really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
8,773 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2013 Toyota Highlander Owner Comments

problem #20

Jan 112017


  • 63,000 miles


Upon entering into car after it had been parked I smelled gasoline. Wife said she had just filled up before coming home and perhaps spilled some. I got out of vehicle and checked and saw small puddle of gasoline where car had been parked. Moved car away from house and raised hood to vent engine compartment. I removed front skid plate/panel to find leak and allow further air circulation. I power cycled key and saw fuel leak again. After further investigation found were main fuel line was misting onto engine and surrounding parts. Leaks were coming from middle portion of hose and not at connections. Next day I had my car towed to the dealer. They suspected rodent damage. Upon inspection there was no evidence of "chewing" or other type of external damage. A replacement line was ordered and installed. I was charged for the repairs. I have kept the original fuel line for further investigation. Dealer had no explanation of the cause of the failure. I feel blessed that we did stop when we did otherwise it would of resulted in an gasoline fed engine fire because of the gas spraying onto the exhaust and other hot engine parts in a confined area.

- Conroe, TX, USA

problem #19

Aug 022016


  • 5,000 miles
Vehicle hesitates when accelerating, usually when making a turn from a stop or moving slowly. It is especially hazardous when trying to make a left turn in front of oncoming traffic. Has happened multiple times, not just the date below. The dealer can not duplicate the problem. We bought the car in early 2014 new, and noticed this problem before 5,000 miles. The car now has 22,000 miles and it still does this intermittently.

- Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #18

Mar 132013


  • 2,500 miles
The car has burned 1 qt of oil every 1500 milles or so since day1... Toyota will do nothing to repair the internal engine problem as they say it is acceptable per them to burn 1 qt every 1200??

- Caledonia, IL, USA

problem #17

Jul 162014


  • 8,000 miles


The contact owns a 2013 Toyota Highlander. While driving approximately 65 mph, the cruise control was engaged and the rpms increased rapidly to 5,000 for a brief moment and then resumed normally. The failure occurred when driving up an incline and also without the cruise control activated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, who was unable to duplicate the failure. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 8,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Lake Zurich, IL, USA

problem #16

Aug 212013


  • 2,000 miles
While attempting to turn from a side road onto a main road, I needed to accelerate to blend into the faster moving traffic. While attempting to accelerate the engine acted like the gas pedal had not been pressed but maintained the previous slow engine speed despite the gas pedal being finally pressed to the floor. While maintaining the full gas pedal position the engine finally revved up and the SUV lurched forward. I have not been placed yet into a hazardous situation, but that is becoming a reality. This hesitation has recurred more than twenty times since then. No, I have not taken this to Toyota since they appear to have no concern for the many fine folks reporting similar engine stalling.

- Louisville, CO, USA

problem #15

Apr 252014


  • 7,600 miles
I purchased the 2013 Highlander new from a dealer in vienna, va in July 2013. The auto started a string of engine hesitancy to accelerate problems at around 5,000 miles which was reported to the dealer at the 5,000 mile check-up and again at the 7,500 mile checkup. The service department could not duplicate the problem and gave the engine a clean bill of health. We moved to mn in May 2014 and the hesitancy of the car to move (accelerate) from a stopped position for several seconds after engaging the gas petal continues and is increasing in frequency. The car has been taken in to the local Toyota dealer on three occasions with the same answer that there is no problem with the car. I have been in two near accidents while pulling out in traffic on to a high speed divided highway and consider this a very serious safety issue. It happens randomly, (three times this past week), but a pattern has developed - most incidents occur while idling at intersections for some time waiting for traffic to clear, traffic lights, etc, and then making a left hand turn onto the roadway. The car has exhibited this behavior only a couple times while making a right hand turn from a idling start. The sensation is that the engine stalled and no matter what is done with the gas petal nothing happens for anywhere up to 4-5 seconds. With traffic moving at 60 miles an hour and one is attempting to merge into traffic, a five second delay brings the on-coming traffic almost 450 feet closer to one before the car starts to move requiring more distance in traffic gaps to overcome a potential stall in the roadway. I have come across another local owner with the same problem and note at least 15 other complaints on the web of almost the exact circumstances. What does it take for Toyota to recognize this as a safety issue?

- Nisswa, MN, USA

problem #14

Dec 012014


  • 30,000 miles


I rear ended a car in front of me. Damage minimal to his car. My Highlander sustained over 10 thousand dollar front damage. My air bags did not deploy.

- Egg Harbor Township, NJ, USA

problem #13

Nov 122013

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 300 miles
I purchased a new 2013 Toyota Highlander limited in November 2013. A few days later, upon accelerating from a stop into a left turn, the engine cut off for a few seconds while entering traffic. This happened a couple more times before the first checkup, at which time I informed the service technician, problem was noted on service sheet, but when service was completed, they said they could find no problem. The hesitation continued, quite randomly, and seemed to happen in left turn, accelerating situations. At next service and checkup (different dealer) I told them about the problem and it was written up again with same result, no problem could be found. This has been reported to dealer at least three times, no results, no action taken, no problem found. I consider this a dangerous situation, especially when merging into traffic. Based on information I have seen, it appears that Toyota should address this problem asap.

- Vicksburg, MS, USA

problem #12

Mar 262013


  • 16,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated that while driving 55 mph, the vehicle suddenly stalled. Also, the contact mentioned that the headlights and instrument panel light intermittently failed. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The technician was unable to duplicate the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 16,000.

- Soldier Grove, WI, USA

problem #11

Feb 152013


  • 11,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated that on several occasions, the vehicle exhibited unintended acceleration. Additionally, the vehicle would vibrate excessively when stationary with the engine on. The vibrations would cause ear pain to the contact. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified and no solution was offered. The failure mileage was 11,000.

- Memphis , TN, USA

problem #10

Apr 082014

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 10,000 miles


The vehicle did not alert to any engine and/or vehicle problem (no caution light, no engine light, etc.) the driver happened to look down at the fuel tank and noticed that the temperature gauge exceed the measuring mark (over the red zone) and was still running. The driver immediately went to a safe place. Towed to the dealership. Dealership informs that a "small rock or road debris" traveled through the front grill and punctured the radiator. After researching why the radiator is not covered under the warranty on brand new vehicle under this road debris, I read over 30 reported cases in not only the Toyota Highlander, Toyota Tundra, and Toyota corolla as their is no protection to the front portion of the radiator and/or condenser. Would have caused engine fire, do not understand why there were no safety lights and or indicators something was wrong with vehicle.

- Granville, OH, USA

problem #9

Apr 032014

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 12,500 miles
On Thursday, April 3, 2013. I stopped at an intersection and when I tried to accelerate there was no response. I thought the engine had died. There were no lights on instrument panel. I pressed accelerator again and it jerked and took off. I have experienced hesitations several times (10-12). I bought the Highlander 2013 in July 2013.

- Tulsa, OK, USA

problem #8

Jan 202014


  • 1,500 miles
I bought a 2013 Toyota Highlander in October 2012 and never noticed any problem until early in 2014. When I try to accelerate on a small incline, the accelerator would not respond. It acted as if I am not pressing the gas pedal. I am not talking about going to the mountains but just a small incline when I drive home from work everyday. I took it into the dealer in March 2014 and they responded same as other people on this website, no errors on the diagnostic machine and no posting from Toyota. They advised me to put in premium fuel and I did but that did not make a difference. Very disappointing from a Toyota with a V6 engine. The dealer also tries to say it is due to cvt transmission. However, I have a Subaru with cvt as well and that car can accelerate uphill when needed. I have had a Toyota Celica, tercel, and a Toyota truck in my life and none had this type of problems.

- Parker, CO, USA

problem #7

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 #6

Aug 142013

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
Occasional throttle no response when trying to accelerate moderately from a stop, or from a very low speed (I.e.-coasting around a 90 degree turn with the engine at idle speed.) I then push heavily on the accelerator pedal, and it revs up, downshifts, and races ahead. It is dangerous, in traffic. I have brought it to the dealer twice, and they cannot reproduce the problem. Two so called factory reps rode around with me the second time, with a computer connected. Diagnostics shows no error codes.

- Peabody, MA, USA

problem #5

Mar 042013

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 490 miles
At totally random times, after a few miles of driving or from a slow speed, vehicle hesitates when accelerating. Most annoying and dangerous is the way it doesn't respond to the accelerator for a few seconds after stopping at a stop sign or stop light or when going slowly as in entering the freeway. Took vehicle to Toyota dealership and of course vehicle ran fine for the time they drove it. Tech checked for any trouble codes and none were found. This problem seems like an accident waiting to happen. Have gotten nothing but the run-around and denial from the national Toyota "case manager". (at first I thought this hesitation occurred because the vehicle was new, but after 5,000 miles, I am still experiencing the same issue at random times.)

- Renton,, WA, USA

problem #4

Jul 092013


  • 1,146 miles
When turning left out of my neighborhood I slowed down and then tried to return to speed but the vehicle hesitated then suddenly jerked up to the desired speed. One other time on an interstate I had to slow down behind a truck and then when I tried to accelerate back to speed in the passing lane the car hesitated for several seconds and again accelerated rapidly (cars in the passing lane had to brake quickly. I could describe other times but the same thing (the hesitation and then the extremely rapid acceleration) I have taken it do the dealer but they said that they could not find anything.

- Auburn, AL, USA

problem #3

Jul 032013


  • 1,500 miles
The vehicle has a hesitation or lack of acceleration problem. It occurs from a stopped position or a moving state. I have had it to the local Toyota dealer 5 times and they have not been able to find the problem. They were able to duplicate the problem. They have been in touch with Toyota but they say no problems exist, which is what I have come to expect from Toyota corporate. My wife was almost in an accident on the interstate yesterday, 08/28/2013. I would estimate that the problem has occurred at least 10 times since we purchased the vehicle in July. This is a safety issue. Thank you in advance for your help on this concern. Also, the dealership is going to give us a loaner today and possibly just let us return the vehicle. They have been great, palmierro Toyota.

- Saegertown, PA, USA

problem #2

Dec 012012

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 600 miles
At totally random times, after a few miles of driving or 100 miles, vehicle hesitates when accelerating. Most annoying and dangerous is the way it doesn't respond to the accelerator for a few seconds after stopping at a stop sign or stop light. Took vehicle to Toyota dealership and of course vehicle ran fine for the 4 miles they drove it. Tech checked for any trouble codes and none were found. This seems like a rear-end accident waiting to happen. For ten days we have gotten nothing but the run-around from the national Toyota "case manager". (at first we thought this hesitation occurred because the vehicle was new, but after 8,000 miles, we are still experiencing the same issue.)

- Stillwater, OK, USA

problem #1

Jul 082013

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 1,300 miles
Vehicle hesitates when accelerating. Does not happen all the time, when trying to get vehicle up to highway speed will depress gas pedal and nothing will happen for 3-4 seconds, then all of a sudden vehicle will speed up. This only started to happen after 1300 miles. Took vehicle to Toyota dealership and of course vehicle ran fine, tech. Checked for any trouble codes and none were found. Also since this started to happen my gas mileage has dropped from 18 miles a gallon to 15 miles a gallon.

- South Amboy, NJ, USA

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