Few Toyota models embody the brand’s reputation for value like the Toyota RAV4. The reliability and fuel efficiency of this compact car give it extraordinary resale value. However, no car escapes some problems, if you want to know about them, stay and read here the 10 common failures of the Toyota RAV4 .
The CarEdge.com page reports that a RAV4 in good condition only depreciates 39% after five years. It’s no wonder there’s a huge demand for both new and used RAV4s.
How good is the Toyota RAV4?
The Toyota RAV4 scored highly in all major reliability indices. RepairPal gave it a reliability score of 4.0 out of 5.0, ranking it third out of 26 compact car models.
Its annual repair cost is also lower compared to most vehicles. While older models aren’t the most fuel-efficient cars, Consumer Reports noted that newer RAV4s improved their fuel economy with their hybrid versions enjoying decent miles per gallon.
The RAV4 also made it to Forbes’ Top 10 Vehicle Models That Can Easily Get 250,000 Miles or More. If you follow Toyota’s maintenance schedule, your RAV4 can get up to 300,000 miles or more.
Common failures of the Toyota RAV4
There is no such thing as a perfect vehicle, so even one as reliable as the Toyota RAV4 can develop problems over time. Here are some of the common Toyota RAV4 failures reported by owners of various model years.
1- Transmission failure
Have you been the owner of a Toyota RAV4 for a long time? You may have encountered one or more mechanical problems related to your car’s transmission, such as gear shifting problems, hesitation when accelerating, and lurching at low speeds.
CarComplaints.com identified transmission problems as the worst overall problem for any RAV4. Among the newer model years (2010-2020), the 2019 Toyota RAV4 is the most prone to developing a problem with its transmission.
Some owners of this model have reported that their vehicle lurches forward while driving at low speeds . The transmission would also shift roughly, making loud knocking and rattling noises while shifting.
Some drivers have complained that the transmission in their 2019 Toyota RAV4 would take too long to change gear or would fail outright. They also reported other transmission-related issues such as binding, slippage, and minor whiplash. Resetting the RAV4 at the dealer did not resolve the issues.
2- Faults in the engine cooling system
Transmission problems aren’t the only ones that affect many 2019 and 2020 Toyota RAV4s. The cooling system that keeps the car’s engine safe from overheating can also develop problems, such as coolant loss from leaks.
In February 2020, Toyota issued a recall for select 2019-2020 Toyota RAV4 and RAV4 Hybrid models with 2.5L engines. The affected units were leaking engine coolant that could enter the interior or exterior of the engine.
According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the United States), the pores of engine castings could develop fractures due to air bubbles that formed in the metal during the manufacturing process. Coolant would seep out of the resulting cracks.
If there is not enough coolant due to leaks, the engine can overheat and stall on the highway. You could also leak flammable oil that can ignite.
3- Excessive engine oil consumption
Many Toyota RAV4 models consume much more engine oil than they should. The problem was first noted in the 2005 model year.
Typically, drivers of the 2005-2008 Toyota RAV4 only need to top up their engine oil monthly. But once their car reached between 75,000 and 150,000 miles, they noticed that the 2AZ-FE four-cylinder engine began to burn much more oil than normal. They attributed the eventual increase in engine oil consumption to the appearance of small leaks.
The 2007 Toyota RAV4 is the model year most likely to develop an engine oil consumption problem. Toyota extended the engine warranty for the affected models and will replace the faulty 2AZ-FE engine if the vehicle fails an oil consumption test.
4- Steering failures
Although the 2017 Toyota RAV4 enjoys much higher reliability than the 2019 model, some units have recurring problems. Its steering system is prone to problems like pulling to the side, banging noises during turns, and stalling.
The most common Toyota RAV4 steering failures reported by drivers involve the 2017 RAV4 pulling to one side despite your best efforts to drive in a straight line. They often had to force the wheel slightly in the opposite direction they were pulling to maintain on-center steering .
Other 2017 Toyota RAV4 owners hear steering wheel knocking noises whenever they turn the vehicle to one side or the other. They also report that the steering wheel could also lock up, which could be scary if they were on the road.
5- Paint problems
Many model year Toyota RAV4 have problems with exterior paint . Starting with the 2009 model year, owners have complained of peeling, bubbling, or chipping paint. These are common failures of the Toyota RAV4 reported from the year 2009-2015.
6- Failure of the cylinder head gasket
The head gasket has been known to fail on the 2004 to present Rav4 2.4L. This problem is caused by the cylinder head bolts being too tight.
To fix the problem, you will need to install a replacement head gasket. You will also need to make sure that the stock is torqued to the correct specifications to avoid this problem again.
7- Problem with the navigation/audio screen
Some people have complained about the position of the navigation/audio screen. This position makes it difficult to read. May be difficult to read due to sunlight hitting the screen. This is due to the angle at which it is placed.
The only thing you can try for this is to put on matte screen protectors to reduce glare.
8- Failure in the gearbox
The Rav4’s gearbox is notorious for making a background noise . Gear slippage problems are also known. The slippage is due to an ECU problem.
This noise problem will be fixed under warranty. If the vehicle is no longer under warranty, this can be a very expensive repair. For the problem, you will need to have the ECU modified to resolve it.
9- Water pump failure
The water pump is known to fail early on the Rav4 . The first symptoms that this part fails is that it makes a lot of noise. Installing a water pump over a spare will solve the problem.
10- Click of the direction
A common problem on the Rav4 is that the steering rack clicks when you turn the steering wheel all the way. This is an indication that it is failing. You will need to have a replacement steering rack to fix the problem.
As long as you’re aware of the potential problems with the specific Toyota RAV4 you’re planning to buy, choosing this car should be low risk. If you want to know if the RAV4 you have or plan to buy is part of a recall and read the most common problems of the model you are interested in, you can make sure that the seller has clarified everything before sealing the deal.