really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
33,234 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.

2004 Toyota Highlander brakes problems

brakes problem

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2004 Toyota Highlander Owner Comments

problem #4

Oct 112007

Highlander 4WD 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,000 miles


I purchased a Toyota Highlander 4dr 4WD 4ect as a previously owned vehicle with a previously owned vehicle warranty. After owning and using the vehicle for a few months while driving in a traffic situation, the right side rear brake suddenly locked up intermittently accompanied by swerving, by panel vsc light flashes and an audible warning. This situation fortunately occurred near our residence on dry pavement. By driving very slowly we managed to get the vehicle to a safe location. It was then towed to a local Toyota dealer where it was inspected and the following diagnosis or similar was provided: Customer states that the vsc lights are coming on and the brakes are locking up, yaw rate sensor is out of calibration. Recalibrated yaw rate sensor. The vehicle was released to us as repaired. The precise same vsc failure situation occurred on October 11th of this year and again we were lucky to have been in a reasonably safe location and driving under good road condition when it happened. The vehicle was picked up and towed again to the dealer facility for analysis and repair. We received the diagnosis: "electrical repair, customer states that the vsc lights are coming on, and the brakes are locking up, yaw rate sensor is out of calibration. Recalibrated yaw rate sensor?. I was told by telephone that ?the previous repair lasted two years". any reasonable person would consider that the potential useful life of this vehicle should exceed two additional years. Furthermore, the failure could potentially reoccur immediately. After being told it was test driven and pronounced safe to drive I think that this is an unsafe situation waiting for another event to occur and that an accident could result from another instance of the vsc system failure. The problem was not properly located or properly repaired in each of the two occurrences. A proper repair of the vehicle after the first event would have prevented the second.

- Walkersville, MD, USA

problem #3

May 012007

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 44,837 miles
The steering sensor on the anti-skid system shorted out causing the anti-lock brakes to engage while the car was in motion. This caused a very dangerous situation. Car had to be pulled of to the side of the road in a heavy traffic environment. Car could not be driven without the anti-lock brakes engaging. Car was towed to the Toyota dealership. I asked the dealer to disconnect the anti-skid system, because this system was more dangerous than the problem it was trying to address. The dealer said that was not possible and if the steering sensor was not replaced, the car would not be drivable. If a sensor in a control system fails, it should not cause a dangerous driving situation. If a sensor fails, the brakes should not engage, the system should just become inoperable. The logic in their control system is faulty and the computer should be re-programmed to eliminate the problem. Toyota motors was informed of the problem and they choose to ignore my complain. The dealership replaced the stirring sensor for a ridiculous price and the car is able to move forward again without the anti-lock brakes engaging. My wife is again driving a car which is inherently unsafe. We are considering selling the car because of the ongoing safety problems.

- Reading, PA, USA

problem #2

May 112007

Highlander 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles
While driving home from work pulled up to stop light with many other cars the light turned green and I got up to 20 mph and the brakes kicked on slowing me down to almost a stop, and creating a loud noise. The car behind hit me, but did not cause any damage. He said I had no brake lights. It will only go 15 mph before the vehicle traction control went on and stopped the car. There was no warning. The dealer said there was a technical service bulletin in for the problem. I think Toyota should fix this in a recall because it could cause serious injury, especially since it was the traction control system which activated for no reason and no brake lights went on.

- Des Moines, IA, USA

problem #1

Jun 262004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,100 miles
When the consumer applied the brakes, the pedal went to the floor. This resulted in the consumer's vehicle rear-ending another vehicle. The consumer had the vehicle towed to the dealership for inspection. It was determined that the brake pivot bracket had bent, causing the brakes to fail.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

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