hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
101,224 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.

2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Owner Comments

problem #14

Jul 032016

Highlander Hybrid

  • 135,000 miles


While driving on a major highway and in the fast lane going approximately 75/80 mph my 2006 Toyota Highlander hybrid died and failed to drive. The panel on the dash had a red ! exclamation point, and said check hybrid system and check vsc system. I was able to navigate my vehicle to the right breakdown shoulder to call for a tow. Tried to start my vehicle several times and it would not start, but the hazard lights and instrument panel continued to light giving evidence my new 12V battery was functioning properly. Called Toyota motor usa and asked what recalls they have listed for my vehicle and they asked for my VIN. They told me the electrical inverter assembly was covered for my VIN. They gave me the number of a tow company to call and told me it was covered by Toyota and I'd have a rental waiting for me. I had it towed to my local dealership as directed, they fixed several other recall issues but not this one, so when I drove off the lot the car died again. I managed to start the vehicle and drive it back across the highway into the dealership. After speaking with Toyota corporation usa again, they apologized and said they misinformed me and that my vehicle was not part of that recall. However, they paid for my tow and for my rental for 5 days (thus far). My case number given from Toyota Corp is 1607053248. I read online there is a class action suit regarding this issue. Karl and irina gaal vs. Toyota motor sales, U.S.a., Inc., a California corporation. Via atty mike arias. Toyota's customer experience has put in a request for me to speak with a supervisor and the Toyota dealership's GM in my area is also working on this issue as it's still pending.

- Lynn, MA, USA

problem #13

Jun 202015

Highlander Hybrid

  • 180,000 miles
My wife and I were travelling on I-95 (southbound) towards richmond, va. My wife was the driver. We were steadily travelling at a speed... between 65 and 70 in the left lane (required speed limit). All of a sudden, with no warning, the panel lights started blinking and the power to the car was shut off. My wife was screaming because she was not able to control or effectively apply brakes. She tried and pulled car off the road barely and we pushed it off to a safe side. This could have resulted in a serious accident if we were travelling in the middle lane. The car was left overnight and towed to Toyota dealer. The dealer called back and gave a quote of $10000 because the hybrid inverter have to replaced. I mentioned the recall on the inverter. The dealer said the recall does not cover my issue. There is a recall on your website -what action or recourse do I have. The original owner of the car replaced the inverter at 16200 miles. Evidently all the 2006 inverters are defective. My question is this ---why your department is Toyota to get away with such a serious defect?

- Fredericksburg, VA, USA

problem #12

May 142014

Highlander Hybrid

  • 107,500 miles
There was fire in the inverter assembly. The wiring harness for the inverter and the transmission were completely cooked and melted. The professional opinion of a Toyota national engineer is that the generator in the trans axle surged and caused a fire melting the components. How can this go un-investigated with so many of these vehicles on the road. My family and I could have been burned alive or in a fatal crash due to this completely unsafe system. How can Toyota continue to say they are all about safety when they will not do anything about issues like this. They have sent me a $16,000 bill for this issue that is completely a product of their poor and unsafe vehicle.

- Oilivia, NC, USA

problem #11

May 152014

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 107,500 miles


I was driving the vehicle and heard a loud popping noise on the way to the dealership for recall work. Once the technician opened the inverter case we found the wiring harness for both the inverter and transmission were completely melted and cooked due to a fire inside the inverter. I am now looking at a $15000 repair bill with Toyota and luckily my family and I were not burned alive or in an accident resulting in fatalities.

- Sanford, NC, USA

problem #10

Sep 152013

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 102,000 miles
My wife was driving the car home after grocery shopping and the car just quit. She coasted to the side of the road and called me. I arrived and tried to start the car with no luck. Finally called a tow truck and had it towed to the Toyota dealer. They inspected the car on Tuesday (Sep 17,2013) and said the inverter was bad and that a replacement would be $8,500. I asked them to check recalls etc... with the regional rep. They are awaiting a small part to see if that will cause the inverter to work properly. My biggest concern was the car just quit without warning while driving down the road!

- Leesville, LA, USA

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problem #9

Feb 162013

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 124,000 miles
Hybrid inverter failure. Accelerating from stoplight to enter highway ramp. Loud bang and all lights on dash came on. Engine continued running but no propulsion. Had it towed to dealer and informed it was a hybrid inverter failure, and would cost $10,000 to repair. We are now looking at class action lawsuits.

- Milton, GA, USA

problem #8

Nov 102012

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 123,000 miles


My son was driving and the vehicle stopped on him in the middle of the road with no warning or power steering. Vehicle had to be towed to the dealership. Was informed by the dealership that the hybrid generator had shorted and needed $7,300 worth of repairs. I am very concerned that this vehicle is dangerous, if he was on a very busy road and this vehicle were to have stopped on him as suddenly as it did that day he could of possibly been rear-ended and seriously injured. This vehicle has been a part of several recalls with this same type of issue, but Toyota has refused my request for this vehicle to be repaired or issue a recall with this issue.

- Victoria, TX, USA

problem #7

Apr 302012

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 25,259 miles
As I accelerated from a stop at a side street to enter highway traffic, I was nearly rear ended by a large truck when the hh inverter failed. The car simply suddenly failed to respond with no advance warning. Several dashboard symbols lit up, including check hybrid system, ¯and I was only able to steer to side of the road. It would not restart and was towed to the dealer. The dealer checked for recalls and said there were none. I mentioned the June 2011 notice we'd received, and that we were told that the part would not be available until Jan. 2012. We did not receive more information from Toyota and called the dealer in Jan. For an appointment. After a brief inspection, we were told the part was not defective and no replacement necessary.¯ we had been extra cautious and limited the use of our hh for months, and were disappointed that there was no effort to examine the part earlier or verify the conditions of use of the vehicle. After the car was towed in April 2012, the dealer said we needed a part, which they ordered and installed at no cost to us within a few days. The manager said that it was a very expensive part, took a long time to install, and that we were "lucky to have the warranty."¯ there was no mention of the inverter recall but the invoice indicated that there was a "boj recall." There may have been an earlier clue: On Dec. 1, 2011 the same dashboard indicators (check hybrid system and vrc) lit up in the morning when I went to start it and couldn't. we asked dealer about recalls, mentioned the upcoming scheduled notification (Jan. 2012), but were told there were none, and that problem was the battery. This may or may not have been related, but I wonder if the dealership ever considered the inverter issue in its analysis. This 2006 hh had only 25,259 miles at time of failure, only 1 owner, and rcvd regular maintenance from dealer.

- Stuart, FL, USA

problem #6

Sep 042010

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 103,000 miles
Driving in 6 lanes of heavy traffic we heard a 'thunk' and lost all power. I wrestled the vehicle to get it to coast off of the road. Car was towed to Toyota dealer where it was found that the inverter needed to be replaced. Cost was $7600, after a substantial discount from the dealer, who was obviously embarrassed about charging so much for a single part. The incident could have caused an accident, since all power and electrically assisted driving functions failed simultaneously. Fortunately it didn't. subsequently I found that Toyota had upgraded their inverters beginning in 2007. We have also received in 2011 from Toyota an "interim safety recall notice" for the inverter, but have heard nothing since.

- Ennis, TX, USA

problem #5

Aug 272006

Highlander Hybrid

  • 7,270 miles
While driving at speed on the highway the inverter/converter failed the vehicle was coasted to a stop on the highway shoulder. Now again on 04/28/2011 with 88,856 miles on the vehicle the same failure has occurred while acceleration up-hill on the highway at about 40 mph. Most of the damaged components (inverter/converter & an ECU) where covered by warranty. I am very concerned about the safety of this vehicle and my wife continuing to drive it even though it has been repaired again.

- Morrison, CO, USA

problem #4

Mar 052011

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 54,000 miles


While driving my 2006 Highlander hybrid in seabrook Texas on March 5, after accelerating to approximately 40 miles per hour. The car lost all power and the power steering went out. The car then had to be towed to dealership. It looks like there is an investigation open into this issue. NHTSA # PE11005.

- Seabrook, TX, USA

problem #3

Feb 172011

Highlander Hybrid

  • 67,000 miles
While driving the vehicle up a slight incline in the street after driving about 10 miles, it suddenly stopped moving. The engine was still on but the car would not go forward or backwards. The message on the dash was first check csv (or vsc) and then check hybrid system. The police had to push the car out of the intersection and the car was hauled to the Toyota dealer. I have not heard from them in 6 days what the problem is.

- Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #2

Nov 192010

Highlander Hybrid

  • 142,609 miles
I pulled out from a private parking lot onto a busy highway. As I accelerated, the car make a noise and everything stopped. There were no warning lights.-nothing. I managed to get the car over to the right and turn immediately where it into a gas station that allowed the car to coast downhill to where it stopped. The car was towed to the Toyota dealership. On the 2nd day, we were told the transmission and the inverter converter-hybrid system both went out. Although they told us this should not happen - one or the other can go out but not both. It would cost 14,000 dollars to fix. Now they tell us we can sell our nice 2006 car for scrap at auction.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #1

Feb 282010

Highlander Hybrid

  • 139,000 miles
(2006 Toyota Highlander hybrid) pulling onto 4 lane (2 lanes divided by concrete barrier) highway merging into 55+ mph traffic. Accelerated to about 30-35 mph and heard a "clunk". car started to coast without any acceleration (gasoline engine still running). Unfortunately this was at a complicated intersection where several roads intersect without room for a shoulder. I was able to drift to the right most lane, where entering traffic from intersecting road used. I was left stranded without any control over forward movement. The repair cost is in excess of $18,000. Apparent need for a complete replacement of the hybrid system (inverter and drive system). The "blue book" value might be in the $15-16,000 range.

- Stockton, NJ, USA

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