really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
94,781 miles
Total Complaints:
5 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (3 reports)
  2. replace engine (2 reports)
2004 Toyota Highlander engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Toyota Highlander Owner Comments

problem #5

Aug 232012

Highlander 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles


I purchased a 2004 Toyota Highlander 1n 2010 with 50000 miles. I loved the car until now. I am now facing a major repair of upwards of $1500.00 due to stripped bolts and coolant leaking into the engine. I have been on the phone with toyota who told me the car is past the warranty and would not help me. I have filed a complaint with the national highway traffic safety administration and the federal trade commission, as well as the national center for disputes and settlements. i have written to Jim Lentz of Toyota. I will not stop until i see a resolution. a bulletin was put out by toyota in 2011regarding this issue. they are at fault and should say that to every owner of the camry and highlander. It is a shame that toyota has so little respect for the consumer. believe me, this is not over until i see justice.

- , Warwick, RI, USA

problem #4

Jun 262012

Highlander V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,000 miles

This is a frustrating issue. After reading about it online it seems like it could have really been fixed if Toyota had not used aluminum to hold in the steel bolts in the engine. Not only are the bolts an issue but we have a coolant leak and a head gasket that needs replacement, also causing an oil leak. After going to the Toyota dealership to the sum of $1700 we shopped around and were unable to find very many cheaper alternatives. Long story short we need to pay about $1500-$1700 for 3 issues and some of them could have been avoided if Toyota had not cut cost on cheaper metals for their engine parts.

- , Gresham, OR, USA

problem #3

Feb 162012

Highlander LX 2.4L, V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,600 miles

I was driving the car normally and started to feel it holding back a little, making a low noise. I pulled into a neighborhood and the car suddenly hit the Hot on temp gauge. I shut off car for 20 minutes at which point the car seemed better and temp was mid range. I drove closer to home and pulled into a parking lot to get towed home. Brought vehicle to Toyota. They saw some sort of coolant leak on the engine but could not be sure of the exact problem. They quoted me $720 in time just to see if they could locate the problem. Two days later, they told me it was the engine. The head bolts were stripped in the engine block which caused the coolant leaking. The engine would need to be replaced for the sum of $6,050-$7,000! I called Toyota and they said the car is past the warranty. I said I bought a Toyota because they last well into the 150,000 mile range, and this is unfair. They said I can get a diagnostic assessment done by the dealership to document exactly what they think the problem is and what caused it. Right now I am trying to figure out what to do. It seems crazy to put in that kind of money on a 7 year old car.

- , Boca Raton, FL, USA

problem #2

Sep 132011

Highlander 2.4L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,304 miles

I called Toyota's corporate office to gripe about the engine needing to be replaced at 80,000 miles because of something that appears to be a structural defect and they refuse to acknowlege that it is their fault and shrug their responsibility now that the warranty was up at 60,000. This is a disgrace. $3800 out the window. It appears that the same engine was used on the Camry which has the same problem. If it is not a safety issue that the government complelled them to fix, they don't want to know about it.

- , Brooklyn, NY, US

problem #1

Dec 022010

Highlander 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

It appears that a significant number of Toyota 4 cylinder vehicles with 60+ thousand miles begin to experience coolant leaks due to stripped engine block treads or bolts. The bolts at the time of engine manufacture should be treated because they are made of steal (which is hard) and the head and engine block are aluminum (which is softer than steal). The problem occurs because un-like metals over time, engine vibration, heat, and acidic coolant tend to break down. Basically the treads in the aluminum block attach to the steal bolt and breaks away from the surrounding aluminum. Thus you have to get the short block treads machined and get new treated head bolts. I found a website that sells the new head bolts:


This should be a safety concern, then engine basically is simply breaking apart. And at any point in time the engine can stop on you. Or if you have the chance to pull over to the side of the road you better hope everybody else stays on the road and you don't become a pedestrian casualty.

I posted this complaint at:


So that if enough people complain the government can force Toyota to recall. There are only currently two complaint posted on the site regarding stripped head bolts. One in 2009 on a 2004 Highlander (10294646) )and mine which I posted today (#10370659).

Toyota to recall the cars/trucks/SUVs’ that the un-treated bolts. And if there is a recall if have all of your receipts you can get reimbursed.

- , Houston, TX, USA

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