hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
56,702 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2004 Toyota Highlander Owner Comments

problem #18

Jul 112016


  • 75,222 miles


The passenger side in the rear windows are defective. They will not power up or down the windows in the back of SUV. Also the front passenger side is now not operating up or down. The power window parts have failed two years ago, and now it's happening again. This 2004 should be included in the other recalls on newer models.

- Loomis, CA, USA

problem #17

Apr 182011


  • 98,000 miles
When driving the heater or the air will just come on, usually when you would drive over a rough spot in the street.usually the air will come on in the winter and the heater will come on in summer.call Toyota they said cost about $800. I had it fix by an independent garage.it still cost me $370. Then I go on line and out there's hundreds if not lots more people that have the same problem.I think since there is so many people that this same problem that Toyota should reimburse us at least partly.

- Maplewood, MO, USA

problem #16

Dec 242014


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Highlander. While driving approximately 45 mph, the battery indicator light illuminated and the power steering failed suddenly. The contact had to maneuver the vehicle to the side of the road. The vehicle failed to restart and was towed to the contact's residence. The manufacturer was notified of the issue. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN provided was invalid. The approximate failure mileage was 90,000.

- Huntsville, AL, USA

problem #15

Jul 122014

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 139,664 miles


I noticed that my original equipment/manufacturer passenger-side low-beam headlight lens had a burnt spot on the inside of the lens (clearly melted lens material). I checked the headlight bulb, which is a factory-installed kaito model HB3 low-beam bulb. The bulb was discolored black and smoky looking with an obvious bulge of melted glass in one side of the bulb. The low-beam headlights still work, but the bulb seemingly has overheated, melting both the bulb glass and the inside of the lens assembly.

- Ashburn, VA, USA

problem #14

Jul 022008


  • 38,255 miles
Right passenger front row window motor stopped working for no apparent reason. This window was rarely used so it was very surprising. No longer under warranty.cost $345.36 to fix. Was fixed because of fear of not being able to exit vehicle in case of a crash. Toyota says 2004 is not part of current recall for window motors but definitely seems like the recall should be expanded because had same problem happen again on the 2nd row passenger side window motor on July 09. Suddenly stopped working for no apparent reason and again this window barely used. Could not afford to fix so it is stuck in up position. Have contacted Toyota and hoping they will expand recall to 2004 Highlanders. I hope all Toyota owners will report window motor problems and any other electrical problems to both the NHTSA and Toyota.

- Yorktown, VA, USA

problem #13

Mar 172010

Highlander 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
The cabin temperature control does not work properly. The temperature will change drastically without any adjustment to the controls. The dealership stated that I would need to replace the whole control assembly at a cost of close to $900.

- Meridian, ID, USA

problem #12

Jun 182011

Highlander 4-cyl

  • 107,578 miles


Intermittent loss of A/C and/or heat and finally total loss of A/C on my 2004 Toyota Highlander. Initial fix was to tighten the nut on the temperature control. I found that this problem was inherent after going to the web and learning of the many problems with the assembly and the quick fix. Essentially the A/C stopped working entirely. I brought it to my private mechanic and he found that the cable from the temperature control to the mother board was broken. I inquired how this could happen and was advised that when the nut on the temperature control came loose, the whole unit was turning when I was adjusting the temperature, which caused the cable to break. The lack of a lock washer over the flat washer was the culprit that allowed the nut to come loose. Because the cable from the motherboard to the temperature control is hard wired, the entire assembly had to be replaced at a cost of approxitmately $950. Note: I have the entire faulty assembly at home, in the event you require to see it.

- Oakdale, NY, USA

problem #11

Sep 012010


  • 79,000 miles
A 2004 Toyota Highlander signal light (safety item) is malfunctioning and when I took it to Toyota dealer (darcars), I was told I have to change the navigation system (luxury item) which currently is working. I have no idea why they had to integrate these two functions when one is a safety and the other one is luxury items. Besides, it costs $6000 + labor + tax to change the navigation system. After intensive search on the internet I found out that Toyota knows about the problem except they only cover the problem under the 36,000mile/3 year warranty. If this was a mileage related problem, I can understand even if two none related functions are interlocked, but this has nothing to do with mileage and we cannot drive without a signal light but we can without a navigation system. This problem started a month ago and I have tried to get a response from Toyota and they are not giving me any response regarding this mater.

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #10

Sep 042010


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated that both the left and right turn signals failed. The signal lights also include the navigation system in the vehicle which coincides. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated that the navigational system would have to be repaired in order to repair the non-functional turn signals, at the contact's expense. The manufacturer was contacted via email but there was no response. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 80,000.

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #9

Nov 162009


  • miles
Lens plate covers over fog lights are melting. This could result in a fire.

- Felton, DE, USA

problem #8

Apr 282008


  • miles


2004 Highlander, having same problems as all other reported problems for this vehicle. Hesitation, steering shaft replacement, 2 wheel bearing replacements, lousy original tires, bad sodering of heat/air board leading to not working properly, can not have back windows down due to noise and vehicle shaking, had rear wiper motor replaced within 1st month of ownership. While I did purchase the extended warranty, which did cover the cost of the wheel bearing replacement, it did not cover the cost of having to replace the tires damaged by the bad bearing - and Toyota does not care. In their race to become the number one car maker, they have given up on being the safest, most reliable car maker - and they have certainly given up on being customer friendly. According to several Toyota dealers, they don't have to, since they continue to be popular selling vehicles. I am getting nervous as the time for my warranty comes due to expire - and for the first time am seriously considering trading it in before that happens. That was not the intent when I bought the vehicle, but after reading all the people having all the same problems, I am very concerned.

- Bloomingburg, NY, USA

problem #7

Nov 102008


  • 69,500 miles
The heat would not always work. It would blow cold air. Sometimes I could move the knob around and it would come back on but it didn't always work like that. I googled the problem and came up with more than a dozen people with the same problem. They dealer said the part was over $600 to replace, then on top of that, the decal was going to cost another $30. One of the google searches had a fix for it. It involved removing the glovebox and pulling the circuit board out. They said there would probably be a wire that was broken off and sure enough there was. My husband soldered it back on, put the boar back in, and it works like a charm now.

- S. Berwick, ME, USA

problem #6

Nov 252008


  • 58,000 miles
Since I bought the car in 2004, I would have trouble with the clock - sometimes it would show other times not. I have a navigation system in the car and the time is tied into it. This year, the gps stopped working, and would knock out the radio, heat and defroster. When I brought it to Toyota, they said is was a gps failure and since I was not under warranty anymore, it would cost me about $1600 to replace it. I would think that something I complained about from the beginning would be looked not and that a recall should have occurred if the defrosting system didn't work. That is a driving danger. I had to pay for it for the winter but am now looking for a new car and will surely not be looking at a Toyota ever again. Since I got the refurbished gps, my time is always there.

- Ridgewood, NJ, USA

problem #5

Mar 292008


  • 41,864 miles
Navigation systems says external system is disconnected causing the heat/ air conditioner & defroster to be disabled new system will cost $5795 used part will cost 1500-1700.00 car only has 41,864 2004 Toyota Highlander.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #4

Jul 012006

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles
The air/heat keep going in an out. Most of the time when you try to switch it over the ac it stays hot and same w/ hot. Stopped by Toyota dealer and they said that on this year model Highlanders the circuit board for the heat and air are going bad. But they won't do a recall. It even messed 1 of the accuators up and we had to replace it last time and now it has done it again.

- North Wilkesboro, NC, USA

problem #3

Jan 252006

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,000 miles
: the contact stated while depressing the accelerator pedal, the transmission momentarily hesitates before properly selecting the correct gear to engage. The vehicle was taken to the dealership several times for inspection. The dealership mechanic reset the software three times, but this did not correct the problem. Diagnostic testing were performed on the vehicle. The manufacturer was contacted and sent a representative to inspect the vehicle. The representative drove the vehicle and experienced the hesitation and explained, this is a flaw in the design and the vehicle is free-wheeling. The representative would contact the engineers and try to solve the problem. Updated 03/17/06.

- Dallas, TX, USA

problem #2

Jan 062005

Highlander 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,000 miles
Identical to complaint #10114548 my event happened January 6, 2005 with less than 10,000 miles on vehicle. Now, at 35,750 miles, I have O2 sensor problems on a routine basis(3rd sensor on order from dealer right now). I am very concerned that these problems will continue past warranty, I have little faith in this vehicles safety and performance -every day I cross my fingers that nothing else goes "brakes" while driving with my 2 small children. This needs to be investigated.

- Asheville, NC, USA

problem #1

Dec 122005

Highlander 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,556 miles
I bought a 2004 Toyota Highlander in November of 2003 because my husband and I found out we were pregnant and needed a bigger car. Three months and 5000 miles later I had to be towed to the dealership because of a defect in a chip in the "motherboard." (some sensor defect that caused the asc mechanism to foul up.) anyway, on Monday, the same thing happened again at 50500 miles, but this time the cause was a steering sensor actuator. Of course, the car is no longer under warranty. I raised cane because two major things have caused me to be towed to the dealership with barely 50000 miles on the car. They are paying for the cost of the parts but that's it. I truly believe Toyota should have paid for the entire ordeal, including towing, labor and rental car because of my inconvenience and obvious defect in the car. Toyota is one of the highest quality brand names of cars and you don't expect to deal with these types of issues when buying one. I feel that they realize I have a defective car and have decided not to care. Now I don't trust the vehicle and want to trade it in for a non Toyota car. Thanks for your time and consideration.

- Mebane, NC, USA

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