Toyota RAV4 Repairs & Maintenance

Last Updated: January 25, 2018

Toyota RAV4 Problems and Repairs

The Toyota RAV4 has become a go-to pick for drivers who want loads of cargo space, great gas mileage, and strong reliability. However, not all RAV4 models are problem-free. If you're considering a used RAV4, schedule a pre-purchase inspection with a mechanic to make sure the vehicle is in good condition before you buy. You may also want to consider a certified pre-owned Toyota RAV4, which is a used model that has undergone an inspection from Toyota and comes with additional powertrain warranty coverage.

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Here are some common problems and complaints about the RAV4 as reported by owners to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Toyota RAV4 Common Problems

The current Toyota RAV4 generation debuted for 2013. So far, it has lived up to the SUV's reliable reputation. This generation's problems are all issues of refinement. Owners have complained about squeaky brakes and a moldy smell coming from the air conditioner. Toyota has developed new brake pads and shims for the 2013 through 2016 RAV4 models to reduce the squeaking noise reported. These kits should be available from your local Toyota dealer. Toyota also advises turning off the car's air recirculation setting to reduce cabin odors, as this forces the vehicle to draw in fresh air from outside.

The previous Toyota RAV4 generation (2006 through 2012) hasn't fared as well for reliability. This is especially true of the 2006, 2007, and 2008 models, which have received many complaints for excessive oil consumption. Toyota has extended the engine warranty of 2006 through 2008 RAV4 models with 2AZ-FE four-cylinder engines due to these issues. If one of these vehicles fails a dealer-performed oil consumption test, it may be eligible for an engine replacement.

Other typical problems from this RAV4 generation include water pump leaks, exhaust leaks due to rust, a clunking noise from the steering column, and a whining or growling noise when driving. Toyota has developed a new intermediate steering shaft to remedy the clunking some owners have heard. Toyota has also found a fix for the growling noise, which stems from a failed bearing in the rear differential (AWD models only). Warranty coverage has been extended to nine years with no mileage limits for vehicles affected by this issue.

Notably, the 2006 through 2010 RAV4 models were part of the Toyota unintended acceleration recalls. After numerous Toyota and Lexus cars accelerated on their own, it was found that design flaws in the floor mat allowed it to slide forward, trapping the accelerator. Toyota replaced the mats and offered additional repairs to prevent the gas pedal from sticking in place. If you're considering a used RAV4, it's worth checking that it has the appropriate mats.

Toyota RAV4 Recalls

Use the links below to find recalls for each Toyota RAV4 model year. Only the 2004 and 2005 RAV4 models are affected by the Takata airbag recall. The airbags in these vehicles must be replaced due to a safety defect that could cause them to explode.


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