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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
96,552 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2008 Toyota Highlander Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #9

Oct 042013

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 84,000 miles


The vvt-I oil cooler hose burst resulting in a major engine oil spill in a residential driveway. The Toyota dealership and Toyota corporate headquarters refuse to assume responsibility for the defective part because the vehicle is outside the warranty period and because they claim there is no recall for this part on the Highlander. This same vvt-I oil cooler hose has been recalled on 1.6 million us rav4's, Camry's and other Toyota models. Not only could a total loss of engine oil cause catastrophic engine failure, this issue can also be considered a safety concern. If engine oil were to have made contact with hot engine parts or hot exhaust piping, then a fire may have occurred which could have resulted in serious vehicular damage and loss of life.

- Williamstown, NJ, USA

problem #8

Sep 042013

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 128,635 miles
2008 Toyota Highlander was taken to Toyota dealer in November 2011 after receiving notice to have defective oil cooler hose checked. In September 2013 replacement oil cooler hose failed while on highway traveling at seventy miles per hour. Oil was observed covering bottom of vehicle and film of oil on back of vehicle. The oil gauge indicated no oil in engine. I believe this resulted in a safety hazard from both inhaling fumes and potential fire hazard. Vehicle was towed to Toyota dealer and oil cooler hose replaced for second time in less than two years.

- Sagamore Hills, OH, USA

problem #7

Mar 262013


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated that while driving 10 mph, the engine stalled without warning. The vehicle was restarted and taken to the dealer for inspection. The dealer was unable to diagnose the cause of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 100,000.

- Farmington Hill, MI, USA

problem #6

Jul 232013

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 32,800 miles


Low oil notice came on. Drive 1/4 mile to oil change facility. Was told almost no oil on dipstick. Oil refilled and drove appro 5 miles to dealership- star Toyota, league city, tx. Have researched and noted tsb issued on 3/11/2011- NHTSA reference # 10033553 with this exact repair problem inclusive of my vehicles exact failure was not notified by star Toyota dealership of this defect while under warranty. Vehicle within 5-6 months of basic warranty; 5 year of 60,000 miles.

- Friendswood, TX, USA

problem #5

Jun 262013

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 79,000 miles
Engine began revving upon acceleration from a stop light. Engine warning light came on indicating low oil pressure. Pulled into auto repair shop who found dipstick was dry. Poured oil into engine only to see it leaking out from below passenger side. Car was then towed to local Toyota dealer. Dealer replaced oil cooler hose 15767-31010 which had failed with 15767-31020 (all metal assembly). Replaced oil and restarted engine. Engine is making tapping sound and dealer recommends full replacement. Depending on option, cost is between $7500 for a used Toyota engine to $8300 for jarco engine (which I believe is rebuilt). This occurred in South Carolina while we were vacationing from Maryland. Thankfully, we were not on the highway when this occurred. Will have to leave vehicle here for repair and fly back to drive it home later. Btw, the single pipe oil hose was replaced in May 2010 under the ssc 90K recall at 33K miles. That is not the part that failed. This is the dual manifold rubber hose that Toyota has now replaced with an all metallic assembly. As far as I know, this part was never recalled, but there is a tsb 02011-11 available.

- Timonium, MD, USA

problem #4

Jun 142013


  • 64,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated that after parking the vehicle, he noticed a large amount of oil in the driveway. The contact checked the oil level and it showed that there was no oil in the vehicle. He then added oil and found a steady stream leak from a rubber hose. The contact purchased an after market metal hose and replaced the defective hose. He then drained the oil and found that there were metal shavings in the oil, which he assumed came from the bearings. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure and current mileage was 64,000.

- Toledo, OH, USA

problem #3

Apr 082013

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 59,000 miles


I just became award of this: "T-sb-0201-11 from Toyota that states "some vehicles equipped with 2gr-fe/fxe towing package engines may exhibit an oil seep from the engine oil cooler pipes." This tsb affects my model year and I believe it also affects Toyota and Lexus vehicles going back to at least 2008-present. To me this is a major safety issue and this should be handled as a recall instead of a tsb due to the severity of the issue if/when the pipe breaks. The rupture of the oil line will cause the engine to seize thus increasing the risk of a crash with resulting injury and possible death. And there is the hazard to other motorists with oil on the roadway. Compared to the recall for floor mats and accelerator issues, this issue, which can drain the oil from your engine very quickly, destroy the engine, and very possibly cause an accident should be of major concern to all. The Toyota advice to check for slow oil drips around the rubber hose is unrealistic for the owner due to the location. And the schedule routine service interval is much too long to wait for such an significant inspection. NHTSA needs to compel Toyota to replace all of the defective rubber engine oil cooler pipes with the newer metal ones that the tsb addresses. This directive should apply to all Toyota including already made replacements for which the owners have paid for.

- Silverdale, WA, USA

problem #2

Mar 012013

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 43,000 miles
My wife started the car in the morning to drop the kid to school which in within 2 miles of our home. It was cold day of winter. She heard a loud noise from the front part of hood when she drove about 1/2 a mile and was worried with the kids what is that noise. Any how after that the car had start making squishing noise from the front of the hood. We took to Toyota and they said water pump needs to be replaced. I have also read some other people reviews online regarding the water pump of Toyota vehicles. My wife called the Toyota motor co for warranty and they said, even that is not a part of power train and it is not covered under warranty. So we are ending up paying extra approx $650 to Toyota for the replacement.

- Wylie , TX, USA

problem #1

Feb 012013

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 64,021 miles
Oil leak from backside of engine. Toyota has acknowledge the issue with a service bulletin tsb-0321-08 but did not perform a recall. Therefore, you may experience this problem and you may find the issue after your warranty expired. This is a very expensive repair - estimated to be more than $2K. Toyota continue to experience quality problems and should honor their products within or outside their warranty when it is clearly related to poor quality.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

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