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I'm looking to get a 2009 Limited V6 with 95k miles.
I've never owned a Toyota and am wondering about issues with these, such as transmission problems, oil leaks etc. My mother in law has a 2004 Highlander and for some reason it doesn't have a spot of rust on it at all. They seem to be rust proof, which is my biggest reason for looking at them.

How hard is it to change the plugs and transmission fluid? Is the transmission reliable or does it need continuous fluid changes like older Honda's?
Also, what do you all get for MPG? I get 27mpg in my Escape and I'm hoping not to get less.
TIA
 

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The transmission whine is a problem on V6 models. (noise annoyance only) You can hear it when driving 15-45 mph. This is not to be confused with another whine from the differential. (another problem) The transmission whine noise stops if you let go of the gas pedal. The only fix to the transmission whining noise is getting the transmission replace but the whine does not result in any failure.

The differential can also leak which maybe caused by a plugged breather cap. Your differential may make a whining noise also.

The RAV4 does not have issues with rusting prematurely.

The spark plugs removal is harder on a V6 on the rear. There is a few good youtube video showing how to change them. There is a lot of parts to remove including the throttle body and intake manifold. If you have skinny arms you maybe able to remove the spark plugs without removing the throttle body and intake manifold. It can be done as I have a co-worker who said he did this. (lots of scratches on arm due to very tight space)

The transmission fluid is easy to change if you do just a drain and fill. A flush using the return line is not that hard.

The transmission is reliable and does not have the same problems as the Honda.

The V6 is mainly reliable with few problems. The 2.4 litre engine (2006 to 2008) can have a high oil consumption. The V6 is a beast with wicked power. Same engine in some Lexus, Highlander and Sienna.
 

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You won't get 27 mpg in town driving with the V6 and that seems to be about the upper average for highway driving. Also as usual high highway speeds reduce mileage. My in-town mileage (mostly short trips) has been as low as 11+ and usually is about 14-16. Highway mileage runs 23-26, but that includes some twisty mountain road driving although the greater percentage is constant speed driving.
 

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From our years in Ohio there's some surface rust on the underside. At our first service here in WA the techs actually wrote it up saying it "has surface rust as if driven somewhere with road salt"....well duh heh.

Pull up the records on the toyota owners site. You can do that with just the vin. See if you can luck out and find one that already had the whine tsb completed like we did. Shows up as "REPLACE TRANSAXLE ASSEMBLY PER TSB 0192.10"

And yeah you will not be averaging 27mpg...
 
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