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How Many Miles Can A Toyota Highlander Last (+Reliability Scores)

How Many Miles Can A Toyota Highlander Last (+Reliability Scores)

How many miles can a Toyota Highlander last? When you’re in the market for a new or second-hand Highlander, that´s a very reasonable question. After all, you’re probably looking to get the most bang for your buck. In this blog, we’ll look at this question in great detail but first, let’s start with a quick answer:

On average, a Toyota Highlander lasts between 250.000 – 290.000 miles. A Highlander needs to go to the garage for unscheduled repairs about 0.33 times per year, with a 13% chance of severe problems. Furthermore, Highlander owners spend an average of $489 per year on repair costs.

Having said that, we’re certainly not done. Below, we’ll explain in more detail how many miles a Highlander can last. After that, we’ll also show you how much a Highlander costs annually and which production years are the most and least expensive. Furthermore, we also discuss the common problems that the car can have. Read on!

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How Many Miles Can A Toyota Highlander Last?

Today, we will analyze how many miles a Toyota Highlander can last. We conducted in-depth research on several different platforms to answer these questions. First, we have to look at the Toyota Highlander as a group. For this, we went to Autotrader.com to gather our sample size.

We took a pool of 13.499 Toyota Highlander units and divided them into groups based on the miles they had already driven. The results of this research are displayed in the table below.

Amount Of MilesPercentage Of Cars
Cars With 150.000+6.77%
Cars With 100.000 – 149.0009.66%
Cars With 45.000 – 99.99931.35%
Cars With 0 – 44.99952.22%

By themselves, these numbers don´t say a lot. However, it just so happens that we´ve written hundreds of these articles for different passenger vehicles. For this reason, we know that it´s typical for SUVs to have a percentage of 5-7% crossing the 150.000 miles mark.

The table above shows that the Highlander ends at the higher end of this range. At first glance, it seems that the Highlander has a good lifespan. It´s also interesting to note that most second-hand Highlanders haven´t crossed the 100.000 miles mark yet. However, this is typical for cars still being sold, and it doesn´t indicate a reliability issue.

Also read: Types Of Gas A Toyota Highlander Uses (All Generations)

Silver 2007 Toyota Highlander with 345.192 miles and an asking price of $5,499
At the time of updating this article, this is the highest mileage Toyota Highlander for sale on Autotrader.com

How Reliable Is A Toyota Highlander Compared To Its Competitors?

Furthermore, we also need to compare the Highlander to its competition. The reason is that this will give us a clearer understanding of how many miles the car can drive before giving up and whether or not this is a respectable number.

The results of our research are displayed in the table below. Remember that we´ve also written individual articles for these other SUVs. Therefore, we´re confident in the data in the table.

ModelSample SizeExpected MileageHighest Mileage
Toyota Highlander13.499270.000350.000
Ford Explorer24.900230.000360.000
Chevrolet Traverse11.234240.000260.000
Honda Pilot17.387240.000320.000
Acura MDX5.067230.000290.000

The results in the table show that the Highlander is by far the vehicle we expect to last the longest. One of the reasons for this is that we found many Highlanders with a mileage in the 200.000 – 300.000 range. We may have found a handful of models like this for the other vehicles, but not many, which decreases their scores.

All the other vehicles generally seem to fall into the same group. They´re all very reliable; every single one has had units cross 250.000 miles. However, the Highlander comes out on top here.

Do you want to know more about how this car compares to other vehicles regarding the expected miles it can last? Read more about that in this article: How Many Miles Can A Car Last? (156 Models Analyzed!)

How Reliable Is A Toyota Highlander Compared To Other Toyotas?

We took several Toyota models and examined their reliability based on the same data. We took the mileage numbers of these models and compared them with the mileage numbers of the Toyota Highlander. 

What becomes clear from this table immediately is the fact that Toyota builds vehicles with an incredible lifespan. Car brands typically have vehicles that last between 200.000 – 250.000 miles; anything above that is rare. However, Toyota has many cars with an expected mileage of 250.000 or higher.

The Highlander does hold up incredibly well. Besides the Tundra, Sequoia, Tacoma, and the 4Runner, the Highlander has the longest lifespan. Overall, this subheading speaks mainly in favor of the Highlander and Toyota.

ModelSample SizeExpected MileageHighest Mileage
Toyota Avalon2.763255.000360.000
Toyota Camry18.503270.000349.000
Toyota Yaris992215.000260.000
Toyota RAV417.027240.000300.000
Toyota Sequoia 1.735275.000370.000
Toyota Sienna6.166255.000290.000
Toyota Highlander13.499270.000350.000
Toyota Corolla17.297265.000340.000
Toyota Tundra13.370305.000390.000
Toyota Tacoma17.910325.000395.000
Toyota 4Runner14.092315.000360.000

How Much Does Maintenance Cost Per Year?

For a vehicle to be considered reliable, one must know the maintenance cost. A car with high mileage and high maintenance costs can´t be deemed to be reliable. So we have to know if the Toyota Highlander can give us the high mileage we expect at lower maintenance costs. We went through several model years and presented the annual maintenance cost. Data is gathered from Repairpal and Caredge.com.

Model YearAnnual Maintenance Cost
2021$489
2020$489
2019$599
2018$419
2017$462
2016$489
2015$489
2014$454

Like other Toyotas, Highlander’s annual maintenance costs are much lower than the competitors. Typically, we would expect to pay $573 annually to keep a mid-sized SUV on the road. However, in the case of Highlander, the yearly maintenance cost is only $489. The only year with a much higher maintenance cost is 2019.

We have a section dedicated to common problems that lead to higher maintenance costs. When you are shopping in the used market, make sure to check for any common issues. However, this subheading speaks in favor of the Highlander.

Owners’ Reviews Of The Toyota Highlanders Reliability

Besides knowing all the data, it’s, of course, also essential to see how owners experience the Highlander. For this, we went to Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, and Cars.com. All three platforms have gathered hundreds of reviews from actual car owners. We summarized our findings in the image below.

Owners ratings of the fourth generation Toyota Highlander on kelley blue book, edmunds and cars.com
Owners’ reviews of the fourth-generation Toyota Highlander (2019 – Present)

Overall, we have to conclude that owners are satisfied with their purchase. The fourth generation of the Highlander, therefore, has good ratings. However, they aren´t perfect. Diving deeper into the reviews, we find that some model years have slightly lower ratings.

However, this has nothing to do with a mechanical or electrical issue. Instead, we found people disliked small things about the car, such as the uncomfortable driver seat in the 2020 model. The quote below sums up the sentiment quite well:

This is my first Toyota, after owning many Honda vehicles. I love this vehicle and I’m impressed with the styling and appearance however the front seats are not comfortable. I have an XLE and find the fronts seats to be very disappointing, especially with the front passenger lacking height adjustments and lumbar support. The transmission has an hesitation when you gun it, which makes it feels a little slow despite the 295 hp.

Source, 2020 owners

Toyota Highlander Common Problems

NOTE: Before buying a used car, I always like to make sure the vehicle isn´t having any problems that you should be aware of. The easiest way to do this is by buying an OBD2 scanner. These scanners can easily be plugged into any car you’re interested in, and they’ll give you a rundown of potential problems.

Personally, I like this one on Amazon because it has a lot more functions than basic OBD2 scanners. This particular one also runs tests on your emission system and tests if you’re fuel mix is optimal (or if your engine is misfiring), so you have a complete understanding of how the car’s performing.

If you’re interested to know more about the problems of a Highlander, read this article we wrote earlier: 6 Common Problems Of A Toyota Highlander Hybrid

NOTE: Before buying a used car, I always like to make sure the vehicle isn´t having any problems that you should be aware of. The easiest way to do this is by buying an OBD2 scanner. These scanners can easily be plugged into any car you’re interested in, and they’ll give you a rundown of potential problems.

Personally, I like this one on Amazon because it has a lot more functions than basic OBD2 scanners. This particular one also runs tests on your emission system and tests if you’re fuel mix is optimal (or if your engine is misfiring), so you have a complete understanding of how the car’s performing.

Engine failure

Toyota reviewed 44,000 vehicles from 2019-2020 with a 2.5-liter inline-four motor. The review includes the likelihood of breaks forming in the engine, prompting coolant or oil leaks and slowing down, overheating, or motor flames.

Toyota estimates around 250 vehicles will have the issue. Sellers will check vehicles on the review rundown to check whether they are impacted and provide that, if true, they will replace the engine. When owners carry their vehicles to a seller, the vendor will look at the engine’s serial number to decide if it´s part of the recalled year list.

If your engine does not get repaired or replaced under the recall, then keep in mind to pay somewhere between $1,200 and $3,500 for a new engine.

Faulty Fuel Pump

Toyota found out the 2017 – 2019 models had a faulty fuel pump that needed to be replaced (which also happened to be installed in 1.5 million Toyota’s overall). The defective fuel pump would break down, meaning the driver experienced a complete loss of power. Recalls were issued, but dealers struggled with parts shortages delaying the repairs.

Sudden Acceleration

Pre-2015 models had problems with sudden acceleration. These situations mainly occur in low-speed situations, for example, when people are parking. Toyota never formally admitted to having these problems, and recalls or technical service bulletins were never issued. However, they did settle court cases meaning they were well aware of this problem.

Echos During Bluetooth Calls

One problem focused on more recent models of the Highlander Hybrid is a loud echo during a hands-free phone call. According to owners, this problem was quite severe in the 2016 – 2019 versions of the Highlander Hybrid, rendering the whole system useless.

The problem was so bad that Toyota issued an instruction video on minimizing echo during these phone calls. The main takeaway from this is that you need to adjust the phone’s audio all the way up while adjusting the audio of the head unit down to below 45.

Electrical Problems

This was a reoccurring, widely-complained about problem in all 2006 – 2017 Toyota Highlanders.

The electrical problems reported are all very different, and there’s no common theme. Some owners say that certain parts of the car malfunction. For example, the liftgate stops working, or the radio randomly switches the bass, volume, and treble levels.

Other owners report that many warning lights come on at once. At the same time, several warning messages appear, such as ‘charging system fails’ and ‘braking power low’. Typically, these warning messages disappear after a few minutes, and the car operates normally again.

Braking Problems

One of these Highlander problems involves owners having trouble with braking. This can be due to an unresponsive brake pedal, a brake pedal getting stuck, or suddenly having a tough time pressing the brake pedal. These symptoms are more common in pre-2015 vehicles.

If you experience heavy braking, the power brake assist is most likely a problem. In this case, the vacuum pump that’s part of the braking system will need to be replaced, which will cost $700. If you experience an unresponsive brake pedal or a delay during braking, it’s likely a failing ABS actuator, and replacing this element will set you back between $900 – $1,100.

Also read: Toyota Highlander Transmissions: Overview, Problems, Fluids

Is a Toyota Highlander A Smart Buy?

Finally, we have to answer the question of whether or not the Highlander is a vehicle that´s worth buying.

First, our research indicates that the Highlander has an incredible lifespan. We expect it to last 270.000 miles on average, much higher than all of its competition. Also, when we look at other Toyota vehicles, we see that these numbers aren´t unusual for the brand.

Moving on to the annual maintenance costs, we saw that the SUV has lower than average maintenance costs, which will always be a good thing.

Owners are typically satisfied with their vehicle, although there are some pain points to be aware of. Mainly the uncomfortable driving seat is something no one is pleased with. Also, when we look at the problems the Highlander has had in the past years, it becomes clear that the 2016 – 2019 model years aren´t perfect. Luckily most of these problems are covered under warranty, or they´ve been part of a recall.

In short, it seems that the Highlander has its uncomfortable points, but it´s an absolute beast regarding reliability and its lifespan. If that´s what you´re looking for, check the Highlander out.

Are you in the market for this Toyota? Don’t forget to check out our extensive list of the largest Toyota dealers per state!

Toyota Highlander Maintenance Schedule

When you buy a vehicle, you have to take care of all the maintenance aspects. Numerous things can go wrong if proper maintenance is not carried out. Regular in-time maintenance is necessary to ensure your car lasts as long as it can.

Before/On Every 4,000 Miles

  • Replace engine oil
  • Replace oil filter
  • Clean air intake filter, or replace it if necessary
  • Tire rotation
  • Check all the fluid levels
  • Add washer fluid
  • Lubricate all the joints that need lubrication
  • Recalibrate the system

Before/On Every 10,000 Miles

  • Inspect the cabin air filter and replace it if necessary
  • Check the underside for prevailing rust; if there is rust, carry out the rust prevention procedure
  • Check the suspension components
  • Check brakes, brake lines, brake fluid, etc.
  • Inspect the tires and replace them if necessary

Before/On Every 20,000 Miles

  • Give your vehicle a thorough clean inside out
  • Apply rust prevention treatment underneath the frame
  • Check for any engine code
  • Wheel balancing, if necessary

Before/On Every 40,000 Miles

  • Replace transmission fluid
  • Inspect the spark plugs
  • Inspect the PCV system
  • Inspect the exhaust system
  • Check for any fluid leaks
  • Check the refrigerant level
  • Inspect the coolant and replace it if necessary

Before/On Every 60,000 Miles

  • Inspect all fluid and replace it if necessary. It is advised to replace all vehicle fluids at about 100,000 miles.
  • Replace the spark plugs if not replaced before
  • Check the fuel pump and fuel injectors and clean if there are clogged
  • Inspect the ignition coils

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