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These Are The Common Toyota RAV4 Problems

Renowned for its reliability, the Toyota RAV4 has long been a stalwart in the compact SUV world. The RAV made its way to the market for the first time in 1994, with a US debut in 1995. As a mid-size SUV, the Toyota RAV4 was the perfect SUV for anyone who needed the benefits of an SUV, such as off-roading and increased cabin with the efficiency of a compact car. Over the years since its debut, Toyota’s best-selling RAV received several awards, like the Japan Car of the Year award and KBB’s best resale value award. 

The Toyota RAV4 is known to be one of the most reliable vehicles ever made. RepairPal awarded the RAV4 an impressive reliability score of 4.0 out of 5.0. This accolade underscores the model’s resilience and enduring performance on the road. It’s one of the best family SUVs. But, even with its achievements, the Toyota RAV4 has encountered its fair share of challenges. These problems range from mechanical issues to electrical problems. 

This article dives into the common Toyota RAV4 problems reported by owners, along with the problematic model years to avoid. We will dissect issues that may arise and provide insights into addressing these concerns.

RAV4 Steering Issues

Steering problems are a common challenge, particularly with the 2017 model year of the Toyota RAV4. 

Some drivers reported experiencing the steering wheel locking up. In some cases, the steering wheel could pull to one side. Additionally, a subset of owners has reported knocking noises during turns.

This steering issue influences the RAV4’s handling and, ultimately, the safety of the journey.

Catalytic Converter False Warnings in the RAV4

RAV4 owners experienced an unexpected jolt when their vehicle’s computer sounded the alarm about a potential issue with the catalytic converter. Fortunately, this turned out to be a false alarm, and the remedy was surprisingly simple—a mere software update from Toyota.

The catalytic converter reduces harmful emissions from the vehicle’s exhaust system. A false warning about its malfunction could be unsettling.

Transmission Problems

A common challenge that some RAV4 owners may encounter revolves around transmission problems. If your RAV4 has transmission problems, you will experience difficulties shifting between gears. You may also notice unsettling lurches at lower speeds. These transmission issues can significantly impact the vehicle’s overall performance and the driver’s experience on the road.

Among the newer models, the 2019 RAV4 has more transmission problems.

Excessive Oil Consumption

A prevalent concern with RAV4 models, notably reaching back to the 2005 edition, revolves around excessive oil consumption.  The consumption issue affects 2007 and 2009 RAV4 models, particularly those with the b 2AZ-FE engine.

The RAV4’s excessive oil consumption issue affects models between 75,000 and 150,000 miles. Many owners reported that their SUVs exhibited higher-than-average oil-burning tendencies. 

This oil consumption issue became substantial enough that Toyota extended warranties to accommodate affected owners.

Engine Cooling Problems

Another problem with the Toyota RAV4 is the engine cooling system failure. The RAV’s engine cooling system is prone to leaks. 

These leaks can result in the coolant fluid seeping into the engine. The cooling problem causes the engine to overheat, risking further mechanical damage. 

To avoid this problem, make sure to get your car serviced regularly. Ideally, you should change the RAV4 engine coolant every 30,000 miles. Also, make sure to use a high-quality coolant. 

Oxygen Sensor Failure In The RAV4

Faulty oxygen sensors are a common problem with the Toyota RAV4. These sensors make adjustments that affect fuel economy and emissions. Faulty sensors can impact the engine’s air and fuel mixture monitoring. The oxygen Sensor issue affects the first and second-generation models. 

In the case of the RAV4, wear and tear are often the main culprits behind faulty oxygen sensors. While these sensors can theoretically last up to 100,000 miles, premature failures can occur. The recommended solution involves replacing the sensor. You should ensure compatibility with your specific RAV4 model.

EVAP System Issue In Older RAV4 Models

Another issue affecting Toyota RAV4 models is the faulty Evaporative System (EVAP) vapor canister.

Often encountered in older RAV4 models up to 2016, the EVAP system failure comes in a check engine light. The cause of the EVAP failure is vapor canisters releasing charcoal pellets. This vapor can obstruct the vent valve, leading to a check engine light.

The RAV4’s EVAP failure is also a result of a leak caused by a cracked rubber hose. Another common symptom of the evaporation system failure is a fuel smell. 

Photo Credit: Stephen Andrews

Wilfred Nkhwazi
Wilfred Nkhwazi
🚗 About Wilfred Nkhwazi - Founder of Flagship Drive 🌍 Meet Wilfred Nkhwazi, an automotive writer, and explorer of the open road. 📚 With more than five years of experience in the world of automotive writing, he's the visionary behind Flagship Drive. As a seasoned writer, he brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to Flagship Drive, providing readers with the latest news, reviews, and trends in the automotive world. Wilfred has a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of the technology and engineering behind cars, making him the go-to expert for all things automotive. When he isn't behind the wheel, you can find him exploring the latest automotive innovations or attending industry events. He is also the curator of, where he dissects the finest details of automobiles.


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