Last post on Jan 22, 2013 at 8:47 PM
You are in the Toyota Highlander Hybrid
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Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Electrical, SUV
#10 of 111 2007 Highlander Failure
Dec 10, 2006 (9:07 am)
Has anyone experienced a total running failure in their HH? I have had two, very dangerous, engine failures due to fuse link failure, twice within 13 days and after being replaced once. I lost all power in the vehicle at 70 mph on Interstate 95 North near Savannah, GA and was lucky to be in the outside lane near the shoulder. There was a popping sound and then my car lost complete power, steering and braking. It had to be towed to the nearest Toyota dealer for repair. The dash display messages were: Check Hybrid System. Check VSC system The car would not restart. I have reported this to Toyota Motor Sales, Inc., Torrance, CA and the National Transportation and Safety Board. This type system failures presents a great potential for injury or loss of life.
#11 of 111 Re: 2007 Highlander Failure [jtroesch]
Dec 10, 2006 (9:24 am)
We have not and hope never will.
Can you please clarify loss of steering and brakes? You can still steer and brake, just that they require physical effort, true?
Thanks for warning us here.
To our hosts,
This important post by jtroesch ought to be in a whole new topic "board"??? It is catastrophic failure, not just a simple electrical failure. Elevating jtroesch's post will warn other HH owners.
#12 of 111 Re: 2007 Highlander Failure [cdptrap]
Dec 19, 2006 (12:38 pm)
Sorry it took me so long to reply. Things have been hectic. We have the car home from the selling dealer's service department. They had to replace a part called "invert er" it is a computer mother board and hardware that converts DC to Ac and AC back to DC to replenish the batteries. We have not drove the car since bringing it home. We are still unsure that it won't do it again with injury or loss of life potential. We have wrote to Toyota Customer Experience, Torrance, CA and received no reply. We wrote the National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration and only received acknowledgment of our report. Lastly we wrote the owner of the selling dealership and still await his reply. I have heard from two different service departments that the hybrid has experienced similar failures. Guess those owners are not reporting it. You could, with great effort, steer the vehicle from the road way and let it roll to a stop. Once the hybrid quits there is no power.
#13 of 111 Re: 2007 Highlander Failure [jtroesch]
Dec 19, 2006 (3:10 pm)
There is a good possibility that they have fixed the original problem and the vehicle is safe to drive. You might try it for short trips for shopping and see how it performs. In CA you need three failures of the same type, or 30 days out of service, to invoke the lemon laws.
#14 of 111 Re: 2007 Highlander Failure [jtroesch]
Dec 19, 2006 (4:23 pm)
Thanks for updating us. Sorry about what happened and I can appreciate why you are reluctant to use it now. If other owners are experiencing this problem, I sure hope it shows up soon on NHSTA's database so everyone knows about it.
I really hope it all works out for your family. Stay safe!
We happen to run solar power for our house so we are initimately aquainted with Inverters. The good news is they can be reliable day in and day out in very cold and very hot temperature. When well constructed, they may lose efficiency in high temperature but they won't die. On the downside, they do rely on modern electronics so if one part goes, the Inverter will shut down to cut off power and that is that.
#15 of 111 Highlander Failure
Dec 20, 2006 (4:33 am)
Thanks to all for your support and comments. We are currently in contact with Toyota Motor Sales, Inc. and will go through a process of third party arbitration. Even fixed I do not think we will ever feel truly safe driving the car. Will post the results of the process when completed. Again thanks.
#16 of 111 Re: Highlander Failure [jtroesch]
Dec 27, 2006 (3:05 pm)
I have just recently had an electrical failure on our less than 5k miles HH. It hasn't died while driving yet, but will sporatically fail to start for up to 15 minutes while dinking around with it. It comes up with Check VSC and 'shift to P for starting' when it is already there. Took it into the dealer and no problem found. After failing again along with some interesting flashing gauges, I took it in again and it failed for them. They think it MIGHT be a failed battery....not too confident on that one. Lossing confidense. Any ideas?
#17 of 111 Re: Highlander Failure [beprice]
Dec 27, 2006 (7:36 pm)
If the error messages, "Check VSC" and "Shift to P..." are correct, not sure why that would be a battery problem. Then again, I am no mechanic, so this is all just a guess.
I have an OBD II reader that I use to read error codes from our cars. All cars made after 1995 (?) must have an OBD II compatible plug. The reader tells us about problems with the engines, transmission, emission, various valves, filters and so on. I have not tried it on our HH but that may be a good tool to get. It costs around $125 or so.
There is also a nationwide company called "AutoZone" that will do this for you free. If you have one of these stores in your area and it offers this free service, you can certainly bring the car in for them to pull out the actual error code. Just make sure they DO NOT reset the code, only scan the code for you. Then you can take it to the dealer armed with a bit more information. Just know that the dealer has a more expensive (~$5000) reader that can get more detail information (freeze frame) from the car. So it is very likely the dealer will have more details and the diagnosis may differ from what the original error code may indicate.
Other than the idea above, not sure what else to do. Our HH has 24,000 miles now and still runs well and smooth.
Hope yours turn out OK.
#18 of 111 Re: Highlander Failure [cdptrap]
Dec 28, 2006 (4:52 am)
To beprice and cdptrap:
We were able to have the dealer replace our HH with a non-hybrid Highlander. I refused to take any chances with the car, even after repair. Losing power on the interstate is very scary. I am sure they will resell the HH as a almost new used car. But my wife is more important to me then a financial loss on a car. The technology may be great but our experience gives me a great distrust of hybrids. Each person must decide for themselves what is the right thing to do. I would encourage you to report the experience to Toyota Customer Experience (the toll free number is in your owners manual) and the to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(their number and website are also in the owners manual). For future arbitration if required make complete notes of the repairs and who you talked to about the failure(s).
#19 of 111 Re: Highlander Failure [jtroesch]
Dec 29, 2006 (9:24 am)
Really glad to hear you got it resolved! Hope the new Highlander serves you well.
Beprice and jtroesch's case reminds me of what happened to the Prius in '04 and '05. About 12? (last I checked in 6/05) owners reported their Prius simply cut off all power while driving. All were able to roll to a stop on the side of the road. Some would start again and some would not. There were reports of "flashing" gauges as well and dealers being puzzled by what was happening. NHTSA looked into this as well. Toyota at the time issued a recall blaming the on-board software. Have not heard of similar complaints since. I wonder if this bug has surfaced in some of the HH.
We will just continue driving in the slow lane just in case. Since getting this car, we have been driving around 60-65 in the slow lane most of the time. Just a more relaxing way to drive and we get good mileage too. After learning of your experience, it now appears to be safer too in case that software or hardware bug bites on a freeway.
Enjoy your spanking new Highlander and have a safe New year all!