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Toyota Highlander Maintenance and Repair



  • I've got a 2012 Highlander Limited V6 that steers crazy. I've been driving a Cadillac SRX . I have terrible torque steer to the right on this vehicle and no matter what speed I'm traveling have to push down to the left on the steering wheel to keep it from going to the right. If I punch it the torgue steer,(pull to the right), is unbelievably bad. I am so disappointed. Dealer says it's normal.I say BS. Have you or anyone else experienced the "Hard" pull to the right when accelerating?
  • bdymentbdyment Posts: 573
    It is time to see someone in higher authority at your dealer. Whoever told you that your steering is normal is 100% wrong. If you can't get satisfaction take your Highlander to another dealer.
  • luckysevenluckyseven Posts: 134
    edited January 2012
    luckyseven - I've spent a few hours googling and can't seem to find instructions for water pump swap on a Gen 2 Highlander from the PS wheel well. Nor can I figure out how to PM you on this Edmunds forum (and I'm a techie guy). Any leads in the right direction are appreciated.

    Hint: Try going on toyotanation highlander forum, there was a poster who replaced the water pump by himself and he posted a short write up.
  • rutrut Posts: 5
    I know this is a really old post but my 02 highlander has also just started with the rubber burning smell. Did you discover what was causing it?

  • jrfierojrfiero Posts: 123
    edited January 2012
    Well, dang.
    Anyone have any experience with a Check Engine Light (CEL) and DTC P0174?
    Hauling up through the mountains of western Maryland in the snow, and "bling!" a CEL and VSC light. Grumble.
    Took an unplanned exit and found a place to stop to do a quick flashlight check (did I mention it was night?) and couldn't see anything.
    Decided to ignore it and continue the weekend, which happened to have the HL parked all weekend, then the ~150 mile trip home today. Seems to run fine, although the dash info says I only got 18 mpg on the highway. Something I'd expect if the computer couldn't figure out how to remedy a lean condition.
    My scanner reveals a DTC P0174, a generic code for a lean condition, bank 2. Generic meaning it is a code required by the feds on all cars which have to have the OBDII system on board, which is just about everything since '96. So its not a Toyota-specific code and its explanation is not specific.
    I initially thought, oh well, I need another O2 sensor (replaced bank 1 years ago, see post 4360). However, research shows many things could contribute to a P0174 - vacuum leak, Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF), O2 sensor, etc. If it were a MAF I would expect to get codes from both banks (P0171 and P0174), and I only have a code for bank 2. Fyi, bank 2 is the front row of cylinders on the V6.

    Has anyone had a P0174, and if so, what was the diagnosis/repair?

  • I just took my 2002 Toyota Highlander in for a front brakes have about 43,000 miles on them...I thought sure they'd need to be replaced. But my shop said the rotors are a little rough, but not bad enough to replace...and the brakes have between 30% and 40% of the pads remaining. Now, my rear brakes have been replaced twice in the last 50,000 miles.

    How can this be???? This is an AWD front brakes last that much longer ???
  • Boat payment!

    No, I'm not sure why you'd have different wear on the back than on the front. My 2001 Highlander is also AWD with the V6. I replaced all of my original pads, front and back, last summer at 80,000 miles. And then, only because the brake material on the inner pad on the right front wheel had disintegrated, which I'm told sometimes happens when they get old. All of the remaining 7 pads still had at least 1/8" of material on them; the wear sensors hadn't begun squawking.

    When your mechanic replaced your rear brake pads, twice, did you get the old parts back? If so, do you remember how much brake material was left on them?

    If indeed the rear brake pads needed replacing, I would think a reputable shop would have suggested further diagnosis to find out why they were wearing out faster than the front. Based on my experience and what I've heard from others here, the brakes should be wearing more-or-less evenly front to back.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Toyota seems to be having, historically, problems of overheating the new electric power steering system. Overheats and then drops back into derating mode, less stearing effort help.


    May have reduced the "normal" power assist level to alleviate the above instances.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "..I replaced.."


    "..inner pad on the right..."

    Very common problem, caused by a stuck or sticking caliper slide pin, replace and/or FULLY lubricate.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    " the snow..."

    Did you happen to notice the Trac system or VSC activating?? More than once or twice..?

    On the RX or HL without DBW engine dethrottling during a trac or VSC event is accomplisheded via EFI fuel starvation. No way to close the throttle plate so the HOT oxygen sensors see PURE oxygen for brief period(s). That appears to somehow have an adverse impact on those sensors for some period after and a CEL is not altogether unusual.

    Generally clears within a few drive cycles.

    I have had instances of dirty MAF/IAT sensors throwing a diagnostic of only one lean bank. So I would first clean the MAF/IAT sensor elements.
  • I'm coming up on 80k miles and wanted to get an idea of what maintenance needs to be performed. I don't prefer dealer packages because you pay them to just "check" things. Can anyone give me a guide to follow and what fluids should be changed at certain intervals for every 30,60,90k?

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited January 2012
    The Edmunds Car Maintenance Guide will tell you what Toyota recommends be done and when. Same info that's in the owner's manual.

    Dealers like to up-sell stuff. You may decide you need some of those "extra" services, but you're right. You should tell the service writer what you want done, not ask for a "90,000 mile service".

    Confessions From the Dealership Service Department
  • Can someone provide me with a guide to what they have followed for their Highlander's with high mileage? I would just like to know what others have been following over the years as far as when they changed fluids, what type of fluids were changed, etc....

    If you look at this below for my HL it still shows that you have to pay the dealer to "check" things which I do not want to do. I figure they already do at oil changes, why give them more money to look around. odelYearId=100503866&styleId=100413879&engCode=6VNAG3.3&transCode=AUTOMATIC&mile- age=90000&zip=53072
  • j06j06 Posts: 90
    edited January 2012
    How much is to change the rear break caliper, pads for 2006 Highlander,.. parts + labor...

    My dealer is asking for $700 including tax
  • I recently purchased a used 2009 Toyota Highlander limited with 26000 miles. I currently have 27600 miles on it. I called local toyota dealership here in Plano, TX for a quote on getting the 30000-mile recommended service and was quoted $540. Recommended service at this mile include oil and filter change, air filter change, carbin filter change (dealer sells for about $17.00), then a bunch of check this and check that. Is $540.00 about right for this service?
    I called another foreign car repair shop and was quoted $181. I asked what they check and they repeated everything on the toyota's manual for 30000 mile service. Is there something to gain by paying extra to have this service done at toyota?
    Toyota service guy even told me they flush coolant or brake fluid but that service is not recommended at 30000 miles. Can somebody with 2nd generation H/L give me their opinion on this? I want to save money but also want things done right. The other repair shop have ACE or something certified technicians and have been around for over 25yrs.
  • shagnatshagnat Posts: 78
    Do not even bother. I've never had one of those "checks" done on my 2002 Highlander Limited with 75K miles and all is good.

    IF you feel the need to get those items checked, go to a AAA auto service center and have an oil/filter change along with tire rotation and they will check everything else for free. Be prepared to have the cabin filter replaced (it is a tad of work to get to it) as 30K on that filter is more than enough.
    Save your money from your Toyota dealer (mine wanted over $700 for the same service) and spend it on something worthwhile.
  • Never go to a dealer and have them do a "check-up". Go to your owner's manual and look at what it suggests at be done at certain mileage. Go to the dealer and ask for an oil change and for that item to be checked. They check the other stuff anyway! Also if they tell you to do other things like flush steering, change transmission fluid, etc. press them with questions. And pull out your manual to see if that procedure is EVER recommended. For example, when I asked lots of questions, I found that I'm really not going to do any damage to my steering if I don't change the fluid until I start to get some "symptoms" which has never happened. I have an 04 with 160,000 miles. And when I pressed on the transmission fluid (which I have had to have changed so I do watch it), it was "discolored" but not "dirty" (needs changing). So my dealer won't lie to me as far as I know but they will lead you to think you need things you don't unless you question them.
    I have a girlfriend that for years continued to go to her dealer for her Outback and every time ended up with $500 bills. So it's okay to go to the dealer so you actually do get some of their "expertise" for your vehicle but just ask only for what you want and ask lots of questions for anything else recommended.
    BTW: only Goodyear tires last on my Highlander (originally came on it). I made the mistake of letting Goodyear do other work and I was lied to regularly (example: told me I needed brakes changed when they were normal levels and two years later still are okay. They rotate my tires, period)
  • Thanks for your advice. You guys confirmed what others have told me: be suspicious of unwanted services the dealer recommends and always go by what is recommended on the manual.
    I've seen some "oil and filter" change coupons that includes checking these other components for free.
    my H/L came with Bridgestone tires which i intend to change soon. Thanks again.
  • I guess what I'm looking for is a maintenance schedule someone has followed on their HL. Someone who has alot of miles and didn't follow the dealer maintenance packages. How does one know when to replace certain fluids, what intervals. If I have the dealer check invaded on what the manual says they will always say change it which is what I'm afraid of. I would like to know how many miles I should definitely change certain fluids.
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    I don't understand your post. Read and understand your owner's manual, grow a pair, and then TELL the dealer what to do and what not to do. This isn't rocket science. All of the information you're seeking is right in your owner's manual.
  • Any car properly maintained -- wheels / steering in alignment, tires in good condition and balanced -- should go straight when you (briefly) take your hands off the wheel. It should not pull to the right or left. You're under warranty -- so if you have the option locally I'd say take it to a different dealer. And probably never go again to the one who said it's "normal". If another one calls it "normal" -- then escalate. Find out who the regional sales and/or service managers are and contact them (preferably both). The situation you have is not only irritating -- it's potentially dangerous.

    As an aside, I'm not happy with the steering of our 2012, because I think it's imprecise (I call it 'mushy'). My other cars are German -- BMW and Porsche, so I'm used to a tight feel of the road. Even though they are 10 and 25 years old respectively. I haven't talked to the dealer yet about it -- thinking I'm likely to get the 'it's normal' response. I want to get a chance to drive another 2012 and see if it steers the same. (You might see if your dealer will let you drive a demo -- to compare to yours). But a month ago I had an instance where it was pulling to the right at high speed on the freeway. Only lasted maybe for 5 - 10 miles, then went back to what I consider 'normal' -- that is, staying in a straight line when I release the wheel.
  • The manual really doesn't give me a clear idea on when certain fluids absolutely have to be changed by . I also heard that there is no reason at all to change the transfer case oil and differential because they are sealed units. So that leaves the coolant, transmission, power steering
  • mikefm58mikefm58 Posts: 2,882
    Hmmmm, my owner's manual is perfectly clear on the items you mentioned.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Electric power stearing will always feel slightly "mushy" when compared to the "solidness" of hydraulically "boosted" power stearing. But FE wise, the electric takes the prize by a wide margin.
  • Mike, look at this link. Wasn't this your initial recommendation?
    steves8, "Toyota Highlander Maintenance and Repair" #4791, 16 Feb 2010 6:18 pm
  • What air filter & cabin air filter is the best one to use? I tried Fram filters about 8,000 mikes ago, but the air still smells funky when I turn on the heat to blow towards the windshield.

    Should I stick with genuine toyota filters?
  • j06j06 Posts: 90
    This is what I did with my 06 HL.

    oil & filter, tire rotation every 5,000 miles.

    Air Filter, Cabin Filter, Transmission fluid, coolant service every 30,000 miles..

    right now my HL @60,000 miles.. If it reaches 100K without major issues I will think abt changing timing belt.
  • What about transfer case and differential? I read since those are sealed units they never need to be changed.
  • Have an 03 V6, replaced timing belt and water pump at 105K, at a Toyota store and they had a good deal. Free rental car to boot. Shop around for the best price.
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