Toyota Highlander Hybrid Under Investigation for Stalling Issues

Huw Evans
by Huw Evans

Toyota might have been vindicated in it’s unintended acceleration investigation but now the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has the automaker under the spotlight once again, this time regarding stalling engines on some of its Hybrid SUVs.

In a notice posted on its website; NHTSA said it had opened a ‘preliminary’ investigation into 43,941 Toyota Highlander Hybrids from the 2006 model year, after receiving no fewer than 32 separate complaints. These center around the fact that the gasoline engine would stall and then didn’t restart. In fact, in 21 of the separate incidents reported, the engine was said to have stalled out at speeds in excess of 40 mph and in 26 cases, the engine couldn’t be started, requiring a number of the affected vehicles to be towed to a dealership for repairs.

However, at this point in time, NHTSA says none of the reported incidents have resulted in crashes, injuries or fatalities. Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons has said that Toyota is in the process of fully cooperating with the NHTSA regarding this latest investigation.

This isn’t the first time the agency has investigated engine stalling issues. In 2009, various Toyota Matrix and Pontiac Vibe vehicles were having similar problems, resulting in an eventual recall of some 1.3 million 2005-08 Matrix and Vibe models.

In addition, Volkswagen has also been under the NHTSA spotlight for stalling TDI engines, in which 100,000 vehicles were the subject of investigation, though most of those were due to miss-fueling issues, likely the result of people pouring gasoline into the tank of their diesel fueled vehicles.

[Source: The Detroit News]

Huw Evans
Huw Evans

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  • Kris Kris on Aug 04, 2011

    Today, I had freon put in my 2003 Toyota Matrix. As I was driving it back to my office from the shop, it started making clicking noises, then the rpms when way up then the steering wheel locked up, then the whole car shut down. I had it towed back to the shop and was told the engine froze. They spent an hour trying to find out why, but they have no idea how it happened. It had plenty of oil and it wasn't the starter. I went on line and found that many people have complained about engine problems in later models and wondered if my car should have been part of the recall. Should I have it checked out by a Toyota machanic? The car was fine before I took it in for the freon. Thanks