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Toyota RAV4 common problems (2013-2018)

Toyota RAV4

One of the best ways to reduce your motoring costs is to buy a reliable car in the first place, so owners of the Toyota RAV4 are already off to a flying start.

However, it’s not perfect, and despite Toyota’s best efforts it still suffers the odd glitch here and there.

However, Haynes is here to help you get on top of any issues your RAV4 may be suffering, by explain what the problem is likely to be, and how to repair it without having to go to the expense of taking to a workshop.

That’s why Haynes is such a great money-saver, because you buy it once but it helps you every single time you need to do something to your car. That’s got to be a bargain.

Toyota RAV4

What recalls has the Toyota RAV4 been subject to?

Toyota deservedly has a reputation for building cars that you can depend upon, but that’s not to say they’re perfect. Indeed, the RAV4 has been recalled a few times.

On one occasion, the RAV4 was recalled because of a potential loss of power assistance for the steering, which could make the steering suddenly very heavy.

Then a number of cars that had had accessories fitted by Southeastern Toyota dealers were found to have fastenings that had not been tightened to the correct torque.

The same dealership group identified an issue with an accessory trailer light module. The software within the module could mistakenly detect an electrical short and switch off the trailer lights.

In addition, a number of examples were recalled because of a damaged O-ring in the brake actuator.


Toyota RAV4

What common problems does the Toyota RAV4 have?

A grinding noise is guaranteed to make you wonder what lies in store in your motoring life, but that’s what some RAV4 models have suffered. It was caused by rust build-up on rear brake rotors.

However, the front rotors have been the cause of a separate issue – a squeak. This is caused by faulty rotors and pads.

Front seats in some RAV4 models can cease to move back and forward on the seat rails, when required.

Also, it is not unknown for some corrosion to appear around the hinges for the RAV4 tailgate.

And finally, some engine and transmission components on the RAV4 can occasionally leak oil.

Toyota RAV4

Does the Toyota RAV4 have grinding problems?

Well, yes… and no. The problem lies in the fact that corrosion can build on rear brake rotors overnight in a damp environment. This is not unusual in any vehicle, and is certainly not unique to the RAV4.

The way to get rid of the issue is not to replace the brakes, because that’ll happen with pretty much any brake set-up. Instead, sound-deadening materials and the floor mats must be replaced instead.

However, removing the relevant panels in the boot to get at the foam material is simple, and we’ve already done it for you. Just follow the procedure in the Haynes RAV4 manual and you’ll be as good as gold. So, the grinding noise may well still be there, because it’s nothing out of the ordinary – but you won’t be able to hear it.

Toyota RAV4

Does the Toyota RAV4 have squeaking problems?

The front brakes on the Toyota RAV4 have been known to emit a high-pitched squeaking, or squealing noise under light to moderate braking forces.

Toyota has developed a modified set of components that should do away with the problem. They include a new pads-and-rotors kit (04465-0R031), a new anti-squeal shim kit (04945-0R030), and a fitting kit (04947-0R010).

After that, it’s simply a case of removing the old squeaky parts and replacing them with the shiny new and quiet parts, which is fully covered in the braking system chapter of your Haynes RAV4 manual.

If you want to see how to change your RAV4's front brake pads, just watch our FREE video below.

Does the Toyota RAV4 have seat problems?

Some owners have reported that the front seats in their RAV4s can fail to move despite the movement handle being pulled.

The problem is that the seat track adjusting handle becomes disengaged from the locking levers, so needs to be replaced.

To do this, you’ll need to remove the seat from the vehicle, which actually quite a straightforward task, although you’ll need to take care because the seat itself will be very heavy.

Then it’s a case of following Toyota’s simple instructions on how to remove and replace the handle, before refitting the seat into the vehicle.


Toyota RAV4

Does the Toyota RAV4 have corrosion problems?

Unfortunately, on some RAV4 examples, the bodywork around the tailgate hinges can become corroded. This means that you’ll need to remove the tailgate before attending to the corrosion.

Once you’ve removed the tailgate, you can sort out the bodywork, then it’s best to replace the hinges altogether before refitting the tailgate to the vehicle.

This may sound like major work, but in reality, removing the tailgate is a straightforward job. Just make sure you have someone to help you because it will be very heavy.

Removal of the tailgate is covered by your Haynes RAV4 manual, so take a deep breath and go for it!

Toyota RAV4

Does the Toyota RAV4 have oil leak problems?

Some of the components under the hood of the Toyota RAV4 have been known to seep oil on occasion. There have been reports of oil leaks from around the engine oil pressure sensor, the timing cover and the oil pan. The differential has also been the source of the odd leak.

However, no matter where the leak appears, Haynes has you covered, because we’ve stripped down and rebuilt the RAV4, and can explain exactly how to dismantle the affected area, repair it, and reassemble. Just look at the step-by-step guides in your Haynes RAV4 manual and you’ll be fine.