Last post on Nov 07, 2013 at 7:33 AM
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Toyota Highlander, SUV
#5078 of 5330 Toyota Highlander Electrical Short
Apr 05, 2011 (1:37 pm)
My 2004 Toyota Highlander is giving me some electrical issues. When I use the left turn signal the turn signal light on the dash starts flashing extremely fast and then all warning lights on the dash light up. Also, when applying the brake pedal it causes the left turn signal on the dash to light up. Very odd, but I've been told it is most likely an electrical short somewhere in the car. Any advice on what could be causing this and where it is most likely located would be greatly appreciated.
#5079 of 5330 Re: Toyota Highlander Electrical Short [fbuchman]
Apr 06, 2011 (1:29 am)
Oddly, the most likely point is in the trailer plug, or wiring for trailer, if you have it fitted. There is probably a short between stop cable and left turn cable in this area. Most likely is that there is a loose screw bridging the two terminals or the cable for one has fallen out and is touching the other terminal
The warning for this is that speeded up flasher relay indicates reduced resistance as would come from parallel light circuits operating together.
#5080 of 5330 Re: Toyota Highlander Electrical Short [grahampeters]
Apr 06, 2011 (7:34 am)
Thanks for the tip - will definitely look into this over the weekend and let you know the outcome.
#5081 of 5330 Re: Toyota Highlander Electrical Short [fbuchman]
Apr 06, 2011 (10:30 am)
Graham certainly had a good suggestion.
Also when things like this happen, it's many times a defective ground connection. The current can't "get through" the normal ground connection so then takes whatever paths are available, typically through other lights.
I would find the ground connection on the instrument cluster and attach a temporary ground wire direct from the cluster to a good ground and see if that changes the problem any.
#5082 of 5330 Re: 2008 Toyota Highlander - Water Pump [slade1]
Apr 06, 2011 (2:31 pm)
4-cylinder 2004 fwd -- I had the water pump replaced at the dealer in a small town an hour from where I live with 101,218 miles on the odometer. I had taken it in for recall work with the brake seal and asked them to do a 5K maintenance including tire rotation and oil change. They also replaced the cabin air filter, turned rotors and freed up a sticking brake caliper. The total was $512.00 and it looks like the water pump portion was $247.00.
#5083 of 5330 Brake wear indicators
Apr 08, 2011 (1:52 pm)
Okay, by actual experience, I now know that the Highlander does have wear indicators and what they sound like. When the local Toyota dealer told me at 40,000 miles that my brakes were completely worn out and that my car did not have wear indicators, I took a look for myself and found out that he was wrong on both counts.
Now, at 65,000 miles, I finally heard a wear indicator on the left rear wheel and replaced the pads on both rear wheels. The wear indicators on my old Honda Accord made a sweet tone, almost like a tuning fork, but don't wait for that on the Toyota. The indicators make a plain scraping sound that can not easily be heard inside the car. On my car, it made the scraping sound even when I wasn't pushing on the brake pedal.
This is important because the Honda's indicators were easily heard inside the car, unlike the Highlander's. Have somebody outside the car listen when you drive past with the brakes gently applied or drive past a fence or wall with the window open. The sound is distinct and obviously not normal so don't ignore it. I estimate that even though the pads were badly worn, they still had at least 1,000 miles left on them.
I found that the brake pad job is easy, but probably not for somebody with no mechanical experience. Also, it is best to do one pad at a time because the thin metal plates on the two pads on one corner are not the same. I used brake grease between the plates and the pad backing to reduce the chance of brake noise, but there was a thin plastic spacer that may make the grease unnecessary. I used grease anyway.
My rotors were not thin enough or scored enough to need any work. The dealer said I needed new ones. So I reckon I can do a complete brake job, including changing the brake fluid, in three hours or so and for just over the $100 I paid for genuine Toyota pads (not at the dealer, who quoted me over $200).
#5084 of 5330 Re: Brake wear indicators [tsotsi]
Apr 09, 2011 (1:44 am)
Brake wear indicators are actually mandated by federal law, and have been since 1968. You were wise not to believe the dealer!
#5085 of 5330 Re: Brake wear indicators [tsotsi]
Apr 09, 2011 (5:47 am)
I would like to modify what I posted about waiting for the wear indicators to kick in on the Highlander before doing a brake job. That was based on actual experience with my previous car, a Honda Accord, which had much more intrusive warnings and gave those warnings when there was a little more pad left.
My Highlander's wear indicators could easily be ignored by somebody who drives primarily with the windows closed. Also, the pads were still safe when the indicators sounded the alarm, but pretty darn thin.
If I had it to do over again, I would still ignore the dealer's advice at 40,000 miles, but would have checked the thickness myself every 5,000 miles and probably do the brake job at 60,000 miles instead of 65,000.
The brakes were safe, but I wouldn't advise anybody to wait quite so long. Of course many people will get more than 65,000 miles on their brakes if they drive conservatively.
#5087 of 5330 Re: Toyota Highlander Electrical Short [phrosut]
May 17, 2011 (11:27 am)
Thanks for the suggestions. I checked the trailer hitch wiring at the back of the car and everything looked fine. I replaced the fuse for the trailer lights/blinkers and the problem went away.
Now I have another issue. The VSC, oil temperature and traction control lights on the dash panel are all light up. Car seems to be running fine. Any suggestions as to why this would be happening and how I can fix it. Manual says any time one of the lights comes on to take it to the dealer but I refuse to get hosed on a repair.