Four 2017 Toyota Highlander Recalls Mild, But More Than 130 Complaints Reveal Bigger Problems

The 2017 Toyota Highlander has numerous consumer complaints about powertrain issues, electrical problems, and rapid acceleration that allegedly caused fender creases.

2017 Toyota Highlander SE - Photo by Toyota

Key points

  • Four recalls have been issued for the 2017 Toyota Highlander, including a defective fuel pump that can cause the car to stall while driving, and a defective windshield wiring harness that can allow water to enter.
  • The 2017 Highlander has logged more than 130 complaints with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The most common include 20 for the electrical system, 27 for the powertrain, and 24 for the engine.
  • After reviewing the complaints, we found several common problems, including strange noises when braking, choppy transmission, engine stalling, and random electrical faults.

2017 Toyota Highlander XLE - Photo by Toyota

The four 2017 Highlander recalls are notable, but no more serious than a weak fuel pump that could stall the SUV

The 2017 Toyota Highlander has faced four NHTSA recalls, but none are too serious. They solve problems with loose roof rails, leaking windshields, and a flat spare tire. The biggest concern is a weak fuel pump that could cause the vehicle to stall in traffic. Other than that, all four withdrawals are fairly minor in terms of the serious risk they pose. Here’s a closer look at the four reminders:

  • Low-pressure fuel pump (2017-2019) mountain dwellers): In November 2020, Toyota issued a recall due to a low-pressure fuel pump that may not function, causing the vehicle to stall. In some cases, it may not restart.
  • Defective windshield wiring harness (Highlands 2014-2018): In November 2018, Toyota issued a recall for the windshield wiring harness, which has an inefficient design that can allow water to enter the vehicle, causing a risk of engine stalling. The recall only affects vehicles on which an aftermarket replacement windshield has been installed.
  • Loose roof rails (2017 Highlanders): Roof bars were not a standard feature, but vehicles equipped with them risked the rails easily detaching from the SUV, which could cause injury or property damage. A recall from August 2017 reports that the problem is caused by the roof rail fasteners being tightened incorrectly, allowing them to loosen over time.
  • Incorrect air pressure in spare tire (2017 Highlander, Highlander Hybrid): A smaller, less serious but important recall was launched in May 2017 and concerns improperly inflated spare tires. The error can lead to poor performance and possible crashes.

2017 Toyota Highlander XLE - Picture of Toyota

More than 130 owners speak out with NHTSA complaints about engine stalling and rapid acceleration in the 2017 Highlander

The 2017 Toyota Highlander is known for its rugged exterior and advanced driver-assist features, as well as a conveniently spacious third row and above-average fuel economy. Still, there are concerns about the 2017 SUV’s fuel pump, roof rails, and windshield cables, leading to recalls. Consumers also struggled with the electrical system, powertrain, and brakes.

As of late 2021, the NHTSA reports that the 2017 Toyota Highlander has 131 complaints. The most common complaints relate to the same problems: the car does not start, stalls while driving, and strange noises are heard from under the hood.

The most common NHTSA issues, problems, and complaints include:

  • Powertrain problems: Twenty-seven complaints recorded relate to the powertrain and include transmission problems, vehicle stalling while driving, and gear shifting problems. “The automatic transmission stopped working at a stoplight, with only 25,000 miles on the vehicle,” said one 2017 Highland owner. His experience has been confirmed by many other owners, sometimes multiple times. “On three occasions, at 30,000, 40,000, and 42,000 miles, while driving at highway speeds (70 mph), the vehicle suddenly, without warning, entered low-power limp mode, resulting in rapid deceleration. in the middle of high-speed highway traffic.
  • Electric problems: Twenty complaints relate to electrical issues, with customers noting the vehicle shuts off randomly, the engine won’t start and, in one case, the battery allegedly failed after less than three years of ownership and 44,000 miles on the odometer. The owner of a 2017 Highland says, “I had my vehicle stopped twice at a red light. No power to direct. …I was almost hit from behind twice because of the position.
  • Service brake failure: There are a total of 16 service brake complaints, highlighting system failures, lack of power, difficulty starting and unusual noises. The owner of a 2017 Highlander said that when unintended acceleration occurred, he pressed the brake pedal, but the vehicle continued to move forward and hit a sign. Another owner had a similar accident due to the same problem. “The car in front of us stopped, so I tried to stop quickly, but the Highlander’s automatic collision avoidance function kicked in and took control of my brakes, but it still didn’t stop, it didn’t stop,” he said. . “I ended up crashing into the car in front of me.”
  • Sharp shifts and rapid acceleration: Among the 33 “Other” complaints recorded are some of the same issues addressed in several other categories but with additional issues mentioned, such as some owners finding metal shavings and dark gunk in the transmission fluid. One of the most serious problems was reported by a 2017 Highland owner who left the engine running while speeding into a house, only to hear a crash. The car had changed gears and [crashed] in the garage.

The 2017 Toyota Highlander Has Been Hit by Some Recalls, But It’s Still Safe to Drive and a Safe Bet

That the 2017 Toyota Highlander has only received four recalls is not a bad thing for its age. The recalls and complaints covered all the inconveniences and risks, from hearing unusual noises emanating from under the hood to the engine stopping completely. All of this information should be carefully considered when reviewing a 2017 Highlander.

However, the vehicle is also certified safe, with eight airbags and Toyota’s Safety Sense driver-assist technology, which is standard and includes pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, and automatic high beams. Additionally, the 2017 model includes a powertrain upgrade via the new 3.5L D-4S fuel-injected V6 with 295 horsepower and 263 lb-ft. of torque

Photos: Toyota

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