3 Common RAV4 Power Liftgate Issues and Fixes

Toyota RAV4, the king of compact SUVs is a family automobile. RAV4 is praised for its various features and performance. But its liftgate issue frustrates many users.

These high-tech hatches provide real convenience, but when start to glitch, they become headache.

When the liftgate starts malfunctioning, it may not open even after switching, or open with heavy vibrations, and sometimes close suddenly in the middle of operation.

Toyota also issued recalls for the 2016-2022 RAV4, because the malfunctions can be dangerous for owners.

However, if you are facing such problems, don’t worry.

In this article, I have discussed common liftgate issues with Toyota RAV4, their solutions, the status of the recalls, and preventive tips for liftgate issues.

Toyota RAV4 power liftgate’s most common issues are an irresponsive liftgate, unexpected operation, unusual noises, and excessive vibration. Generally, RAV4 liftgate works with a combination of an electric motor and some sensors.

The sensor’s network controls liftgate operation from the key fob button to the foot sensor. By following commands, the sensors decide when to open or close the liftgate.

An electric motor is responsible for heavy lifting. While a sensor is responsible for ensuring safety, it will stop and reverse the liftgate if anything gets in the way.

The sensor also helps to customize the height of the liftgate. But when the sensors or motor have any issues, the liftgate starts malfunctioning.

Let’s learn about the causes, symptoms, and solutions for RAV4 liftgate issues:

1. Irresponsive Liftgate

The RAV4’s liftgate sometimes may not open or close when you are switching the liftgate button or key fob.

Following problems are responsible for the problems:

  • Sensor Issues: Dirty or misaligned sensors usually fail to receive or send commands properly. Therefore, liftgate malfunctions occur.
  • Battery Issues: If the vehicle battery is blown or fails, it cannot provide enough power to the electric motors. As a result, the motor fails to operate liftgate correctly.
  • Faulty Wiring: Loose connections or faults in the wiring cause liftgate problems.
  • Problems in the Motor: Over time, the electric motor fails to perform correctly due to wear and tear.


  1. The liftgate doesn’t respond
  2. It may start to open, then abruptly stop mid-ascent.
  3. Unusual beeps and flashing lights.


Take your vehicle to an auto mechanic. The mechanic will check the sensors and find out the faulty ones.

Sometimes, cleaning the sensor may work, but I recommend replacing the faulty sensor.

2. Unexpected Operation

Vehicle sensors and the motor are responsible for unexpected operation.

This type of problem causes the unexpected liftgate to open or shut down.

This is very dangerous for users. Therefore, Toyota issued recall for RAV4 vehicles.

If you are facing the same issues, you can solve the issue in two ways.

First, go to the Toyota official website: https://www.toyota.com/recall.

There, you can enter your vehicle VIN and see the status of your vehicle.

If the recall applies to your RAV4, you can visit the nearest dealership and ask to fix the problem.

In other cases, you can replace the liftgate motor and faulty sensor.

Replacing liftgate motor costs around $500 to $520.

3. Unusual Noises or Excessive Vibration

Not only the brakes but also the engine cause the unusual noise.

If the weight distribution is improper, it can cause excessive vibration.

Faulty motor starter solenoids, worn mounts, and strut struggles are responsible for unusual noises from the liftgate.


Take your Toyota RAV4 to a repair shop. Tighten bolts, lubricate hinges, and check other relevant components for any issues.

Sometimes, leaking seals can cause the liftgate to make unusual noises.

So, clean the drainage channels to stop water from backing up and seeping into the liftgate. Replace the worn seals too.

How do You Reset the Liftgate on a RAV4?

Follow these 4 steps:

  1. Open Toyota RAV4 liftgate automatically or manually.
  2. Now, push and hold down the liftgate close button until a beep sounds.
  3. Keep holding the button till the second beep sound comes.
  4. Let go of the button and allow the liftgate to close automatically.

Through this process you can reset RAV4’s liftgate.

Preventive Tips for Power Liftgate Issues

The following maintenance tips help you to keep RAV4’s power liftgate free from issues:

  1. Ensure the sensor and all relevant parts are kept clean.
  2. Always handle the liftgate button with gentleness.
  3. Exercise caution when opening the liftgate to avoid collisions or obstructions.
  4. Make sure items like bikes, toys, and similar objects do not block your hatch’s specific path of operation.
  5. Never ignore any unusual sounds such as grumbling, rattling, or clunking noises from RAV4’s tailgate.
  6. Keep up-to-date with software updates for your RAV4 in its entirety, this is a must!

Toyota RAV4 liftgate issue is easy to solve. If recall applies to your vehicle, it is best to take your RAV4 to the dealership for proper diagnosis. If not, you should hire an experienced mechanic and address the problem appropriately.

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