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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 3
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
102,405 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.

2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid electrical problems

electrical problem

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2008 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #24

May 132016

Highlander Hybrid

  • 150,000 miles


My car has the same problem as described here and in many places online and Toyota refused to include my vehicle for recall. The problem as described by NHTSA as follows report receipt date: Sep 04, 2013 NHTSA campaign number: 13V396000 component(s): Hybrid propulsion system all products associated with this recall expand details close 12 associated documents expand manufacturer: Toyota motor engineering & manufacturing summary: Toyota is recalling certain model year 2006-2010 Highlander hybrid vehicles manufactured February 16, 2005, through July 29, 2010; and model year 2006-2008 Lexus rx400H vehicles manufactured February 23, 2005, through December 2, 2008. The intelligent power module (ipm) inside the inverter module may contain transistors that have higher operating temperatures than the solder can support and the transistors may be heat damaged by the solder. If this occurs, various warning lamps, including the malfunction indicator lamp, slip indicator light, brake system warning light, and master warning light, will be illuminated on the instrument panel. Consequence: The vehicle may enter a fail-safe/limp-home mode that limits the drivability of the vehicle. It is possible that the hybrid system will shut down while the vehicle is being driven, causing the vehicle to stall unexpectedly, increasing the risk of a crash. Remedy:

- Santa Clara, CA, USA

problem #23

Jun 152016

Highlander Hybrid

  • 119,900 miles
On June 15th, 2016 while over 200 miles from home on a family trip with my pregnant wife and 2 year old son in the car driving down a 2 lane highway with a semi truck behind us at approximately 45 mph constant speed our 2008 Highlander hybrid brakes locked up, a warning tone sounded, several lights lit up on the dash including brakes, ABS, vsc, (((!))), and /!\, and the car stopped completely in the highway with the engine still running. The lcd displayed several alternating messages about the brakes, ABS, and vsc and also about needing to have the vehicle checked by a dealer. As our car was about to be smashed by a semi truck I pressed the gas pedal to the floor. The brakes were completely locked up, but fortunately the car inched forward at less than 5 mph with wide open/full throttle to pull off of the road before the semi truck could hit us from behind. The situation was terrifying. I have taken the vehicle to a dealer. They do not know the reason for the issue. They want $500 to trouble shoot and generate a repair estimate. It sounds like the ABS actuators are commonly $3,000. I have noted many similar problems on the NHTSA website for the 2008 Highlander hybrid and other Toyota hybrid vehicles in which the brakes, ABS, and vsc lights illuminate and braking issues occur.

- Olathe, KS, USA

problem #22

May 092016

Highlander Hybrid

  • 148,000 miles
Car dome light was left on and battery died. Battery was 3 years old so I replaced with new battery and car started and drove short distance. Couple of days later I attempted to start car but it would not start. Checked battery and it was good. While attempting to start car, I get messages about contacting dealer for the problem along with brake warning etc.

- Nutley, NJ, USA

problem #21

Jan 122015

Highlander Hybrid

  • 90,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Highlander hybrid. While driving approximately 45 mph, the vehicle stalled and the slip, brake, and master warning lights illuminated. The vehicle restarted after twenty five minutes. The failure recurred on the initial start up on two separate occasions. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, but they could not diagnose the cause of the failure. The mechanic was unable to duplicate or locate the failure. Recently, the vehicle was towed to the dealer for a second diagnostic. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 13V396000 (hybrid propulsion system). The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 90,000.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #20

Sep 062015

Highlander Hybrid

  • 108,000 miles
I purchased a new 2008 Highlander hybrid. Though I had no problems, in November 2013, the inverter was recalled at 79,000 miles, and replaced. We had no problems with the car for the next 22 months. On September 6, 2015, the car stalled and could not be restarted. We had the car towed 55 miles to the dealership. Investigation of the car over 2 days was unsuccessful in discovering the cause. On September 9, I asked if it was the inverter. I was told it was not. The service manager had contacted Toyota, who recommended taking apart the hybrid system to look for "a shorted wire". on Thursday, September 10, I was told that they found a wire, would but the system back together, and would take it for a test drive. On Friday, September 11, the car stalled and died on the third test drive. At this time, I was informed it was the inverter. The service manager agreed with me in feeling that since Toyota had taken out an inverter that was seemingly working fine, and replaced with one that failed in less than 2 years, that Toyota would "take care of me". on Tuesday, September 15, I was informed that the cost for the part was $8800, and that the "regional service/parts manager, " offered to pay half of the cost for replacement. I was not happy with this offer, as it still left me with a bill of several thousand dollars for a part that failed in less than 2 years after the recall. At this time, I have not accepted the offer. I was told to call customer service. I was informed that because the regional manager had made me an offer, there was nothing else she could do. My frustration is that Toyota recalled my vehicle for the inverter. And I believe a bad inverter was put it the car instead. This current inverter, that Toyota told me to put in the car, lasted approximately 29,000 miles and 22 months. This seems like a far cry from the expected life of an inverter.

- Englewood, CO, USA

problem #19

Dec 022014

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
The battery is in new condition. While I was making a call in my car for 20 minutes, the whole system shutdown, the 12V battery had to be jumped and recharged. Concerned this could happen while driving etc.

- Solvang, CA, USA

problem #18

Jul 132013

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 163,253 miles


We were accelerating under full power onto us 101 on the northbound on ramp from ca 41 when the vehicle lost all power, steering and air conditioning. Oncoming traffic was able to steer around us to avoid collision and we were able to steer to the side of the highway and roll to a stop on the next off ramp. Warning indicators on: Hybrid system, brakes, stability control, and return to Toyota dealer. Towed to dealer. The dealer determined with Toyota technical assistance that inverter assembly (G92A0-48100) failed and needed replacement. Vehicle is out of warranty due to milage. We were charged $8244.77 for a new inverter assembly plus installation. We were lucky to avoid an accident. This kind of failure is dangerous.

- Ridgecrest, CA, USA

problem #17

Aug 082013

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 136,000 miles
I accelerated from a stop sign to 45 mph. Just as I reached speed I heard a pop come from the forward engine bay and got all different warning lights in the display. Luckily the vehicle continued to roll and I was able to get out of immediate danger. The light said check brake system, check hybrid system, and check svs. I got vehicle towed to a Toyota dealership were it took them 3 days to tell me it was the hybrid inverter which costs around $8500. After some research I found there are many other people out there having the same issue, so I called Toyota corporate and filed a complaint.

- North Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #16

Jul 212013

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 123,000 miles
I entered a gas station and my car just stopped. It would not restart and was towed to northridge Toyota (northridge, ca) where I was informed the "inverter" failed, and only replacement by a Toyota service center may be made due to internal component high voltage parts, at a cost of $8,244 + labor in the amount of $660. I investigated on-line and discovered numerous complaints of the same "inverter failure". following up with Toyota motor corporation, I was informed they knew of the "inverter failures in the 06-07 models and issued a recall for those hybrid models affected by this component however no further recall has occurred to date. I feel lucky I wasn't in an intersection or a dangerous situation where complete power train failure can occur at any time with this failed Toyota component.

- West Hills, CA, USA

problem #15

Jul 232013

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 13,000 miles
While at the Toyota dealer for service, the dealer took the car for a test drive prior to the service and upon returning to the dealer lot the car died - no power. Dealer diagnosed as a bad inverter, ballpark repair cost is $9500. Besides being a serious safety issue, I cannot understand how a modern car can contain a critical component that costs $10K to replace that has no maintenance in the maintenance schedule or other diagnostics to alert the driver of pending catastrophic failure that may strand them in an extremely unsafe location (I.e. middle of the freeway). I hope that NHTSA investigates the 2008 Highlander hybrid inverter failures documented on this site and Toyota is held accountable for this serious safety hazard and extremely costly defect.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #14

Jul 072013

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 58,000 miles


We had just passed through a tollbooth on a freeway and were accelerating to merge with traffic when the car shuddered and slowed and steering became difficult. A number of warning lights came on telling us to stop driving the car immediately and to call the dealership. There were three warning lights which were something like: 'check hybrid system', 'check brakes' and 'check vsc'. we were close to the median and were luckily able to pull off into it and turned off the car. When we turned it back on the car would not move forward or backward and we had to have it towed home. We have since had it towed to the Toyota dealership and they have told us that we need a new inverter battery. We understand that Toyota has had problems with this part in the past for the 2006 and 2007 Toyota highlanders and wanted to report the problem because ours is a 2008 Toyota highlander.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #13

Jun 272013

Highlander Hybrid

  • 125,200 miles
My wife and daughter were driving on a busy highway when they heard a "pop" noise from the engine. The car stalled on the road. By the grace of god, they were able to drift to the side and did not have an accident. Next day, the dealer informed that the issue was with the hybrid system - the inversion part. The cost for repair would be $11,000! we live about an hour from our workplaces and thus put a good many miles on our car - the 125,000 miles on the car put the drivetrain out of warranty. We have had all recall services performed at the dealer, and kept regular maintenance. Not once were we advised by Toyota that the hybrid system was showing wear and may be in need of service. There was no indication (warning lights, etc.,) that the hybrid system needed attention - no fore warning at all prior to the incident. In doing research, we really got upset to find Toyota had recalled 06 and 07 models for the very same hybrid issue. We also noticed there are many people with complaints on the same issue in various online forums. To cap it off -- after the dealer told us the repair bill is $11,000, we were advised to discuss with a Toyota case manager. We did and their offer? $1,500 toward a new Toyota purchase. We were highly frustrated by this response. We feel they are well aware of the problem and should provide better warnings to users and better resolutions to the problem - and recall all effected hybrids!

- Belle Vernon, PA, USA

problem #12

Apr 012013

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 170,000 miles
Highlander hybrid lost complete power while traveling on highway at 65mph. Vehicle was towed to dealer and diagnosed as failure of the power inverter. Estimated cost to repair quoted as $9,140.

- East Orange, NJ, USA

problem #11

Apr 132013

Highlander Hybrid

  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Highlander hybrid. The contact stated that while traveling approximately 20 mph, the vehicle suddenly stalled. The vehicle was towed a dealer where it was found the electrical inverter had failed. The vehicle was being repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 150,000.

- Aptos, CA, USA

problem #10

Feb 142013

Highlander Hybrid

  • 120,000 miles
The car completely shut off when driving, without any warning! luckily, the driver was not rear- ended!! the car was towed to Toyota where we were told that the inverter needs to be replaced for $9000! the car is in otherwise great shape and has been serviced at Toyota regularly. The last check up was last month at 118,000 miles! this is exactly the same problem reported for the 2006 Toyota Highlander hybrid, which was recalled.

- Great Falls, VA, USA

problem #9

May 102012

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 154,000 miles
I was driving to queens NY and suddenly after paying hte tolls at the queens midtown tunnel the vehicle suddenly stalled. It was towede to queensboro Toyota where it was diagnosed as the power inverter had died and cost $8504.50 to have it replaced.

- Bronx , NY, USA

problem #8

Oct 262012

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 102,056 miles
My wife went to move the car and backed it up where it died. Car started rolling back the drive and stopped half on half off the drop off of our driveway. She had no steering and no brakes. I checked out the car and it said hybrid error call dealer. The car would not run. I had it towed to dealer and he called me to tell us the power inverter needs to replaced at the cost of $8,600. I understand Toyota had a problem with their 06 - 07 highlanders for the same issue. Nothing on a car should cost $8,600 to fix without being in a major car accident. We should have been told up front how much this would cost to fix in the event of failure. Luckily she wasn't on a highway when this happened.

- Elverson, PA, USA

problem #7

Dec 122011

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 32,000 miles
The contact owned a 2008 Toyota highlander. The contact stated that the driver smelled smoke while driving the vehicle. The driver then looked down near her knee and noticed that there was a fire coming from the fuse box. The driver pulled the vehicle into a parking lot and exited. The vehicle ignited into flames and was destroyed. The fire inspector stated that the fire originated from the fuse box. The vehicle was towed to a holding area for the manufacturer to examine. The cause of the fire was unknown. The manufacturer was notified and stated that the failure was not a manufacturer's defect. The failure mileage was 32,000. Updated 7/18/12 updated 07/25/12

- Grand Rapids , MI, USA

problem #6

Jun 012012

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 63,500 miles
While decelerating on an off-ramp, the vehicle began to vibrate and then stalled. I waited for a tow to the Toyota dealership and was informed about the inverter being bad about 5 days later.

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #5

May 302012

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 93,800 miles
While driving vehicle had a loud pop sound occurred while driving 40/mph. Within 2 seconds vehicle slowed to about 5/mph allowing just enough time to get to the bike lane before coming to a complete stop. No vehicles were on same side of road allowed to jump to bike lane. Toyota of kearny mesa (san diego, ca) ran diagnostic on vehicle to determine that the hybrid inverter deadĚ. at this time they are still attempting to fix the vehicle.

- Anaheim, CA, USA

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