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 1 of 2)

problem #32

May 302015

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 104,493 miles


On Saturday, May 30th at approximately 8:30 I was moving our 2005 Highlander from the street into our reserved parking space within our complex. As I was starting my right hand turn into the complex the car accelerator stuck. I hit the curb on the driver's/left side causing the vehicle to veer to the right. As the car continued to accelerate I hit a tree and knocked over one of the community's posted signage. The impact made the car bounce backward partially into the drive, damaging the front passenger's side, drive shaft broke, front end part flew all over and a small fire occurred. Police were call and report taken. They estimated the speed at 20-30 miles per hour. The report taken was not filed since the accident took place on private property. The tow truck driver started the vehicle to get it on the truck. He had a difficult time for he could not get the wheels to turn. On Tuesday, June 2, we were notified by our insurance company that the vehicle was totaled. There was a recall repair done on May 21, 2011, after we were advised that the replacement parts were available to install the forward retention clip used to secure the driver's side floor carpet cover. We were advised that if it was not installed properly, the cover may lean toward the accelerator pedal and interfere with the accelerator pedal arm. If this occurs, the accelerator pedal may temporarily become stuck in a partially depressed position rather than returning to the idle position. An accelerator pedal temporarily stuck in a partially depressed position may increase the risk of a crash. There must have been a failure of the replacement part.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #31

Mar 312005


  • 6 miles
I'm the original owner & sole driver of the vehicle & ever since I test drove it the day I purchased it this car's had issues with "jerky/delayed" acceleration. During the test drive I was told that the car adjusts to how I drive & it'll get better. This happens pretty much every time I accelerate the vehicle after it's been stopped or the speed slowed substantially. Each & every time I try to gently accelerate the vehicle from a stop, there's a tiny delay in vehicle response from what I am inputting to the accelerator pedal. Then after the delay, it's like the vehicle tries to suddenly catch up with where it was supposed to be in the acceleration process & suddenly jerks forward with a lot of acceleration. This poses a safety problem when trying to pull out into traffic & needing the vehicle to respond to the gas pedal inputs that I'm giving it immediately as I'm giving them & not with even a small delay. That delay in response by the vehicle's acceleration has caused several near-misses with other traffic. I have tried taking it into my dealer at least a couple times to have the issue addressed but the technicians just wanted to brush it off saying they didn't notice it or blame it on the transmission & when I told them this isn't a transmission problem they just blew me off treating me like a dumb female who didn't know anything about cars, not knowing that I'm an engineer. Both of these times were within my warranty period, but it's obvious they didn't want to spend the time & effort to diagnose this issue. My safety was clearly not important to the people at my local Toyota dealership. So I continue to have this problem every single time I accelerate from a stop and most times I re-accelerate after having slowed down substantially. After having this issue for the past 9 years, the jerkiness of the acceleration probably has caused other problems with the vehicle.

- Wichita, KS, USA

problem #30

Sep 062007

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 25,000 miles
I am the original owner of the vehicle and throughout my ownership since 2/2005 when it was bought this car has issues with acceleration. It usually occurs when you are sitting at a stop and try to accelerate the vehicle. The car does not recognize when you are pushing the acceleration pedal and has a delay when it finally responds. There have been numerous incidents where I have tried to cross a busy intersection or pull out into traffic and the vehicle hesitates when trying to accelerate, ending with a jerk of the vehicle. I have almost been T-boned a few times trying to cross busy intersections and the car doesn't want to move. I have brought this to the dealership numerous times and the only response they have is that the car adjusts to different drivers and it then programs itself based off your driving habits, so they reset the coding on it. Still have the issue, didn't fix anything and now I am reading where others have had issues, I just think they brushed it under the rug to not have to honor my warranty that was in place on the vehicle. I have also have had issues from day 1 on this car with the transmission pan leaking, they have had to replace the transmission pan gasket numerous times on the vehicle; claiming it just went bad. Really, that many times it just goes bad, I don't think so.

- Lakewood, CO, USA

problem #29

Sep 222014

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 74,000 miles


Backing up out of driveway put the car into reverse went from brake pedal to gas pedal taping the gas pedal lightly to inch out of driveway slowly. After one tap on the gas pedal the car accelerated at a very high rate of speed causing driver to loose control. Vehicle crashed into chain link fence which in turn crashed into a parked vehicle.

- West Roxbury, MA, USA

problem #28

May 192014

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 101,513 miles
My car was decelerating in the far right turn lane of a busy intersection. The brake had been applied approximately 1000 ft from the intersection as there were 3 vehicles stopped ahead of me. I was traveling at 10 mph and I increased the pressure to the brake pedal as the car approached a stopped vehicle approximately 100 feet ahead of my vehicle. The engine revved to the highest RPM reading and lurched forward as I continued to apply full pressure to the brake pedal by adding my left foot to the already stationary right foot. I steered the vehicle to the right and drove on the sidewalk and grass between a burger king and autozone parking lots to avoid hitting the cars in front of me. I shifted the gear shift to neutral and the accelerator did not disengage. I was nearly standing on brake as the car continued to accelerate with the engine screaming from the high rpms. I straightened the car's path to avoid a parked vehicle in the autozone parking lot. I jumped a curb onto grass and continued to accelerate until crashing through a cinder block wall supporting the autozone sign. The driver side airbag deployed upon impact which engaged the engine kill switch. While still standing on the brakes, my car traveled another 25-30 feet before coming to rest. The driver behind me can confirm that I was decelerating and the brake lights on as the car "took off" on its path toward the autozone sign. The car was totaled and I received neck, shoulder and chest injuries from the impact. I was able to exit the car on my own.

- Boerne, TX, USA

problem #27

May 292011


  • 79,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated that the vehicle was started and as the contact shifted into drive, the vehicle abnormally accelerated and crashed into a house. A police report was filed but no injuries were reported. The vehicle was not yet taken to have the failure diagnosed or repaired. The failure and current mileages were 79,000.

- Bowie, MD, USA

problem #26

Apr 082011

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 98,000 miles


Run away throttle and no ability to brake 2005 Toyota Highlander causing crash into house wall and front end damage to car I took foot of gas pedal and moved to brake car continued at same speed it was traveling and brake peddle was applied hard and no effect. Car struck house and pushed on the wall a moment then dropped to idle.

- Ramsey, MN, USA

problem #25

May 152009


  • 2,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Highlander. While driving 2-3 mph in reverse, the vehicle abnormally accelerated. The contact attempted to brake but to no avail as the vehicle crashed into her garage. The air bags did not deploy but the contact was not injured and there was minimal damage to the vehicle and moderate damage to the contacts home. The vehicle was taken to the dealer yet the dealer was unable to duplicate the failure. There were three additional occurrences of the failure and the vehicle was taken back to the dealer where repairs were made to the floor mat and the brake covers. The contact stated that she was still afraid to drive the vehicle. She later received notification of NHTSA campaign id number: 11V112000 (vehicle speed control:accelerator pedal) and the recall repair was performed on the vehicle. The failure mileage was 2,000 and the current mileage was 20,000.

- Rome, GA, USA

problem #24

May 011973


  • 0 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated that upon starting her vehicle it accelerated forward and crashed into her garage. Previously, when she was trying to park the vehicle, it accelerated and lunged forward when she was forced to apply extreme pressure to the brakes in order to stop the vehicle. An investigator from the manufacturer advised her that he was unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Romeway, GA, USA

problem #23

Sep 272010


  • 53,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated that idling at a stop sign, when she took her foot off the brake pedal, the vehicle suddenly surged forward and crashed into the vehicle in front. The contact noticed no prior problems with surging. There were no injuries. A police report was being filed at the time of the complaint. The manufacturer had not been notified. The VIN was unavailable. The current and failure mileages were approximately 53,000.

- Stoneham, MA, USA

problem #22

Jun 132010


  • 62,600 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated she was parking the vehicle in her garage at a relatively low speed. Her foot was on the brake and the vehicle was shifted to park when the vehicle abnormally accelerated and crashed into the garage wall. The contact was not injured. The vehicle sustained moderate front end damage. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where an investigator was sent to further inspect the vehicle. The investigator advised the results would be available within thirty days. The contact was awaiting the results of the investigation. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileages were 62,600.

- Santee , CA, USA

problem #21

Aug 092005


  • 17,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Highlander. While driving approximately 35-40 mph the contact noticed that the accelerator pedal had to be pushed to the floor of the vehicle in order to increase the speed. The failure mileage was 17,000 and the current mileage was 56,500.

- Milford, DE, USA

problem #20

Sep 102009


  • miles
2005 Toyota Highlander. Consumer states unintended acceleration caused a crash. The consumer stated as she was about to pull into a parking space, she heard a surging sound and suddenly the vehicle quickly accelerated forward and crashed into a brick column in front of the store and then it went backwards and stopped.

- Beaverton, OR, USA

problem #19

Aug 202009


  • 30,300 miles
An afternoon during August or early September 2009 I was driving my 2005 Highlander in a high traffic route when the accelerator pedal got stuck down, leading to an initial high speed and steadily high rpms (6-7000). I was able to control the speed by stepping down the brake pedal with both feet while keeping exceedingly high rpms on heavy traffic. In the emotional and physical stress of the moment, I was able to drive to a building entrance. With the car on "parking" position, the rpms kept high and did not decrease despite stepping further on the accelerator pedal trying to "unstuck" it, which was unsuccessful. Finally I turned off the ignition. After turning the car back on, the problem did not recurred. I took the car to its regular maintenance service in harr Toyota (100 gold star blvd., worcester, MA) in Sept. 19, 2009, explained the event, they documented it, and applied the 60F carpet clip recall. There has been no similar incident since then. I reported the incident to Toyota company with documentation # 1002135597. Toyota claims they will not apply the current recall accelerator fix to my car because it is not on the official recall and the car was built in Japan (based on VIN), with a different accelerator pedal design and construction.

- Worcester, MA, USA

problem #18

Mar 022010

Highlander 6-cyl

  • miles
2005 Highlander V6 AWD. Has a surging effect since day one. Also surges slightly when applying brakes. In traffic stop and go situation, vehicle does not respond for a few seconds and then lunges forward. Very dangerous when trying to change lanes. Dealer said nothing wrong with vehicle. Toyota said at time to contact dealer.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #17

Nov 192009


  • 81,689 miles
Accident occurred in charlottesville va. Sudden acceleration while car was in reverse. Right car side damaged along with 2 other cars. Model of car is 2005 Toyota Highlander vs AWD limited. Total cost to repair the Toyota was $6,900.

- Goode, VA, USA

problem #16

Sep 302009


  • 35,000 miles
1. traveling at about 45-55 miles per hour, gas pedal sticks. Also, the dealer sold me the car with out a driver floor mat. Since I purchased the car in 2007, I've noticed a gradual erosion of the floor mat beneath my right foot and just below the gas pedal. There is now a hole in the carpet and an indentation in the floor of the car. Also, there is a small toggle type object jutting out from under the carpet just below the gas pedal 2. it occurs every time I drive the car. 3. nothing has been done to correct the failure.

- Hampton, VA, USA

problem #15

Jan 302010

Highlander 4-cyl

  • 71,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated the floor mats became trapped between the brake and accelerator pedal almost causing two accidents. Also the carpet in the vehicle was ripped where the floor mats were. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and contact was told to call the Toyota manufacturer, inform them of the problems so she can get total compensation for her mats. The contact called and is waiting for them to call back. The failure mileage was 71,000. Updated 03/08/10

- Palm Desert, CA, USA

problem #14

Feb 222010


  • miles
Toyota should recall all older models relating to pedal accelerator. Toyota should be recalling all related vehicles as far back as 2003 models if it already knows the computer component in those cars have the same pedal accelerator problems as the newer models. Why aren't they made to do that? I have a 2005 Toyota Highlander and I am worried everytime I get in my car now.

- Grapevine, TX, USA

problem #13

Dec 112009


  • 52,991 miles
2005 Toyota Highlander hybrid. Driving to work in a blizzard on 12/11/09 all dash board lights went on. Dealership found that the sunroof housing failed causing $3,977.16 worth of damage. Being out of warranty the dealer agreed to pay $2,000. Toyota customer service another 1,500 and we paid $477.16. We picked up the car on 12/24/09. On 2/2/10 we returned it after noticing a burn spot on each of the plastic head light covers. The dealer found both highbeam bulbs melted, and suggested I had overused them causing the intense heat that did the damage. I am concerned it could be a result of delayed water damage showing up. Our concerns with this car(which we purchased new in Nov. Of 2005)goes back to 9/7/06 when the cruise control did not slow the car going down hills. On 2/28/07 we had brake and wiper blade issues. On 4/20/07 the blades locked during a downpour on the 5 freeway. I had to pull over in a panic. On 7/12/07 the cargo clip had to be replaced. On 9/10/07 that parking brake did not hold properly and there was a rattle from the right rear. On 11/6/07 we complained of squeaky brakes. Dealer tightened loose nuts and bolts on 4X4 assembly. On 4/1/08 the brakes were replaced @ 29,080 miles.on 10/22/08 the sound system failed and was replaced under warranty. Next week we are having the 5th set of tires put on this vehicle which has only 53,000 miles on it. The set to be replaced has only about 15,000 miles on them. They have a 60,000 mile warranty.

- Running Springs, CA, USA

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