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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
46,615 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2013 Toyota Highlander Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #24

Nov 242018


  • 58,000 miles


Around a year ago, at approximately 58000 miles, I began to notice a knocking sound and steering vibration when I turned in either direction at low speed in city driving. I took the vehicle in for evaluation at rice Toyota. The technicians could not hear anything. I took it back at 61,118 in February 2018 as the steering had gotten worse, now loose and sloppy feeling at any speed. They could hear/feel it this time and I was told it was the electric power steering motor and to just "turn the radio up". I was ready to trade the vehicle in, as I felt unsafe driving it anymore, but knew I couldn't in it's current condition.I did some research and found that others were having the same problems. There was even a tsb (bulletin T-sb-0034-13) issued on 4/26/17 regarding the steering pinion shaft. After I felt that I couldn't drive this car it anymore, I returned to rice Toyota once again on 11/24/18 at 67,770 miles and the repaired the vehicle. "immediate steering shaft needs to be replaced" for a total of $588.23. The vehicle now drives better, however, I have lost faith in it, as well as Toyota. This is a very serious safety issue that needs to to be addressed for the safety of anyone driving a 2008-2013 Highlander.

- Greensboro, NC, USA

problem #23

Nov 012018


  • 90,000 miles
My complaint is about steering column noises, play, looseness and feedback through the steering wheel. It is described in a service bulletin: Tsb-0034-13 I have 97,000 miles on the vehicle and the play is becoming more noticeable as mileage increases. It is very disappointing that Toyota knew about this issue and issued the tsb before I purchased it new. How are owners supposed to be notified about these things while under warranty?

- Centreville, VA, USA

problem #22

Jul 022018


  • 72,000 miles
Steering makes a popping/clicking sound when making turns. Seems to be getting worse as it started with just turning left and now does it right as well

- Anderson, SC, USA

problem #21

Jun 012018


  • 48,000 miles


Clunking noise within the steering when I turn, especially at lower speeds. Took it to a repair shop and they indicated it was the intermediate steering shaft. 48,000 miles at the time.

- Overland Park, KS, USA

problem #20

Nov 072018


  • 57,665 miles
I started hearing a popping noise in the steering column under the steering wheel. The noise became louder as time went on especially when I made turns. On 11/07/18 Toyota recently diagnosed the problem as an intermediate steering shaft and I made an appointment to get it fixed at the dealer for $584.92. There's 57,665 miles on the vehicle. I can visibly see there's slack in the steering shaft where it connects to the rack and pinion. II am a 65 year old woman who bought the vehicle new and drove it very gently. I understand the new shaft may have an improved design I hope so it does not occur again. It's very concerning if I lost control while driving. I would think there should be a recall before someone get's hurt.

- Endwell, NY, USA

problem #19

Oct 252018


  • 45,000 miles
Started hearing a loud popping noise underneath the steering wheel or pedals. Noise became louder as time went on especially when I made turns. Toyota recent diagnosed the problem as an intermediate steering shaft. Was originall told it might be a rack and pinion problem. Hopefully that this doesn't now turn into something else. This is not covered under my powertrain warranty. Very upset.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #18

Jan 012018


  • 85,000 miles


Knock in the steering wheel when turning.

- Richardson, TX, USA

problem #17

Oct 162018


  • 54,853 miles
Vehicle had a knocking noise heard and felt from steering wheel when turning. Seemed to be more prominent at lower speeds, occurred when turning right and left. Took vehicle to Toyota dealer and diagnosed as a failed intermediate steering shaft. Vehicle was outside warranty at 54,853 miles. Research indicates this is a common issue with this year Highlander and Toyota has issued a tsb, but has not issued a recall to date. Cost of repair was $463.34.

- Lynchburg, VA, USA

problem #16

Sep 012018


  • 60,000 miles
There is a clucking noise in the steering when turning. It seems like the steering wheel mechanism is falling appart.

- Lithia Springs, GA, USA

problem #15

Apr 012018


  • 36,000 miles
While travelling in high speed lane on I80 near sacramento ca. I attempted to adjust telescopic steering wheel and the steering wheel came off in my hands and by grace of god was able to slow and get off road on the hand high speed breakdown lane and somehow remount the steering wheel. Vehicle currently at dealership for repair and I was told that the steering and mount would need to be replaced and will cost in excess of $2000. I have contacted Toyota, started a case file with them and waiting on their reply.

- Fair Oaks, CA, USA

problem #14

Jan 022018


  • 63,000 miles


While turning the steering I feel a klunk this is happens always when turn the wheel. Frustrated really need your help. Regards..

- Elkridge, MD, USA

problem #13

Mar 012018


  • 70,000 miles
This vehicle has a knocking or clunking sound when turning the steering wheel. This is a common complaint on Toyota Highlanders but Toyota is not offering to fix these vehicles when out of warranty. This is a defect in these vehicles and should be fixed by Toyota free of charge.

- Batesville, AR, USA

problem #12

Feb 262018


  • 37,000 miles
The vehicle has around 37K miles and started to get a bump or thud sound when turning to right and turning over all begin to get sluggish. I took it to the dealship fred haas in houston and it was diagnosed with a drive shaft problem and required a expensive repair and front end alignment. I questioned the service rep as it seemed to be very low mileage for a issue with the drive shaft. He advised that it was not covered as my 36K 3 year standard warranty had run out. After researching it seems that this is a Highlander defect and should be covered by a recall. If this car had 80K or more miles I might be of a different opinion but this car is way too new to have an issue like this especially on such an important element like steering. This is an obvious engineering and manufacturing problem and a replacement part that will only have a 1 year warranty is not good enough.

- Spring, TX, USA

problem #11

Feb 122018


  • miles
There is a clunking noise when turning at low speeds. My mechanic says there is a defect in the design of the steering shaft. He said this commonly occurs with this model Highlander, something supported by numerous complaints about the same issue. Toyota denies responsibility and won't issue a recall, though it is a safety risk.

- Milton, MA, USA

problem #10

Sep 152017


  • miles
When turning right the steering was making a clicking/knocking sound. I only have 30000 miles on the car, which I have had 100000 plus miles on cars and never had this issue. Apparently Toyota has diagnosed this with a bad U-joint in the steering intermediate shaft with a hefty price tag to fix. This seems like a complaint from multiple people and on multiple sites. I think this should be looked into by Toyota and considered a recall item. Very disappointed in my Toyota right now.

- Glen Allen, VA, USA

problem #9

Mar 122017


  • 60,000 miles
Steering makes nocking sound (and steering wheel vibrates) when turning right while in motion

- Johns Creek, GA, USA

problem #8

Mar 122017


  • 60,000 miles
Knocking sound and vibration felt on steering wheel when turning right. It only occurs in motion.

- Johns Creek, GA, USA

problem #7

Dec 142016


  • 15,000 miles
Our 2013 Highlander developed a light clunking noise in the steering column after a accident in October of 2013. We thought nothing of it until December 2017 when the clunking increased in loudness and frequency. We have the problem checked out by gullo Toyota of conroe, Texas. They found the mid steering column shaft that was failing and causing the clunking noise and recommended replacing this part for safety reasons. We concurred and had the work completed. I discussed this situation with the service rep at gullo to see if they could determine the cause of this part failure. They could not suggest any cause so I suggested that the accident the vehicle was involved in in October of 2013 might be the culprit. Gullo would not confirm the possibility by would work with my insurance company, usaa. Usaa has rejected this theory and will not pay for the repair of the steering column's mid shaft. This part should not be failing.

- Montgomery, TX, USA

problem #6

Feb 042015


  • 30,000 miles
The steering column is making a thunking-type of noise when turning, usually at low speeds, around corners (not slight turns, such as when the road changes on the freeway). It's been documented in my records at least since 30,000 miles, just out of Toyota's warranty period. The car dealer reported that they were unable to duplicate the issue at the 30,000 service, as documented. It wasn't happening as frequently then, but now at 60,000 miles, it's constant. It seems to be related to the steering shaft/intermediate steering shaft. There appears to be a service bulletin from the manufacturer, but no further investigation/research presented. Since I am aware of what part is failing, I want to get it fixed, as I've read that this part, if it fails, could cause the car to fail, but don't want to pay money for a part that is considered defective.

- Novato, CA, USA

problem #5

Aug 302016


  • 52,000 miles
Steering tsb by Toyota: While driving vehicle and turning corners, I felt poping clunking noise in steering wheel. Sometimes made steering wheel vibrate. Instead of just a service bulletin, this should be a recall since Toyota has re-designed the failing component. Took vehicle into dealer to have fixed. Would have paid full repair price but was able to negotiate a discounted price for vehicle with only 52,000 miles. Component should have easily lasted over 125,000 miles. May be the same as your 10075792 record.

- Katy, TX, USA

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