Highlander hybrid 2007 won't move


#1

is anybody besides me still driving a 2007 toyota highlander hybrid? this car has done well until just this last year. i think the auxiliary 12 volt battery and rest of engine has issues. i replaced the 12v battery in 2012 so it’s still good, but when i go out of town for over 7 days and the car isn’t started, it is dead when i return. so i charge it up but then the car won’t move when started and put into gear. it acts as if a wheel lock is on it. i got ahold of an innovus code scanner and no codes appear. i don’t know what to do. is this relatable to anyone else’s experience owning one of these vehicles? i have come across some posts on other forums where owners did have battery issues with these cars, not the fault of the 12v battery but just the car and how it’s built, vis a vis the 12v batt.
fyi i had the ipm (inverter component) replaced on recall in march of this year. the above issue with the battery had just begun a month prior, so i thought that following the recall all would be well. but it isn’t


#2

Try disabling the TRAC/VSC system as described below:

If the car drives after disabling the TRAC/VSC, maybe the 12 v battery dying is messing up the TRAC/VSC system.


#3

ok i can try this, but would i need to afterwards re-enable the TRAC/VSC system? apparently it has something to do with the tires/braking and since i live in an icy and snowy (wintertime) area i might need it?


#4

Yes, the disabling procedure is meant only for temporary diagnosis. If the disable procedure works, you’ll probably have to take it into a dealer for further diagnosis/repair.


#5

Sounds like the brakes rusting to a locking situation, How have you gotten it to move in the past? There are 2 sets of pads for each disk brake, inner and outer, could be one or both. Now it was a beater truck so we would just goose it until it broke free, not recommending that to you but it should be a fairly simple diagnosis.


#6

Does it feel like the car is being held by the brakes or like the trans is not in gear? I would jack the car up with the transmission in neutral and brakes off, you should be able to spin each wheel with minimal effort. It sounds like you are in an area where rust may be an issue. What systems were you able to check with your scanner?


#7

Is your parking brake applied when you leave? It can rust and stick, although this usually takes longer than a week.

As for your battery, you say that it’s good, but you need to be aware that repeated deep discharging is very hard on it. It might not be as good as you think at this point. It sounds like you have a parasitic draw that needs to be addressed, as any car should be able to sit for two or three weeks without an issue.


#8

thanks for all the replies…but theres no brake issue. i keep the car garaged and well maintained, and they were just recently replaced anyway. maybe the battery is no longer as good as i think, but i think the shop has checked it as this is not the first time this has happened. i’ll ask them to recheck. but as i do research i see other owners of this car have similar problems, the problem is they all had such similar occurrences years ago, and mine have just started. specifically on “hybrid cars” forum, a 2005 HH battery goes dead when the car sits also. in 2007 the owner started having such problems. my car has done well for 6 years, but suddenly when the car sits for over a week this happens. toyota is probably aware there is a problem but like when the inverter in these models proved problematic it took them years and threats of class actions suits to get them to address it, many many unhappy owners posted on edmunds.com regarding this issue. so i’m hitting all the forums looking for any owners that have my specific problem. i know the car talk guys like the prius, but with the highlander in this year, and the 2005 and 2006 from what i see, they dropped the ball and won’t own up to it. the dealers mechanic says that he’s never heard of anyone having problems with the highlander hybrid…serious issues that is.

so the first reply to my post recommended i disable the TRAC/VCS, which i considered doing but the dealers’ mechanic asked me to have it towed to a shop and have their computer analyze it, so i agreed to do that instead. maybe tomorrow they will have some codes for the dealers shop and then i’ll see what they have to say. i’m having to do all this over the phone as i live 300 miles away and on an island. i think i have a lemon :frowning:


#9

Until you get this all figured out, you can put the 12V battery on a “maintainer” or “conditioner” whenever the car will sit for more than a few days. (I do this on my hybrid even though I’ve never had any problems; just read about them.)


#10

yes i’ve read about them and that has occurred to me as well recently, as a way to live with it, if that is all/what it takes. so you must’ve heard about others having 12volt batteries issues as well before? and, just wondering, do you have this same car or another style of hybrid?


#11

I have a (ready?) Honda Insight. It has a very small 12V battery, so I like to keep it “topped off.”