Toyota Highlander Check Engine Light



  • toyotamommytoyotamommy Member Posts: 3
    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:
  • toyotamommytoyotamommy Member Posts: 3
    How do you like your 08? I'm thinking about shopping for that this weekend.
  • hwhit26hwhit26 Member Posts: 1
    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 Member 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 Member 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.
  • kent17kent17 Member Posts: 3
    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 Member 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.
  • ashleydeeashleydee Member Posts: 9
    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 Member 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?
  • ashleydeeashleydee Member Posts: 9
    the CEL for emission control.
  • jrfierojrfiero Member Posts: 123
    Could you please be more specific? What aspect of emission control which causes the CEL is covered by a recall?
  • ashleydeeashleydee Member Posts: 9
    i can't remember the exact code my CEL gave. if you call your dealer and give them your VIN number they can tell you if all of your recall updates have been done.
  • jrfierojrfiero Member Posts: 123
    So, absent any specific information on this supposed CEL-related recall, and absent notification by Toyota that a person's vehicle is subject to a recall, I'd ignore this thread and proceed with normal diagnosis of a CEL.
  • woodstocwoodstoc Member Posts: 6
    My wife's 01 HL's CEL, VSC & TRAC lights came on after a car wash sometime ago. After a couple of days, the lights went out so I figured that a connection got wet and caused the lights.

    Buy a pressure washer about three weeks ago, and the wife decided to wash the HL with it. Lo and behold, here they are again on the dash. After two weeks, I disconnected the battery and restored. Lights went away. After a few times of driving, they are back on and the SUV cannot be inspected.

    Any ideas of where a connection might be, that could cause this so I can begin to troubleshoot? (The engine compartment was not opened for the wash)

    Thanks for any replies.
  • woodstocwoodstoc Member Posts: 6
    01 Highlander, had Autozone pull these two codes. I bought a Haynes manual, but the codes do not run into the 1000's, they show to be all in the hundreds.

    Can anyone tell me the meaning of these two codes, and possible solutions? I posted about washing the car and having these show up. I think something must have gotten wet to cause the codes.

  • jrfierojrfiero Member Posts: 123
    Those are O2 sensor codes. Search this thread and you'll find plenty of info (but not about them being water-related).
  • woodstocwoodstoc Member Posts: 6
    Thanks, I searched the net last night and found the codes. It appears that the bank 1 O2 sensor has an issue. I'm thinking that water entered the elec connector and possibly shorted it out or caused an issue. I'll try that first, then replace the sensor if necessary.

    Thanks for your reply.
  • eanderseanders Member Posts: 2
    I'm having the same problem with my 2003 Highlander, the Check Engine light keeps coming on. We've paid over $400 to have the 1st oxygen sensor fixed just a month ago, now the dealer is saying the 2nd one is out, another $400. Where can I find details on this recall - does it affect my model? I have an 8cyl AWD, thx for any help, this seems like an expensive issue.
  • ashleydeeashleydee Member Posts: 9
    do you know what the error message is when your check engine light comes on? if it says something like "emissions" then it's possibly the same problem i had.
    call the dealer and give them your VIN number, ask if there were any recalls for your vehicle.
    since the day i had mine fixed, i haven't had my CE come back on! thankfully!!
  • eanderseanders Member Posts: 2
    When the 1st sensor blew in August, it was the heater circuit, bank 1 sensor 1, error msg PO135. Yesterday it was the heater circuit, bank2 sensor 1, error PO155. In checking online it seems only the 4cyl models were recalled, I have a 6cyl. I contacted the GM at the dealership yesterday to plead my case; the Svc Mgr seemed indifferent in resolving the issue. If each one of these sensors costs $400 to fix, with 4 of them in 2 "banks", that's a conceivable $1600 cost repair for each bank, yikes! Of course if they are not fixed, I'm learning it could be even more expensive if the catalytic converter is affected. WIth only 71K miles on this car, I feel I'm not getting that famous Toyota dependabililty.
  • jrfierojrfiero Member Posts: 123
    1. If they're charging you $400, go somewhere else. Its a simple job and doesn't take any Toyota-specific knowledge or tool.
    2. There are only 3 on the V6, despite what the manual says. Bank 1 is the rear exhaust manifold, Bank 2 is in the front manifold, and the third (post cat) is after the converter just before the muffler.
    3. Please see posts 4360 and 4362 in the Maintenance and Repair forum.
    4. There is no recall for O2 sensors. Someone posted a general comment that there was, but was not able to provide any detail.
  • rdw1rdw1 Member Posts: 8
    My son changed my oil in my 2005 Highlander, but I have forgotten how to get the light off. Can someone please tell me?
  • grthinkergrthinker Member Posts: 1
    Back in September I had an O2 light also. The sensor, with a discount, cost me $250.00 at the Toyota dealership. Two days ago I got another light. I hope it's on the other (there are 2) bank. In any case, I ordered the sensor, a Bosch (OE) #1521 from Amazon for $109.00. I like the price. Since it is also the front sensor, I'll probably try to replace it myself. It's supposed to be an easy job? I'll need a special wrench and 'anti-seize' stuff for the treads.

    Oh yes, and this is relevant. The time-to-change interval on these sensors is 100,000 miles. I had my first failure right after 100k and this second one at 105k. So, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.
  • highlander20highlander20 Member Posts: 1
    A first for me. I am mindful I switched fill ups from an Exxon to a Shell station and am running a 2001 Highlander 4wd with about 128k miles. Codes were checked and an indication that a service/tune up is due since there are misfire issues.

    Please respond to the cost of a service for the problem at hand and one mechanic said that the service may be a bit pricey since the intake manifold has to come out...(Note: this is what I think I heard)

    If the timing belt was replaced at 68k when is it due to be replaced again? Words from the wise are appreciated.
  • rockalyzerrockalyzer Member Posts: 1
    I recently had the check engine light come on my 2001 V6 Highlander. When I read the code, 1130 which corresponds to an oxygen sensor, I was concerned but cleared the code, hoping it was some spurious reading. Unfortunately it came back before I had driven a mile.

    I then read as much as I could find on the web about this problem. To cut a long story short, I found that cleaning the MAF Sensor with an aerosol cleaner and adding a new air filter solved the problem (I hope). I have now driver about 160km (100 miles) with no problem.

    I found that the backside (away from the air filter side of the sensor was filthy and my theory was that it would therefore take a greater airflow to cool it to the reading that the on-board system wanted. In turn this meant that the engine was running lean, hence the code 1130 reading.

    So I would encourage anyone who has a problem like this to first try the cleaning the MAF sensor/change filter routine. It takes 10 minutes to do and costs very little – under $30.
  • akalady_2000akalady_2000 Member Posts: 4
    Since Toyota is dealing with mass recalls have you considered contacting them regarding the CEL on your Highlander? I read in a previous thread that there was a recall on O2 sensors but no one contacted me and my vehicle is registered with Toyota so how did I miss that? I've taken my car to a Toyota dealer to fix the O2 sensor and no one stated there was a recall.

    This seems like the best time to bring this to Toyota's attention. I'm tired of shelling out all this money for a CEL fix (oxygen sensors on bank 1 & 2) that hasn't addressed the problem, clearing the codes so my CEL can go off. I can't tell if it is something serious or defected.

    TOYOTA'S CONTACT INFORMATION: If you have additional questions or concerns that have not been addressed here, please contact the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331. The Toyota Customer Experience Center hours are: Mon.–Fri. 5:00 am-6:00 pm PST, Sat.–Sun. 7:00 am-4:00 pm PST.
  • forumotoforumoto Member Posts: 1
    I have this Toyota highlander manufacture 2004, it has just thrown out check engine light with the vsc and trac off light on, i quickly hock my scan tool to the dcl connector and draw the code which states, P0328 - Knock Sensor 1 circuit high input (bank 1 or single sensor).. i have tried to look out for this sensor on bank one of the engine block but i could not find where its located on the block, this is my first time of searching such things on toyotal but i have known knowledge of it location on vw cars, so i thought its possible to locate on Toyota cars, but i could not find it, so if someone could help me with detail step by step of directing and showing me where its located i will be grateful, as i am away that on many forum information read, that if such issue happened, the engine code must be solve first, and if its done, it could trigger off the vsc or trac off, so please help me locate here this KS sensor is on this single block engine..
  • tom154tom154 Member Posts: 8
    Can somone tell me where the oxgen sensor, Bank 2, sensor 1 is located on my 2003- V6 Highlander. I have a check engine light on and NAPA said thats what their computer says is the code.
  • jrfierojrfiero Member Posts: 123
    Please see posts 4360 and 4362 in the Maintenance and Repair forum.
    Bank 2 is the front bank, and the O2 sensor is screwed into the exhaust manifold, staring at you when you open the hood.
  • tom154tom154 Member Posts: 8
    Great I appreciate that help
  • freddeeefreddeee Member Posts: 2
    Similar to others, my check engine light has come on several times after an oil change. The cause was a lose vacuum hose. Most recently after the same problem, I was able to find the hose and reconnect, but i do not know how to reset the check engine light. Should it go off automatically or can i reset?
  • bikeman3bikeman3 Member Posts: 85
    freddeee as far as I know it will go out itself. A technician can reset it but will probably charge you. Ask at a local autozone store
  • freddeeefreddeee Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for the advice. I will do that
  • rdw1rdw1 Member Posts: 8
    Highlander Maintenance Required Light is on

    I received this message from a Good Man that I would like to say Thanks.

    This is what he sent. It worked for me before, but this time, it is not working. I put synthetic oil in mine and don't need to change it as often and I still get the light. It has worked a couple of times for me but this time I am having a problem getting it to work.

    I was able to reset by holding odometer button down while turning off ignition switch and turning ignition switch to on and watching dashing go from 5 to 0 and the maintenace odometer resetting to zero. The Light would go off. Let me know if it works for you.
  • tom154tom154 Member Posts: 8
    edited March 2011
    I replaced my front o2 sensor last year (amazon Bosch OE $114)and getting the check engine light on again this year. Very easy it was right there when I opened the hood. Napa said that its the same o2 sensor code. Do these sensors go bad or could it be something else causing it. I just had the spark plugs replaced yesterday (Dealership $197) after 131,000 miles thinking that would shut it off. No luck. Light went back on immediately after I re connected the battery and started the car up. Any idea what I should check next that may be causing this o2 code and my light to go on ?
  • tom154tom154 Member Posts: 8
    Can anyone tell me where my Bank 1 Sensor 1 O2 sensor is located on my 2003 Toyota Highlander.
  • jrfierojrfiero Member Posts: 123
    Please see posts 4360 and 4362 in the Maintenance and Repair forum.
  • tom154tom154 Member Posts: 8
    I just completed my change out after following some advice from posts 4360 and 4362 in the Maintenance and Repair forum. It is very difficult to get a good look at the sensor but once you get your angle my technique it’s not that bad. Go from under the car. I used a 7/8 open end wrench. I then pushed a pipe against the bottom of the wrench while lying w/ my head towards the back of the truck. I was able to now hit the end of the pipe w/ a hand sledge about 10 or 15 times until it loosened. I did use WD 40 first to lubricate (watch for dripping). When it came to unplugging it from the harness. Be sure not to unscrew the sensor all the way you will need the tightness of the wires to unplug. I first practiced on the other "easy to get to sensor" right under the hood connected to the manifold. I was able to the just grab the clip (since I practiced) and pull the wire w/ one hand from under the car. It just popped out no problem. I did disconnect the battery to reset the computer and so far after a couple of miles no check engine light. Crossing my fingers.
  • tom154tom154 Member Posts: 8
    Thanks got it changed. That was a big help.
  • tom154tom154 Member Posts: 8
    did this fix work for you. Did you ever ever change the last o2 sensor after the cat.
  • roddy5roddy5 Member Posts: 2
    As many forums that I have looked at, I am a little confused about which sensor is easy to see near the manifold. Diagnostic says bank 1 sensor 1, but some say it is right there and easy to see, and some say it is near the firewall on the other side of the engine. I went to Performance Toyota and the parts guy refused to sell me the part because he wanted to take the suv to his shop and that I am not qualified to change it. Anyone have any luck finding right part and where did you have it switched out?
  • jrfierojrfiero Member Posts: 123
    Its all in 4360 & 4362 in the Maintenance and Repair forum. Assuming you have a V6, the Bank 2 sensor is staring at you when you open the hood, Bank 1 is near the firewall.
    Your "parts guy" is either misinformed or lying.
  • roddy5roddy5 Member Posts: 2
    Thank you very much for your info. I do not have a lift nor the equipment to do the job. If the parts guy is shaky, would you trust the service guy at the same place?
  • planedoc14planedoc14 Member Posts: 1
    edited July 2011
    After servicing my 03 Highlander, was taking a trip and the trans o/h light came on. I pulled off the road and before I even got stopped, the light went out. Continued on the trip and after 25-30 miles
    had the same thing happen. Again, pulled off and again the light went out. Went to a local dealership to have things checked out. The tech checked things out and could find no problems. Fluid still red and no burnt smell to the fluid. Left the dealership in good shape but the cycle happened again only after 50 miles. All of these cycles have happened on the interstate doing 65-70. There is no hard shifting, slipping, or any other noticeable issues. The vehicle was not close being over-loaded. Does anyone have any ideas what could be causing this?
  • zrutsakitszrutsakits Member Posts: 1
    Toyota Highlander 4C, 2001, at 65K I replaced the Climate Control ($1,200), after couple of months I had to change two oxygen sensors ($450), I had to, otherwise car wouldn't pass smog test. I got I first car 15 years ago, it was a Ford Thunderbird with 73K on it and don't remember spending so much many. Maybe Toyota used to be reliable before, but NOT ANYMORE! Speaking of the Toyota dealerships... prepare to be robbed, and be thankful that they don't rape you pfysicaly as well...
  • lgiblinlgiblin Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2004 toyota highlander. ~ 6 mos ago had a check engine light come on and changed the air sensor. The check engine light has come on periodically since and goes out after an hour or so. It has not come on for ~ 2mos. Today had an inspection and although there are no error codes the emission will not pass because multiple sensors say 'not ready'. There has been no battery changes or jumps in hundreds of miles. The car has also developed some hesitation with acceleration...any thought?
  • dm0812dm0812 Member Posts: 1
    We had a 2001 Highlander 6 cyl, 150,000 miles, owned it for 3 years, purchased used, great vehicle until it left us stranded. We had just taken it in for service at the dealership due to the check engine light coming on and we were going on a trip, so we had oil changed (always had it changed religiously), sensors changed, and some other work done to the tune of $963.00. Took off on vacation and about 1200 miles into the vacation I heard a knock in the engine, pulled into gas station and it took 4 quarts of oil !!!, limped to dealership 1.5 miles away, told engine was ruined. I called the first dealership about what was happening before I found out engine was ruined, the Service manager said they were hearing of problem when traveling at highway speeds. Never mentioned it before. Wife posted our being stranded on facebook and a close friend said they had the same thing happen to them while on a trip with their Highlander and they had to get a different vehicle also. Beware if going on trips, check oil when stopping, it may save you from getting stranded. Service manager said something failed in engine to let the oil out or burn it up as they saw no evidence of leak, crack or anything else. This was strange as we never had any problems before until we ended up stranded. Going through that much oil when it never did before leaves me with a lot of unanswered questions. Now that I think back I saw small specs of something on the back of the vehicle when filling up but thought it was from some other vehicle we passed or the road. Most likely it was oil but never did get a chance to check it out once we were stranded as we junked the vehicle. I am posting this as a warning since the service manager mentioned something to me (sorry he waited). Oil light only came on when we pulled off freeway. Only comes on when low pressure not low oil volume.
  • jrfierojrfiero Member Posts: 123
    If you search this and the maintenance forum for "oil consumption" and "PCV" you'll find numerous instances of high oil consumption at highway speeds, fixed by replacing the PCV valve. It's a known issue and a competent dealer should be aware of it.
    I'm suspicious of the timing of your problem just after a service. If a PCV valve was on their laundry list I'd discuss that with them.
    What did your engine do after you put four quarts in it? What do you mean by "limped?" Were you just being careful or did the car not run right? Exactly why are they saying it's "ruined?"
  • kungyalkungyal Member Posts: 1
    I had done the transmission oil & engine oil change at Valvoline instant oil change service station and right after 50 miles the check engine light was on. I came to this forum for some idea and there is lots of solution that other owner had shared about sensor problem, oil change, spark plug etc. But I went back to Valvoline service station and compliant about the problem and they inspected the vehicle with (U380 OBD2 LCD Car Diagnostic Scanner Fault Code Reader) and the check engine light is gone. Hope it doesn't pop up again. Saved some bucks from going to dealer and paying diagnostic charges.
  • bikeman3bikeman3 Member Posts: 85
    I think there is a vacuum hose that sometimes comes off. Pennzoil usually knocks it off, but Valvoline is pretty good.
    You probably wont have a problem, if you do just take it back there and make sure they reattach it
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