Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Toyota RAV4 Battery and Electrical Problems



  • Check your VSS (Vehicle Speed Sensor) located somewhere on the transmission and either fix the wiring or replace the sensor as necessary.
  • I have not been able to find the solution. I just took it back in for an oil change and didn't say anything hoping that it would be asked of me. I asked how the battery tested and before I even said a thing about the starting issue, the technician asked, "why, are you having starting issues?" I said yes and all they could tell me was that until they can recreate it, they cannot diagnose it. The last technician thought it was a pressure issues in the fuel line as well, but again they cannot do anything about it until they recreate the situation. I don't understand how it isn't doing it for them, as it is about every time that it starts this way now. Frustrating, because it is starting like it has 200,000 miles on it when it only has 50K. I will keep you posted and let me know if you hear anything more. thanks!
  • Mandy, I urge you to replace the battery. The original battery only lasts 2 or 3 years, and the RAV4 is heavily dependent on the battery because the electric power steering uses a lot of electrical power. One day real soon your battery is just going to die leaving you stranded without warning. If you do manage to get it jumped off, it might start and run but your power steering will be cutting in and out making it unsafe to drive. Replacing a battery is no big deal. Get an Everstart from Wal-Mart for 75 bucks and they will install it for free. Problem solved.
  • This morning at 5:45 am, I am heading outside and notice headlights on...thinking it was my company car and that I had accidentally hit the key fob, I go outside to discover that it is my daughter's 2002 RAV4 - the headlights are on, but they were definitely not on when we went to bed last night. Naturally, I checked both the headlight switch and the fog light switch and both were off - the lights continued to burn. I cranked it up with no problem (we put in a new battery early summer). I thought if I disconnected the battery that might do something (okay, I'm not really a car guy). Upon reconnection, the lights were still on, but now the horn was blaring, everything was beeping, AND NOW the vehicle would not crank. I figured there is some code that must be entered via the radio or something. Anybody got any suggestions on (1) resetting the vehicle and (2) what the issue is with the lights? :confuse:
  • My daughter has a 1997 RAV4 that has 178,000 miles on it and is still going strong. It is messy inside but that is her own habit, and is not due to defects of the car. As her father is a mechanic, she has done all the necessary maintenance on the car and to my knowledge, has experienced no serious problems. Perhaps it's because in 1997, the RAV4s were built better, but it is nice to know that the brand itself is not inherently bad.

    I just recently bought a 2005 RAV4 and have had no problems, but have had it only a few months. Hopefully, it is a vehicle that is problem free. I do have a AAA membership and a cell phone, however, so maybe I can be worry free.

    I have owned two long-running Corollas that never gave me ANY problems but I needed a larger, "taller" car for medical problems with arthritis, and since my daughter loves her car, went with this one. I've read nothing about any recalls for 2005. I hope I will not rue the day I bought it! :)
  • deloiddeloid Posts: 18
    98 Rav 4 with isstrument cluster lights out, shifter stays locked on park unless manually released with the button and tail lights out. Replaced two fuses by the steeering wheel and all worked then the fuses blew again.
    Can I get a heads up on where to start? Wiring looks fine, cluster works, doubt it's a short at the headlights...thinking short at dimmer, ignition or a relay.
  • Wednesday morning, following a very cold night (but we've had colder!), my RAV wouldn't start. Wouldn't even crank when I turned the key in the ignition.....just dead silence. Couldn't move steering wheel or move automatic shifter out of park. At 3:00 the same day, when it was warmer, it started right up. Thursday same thing......dead silence in the morning, started right up in afternoon. Took to Toyota dealer who did diagnostics and said it was a faulty neutral safety switch which they replaced. This morning.........wouldn't start again! Dead silence, can't even put into neutral to try starting it in another gear. Called the service manager at the dealer and he said he is stumped. I will start the RAV this afternoon, drop it off at the dealers so they can try starting it in the morning, and maybe if it won't start then, it will help them to figure out what is wrong. What on earth is in a car's motor or electrical system that could be freezing overnight, preventing the car from starting, and then thawing out in the afternoon????? They said the battery is fine, by the way. It is only 2 years old. The vehicle has 24,000 miles on it, 90% of it highway driving. It is used every day. Thanks for any help
  • It might be a relay that is sticking in the extreme cold, and then works OK when the temperature warms up a bit. I had a similar problem once, but it was the fuel pump relay instead of the starter relay.
  • Thanks! I'll mention that to the service manager, although he said they checked out the starter and it was fine. I left the RAV at the dealer's overnight, and wouldn't you know, it started fine the next morning! Brought it home on Saturday, and it started on Sunday morning, so I'm hoping that it really was the neutral safety switch and it was just a weird fluke that it didn't start the day after they replaced it.
  • ellenrodellenrod Posts: 1
    Hi All:

    This same 'starter' problem happend to me only about 2 or 3 months ago. The ignition wouldn't start, turn over or make any sound what so ever. I called AAA and their person told me it was a battery problem, so he sold me a new one and installed it. The very next day it happened all over again! Another AAA person came out and said he felt it had to do with how we use our remote control car alarm systems versus the locks on the inside of the driver's door. He said to ensure that all doors were locked each time, to hit the remote three or so times. The same when you want to disarm the locks. So I've followed that directive religiously ever since. Unfortunately, I think it almost happened once again a couple of days ago! It hasn't happened today, but now I'm becoming anxious all over again. I believe I'll follow the advice of one of the other writers/readers here who said what to direct the dealership to do when I take it to them for repair. I've sworn by Toyota for many years and this is the very first one I've ever had issues with. Between this issue and now the recall for the floor mats and excellerator, I couldn't be more disappointed and concerned than I am presently.
  • Ellen, don't listen to those AAA people--you know the car better than they do. Next time you have this starting problem, make sure the shifter is in Park and try it again. If that doesn't work, shift into Neutral and try again. There is a switch that prevents the car from starting unless it's in P or N and that switch is either going bad or is out of adjustment. Toyota has issue a TSB for this problem that calls for replacing the switch. In over 2 years of owning my 2008 RAV4, this problem happened to me ONCE. I shifted into Neutral and it started right up, and the problem never returned. Good Luck!
  • As I was driving my Rav4 in a parking garage I had to backup to make a tight turn. Put car in reverse and the car stalled (so I thought) Put it in Park to restart but before I touched the key the car started on it's own. Put it into reverse, backup a few feet and put the car in drive - car dies again. As I passed neutral on the way to park the car starts on it's own in neutral, put car in drive and pull into the parking spot. Turn off the ignition, starter continues to crank; turn on the ignition car runs about 5 minutes dies and white smoke billows out of the front hood, electrical burning smell. After a few minutes the smoke starts to abate, I open the hood see the smoke coming from the front right (as I face the car) of the compartment. Now everything in the car is DEAD. No lights, no auto locks, so click when you turn the key nothing!

    Dealer is now replacing the battery & starter because the starter must have been "hung up" (on what?) and the rubber casing melted. Need the battery and the starter to do further diagnostics....

    Any thoughts? Any similar experiences. RAV has just over 77K miles and the 75K service was completed about a month & a half ago. Do I trust the car going forward?
  • rose920rose920 Posts: 14
    In 2010, I had a new A/C compressor , alternater, and Distributor O Ring put in to the tune of $1269.

    That was followed by a door that wouldn't close at an estimate of $487. I got on here and read about Dupont Silicone and fixed it.

    In 2011 so far, I have had a Timing Belt Tensioner put it as well as Crankshaft Seal and valve cover gasket -- $703.18. The Timing Belt was changed at 105k and the car now has 156k. I checked to see if it was under warrantee which it was and they were going to replace the whole kit, water pump, belt, etc. but the person I took the car to did not take the "kit" saying it was only the tensioner pully. I have to say that I was not comfortable with this and being a woman, I feel that I may have been "taken" on this. Is there a way to find an honest mechanic who won't take advantage of my female status?

    Oh did I say the car was still leaking something? So I took it back and was shown that the power steering fluid was leaking. It is now fixed -- $470.

    When I took it in, I mentioned that the car was making a clunking sound, not the usual power steering squeak. When I picked it up, I asked if they found out what the noise was. They said there wasn't any noise. Well as I drove out of the station and down two blocks, the noise happened again while I was waiting to take a turn. I am so disgusted and so not trusting, I did not return. I did have a muffler replaced a month ago (under warrantee) and by the person who originally put it on who is another person that I am unsure of as to being taken advantage by him.

    In the old days, you took your car into be serviced or repaired (or at least I did) and the mechanic (my cousin) took the car for a ride to see if anything else was going on. He also washed it for me. He is now deceased and his shop is going and I am still trying to find someone I can trust. I admit to being spoiled but I knew that I could trust him and he knew I was not totally ignorant about cars having worked as a teenager in a dealer service dept so he listened to me if I thought something was wrong with my car.

    This morning I looked at my car and there is yet another leak under it!!

    Do I take it back or do I just chalk it up to a car getting old and it will keep having to be repaired? I really can't afford to buy a new one and I really want another Toyota but maybe this is not the time to buy one.

    Sorry for rambling on.
  • yotatechyotatech Posts: 1
    im a tech at a toyota dealership here in virginia beach virginia and every day i replace about 4 to 5 batterys in rav4's every day for not starting.....i think its the electric power steering thats putting way too much draw on the battery causing them to fail after a short period of time.... because besides the sienna mini van the rav 4 is the only other toyota with an electric power steering system and thoes are the only vehicles that get towed in for dead batterys 95% of the time

    because if u notice when u jump a rav 4 and try to drive it the power steering will work on and off due to the lack of battery power
  • What about the Corolla? Doesn't it have electric power steering as well? Have you ever had to replace the battery in a Corolla? A Google search shows that NHTSA was looking into hundreds of complaints about the Corolla's electric power steering back in February of 2010.
  • taf35taf35 Posts: 1
    Has anyone figured out what the problem is with the Rav4 starters? I have a 2008 Rav4 and I just started having this problem as well. Everything else turns on (lights, A/C, radio, etc.) but the starter makes absolutely no noise when I try to turn the car on. After several turns of the key, it will magically start up like normal.
  • It's not the starter! It's the neutral safety switch. Next time this happens, jiggle the shift lever or shift into neutral and I'll bet it starts right up. There is a TSB from Toyota that addresses this issue--a newly designed switch is installed to fix the problem. Go to the dealer and ask them to look at TSB-0348-09. You will find it at in the 4.3 TSB forum.
  • My daughter has an 07 Toyota Rav 4 Limited. Once we had to jump it off, she lost all function of putting it in gears. So we pulled the positive post off for 15 minutes, then an hour. She was able to gain the function of reverse and drive. But no power when driving. The transmission light, VSC and Anti-skid control light are lit.

    Does anyone know what to do?
  • junebug1701junebug1701 Posts: 27
    edited January 2012
    I'll bet when you first tried to jump it off you had the cables reversed. This will blow a fuse or two. Try looking for blown fuses--there are 2 black fuse boxes under the hood. In any event, you are probably going to need a new battery.
  • My recently purchased 2011 Rav4 failed to start this morning (the battery seems discharged). I'm not 100% certain about what caused it, but I may have left the headlight switch at the position that corresponding to "side marker, parking, tail, license plate, daytime running lights and instrument panel lights turn on" (Owner's manual p165). Does anyone know whether that will keep lights on even after I shutdown engine? If yes, will that cause a new and reasonably charged battery discharge in about 14 hours to a degree that can't start the engine (the battery is not completely discharged, car radio still works, just can't start the engine)?
Sign In or Register to comment.