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definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
24,367 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 exhaust system problems

exhaust system problem

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2002 Toyota Highlander Owner Comments

problem #3

Aug 012004


  • 43,100 miles


My 2002 Toyota Highlander's check engine light seems to come on every 10,000 miles. This has been happening since 2004, at about 43000 miles, when I first took it to a local dealer mechanic. It is now 2009, 111000 miles later, and again the check engine light comes on queue. Originally, the dealer mechanics told me they had corrected it prior to my warranty expiring. When my warranty expired, they told me that I needed to get an overhaul on my catalytic/exhaust system, which was quoted to cost about $5000 to fix! I believe my car was worth no more than $7000 at the time. An independent mechanic told me that there was nothing wrong with my catalytic system and that there may be a problem with the detection system. I've been shown how to reset the check engine light by the Toyota dealer personnel, I suspect, because it is happening to other Highlander owners. I am bringing this issue up now because it seems like a recall should have been issued years ago. I hope someone from Toyota will recognize and fix this issue.

- Aliso Viejo, CA, USA

problem #2

Jun 012003

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles
Shortly after the second oil change, 10000 miles the exhaust system started making noise. It started as a loud sound from the muffler and now has become a rattling sound and loud exhaust noise. The banging/rattling sound is worst during left hand turns. Dealer stated we damaged the exhaust pipe and the brackets needed repair $175. The mechanic was unable to show me any physical damage to the exhaust system. I noticed the new Highlanders have a different and smaller muffler which does not bang into adjacent parts. I wonder if I am not the only one with this problem.

- Ronkonkoma, NY, USA

problem #1

Nov 172003

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 20,000 miles
Black smoke came out of the exhaust pipe, and vehicle consumed excessive oil. Dealership wanted to replace the valve seal and piston O-ring S, but the parts were on back order. Vehicle is at the dealership for repairs and consumer was asked to use a rental car since vehicle's parts for repair where not available at that time. Consumer received a call from dealer that vehicle was ready top be picked up. When consumer picked up the vehicle, he noticed that vehicle is once again smoking and experienced hesitation. Took vehicle to dealership and replaced the timing belt which caused the hesitation. However, the problem with the smoke coming out and occasional hesitation still exist.

- Frederiksted, VI, USA

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