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I own a 2017 Highlander Limited AWD which is coming up to its 2nd anniversary in December. I have enjoyed using the automatic high beam feature but recently it has become a bit unstable. I will be driving along the highway on a dark night and intermittently the system will shut itself off (ie. the indicator on the dash disappears and the bright lights refuse to come on). A few minutes later the indicator re-appears on the dash and the system begins to work again. Within a 45 minute drive the other night, it did this routine 4 times! I have found the exact same problem written up by at least 5 people on the RAV4 forum. The two themes that have emerged from their descriptions are a) the problem begins to show itself after the vehicle is about a year old and b) the onboard computer sets no codes when the problem occurs. The first theme tells me that the problem is likely related to physical wear on a component rather than some sort of computer glitch. The fact that no codes are set indicates that the computer doesn't know a problem exists. It probably thinks that the driver manually turned off the system and then back on. There are really only two components at play here that are able to turn off the system and then turn it back on without the driver doing anything. If the push button (below left of the instrument panel) were to lose contact intermittently, the bright lights would come on when you don't want them to. This is not what is happening so I have excluded this possibility. However, if the turn signal stalk were to lose contact (when pushed forward to turn on the bright lights) then the system would turn off and the normal lights would stay on. This is exactly what is happening. I have passed all this information on to my local Toyota dealer and have set up an appt. for December 11th. In advance they have ordered a new turn signal stalk since that appears to be the most likely culprit that has gone flakey. It's interesting to note that Toyota has yet to acknowledge any of the RAV4 customer problems. It's obviously very difficult to diagnose and pretty much impossible to recreate in the shop. I'll be trying my best to recreate the problem between now and my appt. in an effort to exclude the possibility that it was some sort of one time glitch that will never re-occur. I'm convinced that the problem is a physical wear issue with the turn signal stalk. I'll repost results once I get thru the dealer appt.
 

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I'm having this same problem with my 2017 Highlander Limited and I'd be interested on what the other members have to say about it.
 

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Does this happen only when the AHB button is engaged, or does it happen when you are using just the regular high beams? I ask because I would think if it is the stalk losing contact the high beams would be intermittent in both modes. You may have implied that in your post.
 

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Another component in the system is the camera glued to the windshield that detects oncoming traffic. The computer uses that to decide whether or not it's necessary to turn off the high beams at that time.

At the time you're having issues, is there anything on the windshield - rain, snow, mud? Or, is there anything else different about the weather such as fog?

If you turn off the AHB and just use the high beams normally, the camera and the computer are out of the loop.
 

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Most of that type of technology is a gimmick to sell cars, I have AHB turned off as well as lane departure, the only feature that seems useful is blind spot monitoring and cross traffic alert, so that stays on, mainly as a back up system in case I don't see a car or pedestrian, but don't rely on it. Toyota is a very conservative car manufacturer and I suspect only puts certain gimmicky features on their cars to say they are competing, they are the brand you go to when you just want a car to work as intended, if you want the latest and greatest gimmicks shop elsewhere. The highlander is a very conservative vehicle at heart and a lot of that gadgetry seems overkill for the target market.
 

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Toyota is a very conservative car manufacturer and I suspect only puts certain gimmicky features on their cars to say they are competing, they are the brand you go to when you just want a car to work as intended, if you want the latest and greatest gimmicks shop elsewhere.
The document from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety at the following address explains why vehicle makers are implementing standard automatic high beam systems: https://www.iihs.org/frontend/iihs/documents/masterfiledocs.ashx?id=2116

IIHS ratings for headlight systems of many vehicles including the Highlander can be viewed at https://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings

Toyota's older version of AHB with a single purpose camera appears to be more reliable than the current AHB which has a camera that serves three purposes - pedestrian detection, lane detection and AHB.

It will be interesting to see how many car makers equip Canadian market vehicles with adaptive headlights now that they are legal there. Adaptive headlights eliminate separate high beam headlights. The Mercedes adaptive headlight system shown in the video at the following address uses 84 LED's in each headlight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=116&v=0OJjvYPV3oc
 

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Another component in the system is the camera glued to the windshield that detects oncoming traffic. The computer uses that to decide whether or not it's necessary to turn off the high beams at that time.

At the time you're having issues, is there anything on the windshield - rain, snow, mud? Or, is there anything else different about the weather such as fog?

If you turn off the AHB and just use the high beams normally, the camera and the computer are out of the loop.
My windshield is clear during those instances when the AHB fails to turn the high beams on. I live in an area with a lot of surrounding woods and a high deer population. It's critical for me that the AHB function works whenever I drive through certain roads at night.
 

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Does this happen only when the AHB button is engaged, or does it happen when you are using just the regular high beams? I ask because I would think if it is the stalk losing contact the high beams would be intermittent in both modes. You may have implied that in your post.
In my case, it only happens when the AHB button is engaged.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
This problem only happens when the Automatic High Beam button is pushed in plus the turn signal stalk is pushed forward plus the headlight switch on the stalk is in "automatic" mode. The system seems to take about 40 seconds to restart and this seems fairly consistent between failures. Since my posting, I've taken the car out for 3 half hour test runs at night. The first time the temp was below freezing and it failed and restarted 4 times. The 2nd time was well above freezing and it did not fail. The 3rd time it was just a couple of degrees above freezing and it only failed once. Although far from conclusive at this point, the problem may have a relationship to outside temp which could affect various sensors. Coincidentally, I was over at the local Toyota dealership today talking with the person who sold me the vehicle. When I mentioned this problem she jumped in and mentioned that one of her other customers with a 2017 RAV4 was having the exact same problem as me.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The real issue here is that the whole automatic high beam system is being de-activated temporarily (ie the AHB light on the instrument panel goes out) so the state of the windshield clarity is not a factor here. If the sensor on the windshield was to be obstructed due to dirt etc. then the system would definitely not work properly but the light on the instrument would stay on.
 

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I'm curious what your dealer finds. I recently started having the same issue with my 2018 Corolla. I've had it for 9 months but it was manufactured almost exactly 1 year ago. The symptoms are the following:

-While the headlights are switched to "auto", the headlights are on, and the stalk is pushed in, the AHB indicator light either fails to turn on as it should or turns off while the stalk is still pushed in position.

- If the AHB turns off or fails to turn on, cycling the headlights from off to Auto does not seem to help. If the switch is moved from the "Auto" position to the "on" position, the high beams turn on, but returning the switch to the "auto" position does not turn the AHB back on.

- The AHB seems to turn off after passing an oncoming car. When the oncoming car approaches, the high beams turn off as they should. After passing the oncoming car, rather than the high beams turning back on, the AHB indicator light turns off and the AHB system is deactivated for an amount of time between 45 seconds and 2 minutes. The AHB system will eventually be reactivated without any input from the driver.

- The issue is intermittent but can be observed in almost any night time ride longer than 20 minutes or so.

I mentioned the issue when I brought my Corolla in for its 10,000 mile service. My dealer didn't seem very interested in helping me. The tech I spoke to showed a lack of understanding of how the AHB system is supposed to work and tried claiming what I'm seeing is normal behavior. Not sure if he genuinely believed or the dealer just doesn't want to waste time with unprofitable warranty repairs. I might try calling them and seeing if I can speak to someone else. It seems like your dealer is more willing to help you.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the response to my posting. I've passed this on to my local Toyota service manager who is trying to help me solve this problem. I know he has referred this problem on internally within Toyota to the engineering group. Hopefully all this additional information will help them a) acknowledge that there is a problem right across the product line with the Auto High Beam system and b) solve the problem. Now that you have provided some additional information on the specific failure situation, I'm going to pay close attention to it now.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for taking the time to post this solution ToyoJim. I've passed this on to our local Toyota service manager who hopefully will apply the solution to my Highlander when I bring it in for service on Tuesday. I figured that the solution to this problem would turn out to be something like this since it has been reported across many Toyota models (Rav4, Corolla, Highlander, Lexis, Avalon etc) using pretty much the same AHB system.
 

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That certainly sounds like my problem. About 2 months ago a white film (cause unknown) appeared on my windshield to the point that it was difficult to see at night. I had assumed it was on the outside, but I cleaned both the inside and outside at the same time. I plan on showing that post and a video of the issue to my dealer. We'll see how it goes.
 
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