really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
157,300 miles
Total Complaints:
1 complaints

Most common solutions:

  1. complete engine rebuild/replacement (1 reports)
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problem #1

Apr 272017

Highlander 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 157,282 miles

click to see larger images

broken rocker arm and camshaft broken rocker arm and camshaft

Bought the car in December from a reputable dealer, appeared to be in great shape, ran well. Admittedly it was high mileage, but it was a 2009 Highlander so it seemed low risk. Within 4 months it misfired. I pulled the spark plugs and found oil on the threads. Thought it might be leaky valve cover gaskets, so I replaced those, and that didn't fix the issue.

I took it to a respected independent mechanic because my next thought was leaky valve seals. They pulled the valve covers and saw that one of the rocker arms on the right side of the engine had broken (they found it in the bottom of the cylinder), and that a small piece (about the size of a pinky nail) of the camshaft had sheared, they never found that piece. There was damage to the valve and unknown damage to the piston.

Fixing would have required repair ($6K, not recommended), low mileage engine replacement ($7K with 75K mile engine), or complete rebuild ($11K). Thought briefly about giving myself a summer project and replacing it myself, but to get the engine out of a Highlander it's best to go out through the bottom and I don't have the equipment to lift the frame off the engine. We ended up deciding to get what we could out of it, which was about $3500. Lost about $10K in four months.

- Miles Y., Fort Collins, US