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 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
47,520 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

problem #5

Jan 222014


  • 98,000 miles


The seat belt warning light came on. As you know and announced by Toyota there is a recall for this cable. However Toyota is, I feel dragging there feet doing absolutely nothing. Can you contact Toyota and find out what is being done. All I get is the standard answer----working on it. No fix yet.

- Charleston, SC, USA

problem #4

Jan 152008


  • miles
I believe there is a manufacturing flaw in the 2008 Toyota Highlander seat belts. When I initially purchased my Highlander (new), there was a child safety seat in the rear passenger-side seat, which used the latch system for installation (did not require use of seat belt). When I first went to install a booster seat in that position, which would require the seat belt to be used, the seat belt did not work (could not extend belt, would not retract, etc.). the belt had never been used and does not work. I have filed several complaints with Toyota, but they said they would not cover the replacement of my seat belt, because I was outside of my warranty time (# of miles). First, the belt had never been used (because a child safety seat had always been in that position since I purchased the vehicle). Second, the # of miles driven has no direct correlation to how often a rear seat belt is used. It may have a direct correlation to how often the driver's belt is used, but none of the other positions. Now, the other side rear seat belt is starting to have problems...oftentimes it does not retract properly/gets locked when it shouldn't, etc. The front belts also lock-up very easily and are hard to get unlocked once locked. I believe there to be a flaw in the manufacturing/components of these belts and feel Toyota should cover replacing them. This is a safety issue!!!

- New Hill, NC, USA

problem #3

Jan 242012

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 82,600 miles
The contact owns 2008 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated that while parked the rear passenger door side seat belt would not release and as a result it had to be cut. The contact also stated he heard a knocking noise emitting from the steering column. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for a diagnostic testing. The technician stated the seat belt and the lower steering shaft needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and stated the vehicle was not included in any recalls. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 82,600 and the current mileage was 93,000. Updated 12/12/12

- Easton, PA, USA

problem #2

Jul 042010


  • 57,000 miles
During a recent road trip visiting family, my son was riding in the third row seat in our Toyota Highlander. Shortly before arriving at his grandparents, he told me that he had become twisted in his seatbelt. As we were within 10 minutes of our destination, I told him that I would handle the situation when we arrived. A few minutes later he said that the belt was getting tighter and I asked him if I needed to stop and he said that would be a good idea. Before I could get stopped (less that a block), he indicated that he was having trouble breathing. When I looked back, I was startled to find that the seat belt had become wrapped around his neck and had ratcheted back in, pinning his neck back against the side of the car. Even after stopping, I was unable to pulled the seat belt out to get it out from around my son's neck -- he was strangling in front of my eyes. Fortunately, I was in a city with residents close by, one of which heard me screaming and running door to door, who brought out a kitchen knife to cut the belt and release my son. I realize that these ratchet-type seat belts are designed as a safety feature in the third row seat of many makes and models, however, feel that this design also presents a strangulation concern. In cases such as mine, there was no way to get the seat belt released and if this had occur while on rural roads or the interstate, the availability of a knife would have been more difficult to come by. I feel that either an emergency release button should be designed for the ratchet seat belts or consumers need to be aware of the potential for strangulation and advised to carry scissors for this possibility. I have voiced my concerns to Toyota and they are replacing the seat belt free of charge, however, I feel that it is important that individuals be aware of this possibility and be prepared.

- Highlands Ranch, CO, USA

problem #1

Jan 272008


  • miles
We have a Toyota Highlander (2008) which is having safety issues. The passenger seat belt keeps going off. There is nothing in the seat but the bell keeps going off. It doesn't happen all the time but it does it often enough that it could be a safety issue. My second complaint is the window. The windshield keeps chipping when anything hits it. There are several times when I had to replace this window. There could be no other cars around but if something hits it will spider. My third issue is there is a noise that happens when we start the car. Its in the engine and we cant find it. I have taken the car into Toyota but of course they cant find anything. I have had nothing but expensive issues with this unsafe car. I want to know if there have been any recalls on these issues? [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Vancouver, WA, USA

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