Toyota Highlander Won’t Start? Here’s Quick Solutions to the Most Common Causes

Introduction

As a certified auto mechanic with more than twenty years of experience, I’ve seen a decent share of Toyotas that won’t start. Hi, I’m Robby and I understand how frustrating this can be for people, especially when you have things to do and places to be. But don’t panic! In this article, I’ll share the inside scoop on the most common reasons your Toyota Highlander won’t start, as well as useful tips to get you back on the road fast.

With advanced certifications in electrical systems and engine performance, I’ve diagnosed and fixed just about every “no start” issue out there. I’ll explain how to diagnose your Toyota Highlander’s symptoms, zero in on the root cause, and determine if it’s a home remedy or best left to a professional mechanic. I’ll also give recommendations for products that can help you solve your issue, as well as make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future.

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Quick Solution Alert! 🚗💡

To save you time, this might be the quick solution you need.

An online mechanic can help you solve the issue much faster, and save money doing it.

They help 1000s of people every day in your position, save a lot of time, money and risk getting their vehicle repaired. Having a friendly expert mechanic guiding and advising you every step of the way, is the best thing you can do. You will have your issue fixed faster, and likely cost much less.

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Now back to the guide, so whether you’re skilled with cars or not, this article will empower you to handle a no-start situation with confidence. Armed with the pro tips and practical advice I provide here, you can save yourself time, money, and frustration. So let’s get started and get your Highlander starting again!

Understanding Why a Toyota Won’t Start

Toyota wont start man is confused
Image Credit: Mechanic Answer.com

First it’s important to comprehend the issue. When you hop into your car and realize “My Toyota Highlander won’t start”, this could be because of different things being wrong with your car. Possibly the engine is not turning over at all, perhaps it is cranking partially however then not starting, or maybe it’s making a clicking noise when you try to start the engine, but ultimately nothing happens. Each of these scenarios can point to different issues with your car.

Common Reasons Why Your Toyota Highlander Won’t Start

There are numerous reasons that a Highlander fails to start. These problems usually consist of a weak or dead vehicle battery, a broken alternator, starter motor issues, fuel system problems, as well as electrical or wiring complications. Each one of these problems can show up as different symptoms and require different solutions to detect and resolve, so we can get your car back on the road as soon as possible.

Symptoms of Toyota Highlander That Won’t Start

Being able to identify and diagnose these symptoms, will help you in discovering the root cause of the problem. For example, when you turn the key in the ignition, and you hear a clicking sound but your vehicle still refuses to start, it can be a sign that there is a problem with the fuel or ignition system.

Analysis of The Reasons Why Your Toyota Highlander Won’t Start

The initial step to figuring out a solution to the problem is understanding the underlying cause of that problem, so let’s look into the most typical factors why your Highlander fails to start.

Toyota Highlander Battery Issues

car wont start but battery is good
Image Credit: MechanicAnswer.com

In the majority of instances, the most common reason why your Toyota Highlander will not start is, in many cases because of the battery, it’s either dead or weak, and you have to charge up your car’s battery or replace it. The vehicle’s battery stores the power needed to start the engine, and power all the electrical parts in your Toyota Highlander. Symptoms of a weak or dead battery issue in a Highlander, are things like the car being slow to crank the engine, dim or weak headlights, or a lit-up battery alert light on the dashboard.

Toyota Highlander Alternator Problems

Alternator problems can stop a Toyota from starting

The alternator is for charging the battery from the engine while the vehicle is running. A broken alternator can certainly stop your Toyota Highlander from starting as it wont be able to charge the battery, from the engine, so it will deplete all the way down till it’s totally dead and you don’t realize it until you get into your beloved Highlander and it refuses to start. Signs that your Highlanders alternator is faulty can be a lit-up battery or alternator warning light on the dash, dim headlights when the engine is idling, and also a whining or grinding noise from the engine while it’s running.

Toyota Highlander Starter Motor Failures

Toyota starter motor problems

When you start your Toyota Highlander, the starter motor handles turning the engine over (cranking it). If the starter motor is defective in some manner then the engine is not going to crank, and your Highlander won’t start. You can find out if your starter motor has an issue or not usually by listening, if you hear a clicking noise when you turn your key or a grinding noise during the startup, or your car can start, but only intermittently then the starter motor may very well be the problem.

Toyota Highlander Fuel System Complications

my car wont start but clicks We’re not talking about when you merely run out of gas here, but the fuel system itself having issues. Your Toyota Highlander uses a combustion engine, and because of this to start and run, it needs a mix of enough fuel and air. If your Highlander issues are because of a faulty fuel system, this can be a clogged fuel filter or a broken fuel pump relay, which could indicate the engine might not be receiving the fuel it requires to get the car going.

A fuel injector cleaner can help clean out the fuel system if clogged injectors are suspected.

Toyota Highlander Electrical System or Wiring Problems

car wont start electrical issue
Image Credit: MechanicAnswer.com

Ok, well yes that image is a joke, but in all seriousness, today’s modern Toyotas rely heavily on electronic components, which can mean there are lots of things that can potentially go wrong. Even in an older car, you can still have typical problems such as blown fuses, spark plug problems, a faulty ignition switch, or a broken sensor, and more. These can be some of the various electrical examples of how failing electrical components can be the reason your car won’t start up. Indications of a wiring or electrical issue can vary widely but can typically include the engine not cranking, or your Highlander can start but only intermittently or numerous warning lights are lit up on the dashboard. To appropriately diagnose and fix these kinds of problems, you will need the skills of a skilled car mechanic in your area or online.

A digital multimeter can help test electrical components during troubleshooting.

Solutions & Repair Tips For Your Toyota Highlander Not Starting

When you have found out what the reason for your car failing to start is. The next step is naturally to try and fix it. Here are some pointers for the typical issues we’ve covered up until now.

How to Troubleshoot and Fix Battery Issues in a Toyota Highlander

my car wont start i think its the battery If you think it’s possibl a battery problem is the reason your Highlander has difficulty starting up, then the first thing you should do is examine around the battery and check the battery terminals. You want them to be clean, not corroded, and securely connected. If you discover that the terminals are in fact corroded you can attempt cleaning them with a mix of baking soda and water.

Once you have checked the battery terminals, you can check to see if the battery is out of charge, or is weak or dead and needs to be replaced. For this, you can charge the battery in a few different ways:

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If the battery charges up and works fine, great, problem solved! However, if the battery is old or weak, you will have to replace it, otherwise, even if you charge it up enough to start the vehicle, it will probably run out of life again in the near future. You can make use of a multimeter or OB2 scanner as a way to test the life of the battery to see if it’s worth saving or if it needs to be changed for a new one. You can get a replacement car battery for your exact Toyota model by visiting Amazon here, and selecting “enter a new vehicle” to filter the results for your Toyota Highlander, and choose a suitable one, from a seller with great reviews.

If charging your Highlander’s battery does not resolve your issues, and problems like frequent draining and needing frequent charges persist even after replacing the battery, there is likely a more complex underlying issue causing excessive battery drain. In that case, you will need a professional mechanic to inspect and diagnose the root cause. You can also ask the advice of a mechanic online through us, or get an instant free quote on a Nearby mobile car repair.

How to Diagnose Alternator Problems in a Toyota Highlander

car wont start, jumped and started alternator If you’re thinking that the alternator is the cause of your car starting problems, you can test it. If you can get the car to start up temporarily (you may need to jump-start the car for that), but when it’s going, let the vehicle run, and while the engine is running, disconnect the positive terminal of your car’s battery. If you discover your Toyota Highlander dies instantly, then it’s most likely due to an issue with the alternator.

However, be warned this test can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing, and may damage the delicate electronic elements in your car, so its best to speak with a reliable mechanic in your area or online, before ever trying this Also, a mobile mechanic can come to you and safely repair it on the spot, so no need for any unnecessary risks.

How to Identify Starter Motor Failures in a Toyota Highlander

starter motor issues in a car If you suspect the starter motor is the reason for your Toyota Highlander not being able to fire up, listen for a clicking noise when you turn the key in the ignition. In these cases, the solution is to have the starter motor changed for a new one by a professional mechanic.

How to Deal With Fuel System Complications in a Toyota Highlander

clogged fuel filter car wont start If you suspect the issue to be due to a fuel system problem, listen for the fuel pump when you turn the key to the “on” position, before starting the vehicle. You should be able to hear a humming noise for a few seconds. It might be there is a problem with the fuel pump if you are unable to hear this sound. If you observe your Toyota is hard to start, it stalls, or it has poor acceleration, it could be due to a clogged fuel filter. Both of these will likely need a reliable car mechanic in order to effectively fix.

How to Repair Electrical or Wiring Issues in a Toyota Highlander

fuses to check when car wont start If you think it’s a circuitry or electrical system problem, initially examine the fuses related to the ignition system, and change any that have actually blown. If your Toyota Highlander starts after this, then it was a successful, inexpensive and easy repair! If the vehicle does not start, even intermittently, it could be a sign of a problem with the ignition switch itself. It could be a faulty sensor if different warning lights are noticeable on your dashboard. These problems can be very complicated and a professional car mechanic is most likely needed to identify and fix it.

Preventive Steps

As my father always stated “Prevention is better than cure”, so here are some preventative measures to ensure you hopefully avoid any Toyota Highlander starting pains again!

Routine Upkeep of Your Toyota Highlander:

Regular maintenance on car to prevent starting issues Regular maintenance of your Toyota Highlander is key to avoid future troubles. This consists of things like regular oil changes, inspecting your car battery, cleaning up the terminals, replacing the fuel filter as suggested/required, and of course having your car checked by a reliable car mechanic routinely. You can speak with a mechanic locally or online if you find yourself unsure or not sure about the routine maintenance jobs needed for your particular car.

Drive Your Toyota Highlander Frequently:

drive regular to avoid car starting troubles If you happen to leave your Toyota Highlander off for long durations of time without taking it for a spin now and again, the battery can deplete down as it’s not getting any charge from the engine being in use. Try to drive your car frequently to keep the battery charged. If you remember you haven’t driven your car in a while, take it for a spin to make certain there is still a charge in the battery. Worth noting: letting the battery fully drain, is also damaging for the longevity of the battery, try not to do this.

Take Notice Of Warning Signs:

Check Engine Control Light on a Vehicle Dashboard If you observe anything weird like unusual noises, changes in how it drives and the performance, or warning lights showing on your Toyota Highlanders dashboard, don’t just disregard them. These are usually early signs of a problem and are best being dealt with ASAP so that they don’t end up being larger issues down the line. Talk to a car mechanic in your area or online about these warning symbols and find out if they need to be attended to.

When to Ask a Toyota Mechanic Online

Whenever you have a problem, you can search online forever Googling things like “Toyota clicking but wont start” or you can just speak to an online mechanic now and get the solution in minutes. If you’re either short on time, want an expert Toyota mechanic on hand to guide and to advise you, or you have attempted to resolve it by yourself, however in spite of your best efforts your Toyota Highlander won’t start, then chatting with a Toyota mechanic online can be a great option.

Advantages of an Online Toyota Mechanic

Happy mechanic repairing car looking at camera Online mechanic services, like ours in the bottom right of this page, provide numerous benefits. You can get expert Toyota mechanic recommendations 24×7 and without leaving your home, which is particularly helpful if your Toyota won’t start and is stuck in the driveway. It can also help you save money as online mechanic consultations are much more affordable than a physical visit to a local mechanic near you. Plus, you can get answers rapidly, which is terrific if you’re in a hurry, require a second opinion, or you just like having a professional Toyota mechanic on hand.

How Services Like MechanicAnswer.com Can Help You

Ask a mechanic online about my car not starting Mechanic Answer connects you with accredited specialist Toyota mechanics who can offer immediate assistance, guidance and suggestions. Our Toyota mechanics have the skills and experience to tackle any problem with any Toyota, it doesn’t matter if your Highlander is having issues, or a Toyota Hiace Won’t start, our experts will quickly figure it out and help you solve the exact problem. You even have the ability to explain the issues you are having with your car, ask Toyota mechanics limitless questions, and even upload images and videos so you can actually show the mechanic what you mean. You can talk with them by means of online chat or by telephone call, whichever you choose. The Toyota mechanic will help you identify the issue, advise you on the best course of action for your specific situation and even guide you through easy maintenance and repair work step by step.

So if you need help with and the answers to your Toyota repair and maintenance questions, feel free to try out our ask the Toyota mechanic service now.

Conclusion

To sum it all up, when your Toyota Highlander won’t start, it will likely be a total downer and a massive inconvenience. However, knowing what may be triggering the issues, having the ability to troubleshoot them, and knowing what steps are required in each case, and where to get help if required, will be a huge help. Bear in mind that routine upkeep is key to avoiding the majority of car problems.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Toyota Highlander won’t start but lights come on?

If your Toyota Highlander’s lights turn on but it still won’t start, the issue is likely not related to the battery. More than likely there is a problem with the starter motor. Check to see if you hear any clicking noises when trying to turn the key. If so, the starter motor is trying to engage but failing. Get a mechanic examine the starter motor – it may need to be fixed or swapped out.

Toyota Highlander won’t start but has power?

When your Toyota Highlander has power (lights, radio etc work) but fails to start, there may be a fuel delivery problem. Issues like a faulty fuel pump relay could stop fuel getting to the engine. Without enough fuel, combustion can’t happen and the engine won’t start. Check around the back seat when turning the key – you should hear the fuel pump prime for a few seconds. If not, get a mechanic check the fuel system.

Toyota Highlander won’t start but battery is fine?

If your Toyota Highlander’s battery tests fine and is fully charged, but the car still refuses to start, the underlying cause is likely electrical. Potential culprits include a bad ignition switch, broken sensor, or wiring problems. As electrical issues can be tricky, diagnosis by a professional mechanic is best. They can correctly pinpoint the specific electrical fault and have it repaired.

Toyota Highlander won’t start just clicking?

When you turn the key and there’s only a clicking noise but the engine doesn’t crank, the most common cause is a faulty starter motor. The click comes from the starter solenoid attempting to activate the starter motor, but the motor itself fails to crank the engine. As the starter motor needs physical fixing or swapping out, consult with a reliable mechanic to get your Toyota Highlander running again.

What should I do if my Toyota Highlander won’t start?

Firstly, do not panic. Try to identify any symptoms that might indicate an issue, such as unusual noises, warning lights on the dash, or changes in performance. The cause of the problem is most likely one of the typical causes gone over in this guide. You will need the help of a mechanic in your area or online if you can’t find the problem yourself.

How to tell if my Toyota Highlander won’t start because of the battery?

Indications of a battery problem in a Toyota Highlander consist of the engine being slow to crank, dim headlights, and lit battery warning lights on the dash. You can also check the battery terminals to see if they are clean, not corroded, and tightly connected. It may be best to simply swap it out for a new one if the battery is old or weak.

How can I prevent my Toyota Highlander not starting issues?

In order to make sure this annoyance never takes place again, routine upkeep is crucial. This consists of things like oil changes, examining the battery and cleaning its terminals, changing the fuel filter as recommended/needed, and getting your Toyota Highlander checked by a mechanic often. It’s also an excellent idea to drive the car regularly so the battery remains charged.

Can I ask a mechanic online if my Toyota Highlander fails to start?

Yes, you can. An online mechanic service like ours can offer instantaneous professional Toyota mechanic help and suggestions, without you needing to leave your house. This is particularly beneficial if your car won’t start and is stuck in the driveway.

How can services like Mechanic Answer help if my Toyota Highlander fails to start?

We link you with licensed professional Toyota mechanics who can offer recommendations on your particular scenario. You can inform them about your car issues, ask unlimited questions, and even submit images and videos so you can properly describe and show the issue. The mechanic will be able to assist, troubleshoot, diagnose the problem, suggest the very best course of action and guide you along the way.

Interesting Facts About The Toyota Highlander

Did you know that the Toyota Highlander has a hidden storage compartment under the cargo area? It’s the perfect spot to stash your valuables or keep your groceries from rolling around while you’re driving. And get this – the Highlander’s optional third-row seating can actually comfortably fit adults, not just kids! Plus, the Toyota Highlander has a towing capacity of up to 5,000 pounds, so you can haul all your outdoor gear without breaking a sweat. And if you’re a tech junkie, you’ll love the available Bird’s Eye View Camera, which gives you a 360-degree view around your car to make parking a breeze. How cool is that?

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Choose Your Mechanic

1. Chat with A.I. Mechanic (Robot Robby)
  • Free 7-day trial
  • A.I. Mechanic that is trained by our human mechanic writers. As helpful as a human mechanic for expert advice, troubleshooting, and repair guidance.
2. Chat with a Human Mechanic Online
  • Join for just $5, and $39/month. Cancel anytime
  • Real human ASE-certified mechanics available 24/7

Which Mechanic Suits You?

  1. Chat with an Online Mechanic to get instant, unlimited help and advice for 1 full week, for just $5.
  2. Get in-person help from a Mobile Mechanic Near You. They will come to you and fix your vehicle at a time that suits you. If there are none near you, you will be redirected to the online mechanic.

Which Mechanic Suits You?

  1. Chat with an Online Mechanic to get instant, unlimited help and advice for 1 full week, for just £5.
  2. Get help from a Mobile Mechanic. We  recommend Fixter. They will come to you and fix your vehicle at a time that suits you. Instant free quote online below. We recommend the online mechanic first, as it’s cheaper for you, and you may not need an in-person mechanic.

Which Mechanic Suits You?

  1. Chat with an Online Mechanic to get instant, unlimited help and advice for 1 full week, for just $5.
  2. Get in-person help from a Mobile Mechanic. We recommend YourMechanic. They will come to you and fix your vehicle at a time that suits you. Instant free quote online below. We recommend the online mechanic first, as it’s cheaper, and you may not need an in-person mechanic.

Where Can I Find My VIN?

Your vehicle’s unique Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) can be found on the title document, the vehicle registration, and the insurance policy. It is a series letters and numbers like this as example: WAUGC0896JA235262. The VIN can also be located on the following locations on the vehicle itself:

how to find VIN on vehicle