really awful
Crashes / Fires:
6 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
9,382 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 (Page 1 of 2)

problem #28

May 102013


  • 10 miles


The contact owns a 2013 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated that while stopped at a traffic light and depressing the accelerator pedal, the vehicle began to lose power without warning. The failure was persistent. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where the failure could not be determined. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 10.....updated 07/05/16

- North Myrtle Beach, SC, USA

problem #27

Feb 022016


  • miles
Letter from constituent regarding the issue of unintended acceleration in Toyota and Lexus vehicles. 2013 Toyota Highlander. The consumer stated as she was about to put the vehicle in reverse to reposition the vehicle, it suddenly lurched forward with the engine racing. It was if the accelerator was floored. Within a couple of seconds the vehicle jumped over the cement parking block and into a pole. The vehicle had significant damage between $13,000 and $15,000. The consumer was informed the carpet floor mat was found to be unattached.

- Shaver Lake, CA, USA

problem #26

Dec 162015


  • 33,993 miles
Periodically hesitates when accelerating - doesn't move, doesn't accelerate - nothing - almost like car not running. Does it from stopped position or while moving. Happened twice yesterday, after being stopped at red light and when turning across lane of traffic (city street). Has done it when passing on interstate - never know when it will happen. It's scary and by the time it kicks in, traffic is fast approaching. Worry that one day it will not engage and I will get hit. Doesn't matter if hot or cold, wet or dry, driving short time or long time. Definitely an accident (and death) waiting to happen. Dealership said they have not heard complaint before and can't fix it unless code appears. Find that hard to believe since owner's wife drove it. Sent complaint to Toyota with copies of similar complaints found posted online. Wonder if it is related to transmission because I can sometimes feel brief changes in RPM (outside of hesitation issue). Please help!

- Jefferson City, MO, USA

problem #25

Jun 262015


  • 16,000 miles


From stop (at traffic light, merging, etc), press on gas pedal for acceleration and vehicle does not go, hesitates, then does accelerate. This has happened multiple times, intermittently, and has been reported to titus will Toyota dealership. Since they have not duplicated it, problem continues intermittently. Never know when this will occur. It is very disconcerting and dangerous. This vehicle has a lot of "computer" glitches with gps mapping, bluetooth, auto lights, etc. Maybe related?

- Spanaway, WA, USA

problem #24

Dec 032015


  • 33,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated that the vehicle experienced unintended acceleration while starting the vehicle. The failure occurred without warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, but was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue. The failure occurred approximately three times. The failure mileage was approximately 33,000. The VIN was not provided.

- Greenville, MS, USA

problem #23

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 #22

Oct 062015


  • 17,000 miles


The contact owns a 2013 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated that the vehicle hesitated when accelerating from a stop or a break without warning. The failure recurred several times and, each time, the contact had to pump the accelerator pedal up to three times in order to accelerate. The vehicle was taken to a local dealer who diagnosed that one of the computer modules that regulated acceleration was faulty. The dealer could not determine which of the modules was faulty; therefore, the vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and issued a case number to take to the dealer. The failure mileage was 17,000.

- Kankakee, IL, USA

problem #21

Aug 262014


  • 10,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Toyota Highlander. While at a stop, the accelerator pedal was depressed and the vehicle hesitated before accelerating. The failure recurred on numerous occasions. The vehicle was taken to a dealer, who was unable to diagnose or repair the vehicle. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 10,000. Updated 1/12/16

- Concord , MA, USA

problem #20

Sep 302013

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 10 miles
Every time I switch from brake to gas pedal quickly, the car looses power as if to stall. Then it regains power and accelerates. It also happens if I am on the highway and touch the brake pedal before attempting to pass and then I can't get power to pass for a couple seconds. Very scary and dangerous I think. The dealer explained to me that Toyota had made a change to make the computer in charge of deciding if one could accelerate or not rather than a direct link from the gas pedal to the carburetor. The condition is unnerving and I believe potentially dangerous as I have almost been in accidents when I try to accelerate and the car won't respond until it is ready to allow it.

- Cleveland, OH, USA

problem #19

Jul 082013

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 335 miles
2013 Toyota Highlander hesitates/stalls occasionally when driving. Primarily occurs when turning left after stopping at a sign/light. The hesitation last for 5-10 seconds. Have asked dealership to look at it 5 times since I purchased the car in July 2013 but they have not been able to duplicate the problem during their test drives. They conclude the "vehicle is operating as designed."

- Manakin Sabot, VA, USA

problem #18

Jan 182015

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 35,000 miles


On Sunday, January 18, 2015 at approximately 7:50am mst, after filling up the gas tank at the holiday gas station on pleasant grove boulevard in pleasant grove, ut, I began to pull away from the gas pumps. Before exiting the gas station, and after moving about 20 feet at about 5 mph, the engine suddenly revved up to around 4000 RPM. I immediately took my foot entirely off of the gas pedal and slammed my foot down on the brake, holding the brake down firmly. Despite nothing pressing on the gas pedal, and despite the brake pedal being very firmly and continuously pressed, the engine continued to cycle at exactly the same high RPM and the vehicle continue to move forward, straining against the brake. I then switched the gear from drive into neutral. The vehicle stopped moving, but the engine continued to rev at exactly the same RPM. At this time, the engine was continuously revving at approximately 4000 RPM, the car was not moving, the gear was set to neutral, nothing was pressing on the gas/accelerator pedal, and I was firmly pressing on the brake pedal. I then examined the driver footwell to make sure that nothing could possibly be pressing on the gas pedal and indeed there were no obstructions in the driver footwell. I then took my foot off of the brake and pumped the gas pedal several times but the engine did not respond in any way to this action ? rather it continued to simply rev at the constant high RPM. I then turned off the ignition, at which time the engine stopped and the vehicle was entirely off. I then switched the gear into park, and then started the ignition and the vehicle started normally. I proceeded to switch the gear into drive, and pressed on the accelerator and the vehicle moved forward as expected without any unexpected acceleration. Since then, the vehicle has behaved normally.

- Pleasant Grove, UT, USA

problem #17

Sep 122014

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 12,356 miles
On September 12 2014 my wife was pulling into a parking space at her doctor's office. The space include a stop curb and it faced a four lane street. As she pulled into the space, she braked to avoid contacting the curb and was about to shift into park when the car suddenly accelerated. The car jumped the parking curb and then another curb and entered a grassy area (approximately 10 ft wide. The car continued to accelerate and jumped another curb and landed in a 4 lane street. She continued to apply the brakes while the car continued to accelerate across the street. She was headed toward another curb and grassy area and a downhill slope followed by a meineke repair business. Not wanting to go down the hill and into the building, she turned the car to the right but not in time to avoid entering the second grassy area. She was now traveling parallel to the meineke building and side swiped two small trees, and was headed toward a very busy rush hour street. To avoid accelerating into this street, she decided to try shifting the car into neutral. She looked down to find the neutral gear, and just as she looked up, she crashed head-on into another tree. The air bags did not deploy but the seat belts saved her. The car was significantly damaged to the drivers side front where she hit the tree and to the side of the car where she side swiped the two trees. The meineke employees called 911 and a detective took her to her doctor's office for treatment. She injured her ribs and back and continues to receive treatment. I'm convinced this is a software problem and I am attempting to resolve this with Toyota but hold out little hope. It needs to be fixed before there are additional injuries or loss of life. My wife could have died if the car had made it to the very busy street.

- Lenexa, KS, USA

problem #16

Nov 042013


  • 350 miles
Driving uphill, suddenly lost speed, had no gas pedal, had to pull to side of road and then it came back.has happened dozens of times at different speeds. The last time it happened I was driving 70 mph in the center lane of I 95 in pa, have not driven the car since I got home. Toyota has told me it is everything from slight hesitation to my imagination.

- Bradford, MA, USA

problem #15

May 112014


  • 3,000 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated that while driving in reverse less than 5 mph, the vehicle suddenly and inadvertently accelerated causing her to lunge backward 20 feet and crashing into a parked vehicle. The vehicle only came to a complete stop after it crashed into a fence and garden. The contact was not injured. A police report was not filed. The vehicle was towed to an auto body facility. The dealer was notified of the failure. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 3000.

- Tacoma , WA, USA

problem #14

May 012014

Highlander 6-cyl

  • 11,432 miles
As I was pulling into a parking space (maybe 5 miles per hour) and put my foot on the brake to stop, my 2013 Toyota Highlander lunged forward so hard that it went over the concrete spacer, a grass median, the curb and into the street beyond the parking lot. I was able to brake and stop the acceleration, but it was so sudden, fast and unexpected that I scraped the passenger side on the vehicle next to me. A by-stander commented "I don't know what happened! all of a sudden your car just raced away!" I have driven for over 45 years without an accident. I have been a loyal Toyota customer, buying one for my son and daughter as well as this vehicle and I thought whatever problems Toyota had were taken care of but now I am afraid to drive my vehicle.

- Midland, TX, USA

problem #13

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 #12

Feb 012014


  • 88 miles
TL the contact owns a 2013 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated while driving 55 mph the vehicle suddenly accelerated. The contact was able to engage the brake pedal and the vehicle resumed normal function. The contact also stated that the door hatch motor emitted a loud clicking sound when it was opened and closed. The dealer replaced the motor; however, the failure was not corrected. The failure mileage was 88. The current mileage was 2,500.

- Temple City , CA, USA

problem #11

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 #10

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 #9

Mar 192014


  • 5,600 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Toyota Highlander. The contact stated that the vehicle erroneously accelerated while the brake pedal was depressed. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the failure could not be diagnosed. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 5,600. The VIN was unavailable.

- Clinton, MD, USA

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