Toyota Highlander Climate Control Problems
First of all, I have to say I have always liked Toyota. Growing up, my parents had a Toyota 4-Runner that they kept for years. It looked good, it was comfortable, and it was reliable. I have owned a few myself and enjoyed every one of them, including a Toyota Highlander which I am currently still in. We rebuild salvage title vehicles, so I switch it up pretty often. It is fun to drive them for a little while, sell them, and build another. Side note – if you are ever interested in doing this for yourself visit our sister company 43 Auto – www.43auto.com. We would love to sell you a rebuilder. Ok, that truly was a side note… moving on…
Although I feel that Toyota does an overall good job of producing a reliable, good vehicle, they are lacking on the climate control center for the year range of 2001-2007 for their Highlander model. It doesn’t matter if it is the automatic controls or the manual, they both seem to have trouble.
On the manual controls, we have had many customers complain that they can no longer adjust the temperature or perhaps the fan speed. The knobs become loose and inoperable. This can be extremely frustrating, especially if it has hit the dead of winter or summer. And if you are like most of us, we wait until it is the 100 degree day in May (when it has been consistently 77 prior) to figure out that we need to have our heater and AC control fixed. Oops! I’ve been meaning to do that all spring….is usually what comes with it. This is also a problem for the automatic climate controls.
Another issue that the automatic control carries is a total and sometimes spontaneous power loss. It may flicker here and there, but eventually it will probably go out. This is even worse! Now we can’t see anything either.
(I’m not sure what happened during those seven years, but somebody must have had a flaw in the design.)
When this happens, you have a few options. One, you can call the dealership and buy a new one for around $800-$900. Yikes! I hope it doesn’t end up having the same problem. The second option would be to call your local salvage yard, or 43 Auto, …ok I had to throw that one in there! I looked one up that we have in stock and it is listed for $250. Now, this is an option that some have to make if theirs is broken to the point of not fixing it or completely missing out of the vehicle. And don’t worry. We will make sure that it is in working order before you receive it. That is the benefit you get with buying from 43 Auto! However, if you still have yours and it is still in good condition, besides the fact that it may not have any power or the knobs are no longer working, then I would recommend the best option, which would be to repair it. It is covered by a warranty and is the cheaper option.
Some would say you can do this yourself. You may be able to. There is a lot of information out there these days that will tell you how to do something. But why spend your entire weekend trying to figure out how to take your climate control apart, fix it, and put it back together…ok so maybe a little longer than your weekend trying to teach yourself how to do something that you’ll probably only do once. Seems silly to me.
Another side note – I have a friend who says he went to school for a number of years and he no longer will do anything that is not required by his degree (when it comes to tasks like this). Of course, he is being a little extreme. And yes, he still mows his own yard on Saturdays, or he did until his children became old enough to take over this task. However, his point is that he isn’t going to waste his free time (the little free time he has) trying to learn something or do something that he doesn’t have to do and that someone else could probably do better who is skilled at it.
This is why I recommend hiring someone like Auto Tech Rescue to do this for you. We have done it enough times that we know what we are doing. We have tools and necessary equipment to do it right. We can get it done in one day for you so that you get it right back and it can be installed so you aren’t driving around in the 100 degree weather without an air conditioner. We offer a warranty so if something happens, you aren’t out anything else.
Spend your weekend with your family or simply relaxing. Go to the beach. Go to the lake. Go for a walk. Don’t pull your hair out looking for the right tools, staring at your computer, and then potentially messing up and ruining your controls. Life goes by too fast to spend all of your free time messing with your car parts. Leave this type of repair to the experts.
So, what was the point of this? Simple. Spend your free time doing the things YOU want to do. Send your broken climate control to Auto Tech Rescue. Keep your hair (don’t pull it out). You lost your hair already?! Well…go for a walk and send it to us anyway!
Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful morning, day, or evening! We hope to see you soon!
**Another side note – to remove your heater and AC control try using an old credit card and wedge it between the control panel trim and the dash to pop it loose. Then go to the opposite corner and do the same thing. Jiggle it gently so that you don’t break it, but it will come straight out by doing this if you are patient with it. You will need to remove some bolts holding it in place after you remove the trim. Now, it may be worth spending a moment on you tube viewing how to do this. I’ll make sure to add a video soon for these instructions as well.
Another option would be to run by your local mechanic and have him take it out for you. It doesn’t take long, so I’m sure they wouldn’t mind.