Toyota Highlander Problems and Common Complaints

As a nameplate, the Toyota Highlander is know to be reliable and simply a great car. It’s not entirely perfect though. As with every vehicle, there are a few issues that may crop up over the years. Here’s a master list of the most common issues experienced by Highlander owners.

Note: The list of problems below is organized by year and model. Scroll down to find your year model.

2017+ Toyota Highlander – Common Problems

17 highlander

A 2017 Toyota Highlander

Good news: there's nothing to report so far! Be sure to check back once in a while because we update the information on this page regularly.

2013-2016 Toyota Highlander – Common Problems

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A 2014 Toyota Highlander Limited Platinum

Trim Gap on the Passenger Side: Many 2013-2016 Highlander owners hear a whistling wind noise in the passenger area at high speeds (usually starting at around 40 mph). While the culprit hasn’t been officially pinpointed, many found that replacing the chrome trim solved the problem. It’s because the chrome trim comes with a gap that allows the wind to get in. Some Highlander owners just cover up the gap with a protection film, which works just as well.

2007-2012 Toyota Highlander – Common Problems

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A 2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

Driver’s Side Power Window Master Switch Failure: The side power window master switch on the driver’s side in 2007-2012 Highlanders wasn’t installed with enough lubricant to protect it from moisture and debris. As a result, the master switch may short circuit, overheat, and melt. Toyota addressed this issue by having authorized dealers either add more lubricant or replace the switch circuit board free of charge.

Damaged Clock Spring: The clock spring, which is part of the steering column assembly, has a part called flexible flat cable that’s prone to damage when the steering wheel is turned. This leads to the airbag failing to deploy when required. Toyota reacted to this issue by having its authorized dealers replace the clock spring assembly free of charge.

2001-2006 Toyota Highlander – Common Problems

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A 2004 Toyota Highlander

Improperly Installed Forward Retention Clip: The forward retention clip, which is designed to secure the floor carpet cover, wasn’t installed correctly in some 2000-2006 Highlanders. This allows the floor cover to interfere with the accelerator pedal, making the throttle stick in a partially open position. Owners of affected Highlanders can have their nearest Toyota dealer replace the floor carpet cover with a newly designed one free of charge.

Deteriorating Seal in Brake System: There’s a seal between the master cylinder and brake booster that's prone to early deterioration. This allows fluid to leak into the brake booster, drastically affecting braking performance. Toyota quickly addressed this issue by having its dealers replace the seal with a newly designed one for free.

Broken Transmission Transfer Case Seals: This leads to a transmission fluid leak. Symptoms include rough shifting, hesitation while accelerating, and downshifting even when on throttle. Replacing or rebuilding the transmission transfer case usually takes care of this problem.

2001-2017 Toyota Highlander TSBs

To find these TSBs, you can try Googling the TSB ID #, the name of the TSB, or some combination. You can also go to https://www.safercar.gov and search for the TSB by entering your VIN.

YEAR                             MAKE MODEL TSB NAME TSB ID ISSUE DATE                            
2001-2016 Toyota Highlander Alarm Triggering While Driving 199326 2017-03-23
2014-2016 Toyota Highlander Manual Seat Track Forward/Rearward Adjusment Function Inoperative 199322 2017-04-10
2006-2007 Toyota Highlander Abs Brake Warning Light On 199319 2016-04-18
2014-2017 Toyota Highlander Abnormal "Squeak" Noise From Rear Suspension Over Uneven Roads 199318 2017-04-19
2008-2013 Toyota Highlander Steering Intermediate Shaft Noise 199317 2017-04-26
2017 Toyota Highlander Lack Of Power/High RPM Shift Point/Hesitation 198798 2017-03-02
2008-2017 Toyota Highlander HVAC Evaporator Drain Hose Clogged Due To Insect Intrusion 198794 2017-03-08
2008-2013 Toyota Highlander Power Back Door Does Not Close Properly 198791 2017-03-17
2008-2013 Toyota Highlander Power Back Door System Has Abnormal Closing Operation 198230 2017-02-28
2014-2016 Toyota Highlander Door Panel Leather Insert Creased On Arm Rest Near Handle 197079 2016-11-14
20142015 Toyota Highlander Power Back Door Stops During Operation 197074 2016-03-25
2014-2016 Toyota Highlander Spare Tire Carrier Does Not Fully Unwind 196622 2016-10-20
2016 Toyota Highlander 2016 Highlander On Board Vacuum Secondary Manual Fuel Door Release Access 196177 2016-09-09
2014 Toyota Highlander Abnormal ("Squeak") Noise From Rear Suspension Over Uneven Road 196172 2016-09-21
2013 Toyota Highlander Abnormal Entune/Navigation Operation For Display Audio (Non-Hdd Type) 195716 2016-08-01
2014-2015 Toyota Highlander Power Back Door Inoperative 195714 2016-08-03
2006-2016 Toyota Highlander HV Battery Cooling Fan Maintenance For Severe Usage Vehicles 195322 2016-07-07
2014-2015 Toyota Highlander MIL "On" DTC P2610 195320 2016-07-11
2014-2015 Toyota Highlander Air Conditioner Slow To Cool 195313 2016-07-27
2016 Toyota Highlander Incorrect Load Carrying Capacity Label/Fmvss 110 194872 2016-06-09
2005-2011 Toyota Highlander Seat Heater Electrical Wiring 194871 2016-06-02
2016 Toyota Highlander Radio Controls Inoperative At Cold Temperatures 194505 2016-05-11
2015 Toyota Highlander HVAC Servo Motor Noise 194498 2016-05-25
2009-2016 Toyota Highlander WS ATF Level Adjustment For U660e/F & U760e/F Transmissions 194091 2016-04-13
2014-2016 Toyota Highlander Cruise Control Stalk Illumination Intermittent Operation 194090 2016-04-13
2014-2016 Toyota Highlander Highlander Trailer Wiring Connecting Trailer Harness To Vehicle 192693 2015-12-22
2006-2016 Toyota Highlander High Voltage (HV) Battery Rescue Charge (Hev Workstation / Grx-5100) 192347 2015-12-02
2008-2011 Toyota Highlander Power Window Master Switch May Melt 191636 2015-10-22
2014-2015 Toyota Highlander Panoramic Sunroof Seal Tear/Poor Appearance/Air Or Water Leak 191065 2015-07-29
2011-2015 Toyota Highlander MIL "On" DTC P2111 And/Or P0a0f After Cold Soak 191064 2015-07-30
2015 Toyota Highlander Reduced Wireless Remote Control Range 191061 2015-08-05
2007 Toyota Highlander O2 Sensor Readiness Monitor Does Not Complete 190622 2015-07-06
2014-2015 Toyota Highlander Panoramic Sunroof Seal Tear/Poor Appearance/Air Or Water Leak 190619 2015-07-29
2011-2015 Toyota Highlander MIL "On" DTC P2111 And/Or P0a0f After Cold Soak 190618 2015-07-30
2008-2013 Toyota Highlander Power Back Door Does Not Close Properly 190252 2015-06-12
2010-2013 Toyota Highlander Sun Visor May Move From The Stowed Position 190250 2015-06-22
2001-2015 Toyota Highlander A/C System Diagnosis After Component Failure 189798 2015-05-13
2004-2015 Toyota Highlander HVAC Odor Maintenance 189516 2015-04-09
2001-2015 Toyota Highlander Interior Electrical Component Precautions 189514 2015-04-10
2015 Toyota Highlander Possible Loss Of Electric Power Steering 189385 2015-03-13
2008-2011 Toyota Highlander Oil Cooler Pipe Leak/Seep 187893 2014-11-21
2014 Toyota Highlander Fuel May Leak From Fuel Delivery Pipe 187076 2014-09-19
2014 Toyota Highlander Average Speed And Elapsed Time Do Not Display On Display Audio Screen 186477 2014-09-16
2012-2013 Toyota Highlander 3rd Row Seat May Not Fold Flat 186475 2014-09-29
2014 Toyota Highlander Second Row Right-Hand Seat Assembly/Fmvss 207 185107 2014-05-22
2014 Toyota Highlander Improper Seat Belt Restraint Software/Fmvss 208 185102 2014-05-22
2008-2010 Toyota Highlander Driver's Air Bag May Not Deploy 184330 2014-04-09
2013 Toyota Highlander Second Row Seat Assembly/Fmvss 207 184327 2014-03-27
2014 Toyota Highlander Third Row Middle Seat Belt Assembly/Fmvss No. 210 183926 2014-02-07
2012-2013 Toyota Highlander Overhead Console Sunglass Holder Difficult To Open Or Close And/Or Does Not Stay Closed 182672 2013-12-17
2011-2013 Toyota Highlander A/C Inoperative - Rear A/C Line Retainer Missing 181839 2013-10-02
2006-2010 Toyota Highlander The Intelligent Power Module (IPM) Inside The Inverter Module May Contain Transistors That Have
Higher Operating Temperatures Than The Solder Can Support And The Transistors May Be Heat
Damaged By The Solder.
181311 2013-09-04
2001-2013 Toyota Highlander Brake Pedal Force Gauge Sst For Parking Brake 181285 2013-09-09
2008-2013 Toyota Highlander Abnormal Whine Noise Above 35 Mph 180887 2013-08-09
2009-2013 Toyota Highlander Brief Engine Knock/Rattle Noise At Cold Startup (1ar/2ar) 178997 2013-03-15
2013 Toyota Highlander Maintenance For HV & Auxiliary Batteries 176208 2012-08-17
2011-2012 Toyota Highlander MIL "On" DTC P314a / 828 175356 2012-07-19
2008-2012 Toyota Highlander Power Back Door Does Not Close Properly 175161 2012-06-21
2011-2012 Toyota Highlander MIL "On" DTC P030# And/Or Runs Rough On Cold Start 174873 2012-05-09
2010-2011 Toyota Highlander Second Row Middle Seat Difficult To Latch In The Upright Position 174191 2012-04-16
2010-2012 Toyota Highlander Roof Drip Molding Loose 173784 2012-03-06
2011-2012 Toyota Highlander Charging System Inoperative 173782 2012-03-13
2006-2007 Toyota Highlander MIL "On" DTC P0aa6/612 After Liquid Spilled In Back Seat Area 173312 2012-02-06
2008-2010 Toyota Highlander MIL "On" DTC P030# At Cold Startup 172480 2011-12-23
2012 Toyota Highlander Tire Pressure Warning System Activation 171901 2011-10-05
2008-2011 Toyota Highlander MIL "On" VVT-I DTCs - Oil Control Valve (Ocv) 170768 2011-08-26
2008-2011 Toyota Highlander Rear Hatch Glass Does Not Close Properly 170767 2011-08-23
2010 Toyota Highlander Rear Bumper Cover Gap/Uneven 170760 2011-08-10
2008-2011 Toyota Highlander Door Armrest Cracking Or Separating 168987 2011-04-20
2009-2010 Toyota Highlander MIL "On" DTC P2420 168842 2011-04-07
2008-2011 Toyota Highlander MIL "On" DTC P1423 Or Fuel Cap Binding 168841 2011-04-01
2001-2006 Toyota Highlander Cylinder Head Bolt Threads Damaged (2az-Fe) 168431 2011-03-02
2008-2010 Toyota Highlander Front Side Window Glass Rattle Noise 168207 2011-02-10
2008-2010 Toyota Highlander Rear Ac Vents Loose 166322 2010-08-17
2008-2010 Toyota Highlander Abnormal Sound From Jbl Subwoofer 166321 2010-08-06
2008-2010 Toyota Highlander False Security Alarm Operation 165672 2010-07-21
2009-2010 Toyota Highlander Brief Engine Knock/Rattle Noise At Cold Startup 163803 2010-06-09
2009-2010 Toyota Highlander MIL "On" DTC P0713 (U760) 161962 2010-05-14
2005-2010 Toyota Highlander Steering Intermediate Shaft Rattle Noise 161959 2010-05-03
2009-2010 Toyota Highlander MIL "On" DTC P0715, P0717, P0791, And/Or P0793 (U760) 159494 2010-04-28
2004-2007 Toyota Highlander 2az-Fe & 2az-Fxe Throttle Body 159491 2010-04-19
2008-2009 Toyota Highlander Abnormal Radio Faceplate Operation 157570 2010-03-09
2008-2009 Toyota Highlander MIL "On" DTC P0351, P0352, P0353, P0354, P0355, P0356 154396 2010-01-28
2008-2009 Toyota Highlander Noise From Front Window / Door Check 154390 2010-01-25
2008 Toyota Highlander HVAC Odor 153201 2009-10-07
2008-2009 Toyota Highlander Intermittent No Crank/No Start 153198 2009-09-30
2008 Toyota Highlander HVAC Odor 151937 2009-09-02
2008-2009 Toyota Highlander Xm Satellite Radio Inoperative Until Ignition Key Is Cycled 151211 2009-08-11
2008-2009 Toyota Highlander Brake Booster Rattle/Buzz Noise 151200 2009-07-27
2001-2007 Toyota Highlander Abnormal Horn Operation 151196 2009-07-07
2008-2009 Toyota Highlander 2gr-Fe MIL "On" DTC P0505 150820 2009-06-24
2006 Toyota Highlander M.I.L. "On" DTC P0351, P0352, P0353, P0354, P0355, And/Or P0356 149039 2009-04-22
2008-2009 Toyota Highlander Tire Pressure Monitoring System (Tpms) Tire Registration "Lost Communication With Ecu" 149034 2009-03-12
2008-2009 Toyota Highlander Audio Bluetooth System Outgoing Call Volume Adjustment 148145 2009-03-24
2008-2009 Toyota Highlander 2gr-Fe Engine Ticking Noise And/Or MIL On P0014, P0015, P0024, P0025, P0017, Or P0018 148143 2009-03-19
2006-2009 Toyota Highlander Oil Leak From Engine Bell Housing - Oil Galley Plug 147799 2009-02-11
2008 Toyota Highlander 2gr-Fe No. 2 Idler Pulley Noise 147796 2009-02-03
2006-2009 Toyota Highlander Ig1 Relay Freezing 147235 2009-01-19
2008 Toyota Highlander Smart Key Intermittent No Crank / No Start 147232 2009-01-07
2008 Toyota Highlander ATF Leak From Transfer Case 146129 2008-11-03
2008 Toyota Highlander False Security Alarm Operation 145525 2008-10-30
2008 Toyota Highlander Oil Leak At Camshaft Housing 145517 2008-10-22
2008 Toyota Highlander Noise From Auxiliary Port With External Device With Navigation System 143340 2008-06-04
2008 Toyota Highlander Overhead Console Stuck Open 143338 2008-06-04
2008 Toyota Highlander HV Battery Cover Service 142143 2008-04-15
2004-2007 Toyota Highlander Headlight Lens Discoloration 142142 2008-04-15
2003 Toyota Highlander Engine "Pinging" Or "Knocking" Noise 141735 2008-03-12
2001-2002 Toyota Highlander MIL On DTC P1349 - VVTi Actuator 141101 2003-05-05
2008 Toyota Highlander MIL On VVTi DTCs - Oil Control Valve 140749 2008-01-23
2006-2007 Toyota Highlander Brake Actuator Abnormal Noise 140070 2007-11-09
2006-2007 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Emergency Response Training Cd 138667 2007-07-04
2006-2007 Toyota Highlander Rocking Feeling At Highway Speed (Around 70 Mph) 138234 2007-06-08
2005-2006 Toyota Highlander MIL On, DTC P0011, P0012, Or P0016 136790 2007-02-09
2006 Toyota Highlander Rocking Feeling Around 40 Mph 135173 2006-10-18
2003-2007 Toyota Highlander Upper / Lower Windshield Tick Noise 134944 2006-09-18
2005-2006 Toyota Highlander MIL On DTC P043e, P043f, P2401, P2402, & P2419 133819 2006-06-23
2004-2007 Toyota Highlander Front Seat Squeak Noise 133391 2006-05-23
2006 Toyota Highlander Ilsac Gf-4 Engine Oil Standard 132292 2006-01-04
2001-2006 Toyota Highlander Front Door Opening Weatherstrip 131368 2005-12-20
2005-2006 Toyota Highlander MIL On DTC P0171, P0174, P2195, Or P2197 130957 2005-11-16
2004-2005 Toyota Highlander No Start In Sub-Freezing Ambient Air Temperatures - Possible DTC P0300, P0171, P0174 130101 2005-09-28
2006 Toyota Highlander Front Brake Squeal Noise 128818 2005-07-15
2006 Toyota Highlander Front Towing Eyelets & Eyelet Hole Covers 128304 2005-06-17
2003-2004 Toyota Highlander A/C Light Flashing - Magnetic Clutch Relay 128296 2005-06-06
2004-2005 Toyota Highlander Occupant Classification System: DTC B1785 127843 2005-05-23
2006 Toyota Highlander Front Towing Eyelets & Eyelet Hole Covers 127329 2005-03-23
2001-2005 Toyota Highlander Fuel Injector Ticking Noise 127321 2005-03-24
2004 Toyota Highlander MIL On - DTC P0346 126971 2005-02-18
2004 Toyota Highlander MIL On, DTC P0031/P0051/P2238 And/Or P2241 126965 2005-02-09
2004 Toyota Highlander Steering Angle Sensor 126961 2005-02-23
2004 Toyota Highlander Multi-Dis[Play Functions Are Inoperative 126904 2005-01-10
2004-2005 Toyota Highlander Towing Receiver Hitch Weld Stud Torque 126896 2005-01-12
2004 Toyota Highlander Steering Angle Sensor 126590 2004-11-30
2001-2004 Toyota Highlander Accessory Drive Belt Squeal / Belt Tensioner Rattle 125709 2004-09-08
2004 Toyota Highlander MIL On, DTC P0031 And/Or P2238 125094 2004-08-23
2001-2003 Toyota Highlander Steering Column Squeak Noise 123898 2004-06-18
2004 Toyota Highlander Excessive Sulfur Dioxide Odor 123390 2004-05-07
2004 Toyota Highlander U151e/U151f Transmission Solenoid Identification 122646 2004-04-06
2004 Toyota Highlander Occupant Classification System Initialization 122081 2004-02-26
2001-2003 Toyota Highlander Trim Garnish Loose 120666 2003-09-09
20012003 Toyota Highlander MIL On - DTC B1140/B1141 In Center Airbag Ecu 119428 2003-08-29
2003 Toyota Highlander Blank Map Screen In Navigation System 119009 2003-06-04
2002 Toyota Highlander Seat Back Popping Noise 115863 2002-06-28
2002 Toyota Highlander Accessory Trailer Wire Harness 115291 2002-03-22
2001 Toyota Highlander Squeak And Rattle Service Tips 115075 2002-02-01
2001-2002 Toyota Highlander MIL On - DTC P0500 - Possible Abs Light 115072 2002-02-22
2001-2002 Toyota Highlander Readiness Monitor Drive Patterns 115071 2002-02-08
2002 Toyota Highlander Vehicle Pulling To One Side - S/M Supplement 114717 2001-12-21
2001 Toyota Highlander Moon Roof Molding Creak 114712 2001-12-21
2001 Toyota Highlander Wind Noise At "A" Pillar 114493 2001-11-30
Written by Jason Lancaster