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2004 Toyota Highlander tire/heat issues

#1 Question I rotate tires with oil change, synthetic, every 5,000. Why does my front driver’s side tire alway lose air. Chronically. Should step into the bay and double check that they are really rotating my tires.

#2 I know why my heater like to blow warm and cold air every couple of minutes. Something about a short gold filament. Who will fix it? 134,000 + it’s, of course, out of warrantee.


You could simply mark the tires, hen check their positions after the work is allegedly done. Many shops won’t allow anyone to watch the work. TownFairTire is like this. I refuse to go there because of it.

I think you misunderstood what they told you. Can you copy exactly what they wrote from your copy of the shop order?
I’m going to guess that you have a “climate control system” and the problem is in the controls, but I’d like to hear what the shop that looked at it said.

Yes I will have to get some pink chalk. Mark them on the inside.

#2 Seems Toyota use gold filaments for the heating unit. They shrink. It’s sorta like a short. Ya know that lamp cord that the dog chewed on. Wiggle it and the light comes on. Sorta the same thing with my heat. 19 degrees this morning within 2 miles heat blasting out, go around the corner freezing air. Go around another corner sauna. Go over a small pebbles cold air. ETC. Knob for fan is a turning knob. Sometimes I can get hear buy pushing “in” on it while turning some times not. Actually, the farther I travel the more likely it is to loose my heat. I already know what Toyota will charge $700 for fine soldering.

Sorry Typo 2004 Highlander I don’t think anyone had heard of climate control. BTW only way to get heat is body heat. If I try dual feet and body, no go heat lost.

Here’s what I am talking about see the bottom of the page, picture by picture of the issue

Thanks for the year of manufacture correction. That does make a difference.
However, there’s no gold filaments in the Toyota heating system, the AC system, the ductwork, or the controls. There MAY be gold-plated contacts in the fan switch, but even that would surprise me. Contact resistance isn’t critical enough in that system to justify the expense.

What does this mean? Where did you get the $700 quote and what is it allegedly for?
I have an in-depth knowledge of soldering processes, including gold-ball bonding in microwave integrated circuitry, wave soldering, surface mount soldering, soldering of turret terminals, PC board “lands”, and countless other types to NASA standards, DOD standards, and IPC-610 standards, and I have no idea what “fine soldering” means.

PostScript: Aha! your new post, posted while I was writing, answers a lot of my questions. That article makes sense. I noticed that it was posted by a “dot-com” (commercial) poster. Perhaps you could follow that .com lead and get a description definitive enough to do the work yourself. Or perhaps the .com will repair the control unit for a fee far cheaper than what Toyota would charge to replace it (you’d probably have to remove, ship, and reinstall it yourself).

Maybe they don’t use the term “fine soldering” but my ex did. And it like soldering an old TV or mother board. Not too many around who even know how to do that. Some young people don’t know what clockwise is having been raised in a digital age.

Lots of other info on Google about Erratic Heat Highlander 2004-… BTW never had a problem with AC. Stands to reason there is a “short” so to speak. heat, cold heat cold. ETC. just like the lamp cord. This is not rocket science. We had a old guy who used to fix the old TV’s he’s not around anymore. And one of these .com’s recommends Radio Shack. Also gone. Just wish I knew someone who would open it up and “fine solder” it. LOL Couldn’t help myself. At least I haven’t asked about a “funny noise” My ex would rise from the grave.

Funny thing is this has been going on for 3-4 years. Just tired of it. And for some reason this year has been pretty good. overall. So either some “core” or other part is broken or it isn’t. Correct? And it isn’t. It’s a connection problem.

There are many other links. Google Erratic Heat 2004 Toyota Highlander if you are interested. My problem isn’t the heater it’s finding someone who will take the dash off and "fine solder’ Sorry couldn’t help myself.

My googling the subject isn’t going to help you.
The best I can offer is a link to “exploded view” diagrams of how the assemblies are put together, along with part numbers and descriptions and their costs. Hopefully these will help you to fix the problem. Beyond that, you’ll just have to pay the repair cost or live with the problem.

Good luck.

That was a great link


However . . . your 2014 HIghlander and that 2004 Highlander in the link are different generations, with a completely different interior and ac controls

You may or may not have the same problem(s) as that guy with the broken solder joints

No parts needed. That’s what I can’t get across to any independent mechanic. But thanks for listening. That’s farther than I’ve gotten in the past 3-4 years. Just validating the issue by the Google search because I’ve been laughed at too many times. If I can figure it out I might have a little side job lined up in my old age. Some of the blogs out there have many many people with the same issue. What are they charging now for soldering. Just a ball part figure is all I need.

One site recommended Radio Shack. Too late now.

There are more. Actually, just now I found a car complaint site. Several on there. As a woman with a vehicle I absolutely detest being frowned upon. When ex was alive I would write down exactly what to say and still get the run around. And if he were here he would solder it. He was one of those guy that if he couldn’t fix it it probably wasn’t broken. He fixed 300 ton injection molding machines without a hydraulic/electrical print out, had parts left over, and an increased output. Maybe I need a physic to get in touch with him.

Mechanics normally don’t get involved with disassembling units and repairing them with a 12 month/12,000 mile warranty. Without spare units and spare parts that a specialist might have, if something breaks during dis-assembly or found to be broken an $800 unit will have to be replaced, the tech will be blamed most of the time.

The link shows how to repair this yourself, removing the HVAC controls is not a big job, no need to remove the dash. You might find an electrical shop that will repair your control panel if you remove and bring the the controls.

The OP corrected his original post. :slight_smile:

I’m a she /her.

Apologies. No offense meant. :slight_smile:

Concur w/advice above. Mark the tires with a crayon before you take it there. If they aren’t rotated, don’t leave the shop yet. Instead show them the marks. They’ll probably just say they must have forgot to do the rotation, then they’ll stop what they are doing and rotate them for you. It’s quite possible in fact that they did just forget.

If you have a problem with an electronic control unit in a car, it’s usually best to simply replace it with a new one. Or one from a wrecked car in a junk yard if you want to save a little $$$ . Below, you can check w/your local pick and pack auto recycler if they have a Highlander in their yard.

The other alternative as already mentioned is get out the yellow pages and check if your local auto electric shop will fix your existing one for you.

I would suggest instead showing them the marks, making sure the other customers hear you point out that they didn’t do the work, making them take the cost of the rotation off the bill, and driving off into the sunset… to use another shop in the future. That’s what I’d do.

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None taken.

All it needs is soldering not replacement. $30 job if Radio Shack were still around.