Skip to Content

Toyota Highlander Gear/Shift Problems (How To Fix)

As a Toyota Highlander owner, you might be aware of some potential gear and shift problems associated with certain models. These issues can affect not only the driving experience but also the overall functionality of the vehicle. Having a clear understanding of these transmission problems can help you address them promptly and ensure a smoother ride for you and your passengers.

Inside cabin of Toyota Highlander SUV

In particular, some owners of the 2017 Toyota Highlander have experienced issues with the 8-speed UA80E automatic transmission failing completely, while 2020 owners have reported rough 2-3 upshifts. Additionally, the 2008-2013 Highlander models with the 5-speed U151E transmission have experienced problems with slipping or binding 2-3 and 3-4 upshifts. These issues could manifest in various ways, such as hard shifting, getting stuck in gear, or overall rough shifting.

As you navigate through these concerns, it’s essential to stay vigilant and proactive about maintaining your Toyota Highlander. By recognizing the symptoms of gear and shift problems and understanding the potential causes, you can better address these issues before they become more significant problems. Keep yourself informed, and don’t hesitate to consult with professionals for guidance and assistance.

Toyota Highlander Not Shifting

Not Shifting Into Overdrive

If your Toyota Highlander is not shifting into overdrive, check the transmission fluid level and condition. Ensure that it’s full, without any metal flakes, and doesn’t have a burned smell. If the issue persists, it could be due to a worn or damaged component within the transmission that may require inspection by a professional mechanic.

Shifter Stuck

When your Toyota Highlander’s shifter is stuck and you cannot move it with your foot on the brake pedal, this might indicate a problem with the shift lock system. The system is in place to prevent accidental operation of the shift lever. To resolve this issue, consult your vehicle’s manual for information on shift lock system release procedures or visit a professional mechanic for assistance.

Won’t Go Into Gear

If your Highlander is not going into gear, first check the transmission fluid level and quality, ensuring it’s full and in good condition. Next, look for any signs of a damaged or worn clutch or gear synchronizers if your vehicle has a manual transmission. In the case of an automatic transmission, there might be issues with solenoids or internal components. It’s best to have a professional diagnose and resolve these problems.

Not Shifting Into Park

Difficulty shifting your Toyota Highlander into park might result from a malfunctioning transmission range sensor or a damaged shifter cable. If you experience this issue, refrain from forcing the shifter as it could lead to further damage. Instead, consult a mechanic who can accurately diagnose and rectify the problem.

The copyright owner of this article is and was first published on May 24, 2023..

Shifting Hard

Hard shifting in your Highlander can be caused by various factors, including low transmission fluid, faulty transmission control module, or worn internal components. To address hard shifting, start by checking and replenishing the transmission fluid if necessary. If the problem continues, seeking a professional mechanic’s advice is recommended.

Won’t Shift Out of Park

If your Toyota Highlander won’t shift out of park, the brake light switch might be faulty or the shift lock solenoid could be malfunctioning. To resolve this issue, start by checking the brake light functioning and consult your vehicle’s manual for information on shift lock override procedures. If the problem persists, a mechanic should inspect and repair the issue.

General Causes of Toyota Highlander Gear/Shift Problems

The main causes for Toyota Highlander gear and shifting problems can be attributed to a variety of issues related to the transmission system. A faulty transmission control module (TCM), worn or damaged gear shift cables, low transmission fluid levels or leaks, malfunctioning shift solenoids, and issues with the torque converter are some of the common causes of gear/shift problems in Toyota Highlanders. In addition, damaged or worn out clutch plates, problems with the valve body in the transmission, and electrical faults in the transmission system can also cause gear/shift problems.

General Solutions for Toyota Highlander Gear/Shift Problems

The main solutions for Toyota Highlander gear and shifting problems depend on the specific cause of the issue. If the problem is related to a faulty transmission control module (TCM), replacing the module may be necessary. Worn or damaged gear shift cables may need to be replaced, and low transmission fluid levels or leaks may require a fluid flush or seal replacement. Malfunctioning shift solenoids may need to be replaced, and issues with the torque converter may require a complete replacement. Damaged or worn out clutch plates may need to be replaced, and problems with the valve body in the transmission may require a rebuild or replacement. Electrical faults in the transmission system may require diagnostic testing and repair.

Related Articles

Toyota Highlander Bluetooth Problems Not Working

Toyota Highlander USB Not Working (How To Fix)

Toyota Highlander USB Not Charging (How To Fix)

Toyota Prius Gear/Shift Problems

Toyota RAV4 Gear/Shift Problems (How To Fix)

Toyota 4Runner Gear/Shift Problems (How To Fix)

KnowMyAuto is the sole owner of this article was published on May 24, 2023 and last updated on .

Toyota Avalon Gear/Shift Problems (How To Fix)