really awful
Crashes / Fires:
16 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
7 / 2
Average Mileage:
43,718 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Toyota Highlander Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #11

Mar 102008

Highlander 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 25,000 miles


Vsc system activated and started applying brakes when the auto was on dry roads. System has no disconnect switch in order to disable system. Drove auto home at about 10 miles an hour because system would not dis-engage. The auto only has 25,000 miles. Happened once before at 4,000 miles.

- Amarillo, TX, USA

problem #10

Jun 162004

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles
1 month after purchasing the Toyota the hessitation on acceleration began. I had the computer program flashed numerous times. The dealership claimed they have done all they could. Entering highways or turning corners the car stalle D untill the throttle grabbed, and then took off. It jolted the body and made driving the Toyota Highlander very difficult.

- Wilton, CA, USA

problem #9

Jun 232005


  • miles
2004 Toyota Highlander engine dies, would not accelerate past 20 mph, engine light and vsc and trac off lights were on, would slow down to 10 mph without warning. The throttle body control unit was repaired several times.

- Madera, CA, USA

problem #8

Jun 262006

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,902 miles


Let me start by saying I am a die-hard Toyota owner, my current vehicle being the 3rd Toyota we own. I own a 2004 Toyota Highlander, V6, 5 speed automatic with AWD. This vehicle has a very serious hesitation problem which is dangerous. Upon acceleration from a stop or at speed, there is a very serious lag in throttle response. Many times leaving a stop or accelerating from a slow speed I.e. parking lot driving, the vehicle will lag with no response, then lurch & accelerate suddenly. Merging into traffic, safe passing, starts at lights and safe driving in parking lots and around pedestrians can be hazardous. Thousands of owners across the nation are affected by this defect. From my recent research it apparently is not restricted to the Highlander, but affects many Toyota vehicles with "drive by wire" as opposed to mechanical transmission & throttle linkage. I took the vehicle back to the dealer right after my purchase in November of 2004 and was told they could find nothing wrong, now recent research tells me they were well aware of the problem at that time. I love Toyota but there methods of dealing with problems like this is deceptive at best and just short of criminal at worst. Please "google" Toyota Highlander hesitation problem and also visit tundrasolutions.com for more evidence of what I am talking about. Toyota has not devoted enough resources to this problem or a permanent fix would have already been developed. Please contact Toyota and urge them to take care of this matter with all the thousands of owners across the U.S. that are having to deal with this matter. I will be following this matter with keen interest to see if anything is being done and am advising aaa of the issues as well as my state and federal representatives. Toyota commands a premium price for what are otherwise exceptional vehicles and their customers and the nations drivers deserve a better more responsible response from Toyota.

- Stanardsville, VA, USA

problem #7

Feb 102006

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 17,000 miles
2004 Toyota Highlander vsc light comes on at unexplainable time and car loses power. Dealer has had three times and still hasn't fixed.

- Sugar Land, TX, USA

problem #6

Nov 222005

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles
The contact stated there was a problem with sudden acceleration. While shifting into reverse the vehicle suddenly accelerated on July 8, 2005. The problem did not reappear until November 22, 2005. The vehicle accelerated under the same conditions. He was able to stop the vehicle after it had gone through two fences and crashed into the corner of the neighbor's garage. The vehicle is currently at the dealership for diagnostics. Updated 12/27/05.

- Dallas , TX, USA

problem #5

Nov 112005

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 37,000 miles


The contact stated while pulling into a parking slot heard a grinding noise followed by the vehicle lurching into another parked vehicle. He took the vehicle to the dealer. The dealer could not duplicate the sudden acceleration. The dealer replaced the mass air flow sensor, oxygen sensor, and reprogrammed the ECU. The dealer could not determine what caused this problem.

- Bloomington , IL, USA

problem #4

Feb 152005

Highlander 4WD

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,000 miles
2004 Toyota Highlander with hesitation problem. For example, when entering interstate and need to accelerate, it hesitates then quickly jolts. Taken to dealer who said there is nothing they can do. Explained vehicle has an electric throttle control and is not controlled by a throttle cable as part of federal emissions regulation, this makes changing gears a little longer to do since the throttle does not open all the way out.

- Harrisburg, PA, USA

problem #3

Aug 102004

Highlander 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
My 2004 Toyota Highlander makes a terrible humming / moaning sound on acceleration that resonates within the vehicles and disturbs the driver. The problem typically occurs during speeding up from 0 mph. It is terribly frustrating that a brand new car makes such a annoying sound. It is also hesitates a lot during 20-40 mph speed range. The vehicle does not respond as it supposed to on acceleration and that too specially while driving within the city. On cantacting the dealer and Toyota's national customer service thay said it is designed to be like that and the hesitation is a by-product of computer controlled automatic transmission. Currently there is no fix for this. Am terribly frustrated now and promise to never buy any vehicle from Toyota in future. I would also make sure that my friends and relatives does not go near a Toyota dealer. I am desperate in getting rid of this vehicle.

- Brandon, FL, USA

problem #2

Sep 102004

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70 miles
Hesitation on acceleration.

- Whittier, CA, USA

problem #1

Mar 272004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 523 miles
Unintended acceleration problem, in a brand new Toyota Highlander causing an accident. (it had the same problem twice before)

- San Diego, CA, USA

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