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Highlander Hybrid Electrical/Lighting Problems

I have a new 2007 Highlander Hybrid and I am not sure how to find the trailer wiring harness. I have looked everywhere. I have the AWD Limited with Towing Prep. Anybody have any ideas what I need to get my trailer lights working??
The store that installed my hitch could not find the wiring harness/connector and I did not want them to splice into the wiring.


  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    I am not certain the "prep" package includes a harness, but merely the leads to be connected to one.....

    Someone on here will know for certain, but you could always call your local dealer's service writer to verify that as well. :)
  • Thanks! Was very close to a solution but when I called the vendor, she could not tell me if the wiring harness used in the 2006 Highlander would work on the 2007. I will keep in touch with her and hope she will get some more info.
    Thanks again!
  • Problem Solved:
    After having a hitch installed at a hitch store $200, I went to the dealer and they sold me a wiring harness for a Lexus 330 for $50. I was surprised when it connected correctly to the cars "trailer prep connector" located UNDER the storage compartment close to the left tail lights. I also had to add the missing 20 amp fuse for the trailer lights. The fuse box was located in the engine compartment
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    So, better to have bought the car with the Hitch option, no?
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,966
    Let's use this one as our electrical problems topic here.

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  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    Well, all depends on the amount of work you want to personally do, I guess. ;)
  • Has anyone experienced a total running failure in their HH? I have had two, very dangerous, engine failures due to fuse link failure, twice within 13 days and after being replaced once. I lost all power in the vehicle at 70 mph on Interstate 95 North near Savannah, GA and was lucky to be in the outside lane near the shoulder. There was a popping sound and then my car lost complete power, steering and braking. It had to be towed to the nearest Toyota dealer for repair. The dash display messages were: Check Hybrid System. Check VSC system The car would not restart. I have reported this to Toyota Motor Sales, Inc., Torrance, CA and the National Transportation and Safety Board. This type system failures presents a great potential for injury or loss of life.
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    We have not and hope never will.

    Can you please clarify loss of steering and brakes? You can still steer and brake, just that they require physical effort, true?

    Thanks for warning us here.

    To our hosts,
    This important post by jtroesch ought to be in a whole new topic "board"??? It is catastrophic failure, not just a simple electrical failure. Elevating jtroesch's post will warn other HH owners.
  • Sorry it took me so long to reply. Things have been hectic. We have the car home from the selling dealer's service department. They had to replace a part called "invert er" it is a computer mother board and hardware that converts DC to Ac and AC back to DC to replenish the batteries. We have not drove the car since bringing it home. We are still unsure that it won't do it again with injury or loss of life potential. We have wrote to Toyota Customer Experience, Torrance, CA and received no reply. We wrote the National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration and only received acknowledgment of our report. Lastly we wrote the owner of the selling dealership and still await his reply. I have heard from two different service departments that the hybrid has experienced similar failures. Guess those owners are not reporting it. You could, with great effort, steer the vehicle from the road way and let it roll to a stop. Once the hybrid quits there is no power.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    There is a good possibility that they have fixed the original problem and the vehicle is safe to drive. You might try it for short trips for shopping and see how it performs. In CA you need three failures of the same type, or 30 days out of service, to invoke the lemon laws.
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    Thanks for updating us. Sorry about what happened and I can appreciate why you are reluctant to use it now. If other owners are experiencing this problem, I sure hope it shows up soon on NHSTA's database so everyone knows about it.

    I really hope it all works out for your family. Stay safe!


    We happen to run solar power for our house so we are initimately aquainted with Inverters. The good news is they can be reliable day in and day out in very cold and very hot temperature. When well constructed, they may lose efficiency in high temperature but they won't die. On the downside, they do rely on modern electronics so if one part goes, the Inverter will shut down to cut off power and that is that.
  • Thanks to all for your support and comments. We are currently in contact with Toyota Motor Sales, Inc. and will go through a process of third party arbitration. Even fixed I do not think we will ever feel truly safe driving the car. Will post the results of the process when completed. Again thanks.
  • I have just recently had an electrical failure on our less than 5k miles HH. It hasn't died while driving yet, but will sporatically fail to start for up to 15 minutes while dinking around with it. It comes up with Check VSC and 'shift to P for starting' when it is already there. Took it into the dealer and no problem found. After failing again along with some interesting flashing gauges, I took it in again and it failed for them. They think it MIGHT be a failed battery....not too confident on that one. Lossing confidense. Any ideas?
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    Hi beprice,

    If the error messages, "Check VSC" and "Shift to P..." are correct, not sure why that would be a battery problem. Then again, I am no mechanic, so this is all just a guess.

    I have an OBD II reader that I use to read error codes from our cars. All cars made after 1995 (?) must have an OBD II compatible plug. The reader tells us about problems with the engines, transmission, emission, various valves, filters and so on. I have not tried it on our HH but that may be a good tool to get. It costs around $125 or so.

    There is also a nationwide company called "AutoZone" that will do this for you free. If you have one of these stores in your area and it offers this free service, you can certainly bring the car in for them to pull out the actual error code. Just make sure they DO NOT reset the code, only scan the code for you. Then you can take it to the dealer armed with a bit more information. Just know that the dealer has a more expensive (~$5000) reader that can get more detail information (freeze frame) from the car. So it is very likely the dealer will have more details and the diagnosis may differ from what the original error code may indicate.

    Other than the idea above, not sure what else to do. Our HH has 24,000 miles now and still runs well and smooth.

    Hope yours turn out OK.
  • To beprice and cdptrap:

    We were able to have the dealer replace our HH with a non-hybrid Highlander. I refused to take any chances with the car, even after repair. Losing power on the interstate is very scary. I am sure they will resell the HH as a almost new used car. But my wife is more important to me then a financial loss on a car. The technology may be great but our experience gives me a great distrust of hybrids. Each person must decide for themselves what is the right thing to do. I would encourage you to report the experience to Toyota Customer Experience (the toll free number is in your owners manual) and the to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(their number and website are also in the owners manual). For future arbitration if required make complete notes of the repairs and who you talked to about the failure(s).
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    Really glad to hear you got it resolved! Hope the new Highlander serves you well.

    Beprice and jtroesch's case reminds me of what happened to the Prius in '04 and '05. About 12? (last I checked in 6/05) owners reported their Prius simply cut off all power while driving. All were able to roll to a stop on the side of the road. Some would start again and some would not. There were reports of "flashing" gauges as well and dealers being puzzled by what was happening. NHTSA looked into this as well. Toyota at the time issued a recall blaming the on-board software. Have not heard of similar complaints since. I wonder if this bug has surfaced in some of the HH.

    We will just continue driving in the slow lane just in case. Since getting this car, we have been driving around 60-65 in the slow lane most of the time. Just a more relaxing way to drive and we get good mileage too. After learning of your experience, it now appears to be safer too in case that software or hardware bug bites on a freeway.

    Enjoy your spanking new Highlander and have a safe New year all!

  • Cal: So far so good. Hope you never experience this problem. A couple of the service tech's told me there has been a few reported failures. We love our new non-hybrid and look forward to many years of happy ownership. As I stated before we reported the failure to NHTSA and Toyota. Hopefully they will check the "inverter within the hybrids to make sure there is no more defective ones. Thanks for your note. Buck
  • After my two week vacation abroad, I came home to find my one-year old Hybrid without any power. Do I jump start it to get it running again? Or is it not advisable and I have to have it towed to the repair shop? What's your advice? Thanks.
  • That happened to my Prius twice in four years. I must have left something on. I simply jumped the 12V battery (in the Prius it's hard to get to in the trunk but there is an easy access terminal under the hood). That started the computer and the big battery started the engine. It has not happened with my wife's 2007 HH.
  • Thanks for responding. I jumpstarted my HH, which is running fine again.
  • On three separate occasions over the past two months, my '06 HH has failed to start. First, there's absolutely nothing on the dash. Five minutes later, I get a check engine light. I wait a few minutes and the wipers come on in super slow motion accompanied by flashing dashboard lights. In the next stage, most of the dash lights come on normally, but I get a "Shift to P" message even though the car is in park. After an hour, the car restarts as if nothing had happened. I should mention that the car is driven every day. On the first occasion, we had just driven 200 miles and stopped for lunch.

    On the second occasion, the technician I spoke to thought the 12 volt battery had run down and simply regenerated itself enough to start, but this last time, the car was good enough to die in the inspection line at the gas station (key in ignition, but not on). The guys there attached a volt-meter and the battery was fully charged. Again, the car started after about an hour.

    The car has now been at the dealer's for 2 days, but I'm not too confident, since they say that can't really help me until they can replicate the error. At this point, with winter here and my toddler son almost always in the back seat, I am getting afraid to drive the car outside the neighborhood. Anyone have a similar problem? Any suggestions?
  • I bought the 2008 HH AWD V6 in Nov 07. It performed excellent during my recent ski trip to Hunter Mountain from nyc. The only thing which is truly annoying is the high-pitched groaning sound when braking at low speed. I drove it to the dealer service shop, they told me it was normal with hybrid, it was the motor generator winding down noise. But according to the 2008 Owner's Manual "Pinging or other noises related to the hybrid system" is one of the audible symptoms for possible problems.
    Please help to understand it. Does it need minor/major adjustment or repair?
  • monte8monte8 Posts: 75
    The "groaning" is the normal sound of the regenerative braking.

    I think if you recheck the owner's manual you will see that "pinging and other noises" after you turn off the system are normal as the computers perform various checks and functions.

    Remember, the hybrid drive system is different than what you have been used to, including different noises.
  • That's right. Thank you.
  • I have owned two gasoline Highlander limiteds and am about to purchase a 2008 Hybrid limited.. that is, I was until reading about electrical problems. I had no problems at al with either of my previous vehicles.... should I just forget the hybrid option and buy a 2008 limited with a gas engine?
  • I have a 2004 Prius which I love and a 2007 HH which is OK but nothing more. I wouldn't buy it again. The mileage is not great. No other problems, but I really love the Prius.
  • wolfcalwolfcal Posts: 19
    Just got my 2006 toyota hh back from service. the gas engine died on the freeway, got to the side of the road and the ready lite would not come on, had to be towed. Service tech after 4 days of chasing the problem says that the small battery ($80) inside the engine compartment went bad (cells) would not hold a charge above a certain voltage, and that caused the gas engine to not work, because this battery controls the computer. Battery was out of 3 year warrenty:<
    MY question: why is there no sensor on this battery, if it can kill my vehicle anywhere it wants to die or drop below the voltage that the system needs. i was lucky in that i was 15 miles from a dealer, but there are many places i travel that are remote and this now scares me. also since the cells went bad, im assuming jumping would do nothing for this battery and again your stuck where it dies. There was no warning in any way that this battery was going bad. tech says one should start checking this battery at 2 1/2 to 3 years of service. for such a great vehicle im surprised if this is true.
    can you give me any more information of this.
  • wolfcalwolfcal Posts: 19
    also, when my 2006 was being repaired, i remembered that i needed them to look at the lens covering the head lights because they were melted from the beam. the service assistant manager claimed to have never heard of this, but i pushed him to check for a service notice, and guess what, there was one. does anyone know of any other service notices on the 2006 toyota hh since toyotas service managers obviously it is not a big enough problem for a recall..
    and that is why i paid the big bucks for the extended warrenty platinum policy with no deductable, because with new technology you just dont know what will happen...
    p.s. I still love this vehicle very very much and would buy again right now:>
  • wolfcalwolfcal Posts: 19
    see my message , hybrid died on highway when battery died, 3/8/08. sounds like you have the same problem i did. the "small" battery in the engine compartment needs replacing. it only last 3 years. do it now before the car just dies on you. What is happening is, the big battery charges the small battery. sounds like your small battery is weak and not holding a charge, upon sitting the bigger battery is putting enough charge on the small one to get you going. my problem was that when that little battery has had it, your dead in the water, and the big battery can not help you....that is what was explained to me..
    good luck
    p.s. service should know this right:>...hybrids seem to be so new, i only found one tech at my dealer who knew what he was talking about.
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