2006 Toyota Highlander Problems

RepairPal has identified the most common problems with the 2006 Toyota Highlander as reported by actual vehicle owners. We'll tell you what the problem is and what it'll take to fix it.

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5
Known Problems

A problematic center airbag sensor can cause the airbag malfunction light to illuminate.

The head gasket may fail due to a defect in manufacturing of the cylinder block.

On this vehicle, the head bolts are known to pull the threads out of the engine block, allowing the head to slightly lift, and causing head gasket failure. Symptoms may include:

  • Overheating
  • White smoke from exhaust
  • Rough running conditions and/or inability to start or idle
  • White or cream colored oil on dipstick
  • Check engine light 
  • OBD Trouble Codes P2181, P0300

When the head gasket fails, the bolt holes for the head bolts must be repaired before the cylinder head can be remounted. 

This issue is not always preventable, but to help avoid it, never run the engine if the engine temperature is ever above the normal range. 

Sludge can build up in the engine because Toyota did not recommend frequent enough oil changes. Lexus will sometimes offer a discount on cleaning the engine if necessary. Owners who changed their oil every 3,000 miles did not experience these problems. This sludge build up can lead to excessive oil consumption.

When changing the air filter, it is easy to knock off a hose on the air filter housing, which is part of the emission control system. If the vehicle is driven with this hose disconnected, the Check Engine Light will illuminate.