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Toyota RAV4 Battery and Electrical Problems



  • 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: 31
    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)?
  • junebug1701junebug1701 Posts: 31
    edited January 2012
    Your headlights should turn themselves off automatically about 30 seconds after shutting all the doors. This doesn't apply if you turned them on after the engine was shut off, or if a door is ajar. They will also turn off if you hit the lock button on the remote twice. It doesn't matter if the switch is in the headlight or parking light position. And yes, leaving the parking lights on for 14 hours will drain the battery.

    Personally, I leave my RAV4's headlights on day and night so others can see me. When I park the car and shut the door, I either hit the lock button twice or just once so I can see my path to the door. The lights always turn off.
  • crazypjcrazypj Posts: 2
    This evening my wife rang in a bit of a panic.
    Started and drove OK this morning, started and drove granddaughter to Toys R Us early evening went to pick up Chinese, got there, got food, wouldn't start.
    Tried jump start-nothing
    I'm really 'annoyed' as it's only done 18,900 miles and isn't 2 yrs old.
    Had to call a tow truck as it wouldn't keep running even after tow truck driver got it started.
    Earlier post mentioned electric power steering may be the problem?
    Would a better battery help? (more amp/hours)
    I'm hoping this is not going to be a warrant problem as she really needs the transport
    Any advice appreciated (other than sell it)
    I got laid off after accident in work and have two herniated discs :mad:
  • This is typical of the original FB battery. They usually start showing symptoms of longer cranking times when cold, then can fail at any time. What year is your RAV4? The original battery in my 2008 Limited V6 started acting up right at 2 years old and 11,000 miles. Had the dealer load test it and it failed, so they replaced it under warranty with a better battery. Buy a quality size 24F battery and it should be fine.
  • crazypjcrazypj Posts: 2
    It's 2010 just about dead on 2 yrs old.
    I'm really disappointed with Toyota, even if the replacement is under warranty, it should at least give some sort of warning.
    This was working fine (no extended cranking periods, etc)
    Just died in literally less than 10 mins (less than 2 miles from home)
  • chell7chell7 Posts: 1
    I have a 2006 Rav 4 and Sometimes it will not go into overdrive/ last gear. The warning lights come on sporadically to check engine, VSC, 4WD. What is the cause? Transmission is bad? Electrical?
  • Battery problems again! This battery is still under warranty, about a year old. After the last batch of problems, I always turn the lights off. This time I came back after a two week trip. The remote worked, the overhead light came on and nothing on start-up. Got it going with a jump start. Took the freeway home, at the first red light the electronics died. I shut off all the extra systems A/C and radio, and fortunately traffic started moving, so the car kept working until I got home. Turned it off, then tried to turn it back on to raise the window. Nothing, the panel was black. Next morning, I had dome lights and the a few panel lights.

    Dealer said the clock ran it down, or the person jumping it fired the fuse and it wouldn't charge. The replaced the battery and the fuse for free. The other repair guy said its just the heat. Sorry, but if clocks and heat killed new batteries in two weeks, there would have been a major overhaul in the systems. I like the Rav4 for size and drive-ability, but I need a car I can trust.

    I read the other posts, and gather there are ideas but nothing solid to go by. Dealers seem to rely only on the machine tests--would the electronics in the steering wheel show a problem if that is the drain?

  • When my 2007 Rav4 was exactly 3 years old it went commpletely dead when driving on the interstate. No power, no radio, no lights no anything. I did manage to pull over and AAA towed me to the nearest Toyota dealership after hours. I left the vehicle there with a message regarding the problem and went to a hotel. When I returned the next day they had it fixed but were evasive about answering WHY this would have happened and what they did to repair it. They said they thought it was the battery and replaced the battery but then it wouldnt start so they "replaced some fuses". But unable to tell me what fuses, and there was no charge on the bill for fuses, just the battery, labor and $8.55 for 'shop supplies'. Total $248.83. Now I live in fear that this will happen again. Anyone have any insight?
  • chopper_stevechopper_steve Posts: 1
    edited September 2012
    Bought an 07 RAV4 (6cyl) new. Currently on the 4th battery, including the original Toyota at 60,000 miles. Orig Toyota battery lasted 18,000 mi and 2 yrs, 1st Diehard lasted 2 yrs, 2nd Diehard 1 yr. (good warrantee on Diehards allowed for lower cost replacement). Towed to dealer this time, when I tested battery, showed 12.6V. Successful jump, but wouldn't restart. Back to a Toyota battery. Live in Texas with extreme heat. Was told that kills them, but 4 batteries in 5 years is ridiculous. Other cars can go 3-4 years on Diehards. Something is up on this car.
  • my 1999 rav4 is having some strange electrical issues. the gauge cluster has stopped working along with the turn signals i also cant use power locks or power windows and i am unable to shift my automatic transmission into drive. the head lights still work. any ideas what this could be?
  • My RAV 4 is a 2005 model. I've only had it two years, but I've had many problems with batteries dying. So, new batteries, new alternator....and it seems to all be because of one of the twelve fuses found behind the ashtray down by the steering wheel (not the main fuse box). A fuse keeps blowing, this in turn stops relaying to the alternator which stops charging the battery. Eventually the juice runs out and the car dies. mechanics have all been wrong -- hence the new batteries, alternator. A few times I've realized something's blown -- usually the heater, but other times no clue until it's too late. So, the big question is....why does it keep blowing??? Ring any bells for anyone?
  • I have a 2006 Toyota Rav 4 -- 4.2 L 4 cyl. . We often have to replace the fuses to get the accessory outlets to work... increasing the sizes of the fuses so they don't blow immediately.
    We just had to replace the alternator (how did the original get a bent shaft and make so much noise?). Everything is charging properly but the former flashing battery light is now shining all the time. Some say belts, others fuses? Any suggestions?
  • :blush: i tried to start the vehicle with no success. I can turn everything on with no sign of power issues. When i try to start the engine, all i get is a ticking sound and it even start to shake the whole car. The first time this happened i added gas, replaced the battery and nothing. left it alone for a few hour and it started. It had been running fine for about two months until is happened again, about 6 days ago. Has anyone else experience this problem and have any suggestions? Any Help?
  • Hello, I just bought a used 99 RAV4 and it just did the same thing you described. I went to start it and the battery light flickered then all electric things inside went dead. No doorlocks, no windows, no tail lights, no radio, no turn signal, no wipers, no ac/ blower, etc. The engine was running fine and Ihad headlights. I has the fuses tested and no sign of problem there. Did you have any luck finding or fixing the problem?
  • 2010 Rav4 -- I too recently experienced the same problem with my battery. It occurred at just under 61,000 km. All the Toyota dealer said was it was a defective battery and replaced it for free with a heavy duty Toyota battery. However, ever since I've been uneasy with my Toyota and now always thinking the battery may die again without notice since I've gotten no reason for the battery dying in the first place. Given this experience I'm not sure I'd want to buy another Rav4 when the dealer cannot explain why it hppened in the first place. I'm reading that many others have experienced the same issue with the battery. the first time in my life that I've experienced a car battery dying so early in its life. And what I've noticed since is that when I start the car and begin accelerating the lights dim momentarily (head lights, dashboard). The Toyota dealer cannot explain if this is normal or unusal. They're still discussing it and I'll be calling back for an up-date next week. Stay tuned.
  • Mark my words, you'll be lucky to get 3 years out of that battery. The original battery in my 2008 went bad after 24 months and was replaced under warranty with a Toyota Truestart battery. That one failed after 25 months and I replaced it with an AutoCraft Gold with 3 year free replacement from Advance Auto. I have to say that with both Toyota batteries, they just began to get weak and I had longer than normal starting times. They never died or left me stranded. But it's important to have them load tested when they first start getting weak. Both of the Toyota batteries failed a standard load test.
  • nani4gbbnani4gbb Posts: 2
    edited March 2013
    My used 99 RAV 4 had an electrical issue in January , with all the accessories going out at the same time. Putting in a new battery didn't solve the problem and the alternator tested fine. Later we found the problem, it was that one of the linked fuses was blown. These fuses are are in a small plastic compartment right next to the battery. We replaced the middle 100 amp fuse for $2.79 two months ago and it's been running fine since then. Problem solved without an expensive repair shop bill!
  • coletta7coletta7 Posts: 1
    Have a 2011 Rav4 that I got in March 2011 and In August 2012, the battery died, leaving me stranded while on vacation with my children. It was on a Saturday, late afternoon, in the middle of nowhere and I am still trying to get reimbursed by Toyota Care for getting a flat bed to drop my car at a closed dealer and to take me to an airport (more than 1 hour away) to get a rental. I had not other recourse :lemon: . I was told that the flat bed could drop my car but I and my children were on our own in a deserted place. I was very disappointed and still am.
  • Thank you friend. It is so nice to know that I can come here and get solutions to problems and save hundreds on repair bills. Your post saved me a lot of headache and a whoopin by my wife. We thought I had fried her RAV4. I was changing the thermostat and didn't unhook the battery..... DOH!

    Shorted out the cable putting the alternator back in and it popped the fuse next to the battery. A short piece of solder fixed it til we can get another fuse monday.

    I don't like the newer autos man. My 81 Ford F 150 is good, but I'm still gonna get a 79 if I can find a deal on one. Computers are great for in the house, but not in my auto. Analog all the way for me :)

    Thanks again, you're a life saver. My wife would have killed me!!!!
  • dthreedthree Posts: 1
    battery problem? Not sure but I can't start my RAV and I have tried jumping the battery. Now all the lights on the dash are on and the starter button is showing orange. So by the time I have my car towed 60 miles to the dealer in the morning, the battery will be dead. Worst of all.....37100 miles, just out of warranty. I sure hope Toyota takes care of this! I have never had a battery need replacing on any vehicle at 37,000 miles!
  • Who tried to jump start the RAV? It's quite possible they reversed the positive and negative cables which can cause all kinds of problems. Hopefully it's just a couple of blown fuses. If you have the V6, the original battery is only good for 2 years, 3 at the most.
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