really awful
Crashes / Fires:
9 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
5 / 2
Average Mileage:
68,953 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #27

Apr 172015

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 49,936 miles


I was driving on a straight highway between 45 -50 mph. Sudden a bunch of lights and warnings came up in the dashboard. I lost power steering and motor propulsion too. I pressed the accelerator and nothing happened. Although I had the ability to brake, it seemed that the braking was also impaired. However because I was going up an incline I did not need strong braking. I managed to coast over to the breakdown lane. Luckily there were only a couple other cars near me so it wasn't too difficult to maneuver by them and coast to the other side of the road where the breakdown lane was. Once I was completely stopped I shut the car down completely and restarted in the normal hybrid startup manner. The car propulsion and steering came back but now the message was alternating between "maintenance needed" and "check vsc system", and the check engine light and symbol was on. I shut off everything electrical to minimize electrical drain. I was able to drive the car another 8-10 miles to get home but I was constantly looking to see where I could pull over if the car stopped again. I made it home. Tomorrow bring it to the Toyota dealer. Significantly, I recently had the brake actuator replaced at a cost of around $2700, specifically because they warned me that I could lose braking and other electronic facilities unpredictably. I thought that expensive repair would avoid this. Unfortunately it appears that what they were predicting could happen did happen, but after the repair! I was on a highway when the car died but with not much traffic and an easy access breakdown lane. Had it been 10 minutes later I might have been on a much busier highway in a place where a breakdown lane is much harder to reach. That would have been a dangerous situation. Had it been daytime and in a safer area I would have stopped and called for a tow truck.

- San Juan, PR, USA

problem #26

Nov 112014

Highlander Hybrid

  • 156,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Toyota Highlander hybrid. While driving at low speeds, the vehicle accelerated when the brake pedal was depressed. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 156,000.

- Forest Hill, MD, USA

problem #25

Sep 132014

Highlander Hybrid

  • 58,160 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Toyota Highlander hybrid. The contact stated that while traveling approximately 20 mph, the brake pedal was applied and failed to respond. As a result, the contact crashed into a planter pot. A police report was not filed and there were no injuries reported. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and stated that the VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign id number: 11V112000 (vehicle speed control) and NHTSA campaign id number: 10V499000 (service brakes, hydraulic ).the approximate failure mileage was 58,160.

- Novato, CA, USA

problem #24

Sep 092014

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 90,000 miles


In June 2014 we heard a squeaking noise when we put the car in drive and the brakes were applied while we were on a trip. Two days after we returned the"check vsc system" came on and the car would not start.. the dealer said it was due to the battery. We replaced it and the warning light went away. However, three months later the noise is back. The dealer (different one) said the brake actuator needs replacement. Very expensive repair costing $3,600. After doing research, I saw many complaints (and a recall) for this defective part in other Toyota vehicles. Toyota needs to do a recall for the highlander as well. Our car has been meticulously maintained. We bought it new. Very unhappy.

- Carlsbad, CA, USA

problem #23

Jun 152014

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 119,167 miles
While decelerating to turn into our drive way the vehicle rapidly accelerated. We were able to get it stopped by using the brakes, ending up in the yard/sidewalk. There were approximately 10 feet of skid marks. The engine was racing while the brakes were being applied. The floor mat was not involved. The increased engine RPM was not initiated nor controllable by the operator. This was truly an uncontrolled run away that could have been life threatening.

- Centennial, CO, USA

problem #22

Apr 162014

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 100,000 miles
Engine shutdown at 70mph, engine/hybrid system did not respond to accelerator pedal or cruise control - no warning lights. Was able to coast to side of freeway safely. I turned off ignition and restarted the car, vehicle ran flawlessly afterwards.

- Santa Clara, CA, USA

problem #21

Nov 042013

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 147,000 miles


In November, 2013, the vsc system warning light and several other lights ("ABS")came on in the car. A warning noise remains on at all times since then...the same sound that comes on if you fail to fasten your seat belt. The dealership tested the system and determined it needs a new brake actuator part which with labor comes to over $2,000. I filed complaints with Toyota and other national groups to no avail. I recently was notified of another Toyota recall and came on this site and discovered an identical incident (NHTSA id number:10562656.) please investigate this matter and advise of the findings as it apparently is a growing issue and risk experienced and documented by owners.

- Parkland, FL, USA

problem #20

Feb 032014

Highlander Hybrid

  • 95,450 miles
In October 2013 I had a "check vsc system" warning light. Upon taking it to the dealership, they said it was due to the battery and replaced it and the warning light went away. However, over the next few months, we started noticing a "squeaking" sound coming from the area underneath the front of the car when the car was in drive but the brakes were applied. Yesterday, the same "check vsc system" warning popped up, only now it was accompanied by a number of other lights on the dash, including "ABS" "brake" the "tire pressure (!)" and one other light on the left side to the upper right of the "ready" text. The dealer has just told me there were two computer codes, one is C1241. They said the previous dealer did not dig deep enough into the issue in October, and that the braking system was not getting enough pressure. The brake actuator needs replacement, the part is $1,800 and with labor and taxes the bill comes to over $2,400. Based on other research I have done today this seems to be a growing issue that many owners are facing.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #19

Jan 122014

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 86,340 miles
I was turning right at an intersection when a woman walking her dog began crossing the street. I slammed on the brakes to avoid her and the car suddenly accelerated soundlessly forward (car is hybrid but pressing accidentally on the gas pedal with force would have caused revving noise) and I could not control it.. I ran over the woman's foot and also her dogs feet. I drove the car up over a curb which resulting in a flat tire to get the car to stop. There was no injury to the car or myself. The woman was taken to the hospital but had no broken bones. The dog had bruising and discomfort but no serious injuries either. Took the car to a Toyota dealership and they could find no alerts, warnings, or anything wrong with it that could have caused it to accelerate unintentionally.

- Birmingham, AL, USA

problem #18

Oct 122013

Highlander Hybrid

  • 60,000 miles
The case was stopped and placed in parking when the vehicle started moving forward at about 3 mph. I almost hit a car 5 feet in front of me(at the time I placed the highlander in parking gear) and it ended 6 inches away from the car in the front. I had to step on the brake shift gears from parking to drive. Shift again to parking and while keeping the brakes on I pressed on the parking brake and turned the car off. There was no incline in the street or any decline observable that could have caused the original failure. My wife and my 1 year old child were inside the car when this happened.

- Ocala, FL, USA

problem #17

Aug 212013

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 149,405 miles


While driving the vehicle at approx. 60 miles per hour the brake light and vcs system light came on. The warning light also went on. In accordance with the owner's manual, I took the car to an authorized Toyota dealership. According to the automobile status report, the ABS-hydraulic control assembly: With ECU must be replaced. According to complaints I researched on-line, several complaints have been documented relating to this make, model and ABS system. I filed an incident with Toyota (reference number: [xxx]). the intake representative who checked with the dealership said this wasn't a recall item and no support was available to extend the warranty on the part. She confirmed that the service department stated that there was no defect in the workmanship. I asked [xxx] (the person I spoke to) if I could take the vehicle for a second opinion relating to the ABS part. I also asked for verification that the service department actually checked the part for a defect or is qualified to determine if in fact it is a manufacturers' defect. The dealership quoted that the ABS part; brake flush/fluid exchange/bf; engine air filter replacement;A/C service-acs; coolant flush (premium)-cf; and fuel injection service would cost $2,250. I also asked the Toyota customer service representative what the battery expectancy on the car is and whether the manufacturer offers any support in terms of the costs. I was told by the dealership that the battery can cost $5,000 to replace but the manufacturer may offer some support. I would appreciate your assistance, research and filling of this complaint. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Parkland, FL, USA

problem #16

Nov 012012

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 70,000 miles
Check vsc system came on, then off, it happens a lot took it to a dealer they found nothing now the warning is on all the time, took it to the dealer and now they want $2,600.

- Bayamon, PR, USA

problem #15

Oct 312010

Highlander Hybrid

  • 72,000 miles
There's an engine surge, slight but still can be felt, when applying the brakes. The surge is intermittent but the surge is felt often. Example: After take off from a stop the next time the brakes are applied there'll be a slight bump, as if the accelerator is stepped on at the same time the brakes are applied. There's no high rev, just a bump.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #14

Jan 262013

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 160,000 miles
My 17-year-old daughter was driving on I-5 in northern California. She had cruise control set at 70mph and was traveling up hill when cruise control suddenly popped off and car went dead. She had no power, and power steering went out. She managed to coast to the crest of the hill and down the other side to pull off the road, but was in a very dangerous situation near truck weigh station with big rigs pulling on and off highway. Car had to be towed to dealership. We were informed that hybrid inverter was dead and would cost $8,000+ to repair. Contacted corporate and was informed that since the car was out of warranty they would offer no assistance in repair costs. Have since heard other similar stories regarding 2006 Toyota hybrids.

- Red Bluff, CA, USA

problem #13

Sep 212011

Highlander Hybrid

  • 120,000 miles
Driving the upper roadway of the queensboro 59th St bridge the car just died. Flashing on the panel read check the vsc system waited for a tow around a dangerous curve, we could have been killed. Otw to the Toyota dealer to see if they will honor the recalled inverter part.

- Bellerose, NY, USA

problem #12

Aug 062011

Highlander Hybrid

  • 83,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Toyota Highlander hybrid. The contact was driving approximately 2 mph and attempting to park in a residential garage. With the brakes applied, the vehicle suddenly accelerated and crashed into the garage wall. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostics where the technicians performed the repair under NHTSA campaign id number: 06V253000 (vehicle speed control:accelerator pedal). The manufacturer sent an engineer to inspect the vehicle for the unintended acceleration failure. The inspector determined there was no abnormal failure and that the vehicle was functioning properly. The vehicle was not further repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 83,000.

- Mission Viejo, CA, USA

problem #11

Aug 052011

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • 58,000 miles
I was driving our 2006 Toyota Highlander hybrid up the driveway and around to the back of our home where we have a rear entry garage. As I turned in the driveway I started to slow/stop the car so I could backup to pull into the garage the car accelerated suddenly striking a small tree in the yard doing a lot of damage to the left front, left front wheel and left quarter panel. It's possibly totalled. It was as if a something siezed the car and suddenly pulled it forward at a high rate of speed. If the tree had not stopped the car I would have struck the house. No airbags deployed. I am bruised and sore but otherwise ok. I had been running on battery through our neighborhood and up the driveway but after it happened I noticed the engine was now running so I don't know if the surge was the result of the gas engine kicking in or some other sudden acceleration problem.

- Denton, TX, USA

problem #10

Jul 042011

Highlander Hybrid 6-cyl

  • miles
I was parking my Highlander hybrid in a parking garage, it started to accelerate as I started to put on by brakes. I hit the concrete wall. The radiator, bumper and hood as damaged. The air bags did not deploy.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #9

May 282009

Highlander Hybrid

  • 27,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Toyota Highlander hybrid. The contact was driving approximately 30 mph when the vehicle suddenly accelerated without warning. The contact applied the brakes to stop the unintended acceleration but the vehicle would not respond. The contact then crashed into a tree. The driver received injuries to her ankle and the front passenger sustained a broken finger. The rear passenger who was pregnant was killed and another passenger sustained major internal bleeding. The police were called and a report was filed. The three surviving passengers were transported to the hospital via ambulance. The vehicle was then towed to an independent mechanic where they are awaiting an investigation. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 27,000. The VIN was not available.

- Fremont, CA, USA

problem #8

Nov 102006

Highlander Hybrid

  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Toyota Highlander hybrid. The contact stated that when he puts the vehicle in reverse it would not respond. The contact would have to wait several moments before the vehicle would finally respond and move in reverse. On occasion, the vehicle would abnormally accelerate when in reverse with the brakes depressed. The contact would have to shut off the engine to stop the unintended acceleration. The dealer advised that he would not repair the vehicle. The contact was awaiting a response from the manufacturer to determine if the vehicle would be repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileage was 50,000.

- Happy Valley , OR, USA

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