definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
45,250 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.

2005 Toyota Highlander drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2005 Toyota Highlander Owner Comments

problem #4

Feb 102008

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


2005 Toyota Highlander with only 72000 miles (12,000 miles out of warranty), seals on transfer case of transmission leaks onto exhaust pipe causing smoking and smell of burnt fluids.

- Highlands, NC, USA

problem #3

Dec 102007

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles
I have a 2005 Highlander that developed a transmission fluid leak at 62,000 miles. Toyota currently has a service bulletin out stating that the transmission seal on certain AWD Highlanders and siennas are prone to premature failure. This can result in leak of transmission or front differential fluid. The repair is not being covered under the warranty for me since the car is beyond the 60000 mile powertrain warranty. The loss of transmission or gear oil can lead to sudden freezing of dive-axle, which should be considered a serious safety issue.

- Ashburn, VA, USA

problem #2

Sep 142006

Highlander 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles
Purchased a new 2005 Toyota Highlander 4WD. After 45K miles the 4WD transfer case began to leak gear oil and transmission fluid. I noticed this since I do all my own oil changes on the vehicle. No harm was done, but I have brought the same problem to the dealership 5 times. Each time they stated that they have repaired the problem. However, without fail several months later I am still experiencing the problem. Toyota's customer service was not very friendly or helpful. One representative stated that the dealership really did not have the tools to properly fix the transfer case seals properly. My safety issue: If this transfer case fails again and I do not notice it, then I fear that the vehicle could be sent into an uncontrollable spin or even worse. Thus far Toyota has replaced the transfer case twice and the transmission once with a re-manufactured transmission.

- Citra, FL, USA

problem #1

Apr 072005


  • 4,000 miles
Toyota, Highlander 2005. Going down a mountain at approximateky 50 mph and the vehicle stopped suddenly, back end flipped up, and the vehicle started to fish tail. The vehicle slid into a busy itersection then stalled. Had the vehicle towed to Toyota, where it was diagnosed with a defective transmission. While working on the vehicle I discussed the problem w/a customer service representative about getting a new vehicle. (this vehicle was only 3 months old). And was told that if I took the vehicle into arbitration they would immediatly cease working on the vehicle and would take away my free rental car leaving me stranded w/no transportation. Toyota blackmailed me.

- Twin Peaks, CA, USA

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