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Toyota Highlander Check Engine Light



  • angiethangieth Posts: 3
    Is Toyota now downgrading its quality??? Very happy with mine until recently at my 60K(done @ 62K) check. Replaced worn front pads and resurfaced machine rotors, transpan replcmnt because of seapage, replaced weak battery, performed total fuel system addition to the 60k check. The dealership got $1,100.00 from me just that day. Now, 2 wks after, my engine light came on. Had them performed the diagnostics and found out it was the oxygen sensor. Since the warranty is long gone, I called the 800 number for TOYOTA to find out if there was any recall (after providing bin #) as it's still very early for this vehicle to be having the sensor replaced. Was told there was none and that no one called with such a problem before....opposed to the web-info I'd been coming across heavily.
    Also responded to my question that Toyota hasn't downgraded it's quality but that they can't guarantee the "parts'- life". (HUHH???) And that my only resolve is to talk to the Dealership I'd been taking my vehicle for some discount. I just can't believe that this is now what TOYOTA is. Anyhow, my questions are for those who has the same year model: Did you have the same problems?? And what more problems did you encounter past its 62K life??? Is Toyota worth some re-thinking or just solely on Highlanders??? Thanks.
  • ashleydeeashleydee Posts: 9
    well i'm back to the drawing board on this check engine light business. my 2003 4cyl HL is once again almost giving me a nervous breakdown!!

    i read somewhere that if you blow in the tank after pumping gas it will keep from your CEL coming on. i've even tried that.

    my error is: EVAP emission control system malfunction

    i only have about 86K miles on my 2003 4cyl 2wd HL. this should not be happening. i've been a tried and true believer and preacher of toyota since 16 and have never had this many problems.
  • ashleydeeashleydee Posts: 9
    i bought my 2003 HL used and it didn't have the cup holder insert. i bought it from the dealership (only place i could find one)... and had to dish out about $32!!! i was livid. especially since i've already broke it :(
  • bikeman3bikeman3 Posts: 85
    I have 100K on mine very happy just replaced timing belt at 97K along w/water pump. No problems at all sorry about 02 senser. I would not give up on it I'm going for 200K just did 400 mile trip 24.8 mpg mine is V6. Good luck
  • angiethangieth Posts: 3
    Bikeman3 : Good for you -- Wish I can say the same thing. Mine is also a V6 which gives me around 21-22 with the crazy DC traffic. And like you, also planned to hang on to it until it's last breath.. I just fear that it'll be closer than what I want. Thanks for the info.
    Ashley Dee: I've always loved Toyota and considers it to be the best.. I just now feel betrayed. Until then, it's "goodluck to our pockets", I guess. Thanks.
  • ashleydeeashleydee Posts: 9
    check engine light is off!! i'm crossing my fingers it doesn't come back on again!

    after doing some googling i found out that sometimes when they change the oil on them they might accidentally knock a hose off by/near the air filter. well in my case they did! i called my local dealer (that changes my oil, cheaper than jiffy lubes and better) and told them about my CIL coming on and they had just changed my oil. ran up there and in under 5 minutes i was rolling off with my hose attached!
  • mazaniacmazaniac Posts: 2
    We've had this problem several times with our '03 Highlander and since the first time, the time I went to the dealer for the CEL and learned about the hose, every single subsequent time the cause has been the hose coming loose from behind the air filter housing. If the CEL does not go out after reconnecting the hose, my understanding is you can disconnect the battery and that will clear the light.
  • bikeman3bikeman3 Posts: 85
    Every time you change the oil and fool with the air filter this light will come on .

    You have to tell the attendant not to touch air filter and make sure if they do that they replace the hose. If you don't the CEL will come on anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months
  • Hi,

    So did get you problem solve , I have same issue EVAP emission. cost for repair is $800 , should change my EVAP Canister. this was guys recommended after running full diag which cost me $90 .

    please HELP

  • ashleydeeashleydee Posts: 9
    yes i did! my CEL has yet to come back on. i've heard from several other folks that the hose coming off is pretty common.

    seriously have them check to see if he hose behind your air filter has been knocked off before you shell out that $800!
  • I'm so glad to find out it's not just me. My 2003 Toyota Highlander AWD, has 68K, and my check engine light has been on for a year and I have been told there are two possible reasons, the O2 sensor or the fuel ratio sensor. Based on the posts that I have read, I am leaning towards the O2 sensor as being the problem. How do we bring this to the attention of Toyota so that they can consider a recall, or is it too late, and my other question is how much did you spend to replace the sensor(s)? I was quoted a little over $800. :mad:
  • So, I can just go a Toyota dealership and have them check my VIN # to see if there was a recall? I bought the car used so I probably missed the announcement?
  • jrfierojrfiero Posts: 123
    Please see message 4360 and related posts in the HL Maintenance and Repair forum re O2 sensor replacement. $800 is way too high for the precat O2 sensors, I don't know about the postcat O2 sensor.
    Toyota calls the precat O2 sensors AFR sensors, same thing.
    If you've read through the posts on this forum, you'll know that driving for a year with a CEL without knowing the diagnostic code(s) is a bad idea.
    Re Toyotas or any other cars having occasional problems like the O2 sensor at 60K miles, get over it. Your HL is five years old, and if an $800 repair is all it's needed in five years, that's pretty amazing to those of us who remember when 60K was practically worn out.
  • I just spoke with a Toyota technican that confirms it sounds like the AFR sensor. I am getting the car serviced first thing Monday. I have had the examined throughout the year (I failed to mention that) and was told various things from gas cap related, to broken fuse.

    This forum has been very helpful. Thanks.
  • I have an 02 highlander V6 and experienced severe shaking/hesitation on the highway at 100km/hr. Check engine light came on...went to garage and code came up bad O2 sensor. Ordered that part and in the meantime CEL started to blink periodically. Another computer scan now shows that the feul injection sensor? is bad too. Just wondering if these issues will cause the severe shaking of the truck. It's almost as if the engine is coughing and hesitating. If I excellerate it goes away or if I let off on the gas peddle it goes away. I'm really hoping the the two new sensors will fix this because they aren't cheap!

    anybody else experience this?? :cry:
  • angiethangieth Posts: 3
    This is probably too late but might be of help as a "cost" guide. I had my 02 sensor replaced not by a Toyota dealership as they add too much charges on it (check-damage fee, parts + $240/hr labor with 2 hrs. minimum). I took it instead to a trusted small time mechanic where I paid around $325 (had only 1 sensor replaced). As far as calling Toyota, I'm not sure it's worth my time and trouble. I was told they don't guarantee the lifespan of "parts" and that 60K is too old for them but hey, you can try.
  • I took my toyota to my own garage, I dont deal with Toyota dealserships at all way too expensive!!!!

    I had to get the O2 sensor from Toyota, but had my own mechanic do the work.

    Truck seems to be fine now.
  • Hi, We own 2 Toyotas and love them. After owning a VW and an American car, I was just thrilled to have a car make it past 100K without dying or major issues :) So far I haven't had and serious issues with my HL. It's had all the normal stuff done to it--belts/water pump changed, tires and regular oil changes and service checks, battery, etc. A few months ago though, the check engine light started going on, and then turning off buy itself. Then maybe 3 wks ago the CEL stayed on. Today, I turned it on, and about 2 minutes into driving it, the CEL started to flash, then it stopped flashing and just stayed on.

    There haven't been any other noticeable performance issues with the car up until this point except for maybe one thing. Twice (maybe a few weeks ago) I went to start the car in the AM and it gave me a hard time starting (almost like sputtering) but it eventually started and then ran fine.

    Since I've had the car for 140K, we've experienced the gas cap issue, the sensor going off for no apparent reason and even the Jiffy Lube issue (where it goes on after you have your car service from there), so I don't think it's that. I'm guessing by reading similar posts that it might be something more serious, like a catalytic converter. What do you think?

    Is it time to trade it in/chuck it? :( :confuse:
  • We gave up. Maybe we're slow learners, but we traded it in on an '08 Highlander back in May. So far, so good CEL-wise.
  • Hi I have an 03 w/105k, this am it woudln't start, idling was impossible Had AAA come to tow it but the operator got it started and is running fine. My CEL is not on my question to you is when your HL was "sputtering" was the CEL on?
  • Yes, it sputtered with the CEL on but only when I started it up, and then it was fine.

    Took in today to the dealer. What a mess!

    They say it has 3 exhaust leaks, 2 air-fuel sensors in the front are bad, one in the back is bad, and 3 O2 sensors and possibly a spark plug/coil need to be replaced. The whole thing would be over $2000. The car is worth around $3500 for trade in if you believe Kelly Blue Book, so I think we're shopping for a new car this weekend. I've had no major issues until now. Very disappointed that I couldn't get it to 200K, but I get 7 good years out of it, and it looks like hell anyway. I'm thinking of getting a new HL I love the car so much! :cry:
  • How do you like your 08? I'm thinking about shopping for that this weekend.
  • 1. Insure odometer reading displayed
    2. Turn off ignition switch
    3. Hold odometer stem in & turn key to on position
    4. Turn key back to off and release stem
    Note: this works on first try for me
  • ch1133ch1133 Posts: 43
    2003 Highlander 4 cylinder 90K+ miles

    I have error P0161- bad downnstream oxygen sensors

    I want to disconnect both downstream oxygen sensors and need to know how to avoid getting engine check light when oxygen sensors are disconnected. Is there a way to loop-connect those 4 wires to make engine check light go away? That way check light will be working to alert me of other error codes

    In case you wonder why I do not want to replace downstream sensors what is the purpose of spending $500+ to find out if catalytic converter is failing. I am not going to replace cat. conv. anyway
  • kona5kona5 Posts: 1
    I have a 2004 Highlander Limited that both the check engine light and VSC light came on the other morning when I went out to start the car during a snow storm with temperatures in the 20's. The car has 57,100 miles on it. It was serviced in March of this year at 50,000 miles. Any thoughts on what this might be.
  • Unfortunately, no. I never figured it/them out on my car (which was a 4cyl) and finally gave up. Are the lights still burning or did they go out? On more than one occasion, my CIL would come on, then mysteriously extinguish itself later. What a pain. It always seems to boil down to something related to the emissions system.
  • jrfierojrfiero Posts: 123
    A CEL can mean many things, and for some weird Toyota reason the VSC light always comes on when theres a code causing the CEL to come on.
    You need a code reader, available for use at many auto parts stores (Advance Auto around here), then some web research to find more info on the code.
    I think the most commonly discussed causes on this list have been Oxygen sensors.
  • once again i'll add that there is a recall on this item for highlanders. make sure you have this done. i've not had any CEL issues since mine was fixed. please call your dealer, they can verify your VIN number to determine whether or not your internal computer has been updated.
  • jrfierojrfiero Posts: 123
    from #63 - "once again i'll add that there is a recall on this item for highlanders."

    What "item" are you talking about?
  • the CEL for emission control.
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