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AMD
AMD, Toyota Certified
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 2717
Experience:  Master Automobile Technician L1 Advanced Level Specialist
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looking to buy a toyota highlander hybrid in year range 2006

Resolved Question:

looking to buy a toyota highlander hybrid in year range 2006 - 2008
what if any problems tend to occur in this vehicle
Are they money pits? or consierred a reliable vehicle????
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Toyota
Expert:  AMD replied 1 year ago.

AMD :

Hello and thank you for trusting us with your Toyota question, My name is XXXXX XXXXX X will be assisting you today.

AMD :

Are you available to discuss your question at this time?

AMD :

Hello! How are you doing today?

Customer:

good thank you

AMD :

Wonderful! Now allow me to discuss the highlander hybrid.

Customer:

ok

AMD :

In general the car is a very reliable car. no major issues that are known. However I have one question for you, Have you owned a hybrid vehicle before?

Customer:

no

AMD :

OK owning a hybrid car is different than owning a normal vehicle.

Customer:

ok please explain

AMD :

First when you buy a hybrid vehicle, It HAS to be accident free.

AMD :

I have seen hybrid cars turn into nightmares when they have been involved in accidents.

AMD :

Body repair on hybrids requires special procedures. If the car was in an accident before odds are the repair was done using conventional methods which would cause the hybrid computers to be affected and random and abnormal problems happening. Not a good thing.

AMD :

Whatever you do make sure that car fax is clean not even the most minor accident.

AMD :

So first step in buying a good highlander, Accident free.

AMD :

Next thing is to buy the least mileage possible just like any other car.

AMD :

Now you specified 2006-2008. 2008 is the new body style, Did you mean 2006-2007 hybrid?

Customer:

no - I am looking at both body styles I have noticed old body style in some cases have 50k miles but most are in the 80-98k mileage range for the 2006 and 07 but was also interested in 08 for an updated look and size just looking for all around best deal in very good condition.

AMD :

OK I would definitely consider the newer body style and I'll tell you why.

AMD :

First it's a newer model that looks better and is bigger on the inside with more toys.

AMD :

The old highlander is a big old tank. Very ugly but very rigid and reliable. The only issue with the old highlander was they would shut off out of the blue but then toyota found the issue and recalled the cars affected and fixed the issue.

AMD :

Hybrid cars are actually very low maintenance cars.

Customer:

are there any inverter issues in the 2008 models

AMD :

I work on these cars everyday and I am hybrid certified. I am yet to see an inverter issue with the highlander in general all models.

AMD :

The only issue we had was inverter related with the old one but it was a recall from toyota so that was fixed and that's about it.

AMD :

Only issues with inverters is accident cars where it was hit

AMD :

It's a very expensive part but also a very well made part. unless it's been hit or abused then it's pretty much problem free.

Customer:

okay In doing some reading on the on-line forums it seems there are complaints on 08" water pumps - what is your thought on that?

AMD :

OK here's the funny thing about water pumps.

AMD :

First the engine in the 2008 highlander is the same engine as the 2006-07 highlander which is a 3.3L engine used in other models from 2003 and up to 2010 in the hybrids v6. It's actually toyota's best engine. The water pump is an issue only because dealerships make it a big deal to scare customers into replacing it.

AMD :

The water pump would seep a very small amount which could last for a very long time before it becomes a real issue.

Customer:

and air bag problems in 08 with some warning lights - any info on that?

AMD :

Also the timing belt should be replaced every 90,000 miles so replacing the water pump along side it at that mileage is a good idea.

AMD :

The air bag issues are actually involved in a recall to replace an air bag computer. Other than the air bags I have seen scattered air bag problems ranging from faulty seat belt buckles to spiral cables which are nothing major and basically wear items.

AMD :

Let me give you one valuable advise that you can apply to any car purchase.

Customer:

switching to performance - does the hybrid in 08 seem to be sluggish

AMD :

OK sorry I will address all your questions first then I'll give you advise on purchasing the car.

AMD :

talking about performance.

Customer:

when you say you work on these all day long what seems to be the most common repairs?

AMD :

Comparing the hybrid to a non hybrid highlander, the hybrid doesn't under perform in any way. It's actually very powerful because you have a v6 engine combined with the power of the hybrid motors. So driving the car you will actually feel it zappy and you will feel the power immediate to a level that it would put you back on the seat.

AMD :

Most common repairs on the highlander hybrids from 2006-2007 is basically maintenance. Rear brakes are common to get rusty and start sticking, which isn't major just needs cleaning and basically a brake job. Brakes on hybrids last forever because of a feature called regenerative braking

AMD :

Tires on the 2008 model are a bit pricey because of the 19" or 18" wheels.

AMD :

basically more expensive than the 2006-2007 model tires

AMD :

brakes are not expensive to replace, 100 dollar rotors if needed and 57 dollar pads.

AMD :

One common thing on all highlanders which is likely pending a recall is the windows.

AMD :

On the older body style the rear window is common to be dislodged from it's mechanism if it's freezing outside and the window is frozen and you keep pushing it to open it. User error obviously but also common. just need to put the glass back in it's slot.

AMD :

Also on the newer body style, the glass bolts tend to get loose after so many miles, when you hear the glass making noise when it goes up and down it's time to replace the bolts. people tend to ignore the symptoms until the glass gets off track.

AMD :

A new updated bolt is available which locks in place and prevents the issue from happening again.

Customer:

What kind of price for replacement bolts and would that be for all 4 automatic windows that the problem occurs?

AMD :

The bolts are like 2 dollars each and you have 2 bolts in each front window. Labor to replace them is if you are paying out of pocket is around 100 dollars to tear the door apart. Then it's always the driver's window because it's the most one used. I've never fixed a passenger window. On the older highlanders it's around 200 dollars to reattach the glass into the mechanism on the rear doors. No front window issues on the older highlander.

AMD :

Did you have any other questions before I talk about a few tips about the highlander hybrids purchase?

Customer:

I can't think of any more at this time - ready for a few tips

AMD :

OK Like I told you before. No.1 is NO accidents. Car fax is a must on a hybrid car. Then make sure you buy it from a toyota dealership ONLY. Hybrids require special inspections that other brand dealerships will not do and possibly will miss things. Toyota dealerships inspect hybrids thoroughly and they have the specialists to inspect them.

AMD :

Then when you drive your first highlander hybrid you will notice a lot of whinnng noises as you accelerate and then when you brake. This is normal and if you didn't like it in the test drive then refrain from buying a hybrid car because they all make machine like whinning noises because of the hybrid drive.

AMD :

Now you will need to get used to the engine shutting off in the middle of driving. You don't control the engine, the hybrid computer does and it will shut down the engine whenever it wants. Some people are not comfortable with this. keep this in mind and make sure you test drive one for a good drive before you commit to buy one.

AMD :

Then another thing to watch for is tires and maintenance. You don't want to buy a hybrid car with no service history or jiffy lube service history. Only buy toyota dealership serviced hybrids.

AMD :

And then once you purchase your hybrid make sure you maintain it at a toyota dealership. You don't need to buy everything they try to sell you but make sure if there is ever an issue it is addressed at a toyota dealership. Hybrid systems are way too complicated for an untrained person to be working on them.

AMD :

Make SURE the tires are good if you are buying a 2008 model. tires are expensive like I told you.

AMD :

Also make sure the spare tire is there and that you buy a chain for it if you park your car outside. You wouldn't believe how many spare tire theft issues I have seen in newer model highlanders. It will cost over 1000 dollars to replace the spare tire on a highlander because it has a pressure sensor and it's a huge wheel

AMD :

Did you have any other questions for me today?

Customer:

so oil changes are not recommended at Jiffy Lube on these?

AMD :

Most toyota dealerships are performing oil changes for a very competitive pricing. There's no issue having an oil change done at jiffy lube, However I would highly recommend using original filters and original maintenance parts for your Hybrid.

AMD :

I have seen countless cars roll out of jiffy lube on a tow truck and end up in my bay because they did something wrong. Of course jiffy lube pays for all the damages they cause but at your inconvenience.

Customer:

okay - so that brings me to this question - it sounds like the hybrid just needs to be careful maitenance - meaning going into a toyota dealership

Customer:

I wonder if i might be happier with a regular highlander it sounds less fussy?

AMD :

Actually hybrids have very little maintenance compared to a normal care. However the little maintenance it needs should be performed by a specialist using high quality parts. This doesn't mean that it will cost more.

AMD :

I think if you are willing to buy a hybrid car you will love it.

AMD :

A hybrid car is very different than a normal car, it's very interesting and everything about a hybrid is efficient.

AMD :

The fuel economy is better. They are more quiet and more eco friendly.

AMD :

They actually are made better than the normal highlander electronics wise.

AMD :

there is no fuss about the hybrid highlander. Actually the maintenance is very simple. let me give you an example of maintenance.

AMD :

every 5000 miles you change the oil and rotate the tires. That is from day one until you sell the car.

AMD :

Then every 100,000 miles you change the engine coolant and the hybrid system coolant.

AMD :

Every 90,000 miles you replace the water pump and timing belt.

AMD :

at 120,000 miles you replace the spark plugs.

AMD :

No transmission fluid.

AMD :

No serpentine or drive belts.

AMD :

No differential fluid

AMD :

I have seen brakes on the newer body style last over 120,000 miles on original brakes.

AMD :

Other than this maintenance everything else the dealership tries to push should be rejected. No need to clean your injectors and flush this and flush that.

AMD :

Very simple maintenance schedule to follow.

AMD :

So I wouldn't consider the hybrid highlander a high maintenance car which requires special maintenance. However you have a very sophisticated and advanced technology car. It requires just a touch better quality maintenance which is the dealership.

AMD :

Is my point about maintenance making sense?

Customer:

yes - makes sense

AMD :

So if you buy a clean and well taken care of hybrid highlander. You would have bought a very excellent car.

AMD :

I would buy the newer body style they are nicer.

AMD :

The older body style if you like it is also a very rigid and reliable car.

AMD :

If you choose not to buy the hybrid model then buy 2007 or 2009 and above. 2008 NON hybrid highlander has some engine issues because it had a different engine than the hybrid.

Customer:

if the vehicle is maintained well how long /mileage life should get out of the highlander?

AMD :

I have seen highlander and camry hybrids reach 300,000 miles in my dealership, They are taxis in the city of chicago. At 300,000 miles they are still going strong without issues. So if you maintain it well expect to have the car until you get bored and want to change it. They are really that reliable.

AMD :

Now one thing to consider.

AMD :

Try to buy a certified highlander. You can find a 2008-2009 certified highlander. It will come with an extended warranty of 7 years or 100,000 miles that will give you the piece of mind at the beginning of your ownership.

AMD :

after a while you will know how reliable they are and have no fears driving them.

AMD :

Did you have any other questions for me today?

Customer:

I think you have answered all the questions/concerns I've had so far - thank you - you have been very helpful

AMD :

You're welcome. I'm glad I could help

AMD :

A positive rating for my input would be greatly appreciated

AMD :

Thank you for using justanswer.copm

Customer:

so does this conversation stay in a saved format on this site so i can refer back to it since we covered so much info?

AMD :

You can bookmark this page and get back to it. You can also copy and paste the conversation to your computer. I can also copy and paste the conversation and save onto a file and send you a link to download it for your convenience.

AMD :

Click HERE to download the conversation. after you open the link press download on the upper right corner of the page to download the PDF file to your computer

AMD :

A positive rating for my input would be greatly appreciated.

AMD :

Thank you for using justanswer.com

Customer:

okay - I will complete the rating - again thank you!

AMD :

You're welcome! Have a wonderful day and good luck with the purchase.

AMD, Toyota Certified
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 2717
Experience: Master Automobile Technician L1 Advanced Level Specialist
AMD and 4 other Toyota Specialists are ready to help you

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