really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
9,702 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2009 Toyota Highlander Owner Comments

problem #9

Jul 302013

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 30,352 miles


As my wife came how with my daughter, she proceeded to reverse the car into our driveway to park the car in our garage as she normally does everyday. In the driveway was also my car where it is parked everyday. As she was proceeding to go back, the car all of a sudden accelerated on its own and took off. She tried to press the brake but to no avail. She continued to press the brake, however the car would not stop. She proceeded to hit my car and damaged both cars from front to back. Her car on the passenger side, and mine on the driver side. After hitting both cars, her car proceeded to go further back and crash into the house causing major damage. That is when the car actually stopped. It was at this time that she was able to put the car in park and turn the car off. Both cars and the house now need major repairs. My daughter was sitting in the back at the time of the incident.

- Oradell, NJ, USA

problem #8

Jun 202013


  • 46,132 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated that while driving 20 mph, the vehicle began to accelerate independently. The contact applied an immense amount of pressure to the pedal but the vehicle did not stop. After some time, the contact was able to stop the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the contact was awaiting diagnosis of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 46,132.

- Cupertino, CA, USA

problem #7

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 #6

Sep 302009


  • 783 miles


The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Highlander. The contact was reversing from a parking space at 5 mph when the accelerator pedal became stuck and caused the vehicle to accelerate rapidly. The contact mentioned that she was unable to stop the vehicle and as a result, she crashed into a tree. A police report was not filed and no injuries were reported. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 783 and the current mileage was 22,000.

- Spring, TX, USA

problem #5

Sep 112009

Highlander 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 400 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated that the suspension was loose and the braking system would not operate properly. The brakes would go to the floorboard when depressed. The brakes would not engage intermittently when depressed. The contact stated that the driver's seat would no longer move backward, and was positioned entirely too close to he steering wheel. The contact stated there was little room for movement when driving. The vehicle was taken to four separate dealers and the contact was told that the vehicle was operating as designed. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 400 and the current mileage was 6,500. The consumer stated when she realized a police officer was behind she attempted to stop, the vehicle continued to accelerate and the brakes collapsed very low to the floor. The consumer had to pump the brakes to slow the vehicle down. The consumer also stated the lug nuts broke on the front driver side wheel. The cruise control was inoperative, and the engine had a slight ticking sound and the rotors were rusting. Updated evoq 12/23/10 the consumer stated the seat belt wrapped tightly around her throat. The front wheel was loose, there was a whining noise coming from the vehicle. When the consumer attempted to accelerate the vehicle would stall, the cruise control no longer worked. The accelerator pedal no longer stays in place and the steering wheel turned in different directions. Updated 07/07/11.

- Henderson, NC, USA

problem #4

Mar 022010


  • 2,500 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Highlander. Whenever the vehicle is sitting idle and the contact would attempt to accelerate, the two front wheels would begin to spin out without warning. The vehicle was not diagnosed by the dealer. The current and failure mileages were 2,500.

- Englishtown, NJ, USA

problem #3

Dec 182009


  • 1,000 miles


The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated that on at least four occasions, the vehicle suddenly accelerated when the driver would depress the pedal gently after a stop. The vehicle also accelerated when the vehicle was shifted into reverse. The contact took the vehicle to the dealership but the dealer could not find what the cause for the failure was. He called the manufacturer and the representative instructed him to take the vehicle to the dealership. The vehicle had not been repaired at the time of the complaint. The current mileage was approximately 7,000. The failure mileage was approximately 1,000.

- West Monroe, LA, USA

problem #2

Oct 212009


  • 700 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Highlander. While driving 40 mph and removing her foot from the brake pedal the vehicle accelerated on its own. The contact applied normal pressure to the brake pedal when the vehicle slowed down and stopped. The failure is consistent and occurs daily. The dealer stated that they couldn't duplicate the problem or identify a failure where the accelerator pedal lost pressure while driving. The vehicle has not been repaired. The failure mileage was 700 and the current mileage was 3300.

- Solon, OH, USA

problem #1

Jun 012009


  • 4,648 miles
I purchased a 2009 Toyota Highlander, in February 2009. On June 1, 2009, I was northeast of rockville, Indiana on highway 47 in this Toyota Highlander. I approached a slow moving vehicle on a straight section of roadway and passed the vehicle. As I was passing I felt like the car was going faster than I was accelerating. When I pulled back into the right lane the car was going even faster and I realized that the car was accelerating on its own. Luckily, I was still on a long straight section of the road and had some time. I first tried to brake but the car kept going even faster. I put the car in neutral and started braking and luckily found a place to pull off the road. I was completely shocked that the engine was racing uncontrollably. I looked down at the accelerator and nothing was pushing or touching it. I then turned off the car, put the car in ┐park┐, got out of the car and looked around the accelerator again to make sure that nothing was pushing on it, then waited for about a minute and restarted the car. The car started with the engine racing. I turned off the car and restarted the car two more times and each time the engine raced uncontrollably. I turned off the car, left a message for my husband on his phone and waited for five minutes hoping my husband would call back. He did not call so I decided to start the car one more time. When I did, the car started normally and the engine did not race. I tried to calm down emotionally and drove home not knowing when or if the accelerator would be a problem. I took the Highlander in for service to jordan automotive group, mishawaka, Indiana on 6/3/2009 and they insisted that the floor mats were the problem. I do not believe this because I had checked everything around the accelerator when the engine was racing and there was absolutely nothing touching the accelerator. The problem is electronic. I do not feel safe in this vehicle.

- Edwardsburg, MI, USA

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