really awful
Crashes / Fires:
16 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
5 / 0
Average Mileage:
41,600 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2005 Toyota Highlander Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #12

Sep 102009


  • 36,725 miles


I am writing about a problem I encountered with my 2005 Toyota Highlander. We purchased it brand new in January of 2005. Beaverton Toyota has adjusted the computer on my car several times since the first oil change as my Highlander feels like it is changing gears by itself. The car had not done this until after the first oil change. On subsequent service calls, I would discuss the problem and they would tell me that they adjusted the car's computer. On September 10, 2009, I was driving through the store parking lot and was about to pull into a parking place by the front of the store when I heard a surging sound and my car quickly went forward and smashed into a brick column in front of the store and then it went backwards and stopped. The front of the car was smashed and was not drivable. I had not spoken on my cell phone since the night before, I had no one else in the car with me to distract me, and I was not speeding or swerving to avoid another person or car. I thank god that I hit the brick column in front of the store instead of a person or another car. My shoulder, neck and teeth still hurt from hitting the brick column so hard. I had just gotten gas, and I had my tires rotated a few days before this incident. I asked the body shop who fixed my car and beaverton Toyota to check the accelerator. At the time of my accident, they were looking for car mats that weren't properly installed. I was told there was nothing wrong. It seems strange that with all the recalls now, even Toyota cannot figure out what the problem is with the accelerators. I think it might have been a glitch in the computer. I can still hear that surging sound and am afraid it might happen again. There is no reason for it to have surged and smashed into a brick column as I wasn't stomping on the accelerator or brake when I was driving through a parking lot to park my car. I haven┐T been in an accident for 38 years.

- Beaverton, OR, USA

problem #11

Nov 222009


  • 97,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated that while driving at approx 65 mph, she pressed down on the accelerator and when she took her foot off, the pedal did not release from the depressed position. She kept pumping the pedal but it continued to stick to the floor until she crashed into the wall of someone's home. The contact was injured as a result of the crash (broken ribs and head injuries). A police report was taken at the scene. The vehicle was totaled. She called the manufacturer and they did not offer any assistance. The current and failure mileages were approximately 97,000.

- Poway, CA, USA

problem #10

Jan 072010


  • 30,000 miles
2005 Toyota Highlander, car will accelerate from a dead stop on its own. Change transmission from park to drive and let off brake and car will accelerate without touching gas pedal fast enough to change gears and continue. Have reached a speed of 30 mph before braking. The tachometer does not show that the engine is revving higher than a normal idle when in park changing into drive so it seems like an electronic problem, etc. Issue is intermittent. The car has been to 2 dealers over the time it has been owned and we were told the issue could not be duplicated so nothing could be done. I called the same day this email was sent and was told the same thing by the local Toyota dealership. Well, the recalled gas pedals don't stick all the time so they are intermittent problems so where is the difference between their cars and ours! I have tried every contact number for Toyota and cannot get anywhere!!!!!!

- Geneva, FL, USA

problem #9

Sep 202008


  • miles


2005 toyoto Highlander, 40,000 miles to date. Abrupt acceleration occurred twice for no reason-car does not have floor mats that could interfere with the accelerator, first occurrance in 2006 was while driving on highway, braking solved the problem second occurance in 2008- car was moving at idle speed-foot was not or near the accelerator but above but not touching the brake. Braking solved the problem. Informed Toyota dealer-they were clueless and had no knowledge of a problem.

- Port Saint Joe, FL, USA

problem #8

Jan 132010


  • 29,000 miles
I own a 2005 Toyota Highlander and was trying to park in front of my home between two cars when the car suddenly accelerated and hit the side of my house. I am not 100% sure what happened, whether I accidentally pressed the accelerator or there was a malfunction of some kind. I had to make a 90 degree left turn between two other parked cars, so I am sure I was not driving fast at the time of the accident.

- Somerset, NJ, USA

problem #7

Feb 012010


  • 124,623 miles
My Toyota Highlander 2005 will accelerate by itself when I start out at a light making it rev the engine excessively. This happened alot when I got the car until last fall I got fuel system cleaned and all carbon removed from lines. It went away after I got carbon cleaned out and now it has recently started happening again. It sometimes makes my front tires squeal. I have asked the joe meyers Toyota in houston, tx. About it and they say there is nothing wrong with my car. I never brought it up with them again. I need to find out if there is any fix for this problem asap since there has been issues with this being worse and causing deaths. Note: After buying the car in Jan 06 the floor mats constantly pushed forward upto pedals so I got my husband to use a grommet on them to make holes and attach via clips from joe meyers Toyota. Now they don't move. This was never the cause of the acceleration. It was coming from the engine - pedal was not stuck.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #6

Oct 212009


  • 86,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Highlander hybrid. While approaching a red light, the vehicle accelerated twice before coming to a complete stop. The vehicle was taken to a dealer but the issue has not been remedied. The vehicle was not included in the floor mat recall #06V253000. The contact is aware of the safety risk since he could have injured someone. The failure mileage was 86,000.

- Murraita , CA, USA

problem #5

Apr 012005


  • 13,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Highlander. While driving 53 mph she experienced unintended vehicle acceleration. She was able to decelerate. The vehicle was towed to the dealer, and a technician concluded that the plastic panel behind the air conditioning system fell off and subsequently fell between the accelerator pedal; which caused the pedal to stick. The failure and current mileages were 23,000.

- Manassas , VA, USA

problem #4

Jun 102006

Highlander 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,750 miles
Unexplained vehicle acceleration with inability to stop before hitting vehicle in front of me. Pulled off of road behind truck to park. Lifted foot from gas pedal to put on brake so as to put vehicle into park. There was then an extreme vehicle acceleration which was uncontrollable with brake. Slammed into truck. Toyota Corp claims no errors logged in computer system, and that if foot would have been on brake pedal, the filament would have broken. I can't be certain the braking happened before the accident-it was very fast. I am certain foot was on brake and not on gas!! there has been a previous denial of a petition to investigate numerous instances of this identical situation with other Toyota's-(NHTSA action # DP05002). NHTSA please investigate this!! there are too many complaints of this happening-do something before there are deaths! is Toyota immune from safety recalls" I'm sorry you couldn't find evidence of a defect, but there is something seriously wrong. Severe hesitation, sudden acceleration=possible deaths. I've received my repaired vehicle, and when I went to trade it in, I was offered thousands less than trade in is supposed to be! if Toyota really believes there's nothing wrong with their car, what's the problem" again they're not being held accountable!

- Ellwood City, PA, USA

problem #3

Jun 102006

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,500 miles
I drove up hill, slowed, turned, and pulled behind truck to park off the side of the road. This was also uphill. The car was stopped, I went to put my foot on the brake to shift into park, and the car for some reason accelerated wildly (loud roaring of engine). It then lurched forward very fast and slammed into the truck that was in front of me. I had no power to stop it. This incident was completely out of my control. I have had problems in the past with this vehicle with severe hesitation. I have also had a hesitation, followed by extreme acceleration. I did file a complaint previously. This is a very dangerous condition. It could have been a child I hit instead of a truck!. the dealer says they can't find a problem with my car. This is a sporadic occurrence, but it shouldn't happen at all.

- Ellwood City, PA, USA

problem #2

Sep 202005

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I have a 2005 Toyota Highlander limited w/V6 engine. When I accelerate at low speeds, then take my foot off the gas and then try to accelerate again, there is a prolonged hesitation before the vehicle starts to accelerate. The same problem exists when you make a turn and then try to accelerate again. The other day I was trying to pull out onto a well traveled road. I moved out into the first lane and then took my foot off the gas to check to make sure the next lane was clear. I saw there were cars coming around the curve towards me in both lanes. I hit the gas and the car hesitated. Then finally it started to move. I barely missed being broadsided. I've been driving for over thirty years and have driven a number of different vehicles. I have never experienced this problem and am very concerned for my family's safety. I have contacted the dealer and Toyota and they say this is normal operation. As far as I'm concerned this is anything but normal and needs to be addressed.

- Elkridge, MD, USA

problem #1

Dec 122004

Highlander 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While applying the accelerator pedal vehicle hesitated to accelerate. Driver applied the accelerator pedal numerous times and the vehicle accelerated uncontrollably. Driver was able to maintain control of the vehicle, and drove it to the dealer for inspection. Mechanic determined that it was normal for the vehicle to hesitate when applying the accelerator pedal.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

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