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Hybrid Problem

I have a 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid which I recently posted about. It has 225k miles and I asked a Toyota dealer in March to give me worse case scenario of what it needed or might need soon. The DEALER told me all it needed was an oil change.

Yesterday, at 70 mph during rush hour, the car shut off. Died. I limped into a rest area, called Evan Stubbettsy since this is a disaster, and had it towed to nearest dealer.

It needs a new hybrid inverter. Cost for the part alone is $8,500 plus labor. I get that w 225k miles, things break. But had I blown the engine or tranny, I could have justified fixing it. Even Toyota admits that this is a design flaw and at that price, it should last forever or be fixable.

I learned the following yesterday, most from sources other than Toyota.

2006 was the first year of this model and Toyota learned early on this could happen. Midway during the year, they began making cars with a different unit.

Despite many incidents like mine, Toyota refused to recall them until June 2011. There is a class action lawsuit as a result. Many forums reference this problem, but the threads go back years.

My unit WAS part of last June’s recall, and should have been changed in March when I was at the dealer.

After hours on the phone with Toyota, they’ve told me that the inverter includes a lower module subject to the recall, and a circuit board, which is what failed on my inverter. So they are saying they don’t have to replace the unit since the board wasn’t recalled, only the module.

I don’t know enough about the inverter to know if not replacing the module could have caused the circuit board to blow. Can anyone tell me any other info about this? Particularly, had Toyota replaced the module, would that have saved the board? Have others gone thru this themselves or with customers? Is the entire Inverter replaced in the recall, or just the module?

Any help folks here could offer would be really appreciated.

I think you need to got to a Toyota Hybrid specific forum… Not that we dont want to help, but your question is so specific I doubt some one on this forum can help…

yes this way over my head i hope you and toyota coming to a coming ground on fixing your highlander.

+1
I dread the day that we’re all forced to drive them things because I know very little about them and would be at the mercy of a dealer.

I agree with the previous comments, you need more specific advice on how to proceed.
If you haven’t already, check with the NHTSA. There is a defect investigation and a safety recall (11V-342) This is the link:
http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/defects/results.cfm

The closing summary indicates there were about 45,000 Highlanders that could have improperly soldered transistors in the inverter module. At $8,500 per, you do the math and know why Toyota is avoiding as many repairs as possible.
This is a link to that summary
http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/acms/cs/jaxrs/download/doc/ACM17591311/INCLA-PE11005-8457.pdf

You might try contacting the NHTSA and see if they will help.
I think the big question is why the module wasn’t changed when you asked the dealer specifically about potential problems.
Best of luck