Notes: 2008 is the first year of the 2nd generation Highlander, & it may be a model year to avoid as Toyota most likely worked out some production quality issues with the new model.

The 2009 Highlander is the has far fewer complaints.


fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
16,978 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.

2008 Toyota Highlander body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2008 Toyota Highlander Owner Comments

problem #2

Feb 202011

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 27,957 miles


Events leading up to failure: I first noticed that my low tire pressure warning light was on when I started out this morning. I stopped at a gas station to check the tires and noticed a large screw stuck in my front left tire. My tire pressure gauge registered less than 5psi. I filled the tire to at least 25psi and headed back home, figuring I could put the spare on in my garage and take the flat to be repaired. I was glad to get back as the biggest snowstorm of the season was an hour away. The failure: I was able to get the jack and other equipment out of the back and successfully lowered the spare tire onto the ground. My problem is that I cannot remove the spare tire from the carrier cable. We've had a lot of salt sprayed on the roads recently and all the parts were white. I sprayed with WD40, but no luck. The manual is no help as it only shows a picture of the spare and a rotating arrow. I came inside to look online to see if there was a solution.. none. I then saw a recall listed for the 2008-2010 sienna (id# 8250). Because of a safety issue with spare tire carrier cable, it could possibly become corroded and cause the spare to fall off from under the vehicle. The recall says to see an amended recall for July 19, 2010. I can't find it. Owners were to receive a letter "when a permanent remedy was available." Repairs were expected to start in October 2010. I'm thankful I wasn't out trying to unsuccessfully remove the spare tire in a snowstorm, but a useless owners manual, a defective piece of equipment, and especially a recall for the same piece of equipment on another model with no amended repair information is unacceptable to me. Why weren't Highlander owners like me notified as well" have sienna vehicles been repaired" now I have to drive the car with a flat front tire to a Toyota dealership to get the spare tire taken off the vehicle so I can take the flat off and get it repaired. I consider this another ball dropped by Toyota.

- Appleton, WI, USA

problem #1

Nov 252007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,000 miles
Toyota Highlander 2008 limited can be put in reverse with no visible or audible warning that a door is open. Resulted in backing out of garage and causing property damage. Highlander has lcd screen to display warnings and other messages to the driver. Same screen is used to show rear camera image in reverse. When car is in reverse, rear camera image supersedes warning message giving the driver the impression that all systems are go and it is ok to back-up. Toyota needs to reprogram onboard computer so that if any door is open, or if any other warnings (perhaps seatbelts) are engaged the rear camera view does not show on the lcd screen so that the warnings car be displayed. Given the lcd screen and after having the car for only two months, it is clear that drivers will look to that screen for information and not so much use the instrument panel lights.

- Brentwood, TN, USA

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