pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
65,600 miles
Total Complaints:
9 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace intermediate steering shaft (5 reports)
  2. not sure (4 reports)
2012 Toyota Highlander steering problems

steering problem

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2012 Toyota Highlander Owner Comments

problem #9

Oct 012020

Highlander SE 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles


Popping and clunking sound in steering or suspension. I had it fixed within 3 years after I bought this car and it happened again some time near 10/1/2020. This is definitely faulty design and Toyota should recall this car and responsible for the fix. This is SAFTY issue.

- mikelumiere93, Fontana, US

problem #8

Oct 102020

Highlander 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 179,000 miles

I bought a used 2012 Highlander thinking that Toyota made reliable and mechanically sound vehicles. I noticed the clunking feel or noise within a day or two after purchase. I did not notice this when I took if for a short test drive. I suspect that the problem probably had existed for a long time given the high mileage on the vehicle. Maybe that is why the previous owner (only one owner) got rid of it.

Anyway, after doing some fact finding on the internet, I am finding out that is a common problem with the 2008 to 2013 Highlanders and Toyota won't owe up to fixing it. The noise or clunk feel is not real bad yet (surprising given the mileage of the vehicle). So I am going to drive it for a while to see if it gets worse. I understand that the fix is somewhere between 900 and $1500 dollars. Not ready to spend that much right now unless it becomes a safety issue which Toyota should do a recall regardless.

- roningram, West Richland, US

problem #7

Oct 112019

Highlander V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles

I think this is an issue with Toyota Highlander and they should do recall.

- Rahul S., Lansdale, PA, US

problem #6

Jan 172019

Highlander Limited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles


When turning the steering wheel, especially on an incline, I feel a "pop" in my 2012 Toyota Highlander steering wheel. It appears I have a problem with the intermediate steering shaft as my experience directly relates to similar comments made by others. I am taking the car to a repair shop to get this fixed although I agree with others that this recurring problem should have been the subject of a recall by Toyota given its frequency and potential for significant injury.

Update from Mar 16, 2019: Repair shop confirmed I needed to replace my intermediate steering shaft at a cost of $580. It appears this repair would have been covered under basic warranty but since the problem usually occurs well after the warranty period has expired Toyota is off the hook (and hence need for a recall).

- richwall43, Nokesville, US

problem #5

Jul 082015

Highlander V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles

my experiences is that toyoa does not care about quality anymore. bad design, bad materials, expensive service, my highlander has steering knock noise after using for 3 years or so. it sounds terrible like something will fall down. the tires have to be replaced every 13,000 miles or they will not stop on snow. the passenger side airbag lights up at 25000km. the mirror above the driver seat fell off a few months after we bought it. terrible terrible vehicle, never buy Toyota again.

- Jim O., north reading, MA, US

problem #4

Nov 202015

Highlander 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,496 miles

There is a noise in the steering column when I turned left or right and something the steering shake. Toyota should have make a recall on this problem because it must be potentialy dangerous. I have to bring in to repair soon and the cost gone be probably clause to 700$

- Pierre R., Quebec, QC, Canada

problem #3

Jul 072016

Highlander SE AWD 3.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,753 miles


Became a safety problem when at high rate of speed I had to brake hard and the ABS intermittently pushed the pads against the disc and created an uneven shake from side to side in the steering shaft. Very noisy and looked like the steering may had self destroyed or may be about to brake at any time.

- Miguel V., Los Angeles, CA, US

problem #2

Aug 182015

Highlander Limited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

Progressively worsening clunking/clicking noise/feel in the steering when you turn the steering wheel to the right or left. Notice at all speeds but more pronounced at lower speeds. Dealer noted that Toyota has an internal memo on this issue, but to date has not issued a recall. According to the dealer, the memo identifies the problem as the intermediate steering shaft and that Toyota has corrected the issue with a new/replacement part. Estimated cost from dealer is approximately $500.

- jstew, Charlottesville, VA, US

problem #1

Oct 212013

Highlander 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,000 miles

So about two weeks ago, I hear a low toned clunk noise while I turn the steering wheel. A couple days later, I hear it again and its gotten louder. The noise gets louder and occurs more frequently. I asked a mechanic from the Toyota service department, who is also my neighbor, if he knows about this problem. He tells me that its a common problem with the 2012 Highlander Steering shaft assembly, and that they have done quite a few replacements but its not a recall-bummer!!!!!

Armed with this knowledge, I scheduled the car for service with the dealer, bringing it in and I asked to speak to the service dept. manager. I tell him how dis-satisfied I am and ask him if this was a common problem. He says, "no,I've never heard this complaint before". They proceed to replace the exact part that my neighbor said was the common problem and tell me that if it wears out again, to bring the car back and they'll continue to replace it under warranty until the warranty expires in three years. WHAT HAPPENS IN YEAR 4,5,6 AND SO ON ?

Does anyone with a 2012 Highlander have the same problem with the steering and transmission ?

- Scott K., Hagatna, Guam, US

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