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:
59,527 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.

2005 Toyota Highlander electrical problems

electrical problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2005 Toyota Highlander:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2005 Toyota Highlander Owner Comments

problem #18

Jun 292015


  • 79,000 miles


When I started my car I noticed the ABS, brake, tire, trac off&vsc lites were all lit. I couldn't get a diagnosis from mechanic.these lights continue to stay lit. I don't know if it is safe. I have read at least a hundred of the same complaint on blogs.

- Stoneham, MA, USA

problem #17

Jul 012015

Highlander 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 134,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Highlander. After the vehicle was started, the ABS, traction control off, vsc, tire pressure, and emergency brake warning lights illuminated. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where the technician was not able to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 134,000....updated 09/28/15 the consumer stated the vehicle would lose steering control as if the vehicle was going to lose power. The consumer stated it would happen on an intermittent basis. Updated 10/06/15

- Pooler, GA, USA

problem #16

Oct 132014


  • 50,000 miles
Air conditioner, can be on the coldest seating and then turn extremely hot. Seems like when a bump is hit, it effects when this happens.

- Jamestown, RI, USA

problem #15

Mar 192015

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 192,868 miles


Driving down the freeway the rear passenger wheel locked up. Had to cut across two lanes of traffic to the side. The wheel still totally locked when it had to be dragged onto a flat bed. Luckily there was no injuries. Still not 100% sure or what's wrong but guessing it has something to do with the traction/ABS control system. They really should look into a recall because this seems to be a common issue.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #14

Dec 122011

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
This problem was for the heating and a\C. this website tells of the problem in the manufacture of the vehicle: the way Toyota made the wiring (too short for the dial) was faulty in that, after repeated use (who doesn't use their heating and A/C regularly?) the wires would break off causing a short. Whenever we drive over a bump in the road, the A/C shifts to heat or the heat shifts to A/C. we used to remove the cover of the knob and tighten the hex nut there, but now that doesn't work. This is especially worrisome in the winter when the defrost shifts to A/C and the front window starts to "fog" up. This makes for extremely dangerous driving and inhibits your ability to see clearly and navigate the roads. This should be considered a design flaw by Toyota and should be recalled. Please note, on the website mentioned above -- there are many more year models (2001, 2004 were also mentioned) that are affected by this. Thank you!

- Williamsburg, VA, USA

problem #13

Sep 032012

Highlander 6-cyl

  • miles
For a few days the driver side door lock hesitated opening with remote key access. After a few days, it would not unlock at all. The key does not unlock the door either. I must enter on the passenger side to unlock driver side door.

- Mableton, GA, USA

problem #12

Sep 082011

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 72,000 miles


Car loss control due to electrical power is gone. Car loss speed at 45mph and has to pull over and stop. Diagnosis latter found battery is good, but alternator is bad. In my case, battery was replaced 2 years ago.

- Cupertino, CA, USA

problem #11

Mar 152010


  • 57,770 miles
Heater/ac functions intermittently then fails completely. Well know problem where placement of ribbon cable to potentiometer breaks loose, partially (intermittent failure), then completely (total failure). Quoted cost at any dealership $900-$1,000. I did repair myself in one hour for a cost of $10. Quick search on the web uncovered many many of same incident and, fortunately, detailed repair instructions.

- Rye Brook, NY, USA

problem #10

Nov 062010


  • 55,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Highlander hybrid. The contact stated that while driving approximately 25 mph, the inverter stalled. All the warning lights illuminated after the failure. The vehicle was able to be restarted but it would not move. The vehicle was towed where the contact was informed that the inverter had failed. The vehicle was repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 55,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Holland, PA, USA

problem #9

Jul 172010

Highlander 4-cyl

  • 78,850 miles
Toyota Highlander 2005 - 4 cyl driving in the rain, over puddles of water that create a splash up to about 3/4 the height of the tire (passenger side), will cause the discharge warning light to come on and cause loss of power steering (hard to turn). Suddenly, the warning light will go off and power steering will return. This is my wife's vehicle and I just noticed this issue recently while driving in heavy rain. The fault is repeatable as I noticed it for a second time today, and I managed to have it repeat the failure every time. This failure can cause a serious accident. In a rainstorm it will be typical to create a splash when turning into another street, as it is common for water to pond at the turn. Loss of power steering will cause the driver to turn the wheel harder, and when the power steering returns, then the vehicle will likely oversteer and spin out or hit anything on the direction that it is oversteered into. This incident actually occurred in two separate occasions when I was turning in the rain. The first was inadvertent and at a higher speed since it was the first time that happened when I was driving (a few weeks ago). The second time occurred today. After the incident I tried to recreate the failure, this time since I was expecting it, I did so more slowly but with the same result that will likely cause an accident. I have not taken the vehicle to the vehicle yet since I have just noticed the problem. However, we have and have had a significant amount of vehicles of different makes, and none have had this problem with splashing water causing what is probably a short and loss of power steering. After driving into the garage, I open the hood and look from the top, from the top everything seems to be dry. The other vehicles have been driven through larger splashes, without this problem.

- Sugar Land, TX, USA

problem #8

Apr 012009


  • 34,000 miles


Heater runs erratically--blowing fine and then switching to cold air and then if I "jiggle" the control can get heat again. Had the dealer repair in fall of 2009 (about $95), but it has started acting up again.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #7

May 012010


  • 56,000 miles
2005 Toyota Highlander. Erratic temperature control from heater. When set on cool will suddenly blow hot air and vice versa. On-line complaints indicate this is a common problem resulting from defective control unit in this and other Toyota vehicles over several years. The control know comes loose and then the wiring behind it breaks from the circuit board resulting in erratic air temperatures. I also have concern that this electrical failure could cause other electrical shorts or problems. Dealer recommends replacement of entire control unit at prices ranging from $500 to $1500. On-line consumers report fix only requires resoldering the 3-wire contacts at a cost of a few dollars. It is obvious Toyota knows about this issue and the relatively easy fix documented with pictures on-line but continues to deny that it is their problem. It is a manufacturing defect that should have been dealt with several years ago, but charging owners huge fees for replacing a simple component seems to be what Toyota feels is the appropriate solution.

- Brewer, ME, USA

problem #6

Feb 052010

Highlander 4WD

  • 60,000 miles
I wish to report a safety defect on my 2005 Toyota Highlander. When traveling at speeds above about 35 mph I cannot hear the turn signal clicker. I am 69 years old, but do not have any significant hearing loss. Not being able to hear the clicker sometimes causes me to leave the turn signal on when it should be off. Although I have not had any accidents due to this problem, it could cause other drivers to make hazardous decisions. For example, if I had my right turn signal on by mistake someone waiting to make a right turn onto the roadway could be thinking I was about to make a right turn off the road. I've contacted Toyota about changing to a louder flasher, but they do not have one. They were not able to help me at all. Yes, the turn signal indicator lights work on the dash, but they are not in my field of view when I'm looking at the road and looking at them is an unnecessary distraction. I think audible turn signal indicators should be on all cars and the sound level should be adequate for all drivers who can hear. Preferably the sound level would be manually adjustable or automatically adjustable according to the car speed.

- Los Altos, CA, USA

problem #5

Nov 102008


  • 31,000 miles
Toyota Highlander 2005 4cyl. The heater control will only blow extremely hot air that makes the vents almost to hot to even touch. No events led up to this problem, though in researching online forums, other Toyota Highlander owners are having the same defect. I took it to my local Toyota dealer and the service associate acknowledged this is a problem with this vehicle. The cost to repair is $899. This is excessive for a heater on a vehicle a little over three years old and a little over 30,000 miles. It appears this is a defective design and the wires are not welded properly. The center nut below the heater control knob loosens over time and the wires then break free from the contacts.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #4

Jun 152008


  • 40,000 miles
Toyota Highlander, 2005 yr, defective ribbon electrical cable between heat/air control on dash and computer in car. Heat on, hit a bump in the road and air conditioning comes on full blast or the reverse in the summer. Other reports on internet indicate same problem with 2001 & 2002 year vehicles. Comments are the electrical cable become hard and brittle with age and breaks or cross connects causing problem. Dealer cost is $600 - $900 to correct -- replace whole unit -- although one comment is that new wire can be soldered. It is my opinion that consumers should not have to bear the cost of a manufacturer's defective part.

- Marietta, GA, USA

problem #3

May 062008

Highlander 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Highlander. While driving approximately 60 mph, the "low tire pressure" warning light illuminated on the instrument panel. The indicator remained illuminated until the mechanism was turned off. The failure occurred whenever the vehicle was driven on the highway. The contact pulled over to the side of the road and observed that the tire pressure was not low in any of the four tires. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer for diagnostic testing, but they could not determine the cause of the failure. The failure occurred on six separate occasions. Recently, the vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer and they stated that the failure was related to the computerized system. The estimated repair cost would be $2,414.60. The vehicle has not been repaired. The failure mileage was 21,000 and current mileage was 23,000. Updated 10/16/08. Updated 10/17/08.

- Locross, WI, USA

problem #2

Jan 212007

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
- the contact owns a 2005 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated that the door locks on the vehicle did not lock when the vehicle is placed into gear. The only way that the doors lock was by manually locking them or pushing the power lock button. Once the doors were locked they could not be opened by the pull of the door handle only by the power lock switch or manually. The contact was told by the dealer that it was only a programming issue and that they would program it for him, but he later found out that the vehicle did not have a door lock program feature. Updated 2/22/2007 -

- Surfside, SC, USA

problem #1

Jan 062006

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5 miles
: the contact stated since purchase of the vehicle the dashboard panel was black during the day. Shining a flash light on the dash is the only way the dashboard gauges can be seen. The gauges are not digital. The dealership determined the dashboard panel was not able to be read but this is how the vehicle was made. The dashboard worked properly at night. Updated 01/25/06.

- Greenwood, AR, USA

Not what you are looking for?