Toyota Class Action Alleges Highlander’s Fuel Tanks Are Not Full

2020: Prototype of a red new Toyota Highlander Hybrid

(Photo credit: Polina MB/Shutterstock)

Overview of the Toyota Highlander Fuel Tank Defect Class Action:

  • WHO: Samuel J. and Belinda A. Prince filed a class action lawsuit against Toyota Motor Sales, USA.
  • Why: The Princes claim that Toyota is not disclosing that the fuel tanks in its 2020-2021 Toyota Highlander vehicles are faulty.
  • Or: The class action lawsuit was filed in federal court in New Jersey.

Toyota is selling 2020-2021 model year Toyota Highlander vehicles with faulty fuel tanks that cannot be filled to their advertised capacity, according to a new class action lawsuit.

Plaintiffs Samuel J. and Belinda A. Prince claim the alleged fuel tank defect increases emissions, alters the vehicle’s promised range and increases the risk of overfilling when refueling.

Toyota is failing to disclose the alleged fuel tank defect to consumers before they buy the vehicles, according to the class action lawsuit.

The Princes claim that although 2020-2021 Toyota Highlander vehicles have an advertised fuel tank capacity of 17.1 gallons, the fuel pumps will automatically shut off between 12 and 14 gallons when filling an empty tank.

Toyota has acknowledged that only about 14.2 gallons of the fuel tank are usable even though the fuel tanks technically have a capacity of 17.1 gallons, according to the class action lawsuit.

“Consumers may attempt to force the tank to accept more fuel by slowly adding gas after the auto shut-off has been triggered, but many have reported that gas then leaked out of the vehicle long before the tank had been filled to the advertised capacity of 17.1 gallons,” the class action lawsuit states.

Toyota Highlanders fall short of promised 615 miles, class action claims

The Princes claim the alleged fuel tank defect causes Toyota Highlander vehicles to fall below their advertised range of 615 miles on a full tank.

Additionally, they claim that Toyota continues to advertise the vehicles with a fuel tank capacity of 17.1 gallons, even though they know that not all of the space is usable.

The Princes allege that Toyota is guilty of breach of express warranty and breach of implied warranty of merchantability, and in breach of Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.

They want to represent a category of New Jersey consumers who have purchased or leased a 2020-2021 Toyota Highlander equipped with a hybrid powertrain.

The plaintiffs demand a jury trial and seek declaratory relief as well as compensatory, statutory and exemplary damages for themselves and all class members.

A similar class action lawsuit was filed last June by California consumers who claim Toyota failed to disclose that the fuel systems in its 2020-2021 Toyota Highlander vehicles are defective.

Have you purchased or leased a 2020-21 model year Toyota Highlander? Let us know in the comments!

Plaintiffs are represented by Simon B. Paris and Patrick Howard of Saltz Mongeluzzi & Bendesky, PC, and Daniel E. Gustafson, David M. Goodwin and Ling S. Wang of Gustafson Gluek PLLC.

the Toyota Highlander fuel tank defect class action East Prince, et al., c. Toyota Motor Sales, USA, et al.Case No. 2:22-cv-01682, in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.

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