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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
40,050 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 brakes problems

brakes problem

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2008 Toyota Highlander Owner Comments

problem #2

Aug 162008


  • 80,000 miles


I received a vsc error code, on a 2008 Toyota Highlander, not the hybrid model, but a limited top of the line model. The vehicle starts to accelerate by itself & then when you slam on the brakes to try to stop it, it fails to stop. In order to avoid slamming into the vehicle in front of me & to the right of me, I chose to turn left hard & run into the concrete divider. This was the 2nd occasion that this type of failure has happened to me. The 1st time was on December 15, 2010 & I also chose to turn left hard & strike the divider instead of rear ending the vehicle in front of or side swiping the vehicle to the right of me. On the 1st occasion, none of the airbags deployed & because of that I ended up striking my head on the either the drivers side glass or some hard object and losing my short term memory. The vehicle & then crossed 3 lanes of traffic, finally off of an exit ramp & came to rest after striking a fence pole. The 2nd time it happened was on August 16, 2010. I also chose to strike the concrete divider as opposed to striking the vehicle in front of me or to the right of me. Then somehow I also crossed 3 lanes of highway & finally coming to rest after striking a light pole. The driver side curtain airbag did deploy this time so I did not lose consciousness nor did I lose my short term memory. It was at that point that I noticed that a 2nd error code also came up stating brake failure.

- Marlboro, NJ, USA

problem #1

Mar 012008


  • 100 miles
Our 2008 Toyota Highlander has had the same intermittent braking problem since we purchased it in 2008. When we brake for the first second or so of depressing the brake pedal the brakes will either not respond or there will be a slight surge in acceleration. After further depression of the brake pedal, the brakes will engage, but the initial engagement is not smooth. It feels like someone that has braked their vehicle too rapidly. This issue comes and goes. When we take it to the dealer, they say they cannot recreate the issue and say there is nothing wrong with the vehicle.

- Sherrills Ford, NC, USA

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