really awful
Crashes / Fires:
6 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
16,956 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.

2013 Toyota Highlander brakes problems

brakes problem

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2013 Toyota Highlander Owner Comments

problem #8

Nov 302015


  • 36,000 miles


While driving uphill, the brakes malfunctioned and brakes (and the gas) wouldn't work. My car slid backwards down the hill into a street with an oncoming car. Brake function did not return the entire slide down the hill (approx. 65 feet), and the screen on the dashboard said "brake malfunction, contact dealer immediately" it was towed to the dealership over a week ago with no resolution to date from Toyota.

- Berwyn, PA, USA

problem #7

Apr 012015

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 30,500 miles
I turned on my car, put it on drive when I tried to press the gas and turn the wheel to get out of the parking lot the steering wheel locked so hard I could not turn it. I pressed on the brakes but the brakes were not functioning at all as I was pressing on the brake pad the check engine light came on and so did the brake light on the dash board, on the big screen where it shows my info and other fancy gadgets showed "brake malfunction park car in safe zone" as the car drove forward by itself and the brakes were not working the car hit an empty parking space to come to a complete stop. I was at a school parking lot with kids everywhere around me!

- Balch Springs, TX, USA

problem #6

Oct 042014

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 24,000 miles
I pulled into my parking spot art home. I pressed the brakes but the car did not stop, it actually accelerated slightly. I know I pressed the brake and not the gas because I looked down and saw the brake fully depressed and my leg was fully extended. Also if I would have accidentally hit the accelerator, it would have been much worse.

- St. Louis , MO, USA

problem #5

Feb 092014


  • 12,030 miles


I was driving down the street and came upon a red light, there were two cars ahead of me, a Lincoln and a Chrysler. I started to slow down at a distance, when I applied the brake, my vehicle accelerated, I looked down to make sure that my foot was on the brake, and it sure was, so I hammered down on the brake and my vehicle did not slow down and continued to run at the same speed of approximately 15 mph. The faulty brake caused a without the deployment of airbags. I knew that I did not accidentally step on the gas pedal because if I had done so, the results would have been more fatal. I would have pushed the cars in front of me onto the on coming traffic. After the incident, I tested out the brakes, and it was as if everything was alright. Even though I had seen the cars in front of me, and the red traffic light, my vehicle did not react to my brakes. The Lincoln and the Chrysler in front of me also didn't have their airbags deployed.

- Oldsmar, FL, USA

problem #4

Dec 282013


  • 15 miles
I bought a new 2013 Highlander December 28, 2013 from tom wood Toyota dealership. When I was driving home December 28-31, 2013 click, click, squeaking noise, brakes slipping, dragging, vibrating and a tremendous pulsating against my foot when I stop. When I tried to stop the Highlander the vehicle jumped forward. January 2, 2014 a burnt odor coming through the heater vents, rattling in the right front door, gush sound coming from the brakes, there is also another sound coming from the brakes that I can not identify. I am wondering if a fire is trying to start, because of the burnt odor.

- Indianapolis, IN, USA

problem #3

Sep 212013

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 4,600 miles
I started my vehicle, in my garage, to warm it up for its first scheduled maintenance at the dealership. The parking brake was engaged from my last use of the vehicle the night prior (I always apply the parking brake before exiting my car). As my Highlander warmed up, I began removing a few personal items so that they would be out of the vehicle during my service at the dealership. I placed my personal items at the end of my garage, adjacent to the front-end of the vehicle. As I turned for my 3rd trip back to get the last of my personal items out, I see my Highlander starting to roll backwards. I was at the front-end of my vehicle when it started moving in reverse. I was unable to safely enter the vehicle while it was in reverse motion. My vehicle backed up over a curb and made impact with bushes and a building structure. I question if faulty construction of the parking brake allowed it to disengage and independently initiate movement in reverse.

- Redlands, CA, USA

problem #2

Oct 012013


  • 24,000 miles
Pulling into parking space - brakes applied - car lurched forward (unintended acceleration) - brakes did not engage - car jumped the curb, crossed the sidewalk and hit a tree - airbag did not deploy.

- Carmel, IN, USA

problem #1

Jun 042013

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 4,500 miles
My wife was maneuvering the SUV into small area parking lot onto a corner space, on the first forward and back motion to maneuver the brake was ok, then on the second maneuver the brake didn't work and the tire went over the concrete parking block then hitting the structure of the doctors office. Early on in the day I went to the Toyota dealership to purchase a hitch and when about to leave the parking brake didn't release completely, told service guy and said to get a clip and he also commented that the dealership where I bought might install wiring on the left panel pushing the plastic panel which block the release of the parking brake. Ordered the clip to hold the plastic. By the way the truck was purchase in January 2013 at a Toyota dealership in sacramento.

- American Canyon, CA, USA

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