pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
97,750 miles
Total Complaints:
3 complaints

Most common solutions:

  1. not sure (3 reports)
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problem #3

Apr 272018

Highlander Hybrid Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 146,000 miles

Driving on secondary road at approximately 35 mph, when suddenly lost power to vehicle and the brakes went soft, the following alerts popped up on the display: Check Brake System, Check 4 Wheel Drive System and Check AVS, all errors had the "stop driving immediately and take vehicle to dealership" message as well. Thank God I wasn't driving on busy highway, it could have been fatal.

I managed to pull over to the side of the road to assess the situation. I was not able to start the car and the same errors kept displaying. At first I thought it was the 12v battery; in the past, as the battery started to get low, the Highlander used to display numerous errors and wouldn't start.

After researching this issue online I found out that this is a common problem for this vehicle; especially here in AZ, where the extreme heat is a killer to 12v batteries. Anyway, so I started replacing the battery to fix the issues, sometimes a recharge would work, but in the end a new battery was the only fix, all the errors would go away and the vehicle would operate normally. I thought this would be the case in this instance as well, so I went and bought a brand new battery from O'Rielly Auto Parts, the original battery was really low as expected.

This time none of the errors cleared, they remained displayed, and the vehicle refused to start. I would get the green light on the start button but the "READY" light would not come up at all. I tried a few different things, like the bypass/emergency start (which used to work in the past) but nothing would work. My damn Highlander would not fricking start at all and all the errors kept displaying. I had to tow the vehicle to the local Toyota dealership, it was Friday afternoon and I was told that I would have to wait till Monday to get an answer (this is a small town with only 1 [one] Toyota dealership that has only 2 [two] hybrid certified mechanics).

Monday came and went and I didn't hear from them, I called them on Tuesday morning and left a message. After a little while they got a hold of me and told me a bunch of technical stuff that basically meant that they did not know what is wrong with my car. They have a few theories about what could be wrong, but they are not sure of anything, they want to take parts from one of their own Highlanders Hybrids and replace them on mine (instead of buying new parts) to see if they can pinpoint the issue. I said ok fine, lets do that, problem is, they do not have another Highlander hybrid on the lot at the moment, so I have to wait until this coming Friday when they will acquire one.

All that troubleshooting as well as their communication with Toyota Corp. have not yielded any results and/or solutions. So here I am waiting in despair, and after reading all these comments my hopes keep getting lower and lower. I think this is enough, if this is a common issue like it is with earlier models then this should be made into a damn recall or something, especially since this is a potentially deadly issue if it takes place on a high speed-high traffic highway. I'm planning on fighting this bs. I will update this post if allowed. Please feel free to contact me if you have any comments or input.

Thanks for reading. (I have this exact same complaint on the Brakes category since I have no idea what is causing all the problems).

- Kevin O., Ft Huachuca, US

problem #2

Jan 052016

Highlander Hybrid Limited V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 106,250 miles

This is the second time this has happened. The first time, it happened while I was driving but I made it home. I called for a tow truck and they took it on a flatbed to Toyota. They said it started right up and nothing was wrong,

This second (about a year or two later) I was in a parking lot with the car in the alternate position but not on fully. While I was sitting listening to radio in parked position, the message stating the the brakes were an issue appeared a few times out of no where. I left the car and went into a game. Upon coming out, the car would not start. The brake was depressed and the green light would come on but the car would not start. Lights flickered on the console. The dashboard flashed lights, the vsc, brake, engine and other lights came on. Fyi - the car has been regularly maintained (in for maintenance every 5K miles).

Waited 15 minutes and then it started right up like nothing was wrong.

Update from Jan 5, 2016: After reading all the other complaints, it sounds like this is the beginning of an inverter problem. I cannot understand that if this problem causes cars to stall on the road, why has there not been a recall.

- kbeard, Los Angeles, CA, US

problem #1

Jun 282013

Highlander Hybrid

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles

We parked the car on the road for a few days and now it won't start. The message on the display says "Check Brakes" and "Check Airbags". It won't let me get further than that. I tried putting the car into Drive but it then displays "Move to P to start". I thought the battery might be low but the display shows a battery that is close to fully charged.

- margot, Ellicott City, MD, US