Common Toyota Highlander Problems

The Toyota Highlander is one of the best-selling midsize SUVs in America, probably in the whole globe. It has also received heaps of praises over the years. It’s rated among the top for offering great reliability, improved vehicle safety, and affordability. Most Toyota car users claim that the model comes with a sleek exterior design, powered windows, a perfect navigation system, and a climate control system.

In terms of safety, the Toyota Highlander comes with impact airbags, great seat belts, antilock brakes, and antitheft systems. Though the car comes with these great features, it is not entirely perfect. As with other Toyota models, there have been a few problems with the Highlander reported over the years. 

Major Toyota Highlander Problems

The National Highway Traffic Administration reports show that the Highlander experiences some problems with engine noise, wind noise, cracked rear window panels, threads for engine bolts stripping and engine failure. Transmission issues, air condition system faults, and oil leaks are also some common Toyota Highlander problems. The best solution to some of these issues is to wait for the Toyota Limited Platinum recalls and take your vehicle for servicing and parts replacement.

·       Toyota Highlander Engine Problems

According to Toyota Highlander owners’ complaints, the main issues with this model are engine defects that can cause total engine failure. Although engine failure can be due to a variety of problems, most failures occur as a result of stripped engine bolts. Other causes include broken O2 light, fuel system defects, Check Engine light warnings, water leaks, and pressure monitoring system problems.  You should contact the Toyota dealership when you notice any of these engine issues to have the car repaired.

·       Ruptured Oil Lines

Another significant concern raised by Highlander owners is a ruptured oil line, which can also cause engine failure. The most affected model years are 2005 to 2013, and replacement parts have been known to exhibit the same issues. The issue can result in other engine complications if not repaired in time. You can opt to change the vehicle oil lines or clean affected parts.

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·       Air Conditioning Failures

Air conditioner problems occur when the system fails to regulate interior temperature conditions. The issue occurs as a result of regulator defects, and the best solution is having the thermostat housing replaced.

·       Brake Pedal Issues

A brake failure is another common problem with the Toyota Highlander. Soft or stiff brake pedals, rough shifting, or brake light warnings are signs of brake defects. Calling a mechanic for car diagnosis might help to address these problems.

Minor Toyota Highlander Problems

Highlander owners have reported other minor car issues. Some of these include safety issues, steering column problems, and electric system faults. You do not have to wait for recalls to have these issues fixed as a local provider will be able to help.

·       Check Engine Light Problems

Highlander users might find the Check Engine light comes on because of a minor issue. If this happens after starting the car, the issue could be some defects with the air hose filter. If the air hoses are loosely attached, the Check Engine light will appear. Regular vehicle maintenance may fix this issue.

·       Center Airbag Problems

The center airbag fault is another sensor concern raised by Toyota Highlander users. The car test reports show that the airbag light activates because of a malfunctioning center airbag sensor. The airbag itself could be functioning, and the error can be fixed by taking your car to an experienced repair expert.

·       Highlander Wind Noises

Wind noises occur as a result of cracked window panels. When the car runs down the road, a pressure difference is created, and the interior air will try to escape outside through the cracked panels. An unpleasant sound is heard, and the problem can only be rectified by replacing the panels.

·     Toyota Highlander Uneven Tire Wear

The Highlander is vulnerable to tire wear and tear, like any other car. However, uneven wearing off can result from improper wheel alignment and low or excess tire pressure.  You need to check the tire pressure regularly to avoid this occurrence.


The Toyota Highlander is one of the best cars in the market. It comes with a beautiful exterior and interior, improved safety features, and navigation systems. It’s also said to offer great comfort with its leather front seats, third-row seating and some of the best seat belts. The third-row car seat can also be folded when you need more cargo space. However, the model is faced with numerous problems, as discussed above. It is important to understand this guide to note any failure and fix it in time to avoid adverse damage. In addition, installing an genuine Toyota Highlander Engine Control Module (ECM) will be of great help in preventing some of the problems above.

Toyota Highlander FAQs

Is the Toyota Highlander a reliable car?

Yes. Most Toyota drivers recommend this car due to its overall reliability. The model has kept a positive reputation for its performance, safety, and comfort.

What is the best model/year of Toyota Highlander?

The 2020 Toyota Highlander is believed to be the best model available today. It comes with an upgraded safety system, spacious 3rd-row seats, great suspension design as well as an MP3/CD player stereo system.

Is the Toyota Highlander expensive to maintain?

No. The Highlander has an estimated maintenance cost of $80 to $2802, with an average of $282. This is significantly below the ownership cost. However, the repair cost depends greatly on how well you maintain your vehicle.

What is the life expectancy of a Toyota Highlander?

The Toyota Highlander has a lifespan of more than 20 years and can reach mileage of more than 500,000. However, life expectancy and mileage depend on quality of maintenance.

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