really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
16,927 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.

2012 Toyota Highlander body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2012 Toyota Highlander Owner Comments

problem #6

Jun 062016


  • 15,000 miles


Power liftgate on 2012 Toyota Highlander fails to full close and latch. 4 years old now, problem began 2 years ago at 12,000 miles, and now 1 year past 3/36 warranty and 47,000 miles. Liftgate has been completely manual for last 1-1/2 years. Using buttons to close power liftgate results in left side where motor is to be close to closed, while right side has an inch gap to D-pillar. No other reason for me to go to dealership, so I haven't scheduled an appointment. Finally took it in June 6, 2016. Over past 2 years dealer service described solution as simple adjustment. Have asked at least twice "are there any recalls or service bulletins for my Highlander"" answer is always no, including day I took it for "simple adjustment". however recent research finds two recalls and multiple service bulletins for 2008-2012 Highlanders. If they have had issues with power liftgates since 2008, why is there no recall on this" potential cause is powerful motor pulls too hard and bends hinges. New design uses pair of power struts to pull evenly. Estimate approaches $600 for new hinges and other parts ($253+tax), paint, and labor. Already paid $100+tax to diagnose this issue, which took all of 15 minutes, leading me to believe they already knew about this issue, and lied about recalls and bulletins. My wife's 2014 rav4 had 1 of 2 struts replaced, and other issues reported on newer Highlanders. Would like Toyota to fix this known issue without further cost.

- Lebanon, TN, USA

problem #5

Jun 262015


  • miles
Rear liftgate arm detached from door. The bolt that attaches the liftgate arm to the door stripped. The pieces shot off from the vehicle wile the arm was attempting to close the gate.

- Simpsonville, SC, USA

problem #4

Aug 082015


  • miles
Rear tailgate no longer works.started not closing off and on in Jan. 2015. Finally stopped working all together in August 2015.took to my local dealership to see why it was not working they diagnosed it as a broken motor.I would be responsible for the cost to fix it.since it is now out of warranty. Contacted the Toyota corporation they went over my complaint and said they would not cover it under warranty even though there is a Toyota service bulletin on it in 2012 and many class action law suits filed on it.

- Winter Garden, FL, USA

problem #3

Jun 122014

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 55,760 miles


I opened the power rear door by depressing the switch next to the steering wheel and the door began to open, made a clunking noise, and closed itself. I exited the vehicle and manually opened the rear door at which time I noticed the liftgate arm (with the screw and washer still attached to the exposed end) had become detached from the door. Despite having 55K+ miles, my Highlander is just over 2 years old and there has not been excessive usage of the power door. I'll be taking it to the nearest dealer for assessment.

- Senatobia, MS, USA

problem #2

Jul 052013

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 14,000 miles
Over the course of a few weeks we noticed a significant smell in our car. We have rubber floormats, so did not notice that there was a drainage problem in our A/C condenser. The blockage caused drainage to back up into the body of our vehicle and mold started to grow all over the inside of the vehicle on the carpet underneath the rubber floormats. We later learned that the blockage was caused by a spider web in the A/C condenser drainage tube. I took the car to the dealer and they called Toyota and learned it would not be covered under my extended Toyota care warranty and any costs would have to be paid out of pocket. I just learned that similar model year Toyota vehicles, including the avalon and Camry, are under recall due to problems that result from spider webs blocking the A/C condenser drainage tube. This is clearly a design defect that covers more than just the avalon and Camry models, but the recall did not cover my Highlander. We have an infant son and the growth of mold could have severely impacted his health and breathing.

- Rochester, NY, USA

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problem #1

Jul 262013

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 16,800 miles
This event happened when my Toyota Highlander 2012 (SE V6 4WD) was parked and turned off. I pressed the remote control button to automatically open the car hatch door. The door was open and stay up. However, when I was putting some grocery bags inside the car, the door came down without any announcement and hitting my head. I had head ache for a couple of days. After this happened, the back door does not stay up. I brought the car to the dealer two days after the incident happened. I am still waiting for a decision from Toyota customer experience center and without my car (3 weeks and counting). I am claiming a car replacement from Toyota. This is the fifth incident with this car (five car repairs by the dealership under Toyota guaranty) during its first year of ownership (a brand new car). Really disappointed from Toyota car quality. I am afraid that next time would be a fatality or another serious injury with irreversible consequences.

- West Chester, OH, USA

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