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2009 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 135,000 miles Noise from rear of the car

Ever since I got a brake job, my brake lights have come on, all 8 of them. Traction Control, ABS, Brake, etc. Every once in a while they will go off and be normal for a day or two then they will come back on. The service center that did the brake job said everything looks good, it must be a faulty brake actuator. The brakes work fine although on starting I have to remove my foor from the petal and then reapply it to move the transmission from park to drive. When on the highway doing 70 mph or so, when I take my foot off the accelerator I hear a pop coming from under the rear of the car mostly on the passenger side. In about 5 minutes, I’ll hear it again. It sounds like pressure is being built up than all of a sudden released with a pop.

An actuator replacement will cost $3500 and I rather not go through the expense if it is air in the brake line of a faulty sensor. Can you help?

It does sort of sound like there may be a little air remaining in the system. The next step is to test that theory. Have the brakes re-bled. With ABS there’s sometimes complications doing this that requires a certain level of tech expertise and Toyota’s scan tool. If the shop you are using doesn’t quite match that description, find a shop that specializes in Toyotas to help you figure it out. If you want to try something yourself, feel the wheels after a long-ish drive to see if one of them are getting much hotter than the others.

A second opinion is needed, especially given the pop from the rear, If you have a good dealer, that is where I would go first.

As this is a hybrid there are more interactions with braking systems and other systems on the SUV. If it was a conventional Highlander I’d stick with the original shop to sort out the problem, but in this case I’d advise you head to a Toyota dealer. A regular shop would rarely see a hybrid Highlander whereas a dealer would see at least a few of them.

This a vehicle where I’d live with the extra cost of dealer service because they have more knowledge of this particular vehicle.

For that expense, I’d get at least two more estimates, including the Toyota dealer. Don’t tell them what the service center you first used said. Just describe the problem and let them figure it out. If you tell them about the brake actuator, that might taint their evaluation. When you get the estimate, ask why they think the problem is whatever they say. Let us know the responses if you are still interested in discussing the problem with us.