really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
72,652 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.

2003 Toyota Highlander fuel system problems

fuel system problem

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2003 Toyota Highlander Owner Comments

problem #5

Nov 152010

Highlander 4-cyl

  • 120,000 miles


When I start the car in the morning (or the first in that day) the car have strong gas smell..I'm worried of a fire.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #4

Oct 152009


  • 50,000 miles
Vehicle was in reverse and motor raced and vehicle traveled backward at rapid rate of speed and could not be stopped in spite of braking. Attempt to stop vehicle was unsuccessful. Vehicle only stopped when struck telephone pole. Problem was engine racing which could not be stopped. Accelerator seemed to stick down or accelerate without foot application.

- Celina, OH, USA

problem #3

Dec 052009

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 76,500 miles
)N the morning of 12-05-09, as I'm pulling into my garage, the car suddenly lurched forward with an unexpected increase in speed. Before I could brake, the car slammed into a steel shelving unit on the back wall which resulted in extensive damage to the wall ( both interior & exterior) and what appeared to be minimal damage to the auto. I took the vehicle to my Toyota service on that same day because I/we felt that this could constitute an unsafe driving condition. Total costs from this incident were as follows: Covered by insurance- $3607.81 (plus $703.31 pd. Directly to the dealer?) and $916.27 ( $500 insurance deductible and an additional mechanical charge for a fuel/air sensor that failed on 12-26-09). I have not previously experienced "sudden acceleration" with this vehicle. I have notified both my local dealer, southeast Toyota distributors and Toyota customer relations regarding the problem stating that there may be other vehicles beyond the scope of their current recall that should also be considered as potentially dangerous. Updated 05/03.10 Toyota denied the consumer claim, stating the vehicle examination revealed no apparent reason for the acceleration. However, the dealer that performed the inspection stated the throttle was became stuck due to gummy deposits cased by ethanol in the gasoline. Updated 08/210/10

- Summerfield, FL, USA

problem #2

Nov 292008


  • 67,810 miles
Vehicle which was out of warranty was parked in driveway and was observed during early morning hours to be leaking fuel from the bottom of the fuel tank. Vehicle was towed to the dealer who reported that the roll-over ball (safety feature in a roll-over crash) had activated and had floated to the top of the fuel filler neck forcing fuel into the charcoal canister. The fuel tank had been filled several days previously. Dealer estimated repairs to be $1500 for a new tank, canister, and other parts. Fortunately, the district rep for Toyota intervened and paid for all parts and half of labor at warranty rates. Vehicle owner was responsible for only $248.50.

- Albany, GA, USA

problem #1

Jul 232008


  • 48,948 miles
Replacement of a charcoal canister on a 2003 Toyota Highlander. No accidents occurred as a result of the replacement of this part; however, I am concerned about the number of reports of having to replace this very expensive part. Also if the part is a safety hazard (may cause an engine fire) it should not be at the expense of the owner. The part is an emission control device that is surely required by the government. This action is taken because I noticed, while researching charcoal canisters that Toyota come up frequently as having to have this type repair. At this writing I am unable to confirm the part is defective as it is the original part that came with the vehicle when I purchased it brand new. This is not a pre-owned vehicle.

- Longwood, FL, USA

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