really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
74,400 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2003 Toyota Highlander Owner Comments

problem #5

Dec 292016


  • 150,000 miles


The contact owned a 2003 Toyota Highlander. While the vehicle was in reverse, it accelerated independently. The contact stated that the brake pedal was depressed, but failed to effectively slow down the vehicle. The gear shifter was placed into drive and the vehicle sped forward and crashed into a tree. The air bags failed to deploy. There were no injuries and a police report was not filed. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic. The failure recurred twice prior to the crash. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 150,000. The vehicle was destroyed.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #4

Nov 212016


  • 148,000 miles
During a wreck airbags did not deploy when I hit an unmarked utility pole in the roadway of a parking lot exit.

- White Pine, TN, USA

problem #3

Jan 011994


  • 7,000 miles
In very cold Maine temperatures, after the vehicle has set unused all night, the airbag warning light comes on in the morning when the vehicle is started. This also happens in very warm temperatures after vehicle has set unused all night. After the vehicle has run a short while and warmed up or cooled down, the airbag signal warning goes off.

- Waterville, ME, USA

problem #2

Oct 272014

Highlander 6-cyl

  • miles
I purchased my vehicle in 2003 in California. In 2005 I moved to North port, Florida. I have seen on the media that if I live in a humid area, my air bags are unsafe. I went to www.safercar.gov and entered my VIN# I was told my car has "no recalls".

- North Port, FL, USA

problem #1

Nov 272005

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles
: the consumer hit a patch of black ice traveling at 45 mph when approaching a stop sign; the vehicle proceeded through a stop sign striking another vehicle in the passenger side. The airbags did not deploy. The pre-braking was minimal due to the icy road conditions. Both occupants of the vehicle were wearing seat belts and sustained minor injuries. Police were on the scene and a report was taken. The vehicle sustained extensive damage, but was not totaled due to assessment of the insurance adjustor and the lack of airbag deployment. Prior to the accident, the airbag warning light illuminated in cold temperatures, but the vehicle was not seen by a dealer for this problem. Prior to the accident, the rear brakes and rotors were replaced. Updated 03/03/06. Updated

- Schuyler Falls, NY, USA

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