2017 Toyota Highlander transmission problems: transmission failure

Transmission Failure

2017 Toyota Highlander

This problem may be covered under warranty. Ask your Toyota dealer.


fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
15,000 miles
Total Complaints:
1 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace transmission (1 reports)
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2017 Toyota Highlander transmission problems

transmission problem

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2017 Toyota Highlander Owner Comments

problem #1

Dec 312018

Highlander XLE

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,000 miles


Driving the vehicle, it started to make a whining noise when driving 0-40mph. It was faint enough that you needed the radio off, but, was definitely noticeable. It sounded like a jet engine whine. Not too much longer after first hearing that (1 week at most) the vehicle shuddered when slowing to a stop, and stalled. Restarted and drove on.

We had the vehicle in for "Toyota Care" routine maintenance and brought up the issue. They looked at it and said there was nothing logged in the diagnostics, and it drove fine. They added notes to our profile so we had it on record. 2 days later when slowing to a stop, the vehicle acted like the emergency brake was on and it slowed down severely, and struggled to move forward when the gas was pushed. It felt like an emergency brake was engaged, or a transmission brake was on. Both in Drive and Reverse it acted like this.

We called the dealership, who then had us call "Toyota care roadside assistance" and had to get it towed to the dealership. After a few hours, they called back and said they had seen this before on 4-5 different Highlanders of this year. There is a plastic clip in the transmission that backs out and becomes dislodged, causing these problems. They said they will be ordering a NEW transmission instead of repairing. Toyota recognizes this as a known issue. We are waiting for the tranny replacement and should have the vehicle back within the next couple of days.

Little sore that we reported the symptoms, they noted it, and did not address it then. Luckily, my wife and child were not too far from home, and were not on the highway. This happened right at the approach of a busy intersection, not in the intersection.

Overall we've been very happy with the Highlander up till this point.

- Jeff S., Omaha, NE, US

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