Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

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definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
45,665 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2001 Toyota Highlander engine problems

engine problem

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2001 Toyota Highlander Owner Comments

problem #6

Apr 182010

Highlander 4WD 6-cyl

  • 20,000 miles


2001 Toyota Highlander purchased new. About once a year it accelerates on its own. Reported problem to Toyota dealer in 2002 or 2003 - have receipt. We can stop the car with firm pressure on the brake. In most cases when we put the transmission into park the engine continued to race at high RPM. I can't remember all incidents, but believe that in some cases was able to slow the engine down by keeping my foot on the brake and putting the car back into drive. Other times I turned off the ignition. When I restart the car it is fine. Most recent occurrence was Sunday 4/18/2010 in parking lot of a&P on South avenue in clark or westfield, NJ. My wife was in the car with me. I had been driving the car for about an hour. The last half hour was on the garden state parkway at 55+ miles per hour. Was off the parkway for less than 5 minutes when I made left turn into a&P parking lot and another left in the parking lot. Driving less than 15 miles per hour. Then was almost stopped as I was about to turn left into parking space. Noticed the engine RPM seemed a little higher than normal and I became more cautious and made sure my foot was firmly on the brake pedal. The engine RPM began to increase rapidly. I pressed on the brake pedal as hard as possible and was able to keep the car from moving forward, but the engine would not stop racing. I put the transmission in park and the engine continued to race at full throttle. I turned off the ignition and the engine stopped. Restarted the car after a minute and it was fine. Don't believe I was pressing on the gas at the same time as the brake because the two pedals are far enough apart that to do so my foot could only be halfway on the brake pedal. In that case when I press hard my ankle starts to twist. I am sure my foot was centered on the brake in this incident because I had time to prepare and it felt firmly in the center. I don't think the gas pedal was stuck because I had been driving very slowly immediately before the incident.

- Fanwood, NJ, USA

problem #5

Jul 142009


  • 139,723 miles
This is not a safety complaint. It is an attempt to get Toyota motor to admit a defect in many of their engines. Oil and coolant leaking from the engine of my 2001 Highlander. I was told by Toyota service that they found 3 stripped head bolts which cause the leak and it ended up costing me $3,500 to repair the head and block. No guarantee that the bolts would not skip out again. I have read a growing number of complaints from Toyota owners who have faced the same problem and Toyota refuses to help or admit that this maybe a engine flaw.

- Granada Hills, CA, USA

problem #4

Mar 122005

Highlander 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 42,269 miles
Oxygen sensor failed (caused check engine light to go on), within 24 hours of having it replaced check engine light went on again and a second oxygen sensor had failed, which also had to be replaced. Check engine light is on again.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #3

Aug 242004

Highlander 4WD 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


While driving at 60 mph. Suddenly the vehicle slowed down the speed, at the same consumer heard a noise coming from the engine. As a result, engine caught on fire. Vehicle was towed to the dealership, and mechanic determined the need to install a new engine. However, warranty expired.

- Randallstown, MD, USA

problem #2

Oct 142003

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
My 2001 Toyota Highlander is burning approximately 1.5 quarts of oil every 3,000 miles. Toyota usa says that the allowable limit is 1 quart every 1,000 miles and will not look at my vehicle even though it is still under warranty.

- Coto De Caza, CA, USA

problem #1

Oct 132003

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,000 miles
Oil sledging problem in my 2001 Toyota Highlander. I am concerned that Toyota's csp policy will not go far enough to rectify this problem. The dealership and Toyota's customer service line both blame faulty maintenance for this issue, but the oil was changed every 7500 miles as indicated in the owner's manual. Toyota's csp will only repair the issue once in 8 years, and neither will address what will happen should this arise again. The dealer maintained this was our fault until we presented receipts to show the vehicle had been maintained appropriately. It was at this time that the dealer suggested that it was possible the mechanics that changed our oil never actually changed it. Based on the numerous complaints and forums I monitored online, I feel this is Toyota's attempt to avoid taking responsibility for a larger problem. I also own a Lexus GS300, and the oil was changed at the same time as the Highlander and I do not have any issues with it.

- Tampa, FL, USA

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