We bought this SUV new in 2002. We bought it because we have a 1998 Carolla that's been a very reliable car.
But not the Highlander.
At just under 200,000 k the old leaky head gasket then the stripped head bolt got us.
Last year we thought we would keep the Toyota for a few more years so we put money into the few body chips.
Bought new tires, winter and summer and put in a new windshield in the spring.
Now we had an engine that was toast.
Our local Toyota dealer found us a used motor from another Toyota and installed it.
They say it only has 70,000 k but who knows.
So we spent $7600.00 so far.
We enjoy the roominess of the SUV and the fold down seats. We also like that fact it's cheep on gas compared to a 6 cylinder.
Why do you get that air vac when you open just one window?
Purchased used 5 years ago with 86,000.
Didn't flinch at the mileage due to Toyota's reputation for reliability; car drove well, at first. Sold at 109,000 due to expensive repair and maintainence costs including:
All 4 wheel bearings, $500 a pop.
Breaks completely replaced, some more than once. $2,000 spent on breaks in just 2 years.
Evaporator sensor went bad; $400 just for the part. Muffler developed a small hole; $400 for a new one.
Straw that broke the camel's back: drive shaft developed a wobble and needed complete replacement $1,200.
Cut my losses and unloaded the hunk of junk.
Other car was a 20 year old Subaru Legacy that had fewer problems and was cheaper to maintain.
Perfect size (not too big or small). Generous cargo area.
Tight turning radius.
Maybe I got a lemon, but I don't think they make them like they used to.
2003 Toyota Highlander Limited AWD 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)
I just purchased the Toyota Highlander 2003 and upon purchasing the vehicle I was very happy.
The check engine light came on shortly after purchase and apparently the cause is a bad "ECM" board in the SUV.
I am not sure if this is common but I have experienced this problem.
I love the vehicle otherwise and plan on driving it for a while.
Currently at 82K hope it lasts to 200K without major repairs.
Ride is very smooth and I really like the way the SUV looks.
I am a big fan of just about everything with this vehicle.
Beware of the dreaded code stating leakage in exhaust system, for this is an idication of the head gasket going and leaking coolant. Upon further review it is found thatrear head bolts are stripped due to excessive heat most like caused by foam insulator pad between plastic intake manifold and engine.
Some say engine is toast, but the fix rec. is a time sert insert kit (approx $500 helicoil) with drill guide.
Mine is to be currently repaired at about a total cost of $2,900.00 as long as the helicoil kit holds the head bolt torque, we will see?
It is a design flaw in my opinion as it seems to be a regular issue with the four cylinder Highlanders approx.2001-2005? Failure was at 160,000 mi.