P0136 is a common OBDII code that occurs in the Toyota Highlander. It is typically caused when the O2 Sensor voltage is not within normal operating range.

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Bank one will be the side of the engine with cylinder 1 in the firing order.

Toyota Highlander P0136 Symptoms


Often, the only symptom of P0136 is going to be the service engine soon light. In some cases, there can be other symptoms as well. These symptoms include:

Rough running engine Smelly exhaust Service light on Poor MPG

Most of the time, it’s not a breakdown risk. But, like anything that causes the service engine soon light to come on it is a good idea to have it fixed as soon as possible. Driving your vehicle for really long periods of time with P0136 can potentially lead to engine, catalytic converter damage.

P0136 Causes: Toyota Highlander

Here are the most common issues that cause the P0136 code in the Highlander. They are presented in order (somewhat) of most to least likely to cause the problem.

Damage to the Terminal– The terminal that the oxygen sensor connects to (the plug) is also relatively susceptible to damage. You’ll want to make sure that there is voltage going to it. There’s more on that directly below. Exhaust Leak– If the exhaust is leaking, then it’ll allow oxygen in that shouldn’t be there. That can throw this code. Wrong O2 Sensor– If you are getting P0136 after having recently replaced your Oxygen sensor, it may be that the replacement is wrong or bad.


Highlander P0136 Diagnosis

Here is a fantastic video that covers all aspects of diagnosing a P0136 trouble code It’s for a VW, but the code is universal.

It is possible to diagnose the P0136 with a multimeter. If you use the multimeter, you’ll know whether or not the voltage coming to and from the oxygen sensor is within spec, this can help you determine if it’s your Highlander’s O2 sensor, or wiring harness that’s the issue.

If you don’t have access to a multimeter, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to check the wiring to between the fuse box and the Oxygen sensor first. If it ends up being a wiring issue, it’ll save you money over buying an unnecessary O2 sensor.

You can also use a voltage test light to determine whether or not the oxygen sensor is getting any voltage at all (they’re about $5 at Walmart). If it’s not getting any voltage, attach the test light to the harness plug and shake the wiring a little bit. If the light comes on, even for a second, you know that you have a short circuit causing the P0136 trouble code.

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Most of the time with P0136, it’s going to be the oxygen sensor itself that has caused the code to trigger. Good luck finding whatever caused it in your Toyota Highlander. If you have anything that you would like to add, please feel free to leave a comment below.