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Toyota RAV4 Battery and Electrical Problems



  • 30ford30ford Posts: 10
    Thanks for the reply "tidester". That's what I keep thinking. My wife and I got on the net and found a service bulliten from Toyota. It is TSB No. AU004-07. I only refer to it to prove that Toyota (including me) has a problem. Toyota initial fix is with the AUX cable. I'm not sure that's right. The big point is that Toyota will not tell you about the TSB unless you call their attention to it. Makes me nuts. The Service Rep. at the dealer wanted to charge me for trouble shooting time and to say the least, we didn't end up liking one another (HA). Anyway, the RAV4 is at the dealer and they can scratch their heads for a while. I'm giving them until Friday afternoon and then I need it back for a few days. The slots in Biloxi are calling me.

    Thanks angain for your very fast reply.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Do let us know what you find out!

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • lizzie06lizzie06 Posts: 6
    Hello all. I am new to this forum, but so glad I found it, since I am learning from all of your posts. I bought my 2005 RAV4 brand new from Carmax, it was less costly as to opposed to buying at the local dealership in my area. It only has 37,000 miles on it and had not had a problem until recently. My car continues to leave me stranded! This has occurred 3x in May! Twice I was driving and it shut down on I-95, very scary, I am lucky I was not killed or someone else. The 3rd time, I was parked at a grocery store in my town, and when I returned to my car, it would not start! I left my car there, very angry, and walked the 3 miles homes carrying my purse & groceries. Once again,I called the Toyota dealership, same one where I had my car towed twice from I-95 (very expensive) and it was towed once again on May 31st. I am currently 'car less' and hoping to get a loaner. I am a visiting nurse and this is getting very frustrating re-scheduling my visits due to car issues, very scared I am going to break down again on I-95 and/or break down or not have my vehicle start in a bad part of the city where I have to visit some of my patients.
    The first time the mechanics told me it was a computer glitch and I had a bunch of codes that did not make sense when they ran the diagnostic checks nor did it cut out on them when they test drove it. The 2nd time my car was towed, I told them that my passenger side floor was wet & smelled like mildew...could it had been the rain (we had about a weeks worth of rain), could my ECU be shorting out? They said my the hoses in my sunroof that runs down to the ECU were clogged, so they dried everything thoroughly, ran some more diagnostic test & test drove again, drove fine for them. Now, my car is at the dealership again and they believe that it is possible that the harnesses or hoses (sorry, not a mechanic) were not sealed properly while at the factory and this is causing the water leakage...since once again my passenger floor is wet and smells bad! They said, they are unable to figure this out, so they will have to consult with the 'Water Man'?? I said, who is the 'Water Man', they said it was someone they use who is an expert in water leaks. My warranty of course expired with the 3 years, I do however have the 6 year power train warranty....but none of the above is covered. I have always had Toyota's and never had a I am wishing I never bought this and I have one more year of payments and this car would have been paid off. I am broke, struggling in this economy as most of us are, just to pay all my bills and my Visa is just about maxed out. I have called the main Toyota office, but they have never heard of this problem with the car not starting or shutting down?!! I feel duped and just scared that once I get my car back will quit on me again. Any help appreciated. Thanks so much!
  • 30ford30ford Posts: 10
    Man, I'm sorry you're having such problems and that you're in such a perdicament. I've not had any mechanical problems with my RAV4 (crossed fingers). The Auxillary Input business for my Sirius radio probably would have remained undiscovered if I had not tried installing the Sirius. It sounds like you have a lemon, but sice you bought it from CarMax, I doubt you'll be able to do anything with a lemon law (if you have that in your state). Your only hope is to get some financing and get a different car. Good luck.

    By the way - thanks for the heads up on your problems. I'm going to be watching mine and if it starts some funny business, it's gone.
  • rkljajicrkljajic Posts: 7
    Sorry to hear about your ongoing nightmare! I, too, had all this happen between 18 months and 36 months of ownership. And I purchased the Sequoia new! It turned out to be the cars electric harness; the dealer who finally found the problem said they were surprised it had ever run at all. I had the same things happening: driving 70 miles per hour and the engine would die! So dangerous.

    Toyota Corporate didn't care, has never apologized for my many life threatening situations and because the problem was found after 36,000 miles I missed the lemon law rules in my state. From what I understand, also not being a mechanic or electrician, is that the electric harness runs the computer system for the vehicle. It was not the battery, the cold, the alternator, etc. Once the electric harness system was replaced, never another problem!

    If you could find a lawyer who wanted to get involved, I'd love to be part of a suit. Irritating is one thing but life threatening vehicles that shut down on superhighways! I'll never buy another Toyota again; vehicles have problems but the service and Toyota Corporate were so bad I'll never subject my family and friends to such potential dangers in the future!

  • lizzie06lizzie06 Posts: 6
    Hi Beth. Sounds like we both have experienced the same life threatening problems with our Toyotas! I also bought my vehicle brand new, I figured with a brand new would not have someone elses' problems...humph, not so in this case! I have the same lemon law in my state that you mentioned, since my car was at 37K when it started having the problems I mentioned.

    When they found it was the electric harness, did they ofter to pay for it or did you have the extended warranty?

    The service rep from my local dealership called yesterday evening leaving a voice mail on my home phone which said...."we have it narrowed down to either 2 harnesses or the ECU that could be causing the problem, still the car will not start and not sure if your extended warranty will cover this or not...but will let you know in a day or so". Humph!

    When I purchased my car brand new in 2005, I did purchased the Platinum Extended Warranty. I went in my filing cabinet & found all the paperwork. It states I paid $849 extra for the Platinumm Extended Warranty and it is a folder that has what it covers and the crap that it does not cover. It even says they will pay for towing and loaner cars...where this dealership told me since it was not power train related, they would not pay?!? Well, I think they are incorrect and I am going to go to battle with them.

    Oh yeah, since May my car has a mildew smell where apparently I had water leakage on the passenger floor and I wonder if they will be able to get that smell out?? I kept telling them after the 2nd time it broke down....there is water on my passenger side floor & it smells...would this be making my car shut down??

  • lizzie06lizzie06 Posts: 6
    The lemon law is already passed the mileage, doesn't matter whether I purchased it brand new at Carmax or not. I also purchased the Platinum Extended I am hoping the current repairs are covered; the previous ones were not. Definitely monitor your car if your passenger floor becomes wet & smells like mildew, car loses power & shuts down while driving or if if will not start. Very dangerous! Take care.
  • rkljajicrkljajic Posts: 7
    When they found it was the electric harness, did they ofter to pay for it or did you have the extended warranty?





  • lizzie06lizzie06 Posts: 6
    Glad to hear they paid for it. I am hoping it will turn out the same for me, but I am at 37K, yet I did purchase the Platinum Warranty that covers for 6 yrs/ 60 or 75 K (don't have my folder in front of me). As you one apologizes...I don't think they can EVEN IMAGINE what it is like shutting down on I-95 and praying you don't get hit by other cars going at 70 mph or more! Not to mention finding friends to take you to the dealers, getting a car to borrow, taking you to the grocery store, being stranded until someone tows you, paying for towing and missing work too!!

    Do you know of any attorneys? I don't know any who would take a case like this. I am just ticked that I am going to end up with a stinky smelly mildew car when it is all over. They could not get the smell out the first time, and it is still in the shop now...who knows! I am just scared to drive it again...because how will I know it is actually fixed...they told me 2x it was fixed before..yeah right!
  • 30ford30ford Posts: 10
    Well, after all is said and done, the information contained in Toyota Techincal Service Bulletin #T-SB-0067-08 appears to be right on. The dealership ordered the parts per the bulletin, installed them (in about 15 mins. after gettting them) and the problem (a nasty whine in the sound system) disappeared. I still don't understand why the problem would stop when I put it on a different poser source. Oh well, it's good to be retired. On to the next project.
  • 30ford30ford Posts: 10
    I read a blod that a man wrote and he was having a problem with his engine dying for no reason. He had many battles with the dealer with no resolution. Finally, he and a friend pulled the gas tank and dumped a gallon or so of remaining gas and a tag (written in Japanese) out of the tank. They reinstalled the tank and he has not had a problem since.

    Along this line, I can remember driving a Chevy pickup that would almost die. Finally, the same thing was done - tank pulled. It was found that a piece of the galvonize inside the tank was apparently blocking the fuel line and causing the engine to slow down ar die.

    I don't know if these are you problem, but thought I'd let you know.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    I wonder whether there is anything like a laparoscope that would you see what's inside the tank and possibly remove it without pulling the gas tank. Has anyone ever heard of that?

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Yeah, I entered a contest to try to win one of these last year:

    Ridgid® SeeSnake® Micro™ Inspection Camera

    Says it's waterproof so it should be fine for the gas tank, assuming you could work it down there past the baffles.
  • 30ford30ford Posts: 10
    I just took a look and there is a Milwaukee Digital Inspection Camera out there a lot cheaper than the Ridgid. You can also get a 3 foot extension for it. Camera for aroune 98 and extension for around 48.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    That gets you halfway there. Now if you find something, it would be nice if you could pluck it out without dismantling the gas tank.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • 30ford30ford Posts: 10
    I wonder if you could get a set of mechanical fingers long enough to reach into the tank? I got a short set that's about 2 ft. long, but that won't do it. Might check some tool distributors and Ebay. As I remember it, mine were pretty cheap.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    All the Ridgid has is a hook and a magnet you can put on the end. It may take a while to grab a tag with just that.
  • 30ford30ford Posts: 10
    The mechanical fingers are like a spring with a plunger. Push on the plunger and out the end comes 3 or 4 fingers. When you release the fingers - once you have them position at the item yu want to pick up - the fingers close around the item and you can retract the entire tool. I'm not sure how you would position them, but they are flexible.
  • hellerfanhellerfan Posts: 1
    My Toyota has refused to start mulitple times causing me to tow it to the dealership. The first couple of times, it seemed related to the alarm. They replaced the battery, saying that battery problems could cause the alarm to sound. After that, it wouldn't start again, and they started looking for electrical problems or anything that could drain the battery. They found nothing. The next time, I was at a gas station when the car refused to start. I towed it in, but it started at the dealership, so I took it home. Next, the "maint reqd" light came on, even though my oil change was only one month old. Also, the car was sluggish on accelaration. The dealership said the oil was fine, but the computer needed re-setting. They re-set the computer, but the maint reqd light has never gone off. Also, my brakes squeal a lot, and they keep telling me that they just need a little cleaning. They do that, and after about one day, they start squealing again. I thought that I had the only Toyota lemon ever. Now, I see that there is a systemic problem. I think Toyota needs a recall.
  • 30ford30ford Posts: 10
    In theory a recall would probably make sense. However, I had a problem with my RAV4 and when "I" figured it out and took it in, I found out they knew of the problem but would not do a recall. They just handled the problem on a per customer basis. Meaning - if a customer didn't complain, they would bother with it.
    You might want to Google your problem and see if others out there have have a similar problem and what they did to get it corrected. That's how I got pointed in the right direction.
  • I thought I was being smart when I bought a used 2006 RAV4 Limited because it was a "Toyota". Now I'm wondering if it's a keeper or if I should sell it FAST. I only got to drive it three days and it left me stranded at the gas station. For no apparent reason, it just wouldn't start. My husband tried to jump start it and the jumper cables started smoking. We ran to the store and bought a new battery and installed it. This let the car start, but then all the check engine lights came on and there was no acceleration. I had it towed to my mechanic and now I'm waiting to see what's next and how much it's going to cost. My 2006 RAV4 has 37k miles so it's not under warranty anymore. After reading this forum, I'm afraid I will have problems with my RAV forever. Has anyone worked through their problems and now they love their RAV? I'm thinking I should sell it before I get stranded again. Help!
  • tautostautos Posts: 1
    Never had any problems with my Toyota. Toyotas have few if any issues and most problems are caused by their owners (where they park it, leaves (environment-dirt clogging), abuse,etc.). Their nearly perfect cars. Perhaps its the gas you use.
  • 30ford30ford Posts: 10
    You're one of the lucky ones. I got mine new off the lot and when I put my Sirius radio in, they played dumb until I forced the issue. After they got the parts in, it only took them 15 minutes to get it squared away. I guess they have to try putting the buyers off (saves money??).
  • nazlymnazlym Posts: 1
    I am not sure if buying a new car and thinking you can rely on it is applicable to a RAV anymore for me. Bought mine in June 2008 (new) ...and having pretty bad luck. The biggest problem now - the car wont start occasionally. Apparantely, as of this June (09) the 2 rubber bands on the shift stick are preventign the car from starting bc the shift stick is not all the way in (2mm) and the car thinks it is in gear and wont start.
    I have always had a rubber band or two on my shift stick but now it is a problem. The dealership of course only figured this out on the 2nd try after the tow truck suggested it. Before that, the dealership kept testing the battery and telling me it's fine (which is what i told them when I brought it in the 1st time).

    Other problem - low set idle point which send extra vibrations throught out the car and the dealership says they cannot do anything about the signals the computer sends to the idle point system (or whatever it is called).

    I also had water leaking (pretty heavily) on my right foot while driving...aparently some tube got plugged up.......

    I also had the horn go off wildely. The dealership put me through hell with fixing it and now 8 months later it is finally fixed.

    SO, between the problems with the car and pain & difficulties from the dealership - I HAVE HAD IT and will be taking it further to Toyota, BBB, Consumer report!!!!!!!

    1 piece of advice to the others who seem to have problems with RAVs > buy a honda :)

  • pem524pem524 Posts: 1
    I was wondering what your problem was and how did you get it fixed? My Rav4 is a 2009 and I had it since April 2008, but all of a sudden it hasn't been starting. Same story as everyone else.
  • I have a 2009 RAV4.... and I ALSO HAVE the same problem. Once a week or sometimes once in two weeks, the car just will NOT START. I bought this car new. I am also an ASE Certified Master Auto Mechanic, 59 years old and know my cars. This car is a Lemon, no joke. I had the same problem with a brand new 2006 Toyota Avalon bought at Toyota of Puyallup. ---- The service department cannot find the problem of course, BECAUSE IT ONLY HAPPENS once in a week or two and they are unwilling to hold a car that long for diagnosis issues. I traded my other Toyota in because of this same issue, but did not think it would happen again. It did, and they are telling me that no one else has complained about this problem. --- Now I also own a web design company and I will most certainly create a website to collect such data and a Media Campaign to go along with it. Toyota does not care, it is most obvious. Will they care when enough people do not buy new Toyota cars???

    Shame on Toyota for their poor service.
    Don / Tacoma WA Realtor
  • My 2009 RAV4 will NOT START once a week or sometimes in a two week period,, it can happen anywhere and the dealer cannot find out what the problem is. I have taked it to two Toyota dealers, one Titus-Will Toyota in Tacoma and the other to Toyota of Puyallup WA.... they act like I am a liar because they cannot find a trouble code. This also happend with my 2006 Toyota Avalon and I traded it in.... maybe is a conspiracy to get people to trade in their cars?

    Don Leske in Tacoma WA
    Realtor / ASE Certifice Master Mechanic
  • Since Steve's Hometown Motors Toyota Dealership in Ontario, Oregon both identified and replaced my Electric Harness as the problem, I've been living relatively safely and Sequoia problem-free. But after the life threatening conditions created by this problem for eighteen months, Toyota's unwillingness to address it or even admit there was anything wrong and my ability to have other transportation vehicles, luckily no one died.

    I tried everything I could to get someone's attention at Toyota America. No luck. I would never, ever purchase another Toyota based solely on the service issue. Aren't there any attorneys out there who want to pursue this??

  • Don - I feel your pain and you of all people who knows cars and is an ASE Certified auto mechanic!! I will tell you since my car has shut down 3x on I-95, completed died on me while travelling at a rate of 65-70 is scary!! I swear I almost had a heart attack and was very fortunate no one plowed into me & was killed. My 2005 Rav4 was also purchased brand new. I have always had toyota's and always purchase a new one when it is time. My last Toyota was a Camry and it lasted 13 years, no problems with it until the 13th year I had it. None the less my current 2005 Rav4 only has 40k, since I work from home, I may only incur about 10K per year on it. After the Toyota dealer had my car several times, they tried to re-create the same 'shut down' incident with their diagnostic testing. After the 3rd time this happened to me & my car was once again towed to the dealer, they decided to remove the ECU and replaced it with another one. Since my passenger side floor was always damp, smelled of mildew, they figured the sealing/hosing in my sunroom was causing the leak and travelling to the ECU which is located underneath my glove box. Since they replaced it, I have not had any more problems. However, two days ago we got a bad rain and now my the floor behind the driver's seat is wet, my driver's side seat belt is wet & once again, the ceiling around the sun-roof is wet!!! So, now I am praying that it did not travel down to the ECU again....for my fear is, my car will once again shut down on my while I driving. I purchased and paid EXTRA for the 6 year/60K silver warranty, the deluxe one. I had to ARGUE/PLEAD that the ECU should be covered, finally they agreed, but I had to pay for the diagnosis testings, hoses for the sun roof & for someone to check for leaks. That person who was hired via Toyota found a few areas that in car chassis that he stated that during assembly someone did not coat it thorughly, so maybe that is why it leaks?!! Anyways, since the new leak in my car, my two front doors quit locking. I now have to manually lock the front doors. I tried purchasing another key button, but it only locks/unlocks my back doors. So, when I get the chance or time, I need to take my car back to the dealership again to fix the leak & my door locks...not sure if the leaks caused the doors to stopping locking electronically. My 2005 Rav4 will be paid off in March 2010.....and I was hoping not to have any payments due to this poor economy, I am strapped. But, it looks like I should sell it and get something else other than a Toyota, but I honestly cannot afford any more payments. Best of luck to you!!
  • I have the keyless 2009 V6 Limited with the push button starter switch.
    When I have my foot on the brake pedal and push the starter switch I hear a 1-2 second unusual almost grinding sound before the car starts up. This does not happen everytime but more than 50% of the time. The car starts ok every time.
    Now a new issue has come up that frightens me. In the past when i pressed the start button 2 times to activate the accessory mode without my foot on the brake as recommended by the manual I heard the same sound for a second or so as though some signal was sent to starter and maybe because brake pedal was not activated some relay stopped it from engaging. So out of fear I stopped doing that.

    Today I left a window open and used the acc mode once and now ,even when running the engine , when I turn engine off and open drivers side door the same sound happens without touching the start buttton! Any ideas. As I am in Greece I have no warranty and am really afraid of any electrical problems.

    Does anyone else hear any sound with the keyless start button before the engine actually kicks over, and has anyone experienced the door opening causing any starter related sounds
    Please help
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