burglar to steal your new Highlander.
  • jwelshoferjwelshofer Posts: 1
    Was wondering if anyone else has had experience where their HH won't start and error message Check VSC and 'shift to P for starting' comes on when the car is already in park? This was posted Dec 20, 2006 but saw no definitive answers on resolution by dealer. We have had the car in twice, first time they replaced the auxillary battery only to have it occur again while trying to start car. Second trip to dealer "we cant reproduce problem" and nothing was done! Very frustrating in that the car has 60k and up to this point has been flawless performer. We are afraid to drive because of fear of not being able to start car.
  • pflovepflove Posts: 2
    Does anyone know if the EV system introduced in the HH '08 is backward compatible for the HH '07? This is the switch that causes the 08 Hybrid to run off the battery as much as possible, given appropriate temperature and battery charge (saves gas). It would be great to install this upgrade.
  • I have the navigation system with the graphics option of viewing how the car is being powered -- electric engine, gas engine, battery, or combination. On 3 occasions now, the battery charge has dipped low (to 2 bars out of a max of 8) while the car has been idling -- ranging from waiting in a fast food line to creeping along in rush hour traffic. Car was in Park once, in Drive the other 2 times. I have no idea how many times this happened when this particular display was not selected. I was assuming the gas or electric engines were not properly recharging the battery, because there was no little arrow going from an engine to the battery, but it also makes sense that battery capacity itself may be limited, and the AC etc. is draining that quickly.

    Have owned the car a little over 1 year and needed to jump start the battery 3 times -- twice doors were left slightly ajar by young children and once a valet parking service left fog lights on overnight. (This is the first Toyota I've owned, and I guess I was spoiled by our previous cars, which basically shut down the lights after 20 minutes or so without the engine running!) Almost all our trips in the car are short trips less than 10 miles -- most are less than 5.

    Thanks for the battery info. Just noticed this problem in the last week or two, and wanted to see if anyone else had a similar problem before taking the car into the dealer.

  • I have had my 2006 Highlander Hybrid at the dealership three times in the last three months. We have a sloped driveway and have found that if we park the car nose down and it rains during the night the car malfunctions when we start the car the next morning. The A/C does not work, only the driver's window will move up & down, the outside temperature reads E degrees, just about every light on the dash lights up - ABS, parking brake, etc. The GPS screen also states that there is a connection problem with the A/C. The problems corrects itself when the car dries out. The last two times, the dealership has band-aided the problem by first resetting the computer and then downloading some new A/C software. They are now telling me that there is nothing they can do this time b/c they didn't pull any codes (though the problem fixed itself once the car dried out).
    Has anyone else experienced this problem or have some suggestions as to what this could be?
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    One way to debug this is by experimenting. It is hard for the dealer to figure out without additional info.

    The culprit may be as simple as a leak. Places to look would be the weather-strip at the base of the windshield, the black vent cover between the windshield and the hood and then the hood seams. I would try the following after parking the car in the same manner as before.

    (A) I would cover the entire front portion of the car from above the windshield all the way to just over the front of the hood making sure to cover all seams around the hood, all weatherstripping around the windshield and that black plastic vent cover between the windshield and the hood. Make sure to tape or weight down the top edge of the plastic sheet real good so water does not get underneath the sheet. It this solves the problem, it could be a simple leak.

    (B) If (A) solves the problem, it is time to find this leak. Keep the plastic as before atop the car above the windshield. Reduce coverage from the front of the hood by cutting or folding back towards the windshield. I would fold half way up to expose just the front half of the hood and the hood seams. This is to see if water flowing down from the top into the hood seam is causing the problem. If that does not cause the problem, then the leakage could be higher up.

    (C) If (B) creates no problem, I would go as far up as the top hood seam just below the black plastic vent cover. Water could splash in through that top seam. Cut the plastic so it covers all the seams down past the black vent cover from above the windshield but leave that top hood seam uncovered. Careful to press down on the plastic so it fits the contour of the car and NOT DIRECT WATER into the hood seam where it should not. If it does, the experiment is skewed and is itself creating a leakage problem.

    (D) If (C) causes that problem again, and you have made sure the plastic is NOT inadvertently directing water into the seam where it should not, then the leak is in that hood seam. The dealer now has info to use.

    (E) if (C) does not cause the problem, then the leak may be further up. It could be in or around that black vent cover. Again, adjust the cover and expose the black cover to see what happens and so on and so forth.

    This process continues until you expose the entire windshield but it should be clear how it may be able to help isolate to a specific area.

    DO take pictures each time you change the cover so that the dealer can see exactly what you did. A picture is worth a thousand words :).

    Good luck!
  • I would approach the problem from a different direction than CDPTRAP suggests, however I agree the problem is most likely a lwater leak down into the engine compartment and into the computer system somewhere. The hood seals should protect the compartment from any water from above, and have most likely failed.

    After your car has completely cooled off and you are preparing to park it normally, place several paper towels in the engine compartment and close the hood carefully and completely. Let it rain, or run the garden hose on the engine compartment. Dry off the front of the car and open the hood. I suspect you will find a very wet spot on the paper towels revealing the source of your leak.
  • I think what you are concerned with are actually two separate things.

    First, the battery discharge problem you describe after leaving lights on is normal. The batteries are not built to provide unlimited power to lights. When you leave them on, the battery will eventually discharge. This would happen with any automobile regardless of the power source. I agree, Toyota should have equipped the car with a short timer to prevent this problem.

    Your second concern with the battery charge state indicator in the Nav display seems completely normal. Mine experiences the same. The computer system controlls when to turn the ICE on to provide charging to the Hybrid battery. Leave your car running long enough and you will witness a continual cycle.

    I notice mine will start the ICE when I get down to two bars on the indicator. The ICE runs for several minutes until the indicator shows 5 bars.

    Believe this is entirely normal.

    And don't forget to double check that all the doors are closed when you shut down for the evening.
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    rodonnell is dead on. On the '06 version, when the hybrid battery pack is down to two pink bars, ICE turns on until it gets four to five bars. This should be the same for the newer models.
  • I have the same problem with our 06 HH. The first time it happened, we were just about to begin our vacation. We didn't have time to deal with it, and came back 2 weeks later to find the battery had died. When we jump-started it, the problem went away. About 2 weeks later, we got the same message. This was the weekend before another vacation trip. We came back a week and half later, and the battery was dead. We jump-started it, and the problem went away. Fortunately, this time, we took digital pictures of the error message. We took it to the dealer, and it had only 31,400 miles. They kept it for 2 and half weeks, and said they could not reproduce the same error message. Nothing was done. The dealer claimed to have not heard of the problem before.

    After reading all the other posts about the battery, we decided to replace the battery at our cost. (The dealer insisted that it was still good.) Since we have the new battery from WalMart, the problem has not returned in the last few weeks.
  • I seem to be having the same problem. Turn the key to start in my HH '06 and I get the shift to P error even though it is in park. I only have 37,700 miles. Of course it's a holiday weekend and the dealer service dept. is closed! Very frustrating to think I will have to replace the battery. Any other advice of how to start it?
  • wolfcalwolfcal Posts: 19
    the battery is fairly inexpensive, $80, probably cheaper at walmart...
    it only last 3 years, so for an 06, it may be the the hood, look to the left , where the battery normally is,,,and there ya go,,,it is the size of a motorcycle battery..
  • Thanks, unfortunately I don't feel confident doing any sort of mechanical work. I had to have it towed to the dealer and have them do it. Total was $200. Running great now, but I had to reprogram everything: radio, navigation settings, clock all very time consuming.
  • wolfcalwolfcal Posts: 19
    hopefully that $200 included the tow, or they had better have done some other work also besides replace the battery....if it is just for the battery and install, i would go to the toyota web site and file a complaint on the cost.
  • Just curious, do you live in a single family home or town house/condo and use a garage with a roll-up door and electric garage door opener? If yes, let me give some insight that might cause you to take your purse in your house. Over her in Las Vegas current trick for burglars is to drill small hole in the center of the very top panel of your garage door (where typically you have little windows so light gets into the garage) and then they put in a coat hanger with little hook on the end, hook the pull rope and handle hanging down from your garage door emergency release hook and into the garage they go. No with your purse lying loose in your car, they have all your ID your keys and al your gate and garage door openers. Home invasion will follow shortly.
  • Eleswhere in the HH community blogs is a lot of discussion re: battery dying after car being left a few days without starting (extended vacation, business trip, etc.,) AND I quote from Section 1-1, p2, 2006 Highlander (Hybrid) Owners Manual "If you do not use the vehicle for 2 weeks or more, the traction battery and auxiliary battery will discharge and their condition is liable to decline....If the traction battery is discharged, the hybrid vehicle will not start. Contact your Toyota Dealer."

    Friend of mine is Merchant Marine and everytime before leaving he disconnects the negative terminal of his battery on his 3series BMW because there was some sort of system drain that would kill his battery each and every time otherwise. I had an 93 MBZ SL and early in its production run, it would suffer from the same issue and it turned out that MBZ factory engineers completed a check of all the electrical components installed in the the 91-93SL and found that some of the radio/cassette/cd changer sets installed suffered a continuous current drain even when shut off.

    I would have thought by now that Toyota engineers would have been smart enough to look for a similar cause and fix.

    To their credit MBZ issued a repair bulletin and fix notice to all dealerships and notified all owners of the free fix. Would think that Toyota prides its product enough to do no less, but from all the comments it surely seems they don't care for their owners as much now as they did years ago when I bought my first Toyota ('73.)

    Reason I am interested in this issue is that next friday I take posession of an one-owner, gently used 06 HH Ltd to replace my 93 Camry Wagon (220,000mi) and would appreciate learning what things I should particularly check out before forking out $20K+.

    Would appreciate any suggestions of things to especially check.

    Chuck :D
  • Yes. I have had almost your identical experiences with my 08 HH. What is exasperating is that I owned two previous Highlanders, not hybrid, and never had the slightest battery problem, even after leaving light on accidentally all night and/or doors open. What is going on? Is the battery seriously small for the car? I am paranoid now about checking and re-checking, but it's bound to happen again... and today I saw the same dip in battery power while sitting in traffic. I thought if you were driving the battery was being charged, not drained!
  • My car has never sat for more than a day without being driven and I still had this problem. The dealer told me it's a common occurrence since the battery is small and to expect to replace it again in about another 3 years. Other than this it has been an absolutely wonderful car and I would recommend it to anyone. Enjoy your new car.
  • would be interested in learning battery type and brand other HH owners have installed.

    Leaving for Phoenix Friday to pickup my 2006 HH from a non-Toyota dealership and will be paying Toyota for an inspection before forking over $$$ to seller. Am looking for all items of concern at which I can aim the mechanics. Thanks. Chuck :D
  • hey chuck: i am an owner of a 06 HH, I would have them pull and replace the small battery inside the engine compartment and put in a 5year battery. the one that came installed in the 06 was a three year battery and thats up now,,,dont wait for it to die, not worth it....My dealer charged me 80 dollars for the battery....other than that, I LOVE LOVE LOVE driving this car, I have not had any problems with leaving the lights on, or radio for any amount of time, as others have seemed to experience...I also live in cold climate, 3000ft,,,snow,,,and drive only 7miles back and forth to work,,,this is the worst for batteries and have not had a problem since changing to the 5year battery....the power of this vehicle can actually be scarry if you step on it:>, i would compare it to my mustangs from my youger other complaints on body, engine or electrical that i had.....oh, by the way, I recommend cheveron gas for the best gas mileage, with the computer read out, you can see the difference in gas mileage from different gas stations,,,,I have seen ranges from 20.8 to 26.7, cheveron being the most consistant and highest mpg...
    p.s. oh, dont spill a bottle of water under the drivers seat, it plays havoc with the gps system which is stored under there:>
  • colcbpcolcbp Posts: 9
    Have my 06HH Ltd for about a month now and just last evening after my wife brought it back from shopping I went out to garage to check for who knows what. Saw blue light from interior of our car. Checked to find that the little ring light surrounding the ignition switch was still lit, no other light was on in the car. All doors appeared closed correctly and locked. BUT when I unlocked, opened and closed the driver's door, the light went out. Am willing to bet the little switch under that rubber cap in the drivers door opening is going bad. Caution everyone to make sure doors are all shut securely to avoid current drain and find some morning that your car won't start.
  • colcbpcolcbp Posts: 9
    :) Have car about a month now w/dealer newly replaced battery (no nav so don't have to worry about spilling water under driver's seat ;-) getting routinely just shy of 27mpg driving city, freeway, my wife and myself -- using Chevron mid-grade. Picked up a 06 Toyota book aimed at their technicians and sales folks written on product launch to introduce the HH. In one of the tables at the rear of the book, it lists octane rating as 91, while my owner's manual only says for "better performance" to use 91 octane. What are everyone's thoughts?
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    it lists octane rating as 91, while my owner's manual only says for "better performance" to use 91 octane. What are everyone's thoughts?

    Waste of money. I can't imagine even wanting a hybrid if you were planning to push it to it's limit. Even then you probably only want maximum acceleration occasionally for a short burst. The V6 has been more than I need and I usually drive with the econ button on anyway. I'm not familiar with high altitudes and that might be a help (or hurt)
  • wolfcalwolfcal Posts: 19
    funny thing, with the computer always listing my mpg, i have never tried the upgraded gas to see if it improves the gas mileage drastically..i have always used the lowest octane probably really cheap is the reason,,,but, im on a trip up to oregon right now and will have to fill up twice to get home and im thinking i will use the highest octane both times and see if i get a lot better than 26, which was the average to get here.. it will have to hit into the 30+mpg range for it to be worth far as more power goes, with the hh i dont need anymore power:>
    will report back
  • stevegoldstevegold Posts: 185
    Don't hold your breath but let us know. Speed, wind and incline make a difference. So does your driving style.
  • rodonnellrodonnell Posts: 37
    Just curious. For anyone with the 07 HH that has had their 12 volt battery replaced and for any of those who have experienced a discharged battery. Toyota has a TSB out, EG050-06. specifically for the 07 HH about relearning the Idle Speed control. The procedure requires the use of the Toyota Diagnostic Tester and running a program while operating the car.

    For those who have had their battery replaced by Toyota, do you know if the TSB was also accomplished?

    Anyone sufferring any adverse problems after changing the battery, or for that matter after the battery has been disconnected without performing the TSB?
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