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Toyota Highlander Maintenance and Repair



  • j06j06 Posts: 90
    How much they charge you ?
  • j06j06 Posts: 90
    This is what I found from another forum. Check every 15K miles if you are towing …

    I did all service at the dealer. They never mentioned to me about changing this. Their next recommendation is timing belt package. If you are not towing you really don’t need to change it. An excellent time to change gear oil is when the differential has to be drained for axle service.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "..smells funky..."

    As in mould/mildew..?

    Microbes BREED downstream of the filter, mostly on the DAMP surfaces of the A/C evaporator. No good solution other than disabling the A/C except for actual cooling needs/requirements. Mine remains disabled throughout the wintertime months.
  • I have an 04 Highlander Limited.
    I have searched this forum on the re-torque issue and when it's mentioned, the strand goes off into something else so I never found an answer.
    The owner's manual lists having this done every 15,000 miles and I don't think I've ever had it done. Usually the dealer recommends a plethora of things to be done when you take the car in for an oil change but has never mentioned this item. (I check the manual and usually ask for what I want rather than asking for a "check up" but somehow I've kept not addressing this item.)
    So has anyone had this done on a regular basis? Should I get it done this oil change?
  • I have an 04 Highlander Limited V6 3.3. L 4WD all time

    "change limited slip differential oil, if equipped" is listed as an item to be done at 60,000.

    How would I know if I'm equipped with this item and if so, what do you know about having this replaced? Something I should do as part of maintenance schedule at each 60,0000 miles?
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,786

    This is not what you want to hear but the maintenance schedule defined by the manufacturer is accurate. Car makers genuinely detail the required maintenance and inspection points to minimise breakdowns.

    That is why modern cars are so comparatively trouble free. This is especially the case for Toyotas which are famously reliable, if maintained properly.

    That is not to say that there will not be occasional breakdowns, particularly on high mileage vehicles. However, using the manufacturer's recommended maintenance and inspection schedule is the optimal method for minimising long term cost.

    And just in case you are doubtful, understand that this is the wallet talking; I am a CPA and am familiar with overall Total Cost of Operation of many vehicles. Those which are routinely maintained in line with manufacturer's schedules are cheaper overall. That is why fleet companies insist on drivers having their vehicles maintained, by the book and prefer to use manufacturer trained service staff.


  • problem is now in winter when I turn my heat on and I turn on the windshield can I get rid of this horrible musty smell?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Prior to learning to, and how to, disable the A/C during the winter months the only luck I have ever had was ALWAYS lowering the windows slightly each and every night to allow the cabin and A/C plenum to dry out more completely.
  • Just was surprised that not only had I not picked up on and asked for this to be done but that Toyota also hadn't suggested it. (I have 150,000 miles on it) Just thought that sometimes down the road, they find this kind of thing gets "off" when done and therefore they don't suggest doing it.
  • I had all four of my brake pads changed & my rotors were turned at 60k (for the first time!). I now have 78k miles. Dealer claims squeaky brakes are normal especially when the HL is outside all day or parked when t rains snows etc.. As I drive the brakes don't make that sound. But the first few minutes of driving it's horrible and very annoying. Has anyone had the same experience?
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Brake rotors will develop a layer of rust, lite layer, of rust, sometimes it seems in mere minutes. But mine give more of a grinding sound until that bit of rust is "wiped" off.

    To prevent squeal I DIY my brakes and ALWAYS chamfer the leading and trailing edges of the brake pads....these days some pads even come already chamferrred.
  • j06j06 Posts: 90
    Yes.. it did happen to mine after changing front pads @50K... I went back to the dealer .. mechanic cleaned the rotor... now its fine.. he said its due to dust.
  • Is there a way I can get rid of it without taking the wheels off?
  • None that I've heard of.

    (from another 05 Highlander owner with +107K miles)
  • tsotsitsotsi Posts: 98
    edited February 2012
    I suppose there might be some brands of brake pads that are more prone to squeaking than others, but in general, Highlander brakes don't seem to squeak or squeal if the pads are installed properly. Some years ago Honda and Toyota (and probably other manufacturers) started recommending coating the back side (definitely NOT the friction side) of brake pads with brake grease, wherever they come in contact with other brake parts.

    I have been following their recommendations for years and have never heard a hint of squeak or squeal from my brakes. As mentioned, rust makes kind of a grating sound and that is different. I would assume that the dealer mechanic either forgot to coat the pads with grease or installed some kind of funky parts.
  • j06j06 Posts: 90
    I don't know... I paid premium price for the break service.. so they did spend another 30 minutes to take the whole thing out to clean... Toyota Pads are semimetallic. According to consumer reports " These pads are more durable and have excellent heat transfer, but also wear down rotors faster, can be noisy, and may not perform optimally at low temperatures. "
  • jrfierojrfiero Posts: 123
    If your brakes are making a squeal that annoys you so much when you first start driving, then something is wrong. They simply shouldn't do that, and it is almost certainly the installation that is at fault. Did they do that when the car was new?
    Mine didn't, and they didn't when I replaced the pads with Toyota original equipment pads, using the brake "grease" (which is an anti-vibration, anti-noise insulating compound) per the instructions.
    Just because you paid a premium, or a dealer did the work, doesn't mean they did it right.
    Insist they fix it.
  • j06j06 Posts: 90
    I had it fixed after a week.

    How long your front pads last ?
  • jrfierojrfiero Posts: 123
    "How long your front pads last ?"

    I replaced them at over 68K, see post 4367. They had 3mm friction material left, so could have gone quite a while longer, the wear limit is 1mm.
    I replaced them because the VA safety inspector was giving me a hard time about them.
  • j06j06 Posts: 90
    edited February 2012

    Front pads were replaced twice @ 25K and 50K miles.

    Replaced the rear one two weeks ago @60K…;

    Is there any way to find out how much pad left without taking off the wheel & caliper?
  • Dealers don't always use factory parts, especially if they can buy non-factory parts cheaper but charge the same. I noticed this when I had a coolant flush and fill performed by the dealer; they used non-Toyota coolant. So it is possible they used non-factory brake pads for your brake repair.

    When I performed my own brake pad replacement, I went to the dealer's parts counter and purchased Toyota factory pads. I didn't have any squealing problems.

    Now if you are driving in the rain and park the car, there will be a light coating of rust that develops on the rotors. That makes a slight scraping sound when you first use the brakes, but in my experience, that goes away after the third time you apply the brakes.
  • tsotsitsotsi Posts: 98
    Sounds to me that you should ask your dealer service rep more questions. Highlander rear brake pads are a lot smaller than the front pads -- normal in cars with a heavy engine in front -- and in my case the rear pads needed replacing before the fronts. The dealer started bugging me about needing a brake job when the brakes were only about half worn, at 30,000 miles. I actually did the job myself at about 70,000 miles and the pads were pretty thin at that point.

    I can get a rough idea of how much pad is left with the wheels on, but it might be better to take the wheel off and use a flashlight. There is a warning system on each corner that makes a scraping noise when there is only a millimeter or two left.

    The dealers push brake jobs because they are very profitable, and if you call them out on not being completely accurate about wear, they can always use the "better safe than sorry" excuse. They also always claim the rotors need turning or replacing even when they actually don't.

    Of course some dealers may be giving you honest service so it is always better to get some help if you are not sure how to check the brakes yourself.
  • jrfierojrfiero Posts: 123
    wwest, thanks for the reply (copied below the line since it's been so long).
    I typed a reply previously, but it was lost in the ether before I posted it.
    Briefer one here.

    I didn't notice the Trac or VSC activating, and I think I would have.

    Your explanation makes sense, because I checked and cleared the code within a couple drive cycles (maybe only one), so it may have cleared itself if I hadn't. In any case, it hasn't returned, with various driving conditions and speeds since (but no snow!).

    Good to know about the MAF/IAT throwing a code for only one bank lean, 'cause that seems like an easy fix.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----------
    " 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.
  • j06j06 Posts: 90
    I got fooled one time. They charge $250 for the brake service. Pads cost $75. Never again … I also own 2009 corolla now 17K miles. At 15K they advised me to change the front pads. I declined it. I will not change it until I hear the warning noise.

    Like their 30K, 60K service for $500 with discount.. Oil+filter change, Tire rotation, Transmission fluid service, Coolant service, Air filter, Cabin filter, all fluid service, re-torque drive shaft boots.. Plus so many checks… I am sure with an independent mechanic I can get all these done for $250-300. I feel safe doing it with the dealer.
  • I live in Virginia. Once when I stayed in Florida a month, my brakes had a "grinding" noise when I first started out. I had the brakes pulled and they didn't see anything wrong. My car was sitting a couple of days near the ocean between drives. They said it could have been the moisture and resultant rust buildup between drives. After they pulled the wheels, the noise definitly lessened; I think the road dirt fell out but I still had a bit of initial grinding when I started out as long as I was in Florida and leaving the car sitting longer than I do when at home.
    BTW: I learned this lesson the hard way too. If they tell you to change your brake rotors, I ask them to write on the work order the actual measurements of each rotor and intitial it. I tell them that after they've "certified" in writing the measurements, I'll make a follow up appt. later if needed. Amazingly, the measurements were fine and the language was changed from "need to change" to "a good idea to change".
  • grahampetersgrahampeters AustraliaPosts: 1,786

    Your post describes an odd phenomenon that I experienced many years ago on a Mercedes.

    Brake disks are fairly soft cast and machined steel or iron and have no surface coatings (which would impede their ability to act as a brake surface. They are similar to rail-road tracks in softness and propensity to rust; take a look at a rail track which has not been used for some time and hence becomes very rusty.

    When the disks are exposed to salt air, the exposed portions of the disks corrode and develop small pits in their surface. In the non exposed area under the brake pads, the metal remains bright and clear of pits. Subsequently when you apply the brakes there is a very marked grabbing on the rusted surfaces interspersed by the smooth surfaces.

    Unfortunately, even a comparatively short exposure to salt can result in the surface pits extending quite deep (millimetre or more) into the metal.

    In my case, the vehicle had been left un-driven for three weeks after being driven on salted roads. In that time, the deepest pits were 3mm deep. There was no prospect of recovering the disks by grinding or skimming and replacement of all four disks was necessary. I was not happy but could see the physical evidence. Indeed, pulling one wheel off, I could see where the brake pad had shielded the disk and the depth of the pits in unprotected surfaces.

    I suspect that you might have seen the same phenomenon.


  • jrfierojrfiero Posts: 123
    "Front pads were replaced twice 25K and 50K miles."

    Sounds like your dealer had a boat payment due.
  • j06j06 Posts: 90

    No more... Last time recommendation was 'need new battery'.. price $189 with installation.. Battery cost $139.
  • that's exactly what happens in my case. As I"m driving it goes away, but it's still very loud as I'm backing out of my driveway or pulling out of work. It only happens when it rains or snows and I park it and then drive it hours later.

    Scraping? Mine squeal.
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