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Ratings on over 1,000 new & used models going back 5 years, from the Center from Auto Safety. Learn more about The Car Book 2018 here.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
38,015 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

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

problem #4

Feb 082016


  • 31,237 miles
Toyota 2013 Highlander with 31237 miles had to replace the steering shaft due to thud-thud noise when turning right or left. I bought car new from dealership. Car still under warranty but was told it will probably happen again. Parts and labor estimated to be $500+ each time in the future. According to information on internet this is not a random issue with Highlanders and has been going on for some time. This appears to be a design flaw that is being ignored with the owner being required to foot the bill. Never had a steering shaft issue in the cars I have previously owned some for over 100,000 miles, U.S. made or non-U.S. made models. The new part is guaranteed for one year...that is not acceptable for a known reoccurring issue of which Toyota is aware. I called Toyota national customer relations in torrance, ca and spoke with representative who was very polite but offered no recourse for this issue. Very disappointed.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #3

Sep 012015


  • 48,500 miles
The contact owns a 2013 Toyota Highlander. While driving at approximately 45 mph, the power steering failed and the instrument panel displayed that the power steering needed assistance. The vehicle was driven to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The technician stated that the electronic computer that managed the steering needed to be replaced. The manufacture was notified of the failure. The VIN was unknown. The approximate failure mileage was 48,500.....updated 10-27-15

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #2

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 #1

Oct 292014

Highlander 4-cyl

  • 15,000 miles
The 2013 Highlander was serviced in Florida Monday 10/27 for 15000 miles service, today my sister was driving since service, the traction light came on, the engine light was flashing, the Highlander was not stable driving straight on the road and seemed like it needs a tune up.I called the dealer and it was taken their, first response was gas put in, yes. Was told possible the cap was not put on right and with newer cars it could be a malfunction the computer.. turned out that the ignition coil switch was bad on this 2013 Highlander. Which is why I'm reporting this due to recent issue with another car manufacture knowing the ignition switch was bad on their automobiles.

- Blacklick, OH, USA

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