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Toyota Highlander Maintenance and Repair



  • Any one else having issues with their new Highlander's steering? Since the dealer replaced the intermediate shaft at 500 miles the steering clunk is much reduced. However the steering now has a slight high frequency vibration feel even on smooth road surfaces and at any speed. It is almost like their is not enough grease in the steering box to dampen the vibrations coming from the wheels. I do not want to waste more time at the dealer until I know exactly what is wrong with it. Now has 6K on the ODO.
  • We have had a similar problem since buying our 2012 Highlander Limited AWD in June. It now has 7K miles. The steering clunks about 1 out of 10 times and only when turning to the right. Been back to the dealer 3 times and they are unable to reproduce. It is driving my wife crazy! Her friend bought a 2WD Highlander 2 weeks later. It had the same issue except it clunked going both directions. Again, the dealer was unable to reproduce. She got so frustrated she took it back and got a Sienna. It may or may not be a safety issue, but Toyota has a real problem that they need to address. I know that we will not purchase another Toyota product unless we get some resolution on this one.
  • luckysevenluckyseven Posts: 134
    edited October 2012
    Intermediate shaft clunk is pretty common across many Toyota. This is a design flaw and I can't understand why it is still present in current design. Good news it is relatively easy to fix. You can search on the web, there are Toyota TSBs with repair description. There is no need to replace intermediate shaft. There is a special inexpensive grease syringe kit and grease needs to be injected in the intermediate shaft. This is easy DYI project. There is even easier fix approach on the web. Intermediate shaft needs to be disconnected from the steering wheel, then compressed and decompressed 10 times to re-distribute grease inside of it, and re-assembled. I did this fix on my 2009 Camry a year ago and it is still clunk free. My 2008 HL never developed clunk problem. I understand your car is still under warranty, so go talk to the dealer and request them to re-grease intermediate shaft . I don't understand why they are giving you so much grief over this simple issue. If your dealer will not cooperate find another one who will. I don't know if there is a TSB specifically for 2012 HL but intermediate shaft has same design across many different Toyota models and production years.

    T-SB-0296-08 September 16, 2008
    Steering Intermediate Shaft Noise

    2006 Highlander HV
    2004 – 2005 Highlander
    2004 – 2006 Solara
    2005 – 2006 Avalon
    2003 – 2006 Camry

    Some customers may hear a clunk, pop, or knock type noise when turning the steering wheel left or
    right. Use the following procedure to lubricate the intermediate shaft and address customer concerns.

    Remove, Lubricate, and Reinstall
    Intermediate Shaft

    Grease Kit 04007-76133 2 Cylinders (4 g)
    Grease Kit 04007-76248 5 Cylinders (10 g)
  • soco4soco4 Posts: 9
    I have a 2002 V-6 4WD Highlander with 74K miles. I am wondering about the likely service life of the serpentine belt, and also of the timing belt. What is your experience with these parts? Thanks for your information.
  • agbosagbos Posts: 8
    I just had the timing belt, water pump, serpentine belt and some seals replaced on my 2005 V-6 4WD Highlander. The manual calls for only replacing the timing belt at 90,000 miles (my was at 93,000) but it makes sense to do the others at the same time as the timing belt as the engine is already apart. Most dealers will recommend this and to me, it made sense. Your year may be different so I recommend checking the manual for when to do the timing belt. Don't let it go though - some engines can be severely damaged if the belt breaks while you are driving. For reference, I shopped around (Toyota dealers only) and, with a coupon the whole thing was about $830 - included new radiator fluid and I believe 2 of 3 engine seals. Btw - I found in my area that all you have to do is mention a coupon and the dealers will take 10% off their starting price for the job. There seems to be some debate also about replacing the idler pulley and tensioner pulleys while they are in there. This added $300 to the cost so I let the dealer inspect them and left them alone when the dealer said they were fine. Hope this helps.
  • 05highlander0505highlander05 Posts: 89
    edited December 2012
    I have 86,500 miles on my '05 Highlander. Should I try out a local shop or stick with the dealer?

    Here is what my dealer gave me.

    $499.95 to replace the timing belt (replacing the drive belt is included in this)
    $873.22 to replace the timing belt, drive belt, and water pump
    The 90K service includes having the timing and drive belts replaced but not the water pump which will cost about $744.82. Adding the water pump replacement to this service would cost about $1,091.72.

    I'm not sure if they mean everything will cost me $1,091.72 or not.
  • luckysevenluckyseven Posts: 134
    edited December 2012
    You need to find out what's included in 90K service. I'd think they will replace filters (easy DIY). Sounds like belts+water pump best option here. If you decided to replace timing belt then replacing a water pump at the same time makes a lot of sense. If you know a local shop that has good references then get a price quote from them, it will be at list $200-300 less than dealer's price. Going with the dealer will cost you more but might save you a lot of grief since dealer most likely will have the job done properly. How much longer are you going to keep the car? If you don't have any issues with water pump then timing belt not likely to go bad for another couple years.
  • Now my dealer told me their original quote didn't include labor???
  • what's their quote with the labor?
  • $110 per hour, it takes about 6.5 hours to complete. I wish I knew a dependable local shop.
  • When I had a coolant leak in 2009 and 42k miles my dealer replaced my water pump at the same time. Now at 86.5kmiles I'm getting prepared to do the 90k miles maintenance along with the timing belt. There's no need to replace the water pump 48k miles later is there? Do I even have to do the 90k maintenance. Looks like its just checking things and air filters.
  • I just checked with another local dealer and they quoted me $425 plus taxes for replacing the timing and drive belts. I actually do not need to replace the water pump since it was already done at 43k miles when I had a coolant leak. Sounds like a good price, anyone agree?
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 70,442
    Sounds cheap... :)


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,758
    edited January 2013
    Both of my local Toyota dealers charge $359 for a 3.3L timing belt replacement. Water pump is $250 more. I had mine done and they said the water pump looked fine so they didn't replace it. We'll see if that turns out to have been a good decision or not. With tax and shop fees I was "out the door" for just under $400 Btw, the HL is a 2004 with only 68,000 miles on it but since it is coming up on 9 years old, I decided to do the belt replacement based on time instead of mileage.
  • You did well...I had mine done 2 years dealer quoted over $ 1,000 and the other dealer quoted $ 600...I had it done for $ 600 and they said my water pump looked fine, and it did not need replacement....can you believe the $ 1,000 quote...what highway robbers !!!! (I do think they were going to replace the water pump whether it needed it or not !)
  • i have a 2004 3.3 61,000 miles also did they mention anything about flushing the radiator i just took mine to the dealer end of march nothen said about antifreez being changed, just p steering flush and fuel inj cleaning
  • Hey everyone my 2011 Limited driver side window seems to have gone off track. I could not get it to close today. Tried up and down but it was just struggling/caught so I decided not to play with it anymore. Taking it to Toyota tomorrow. Anyone else having this problem. How much did Toyota charge you to fix?
  • witha 2011, it may be covered by the 3 year b to b.

    toyota camrys and highlanders have window problems. it is a known fact.

    our 2002 hl, both rear window motors stopped working at the same time. used a aaa shop to make the repair. was expensive. however, in 125,000 miles and 11 years, those two windows were the only repairs EVER made!

    we now have a venza, hopefully we have the same reliability. I will pay for window repairs anytime I haven't paid for any other repairs.

  • As it turns out I took it into the dealer this morning. They found that the R&R bolts on one side of the regulator had fallen out. They fixed it free under warranty! Pleasant surprise and I was only in there an hour.
  • ajit1979ajit1979 Posts: 2
    I've 2012 highlander. When I brake and car comes to full stop, a thud noise comes from rear. I took it to dealer and they said its normal. The noise comes every time whether u brake slow or quick. The noise is as if someone is hitting your car from behind. The noise started coming with about 3000 miles on the car. I was bearing it but slowly its bothering me. I did not experience this in other SUVs my friends have. Has anyone experienced this on their highlanders.
  • ajit1979ajit1979 Posts: 2
    I've 2012 highlander. With about 4500 miles and winter, when i start the car in the morning and change gear to rear or drive, the engine would rattle and the inside (dashboard, steering) would vibrate with noise. It would last for about a minute and they go away. Dealer said this is normal and should go away once weather starts to warm up. Now that temp is in 80's in the morning, I still have same behavior. Have anyone experienced this?
  • ryan99ryan99 Posts: 46
    Hi, I also have a 2012 Highlander. I don't have that problem with it, however for what it's worth I had the exact same problem with my old Jeep Cherokee. The problem was with ujoints locking up. I never fixed it. It went in for years and never got any worse. Good luck.
  • bdymentbdyment Posts: 571
    Regarding your two postings. The rear end thud and the engine rattle are not normal Highlander behavior. Do not let any service personnel try and convince you that it is normal. If your present dealer will not correct the issues, find another dealer that will.
  • jpfjpf Posts: 496
    It's standard procedure to replace the water pump when the timing belt is replaced for most interference engines. Toyota's I believe are interference engines. The water pump runs off the tiiming belt meaning if the water pump seizes then it will either cause the timing belt to skip or break. The timing belt can be brand new and a failed water pump can cause it to break. The result would be pistons crashing into valves and a new engine would be required. This is why dealers recommend changing the water pump at the same time as the timing belt.
  • takthekaktakthekak Posts: 6
    so, I have an 05 highlander. I asked what should be done, have not really done much to this point, they say new water pump and belt, differential fluids, fuel throttle injector flush, spark plugs, cleaning of brakes due to gravel, transmission fluids, etc. total of $2300. Question is, should do it all and hope for another 100K. I've checked and everything seems reasonable, ie the pump and belt kit 800 or 900. Im guessing labor is whats making the total high. I am really hating putting so much into it, but if it gets another 8 years then its worth it. $2300 would be like
    4-5 months of a new highlander payment. I'm I thinking clearly, just get all the stuff done at once?
  • mrs1964mrs1964 Posts: 8
    $2300 does not seem that bad. I am with you as I like to get things done at once because my time is money. I have an 01 Highlander with 88,000 miles. I've replace brakes at about 45k,oxygen sensors at around 80k. I also replaced the timing belt and water pump when I replaced my oxygen sensors. Not because they needed it but it seemed like a good time to do it. I looked at the water pump it was removed and it looked brand new. So, I doubt if I needed to do this. I've had no issues since this work and hope to keep it for another 8 years.
  • My wife drives a 2003 Highlander, which has 123K miles. Dealer says that at that mileage a tuneup is needed, for $1000, which includes replacing plugs, manifold gaskets and more. Plus an additional $ 500 for fluid flushes.

    Car is running great, so do we really need to replace plugs and gaskets now? I don't have a problem with flushes, although maybe not at the dealer's prices.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    edited July 2013
    It's a bit of a concern to hear "tune-up" these days. Cars don't really get tune-ups anymore.

    Check out the Edmunds Car Maintenance Guide - it follows your manual and will tell you what needs to be done when, and will estimate what it should cost for your zip code.

    You kind of have to be careful of flushes too. Brake flushes are fine. "Power" flushes of the transmission have a bad reputation - they can stir gunk up and cause failure weeks later. I'd be especially leery of hooking the transmission up to a machine and pumping chemicals through it.
  • typesixtypesix Posts: 320
    Read the service portion of owner's manual for service required.
  • soco4soco4 Posts: 9
    On the way home from the eastern Sierras, our 2002 Highlander V 6 AWD with 80K mi. backfired three times on long downgrades (two happened on U S 50 east of Sacramento). The explosions sounded fairly sharp and powerful. Has anyone had a similar experience? Any ideas about what is malfunctioning? My guess is that the (original) oxygen sensor is permitting an overly rich mixture on closed or partly-open throttle, and a build-up of unburned gas is ignited by the hot catalytic converter. Thanks for any help.
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