The Toyota Highlander is still in production, and it’s a good thing, too, because it’s a nice car! Unfortunately, however, even the nicest cars have their fair share of problems, and the Highlander is certainly no exception. So, the most pressing question is exactly what kind of problems you should expect to find if you purchase a Toyota Highlander.
If you’re on the hunt for the perfect Toyota Highlander, look no further! Our comprehensive guide on the Best Year for Toyota Highlander will help you narrow down your choices and find the perfect model for your needs. We also discuss the worst Highlander Years too.
What are the most common problems with the Toyota Highlander?
The most common problems with Toyota Highlanders are oil leaks, transmission rough-shifting, issues with the electronic, fuel, and AC systems, brake failure, body issues, and an overall cramped feeling. Some of these issues are easy fixes while others may be worth steering you away from the Toyota Highlander.
Here is a compiled list of a few common issues with the Toyota Highlander. Keep in mind that despite some of these things, the Highlander is still a good car, but like any vehicle, it has some flaws.And you must be aware of some of those flaws before you decide to invest!
8 Most Common Issues With The Toyota Highlander
1: Oil Leakage
Engine oil is an absolute necessity for any car to drive smoothly and keep its engine in good shape.
Unfortunately, there have been plenty of owner reports of the VVT-i oil line experiencing serious ruptures both on and off the road.
This becomes a serious problem, especially if it seems to happen frequently.
When the VVT-i oil line ruptures, that’s a pretty huge oil leak.
It covers the undercarriage and the engine and will get ridiculously messy.
If it does rupture while driving, your oil and oil pressure lights will come on.
That is a warning sign that means you need to stop the vehicle immediately or else the engine could quit on you completely.
2: Transmission – Rough Shifting
Nobody enjoys driving a car that doesn’t shift smoothly; sadly, the Highlander can often be guilty of this.
The transmission has been known to slip as well which can be a pretty dangerous occurrence, especially when you’re driving on a busy road. The gear selector has also been known to fail from time to time.
However, that’s a minor grievance compared to other transmission issues. A few owners have reported that complete replacement or serious repair of their transmission has sometimes become necessary, which is not a small bill to pay. Be aware of all of this before you invest in a Highlander!
3: Unreliable In-Car Electronics
According to Consumer Reports, there have been quite a few issues spotted by owners with the Highlander’s in-car electronic gadgets. The Highlander is equipped with a touchscreen infotainment center, CD and DVD players, camera sensors, phone pairing, MP3 music interface, and more.
There have been multiple reports of the CD and DVD players greatly malfunctioning and refusing to work the way they’re supposed to.
Another big issue has been found with the infotainment center. This display will often freeze up. Not only is this somewhat inconvenient but it can be frustrating.
Should this happen, you may want to get your electrical system rebooted completely by a professional.
4: Unreliable Fuel System
The fuel system seems to come with its own slew of issues.
There have been times when the warning/indication lights will come on for no reason which can be cause for irritation and unnecessary worry.
However, there are also times when they won’t turn on in time which is not only frustrating but potentially dangerous as well.
The fuel system has also been reported for leaks, stalls, problems with the pump, problems with the fuel injection system, and a few other small grievances as well.
The fuel system is a pretty essential working part of any vehicle, so it’s somewhat unnerving when so many issues with it start to surface.
One of the best ways to combat this is to make sure you’re giving your car adequate maintenance on a yearly and even monthly basis.
5: Paint Job/Body Integrity
Everybody loves a nice car that maintains that good look for a long time. The Highlander is capable of doing so. However, it has also been known for losing its paint job over time.
Paint has been reported to crack and peel away, which is the last thing most people are willing to put up with because it results in a cheap, tacky look that costs a good chunk of money to fix.
As things age, they are usually expected to get old and creaky, but there have been multiple complaints about the creakiness of the Highlander’s frame.
There have also been complaints about wind noises and sealings that get cracked and broken. An overly noisy drive is not fun, so many people take great issue with this.
6: Climate System Failure
The climate system greatly adds to any driving experience.
In the summertime, you can cool off quickly inside your car, during the winter, you can enjoy heated seats and a warm environment.
If this climate system stops working, you’re going to run into more than one problem.
For instance, if your defroster quits working, you won’t be able to see out the windshield if it frosts up.
Additionally, there have been reports of complete electrical failure which might cause an overheat in the system.
It’s also possible that you’ll start to experience some refrigerant leaks which could potentially cause damage of its own.
You’ll have to keep careful tabs on your climate system for sure.
7: Brake Failure
Brakes wear out over time no matter what vehicle we’re talking about.
However, there have been reports concerning the serious levels of brake failure that the Highlander has been known to experience.
If the brakes don’t fail, they often tend to experience vibrating, squeaking, and sometimes delays.
Again, not a problem you probably want to deal with!
8: Tight Space
While this is not technically a mechanical problem, the tight space in the Highlander is widely disliked.
As an SUV, it does have the capacity of seating eight people at least, but the passenger area is nothing super special.
Larger passengers might find riding in a Highlander somewhat uncomfortable.
The Highlander’s cargo space is somewhat more impressive than its passenger space, but to access all of that cargo space, you will have to fold down the seats in the back.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but if you need all the seats and the cargo space, that’s where you run into a problem.