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:
9 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
16 / 0
Average Mileage:
73,501 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2008 Toyota Highlander Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #45

Oct 032016


  • miles


Takata recall my car was involved in the initial recall, Toyota replaced the airbag in September 2015. In October 2016 my airbag light came on again and it was diagnosed to be the same issue I had before - airbag issue. Toyota refuses to fix the car again stating they only have a one year warranty on warranty work which this issue is just out of that period. I have tried to reach a manager at the Toyota warranty center numerous times but have been unsuccessful.

- Beverly, MA, USA

problem #44

Aug 012015


  • 89,000 miles
The airbag malfunction alert light intermittently comes on in my 2008 Toyota Highlander limited. I took it to Toyota service and they said it was functioning normally on that particularly day. The alert light came on again 2 days later so I called Toyota corporate offices. Toyota said that there has been a recall on some of the same 2008 Highlanders, but Toyota claims that my vehicle was not one of the vehicles affected by the recall, although the symptoms of the problem with the airbag sensor wiring is identical in my car to what is described for those cars that were recalled. The airbag malfunction light in our car comes on more than 50% of the time. This has been ongoing now for about a year. The problem is apparent whenever the engine is on, whether the car is moving or staionary.

- Missouri City, TX, USA

problem #43

Feb 112016


  • 88,000 miles
I have a 2008 Toyota Highlander that has never been in a crash. On Thursday, Feb.11,2016 as I was driving down the highway the airbag warnings light came on. The info screen said to take my car to the dealer immediately and there were 2 warning signals on the dash as well. My car has 88,000 miles on it. I called our local dealer where I purchased the car brand new. Atkinson Toyota in bryan, Texas. I spoke to chris in service and he said how quick can I get it there. Naturally my husband was out of town so I said it would be Monday, feb15,2016 before I could get it in. I have since done research online and found hundreds of complaints, injuries and bewilderment as to why this issue has not been recalled. The service technician I spoke to gave me no information as to this problem occurring in other Highlanders, said he would need my car for an entire day and that I could rent a car onsite at my on expense. I feel that Toyota is being extremely negligent and putting passengers lives at stake. I plan to call the dealer tomorrow. Please report this problem as soon as possible before someone gets killed because their airbags did not deploy. I would call this gross negligence on the part of Toyota as it is clearly evident that they are aware of the problem. Thank you.

- College Station, TX, USA

problem #42

Jan 202014


  • miles


Passenger airbag is on all the time even when nobody sitting there.

- Lenexa, KS, USA

problem #41

Sep 122015


  • 144,000 miles
2008 Toyota Highlander involved in a rear/side crash sitting still; hit by other vehicle at 60 mph; 3 occupants inside vehicle all injured; no airbags deployed in vehicle at time of crash; if airbags only are to deploy on a frontal impact crash what good R they in other crashes to help the occupants of the vehicle?

- Monticello, KY, USA

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problem #40

May 252015


  • miles
I was driving the Toyota Highlander when I got struck on my front left side. I was hit pretty hard my head was caught between the steering wheel and the windshield. And the air bags never deployed I was rushed to the hospital along with 2 other people. And on the screen it said check system air bag failure.

- Elizabeth , NJ, USA

problem #39

Aug 202015


  • 115,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated that the SRS warning light flashed randomly. The dealer was notified of the failure. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. Also, the contact was notified that the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 14V168000 (air bags) and NHTSA campaign number: 11V245000 (air bags). The manufacturer was notified of the failure and provided no remedy. The approximate failure mileage was 115,000.

- Centennial, CO, USA

problem #38

Jul 262015


  • 98,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Highlander. While driving at 5 mph and parking the vehicle in the garage at home, the vehicle suddenly accelerated without the accelerator pedal being depressed. The vehicle crashed through the interior wall of the garage, only coming to a stop after damaging the outer brick facade of the building. The air bags did not deploy. There was no police report filed and no injuries sustained. The vehicle was towed to the dealer. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 98,000. Updated 10/07/15

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #37

Jul 132015

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 130,000 miles
The contact owned a 2008 Toyota Highlander. While driving approximately 35 mph, another driver ran a light and crashed head on into the contact's vehicle. The air bags failed to deploy. The contact sustained shoulder injuries, but did not receive medical attention. The vehicle was destroyed. A police report was filed. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign number: 14V168000 (air bags), but had not yet made an appointment for the recall repair. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 130,000...updated 08/26/15

- Inman, SC, USA

problem #36

Apr 302015


  • 139,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated that when the vehicle was started the air bag warning indicator was constantly illuminated. The failure recurred each time the vehicle was started. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and was diagnosed that the spiral cable assembly was faulty and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The manufacturer stated that the VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 14V168000 (air bags). The approximate failure mileage was 139,000.

- Spokane, WA, USA

problem #35

Aug 012014


  • 93,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Highlander. The contact received a notice for recall NHTSA campaign number 14V168000 (air bag). The contact indicated that after contacting the dealer and the manufacturer on multiple occasions he was informed that the parts needed to repair the vehicle were not available and no estimated time to receiving the parts could be provided. Also, the contact indicated that the air bag sensor light had illuminated. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 93,000.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #34

Oct 202014

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 95,601 miles
The airbag warning light illuminate during driving.

- Fort Polk, LA, USA

problem #33

Sep 012014

Highlander 6-cyl

  • miles
2008 Toyota Highlander. Consumer writes in regards to receiving an airbag notification. The consumer was informed, the parts were not available.

- Fayetteville, GA, USA

problem #32

Dec 112013

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
The spiral cable in the steering wheel has caused the airbag light to come on, which means the airbags will not operate in the event of a crash. Also the horn and cruise control will not operate. These items are all associated with the spiral cable. Toyota customer service said they know of the spiral cable problem but do not have a fix for it now.

- Frankfort, KY, USA

problem #31

Jul 232014

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 64,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Highlander. While driving approximately 4 mph, the SRS warning sensor illuminated continuously. The dealer stated that the spiral cable needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The contact received a recall notice for NHTSA campaign number: 14V168000 (air bags); however, the part needed for the repair was unavailable. The manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 64,000. Updated 9/18/14

- Madawaska , ME, USA

problem #30

May 292012


  • 55,000 miles
I was driving North on a divided one way street. A 2006 minivan was traveling South on the other side of the divided street. He made a left hand turn, ran through the yield sign and broadsided me on the driver side. I saw he was not going to stop and turned the wheel to the right, not in time. Took out the left side of the Highlander from the front wheel to the rear panel. His front airbag did deploy. My side airbag did not deploy and I know my head bounced against the side window twice. I asked the body shop to look at the airbag and they said that it appeared ok and apparently the strike did not warrant airbag inflation. The Highlander is 4 wheel drive, 20" wheels. Both left doors had to be replaced and damage was low on doors. Wheels also replaced. I think the side airbag should have deployed.

- Topeka, KS, USA

problem #29

May 242014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Highlander. The contact received a recall notification for NHTSA campaign id number 14V168000 (air bags) however, the contact was not able to have the vehicle repaired since the parts needed were currently unavailable. The manufacturer was not notified of the problem. The contact had not experienced the failure.

- Millis, MA, USA

problem #28

Mar 262014

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 72,000 miles
While driving down highway 17 South towards santa cruz, California on a raining Wednesday morning, I suddenly felt my vehicle loosing control in a slippery downhill highway and I hit the center divider with the left front of vehicle and car spun multiple times and hitting the left rear bumper to the wall facing the oncoming traffic. There are 4 of us in the vehicle all wearing seat belts and suffered injuries. The airbags did not deploy and the antilock brake system did not activate. My insurance company declared the vehicle total lost. I was advised to contact Toyota dealership in fremont to investigate the reasons why the air bag and ABS did not activate. I am about to call the dealership once they open in few minutes.

- Fremont, CA, USA

problem #27

Apr 012014

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 59,000 miles
Vehicle airbag light on with an indication of B1801. I was told the airbag may not deploy in an accident. Toyota has recalled other models for similar reasons. Car forums research has uncovered many other owners with same issue. Airbags are a true safety concern and Toyota, not the customer should fix issue.

- Riverhead, NY, USA

problem #26

Feb 272014


  • 67,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated while driving various speeds the SRS warning indicator remained illuminated. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer, who noticed that the SRS air bag spiral cable was faulty. The technician stated that the defect could suspend the air bag deployment during a crash. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the defect. The approximate failure mileage was 67,000.

- Binghamton, NY, USA

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