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SAFETY HAZARD--Brake Problem on 2007 Toyota Highlander

The power brake booster on our 2007 Toyota Highlander is broken and needs to be replaced. We asked our mechanic whether there are any brake-related recalls for our Make/Model/Year, and he said ‘no’. Is this just our particular bad luck, or have others experienced similar problems with this SUV? It was scary. My husband was driving on the highway and needed to make a sudden stop due to a traffic slowdown. The brakes didn’t respond, and he needed to slam down the brakes several times to get the brakes to work. No warning, the brakes just suddenlt stopped working.

Any helpful info/input is welcome!

That’s just life in the fast lane…You replace the failed part (power booster) and drive on…If you think someone else should pay for it, next time buy a vehicle with a 10 year, 100,000 mile warranty. This is the direction the industry is heading…(the ones who want to stay in business)…

Thanks for your reply. Yes, we are prepared to pay for the repair (if we have to ), but that is only part of the problem. This was a safety issue. My husband and daughter could have been injured or killed. We want to know whether others have experienced similar issues with this Make/Model/Year. Shouldn’t Toyota bear some responsibility for safety issues, especially in light of the other Toyota recalls?

Just about every model and year vehicle with power brakes ever produced has had a brake booster failure. The only safety issue here is not knowing how to handle a brake booster failure. A booster failure does not mean you have no brakes. It just means you need to apply more force on the pedal to stop. What are you looking for here? Someone to tell you that it is a defect and Toyota owes you? Or someone to tell you that there are cars out there that never need to be repaired?

I don’t believe that this is an unusually frequent problem.

I think that the NHTSA has a form somewhere on their web site that you can submit to let them know about safety issues, if that makes you feel any better.

“Just about every model and year vehicle with power brakes ever produced has had a brake booster failure.”

Sorry, pvt, but I don’t agree with that statement. A brake booster failure is an anomlie. The overwhelming majority of cars of all makes & models, go through their entire lives without ever experiencing a booster failure.

If your intent was to say that a booster failure is a random occurance. I agree and apologize.

check the hose going to the booster make sure its not lecking vac. or feels soft or sponge.

As others have stated or implied, this type of thing does happen occasionally with all makes of cars, and for the driver who does not know how to deal with it, the problem can be scary. As PvtPublic stated, your vehicle still had brakes, and it only lost the power boost effect that makes it easier to apply the brakes.

Despite the safety-related nature of this problem, unless there is an actual recall of the same model vehicle (with appropriate serial numbers and dates of manufacture), there is no way that any manufacturer is going to cover this type of defect after at least 5 years have elapsed.

Just to give you some reality on this topic, EVERY 1953 Buick with the optional power brake system had a defect in the system, due to poor design. This defect caused the power brake booster to–literally–suck the brake fluid out of the master cylinder under certain conditions, thus leading to no brakes at all. However, fewer than 100 Buicks actually lost their brakes due to this bad design, and because there was no NHTSA at that time, no recall was ever effected on these cars.

Since 1953, we have come a long way in terms of both vehicle design and enforced recalls, but unless there is a significant number of other Highlander owners reporting this defect, no recall will take place. As was suggested, you should report the incident to NHTSA, via their website. Even if a recall takes place a couple of years from now, you could be reimbursed for the repair costs that you recently paid.

Things break. When you’re talking about something that goes 65mph in traffic, sometimes things breaking leads to a safety hazard. That does not mean that Toyota is responsible when the car is 6 years old unless they claim responsibility in the warranty. If Toyota were, as you suggest, responsible in whole or in part for anything involving safety issues, then they would be on the hook any time you needed new tires, or brake pads, or rotors, or shocks, or, in fact, just about anything on the car except the radio and the Toyota logos. That wouldn’t make much sense, and would certainly drive them out of business.