hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
61,635 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.

2009 Toyota Highlander electrical problems

electrical problem

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2009 Toyota Highlander Owner Comments

problem #15

Oct 232015


  • 142,000 miles


Rear door motor lift not working

- Providence Forge, VA, USA

problem #14

Oct 262015


  • 75,000 miles
Liftgate will not close or open when automatic button is pushed either on the dash or the button on the liftgate itself. Stays open and have to force the liftgate down manually. At times liftgate will open by itself while stationary or vehicle is moving. Closing or opening the liftgate automatically problem has be ongoing for about 6 months. Brought to dealership and they could not repair, but I could take to body shop for repair. Currently a service bulletin has been issued, but should be a safety recall.

- Franklin, TN, USA

problem #13

Sep 022015


  • 72,900 miles
$7155 quote to replace 2 electrical harnesses. Reason: "warning: SRS airbag check. Take vehicle to dealer". the junction box is hidden behind the driver side front panel. The pins in the junction box belonging to the airbag wiring harness (part # 82141-48R51) that runs underneath the dashboard were fried due to electrical short (unexplained). Because the junction box also brings the rear wiring harness (part # 82162-48D40 ) to tail, headliner, and back of the vehicle, this must be replaced as well. I fear that there is a major flaw in the electrical system / SRS airbags of this vehicle and the vehicle electrical system has experienced premature failure.

- Northbrook, IL, USA

problem #12

Oct 222014


  • 87,473 miles


Lift gate and power door motor broke. The door stocked and could not be opened or locked. I was lucky that my toddler was not around. I am horrified what would happened if his hand stock in it and the door could not be open. We took it to molle Toyota. They told me that beside the lift gate and motor the whole rear door and hinge has to be replace. They said that if I don't replace the doors I will have same problem few months later. They said that Toyota modified the new rear door that they are aware that the door in my vehicle causing problems. They refused to pay for the door because it's outside warranty. The cost of motor and lift gate repair is $1500 the cost with new door is $3500. I don't understand why Toyota does not pay for door that they are aware that are defective and needed to be modified. I also think that there should be a recall on this part because someone can get injured.

- Leawood, KS, USA

problem #11

Apr 152010


  • 20,000 miles
Recent trouble with electrical rear door hatch closing properly. My ongoing problem is at least 4+ years that nobody hears me. It's electrical, auto lock doors, ac or heat shuts off and on ad it wants, totally went to hi heat when I was driving, buttons do whatever they want to do no matter what is turned off or on.

- Breinigsville, PA, USA

problem #10

Apr 062015


  • 58,000 miles
This vehicle has an electrical problem, most mechanic shops I took it were not able to find out the nature of the problem. I've changed the battery twice and still experiencing the same problem. At the high way I noticed the that the temperature of the engine gets high, which obliged to drive in a much lower speed with the flashers on which always increases the traffic safety risks.

- Millersville, MD, USA

problem #9

Apr 172015


  • 91,650 miles


The power tailgate will not open and close automatically. You have to force it to open manually and force it to close manually because the motor gets stuck in one position. We called the Toyota to see if there was any recalls after reading similar complaints on the internet and few lawsuits against Toyota for the same problem, and Toyota said no there are no recalls for the tailgate motor. The motor itself costs about $1200 and only the Toyota has it, plus the labor to replace it which could amounts up to $1500 if you find an outside mechanic/body shop to do it for you. In addition, you might need to change the rails and shocks that hold the tailgate to the body of the car. If you take it to the Toyota, it could cost close to $5000. Since this has occurred with too many consumers, we believe there should be a recall for this problem because it could cause some injuries if someone gets trapped between the tailgate and the rear bumper/cargo area.

- Lewisville , TX, USA

problem #8

Apr 072015


  • 110,000 miles
The contact owned a 2009 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated that the vehicle caught fire on the front driver's seat. The fire department extinguished the fire. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and stated the vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 14V743000 (electrical system). The failure mileage was 110,000.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #7

Mar 212015

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 100,500 miles
The tailgate motor unexpectedly malfunctioned and closed the door in an unbalanced way causing the breaking of the tailgate hinges / arms. The tailgate stopped / froze and remained ajar about 1 inch on right passenger side of the door and latching on driver's side of the door. The door would not manually or electronically open back up. Had to have the door physically removed by Toyota dealership and replaced entire tailgate hatch, motor and hinges. Costing me in the neighborhood of $5,000 for parts, labor, and a rental car for 12 days to repair as my insurance with progressive insurance declined coverage under my comprehensive insurance as they related back to wear and tear. Potential severe crushing injury or fatality could have resulted from what occurred. Since the door continued to close after malfunctioning and froze in place (unable to physically open), had someone's hand or body part been caught under could have resulted in being caught / trapped between the door and the latching area. Quick search on the internet shows that this is not the first time that this has occurred. All showing similar cost associated with repair and all with the same life altering or severe injury consequence. Would like to get Toyota to recall the Highlander and fix the faulty motor before someone gets hurt or worse, killed by this default

- Spring, TX, USA

problem #6

Apr 252014

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 53,275 miles
Liftgate does will not open. Schaumburg Toyota reported the following on their service report the following: "found auto open & close motor seized. Need: To go to bodyshop - replace L/hinge, motor-door". Toyota schaumburg is speculating (pure speculation) that the car was bumped into and therefore the distances (which distances ?) are skewed. We (owners) believe that no such incidence happened. We E-mailed Toyota (case # [xxx].) who referred us back to [xxx]. [xxx] did call but offered no proof of their speculation (that the car was bumped into), neither did [xxx] provide the misalignment numbers. [xxx] did mention that Toyota has known about this problem but they will honor the problem only within 3 months/36,000 miles. The power to my liftgate is now disabled and I would like for Toyota to acknowledge that they have known about this problem and therefore make the liftgate fully functional (power connected) for me. We (owners) are honest when we say that the care was not bumped into from rear-side and we should not be paying for these repairs. I have tried my best to work it out with Toyota corporation and schaumburg Toyota, however, both are trying to deflect the responsibility away from themselves. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Northbrook, IL, USA

problem #5

Apr 012014

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 57,300 miles


Left driver's door actuator works sometimes when pressing remote control to unlock door. Left rear door works sometimes when pressing remote control to unlock door.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #4

Oct 022011

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
Rear door/hatch electric motor and latch/lock assembly failed. Several incidences of the rear electric hatch failing to seat/close occurred prior to the failure. The door would start down but would not close/latch. Toyota service department (dothan, al) said the door needed to be adjusted and did so. About one month later the door closed with a loud noise and would not open afterwards. Upon outside inspection, I saw the door was offset about a quarter of an inch toward the passenger side and seated about the same (1/4 inch) further in than normal. The door would not open at all at that point. The same service department initially accused me of damaging the car in an accident (untrue). They pried the door open, and recommended I disable the electric door motor and only operate the door manually. Later the same service personnel admitted there was a design problem with the door hinges that caused the failure.

- Enterprise, AL, USA

problem #3

Nov 252009

Highlander 4-cyl

  • 800 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated that she attempted to accelerate but the vehicle hesitated, after a brief delay, the accelerator engaged causing the vehicle to lunge forward. Also, the contact stated that all of the lights on the instrument panel continuously flickered and the driver's side brake light was defective. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician stated that they were not allowed to touch the vehicle and contacted an investigator to diagnose the failure. The investigator was unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 800 and the current mileage was 26,500.

- Spring, TX, USA

problem #2

May 022010

Highlander 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,624 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated that the air conditioning unit failed four times. The contact stated the repairs were made by an authorized dealer and the unit would work for a short time before failing again. In addition, the door locks would fail intermittently. The dealer was unable to duplicate the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer due to the failure of the air conditioning unit. The vehicle was left with the dealer where the contact was awaiting repairs. The failure mileage was 4,624.. updated 11/22/10 the consumer stated the cd player, door and hatch locks failed. The consumer has since received a 2010 replacement vehicle. Updated 11/23/10

- South Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #1

Jan 222010


  • 11,000 miles
2009 Toyota highland had been drived for about 10 minutes, parked, locked at 7:25 am on Jan 22, 2010. Approximately 20 minutes later a 6th ft high flames were discovered by the owner coming from the engine. Someone had already reported the fire and the fire department responded by 7:50 am.

- Rockville, MD, USA

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