fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
18,654 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.

2011 Toyota Highlander drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2011 Toyota Highlander Owner Comments

problem #7

Jan 052015

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 73,682 miles


T-sb-0201-11 from Toyota 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 Toyota and Lexus vehicles going back to at least 2008-present. This is a major issue, and I feel this should be handled as a recall instead of a tsb due to the severity of the issue if/when the pipe breaks. I recently elected to have my vehicle repaired on my own just so I wouldn't have to worry about this issue happening to me or my wife, and thus blowing up my Highlander's engine causing thousands of dollars in damages. Seems pretty bad that a recall can be issued for floor mats and accelerator issues, but no recall is issued for this issue which can drain the oil from your engine in a minute, blow up your engine, and then possibly wreck your vehicle. Consumer's engines are now being destroyed, and this is showing up in different online forums. I feel that the NHTSA needs to force Toyota to replace all of the defective engine oil cooler pipes with the newer metal ones that the tsb addresses. They should also be forced to reimburse all costs to those individuals that either needed to have the repair done, or decided to preventatively have the repair done on their own before those pipes burst on their own.

- Mckinney, TX, USA

problem #6

Oct 022013

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 25,000 miles
When making a left or right hand turn from a stop or barely moving and applying the gas pedal slowly, the car acts like it going to stall. I say "acts" because if the engine stalls, it would be difficult to brake or steer. The engine has not stopped in these cases; it seems like the transmission is trying to shift up or down but cannot make up its mind and just coasts (scary if oncoming traffic is closing the gap). Making left hand turns are the most dangerous since you are looking for a break in the oncoming traffic before completing the turn; oncoming cars tend not to slow down when they see you making a turn in front of them.

- Cary, NC, USA

problem #5

Sep 232011

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 3,467 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated that the check engine warning light illuminated constantly and the engine exhibited an abnormal roaring noise. The vehicle was taken back to the dealer several times for the failure who advised the contact that nothing was wrong with the engine and the noise the engine was exhibiting was a normal occurrence. The contact stated that in August 2012 while driving 65 mph, the vehicle made a clucking noise and the vehicle stalled without warning. The contact was able to place the gear into reverse and into a parking area. The vehicle was towed to the dealer who located the failure as the transmission solenoid clutch assembly. The transmission solenoid clutch assembly was replaced however, the failure was not corrected. The vehicle would not accelerate and the abnormal noise persisted. The failure mileage was 3,467 and the current mileage was 20,896. Updated 10/03/12 updated 10/3/2012

- Manlius , NY, USA

problem #4

Aug 102011

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 8,500 miles


At low speed, the auto has a serious delay when you press down on the gas pedal to enter a lane of traffic such as entering an interstate from an entrance ramp. After the delay the auto then surges into the traffic lane. Toyota officials claim it is caused by a communication problem between the computer and the transmission. They told me that it cannot be corrected. I feel that the delay and surge is not safe.

- Troutville, VA, USA

problem #3

Apr 182012


  • 5,000 miles
I only have 7K miles in my car I own the car for only 1 year. I notice that the steering wheel is not balance at all. At least 5-10 degree to the right. I have my car service every 6 months with Toyota it should be balanced and done the tire rotation"?" also the transmission occasionally stall about 1-2 second when I accelerate to 30-40 mph. I am afraid that the transmission will have problem within this 2-3 years. Like Honda transmission failure on Odyssey.

- Elmhurst, NY, USA

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problem #2

May 012012

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 5,930 miles
The following email/report was sent to the Toyota dealership from whom I had purchased this new vehicle: I am writing to report an abnormal incident, which may or may not be related to the stall problem I had encountered, and which you inspected during my last visit. In this incident, I was very gently trying to move the car into my garage from a stationary position (there is a small 10 to 15 degree grade over a 3 ft distance before the garage floor became level again). As I slowly pressed down on the accelerator, the car started to move slowly in a normal fashion, but after moving half way into the garage, it suddenly accelerated, almost at full throttle... I had to slam on the brake as hard as I could react, missing a crash by only a few inches. As I tried to analyze what happened, the only thing that I can think of is that as I was moving slowly enough where most likely only the electric motor was moving the car, but then very suddenly that electric motor sourced its absolute full power to accelerate the wheels ---almost as if the sw decided to ignore my very soft pressure on the gas pedal and source maximum power. Please advise when your Toyota engineers will be visiting you again so that they may review this latest abnormality. I am also forwarding this message to the national auto safety department, since I am now quite concerned about safety.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #1

Oct 012011


  • 9,000 miles
Vehicle makes a very noticeable, irritating whine or whistle noise when accelerating at 40mph. Stops when gas pedal is released. Very constant and annoying. Did not happen when car was first purchased. Have been told by Toyota that it was the transfer case, which they replaced. Did not fix the problem. Now they tell me it is normal. Test drove another vehicle from their lot of the same exact year, make, model. No noise at all. This is not normal. Toyota knows about the problem, but they are denying it. Other Toyota vehicles (I.e. rav4, Tundra) had/have the same problem. Forums tell me it is the transmission. Waiting on appointment for a field tech from Toyota to examine it.

- Hudson, NH, USA

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