Toyota Highlander Braking Power Low

Low stopping power is a severe issue that should not be disregarded. Although low braking power depends on the master cylinder, brake fluid leaks, worn brake pads, or a faulty vacuum pump can lead to a potential accident. Because of this, your car’s internal brake system components are vital to maintaining safety.

In addition, when braking power is low, it can cause damage to other car parts, leaving you in an extremely dangerous situation. Toyota is a well-known manufacturer, yet even the best-made vehicles occasionally have issues.

Because of this, you can find brake power low, Toyota Highlander being the model in question. Such issues in Toyota vehicles can be caused by several factors, including low brake fluid, worn brake pads, rotors, calipers, and more.

In our guide, you can learn more about why Toyota Highlander brake power low and the car’s deceleration is weak. By the end, you’ll know the issues and how to fix braking power low to increase your stopping power so your car can operate properly. (Read Color Coded Wiring Fuel Pump Wires Color Codes)

Toyota Highlander Braking Power Low Causes

Why Is My Toyota Highlander Braking Power Low?

What Is Braking Power?

For seasoned drivers, braking power is not a foreign concept. The amount of power (braking force) you apply to the brake determines the stopping distance and the time required to bring your car to a stop.

Braking power directly affects the driver’s safety, and the period of stopping the vehicle is reduced by how much braking force is applied via the brake pedal. When there are braking system problems, it vastly reduces braking power inside any area of the power brake system.

No matter where the fault is inside the hydraulic system, you can either see a low braking power message if you are lucky, or it could end up in an accident. Braking power isn’t a safety feature; it is a necessity to keep passengers safe as the driver presses the brake pedal to slow and stop the Toyota car.

Why Is Toyota Highlander Braking Power Low?

If you find braking power low, Toyota highlander issues come from a broken brake system. The most common causes are the braking fluid, brake oil, or brake lines.

Besides these, the ECM, vacuum pump, master cylinder, and brake pads are other contributors to this issue.

Here are reasons why braking power is low:

1. Poor Fluid Flow

In theory, the fluid level in the brake lines produces the force in power brakes. To be more precise, as soon as the driver pushes down on the pedal, the pedal will force the cylinder in the braking system to move the oil.

However, temperature and other influences can impact this brake fluid and cause low braking power.

  1. The fluid lines are clogged: When the temperature is high, the hydraulic fluid condenses and sticks to the brake lines, which causes brake malfunction.
  2. A brake line is bent: Sometimes, excessive force might change the line’s original geometry. When the braking fluid speed is slowed, it affects the flow or causes leaking brake fluid.

2. Air In Brake Lines

As was already mentioned, the flow of oil affects power. Therefore, air entering the brake system will vastly reduce the flow and force. When you press the pedal, hydraulic force is released, which then travels to the calipers. To stop the car, the calipers press the brake pads against the disc rotors with help from the vacuum booster.

Even after bleeding, the brake pedal can be spongy if air has entered the brake lines, frequently causing stopping problems and a lack of friction created by pads and rotors.

3. Insufficient Brake Oil

The brake oil is another factor that could contribute to braking power, low Toyota Highlander, and other modern cars.

Since oil flows on the brake lines’ surface, the liquid can leak when any surface is damaged.

As a result, as the engine runs, the brake oil flow from the master cylinders will lessen and cause braking power to be reduced, even with vacuum boosters.

The brake power warning message on the instrument cluster will notify the driver.

4. Faulty Master Cylinder

The master brake cylinder has the important function of maintaining pressure after pushing the brake pedals. Here, the brake fluid maintains hydraulic pressure for the braking system to keep braking power as the pads push against the rotors.

Any faults here, such as sticking or a worn seal, will leave you with very low braking power. Once this happens, regardless of how hard you push the brake pedal, you’ll still have low braking power, as brake fluid won’t flow down the last part of the brake line.

Often, you have two reasons causing a master cylinder fault: external force and long-time use (wear and tear). Both factors cause fluid leakage or low hydraulic pressure, thus reducing braking power or even brake failure. (Read Recycling Brake Rotors For Money)

5. Faulty ECM/ Speed Sensor Malfunctions

One of the primary causes of the Toyota Cars Highlander low brake power is a problem with the electronic control module. In a nutshell, the ECM is a system that controls the vehicle’s air compressor and braking engine.

The ECM will increase or decrease the braking power depending on how hard the pedal is pressed.

In addition, with ABS brakes, the speed sensor will collect wheel speed and pass it to the ECM. Unfortunately, incorrect information can be passed or received; thus, you can end up with low braking power, or the braking system doesn’t respond at all.

Brake Booster Failure

6. Vacuum Pump or Brake Booster Failure

The stopping procedure cannot go smoothly when there is air on the lines. The vacuum pump is therefore installed to remove air in the brake booster in power brakes on all four brake lines.

As a result, if the pump is malfunctioning, the air in the brake lines and brake fluid system, thus causing low braking power because of a fault in your vacuum booster.

7. Faulty Brake Pads or Worn Brake Rotors

The stopping process comes from things that create friction, such as the rotors and brake pads. Rotors work alongside the pads; while different, the effects can be the same if there is an issue.

Brake pads wear to a level where brake fluid in the brake line can’t push the pads far enough to add force against the rotors no matter how hard you push the brake pedal.

Thus, you get low braking power and find your car may pull to one side if you only have low braking power on one side.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Toyota cars have problems with low braking power?

Toyota has had several recalls on various models of Toyota cars, such as the Highlander, Camry, and RAV4. The problem stems from a faulty brake booster, thus causing a lack of power and increasing stopping distances.

Can I tell if my brake fluid level is low?

Like most drivers, you most likely don’t give your brake fluid much thought.

Here is how to determine whether the level is low:

  • Apply the parking brake first, then peek beneath the hood of your car to see what’s in the reservoir.
  • Examining your brake pads is another way to determine this. It may be a sign that your fluid level is low if they are worn.
  • Pay attention to how your brakes feel as you push the pedal.

Is it safe to drive with the low braking power message?

As any seasoned driver is aware, the braking system is one of a vehicle’s most crucial safety features. For brakes to function correctly, the car must be slowed down or stopped in a controlled manner.

Because of this, it’s crucial to pay attention to any warnings your car may provide, such as the “low braking power” message. The brakes themselves or the brake fluid level are typically the causes of this warning.

Having little braking power can make driving risky; therefore, getting the issue looked at right away is crucial.

How can you prevent low brake power issues?

Several actions can be taken to avoid problems with limited brake power. Make sure the level of your brake fluid is correct first. You risk your brakes not functioning properly if it’s too low. Ensure you use pure brake fluid when you fix braking power low; bubbles or contamination will affect the performance of your brake fluid.

Likewise, if you have any moisture in your brake fluid, the fluids heat resistance level falls and leaves a solid substance. As a result, clogged brake lines won’t work as you expect. Check your brake pads next. They could not have enough stopping power if they are worn out. Also, worn rotors can show similar symptoms, and will wear your brake pads faster than usual.

Finally, have your brakes checked by a professional as soon as you notice any odd noises or vibrations coming from them. (Read Brake Pedal Locked Up – What To Do)

DIY Fix Braking Power Low

How To DIY Fix Braking Power Low?

Because a brake system is complicated and important, there are some things to leave for the experts.

However, there are some things you can do to save on expensive repair bills.

Brake lines:

After a few quick adjustments, these internal brake system components can function correctly. You should frequently clean the lines, however, to get rid of the clogged fluid in the system. If the lines were curved, you had better replace them with a new one because a line will become more flimsy if it is straightened.

Brake Fluid:

Without fluid, the braking system cannot operate correctly. So keep in mind to top off the fluid every three to four months.

Brake Pads:

After the pads have become degraded, there is no alternative to doing so other than to replace them. (Learn How To Clean Brake Calipers Without Removing Them)


Like other vehicles, Toyota cars frequently lose braking power, making it challenging to stop or slow down effectively. A variety of things could cause this, including a lack of braking fluid, blocked or bent brake lines, the air in the brake line, and worn brake pads close to the brake discs.

A mechanic can fix the braking power low for things you can’t do yourself, or you could take the DIY route with the above information and fix braking power low and increase your total stopping power with a hydraulic system fix.

Toyota Highlander Braking Power Low