Launched in 2001, the Toyota Highlander is one of the best-selling SUVs in North America.
It offers an attractive design, handsome styling and an impressive reliability record.
In this article we’ll give you the full breakdown of its maintenance, tune-up and running costs.
Here is the short answer to are Toyota Highlander expensive to maintain:
The Toyota Highlander has very affordable maintenance costs. It would cost you around $489 to maintain a Highlander every year, which is notably lower than the average of $573 annually for midsize SUVs. A tune-up will be around $343, including the replacement of spark plugs.
Are Toyota Highlanders Expensive to Maintain?
Although the Highlander has one of the highest base prices among midsize SUVs, it makes up for it with its low ownership costs.
When looking to buy a new vehicle it’s important to assess maintenance costs to ensure you’re able to properly look after it.
Failing to stay on top of routine servicing and repairs will lead to poor reliability and shorten the lifespan of your SUV.
Below you’ll find a complete price breakdown for some of the most common costs for the Toyota Highlander, all data is from RepairPal:
|Toyota Highlander Maintenance||Cost|
|Average annual repairs and maintenance||$489|
|Tune-Up cost||$325 – $360|
|Alternator replacement||$691 – $814|
|Oil change||$123 – $136|
|Wiper blade replacement||$144 – $151|
|Air filter replacement||$35 – $69|
|Battery replacement||$587 – $594|
|New brakes||$242 – $275|
|Coolant change||$91 – $115|
|New tires (set of 4)||$600 – $1,400|
|New tire (one only)||$150 – $350|
|New spark plugs||$384 – $501|
|Tire & wheel assembly rotate & balance||$79 – $100|
|New transmission||$1800 – $3500|
|Tune-up||$325 – $360|
|Insurance||$1602 / year (average)|
How Much is a Tune-Up on a Toyota Highlander?
This will vary greatly depending on where you take your SUV and you’ll likely have to pay more at a Toyota dealership than your local mechanic.
You can expect to pay in the region of $325 – $360 for a fairly comprehensive Toyota Highlander tune-up that includes, but is not limited to:
- New spark plugs
- A thorough inspection of engine components
- Filters changed
- Coolant flush
- Cleaning IAC valve (idle air control)
- Throttle body clean
- Transmission and differential fluid change
Whilst your SUV is under warranty it is advised you get your SUV serviced at a registered Toyota dealership.
Regular tune-ups are highly recommended because:
- They can bring more power back to your engine.
- Helps your engine run efficiently and start smoothly, which equates to lower emissions and better fuel economy.
- Ensures long-term engine health and performance
Alternator Replacement Cost?
A new alternator on a Toyota Highlander will set you back between $691 – $814 for a replacement which should typically last 80,000 to 150,000 miles or 5 – 10 years.
While the battery is used for starting your SUV when the engines off, the alternator keeps your SUV alive when the engine is running.
The alternator powers most electronic components while you’re driving around or idling and is also responsible for charging the battery of your SUV while driving.
Oil Change Cost?
The cost of an oil change should cost in the region of $123 to $136, this includes parts and labor, however does not include taxes and fees. An oil change is one of the most meaningful and vital services for your SUV.
An oil change should be performed on the Toyota Highlander every 3,000 – 5,000 miles for conventional oil.
Synthetic oil typically should be changed every 7,500 – 10,000 miles.
At most, oil change intervals should not exceed 10,000 miles, twelve months, or 350 hours of engine run time (whichever comes first)
Regular oil changes are essential for the following reasons:
- Gets rid of dirt and debris, which makes your engine run slower.
- It ensures proper lubrication and promotes smooth operation for better efficiency.
- It stops your engine from overheating as old oil turns to sludge and is unable to draw heat away from the engine
Wiper Blade Replacement Cost?
Wiper blades for the Toyota Highlander can be picked up for around $40, and installed by yourself for free.
This is a relatively simple and quick fix, and you can easily save yourself a few bucks by buying your own wiper blades and installing them yourself, there are plenty of YouTube tutorials on this.
Most Toyota Highlanders use a 26″ wiper blade on the driver side and a 20″ on the passenger side but be sure to double-check first.
However, if you want a professional to fit them for you then you can expect to pay in the region of $144 to $151 for parts and labor with taxes and fees on top.
Air Filter Replacement Cost?
Air filter replacement on a Toyota Highlander should cost between $35 to $69, not including taxes and fees, according to RepairPal.
The good news is this task, which should be performed annually or whenever the filter is clogged or dirty, is another fairly straightforward DIY.
Simply open the hood, locate and open the air filter’s housing, remove the old one, insert the new one and replace the housing cover.
This will help both your car and your bank account breathe a little easier, lots of tutorials on YouTube for this one also.
Battery Replacement Cost?
According to RepairPal, the cost of a battery replacement for a Toyota Highlander should cost between $587 and $594.
Whilst there are no specific mileage recommendations for when a battery needs to be replaced, they do eventually die.
In general, it’s a good idea to replace your battery once every 4-5 years.
A vehicle’s battery life varies depending on many different factors such as climate, driving habits, and battery type, among many others.
New Brakes Cost?
Toyota Highlander brake pads can last anywhere between 30,000 to 60,000 miles and necessary brake work isn’t a cost you can afford to neglect.
The average cost to replace your Highlander brake pads, according to RepairPal, is between $242 and $275.
Brake pads will wear out at different rates depending on factors such as climate and your style of driving.
Pro tip: To prolong the life of your brakes – Keep your speed low in heavy traffic and avoid any sudden braking.
Cost to Change Coolant?
If it’s just a top-up your SUV requires then this is a simple task you can perform yourself.
You can pick up coolant at any gas station for a few bucks and top up to the level required.
If on the other hand, you require a coolant change, which simply involves draining the coolant from the base of the radiator and then replenishing with fresh fluids, this is going to cost you a bit more.
According to RepairPal, the average cost of a Toyota Highlander coolant change is between $91 and $115 (excluding taxes and fees).
You may also be interested in our article: Toyota Tundra Maintenance & Repair Costs
How Much Does a New Transmissions Cost?
The average cost for an aftermarket or rebuilt transmission for a Toyota Highlander is anywhere from $1800 – $3500. This range may vary depending on the model year.
Transmissions on the Toyota Highlander typically last 10 – 14 years or around 150,000 to 200,000 miles, depending on how well they are maintained and how the SUV is driven.
Tire & Wheel Assembly, Rotate & Balance Cost
According to RepairPal, the average cost for a Toyota Highlander tire & wheel assembly, rotate & balance is between $79 and $100 – this does not include taxes and fees.
Tire rotation ensures each tire gets worn evenly whilst balancing ensures they roll smoothly and there’s no vibration (this also helps improve your fuel economy).
How much Insurance Cost?
According to insruaviz.com, the average cost of Toyota Highlander insurance is $134 / month or $1602 / year (that is roughly $100 above the national average).
These figures can vary greatly depending on a number of factors such as your age, driving record and state requirements etc.
- It’s always best to shop around and get at least 3 quotes, make sure the company you choose is reputable.
- Use price comparison sites like Compare.com.
- There are big discounts available for taking additional driving courses or being a senior
- The best way to keep your insurance costs down is to drive safely
Toyota Highlander Repair Costs Compared to Similar SUVs
In this section we’ll compare the maintenance costs of the Toyota Highlander to some of its closest competitors, using data from RepairPal.
Toyota Highlander Vs Ford Explorer
The Ford Explorer is America’s all-time best-selling SUV offering three rows of seating and plentiful room for hauling cargo.
The Toyota Highlander is significantly cheaper to maintain with an average annual repairs total of $489 Vs the Ford Explorer’s $732.
|Toyota Highlander||Ford Explorer|
|Repair Pal ranking||7th / 26||19th / 26|
|Visits to a repair shop per year||0.3||0.2|
|Probability of a repair being severe||13%||15%|
Deciding on which vehicle to choose will ultimately come down to whether or not you are a Ford loyalist, however we can confirm the repair costs are significantly less with the Highlander.
You may also be interested in our article: Ford Explorer Tune-Up & Maintenance Costs
Toyota Highlander Vs Chevy Traverse
The Chevy Traverse is a handsome three-row SUV with eight seats as standard.
The Toyota Highlander is cheaper to maintain with an average annual repairs total of $489 Vs the Chevy Traverse’s $656.
To put that into perspective the average annual repair cost for all midsize SUVs is $573 per year.
|Toyota Highlander||Chevy Traverse|
|Repair Pal ranking||7th / 26||22nd / 26|
|Visits to a repair shop per year||0.3||0.4|
|Probability of a repair being severe||13%||18%|
If you’re on a tight budget the Traverse can be had for much cheaper, although this comes at the expense of less added features and overall its a less rounded package.
The Chevy lacks the safety equipment of the Highlander too, omitting automatic emergency breaking until the LT trim.
You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do Chevy Traverse Last?
Toyota Highlander Vs Kia Telluride
Making its debut in 2019, the Kia Telluride offers style, comfort, and lots of desirable features.
The Toyota Highlander is cheaper with an average annual repairs total of $489 Vs the Kia Telluride’s $807.
|Toyota Highlander||Kia Telluride|
|Repair Pal ranking||7th / 26||NA|
|Visits to a repair shop per year||0.3||NA|
|Probability of a repair being severe||13%||NA|
These two SUVs are similar in many ways, including size, weight, and cargo capacity, and both include various active safety systems as standard equipment.
The Telluride is the more affordable and comes with a warranty that’s hard to beat whereas the Highlander gets top ratings for reliability and excellent resale value.
How Long is the Toyota Highlander’s Manufacturers Warranty?
When you drive your new Toyota Highlander off the dealership lot, you’ll be covered by Toyotas factory warranty of 36,000 miles / 3 years basic coverage and 60,000 miles / 5 years (whichever comes first) powertrain coverage.
This length of protection is actually quite common among car manufacturers however it is on the shorter side of warranties
You can check your vehicle warranty status, track your service history, view your Owner’s Manual and more on Toyotas website.