really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
13,698 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2012 Toyota Highlander Owner Comments

problem #5

Oct 012015


  • 37,000 miles


Placed vehicle in park in garage and took foot off brake. I opened the car door to make sure in was parked straight, and the car began rolling backwards. Them car rolled about a foot, with the door striking a garage pillar before I could apply the brakes. Damage to the vehicle was only cosmetic, but the event was unnerving and potentially very dangerous.

- Chester, NJ, USA

problem #4

Sep 012012


  • 1,500 miles
We were driving in a parking lot with our 2 small children when all of the sudden the car jerked like we were rear ended. I pushed the gas pedal again to have it only happen multiple times. It was very scary. If we were on the road we would have definitely been in an accident. We called roadside assistance and had to have the vehicle towed to the nearest Toyota dealer which was very far from our home. The dealer put in a new transmission after finding metal debris in the fluid. After a few days the car started acting up again and was brought to another dealer. That dealer ordered yet another transmission and put in a second one making sure it was calibrated. Toyota corporate out of California was involved the whole time. They responded and was on top of everything that had occurred with the defective vehicle.

- Saint Charles , IL, USA

problem #3

May 182013


  • 18,800 miles
I was stopped at an intersection (red light) and was needing to make a left turn. The light turned green but this intersection does not have a green arrow so you have to yield to the oncoming traffic. As I proceeded forwarded a little bit into the middle of the intersection so I could make my left turn, I slowed down to almost a stop because there were too many cars and I couldn't turn at that moment. Then there was a window of opportunity for me to turn shortly after I slowed down almost to a stop and I stepped on the gas to go, then nothing happened. The vehicle just paused for about 2 or 3 seconds and then suddenly jumped forward. My wife was in the car and she thought it was me mashing on the accelerator pedal but I didn't, it's just that the vehicle didn't do anything and then suddenly jumped forward! luckily when this delay happened, I wasn't in the oncoming traffics lane, nor were there any oncoming traffic close at that moment. At the time this happened, I even thought maybe it was me not giving the vehicle enough gas, but it happened again about a month later. This is when I did a google search for delayed acceleration and I came upon other's who have mentioned the exact same thing happening with their Toyota vehicles as well. Please look into this as this is very dangerous. This vehicle is less than two years old and I've read that others have had this problem with their older Toyota vehicles. I've even read that Toyota knows of the issue already but they have no fix"???"

- Grand Prairie, TX, USA

problem #2

Jun 292012

Highlander 4-cyl

  • 6,200 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated that while driving 40 mph, she attempted to brake but the vehicle accelerated rapidly instead. She attempted to apply the brake however the brake pedal had become very stiff. She had to apply extreme pressure to the brake and the vehicle stopped 15 feet later. She shifted into neutral and turned the vehicle off. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis where the contact was informed that there was an idle up clutch defect, which occurred at low speeds and when the air conditioner was activated. The dealer would not repair the vehicle. The manufacturer was notified but offered no assistance. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure mileage was 6,200 and current mileage was 6,800. Updated 08/28/12 the consumer stated the vehicle began to move forward and the engine reached 1600 RPM even though she was only driving 10 mph. The brake pedal became hard and the vehicle would not stop. She shifted into neutral and applied the brakes again and the vehicle stopped. She then shut off the ignition and waited about 7-10 minutes.

- San Rafael, CA, USA

problem #1

Jul 172012

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 4,989 miles
After pulling into a parking space, then braking, I backed up to realign the vehicle better. When I pulled in this time and brake, the vehicle did not stop. I continued to put my foot on the brake repeatedly, but the vehicle still did not stop. The engine then revved up and accelerated. At this same time the gear shift went into neutral and then back into drive. The vehicle finally came to a stop as it hit the building in front of me, causing damage to the building, and the front of my vehicle. I was able to back up the vehicle and park it in the parking space, with not problem braking it to stop this time.

- Salem, OR, USA

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