2019 Toyota RAV4 Top Complaints and Problems – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Fuel system, electrical, engine and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

When a family requires a new crossover SUV, it is only natural for them to consider the 2019 Toyota RAV4. For many years this model has been one of the top choices in the Toyota lineup. This newer model claims to be “Engineered for Versatility,” making it even more appealing. Yet, it appears that the engineers were on a lunch break while creating the fuel system, powertrain, engine and electrical system because they are extremely defective.

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Fuel Propulsion

The fuel propulsion system produces the thrust needed to push the vehicle forward. When this system fails to work correctly, drivers experience a myriad of problems. With this RAV4, it doesn’t take long to find a long list of owner complaints.

Here is one posted to Edmunds. “Purchased 2019 RAV 4 on Feb 9th with 10miles on it.Last client to leave the dealership that evening. Drove home, car stood parked all day February 10th. Turned the car on February 10th with engine light on. Took back to dealership, and told the whole fuel tank had to be replaced. A week after servicing, car came to a complete stop, and shut off in the middle of the highway. Had to get towed back to dealership. Was told the fuel gauge was not accurately showing gas amount, and the car ran out of gas. Fixed again…. currently driving waiting for another problem to occur. DO NOT PURCHASE 2019 RAV 4. All stories about engine and problems are true. When contacted Toyota HQ they don’t care about customer service. They refer you to the state lemon law policy. And send you off wishing u luck. Thank god it’s a lease, and the crappy car will go back to them in 3 years. They lost my business along with everyone who hears my story.”

With almost 50 manufacturer communications available, there’s nothing listed regarding the fuel system. Just as the service department told this customer, all the company will do is wish the owner luck. They aren’t willing to look at the problem or begin making corrections. This is one area they aren’t looking to show off their engineering skills. Instead, customers are simply referred back to the lemon law policy.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Fuel System Problems:

THE 2019 RAV4 HV GAS TANK DRY FILL CAPACITY IS 14.5 GAL US. REFUELING ALWAYS AUTOMATICALLY STOPS PREMATURELY AT FUEL GAUGE 3/4 FULL, WHICH CORRESPONDS TO SEVERAL GALLONS DISPENSED LESS THAN A PROPERLY FULL TANK. THE GAS GAUGE IS ACCURATE. THIS HAS OCCURRED WITH EVERY REFUELING SINCE THE FIRST FUELING WHEN THE CAR WAS NEW. THE PROBLEM REDUCES THE EFFECTIVE RANGE ON ONE TANK OF NORMALLY DISPENSED GAS BY AROUND 100 MILES OR MORE. RANGE IS A BIG SELLING POINT OF THE HYBRID MODEL! FURTHERMORE, FILLING VERY VERY SLOWLY TO COAX THE TANK TO ACCEPT A PROPERLY FULL FILL CAN CAUSE NO AUTOMATIC SHUTOFF OF THE GAS PUMP TO OCCUR, WHICH CAN RESULT IN EXCESSIVE FUMES OR OVERFILLING. THIS IS UNSAFE. THE PROBLEM HAS BEEN REPORTED TO TOYOTA USA BY ME AND BY THE DEALER. THE DEALER HAS A TECHNICAL CASE NUMBER AND I HAVE A TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE CASE NUMBER. TOYOTA’S RESPONSE FOR THE LAST 5 MONTHS HAS BEEN THAT THERE IS NO FIX AVAILABLE. THE CAR IS STILL ELIGIBLE FOR REFUND OR REPLACEMENT UNDER THE LEMON LAW PROVISIONS (<15K DRIVEN OR 1 YEAR). THE PROBLEM HAS BEEN REPORTED BY OTHERS:

MULTIPLE FUEL SPILLS HAPPENED WHILE THE 2019 RAV4 HYBRID WAS STATIONARY, BEING REFUELED. THE MANUAL PROVIDED STATES THAT THE LOW FUEL LIGHT ILLUMINATES WHEN THERE IS 2.2 GALLONS OR LESS FUEL IN THE TANK, AND IT STATES THE FUEL CAPACITY IS 14.5 GALLONS. WHEN FUELING AFTER THE LOW FUEL LIGHT ILLUMINATES, AND THE FUEL GAUGE INDICATES “E”; THE TANK OVERFILLS WITH APPROXIMATELY 9.3 GALLONS, OR 3 GALLONS SHORT OF WHAT WAS EXPECTED. THIS RESULTS IN HAZARDOUS FUEL SPILLS WHEN THE ATTENDANT ATTEMPTS TO FILL THE TANK. ALSO, THE VEHICLES RANGE IS LESS THAN EXPECTED WHICH CAN RESULT IN DIVERSIONS AND/OR A STRANDED DRIVER.

UNABLE TO FILL TANK TO CAPACITY. TANK HOLDS 14.5 GALLONS BUT I CAN ONLY GET AT MOST 10 GALLONS IN WHEN RANGE OF LESS THAN 40 MILES AND GAUGE READS LESS THAN A QUARTER OF A TANK. AT 40 MILES TO THE GALLON, THERE SHOULD BE ROOM FOR 13.5 GALLONS. RANGE ONLY INCREASES TO NOT MORE THAN 475 MILES WHEN “FULL” WHEN I SHOULD GET 550 AS ADVERTISED. I BOUGHT THE CAR IN AUGUST AND HAVE HAD THE SAME EXPERIENCE AT THE GAS STATION WITH 4 FILL UPS. LOOKS LIKE MANY 2019 HYBRID RAV4 OWNERS ARE HAVING THE SAME PROBLEM. I COMPLAINED TO THE DEALER WHO CLAIMED TO NEVER HAVE HEARD OF THIS.

Powertrain

Along with the fuel system, the powertrain is also responsible for propelling the vehicle forward. The main component of this system is the transmission, which also appears to be giving owners trouble.

Just look at this Edmunds review, “I have a 2019 RAV4 with only 2000 miles and when I accelerate the transmission slips. I almost got into an accident because I went to pass someone and the damn car didn’t move!! When accelerating from a standstill the transmission bucks and makes noise when in traffic. The engine is also load. Very disappointed in the performance of the vehicle.”

In Service Bulletin #T-SB-0065-19, Toyota discusses an abnormal groaning and buzzing sound when traveling between 20 to 30 mph. It appears to mainly occur on Limited and Adventure trim levels with the AWD system. In this bulletin, the technicians are instructed to replace the transfer case electromagnetic clutch. It sounds like the engineers were so busy creating such a versatile system that they neglected to put in a decent powertrain.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 Toyota RAV4 Transmission Problems:

19 RAV4 XLE AWD TRANSMISSION ISSUE AND POWER TRAIN. MY VEHICLE HAS DRIVEN UNDER 5K MILES AND I NOTICED TWO MAJOR PROBLEMS. FIRST, RPM MOVES UP AND DOWN WHEN I SLOW DOWN THE VEHICLE. I DON’T SEE RPM SHIFTS WHEN I REDUCE THE SPEED IN RANGE OF 10MPH BUT I SEE RPM MOVES UP AND DOWN WHEN THE REDUCTION BECOMES GREATER LIKE 15 AND 20 MPH. FURTHERMORE, THERE IS A HESITATION AND LURCHES. ONCE THE VEHICLE’S SPEED IS REDUCED UPTO EITHER 4 MPH OR 5 MPH AND TRY TO SPEED UP, I CAN TELL IT HESITATES AND LURCHES. AS A RESULT, I WITNESSED RPM JUMPS HIGH ALL OF SUDDEN

AFTER DRIVING FOR ABOUT 15-20 MINUTES CAR MAKES GRINDING NOISE WHEN ACCELERATING PAST 2-30 MPH AND ANOTHER GRINDING NOISE WHILE DECELERATING BELOW 20-30MPH. WAS TOLD THAT REAR DRIVELINE DISCONNECT FEATURE IS CAUSING THE ISSUE. STARTED HAPPENING AROUND 3000MILES ODO AND BEEN GETTING LOUDER

GRINDING NOISE FROM TRANSFER CASE WHEN ACCELERATING OR DECELERATING AROUND 20-40 MPH. VEHICLES HAS A DRIVELINE LINE DISCONNECT ASSEMBLY THAT SEEMS TO GRIND DUE TO IMPROPER CLEARANCES. WE ARE NOT SURE HOW LONG THIS DEFECTIVE DRIVELINE DISCONNECT WILL HOLD UP.

CONDITION 1 : HEAVY THUMPING IN REAR DRIVELINE WHEN COMING TO A NEAR STOP, IN TRAFFIC OR PARKING CAUSING VEHICLE LURCH FORWARD, AS IF HIT FROM BEHIND FROM BEHIND? SUCH CAN BE HEARD AND FELT BY OCCUPANTS IN VEHICLE. CONDITION 2: WHEN COMING TO A NEAR STOP WHEN ACCELERATING BACK AGAIN VEHICLE DELAYS DOWN SHIFT CAUSING MOMENTARY HESITATION BEFORE RESPONDING DO TO LAPSE IN TRANSMISSION GEARING TO FIND PROPER GEAR RESPONSE WHICH LEAVES A SECOND OR TOO HESITATION UPON RE-ACCELERATION IN TRAFFIC CONDITION. CONDITION 1: ABOVE IS DUE TO UN-COUPLING AND COUPLING OR READ DRIVELINE WHEELS TO MAINLY MILEAGE RATING. WHICH CREATES A FEELING OF HEAVY WEAR AND TEAR TO PLACED UPON DRIVELING COMPONENTS. VEHICLES IN QUESTION GAS POWERED MODELS ONLY FOR FURTHER INFORMATION LOOK UPON TOYOTA DRIVERS FORUM AND EDMONTON’S CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS. CONDITION ON GOING, CONTACTED BOTH DEALER AND TOYOTA DIRECT, DEALER HAD NO IDEA WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT NOR DID TOYOTA, THIS CONDITION IS NOT ISOLATED TO MY CAR, THERE ARE MANY OF SAME ON SITES MENTIONED WITH SAME ISSUES

Engine

What’s the most critical aspect of any vehicle? Generally, it’s the engine. That’s because this valuable component acts like the heart of the car. Without a properly running motor, nothing else is going to operate correctly.

Again, we step back to Edmunds to see what customers have to say about the RAV4’s engine. It shouldn’t surprise anyone to see a long list of complaints, including this one. “Lease to buy the brand new 2019 Rav4 and all was good until the 4th day after purchase. I leave for work at 7am and when turning on my car – it wouldnt start. A message on the dash saying “Engine Stopped – Shift To P”. My car was still in park so I have no idea what else to do. After an hour of trying it finally starts. A week later it happened again and I was able to start the car after 90minutes. The next day, 12th day of having the car it happens again, finally call a tow guy to jump start my car and I finally decided to bring in the car. Thinking this would only take a few days…. boy was I wrong. As of right now,  Thursday February 28th the dealership services still have my car 3weeks and won’t be ready for another week which will be a total of 4 weeks.”

While this specific problem isn’t addressed, there are plenty of other engine concerns discussed in the service bulletins. #T-SB-0107-19 talks about how some engines produce a slow roll or rolling stop in certain circumstances. To repair this, the ECM needs to be calibrated by the dealership. Even then, the bulletin only states that this will “reduce the potential.” It doesn’t even guarantee a complete repair. Apparently, the engineers aren’t striving for perfection – just close enough works for them.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 Toyota RAV4 Engine Problems:

VEHICLE WILL NOT ACCELERATE WHEN PUSHING DOWN ON THE GAS PEDAL. THIS CAN OCCUR WHEN LEAVING A PARKING PLACE OR FROM A TRAFFIC LIGHT. THE ENGINE DOES NOT STOP RUNNING. IT HAS ONLY HAPPENED THREE TIMES, BUT COULD CAUSE AN ACCIDENT.THE TOYOTA DEALER COULD NOT DUPLICATE THIS AT THE 5000 MILE INSPECTION AND THERE ARE NO CODES SET NOR DOES IT SET A CHECK ENGINE LIGHT WHEN IT HAPPENS.

Electrical

When it comes to the electrical systems, today’s high-tech features help everything run smoothly. Between the advanced safety technology and the many amenities located in today’s vehicles, owners should have everything they need for an enjoyable ride. Sadly, that’s not the case with the 2019 Toyota RAV4.

One Edmunds review says this, “The electronic safety features are intrusive.  When I rented it I thought it was strange they were disabled.  I turned them on then realized why they were turned off.  The lane keep assist is fighting with you all the time.  So I turned those safety features off.  The apple car play also took 30 seconds to recognize my iPhone XR.  Tried my wife’s iPhone, same thing.  So you have to sit and wait for the system to recognize your iphone before you can start using your maps, etc.”

There are more service bulletins regarding issues with the electrical system in the RAV4 than any other component. Aside from that, there is also a recall related to the backup camera. In NHTSA Campaign Number19V576000, owners are told that the backup camera doesn’t activate because of a damaged electrical connector. This leads to an increased risk of a crash. Toyota is willing to replace the backup camera and audio display unit to fix the problem. To be able to claim that this vehicle is Engineered for Versatility, one would assume that all of the major systems were functioning as expected, but that’s simply not the case. Who were these engineers, because it’s likely that monkeys could have done a better job?

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 Toyota RAV4 Electrical Problems:

TL* THE CONTACT OWNS A 2019 TOYOTA RAV4. THE CONTACT STATED THAT THE KEY WAS UNABLE TO BE REMOVED FROM THE IGNITION WITHOUT WARNING. TOYOTA VACAVILLE WAS INFORMED THAT THE VEHICLE HAD TO BE EXITED WITH THE KEY STILL IN THE IGNITION, WHICH WAS A SAFETY RISK TO THE CONTACT WHEN THE VEHICLE NEEDED TO BE SECURED AND SHUT OFF. THE VEHICLE WAS TURNED OFF AND RESTARTED, BUT THE KEY STILL WOULD NOT EJECT. THE VEHICLE WAS NOT DIAGNOSED OR REPAIRED. THE DEALER WAS NOT CONTACTED. THE MANUFACTURER WAS NOTIFIED OF THE FAILURE. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS NOT AVAILABLE.

THE BACK-UP CAMERA QUIT WORKING WITHIN A MONTH OF PURCHASE (578 MILES). ANYTIME YOU PUT THE VEHICLE IN REVERSE THE CAMERA DOES NOT WORK MAKING IT UNSAFE TO BACK IN MANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

I BOUGHT A BRAND NEW 2019 RAV4 LIMITED WITH 150 MILES ON THE ODOMETER, NOW HAS ABOUT 460 MILES. A FEW DAYS INTO THE PURCHASE, I NOTICED YELLOW TICK MARKED GLITCHES SHOWING UP ON MY DRIVERS CENTER MAIN CONSOLE. THIS MAIN CONSOLE DISPLAYS MY MPH, SPEED LIMIT, LTA, AND MORE. I THOUGHT NOTHING OF IT AS IT WENT AWAY FOR A FEW MINUTES WHEN I TURNED ON/OFF MY CAR, BUT IT WOULD SHOW UP AGAIN. AFTER THESE YELLOW TICK MARKS STARTED SHOWING, MY WHOLE MAIN CENTER SCREEN WILL GO BLACK WITH ONLY THE REAR SEAT BELT RED LIGHT, PARK, AND BSM LIGHTS FLASHING. IN ADDITION, MY ANALOG RPM, GAS GAUGE, AND TEMP GAUGE WERE ALL DOWN. I WAS DRIVING BLIND FOR A WHILE, UNTIL I HAD TO PULL OVER ON THE HIGHWAY/STREET TO RESTART MY CAR SO THAT I CAN SEE MY MAIN DASH (RPM,MPG,TEMP,GAS,ETC) AGAIN. SOME OF THE PICTURES THAT ARE ATTACHED WITH BLACK SCREEN ARE EXAMPLES OF MYSELF TURNING ON/OFF MY CAR WHILE I WAS STUCK IN TRAFFIC SO I COULD RESTART/SEE ALL OF MY MAIN DASH CONSOLE GAUGES, RPM,MPG, ETC. WHEN MY SCREEN GOES DARK, I HAVE TO LOOK AT THE OTHER CARS TO MATCH THEIR SPEED BECAUSE I WAS BASICALLY DRIVING BLIND. THIS IS A SERIOUS SAFETY CONCERN TO MYSELF AND MY FAMILY! I HAVE A VIDEO OF THIS SCARY OCCURRENCE, BUT THE VIDEO FILE IS TOO BIG TO ATTACH. I TOOK THE CAR IN THE DAY OF THIS STARTED TO HAPPEN AND IT CONTINUE TO SIT IN THE DEALERSHIP.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

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1 COMMENT
  • Will P

    2019 Toyota RAV4. Fuel system not working complained for five months

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