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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
21,078 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2005 Toyota Highlander Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #7

Feb 202006

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


Multiple times, I have tried to accelerate the vehicle and there has been "hesitation" when I depressed the gas pedal--the car seemed to be in neutral, there was no response. This has happened many times at different speeds/gears--it is not predictable. I have almost been rear ended once; in that instance the car actually "bucked" and stopped. I had to turn off the engine, restart, and drive a short distance to a safe place to stop. At other times, I have been on a relatively empty street and it has not been as much of a problem since no one was behind me. However, this is an accident waiting to happen as I have a long commute to work (and bought this car because of what I thought was its safety and reliability). On my first visit to the dealer, Toyota made a fix according to a technical bulletin. On the second visit, they did nothing because they could not replicate the problem--even though they were told that the problem happens intermittently. On this second visit, they merely test drove the vehicle and we were told we could rent a loaner vehicle from them at their cost because there was no problem with the vehicle.

- Wenonah, NJ, USA

problem #6

Dec 012005

Highlander 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles
Recurring issue: While traveling at both highway and city street speeds, the driver attempted to pass by fully depressing the accelerator and the vehicle failed to accelerate for approximately 1-2 seconds. This has resulted in near-miss accident/injury incidents. The dealer was contacted and stated this was a routine complaint for this vehicle and the Lexus rx-330. The manufacturer, Toyota corporate, was contacted and the individual stated this was not a known issue. No mediation was provided from either contact. This issue seems to be related to existing ODI id numbers: 10113278, 10114325, 10115243, 10120592, 10128880, 10129705, 10131894, 10132578, 10137651, 10145021.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #5

Dec 112005

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1 miles
Car is a 2005 Toyota Highlander ltd. V-6 4WD with 5-sp auto. Engine hesitates severely when asked to accelerate hard at speeds seemingly between 15 and 70 mph. (these are speeds I've noticed it) when you "floor" the throttle to quicky merge with traffic or turn across a line of oncoming traffic, there is a rather long delay before vehicle begins to accelerate. This behavior also occurs exactly the same way in my wife's 2004 Lexus rx-330, which has the same powertrain. I complained to Lexus shortly after the purchase (bought new) and they said they found nothing wrong. I've been on several Toyota Highlander newsgroups and this problem is being widely reported. I have had several "close calls" because of this delayed acceleration. In the time that the car decides to downshift and accelerate, traffic has closed in on you enough that several accidents have been narrowly avoided. I have not reported this to Toyota as yet, but feel that they will say the same as Lexus did.

- Bethlehem, PA, USA

problem #4

Oct 262005

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,000 miles


Automatic transmission hesitation - when needing to accelerate quickly (as when entering a freeway) after slowing down or coasting, the transmission has downshifted to a too-low gear or neutral. The engine speeds up to approximately 5000 RPM without increasing the car speed. Letting up on the gas and accelerating more easily allows the vehicle speed to increase. So far, this hesitation has not caused me to be rear-ended. The dealer says this operation is "normal."

- Frankfort, KY, USA

problem #3

Oct 152005

Highlander 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
On our 2005 Toyota Highlander with a 4 cylinder engine, and electronic transmission. On several occasions, when taking off from a stop, letting off on the accelerator, and immediately pushing the accelerator rather hard to attempt to merge into traffic, the vehicle's engine increases RPM's, but no power goes to the wheels. It is as if the transmission computer cannot determine what gear to shift into. You have to let off the accelerator, and let the RPM's come back down, and then the vehicle finally determines what gear to shift into, and you can then press down on the accelerator to regain forward momentum. When you are trying to merge into traffic, you need to know that when you step on the accelerator, the car is going to shift into the proper gear, and move forward accordingly. Very dangerous situation in my opinion. Toyota dealership said there is nothing wrong with the transmission. This loss of transmission acceleration has happened on numerous occasions, not just once.

- Sarasota, FL, USA

problem #2

May 052005

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Hesitation when accelerating. Complaint filed with dealer on 8/10/05. I was advised that this is normal. This is a constant condition and not safe.

- Round Rock, TX, USA

problem #1

Jul 062005

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
1-merging into traffic on interstate, and making a turn and merging inot traffic 2-engine hesitation for a few seconds, then vehicle responds with surge in speed. Cars coming behind me had to brake/change lanes to keep from hitting me. 3-I didn't try to have the problem fixed, because I undrstand that Toyota is saying this is normal, and not a porblem.

- Ellwood City, PA, USA

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