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Highlander Hybrid Electrical/Lighting Problems



  • eggwyteggwyt Posts: 1
    About 5 weeks ago while driving around our hometown of Albuquerque, our '07 HH (~45000 mi) dashboard flashed Check Hybrid System and the master warning light appeared. We were able to park and after waiting a bit retried starting. It was dead; lights on the dash cycled through warnings but it wouldn't start. Had it towed to the local dealer; they replaced the Inverter assembly ($8000 part) under warranty after about 5 days. We made a trip of ~1000 miles to Colorado and back 3 weeks ago without any problems. Then a week ago while in the middle of nowhere New Mexico the same thing as before happened. We were ~120 miles from Albuquerque so had it towed to Roswell. They looked at it the following day and the error showed to be the inverter again. They worked with Toyota Tech Service for about 4 days and double checked all of the connections but nothing appears to be wrong. They've ordered another inverter assembly and should install next week.

    Now we're terrified to drive this car out of town for fear of another failure. We're leaning towards trading it in on another non-hybrid Highlander. I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced anything similar? If so what was your final outcome?
  • myrafmyraf Posts: 32
    Hi i have a 2006 hh,had the same problems over and over,it is now at tha speed and toyota dealership said the hybrid system and inverta needs to be replaced at my cost ,14,000 the vehicle is only 4yrs old,and it cost me 45,000. what a nightmare,a few of us are talking class action against toyota, ru still having problems
  • Yesterday I could have lost my life because my 2006 HH shut down on the I 10 east interstate just north of the exit to the Airport where the 202 and 51 and Mcdowel street merge all together. The car has not had any issues but a battery had been changed in May and new plugs and timing belt and water pump was replaced. I had no warning as I pulled to the middle lane and the car died, with traffic coming at me at 65 to 70 miles per hour. The service alert came on that with all systems and the breaks stopped me dead in the middle of the freeway. The message was Check CSV. I hit the flashers and tried to put the car in park to start it, and it did not start, and then neutral and it did not start. I called 911 and traffic was coming up during the rush hour and I hear the traffic report that there was a car stopped in the middle lane. The DPS Department of Public safety arrived in 8 minutes and stopped traffic and pushed me to the side of the road. I was sitting there bracing for impact at high speed.
    When I was safe the officer came to ask what happened. I explained and joked "It is a Toyota" I also called the dealer ship and while I was getting the DPS to see if they knew how to start and move the care and the repair man said the CSV has to do with traction and What do I expect him to do. He hung up.
    I called AAA and they had a hard time getting to me and had to send two tow trucks and the second was complaining about how dangerous the location was. I had the car taken to the Bell Road Toyota and they were able to get the car in. The called me at noon because I went home to relax had missed work, and the repair was said to be a faulty battery and it was under warranty. I have a extended warranty to 184,000 miles and the care has been in for every service and I have paid for the Toyota warranty because I had hear their were battery issues.
    The service person Steve called me back at 4:00 and said the care was still not starting and the warranty does not pay for diagnostics.
    he called back at 4:30 and said he had bad news the inverte was out and the cost would be $7900. He said the extended warranted would not cover this part of the electrical. I called and they said it is not in the contract and I should have read that the electrical did not cover Hybrid inverters although the electrical is in the policy. I have been reading the complaints and I am so mad at the service. I owe more then the car is worth and now to add to the situation it is not safe and if they fix it it is only warranted for one year. The service person said he understands the issue and he will try and help he said. I did call the Toyota hotline and made a complaint and have a confirmation number. I have the numbers to NHSTA and want to get the President of Toyota. I am going to call the news paper and a local station. The community needs to know I could have been killed or killed someone today without any warning. The care stopped with no warning at speeds of 65 and this could have been a huge disaster for so many. I have lost my faith in Toyota. I have had other issues but it was not a life or death situation. This was and they act as if this is no big deal. Take this company and any other company down with this safety issue. I was also told that the dealership did not have anything on the brake recall and it would be a year. I have not had a brake job and the service person said he has not replaced brakes on the hybrid, "they just don't wear out".
  • anon_in_califanon_in_calif Posts: 1
    edited June 2011
    If you're a hybrid owner, and if you're mechanically or electrically inclined and have a multimeter, then I need your help trying to figure out why the Highlander Hybrid is so prone to chewing up 12V batteries.

    I just installed my fourth 12V battery in four years into my 2007 Highlander Hybrid. Based on what I've read on various hybrid car forums this problems is pretty common for the 2007 HH if it's left parked for more than a week at a time on a regular basis. Lots of other Highlander and Lexus RX hybrid owners report similar experiences to mine (multiple new batteries and no fix from the dealer).

    I've done a bunch of research into lead-acid batteries, 12V alternators/voltage regulators, non-hybrid charging circuits, the Toyota hybrid patents, lead-acid charging profiles. And based on this research, I have a theory about the root cause of the frequent 12V battery failures. I strongly suspect that the charging voltage on some Toyota hybrid models is too low to maintain the 12V in a healthy state under all conditions.

    To prove or disprove this theory I need some data. So please do the following for me:

    1. start your engine (READY on the dash display).
    2. measure the DC voltage across the 12V battery's terminals.
    3. optional: if you have a oscilloscope, measure the ripple voltage and look for switching transients.
    4. pls post a response to this thread with the following info:

    year, model (HH, Prius, RX400h, etc), air temp, DC voltage, [ripple voltage]

    for example, my report is this:

    2007, Highlander Hybrid, 55F, 13.9V
    2007, Highlander Hybrid, 75F, 13.9V

    based on these two data points I'm guessing that the charging circuit in my 2007 HH is incorrectly (or badly) designed. It seems to put out a very well regulated, constant 14V regardless of the state of charge of the 12V battery, or its temperature, or even whether the gas engine is running (or the engine RPM). A charger that puts out a constant 14V is worthless if you want a lead-acid battery to reach its full design lifetime.
  • eriweneriwen Posts: 15
    edited July 2011
    With 2006 and 2007 Highlander Hybrids, a recall just came out from Toyota. It was issued 6/29/11.
    I thought the reason my car stopped working, from one of the other discussion forums, that it was the inverter problem. Unfortunately, with my car the engine has fallen apart. Toyota does not know the cause, but parts of the engine got loose and damaged other things. HOW could that happen? I have a 2006 with 87,000 miles. Toyota does not know what happened. Of course, though, they expect me to pay for part of the repairs since it is over warranty (60.000 miles) and I did not have an extended warranty. Right now, we are looking at a new short block.
    I filed a complaint with NHTSA and called Toyota national customer care. I am not letting this go; they need to fix it and people need to know of this potential engine problem.
  • pavon3307pavon3307 Posts: 1
    edited July 2011
    We just received the notice on our 2006 Highlander Hybrid concerning the inverter issue. Our hybrid currently has 92k on it and I've been using it to tow my brenderup horse trailer for over 2 years. This was why we bought this car in the first place.

    Upon reading the additional information on this recall, Toyota suggestions you not tow anything until the problem is fixed. Mind you, this is just the "preliminary" notice; the "second" letter will not come out until January 2012.

    So, we're not suppose to tow for the next how many months? I have 3-4 horse shows just this summer, one this week, and now I'm not suppose to use my hybrid??

    I called my dealer—they can't help me. I called Toyota Customer service—they listen and said they can't help and pointed me back to the dealer. Said to try and get the dealer to do the repair now since I have a Gold extended warranty. The dealers don't even have the part yet. What a mess.

    We can't be the only ones with this issue. I bought this car for towing as I didn't want to purchase a truck. My trailer is a European design and will never put more than 165lbs on the tongue fully loaded.

    We've owned Toyota's since 1984; one for 19 years. I'm beginning to wonder about my loyalty to this company.
  • coastal5coastal5 Posts: 1
    edited March 2012
    i had a similar issue while driving from NC we had no gps, radio control or climate control via lcd dispay unit. Display would say "external a/c connection problem" Dealer said that display may be shorting out, but they needed to replace unit under drivers seat first. $900. + Still not working, when pushing the audio button on the display it says the audio system is off. I can still use the knobs on radio itself ,but cant see what station or which cds are being played. Not sure what to do.
  • bchihybchihy Posts: 6
    Having read many of these posts , I have questions. I bought my 06 Hi Hy new in June, 2005. Have had almost no problems , and have 94,000 miles . The safety recall work on the inverter was done this past Feb just before a trip. I held my breath, but all was fine. I do not tow with it , and live in Mich. I do have the 100,00 warranty. My questions : Does anyone know if I can relax now that the resister has been replaced in the IPM/inverter? Also, if it does fail , am I likely to get it repaired at no cost? I was planning to hand the car over to my wife , and get another new Hi Hy , but now wonder about both thoughts. My vin is 60005527.
    Very concerned
  • wolfcalwolfcal Posts: 19
    hey bchihy: we have about the same car, year and date bought. We just went out of warrenty 100k, yipee. My wife is the main driver of the car, and I get to drive it on long trips (9hours), I love this car. We did have to replace the small battery inside the engine compartment, the car died when it went under voltage and I will replace it again at exactly the five year mark. Other than that, no problems.
    Question for you though, put your foot hard on the brake and hold it down, then turn the key to start the car, keep holding your foot down hard for lets say one minute , just sitting there....what if any noise does the abs pump make? When the weather is cold, 30ish, mine makes a strange noise, took it to the dealer and made it happen again, found another 06 on the lot and it did it also, we all surmised it was an 06 thing.... :shades:
  • bchihybchihy Posts: 6
    Hi Ya Wolfcal ; Will try that . Won't get the chance for a day or so. Sounds like you may plan to keep the car??? We did tires at 50k and the timing belt at 75k or so, and that is it. Hate to trade it in and get so little. I also am curious about the new hybrids, trouble wise.
  • bchihybchihy Posts: 6
    Wolfcal ; I did try for the pump noise ; nothing. Maybe it is too warm now. It seems we got a couple of the best cars they made in 06. Wonder what the percentages are of good to bad??
  • wolfcalwolfcal Posts: 19
    gotta tell ya. you know how big and heavy this car is right, well i just love the power and so did the calif. hwy patrol....seems I was pulling 97mph uphill when they got me, locked in radar at 87mph and wrote me a ticket for 75mph in a pays to talk nicely:> I almost said "damn this thing can move", when he told me how fast I was going. have hit 105 before I got nervous on a different trip up to oregon, in the flat lands of nowhere between calif and oregon. and it was smmmmmooooooth...
  • bchihybchihy Posts: 6
    Hey Chris,
    Plenty of punch; shocks some people. I am still on the fence about keeping it for my wife. Some of the problems that others have had are holding me up. I still need to get a feel about the reliability AFTER the recall repair. Have had no problems with the car.

  • wolfcalwolfcal Posts: 19
    fyi: had my recall done in january 2012, no problems ..
    this car is now over 100k.
    we live in the mountains of california.
    4 seasons, winter snow, down to 20's.
    commute to work is short 10 miles up and down the hill.
    all long drives we use this car, 3hr-5hr trips, and 4 times a year 9hours to bend oregon.

    may make a difference if sitting in commute city traffic or long hauls consistently, don't know.
    it is my wife's car and I haven't had to worry or don't.
    p.s. don't remember , you did replace the small battery inside the engine compartment. That was my only issue and scare with this car. I will replace before 5 year life span also. When it goes , the car shuts down.
  • I know it has been forever since you posted this but do you remember how this was resolved? We were having this same problem on our 06 HiHy Limited and we took it to a local dealer and were told a chip in the shifter was bad and the whole assembly had to be replaced: $685 part; $1100 total (!!!). Im no expert but I usually maintain and make minor repairs on my own cars and I have never heard of this. Also, of all of the people having this problem on all of the forums I have read I never read anything like that. If that is legit, I guess I'll have to pay it but I don't want to be taken advantage of.
  • abotabot Posts: 2
    My 2007 HH has fluctuating dc voltage since April 2011 when there was 120488 miles on it. The dealer had below statement:
    They gave me an expensive estimate to repair it. Back then I didn't like the fact to pay such money for a part that still working. I thought I will repair it whenever it dies.
    It is more than a year and half and I put more than 15000 miles on my car and the inverter is still working as before.
    Anybody has the same problem? Does anyone know if my car really needs an inverter or it might be something simpler than that?
    I would appreciate any thought.
  • 2006 highlander hybrid with 135K miles. When the gas engine is not running there is no heat. I checked the heater fuses and they are all good. Any ideas?

    Thanks in advance for your replies...
  • Turns out the heat not working when the engine was off (electric mode) was an early symptom of the radiator leaking. The truck lost all heat then finally overheated. A new radiator and $675 later, all is well...
  • I have a 2006 HH that I bought "nearly new" (the dealer's wife had put about 400 miles on it). Now I'm approaching 190,000 miles. I've experienced several of the problems reported in this thread, including the "pop and die" inverter failure while driving on I-75 in Georgia. Fortunately, that was covered by the recall (although the towing charge was not). I'm on my third 12v battery, and it's about time for a fourth. Apart from these things, and the steering going haywire one evening (also covered by a recall), I've enjoyed my HH. However, there is a problem that's been brewing over the past few months that may change that.

    I know this is the "electrical problems" thread, and what I'm about to describe deals with the brake system, but several of the symptoms come across as electrical/battery/computer system failures.

    As HH owners are likely aware, when you open the driver door before starting the car, a motor buzzing sound comes from under the hood, and after you shut the car down the same buzzing sound occurs. This is a pump in the "brake actuator" (aka "ABS actuator") assembly. What it does is pressurize the brake system - I'm told that it does so with pressurized nitrogen, but I don't know that for sure.

    Not too long ago, my HH started having the "barking seal" sound whenever the brake pedal was depressed. Research revealed that this is due to tiny bubbles forming in the brake fluid as it passes through a valve. The severity of the sound is related to atmospheric pressure - higher pressure reduces or eliminates the sound, lower pressure increases it. HH owners who have driven between coastal and mountain areas report that the sound increases in the mountains and decreases or goes away near the ocean, so this fits. I, on the other hand, haven't changed location at all, and over the past months the sound has gotten worse.

    About the same time this started happening, I noticed that the brake actuator started running more than once after I shut off the car. Now, within the past few days, it is running nearly constantly; that is, it runs for a few seconds, stops, then restarts over and over. This results in the 12v battery being drained. Usually I have to jump-start the car, but sometimes if it hasn't been sitting for very long I can make a starting attempt, remove the key, wait a while and try again, and the car will sometimes get enough charge back to get a "READY" light. Once that happens it's good, but it doesn't happen all the time. Other times I get nothing at all; others I get "Check VSC" or "Shift to P", and occasionally I get all sorts of blinking lights on the dash, and today I saw the speedometer register 105MPH while in park with the engine still not running!

    Since it is a known issue with the HH that sitting for any length of time could result in a dead 12v battery, I think this problem with the brake actuator could be a significant factor to the issue. There is no way to prevent the brake actuator from running even with the system off and the key out, short of pulling the fuse (which is difficult given where the fuse is). Plus, I believe this problem is much more prevalent in the HH that it may seem at first. Here's why:

    Doing a little more research, I found that either the brake actuator itself or a brake line near it is prone to leaking in the HH (and Prius and Camry Hybrid and possibly others), due to design and/or manufacturing flaws. This results in a reduced pressure in the brake system, which in turn results in the brake actuator having to run more and more just to keep the pressure up. This problem with the reduced pressure may also explain why I'm now experiencing the "barking seal" problem even though nothing else has changed. The ultimate end to this problem is a complete loss of brake pressure and/or failure of the brake actuator, problems that are critical safety hazards. This problem has resulted in numerous documented reports with the NHTSA, including several crashes with serious injuries (no deaths yet that I'm aware of, thank goodness).

    Toyota, though, has yet to issue a recall for this problem. They have issued a so-called "warranty enhancement" numbered ZG1 for the HH and Prius to cover replacement of a faulty brake actuator, which they are very careful to label as "NOT a recall." However, they will replace the brake actuator ONLY under very specific conditions, namely if an internal failure of the brake actuator results in the on-dash display of one or more of 5 indicator lights (Master error, Brake, ABS, Electronic Braking, and/or Skid). Unfortunately, they will not replace the actuator (a $2000 part and a $1200 labor charge) unless those lights come on as a result of the internal problem. Also unfortunately, they are careful to say that those lights can come on for other unrelated reasons, giving them an out to deny the replacement (and charge you for the diagnostic). The concern here is that since the brake actuator fails because of another problem with the brake system, delaying replacement until it fails increases the chances of a catastrophic failure while in use (meaning while someone is driving in traffic). This is a serious safety issue that Toyota doesn't seem to be taking seriously.

    The NHTSA is already aware of the problem. I have written my congressman about it to see if he can jostle any of the right people in Washington to force a recall. But it would be telling to see how many other people here who are experiencing a 12v battery failure on the HH have noticed an increase in the operation of the brake actuator pump while the car is off. And of those, how many also have the "barking seal" problem with their brakes.

    Incidentally, because of the pressurized system, replacing the brake actuator is not something the home mechanic can do, even if they could get the part. Even on eBay, the part is still very expensive new. I have seen used ones on eBay, but given the nature and likely prevalence of the problem, I would be very hesitant to put a used actuator in my car for fear of it already having the problem.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,461
    Seems to me, especially on a vehicle this old, that you'd want to get the brake problem fixed regardless, and work out possible future re-imbursements with Toyota, should things go your way in the future. Even if you unfortunately had to eat this repair, your vehicle has given you 190K+ miles, so you're still way ahead of the game here IMO. And who knows? Toyota might spring for re-imbursement in the future. This has certainly happened before with other automakers, who retroactively decide to help customers.

    I just can't see the wisdom of waiting for complete brake failure in order to take advantage of the (possible) warranty coverage.

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  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,962
    And if you wait for complete failure, that failure might come at a time that would have not-so-good consequences.

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