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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Has anyone heard of the early failures on the 2006 HiHy. There are a couple of internet forums that have some posts regarding this, but I am not convinced these are not just isolated instances and sour grapes postings.

One post claims that Toyota issued a service bulletin on the inverter and that a redesign was done mid production. Here is a copy of what I have found.

I've have found the VIN break for the change from the defective inverter to the new part. Before the break you may experience total power failure, engine, steering and brakes. After the break the new part does not have any failures I can find.
Toyota 06 Highlander Hybrid 2wd - Ending in 60009725
Toyota 06 Highlander Hybrid 4wd - Ending in 60019910
Lexus 06 Rx 400h 2wd - Ending in 60002207
Lexus 06 Rx 400h 4wd - Ending in 60036526

I did a TSB search and I am unable to find any TSB's related to inverter failures.

http://www.alldatadiy.com/TSB/60/066067aJ.html

Does anyone have any information that may confirm what is stated above?

I am asking because our 06 is getting close to 60K. If there was indeed a redesign on the inverter, our 06 would then appear to have the old design. If that is true, rather than sink the money into the car for the 60K service we may trade it in for an 07 HiHy with similar mileage.
 

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I also own a 2006 Highlander Hybrid and have been reading the "VIN break" info posted by a person who goes by the forum alias "Maryland John" in various forum sites across the internet. I believe this person deduced the "VIN break" from answers provided through an expert online subscription site (see link below). The Toyota expert he interacted with never exactly said that the set of VINs provided are considered "VIN break" for determining whether a HiHy is at risk for inverter problem. The expert just said that new version of the inverter was installed on a HiHy after certain VIN. So the "VIN break" is a result that a person subjectively jump to conclude and is not something that was really stated right out by the Toyota expert. So I think you have to take the info with a grain of salt, in my opinion.

You can find the entire length of the person's discussion with the Toyota expert at the URL below (Go to bottom of page at the section named "Accepted Answer" and click on the "Read the entire conversation" link on the right side):

http://www.justanswer.com/questions...rid-inverter-failures-in-the-2006-highlanders
 

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Regarding inverter failures and coverage under warranty, last October I bought a Toyota Certified 36 month old 2006 HiHy which had just come off a private lease and had low mileage of 11,350 (current mileage is 22k). For peace of mind I paid extra for a comprehensive third party 7yr/100k extended warranty to augment Toyota's 8yr/100 (non-California) power train warranty. Based on these blogs I see that my VIN is prior to the introduction of the improved inverter module which is increasingly worrying as I get closer to Toyota's power train warranty expiration (I presume the power train warranty includes the inverter?). Apart from prematurely selling what pre-emptive steps would readers care to suggest to mitigate the potential $8.5k inverter repair cost? TIA
 

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My inverter failed

Our early 06 HiHy's Inverter failed in Dec 08. It was replaced under warranty. Mileage was 66K then, 90K+ now.

This happened on I-5 north of Sacramento while making repeated full throttle passing of knots of 18-wheelers - I suppose at least four applications of full throttle within 10 minutes. On the last pass, there was a "snap" from the engine compartment, loss of all power, and a faint smell of something burning.

The diagnosis at the dealer was that the Inverter coolant was low, and the inverter burned up.

I also determined that the inverter is about 90% efficient, so it is consuming several thousand watts during full throttle operation.

So - I limit my full throttle to very occasional short bursts. And I suggest we all check our inverter coolant frequently.
FritzC
 

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fredee, I have the dealer do it, but I will look later today and see if it is obvious. I am sure the big cover on the drivers side need to be removed. More later. FritzC
 

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Fredee, For the inverter coolant level check, see page 388 of you Owner's Manual. It is easy, and right on top of the engine, driver's side. No panels need be removed. FritzC
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well after looking over the last set of post I think it might be time to bail on our car. for the last 3 months our gas mileage has gone to pot. We normally lose a few MPG in the summer due to the heat but we are under 19 mpg for the last few months and have NEVER been under 21 over the last 4 years. Something just doesn't seem right and I just don't have enough confidence, at this point, that this isn't an early indication of a pending failure. I appreciate everyone's responses. Now if I could just figure out what to trade down into. To be honest this is a big disappoint because we got the MPG we were looking for in a nice size SUV. Outside of going into another HiHy I just don't see how I am going to get the combination of size, performance, and mpg that we got with this vehicle.
 

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Well after looking over the last set of post I think it might be time to bail on our car. for the last 3 months our gas mileage has gone to pot. We normally lose a few MPG in the summer due to the heat but we are under 19 mpg for the last few months and have NEVER been under 21 over the last 4 years. Something just doesn't seem right and I just don't have enough confidence, at this point, that this isn't an early indication of a pending failure. I appreciate everyone's responses. Now if I could just figure out what to trade down into. To be honest this is a big disappoint because we got the MPG we were looking for in a nice size SUV. Outside of going into another HiHy I just don't see how I am going to get the combination of size, performance, and mpg that we got with this vehicle.
Wow, you're definitely not getting your money's worth out of your hybrid anymore. I have the all gas-powered Highlander and I get 19/20 city and 27/28 highway, with an average per tankful depending on the split in city/highway driving of 22/23 per gallon. Your 2006 has got to go IMO....
 

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Inverter failure

Toyota 06 Highlander Hybrid 2wd - Ending in 60009725
Our 06 HiHy has a VIN a little more than a thousand less than this, and 66K miles on it. While gunning it a little to insert into a gap on a busy city street, all power cut out, the dash lit up like a Vegas slot machine, and I had to coast it a block to find a safe place to pull off and wait for a tow. No fun to watch the display reporting various messages such as "CHECK HYBRID SYSTEM" and "CHECK VSC SYSTEM".

Toyota has just now called to inform me that the inverter is blown, and that it's a $7,000 repair. I guess that makes the $0 deductible extended warranty we picked up look like a good deal, eh. More fun, they report that it'll probably be a week for them to get parts. In their defense, they're arranging a loaner through a rental agency, though I expect it won't be anything comparable.

This is very disappointing, as the vehicle has always been an admirable performer, very enjoyable to drive, and never needed any work done before this, aside from the normal stuff.
 

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Your 2006 is less than 8 years old and has less than 100k miles therefore you're covered under Toyota's powertrain warranty.
 

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Would be curious to know if the reservoir for the inverter coolant is low.
 

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That wasn't really my point

Your 2006 is less than 8 years old and has less than 100k miles therefore you're covered under Toyota's powertrain warranty.
That wasn't really my point... it's kind of scary that a premium vehicle by a manufacturer with Toyota's history of quality would develop a $7K fault after just a handful of years and average miles, and, more, that it doesn't appear to be an isolated event.

I would expect a company like Kia (well I hear they're better these days) to cheap out on stuff and then shore up on the things that were causing the most problems. I expected that Toyota would take a conservative approach with a new technology vehicle, and that any potentially problematic components would have been over-engineered.

It makes me wonder if there are other gotchas, and, as a result, the extended warranty does serve to make me feel a bit better about it all.
 

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FYI, I wrote to the Toyota dealer where we bought our Hi-Hy and asked them to swap the suspected faulty inverter, saying "...worried that I could face instant catastrophic shutdown of power which could lead to a potentially life threatening driving situation.".

I based my request in part on their TSB (see http://www.greenhybrid.com/discuss/f31/inverter-shoots-craps-105-000-miles-24131/index3.html) but they denied this request, saying the TSB is not a recall. If you and others affected by an inverter failure file a complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration it might trigger a recall.
 

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2006 HH Inverter Failed!

I was doing 65 mph on the turnpike in rush hour in the passing lane when my '06 HH began to decelerate and the dashboard lit up with VSC, check engine, hybrid, and ABS. Somehow I managed to coast into the shoulder, and feel lucky to be alive. It's been in the shop for a few weeks and we just heard back from Toyota that the Inverter failed. They said they filed it with Toyota HQ and are going to go to bat for us, but haven't heard anything back. We'll see. The Service manager wouldn't even quote us the repairs because they are so costly (more than the car is worth). It has 115,000 miles on it, so warranty has run out, but we are a CA emissions state, so not sure what that means in terms of extended warranty on hybrid parts. Still have 8 more lease payments to make and then the buyout of $13K. We heard the '06 have the Prius inverter, but they realized it couldn't carry the weight, so in '07 they switched them out. I will be calling the NHTSA as suggested on this forum. This is a very dangerous issue and Toyota should do the responsible thing and address it. My 4x4 VIN is JTEEW21A860027863, so doesn't align with the VIN breaks listed in this forum. If you are having the same issue, please feel free to send me an email woodfamily20
verizon.net
 

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A friend of mine is interested in purchasing a 2006 HiHY, the VIN appears to fall into the range of affected vehicles. Seeing as this Highlander is in Canada, I'm wondering if that makes a difference? I did find this:

Road Safety Recalls Database

Transport Canada Recall # 2011243
Recall Date 2011/06/29
Notification Type Safety Mfr
System Electrical
Manufacturer Recall Number SSC 148, SSC 149
Units Affected 2,981
Category SUV
Recall Details
On certain vehicles, a control board for the Intelligent Power Module (IPM), part of the hybrid system inverter assembly, could fail while the vehicle is underway. This could cause various warning lamps, including the malfunction indicator lamp, slip indicator lamp, brake system warning lamp, and master warning lamp, to illuminate on the instrument panel. If this occurred, in most cases, the vehicle would enter fail-safe driving mode, resulting in reduced motive power in which the vehicle could still be driven for short distances. In some instances, the fuse of the power supply circuit could blow, causing the hybrid system to stop functioning. The resultant loss of vehicle propulsion, in conjunction with traffic and road conditions, and the driver's reactions, could increase the risk of a crash causing property damage and/or personal injury. Correction: Dealers will inspect and, if necessary, replace the Intelligent Power Module.
Toyota Canada has a section on their site where you can check to see if a particular VIN was subject to a recall, I entered the VIN and it said no recalls. Should I consider this Highlander not affected by the potential inverter issues?

Thanks for any insight. ...oh the VIN ends with 160019734
 
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