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10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
16,587 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.

2004 Toyota Highlander transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Toyota Highlander Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #26

May 012005

Highlander 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

At apprx. 13000 miles on a 2004 Toyota Highlander, noticed increasingly rough shifting from the automatic transmission. Vehicle often hesitates when shifting, then surges into next gear, causing unpredictable ride. Throughout the gears, vehicle seems to be hunting for gears, upshifting & downshifting at odd times, causing a rough, unpredictable ride. Took it back to the dealer and they 'recalibrated' the tranmission, however, this didn't seem to rectify the problem.

- Spring City, PA, USA

problem #25

May 012005

Highlander 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,000 miles
At 12 months and 13,000 miles, noticed 2004 Toyota Highlander to have transmission problems. During shifting, transmission often hesitates and then suddenly surges into next gear, causing inability to predict vehicle performance. Throughout driving, transmission feels like its hunting for gears, frequently shifting at odd times, causing a rough, unpredictable ride.

- Spring City, PA, USA

problem #24

May 132005

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200 miles
I own a 2004 Highlander limited, V6, 5-speed automatic. When decelerating and then accelerating, there is a 1 to 2 second hesitation before the car moves again. This happens every time. This inaction by the vehicle is a safety hazard, especially when merging onto a fast-moving freeway. Note: This hesitation does not occur if you come to a complete stop. I did a web search to see if anyone else experienced the same problem, and I found a lot of complaints (you need to add "web search" to your "source" list below). So it's not just my vehicle. This design fault is evident on all Toyota with the 3.3 liter, 5-speed automatic. Evidently the Lexus ES330 and RX330 have the same problem. I also have a friend with a 2004 sienna that has the same problem. When I took my car into the Toyota dealership to complain, they said it was the electronically-controlled transmission, and that "it was designed that way." I asked about reprogramming the flash memory of the controller involved and they said there was no updated software, there was nothing they could do. So, I guess it's up to you to get Toyota to do something. I see here on your site, that there have been a lot of other similar complaints. This is a repeatable, measurable system fault. Just take a Toyota Highlander with a V6 out for a drive. Then slow down a bit, then accelerate as you would normally. The car will hesitate. Every time. Now do this while you're merging onto a fast-moving freeway. When it hesitates, you'll do an "oh, ?!@#$%" and accelerate harder, at which point the transmission will hesitate slightly again, then shift down. The engine will rev up and you'll roar out onto the freeway like an idiot. Please. Do something about this before someone gets hurt, if it hasn't happened already.

- Hollister, CA, USA

problem #23

Oct 202004

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,554 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Safety concern with 2004 Toyota Highlander transmission. The consumer stated that the vehicle shifts in a hesitation mode then surges. The vehicle takes a long time to shift from first to second gear.

- Aurora, IL, USA

problem #22

Dec 102004

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,000 miles
Power steering and brakes failed while driving the 2004 Toyota Highlander. I have previously filed a complaint here and with Toyota about the car cutting out between 20 and 30 mph which is dangerous in traffic. The hesitation is more prevalent now with 10,000 miles on the vehicle even though at 700 miles it was infuriating not knowing if you were safe trying to merge into traffic or make a left turn. I don't understand how this company can sell unsafe cars and be allowed to cheat the people who paid for them. When the power steering and brakes failed the car had to be towed of course. How long before someone holds Toyota responsible for these problems" how do individuals fight large foreign companies? isn't it this Agency's job to make sure american consumers are safe and treated fairly"

- Greenville, MS, USA

problem #21

Jan 312005

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22 miles
I own a 2004 Toyota Highlander limited V6 AWD. The car has extremely dangerious performance characteristics which will be the cause of many accidents. There is an unexpected and varying degree of lag in acceleration when trying to acclerate to merge on highways or to make turns across oncoming traffic. This is a severe and dangerous problem which will lead to loss of life. The dealer says it is "just a characteristic of the car" and nothing can be done. This kind of "characteristic" is too dangerous to just accept that nothing can be done. This is an unacceptable and dangerous problem!

- Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #20

Aug 102004

Highlander 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

My 2004 Toyota Highlander makes a terrible humming / moaning sound on acceleration that resonates within the vehicles and disturbs the driver. The problem typically occurs during speeding up from 0 mph. It is terribly frustrating that a brand new car makes such a annoying sound. It is also hesitates a lot during 20-40 mph speed range. The vehicle does not respond as it supposed to on acceleration and that too specially while driving within the city. On cantacting the dealer and Toyota's national customer service thay said it is designed to be like that and the hesitation is a by-product of computer controlled automatic transmission. Currently there is no fix for this. Am terribly frustrated now and promise to never buy any vehicle from Toyota in future. I would also make sure that my friends and relatives does not go near a Toyota dealer. I am desperate in getting rid of this vehicle.

- Brandon, FL, USA

problem #19

Aug 102004

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,100 miles
When attempting to accelerate to merge with faster moving traffic there is a significant hesitation. I've nearly been hit several times because I just couldn't get up to speed in time. This is a 2004 Toyota Highlander, V6 AWD. I contacted the manufacturer with no results.

- Orangevale, CA, USA

problem #18

Apr 302004

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I have a 2004 Toyota Highlander, V6, fwd. The transmission seems to downshift somewhat unexpectedly, but worse, when I need to accelerate quickly such as merging in to traffic on and interstate highway, there is a hesitation or lag before the vehicle starts to accelerate. This problem started when we purchased the vehicle in April and happens on a continuing basis.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #17

Oct 232004

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,800 miles
Our new 2004 Toyota Highlander has hesitation problem when driving around 10-30 miles per hour. This is a very serious safety issue since there are a lot of situations that even a second hesitation can lead to accident, such as making a quick left turn in a busy intersection to avoid on coming cars. Here is how to reproduce the problem: Drive the car over 25 miles per hour, then gradually slow it down to about 20 miles per hour. Press down the gas paddle very briefly, regardless how hard the paddle is hit, the car will not response.

- Woodridge, IL, USA

problem #16

Jun 152004

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

2004 Toyota Highlander hesitates on acceleration as when trying to merge into traffic. There is no way to determine when this hesitation will occur making it very dangerous because there is no way to judge when it is safe to merge or when someone might rear end you.

- Greenville, MS, USA

problem #15

Oct 012004

Highlander 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Press the gas pedal and nothing happens leaving you stuck in traffic. Transmission and or gas kick in 2 seconds later.

- Garden Grove, CA, USA

problem #14

Oct 112004

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Car lags when shifing whn cold. Toyota claims this is 'normal"

- Wilton, CT, USA

problem #13

Jun 062004

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 600 miles
Hesitation upon acceleration. Happens each time air conditioner is on...not just an isolated case.

- Belleville, IL, USA

problem #12

Aug 152004

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,000 miles
I purchased a Toyota Highlander in March 2004, largely on the merits of Toyota's safety record and user reviews of driveability. Within the first few weeks of driving, I started to notice that there was a hesitation in the throttle upon acceleration at low speeds...as if the car had to "think about it" before deciding to respond. Took it in to dealer who found "nothing wrong"...needed break-in period, he said. Problem continued and resulted in at least two occurrences that caused concern: One making left hand turn in oncoming traffic and one attempting to merge onto highway. Hesitation was pronounced enough to cause moment of panic...kids in car etc. Took to another dealer who had explanation of use of drive-by-wire throttle technology used in fighter planes, said that Toyota knew of issue but there was no way for them to calibrate. I then went to internet to see if could validate and found numerous others with same problem. I am filing complaint in hopes that Toyota will press solution to avoid the inevitable accident.

- Greer, SC, USA

problem #11

Aug 122004

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 900 miles
I have a 2004 Toyota Highlander limited V6 4WD. I was merging on a highway entrance ramp slowing down to time the traffic when I saw a gap to merge. I pressed on the gas and the Highlander hesitated and would not accelerate. I keep pumping on the gas and the hl would not accelerate, luckly for me the truck pulling a trailer that I was merging infront of moved to the next lane in time or he would have plowed me into a concrete bridge abutment.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #10

Sep 302004

Highlander 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 172 miles
Toyota 2004 Highlander purchased new on 7/1/04 has transmission surging and drivetrain "clunk" when downshifting from 3rd to 2nd gear. Dealer has replaced transmission to no avail and claims it is part of "fly-by-wire" desing by manufacturer.

- Alsio Viejo, CA, USA

problem #9

Sep 282004

Highlander 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The vehicle has a constant minor hesitation and surging behavior in acceleration and deceleration situations. I don't know if it could be a true 'hazard' but it is quite annoying.

- Cape Girardeau, MO, USA

problem #8

Sep 182004

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Our 2004 Toyota Highlander has consistent acceleration "delays" that not only make the vehicle a chore to drive but at times can be dangerous ex. Merging with moving traffic.

- Ellicott City, MD, USA

problem #7

Jun 032004

Highlander

  • Automatic transmission
  • 500 miles
2004 Toyota Highlander hesitates on acceleration making driving in traffic extremely hazardous. It is impossible to merge into traffic and adds more risk to being rear ended. Toyota acknowledges the problem but has no fix. After several attempts to have it repaired I was told there isn't a way to repair it, yet the dealer refuses to refund the cost of a 4 month old car with 5000 miles on it.

- Greenville, MS, USA

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