Toyota RAV4 Years To Avoid (Most Common Problems)

If you’re looking for a compact crossover SUV, you’ll surely come across the Toyota RAV4. So, what are the Toyota RAV4 years to avoid? This piece of Japanese machinery is proven to be one of the most popular choices for this car model, and that too is for a reason, it fits everything on the crossover SUV checklist.

It’s spacious, good off-road, and reliable, though just like any great invention, there have to be a few trial-and-error models. Today, we’ll be taking a look at exactly those models, the ones you should avoid when buying a Toyota RAV4. But before we get into that, let’s do a small review of this car.

Key Takeaways


  • Avoid the 2019, 2013, 2009, and 2006 Toyota RAV4 models
  • Look for the 2018, 2016, and 2010 Toyota RAV4 models
  • Not all faults apply to all cars
  • Always try before you buy

Meet The Toyota RAV4

The Toyota RAV4 is a crossover SUV, meaning it’s not as good off-road as a regular SUV, though better than a sedan, and a lot more spacious too. This makes crossover SUVs a popular choice in the modern world, and the RAV4 is one of the most successful in this niche in recent years.

The RAV4 was introduced to the car market in 1994, and it’s still being produced to this day. There are 5 models and those are the 1994, 2000, 2005, 2012, and 2018 models.

A hybrid model was first introduced in 2016 and has been a popular choice since because of the improved mpg. Now we can start with the Toyota RAV4 years you should avoid.

Also Read: Dodge Journey What Years to Avoid

Years To Avoid: Toyota RAV4

Toyota RAV4 2019

2019 Might be the worst year for the Toyota RAV4 since it’s the year with the most customer complaints. The number one complaint is engine failure, this might be due to an issue in the combustion chamber of the engine which can be a very costly fix.

Another thing the 2019 RAV4 lacks is smooth transmission, more precisely, many 2019 RAV4 owners report weird noises when switching between the AWD and FWD options.

This problem might be coming from the differential, which is in charge of the torque going from the engine to the wheels, and again, the fix can take a toll on your wallet.

Toyota RAV4 2013

The 2013 edition of the Toyota RAV4 is actually well-known to be one of the most reliable RAV4s when it comes to the mechanics of the car, though the main issue here, and a very frustrating one for a lot of the owners, is issues with the accessories.

Many complain that the display and navigation system is very faulty, often dimming and brightening by themselves making it hard to see during the day.

Cosmetic problems are also reported with this RAV4. We’re talking about paint chipping on the outside, and quick wear and tear in the interior. These issues might be due to Toyota paying extra attention to the mechanical side of things, neglecting these less significant, yet frustrating faults.

Toyota RAV4 2006

One of the main issues of the Toyota RAV4 2006 edition is oil consumption. This may be because of faulty head gaskets or worn-out pistons causing quick wear and tear. This isn’t the most expensive fix, though you’ll lose a bit of money on oil until you find the issue.

The steering is another issue with this vehicle. This is a result of bad steering or suspension components, and possibly an unstable wheel assembly. This can be a tricky fix since locating the exact cause isn’t easy, and the fix isn’t the cheapest either.

Toyota RAV4 2008

This is the RAV4 with possibly the issue you’d want to have the least, and that is faulty breaks. This is due to unstable disks. If you stumble upon one of these, be prepared to take a bit of a hit on your wallet since a full disk change including labor can cost up to 500$.

Another common issue with this edition of the RAV4 are the mufflers. Mufflers are in charge of keeping the noise of the car down, so they don’t have an essential role in the performance or health of the car. This is also a cheap fix that you don’t have to worry too much about.

Also Read: Kia Soul What Years to Avoid

The Most Reliable Toyota RAV4 Models

A few of the best-rated Toyota RAV4s are:

  • Toyota RAV4 2016
  • Toyota RAV4 2010
  • Toyota RAV4 2018

These models have the best reliability ratings, and the least complaint reports. They are known for cheap fixes and rare breakdowns. If you stumble upon one of these in your search for a RAV4, don’t pass it up since they’re the best proven though never forget to try before you buy.

Also Read: Chevy Malibu What Years to Avoid

Final Words

To conclude this article, we have to give credit to Toyota for making this a hard research task since they barely have any reliability issues.

That’s why I made this section, to emphasize how well-made they truly are. The years to avoid that we mentioned don’t implicit that all makes of that specific year have those faults, it’s just a generalization.

An important thing when buying a used car is thoroughly checking it. If you feel like you have the experience to do it yourself, you can do it alone, though it’s never a bad idea to take it to your mechanic either.

Toyota is a top-tier brand, known for its reliability, so don’t have second thoughts about trying any model. Have fun car shopping!