A compact SUV like Toyota’s RAV4 combines seating for several people with the ability to carry oversized cargo, making it an excellent choice for those who need both. This stylish vehicle boasts great fuel economy, a roomy interior, and reasonable pricing. If you’re considering buying a RAV4, you’ll want to know what to expect from Toyota RAV4 reliability. Repairs are often expensive, and busy people don’t have time for their vehicles to be in the shop. Is the RAV4 reliable? Learn more about this popular SUV and how a vehicle protection plan can minimize out-of-pocket repair costs.

How Does the Toyota RAV4 Reliability Rate on Average?

Toyota’s RAV4 debuted in 1994 in Japan and Europe. The manufacturer designed the vehicle for those who want the SUV benefits of more cargo room, increased visibility, and four-wheel drive options combined with the fuel efficiency and easier steering capabilities of smaller cars.

The current RAV4 is the fifth generation, with the most recent redesign in 2019. The Toyota RAV4 was the best-selling SUV in the world in 2019, with almost 450,000 units sold.

U.S. News and World Report calculates overall ratings using several factors, including safety, interior, reliability, and performance. Consumer Reports lists common problems owners had for each model year.

2023 Toyota RAV4, #8 in Compact SUVs

  • Overall rating: 8.1/10
  • Safety rating: 9.1/10
  • Reliability: 81/100
  • Top problems: no data available

2022 Toyota RAV4, Finalist in Best Compact SUV for Families

  • Overall rating: 8.1/10
  • Safety rating: 9.1/10
  • Reliability: 81/100
  • Top problems: power equipment, noises and leaks, paint and trim

2021 Toyota RAV4, Best Compact SUV for Families

  • Overall rating: 8.3/10
  • Safety rating: 9.4/10
  • Reliability: 81/100
  • Top problems: minor engine problems, noises and leaks, power equipment

2020 Toyota RAV4, #5 in Affordable Compact SUVs

  • Overall rating: 8.0/10
  • Safety rating: 9.5/10
  • Reliability: 74/100
  • Top problems: electric system, minor engine problems, and in-car electronics

2019 Toyota RAV4, #7 in Affordable Compact SUVs

  • Overall rating: 7.9/10
  • Safety rating: 9.2/10
  • Reliability: 3.5/5
  • Top problems: noises and leaks, in-car electronics, and minor transmission problems

2018 Toyota RAV4, #12 in Affordable Compact SUVs

  • Overall rating: 7.9/10
  • Safety rating: 9.3/10
  • Reliability: 3.5/5
  • Top problems: brakes, noises and leaks, and paint and trim

What Are Common Toyota RAV4 Reliability Issues?

A mechanic adds oil to address a common Toyota RAV 4 reliability issue.

Although most consider the RAV4 a reliable vehicle, each model year had specific problems. This list discusses some of the most common issues, but an individual vehicle can have other problems.

Breakdowns and necessary repairs are often expensive if you must pay for them out of pocket. Protect your investment and bank account with a vehicle protection plan from autopom!


Some RAV4 owners experience hesitation or jerking when accelerating. Although drivers and passengers might experience some discomfort, this issue doesn’t seem to indicate transmission failures. In response to this issue, Toyota provided a software update.

Battery Drain

Some owners of the RAV4 2019 and 2020 models were unable to keep their batteries charged. These batteries drained even when the vehicle wasn’t running, drastically decreasing battery life. Software updates or defective hardware replacements usually resolve this problem.


Toyota RAV4 owners report a variety of exhaust issues, such as faulty catalytic converters, failed oxygen sensors, defective piston rings, and worn gaskets or seals.

Oil Consumption

Some RAV4 engines have poorly designed pistons and piston rings. These allow carbon buildup to block oil return holes, causing unnecessary oil consumption in the combustion chamber. Replacing the piston and rings requires extensive labor, making it an expensive issue to repair. You can top up your oil frequently or replace the engine as an alternative.


Some RAV4 steering columns produce a clunking noise, particularly with reverse or low-speed turning. Tightening and lubricating steering shaft components usually fixes this issue.

Many RAV4 power steering lights come on abruptly. Some RAV4 steering wheels become difficult to turn, while others fail when driving.


The Toyota RAV4 reliability data for transmissions highlights several potential problem areas.

  • A faulty solenoid can cause the vehicle to stall and check-engine light errors.
  • The needle roller bearings in the torque converter can wear and produce grinding sounds.
  • The flex lock system on the torque converter can cause excessive shuddering, requiring a software update and torque converter replacement.
  • A faulty engine control unit often produces delayed acceleration and harsh gear shifts; it can also prevent the vehicle from reversing or shifting into certain gears. You may need to replace the circuit board or make more extensive repairs.

Transmission repairs are often costly.

What Does Toyota’s Warranty Cover?

A Toyota RAV 4 in a scenic area.

A new Toyota RAV4 comes with a 3-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain limited warranty. Toyota also offers rust-through and emissions coverage. Warranty specifics may vary by the particular model, especially for hybrid vehicles.

If the Toyota RAV4 reliability data for the model you’re interested in concerns you, you can purchase an extended warranty from Toyota, with three levels to choose from for new models. If you buy a certified used Toyota vehicle from a Toyota dealership, you only have one extended warranty choice. You’ll need to let a Toyota dealership make the repairs, and you may have to pay a deductible.

Where Can You Get an Alternative to a Toyota Extended Warranty?

If you buy an extended warranty from a Toyota dealership, you face limitations. Fortunately, you can purchase a vehicle protection plan from autopom! instead. Choose from three protection plans that specify what they include and their exclusions.

With an autopom! plan, you can choose where to take your RAV4 for repairs. We base your eligibility and quote on several factors, including the state you live in and the vehicle’s make, model, and mileage.

Toyota RAV4 Reliability: Why Is a Vehicle Protection Plan a Wise Investment?

Toyota RAV4 reliability ratings are high for most years, but any vehicle can develop problems. Some of the common problems associated with the RAV4 require expensive repairs that you’ll have to pay out of pocket if you don’t have a vehicle protection plan. Whether you’re interested in further coverage for a vehicle you own or considering buying a RAV4, contact autopom! today. Get a free quote online, email us, or call us at (800) 724-8141.

By Mike Jones, President & CEO of autopom! Insurance Services, llc