Because of its spacious interior, high gas mileage, and numerous safety features, the Toyota Highlander has become a popular midsize SUV choice for families.
It also helps if you have a great reputation for dependability.
Nonetheless, every vehicle has its flaws.
If you’re thinking about buying a used Highlander, schedule a pre-purchase examination with a technician to be sure it’s in good shape.
You might also want to investigate a certified pre-owned Highlander, which is a used vehicle that has passed a Toyota inspection and comes with an extended powertrain warranty.
Here are some of the most common Toyota Highlander problems and complaints as reported by owners to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
What are the most prevalent Toyota Highlander problems?
The Most Common Toyota Highlander Issues
Issues with the fuel tank and the A/C condenser.
The gasoline tank on the 2020 version is said to be problematic.
- Airbags that aren’t working properly.
- There is a lot of wind noise.
- Interior issues.
- Oil Leaks and Oil Pressure Loss
- Ignition Coils That Aren’t Working.
- Air Filter Housing Hose is disconnected.
- Problems with the battery.
Common Issues with Toyota Highlanders
The 2014 model year marked the start of the current Toyota Highlander generation or so called Toyota Highlander Year.
This Highlander generation has had comparatively few complaints from owners.
However, some owners report some of the most common toyota highlander problems like a moldy odor coming from the air conditioning system, problems with the power tailgate becoming stuck open or closed, and excessive wind noise at highway speeds.
To decrease cabin odors, Toyota recommends turning off the air recirculation setting, which forces the vehicle to suck in fresh air from outside.
The power rear door actuators were also recognized as the source of the tailgate issue by Toyota.
If they are proven to be defective, the company replacements them under warranty.
A gap between trim pieces on the passenger-side front door looks to be the source of the wind noise (behind the side mirror).
Some owners have been able to silence the noise by covering the gap with transparent tape.
Similar toyota highlander problem with the motorized tailgate and air conditioning system plagued the previous Toyota Highlander model (2008 to 2013).
A few customers have also complained of oil leaks in the engine and a clunking noise when rotating the steering wheel.
To address the clunking, Toyota designed a new intermediate steering shaft.
A malfunctioning variable valve timing (VVT-i) oil supply hose and an oil cooler pipe are to blame for the engine oil leaks.
Toyota is replacing the VVT-i hose on 2008 models for free until December 2021.
Within 10 years of the original purchase date or 150,000 miles, whichever comes first, the manufacturer will replace the leaking oil cooler pipe on 2008 through 2011 vehicles for free.
Certain Highlander XLE Hybrid cars from 2008 to 2010 were recalled due to an electrical issue in the hybrid inverter assembly, which might cause the vehicle to stall while driving.
The Intelligent Power Module (IPM) of the inverter is replaced free of charge by Toyota Motor Engineering.
The Toyota unintended acceleration recalls included the Highlander models from 2008 to 2010.
It was discovered that design defects in the floor mat allowed it to slip forward, trapping the accelerator, after multiple Toyota and Lexus cars accelerated on their own.
Toyota volunteered to replace the mats and make further fixes to keep the gas pedal from sticking.
If you’re thinking about buying a used Highlander, be sure it has the right mats.
Typical Toyota Highlander Problems
A list of some of the most typical highlander vehicles problems that Highlander owner face.
1. During calls, there are Bluetooth echos
What good is hands-free calling if you can’t hold a conversation without an unpleasant echo in the background?
Many Toyota customers in the 2016-2019 model years are in this situation as they battle with their car’s bluetooth connection.
2. Toyota Engine Oil Sludge
In 2007, Toyota reached a settlement in a class-action engine sludge lawsuit that affected an estimated 2.5 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles manufactured between 1997 and 2002.
Toyota promised to repair’sludged-up’ engines for up to eight years in that case.
3. A/C that is musty and moldy
In many Toyota vehicles, the air conditioners smell like mold.
So, what’s the source of the musty odor, and how toxic is it?
4. Soy Coated Wires Are Chewed By Rats
In the mid-2000s, manufacturers made a concerted effort to replace plastic and glass-based wiring insulation with a more environmentally friendly soy-based covering.
It’s biodegradable, admirable, and a disaster for the owners.
5. Stripped Engine bolts
The majority of toyota owner complaints, according to Car Complaints, were from engine problems, which frequently culminated in complete engine failure.
Although there were a number of reasons for engine failure, the majority of them originated from stripped engine bolt threads, especially in the 2003 model.
On the site, there are 30 complaints with an average verified vehicle mileage of 123,000 miles.
Some mechanics were able to replace the bolts using a repair kit, but others required a complete engine replacement.
The average repair cost for this problem is $3,200.
- Which Toyota Models Have Timing Chains? [Answered]
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6. Ruptured Oil lines on the Toyota Highlander
The Toyota Highlander Hybrid engine problems, unfortunately, did not end there.
The next most pressing problem is engine failure, which is often caused by a broken oil line.
According to RepairPal, Toyota is aware of the issue and has sent a replacement part, but the new part has been known to display the same issue.
This problem has affected all engine sizes from 2005 to 2013, and if it is not addressed quickly, it can lead to catastrophic failure.
According to reports, if the engine has completely shut down due to a shortage of oil, it can usually be repaired by changing the oil line and cleaning the afflicted regions.
It is critical, however, that the owner check out their vehicle as soon as possible.
When the engine light illuminates, drivers who continue to drive for even a short time often require a complete engine replacement.
The average length of an oil line rupture is 81,000 miles, and the cost of repairs is $4,400.
7. Transmission Problem
The transmission issues with the 2019 Toyota RAV4 have been well documented and is much worst than the toyota highlander transmission problems.
The general expectation was that the 2020 RAV4 would be a better model, but there have already been too many complaints and unhappiness reports.
The 2020 RAV4 has a slew of issues for drivers.
Should you buy a Toyota Highlander that is a few years old?
Overall, Toyota has a good track record of fixing problems with its vehicles, and the Highlander is no different.
Toyota Motor Corporation treated the issues seriously, and engine issues with cars released after 2013 are rare.
In fact, with the exception of 2015, when there was a rush of complaint concerning the comfort of the vehicle’s seats, the total number of consumer complaints has declined dramatically.
Customers interested in a Toyota Highlander from before 2013 should have a reputable mechanic perform a thorough inspection, paying special attention to the engine bolts and oil lines.
Despite the severity of the engine problems, the number of complaints is dwarfed by the high levels of Toyota Highlander owners satisfaction, thus even an older Highlander can be a sound purchase.
Other Toyota Models
- Toyota 4runner
- Toyota Camry Hybrid
- Toyota Tacoma
- Toyota Rav4
- Toyota Prius
- Toyota Corolla
- Toyota Land Cruiser
(FAQ) Toyota Highlanders Information
What year Toyota Highlander is most reliable?
The finest years for Toyota Highlanders, according to most data ranging from customer reviews to performance tests, were 2017 and 2018.
Over the last two years, there have been numerous positive evaluations expressing overall pleasure with both the model’s benefits and features.
What is the life expectancy of a Toyota Highlander?
According to statistics, the Toyota Highlander can go up to 300,000 miles, or almost 20 years. That’s a long time to own a car, but Highlander owners appear happy with their purchase. According to iSeeCars, 12.4 percent of Highlander owners keep their vehicles for more than 15 years, which is twice as long as the typical SUV.
How reliable are Toyota Highlanders?
The Toyota Highlander has a 4.0 out of 5.0 reliability rating, which places it 7th out of 26 midsize SUVs.
It boasts lower-than-average ownership expenditures, with an average yearly repair cost of $489.
When compared to all other vehicles, the frequency and intensity of repairs are both fairly typical.
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Meet John Valdez, a dedicated car lover and seasoned writer whose passion for automobiles is as vibrant as his words are eloquent. With a keen eye for detail and a heart that beats to the rhythm of engines, John brings a unique blend of expertise and enthusiasm to the world of automotive journalism.