Toyota RAV4 Problems and Common Complaints

With its great maneuverability and gas mileage, it’s no surprise that the Toyota RAV4 is one of the most popular compact crossover SUVs on the market. Many consider it a reliable SUV, but it doesn’t mean that it’s entirely free of faults. Let’s take a look at the most common complaints about the RAV4.

Note: The list of problems below is organized by vehicle generation. Scroll down to find your model range.

2017+ RAV4 – Common Problems

18 rav4

A 2018 Toyota RAV4

Good news: there's nothing to report so far! Be sure to check back once in a while because we update the information on this page regularly.

2013-2016 RAV4 – Common Problems

12 rav4

A 2012 Toyota RAV4

Electric Throttle Control System Malfunction: Many 2013-2016 RAV4 owners reported having experienced unintended acceleration, which is widely believed to be caused by a faulty electric throttle control system.

Navigation Screen Glare: Some RAV4 owners find it difficult to see the navigation screen from the normal driving position in the sunlight due to glare. To be able to see the screen, the driver has to lean to the right and take his eyes off the road for an extended time.

Loud Brakes: Some owners report that front brake pads are making a squeaking or grinding noise when the brakes are applied. In 2016, Toyota issued a TSB and had dealers replace the brake pads and resurface the rotors under warranty.

2005-2012 RAV4 – Common Problems

07 rav4

A 2007 Toyota RAV4 Sport

Clogged Pistons: According to reports, some RAV4s consume an unusual amount of oil between oil changes. This is allegedly a result of an ineffective piston design that - according to reports - can get clogged with oil.

Loose Rear Suspension Arms: In some 2006-2011 RAV4s, the rear tie rod adjusting lock nuts may not be tightened correctly after service, which can lead to thread damage or rust in the suspension arms. This can leads to rear suspension arm failure and loss of vehicle control. In 2012, Toyota recalled all affected RAV4s, replaced the rear suspension arms, and encapsulated the lock nuts for free.

Overheated Driver’s Side Power Window Master Switch: During production, the power window master switch on the driver’s side wasn’t lubricated correctly in some RAV4s. This leads to a short circuit of the switch, which may overheat or even melt the switch. Toyota issued a recall in 2015 and applied more lubricant to the switch. If the switch was already short circuited, then Toyota replaced the entire switch board for free.

Corroded Wiper Linkage Joint: The windshield wiper system is designed in such a way that allows water to get into it and rust out the wiper linkage joint, causing it to separate. As a result, the windshield wiper stops working. In 2015, Toyota recalled nearly 425,000 affected RAV4s and replaced the water diverter channel and wiper linkage at no charge.

Loud Steering Intermediate Shaft Size: The steering column in some RAV4s makes a loud clunking or popping noise when turned. The culprit is the steering intermediate shaft, which has an incorrectly sized internal diameter and swing range. Toyota released a newly designed steering intermediate shaft that, when installed, solves the noise problem.

Ineffective Floor Mat Design: Many RAV4 owners have complained about a sticking accelerator pedal, which is caused by an ineffective all-weather floor mat design. When an accelerator pedal gets trapped in the wide open position, the driver faces an increased risk of a crash. To avoid this situation, removing the driver’s side floor mat is suggested.

2000-2004 RAV4 – Common Problems

02 rav4

A 2002 Toyota RAV4

Clogged Pistons: See 2005-2012 RAV4 – Common Problems.

Failing ECM: The ECM (engine control module) in 2000-2004 RAV4 tends to fail prematurely, causing the transmission to act erratically. Symptoms include loss of power, jerking and hesitating when shifting, and launching on third gear. Replacing the ECM usually solves this problem. If it goes unchecked long enough, the transmission will need to be replaced.

1997-2017 Toyota RAV4 TSBs

To find these TSBs, you can try Googling the TSB ID #, the name of the TSB, or some combination. You can also go to https://www.safercar.gov and search for the TSB by entering your VIN.

YEAR                   MAKE MODEL TSB NAME TSB ID ISSUE DATE                    
2013-2016 Toyota RAV4 MANUAL SEAT TRACK FORWARD/REARWARD ADJUSMENT FUNCTION INOPERATIVE 199322 2017-04-10
2006 Toyota RAV4 FRONT MANUAL SEAT DIFFICULT TO RETURN FROM RECLINE POSITION 135801 2006-12-12
2006 Toyota RAV4 2GR-FE ENGINE OIL LEAK FROM FRONT TIMING COVER 137249 2007-04-13
2006-2009 Toyota RAV4 2GR-FE ENGINE TICKING NOISE AND/OR MIL ON P0014, P0015, P0024, P0025, P0017, OR P0018 148143 2009-03-19
2006-2009 Toyota RAV4 2GR-FE MIL "ON" DTC P0505 150820 2009-06-24
2006-2008 Toyota RAV4 2GR-FE NO. 2 IDLER PULLEY NOISE 147796 2009-02-03
2016 Toyota RAV4 ABNORMAL CRUISE CONTROL FEEL "ROCKING BACK & FORTH" BETWEEN 55 - 75 MPH 198792 2017-03-17
2012-2013 Toyota RAV4 ABNORMAL ENTUNE/NAVIGATION OPERATION FOR DISPLAY AUDIO (NON-HDD TYPE) 195716 2016-08-01
2006-2010 Toyota RAV4 ABNORMAL RADIO FACEPLATE OPERATION 157570 2010-03-09
2004 Toyota RAV4 ACCESSORY DRIVE BELT SQUEAL / BELT TENSIONER RATTLE 125709 2004-09-08
2011 Toyota RAV4 AIR BAGS:SIDE/WINDOW 173069 2012-01-31
2000-2017 Toyota RAV4 ALARM TRIGGERING WHILE DRIVING 199326 2017-03-23
1997 Toyota RAV4 AM STATIC NOISE ON VHCLS W/ POWER ANTENNAS 45723 1996-10-25
2007-2009 Toyota RAV4 AUDIO BLUETOOTH SYSTEM OUTGOING CALL VOLUME ADJUSTMENT 148145 2009-03-24
2001-2002 Toyota RAV4 BACK DOOR RATTLE 122641 2004-04-22
2013 Toyota RAV4 BACK-UP CAMERA DISPLAYS INCORRECT LANGUAGE IN SPANISH OR FRENCH 180098 2013-06-07
2003 Toyota RAV4 BLANK MAP SCREEN IN NAVIGATION SYSTEM 119009 2003-06-04
2012 Toyota RAV4 BRAKE ACTUATOR ASSEMBLY MAY DISABLE ESC AND ABS 183796 2014-02-12
2016 Toyota RAV4 BRAKE ACTUATOR MAY HAVE A DAMAGED O-RING/FMVSS126 194007 2016-04-07
2006-2009 Toyota RAV4 BRAKE BOOSTER RATTLE/BUZZ NOISE 151200 2009-07-27
1997-2000 Toyota RAV4 BRAKE PAD CLICKING NOISE 112588 2000-10-20
1997-2014 Toyota RAV4 BRAKE PEDAL FORCE GAUGE SST FOR PARKING BRAKE 181285 2013-09-09
1997-2001 Toyota RAV4 BRANICK SPRING ADAPTER 114005 2001-08-24
2009-2012 Toyota RAV4 BRIEF ENGINE KNOCK/RATTLE NOISE AT COLD STARTUP (1AR/2AR) 178997 2013-03-15
1997 Toyota RAV4 CD PLAYER DOES NOT ACCEPT/EJECT CD - PIO/DIO 34224 45727 1997-05-23
2013-2015 Toyota RAV4 CENTER ROOF DRIP MOLDING LOOSE 188684 2015-02-03
1997 Toyota RAV4 CHARCOAL CANNISTER INTERCHANGEABILITY 47524 1998-05-29
2012-2013 Toyota RAV4 CHARGE SCHEDULE FUNCTION INOPERATIVE INTERMITTENTLY 180474 2013-07-01
2011 Toyota RAV4 CHARGING SYSTEM INOPERATIVE 173782 2012-03-13
2009 Toyota RAV4 CHARGING SYSTEM WARNING LIGHT ON 153729 2009-11-03
2006 Toyota RAV4 COWL PANEL WATER LEAK 135167 2006-11-01
1997 Toyota RAV4 COWL TOP VENT LOUVER CHANGE 46383 1998-04-24
2001 Toyota RAV4 CREAK NOISE AT BASE OF WINDSHIELD 113158 2001-02-23
2006-2007 Toyota RAV4 CREAK NOISE AT LOWER A PILLAR 147547 2008-08-13
2014-2016 Toyota RAV4 CRUISE CONTROL STALK ILLUMINATION INTERMITTENT OPERATION 194090 2016-04-13
2004-2005 Toyota RAV4 CYLINDER HEAD BOLT THREADS DAMAGED (2AZ-FE) 168431 2011-03-02
2004-2009 Toyota RAV4 CYLINDER HEAD COVER BAFFLE PRECAUTIONS 142144 2008-04-16
1998-2000 Toyota RAV4 DELAYED UPSHIFT TO OVERDRIVE WITH CRUISE CONTROL ENGAGED 113321 2001-03-23
2001-2005 Toyota RAV4 DIFFICULTY REMOVING THE IGNITION KEY 127324 2005-03-31
2006-2007 Toyota RAV4 DIRECT-TYPE TIRE PRESSURE WARNING SYSTEM DIAGNOSTIC TIPS 135832 2006-11-28
2004-2005 Toyota RAV4 DRIVER SIDE FRONTAL AIR BAG MAY RUPTURE 190159 2015-05-13
2006-2008 Toyota RAV4 DRIVER'S AIR BAG MAY NOT DEPLOY 184330 2014-04-09
2006-2007 Toyota RAV4 DRONE NOISE & VIBRATION AT HIGHWAY SPEEDS 137263 2007-04-24
1997 Toyota RAV4 ECM TAU FUEL CUT LOGIC CHANGED - 3S-FE 47526 1997-11-21
2006 Toyota RAV4 ELECTRONIC POWER STEERING: MIL ON DTC U0105 & U0121 133826 2006-06-29
1997-2010 Toyota RAV4 ENGINE BANK 1 AND BANK 2 A/F AND O2 IDENTIFICATION 154122 2009-12-23
2006-2008 Toyota RAV4 FREQUENT UPSHIFTING AND DOWNSHIFTING WITH CRUISE CONTROL "ON" 141012 2008-02-13
2001 Toyota RAV4 FRONT BRAKE GROAN NOISE 113993 2001-08-03
2012-2016 Toyota RAV4 FRONT BRAKE SQUEAK NOISE 197531 2016-12-06
1997 Toyota RAV4 FRONT DOOR HANDLE OPERATION - NEW PLASTIC SHIELD 46403 1997-04-18
1998 Toyota RAV4 FRONT DOOR LOCK KNOB OPERATION 46436 1998-08-14
2006 Toyota RAV4 FRONT EMERGENCY TOWING EYELETS & EYELET HOLE COVERS 132357 2005-11-11
1997-1998 Toyota RAV4 FRONT FENDER LINER VIBRATION NOISE 46432 1998-07-17
2004-2007 Toyota RAV4 FRONT SEAT SQUEAK NOISE 133391 2006-05-23
1997-2006 Toyota RAV4 FUEL INJECTOR CLEANING 130565 2005-10-13
2006 Toyota RAV4 GLOVE COMPARTMENT INOPERATIVE OR NOTCHY/STICKY FEELING 134076 2006-07-12
2013-2015 Toyota RAV4 GRINDING NOISE FROM REAR BRAKES 190623 2015-07-02
2001-2003 Toyota RAV4 HARSH SHIFT AND/OR MIL "ON" DTC P0750, P0753, P0755, P0758 AND/OR P1760 163808 2010-06-22
2001-2003 Toyota RAV4 HARSH SHIFT AND/OR MIL ON DTC P0750, P0755, P0758, AND/OR P1760 132101 2006-03-03
2012-2014 Toyota RAV4 HVAC - HEATER INOPERATIVE 186156 2014-08-27
2006-2017 Toyota RAV4 HVAC EVAPORATOR DRAIN HOSE CLOGGED DUE TO INSECT INTRUSION 198794 2017-03-08
2006-2009 Toyota RAV4 HVAC ODOR 153732 2009-11-10
2006-2008 Toyota RAV4 IDLER PULLEY NOISE 169897 2011-06-20
2006-2009 Toyota RAV4 IG1 RELAY FREEZING 147235 2009-01-19
2006 Toyota RAV4 ILSAC GF-4 ENGINE OIL STANDARD 132292 2006-01-04
2006-2007 Toyota RAV4 INOPERATIVE FRONT DOOR LOCK IN COLD AMBIENT TEMPERATURES 138230 2007-06-06
1997-2015 Toyota RAV4 INTERIOR ELECTRICAL COMPONENT PRECAUTIONS 189514 2015-04-10
2006-2008 Toyota RAV4 INTERMITTENT MIL "ON" DTC P0335 176897 2012-10-15
2006-2010 Toyota RAV4 INTERMITTENT NO CRANK/NO START 151951 2009-09-30
2006-2007 Toyota RAV4 KNOCKING NOISE FROM FRONT SUSPENSION 139701 2007-10-12
2012-2014 Toyota RAV4 LOSS OF ELECTRIC DRIVE 189383 2015-03-13
2006-2010 Toyota RAV4 MIL "ON" - FUEL IN EVAP SYSTEM 154395 2010-01-28
2009-2010 Toyota RAV4 MIL "ON" AND/OR RATTLE NOISE FROM ENGINE (2AR) 168205 2011-02-14
2006-2008 Toyota RAV4 MIL "ON" DTC P0116 172389 2011-11-01
2008-2009 Toyota RAV4 MIL "ON" DTC P0351, P0352, P0353, P0354, P0355, P0356 154396 2010-01-28
2006-2009 Toyota RAV4 MIL "ON" DTC P043E, P043F, P2401, P2402, AND P2419 148146 2009-03-24
2006-2011 Toyota RAV4 MIL "ON" DTC P043E, P043F, P2401, P2402, P2419 - WATER IN EVAP SYSTEM 171910 2011-10-20
2006-2011 Toyota RAV4 MIL "ON" DTC P0456 173307 2012-02-16
2010 Toyota RAV4 MIL "ON" DTC P2420 168842 2011-04-07
2002 Toyota RAV4 MIL ON - DTC P0442/P0440 115298 2002-03-22
1998-2000 Toyota RAV4 MIL ON - DTC P1133 113995 2001-08-10
1998-1999 Toyota RAV4 MIL ON - DTC P1133 - CALIF SPEC 47535 1999-10-15
2001 Toyota RAV4 MIL ON - P0420, P0430 113604 2001-05-18
2005 Toyota RAV4 MIL ON DTC P0171 OR P2195 130959 2005-11-16
2001-2002 Toyota RAV4 MIL ON DTC P1349 - VVTI ACTUATOR 141101 2003-05-05
2006-2008 Toyota RAV4 MIL ON VVTI DTCS - OIL CONTROL VALVE 140750 2008-01-23
2005-2006 Toyota RAV4 MIL ON, DTC P0011, P0012, OR P0016 136791 2007-02-09
2004 Toyota RAV4 MIL ON, DTC P0031 AND/OR P2238 125098 2004-08-25
2006-2007 Toyota RAV4 NOISE FROM AUXILIARY PORT WITH EXTERNAL DEVICE 139033 2007-08-10
2001 Toyota RAV4 NOISE FROM ROOF RACK 114877 2002-01-11
2001-2002 Toyota RAV4 NOISE FROM TOP OF DASH 115300 2002-03-15
2009 Toyota RAV4 OIL FILTER CAP ASSEMBLY PRECAUTIONS 145526 2008-10-31
2006-2007 Toyota RAV4 OIL LEAK FROM CAMSHAFT HOUSING 145518 2008-10-22
1997 Toyota RAV4 OUTSIDE MIRROR WIND TURBULENCE 51177 1998-04-17
2004-2005 Toyota RAV4 PARASITIC DRAW FROM JBL AMPLIFIER 129514 2005-08-02
2006 Toyota RAV4 PARKING BRAKE CLICK NOISE 132291 2006-02-17
2007 Toyota RAV4 PASSENGER'S SIDE VENTS BLOW HOT AIR 139329 2007-09-05
2014-2015 Toyota RAV4 POSSIBLE LOSS OF ELECTRIC POWER STEERING 189385 2015-03-13
2013-2016 Toyota RAV4 POWER BACK DOOR INOPERATIVE 194927 2016-06-06
2006-2011 Toyota RAV4 POWER WINDOW MASTER SWITCH MAY MELT 191636 2015-10-22
2006-2007 Toyota RAV4 RADIO DISPLAY MALFUNCTION 136355 2007-01-25
2013 Toyota RAV4 RADIO SCREEN BRIGHTNESS DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MODES 182307 2013-11-14
2006-2007 Toyota RAV4 RATTLE NOISE FROM EXTERIOR MIRROR 139343 2007-09-12
1997-2002 Toyota RAV4 READINESS MONITOR DRIVE PATTERNS 115071 2002-02-08
2001-2002 Toyota RAV4 REAR BRAKE SQUEAL NOISE 114485 2001-11-16
2006-2012 Toyota RAV4 REAR DIFFERENTIAL COUPLING GROWL NOISE 194506 2016-05-02
2006 Toyota RAV4 REAR SEAT ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM BLANK SCREEN 134083 2006-07-03
1997 Toyota RAV4 REAR STEP BUMPER/TOW HITCH SAFETY CHAIN HOLES 45801 1997-06-20
2006-2012 Toyota RAV4 REAR SUSPENSION CLUNK NOISE 182677 2013-12-20
2015 Toyota RAV4 REDUCED WIRELESS REMOTE CONTROL RANGE 191061 2015-08-05
2006-2007 Toyota RAV4 REMOTE ENGINE STARTER (RES) COLD TEMPERATURE OPERATION 142859 2008-05-21
2006-2008 Toyota RAV4 REMOTE ENGINE STARTER (RES) ECU PARASITIC DRAW 159488 2010-04-13
2006-2014 Toyota RAV4 SEAT BELT WEBBING MAY BE CUT BY SEAT FRAME 193071 2016-02-19
2006-2011 Toyota RAV4 SEAT HEATER ELECTRICAL WIRING 194871 2016-06-02
2006-2007 Toyota RAV4 SHIFT LEVER DOESN'T MOVE SMOOTHLY 136371 2007-01-03
2013-2015 Toyota RAV4 SHIFT LEVER SLIDE COVER DEFORMATION 187472 2014-11-10
1999 Toyota RAV4 SIDE IMPACT PROTECTION BEAMS (INTRUSION BEAMS) 185785 1999-02-01
2010 Toyota RAV4 SRS OCCUPANT CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM INITIALIZATION 185909 2010-03-01
1997-1998 Toyota RAV4 STEERING GEAR R&R - W/ SRS AIRBAG - S/M SUPP 53388 1998-05-22
2006-2007 Toyota RAV4 STEERING INTERMEDIATE SHAFT NOISE 141010 2008-02-08
2005-2010 Toyota RAV4 STEERING INTERMEDIATE SHAFT RATTLE NOISE 161959 2010-05-03
2006-2008 Toyota RAV4 STEERING RACK NOISE 145514 2008-10-08
1997-2003 Toyota RAV4 SULFUR ODOR FROM EXHAUST 117534 2003-02-24
2006-2010 Toyota RAV4 SUNVISOR MOUNT LOOSE 156141 2010-02-08
1997 Toyota RAV4 TAILPIPE DURABILITY 47520 1998-05-01
2007-2009 Toyota RAV4 TIRE PRESSURE MONITORING SYSTEM (TPMS) TIRE REGISTRATION
 "LOST COMMUNICATION WITH ECU"
149034 2009-03-12
2009 Toyota RAV4 TIRE PRESSURE WARNING SYSTEM ACTIVATION AND INITIALIZATION 147542 2008-08-07
2013-2015 Toyota RAV4 TRAILER LIGHTS MAY SHUT OFF DUE TO SOFTWARE 188154 2015-01-16
2000-2002 Toyota RAV4 TRAILER WIRE HARNESS 116597 2002-10-18
2009-2011 Toyota RAV4 TRANSAXLE RATTLE NOISE BETWEEN 25 - 35 MPH 167733 2011-01-04
2006-2012 Toyota RAV4 TRANSAXLE WHINE NOISE 176025 2012-08-08
1997-1999 Toyota RAV4 TRANSMISSION ENGAGEMENT IN 5TH GEAR 113325 2001-03-23
1997-2003 Toyota RAV4 TRIM GARNISH LOOSE 120666 2003-09-09
1997 Toyota RAV4 UNDERCOATING ON O2 SENSORS - CAUTION 47497 1996-10-11
2003-2007 Toyota RAV4 UPPER / LOWER WINDSHIELD TICK NOISE 134944 2006-09-18
1998 Toyota RAV4 VACUUM HOSE PRODUCTION CHANGE 47532 1998-07-17
2002 Toyota RAV4 VEHICLE PULLING TO ONE SIDE - S/M SUPPLEMENT 114717 2001-12-21
2014-2015 Toyota RAV4 VEHICLES ACCESSORIES MAY DETACH 188151 2014-12-30
2008 Toyota RAV4 WATER CONDENSATION DRIPPING FROM HEADLINER 151948 2009-09-25
2006 Toyota RAV4 WHEEL SPEED SENSOR DTCS: MIL "ON" C0210 & C0215 135807 2006-12-01
2006-2007 Toyota RAV4 WHINE NOISE FROM FUEL PUMP 136785 2007-02-06
2002 Toyota RAV4 WIND WHISTLE FROM FRONT EDGE OF HOOD 116121 2002-08-09
2013-2016 Toyota RAV4 WS ATF LEVEL ADJUSTMENT FOR U660E/F & U760E/F TRANSMISSIONS 194091 2016-04-13
2007-2009 Toyota RAV4 XM SATELLITE RADIO INOPERATIVE UNTIL IGNITION KEY IS CYCLED 151211 2009-08-11
Written by Jason Lancaster