19th Jun 2003, 07:46

For extra 5K put a sunroof in your Highlander and you solve the problem.

I own the car for a year. Excllent in snow. On highway drives like a car. Plenty of space in the back - can put two mountain bicycles when fold the back seats. Do not have to use bike rack.

I wish Toyota put better tires on it originally. I had Bridgestones (what a joke) Put Michelin's Cross Country - big difference.

4th Jul 2003, 19:00

I think that ANY CAR window that is not balanced with the opening of other windows will cause a loud low decibel sound. Try opening the other windows and you will find that it will go away.

29th Nov 2003, 14:35

Any car with the back windows opened will make noise.

Try using the air conditioning!!!

17th Dec 2003, 13:06

I own a 2001 V6 Highlander. I agree that any car with the back windows down will resonate, the Highlander is an exceptionally painful (read not normal) experience.

The problem is only remedied by opening a sunroof or either front window - even a crack. But if the rear windows were to be accidentally opened (either or both) by themselves with the car traveling over 30mph, there is a possibility for ear damage. I think it would be difficult to comment on this unless you have experienced it firsthand.

I am a design engineer and would not have approved this design without some type of pressure release mechanism (for example, air flaps like in the Ford Explorer). I also brought this up to Toyota North America. They did investigate, but informed me there was nothing they could do. I could have appealed the decision, but let it drop.

Other than this flaw (and yes it is a flaw if the customer thinks it is), the Highlander is an excellent car.

1st Jan 2004, 19:32

Now honestly, How many people ride with JUST the back windows open??? For me, it's either all of them down, or none of them down, including the back tailgate. You should have bought a Jeep Liberty like I did. Even though I herd all the bad stories about Chrysler, I gave them a chance. So far, they haven't let me down. I've also herd rumors that Chrysler wanted to get their name back out there with the Liberty which is why they spent soo much time making it as perfect as possible.

18th Mar 2004, 18:08

After 20 years as a Mercedes Benz owner, I got tired of the continual decline in quality coupled with high service costs at the dealers, and purchased a 2001 Toyota Highlander six cylinder 4WD. The Highlander performs satisfactorily with the exception of a loud whistling noise when driving in a cross wind of 20 mph or greater with all of the windows closed. This is basically a springtime phenomenon, so I am getting ready to wear earplugs while driving this spring. I have contacted Toyota and three dealers with no resolution of the problem.

I have been a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers since 1965 and am a Mechanical Engineer by profession. I have tried many fixes including removing the windshield wipers, changing the roof rack configuration, changing the mirror position and duck tape in ten different places.

Calling Toyota is a waste of time since the telephone workers are clueless and just say talk to the dealer. Frankly, Toyota corporate has been very rude in telephone calls. Since it is an intermittent problem occurring in open areas on Interstate highways, there are no dealers close when the problem occurs. Driving the Highlander in a 20 mph crosswind at 75 mph will generate the noise. It seems that the front door frame vibrates causing the painful noise. Perhaps a better seal can solve the problem. I am the original owner and the car has never been in an accident of any type.

The bottom line is do not buy a Toyota Highlander unless you perform a test drive in a 20 mph crosswind at 75 mph. This is a genuine design defect in some of the Highlanders.

If you have any ideas my email is bpod@fgi.net.

16th Apr 2004, 07:00

We purchased a 2004 Highlander, the noise was so bad with the two back windows down that we returned the car to the dealer six days later. John Lavoie.

10th Oct 2004, 23:31

Reference to bpod@fgi.net about unsolved wind noise with 20 mph crosswind at 70 mph: I had a similar problem in a Crown Victoria. Worthless help from dealer (joked car liked to whistle while it worked, I was getting upset and ready to put in lemon law claim). So, on my own, did the duct tape sealing, weatherstripping, testing... eventually found folding in breakaway side mirrors changed whistling sound to different pitch. Dealer then disassembled door and found that gasket inside where right side mirror mounts, which seals hole where wiring goes through to mirror, was not put in place at factory... it was in the general location, but not installed...Anyway, problem solved, hope this is an additional idea you can check out.

As for the Highlander rear window down buffeting, I have a 2005, it does what every other car I've had does if the front windows are up with the rear down. DON'T DRIVE THAT WAY!

24th Oct 2004, 18:52

We own a 2004 Highlander. We have the wind noise with the front windows opened. Sounds like it is buffeting right next to your left ear. It does diminish when the rear windows are lowered slightly. Frankly, I've never had a car that has this much wind noise with just the front windows down.

I'm wondering if installing after-market wind deflectors on the leading edges of the doors would eliminate or reduce the problem. Anyone else try this?

Mike Wilson

Lomita, Ca.

15th Dec 2004, 07:39

I have had a Sienna and Sequoia and have had the same issues. It feels like all the air is being sucked out of the car. We have to be careful and lower more than one window. We have a moonroof and can't use it unless we lower a window too.

8th Jan 2005, 10:31

I have a 2001 Toyota Highlander and LOVE this car. It's been fantastic, nice to drive and totally reliable.

But, the noise the car makes with the rear windows down is unbearable- you really would have to experience it to understand. It actually makes your eardrums hurt (and my dogs howl!)

Why do I want to drive this way? Because my dogs sit in the back and they get hot easily while I'm feeling cold. So, I have to wear a coat and crack the front window or sunroof so it doesn't resonate.

8th Jun 2005, 14:19

I own a 2001 Toyota Highlander and have a love/hate relationship with it. I did not notice the helicopter rotor wash-like noise with the rear windows down until a few months after I purchased to vehicle. It is a awful noise, as most Highlander owners know. Window vents did not help, nor did opening both rear windows. I've also tried many other ideas, all to no avail. I'm glad for the great gas mileage I get. That way I can afford to keep the AC on at $2.15/gallon of gas. Other than the noise and poor torque the SUV in just as great and reliable as a big Camry.

23rd Jun 2005, 07:02

The Rav4 has the same wind noise with the back windows down. It's really bad and feels like it can blow out your eardrums. I never knew about this when I bought the car, but it's bad design that should be fixed.