Highlander Climate Control vs. Blend Door Motor


Time after time, I will have customers call with the question about their 2001-2007 Toyota Highlander.  I replaced the climate control and it still doesn’t work.  What could the problem be?  We checked the blend door motor, but it isn’t getting any signal from the control head.  What is going on?

Here are a few suggestions.  A majority of the time if you have been having to wiggle the control knob on the climate control to get it to change from hot to cold or just stay on one, then it is very likely the climate control causing issues.  Eventually, it will fail altogether and will need to be repaired.  I have seen numerous items wedged into the control to keep the climate where the driver wants it to be.  That is a short-term fix.  However, if you haven’t been having to do this to your climate control and one day you start driving and cannot change the climate, it is very likely your blend door motor.  Both parts fail frequently.

One way to test this is to bypass the climate control.  Most mechanics can do this for you.  Simply put power directly to the blend door motor itself.  If you do this and it allows the door to move, then you know the blend door motor is good and the problem is in the climate control itself.  However, if you put power to the blend door motor and it does not move, then you know you have a faulty motor.  This part can be purchased at your local automotive parts store such as Auto Zone or O’Reilly the last time I checked.

Let’s go back to the climate control.  If you have tested the blend door motor and it is good, but still are having issues with your heat, vent control, AC, or fan speed, then the problem is very likely in the control.  The most common issue is for the middle knob on the manual control, which controls the air temperature, to fail.  It will then get stuck on just warm or cold air.  Secondly, if your control is stuck on heat, this will very likely not allow your AC to come on either.  Occasionally, the vent control knob will also become faulty and lose connections, causing you to be unable to change between the vent positions and control over where the air is distributed in the car : defrost vs. floor. vs face, etc.  Lastly, and this does not happen very often, the fan speed control knob can go bad.  This part actually just runs through the climate control, but is a part all to itself.  It can be replaced but not repaired.  If this ends up being your problem, then we do keep this part in stock as well.  Just remember to always check your blower motor resistor as well as this can also cause an issue with the fan speed control and might be the more likely cause of a problem.

Another issue:  I bought a refurbishment climate control, checked the blend door motor, and my compressor still will not engage.  What could be the problem?  Anytime we sell a climate control, we check the VIN  for the Highlander.  We do this for a reason.  There are a variety of interchanges.  If you install the incorrect interchange, even though it has been rebuilt, it will cause issues with the compressor not engaging on your vehicle.  Always make sure you are installing the same part number on the back and this will take care of that problem.  The face plates look the same, but the internal components are different.

I hope this sheds some light on the issue if you have been struggling with your vehicle.  Thanks for reading!

Purchase a repair service: https://www.autotechrescue.com/product/toyota-highlander-climate-control-repair/
Buy a refurbished control: https://www.autotechrescue.com/product/refurbished-01-07-toyota-highlander-manual-climate-control/

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