How to Easily Check Awd System Toyota Highlander: Expert Tips




To check the AWD system on a Toyota Highlander, follow these steps: 1. Start the vehicle and ensure the parking brake is engaged.

2. Press the AWD LOCK button to activate the AWD system. If the AWD indicator light turns on, the system is working properly. The Toyota Highlander is a popular mid-size SUV known for its versatility, comfort, and reliability. The all-wheel drive (AWD) system is an important feature that provides enhanced traction and stability in various driving conditions.

To ensure the AWD system is functioning correctly, it’s important to perform periodic checks. We will discuss how to check the AWD system on a Toyota Highlander. By following a few simple steps, you can verify if the AWD system is working properly and be confident in the vehicle’s performance and safety.

Understanding The Awd System In Toyota Highlander

Learn how to effectively check the AWD system in your Toyota Highlander, ensuring optimal performance and safety on the road. Discover the steps to understanding this crucial aspect of your vehicle.

The AWD system in the Toyota Highlander is a crucial feature that provides enhanced traction, stability, and control when driving on various road conditions. Whether you encounter snow, rain, or uneven terrains, the AWD system ensures optimal performance and safety.

In this section, we will delve into an overview of the AWD system, highlight its key features and benefits, and emphasize the importance of regular maintenance and checks.

Overview Of The Awd System

  • The AWD system in the Toyota Highlander is designed to distribute power to all four wheels simultaneously.
  • It operates by continuously monitoring traction conditions to determine when additional power is needed for better grip and stability.
  • The system is equipped with sensors that detect wheel slippage and engage the necessary mechanisms to prevent it.
  • Toyota Highlander’s AWD system operates in real-time, adjusting power distribution based on road conditions and driving behavior.
  • The AWD system enhances overall performance by ensuring power is efficiently directed to the wheels that need it most.

Key Features And Benefits Of The Awd System

  • Improved Traction: The AWD system provides better traction on slippery surfaces, such as icy or wet roads, minimizing the risk of loss of control.
  • Enhanced Stability: By distributing power to all four wheels, the AWD system enhances stability and reduces the chances of skidding or sliding during cornering or sudden maneuvers.
  • Increased Safety: The AWD system contributes to improved safety by ensuring better handling and maneuverability, especially in adverse weather conditions.
  • Off-Road Capability: The AWD system in the Toyota Highlander enables confident off-road driving, allowing you to explore rugged terrains with ease.
  • Peace of Mind: With the AWD system, you can drive with peace of mind, knowing that your vehicle is equipped with advanced technology to handle challenging road conditions.

Importance Of Regular Maintenance And Checks

  • Regular maintenance of the AWD system is crucial to ensure optimum performance, longevity, and reliability.
  • Performing routine checks can help identify any potential issues or maintenance requirements before they escalate into major problems.
  • Check the owner’s manual for recommended maintenance intervals and conduct inspections accordingly.
  • Some maintenance tasks may include inspecting fluid levels, verifying the correct tire pressures, and checking for any signs of damage or wear.
  • Remember that proactive maintenance can help prevent costly repairs and ensure maximum functionality of your Toyota Highlander’s AWD system.

By understanding the AWD system in your Toyota Highlander and recognizing the importance of regular maintenance and checks, you can fully harness the benefits it offers. Safely navigate through different terrains and weather conditions, confident in the superior traction, stability, and control provided by the AWD system.

Signs Of Awd System Issues In Toyota Highlander

Signs of potential AWD system issues in the Toyota Highlander can be identified through a systematic check. By inspecting components such as the tires, differential fluid, and electrical connections, you can ensure the proper functioning of your AWD system and address any potential problems promptly.

Driving a Toyota Highlander with an AWD (All-Wheel Drive) system can provide enhanced stability and traction, especially in challenging road conditions. However, like any other component in a vehicle, the AWD system may experience issues over time. It is crucial to be aware of the signs that may indicate problems with the AWD system of your Toyota Highlander.

Here are some key indicators to look out for:

Warning Lights And Dashboard Indicators:

  • Illumination of the AWD warning light on the dashboard indicates potential issues with the AWD system. It’s important not to ignore this warning light, as it could indicate a malfunction or a problem that needs attention.

Unusual Noises Or Vibrations While Driving:

  • Unusual noises, such as grinding, clicking, or whining sounds, coming from the AWD system or any of its components can be a sign of trouble. Additionally, vibrations or shaking of the vehicle while driving could indicate issues with the AWD system.

Changes In Vehicle Performance And Handling:

  • Notice any changes in the way your Toyota Highlander performs or handles, as these could be indicative of AWD system issues. Here are some specific signs to watch for:
  • Difficulty in maintaining traction, particularly on slippery surfaces like snow or ice.
  • Increased wheel slippage or reduced power transfer to the wheels.
  • Uneven power distribution, causing the vehicle to pull to one side.
  • Decreased acceleration or reduced power during acceleration.
  • Delayed engagement or disengagement of the AWD system.

Remember that the AWD system plays a crucial role in the overall performance and safety of your Toyota Highlander. If you notice any of these signs or suspect any issues with the AWD system, it’s advisable to have it inspected by a qualified technician or brought to an authorized Toyota service center.

Prompt detection and resolution of AWD system problems can prevent further damage and ensure the optimal functioning of your Toyota Highlander.

Step-By-Step Guide To Checking The Awd System

Discover the step-by-step guide to checking the AWD system of your Toyota Highlander. Obtain a comprehensive understanding of how to ensure the optimal functionality of your vehicle’s all-wheel drive system.

Parking on a level surface:

  • Find a flat and level area to park your Toyota Highlander. This will ensure accurate inspection of the AWD system components.

Engaging the parking brake:

  • Before proceeding with the inspection, engage the parking brake firmly. This will prevent the vehicle from moving during the inspection process.

Visual inspection of the AWD components:

  • Take a close look at the AWD components, such as the transfer case, driveshaft, and differential. Look for any signs of leaks or damage.

Checking for leaks or damaged parts:

  • Inspect the AWD system for any leaks, such as fluid dripping from the transfer case or differential. Look for any obvious damage, such as broken or disconnected parts.

Examining the driveline and underbody:

  • Get underneath the vehicle to inspect the driveline and underbody components. Look for any signs of wear, loose connections, or excessive rust. Pay particular attention to the joints and rubber components.

Testing the AWD system in action:

  • Start the engine and let it idle. Shift the transmission into drive and slowly accelerate. Observe how the AWD system engages and makes the vehicle move. Pay attention to any vibrations, noises, or hesitations.

Conducting a test drive:

  • Take the Toyota Highlander for a test drive to further evaluate the AWD system. Drive on different road surfaces, such as asphalt and gravel, to test the system’s performance in various conditions.

Observing the vehicle’s behavior during acceleration and deceleration:

  • While driving, pay attention to how the AWD system responds during acceleration and deceleration. Observe if there is any wheel slippage, loss of power, or uneven performance.

Diagnostic tools and techniques for AWD system analysis:

  • Consider using an OBD-II scanner to detect any error codes related to the AWD system. The scanner will provide valuable information about any potential issues or malfunctions.

Using an OBD-II scanner for error code detection:

  • Connect the OBD-II scanner to the vehicle’s diagnostic port. Follow the scanner’s instructions to retrieve error codes specific to the AWD system. These codes can help pinpoint the source of any problems.

Consulting a professional mechanic for further analysis if needed:

  • If you encounter any issues or are unsure about the status of your AWD system, it’s best to consult a professional mechanic. They have the expertise and specialized tools to perform a more comprehensive analysis.

By following this step-by-step guide, you can effectively check the AWD system of your Toyota Highlander. Regular inspections will help ensure the system’s proper functioning, providing you with a safer and more reliable driving experience.

Maintenance Tips To Keep The Awd System Running Smoothly

To ensure your Toyota Highlander’s AWD system is running smoothly, follow these maintenance tips. Regularly check the AWD system for any faults and have it inspected by a professional. Keep an eye on the fluid level and quality, and replace it as recommended by your manufacturer.

Maintaining the AWD system of your Toyota Highlander is essential to ensure optimal performance and longevity. By following these maintenance tips, you can keep the AWD system running smoothly for years to come:

Regular Fluid Checks And Replacements:

  • Check the fluid levels of the AWD system at regular intervals.
  • Ensure that the fluid is at the recommended level specified in your vehicle’s owner’s manual.
  • Replace the fluid if it appears dirty or has a burnt smell, as this can indicate internal damage to the system.

Checking And Changing The Transfer Case Oil:

  • Inspect the transfer case oil for any signs of contamination or low levels.
  • Change the transfer case oil according to the manufacturer’s recommended interval or if you notice any fluid discoloration or debris.

Inspecting And Replacing The Differential Fluid:

  • Regularly examine the differential fluid for any signs of metal particles, discoloration, or a burning smell.
  • Replace the differential fluid as per the maintenance schedule provided by the manufacturer or if you observe any abnormalities.

Inspecting And Replacing Worn-Out Driveline Components:

  • Regularly inspect the driveline components, including the driveshaft, joints, and bearings, for any signs of wear or damage.
  • Replace any worn-out or damaged components to prevent further issues and ensure a smooth operation of the AWD system.

Proper Tire Maintenance For Optimal Awd Performance:

  • Keep the tires properly inflated to the recommended pressure level specified in the owner’s manual. Improper tire pressure can affect the AWD system’s performance.
  • Check the tire tread regularly to ensure it meets the required depth for optimal traction and AWD functionality.

Rotating Tires Regularly:

  • Rotate the tires according to the recommended schedule provided by the manufacturer.
  • Regular tire rotation helps distribute wear evenly and enhances the overall performance and lifespan of the AWD system.

Monitoring Tire Pressure And Tread Depth:

  • Frequently check the tire pressure to avoid any under- or over-inflation, which can affect the AWD system’s efficiency.
  • Regularly inspect the tire tread depth and replace tires that are worn beyond the recommended limit.

Keeping up with these maintenance tips will play a significant role in keeping your Toyota Highlander’s AWD system in top shape. By doing so, you can enjoy a smooth and safe driving experience in various road conditions.

Common Faqs About Checking The Awd System In Toyota Highlander

Learn about some common frequently asked questions (FAQs) when it comes to checking the AWD system in the Toyota Highlander. Discover how to easily check the AWD system in your Toyota Highlander and ensure it is functioning properly.

How Often Should The Awd System Be Inspected?

It is important to regularly inspect the AWD system in your Toyota Highlander to ensure optimal performance and safety. Here’s a breakdown of how often you should consider checking the system:

  • Every 12 months or 12,000 miles: It is recommended to have a thorough inspection of the AWD system at least once a year or every 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. This will help identify any potential issues early on and prevent them from escalating into major problems.
  • Before long trips or extreme weather conditions: If you’re planning a long road trip or expect to encounter extreme weather conditions, it is advisable to have the AWD system checked beforehand. This will give you peace of mind and ensure that your vehicle is prepared for the specific demands it may face during these situations.

Can I Check The Awd System On My Own Or Should I Seek Professional Help?

While some basic checks can be done on your own, it is generally recommended to seek professional help for a comprehensive inspection of the AWD system in your Toyota Highlander. Here are some guidelines:

  • Basic visual inspection: You can visually inspect the AWD system for any obvious signs of damage such as leaks, loose or worn-out components, or debris accumulation. However, keep in mind that this basic inspection might not reveal underlying issues that require advanced diagnostics.
  • Professional diagnostic tools: Certified technicians have access to specialized diagnostic tools that can identify specific problems within the AWD system. These tools help in pinpointing issues accurately, which may not be possible with a basic visual inspection.
  • Expert knowledge and experience: Professional technicians undergo thorough training and have extensive experience in dealing with AWD systems. They are equipped with the expertise to recognize potential problems and provide appropriate solutions, ensuring your vehicle’s safety and performance.

What Are The Potential Costs Of Repairing An Awd System Issue?

Repairing an AWD system issue in your Toyota Highlander can vary in terms of costs based on the nature and severity of the problem. Here are some potential cost factors to consider:

  • Diagnostic fees: Before any repair work can begin, a diagnostic fee may be charged to accurately identify the underlying issue with the AWD system. This fee covers the cost of using diagnostic tools and the expertise of the technician.
  • Parts replacement: Depending on the specific component that requires replacement, the cost can vary. Factors such as the brand, quality, and availability of the parts can also influence the expenses. It is recommended to opt for genuine OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts for reliable performance and longevity.
  • Labor charges: The time required to repair the AWD system will contribute to the overall cost. Labor charges vary depending on the location and the expertise of the technician. Complex repairs may require more time and, therefore, higher labor costs.
  • Warranty coverage: If your Toyota Highlander is still under warranty, some or all of the repair costs might be covered. It is advisable to check your warranty details and consult with an authorized service center to understand the extent of coverage for AWD system repairs.

Remember that these potential costs are estimates, and actual expenses may vary depending on individual circumstances. It is always best to consult with a qualified technician and get an accurate assessment of the repairs needed for your AWD system.

Frequently Asked Questions On How To Check Awd System Toyota Highlander

What Are The Signs Of A Malfunctioning Awd System In A Toyota Highlander?

Some signs of a malfunctioning AWD system in a Toyota Highlander include poor acceleration, unusual noises, and difficulty in turning.

How Can I Check The Awd System In My Toyota Highlander?

To check the AWD system in your Toyota Highlander, turn on the engine, select the AWD mode, and observe how the vehicle performs in different driving conditions.

Why Is It Important To Regularly Check The Awd System In A Toyota Highlander?

Regularly checking the AWD system in a Toyota Highlander ensures that it is functioning properly, which helps maintain optimum performance and safety while driving.

Can I Check The Awd System In A Toyota Highlander By Myself?

While some basic checks can be done by yourself, it is recommended to take your Toyota Highlander to a certified mechanic for a comprehensive inspection of the AWD system.

What Should I Do If I Suspect A Problem With The Awd System In My Toyota Highlander?

If you suspect a problem with the AWD system in your Toyota Highlander, it is best to schedule an appointment with a professional mechanic to diagnose and fix the issue.

How Often Should I Check The Awd System In My Toyota Highlander?

It is advisable to check the AWD system in your Toyota Highlander at least once a year or as recommended in your vehicle’s owner’s manual to ensure its optimal performance.


To ensure the optimal performance of your Toyota Highlander’s AWD system, regularly checking its functionality is crucial. By following the simple steps outlined in this blog post, you can easily assess the condition of your AWD system and address any potential issues.

Start by inspecting the dashboard for any warning lights or error messages. Then, conduct a tire inspection to ensure they are all in proper condition and properly inflated. Finally, take your vehicle for a test drive on different road surfaces to test the AWD system’s engagement and responsiveness.

Remember to consult your vehicle’s owner manual for specific guidance and recommendations. By staying proactive and regularly checking your Toyota Highlander’s AWD system, you can enjoy a smoother and safer driving experience, regardless of the weather or road conditions. Invest a little time in maintenance and reap the benefits in the long run.

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