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.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
108,900 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.

2002 Toyota Highlander drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2002 Toyota Highlander Owner Comments

problem #6

Nov 012013

Highlander 4-cyl

  • 122,000 miles


Transmission jumps in 3rd gear, dealer said must replace.

- Niles, MI, USA

problem #5

Sep 052013


  • 83,400 miles
I placed car into reverse to back out of parking spot. When I shifted into drive, the car remained stuck in reverse. The shift linkage was no longer functioning. I backed the car into a parking spot in the corner of the parking lot. When I stopped the engine I could no longer start the engine as it was stuck in reverse. I called a tow truck. The tow truck driver was able to place the tranmission into neutral (using a wrench on the transmission) enabling the car to be pushed forward. The car was then placed on the tow truck and towed to the dealer. The cable and shift mechanism required replacement.

- Grayslake, IL, USA

problem #4

Jul 312013

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 184,000 miles
Took off and pulled into traffic when the transmission quit working. Tried again and it worked. Dangerous.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #3

Mar 212013

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 165,000 miles


Pulled out of work parking lot onto major highway and heard loud clunk from engine area. Car stopped moving forward so I pulled off to side. Put car in park and engine was still running. Put car into drive and nothing happened. Put car in reverse and nothing happened. Loud metal grinding noise coming from engine compartment. Transmission shop said common problem with these transmissions. Cost to rebuild: $4,155.

- Salt Lake City, UT, USA

problem #2

Jul 102009


  • 99,000 miles
Awhile back in the summer of 2009, I notified you about my concern for safety in my 2002 Toyota Highlander. The car took off for no apparent reason accelerating to an unsafe speed. I was only able to stop by shifting to neutral and slamming on the brakes missing several cars. The feedback I got was the floor mat...which I told the dealer was bull. I believe the problem may be in the computer. I checked all the cables and throttle body cables including linkage. I had the whole fuel system cleaned inside and out including the throttle body. This seemed to temporary solve the problem. My concerns are 1. I think Toyota needs to look further back in years this has been a concern by goggling this problem. 2. when the problem(s) are identified you need the look at repairs where the parts may have been used. 3. I believe this problem may be caused by several factors. 2002 Toyota Highlander

- Rosemont, IL, USA

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problem #1

Nov 092002

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles
Exc. Vibration in frt. Axle assy. Vibration can only be felt or heard in vehicle cab at the following speeds 38-43, 53-55,61-65 and above. Sometimes at the lower speeds. This vehicle was purchased in commonwealth of P. R. and shipped to the U. S. during the ownership of this vehicle, I have never been able to get any of the dealers in P. R. or U. S. to repair it. Complained in P.R. and stated tires balanced. Always tires problems. Vibration in the steering and cab area. The noise, drive you nuts, hearing and feeling it in steering.when relocating to ill.,took to closes dealer, peoria Toyota. Several months wait for their computer system. Peoria Toyota work on the vehicle and stated tires bad. Tires replace and still problems. Replaced the tires. So, I replaced tires and found same vibration as before and curt baungart stated the was the characteristic of this vehicle, however the vehicle still vibrated in the front axle assemble and is getting worst with miles added. Toyota has a problem with this vehicle and refuses to honor their warranty. I filed two arbitration hearing on this vehicle and have filed the complaint with lisa madigan's office of the atty. Gen. They told me and I quote from their letter" because this file appears to fall within your jurisdiction, we are referring it to your Agency for your information and possible action. By copy of this letter, we are informing the complainant of this referral" end of quote. Letter dated August 22, 2006. Lisa madigan has all of the correspondences(all record and letters from arbitration, Toyota and etc.), that I have sent to them. It's been a long journey and I hope and pray someone will look into this problem. Safety is being over looked because of the statement from dealer and Toyota (veh. Within specification of Toyota. Is it right to trade a vehicle off, which has a problem? incident of failure is the date of purchase.

- Princeville, IL, USA

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