7 Toyota RAV4 Years to Avoid Buying in 2024

Toyota RAV4 is an excellent compact crossover SUV that has been manufactured since 1994.

RAV4 was designed to give users the features of an SUV with great fuel efficiency.

Toyota introduced the RAV4 as the first compact crossover SUV on the market, and it became the best-selling SUV worldwide. The RAV4 alone has sold more than 10 million units worldwide.

Even though the Toyota RAV4 has received numerous accolades and praise, there are seven model years—2002, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2013, 2014, and 2019—that you should not buy new or used.

Let’s discuss which new or used model years of the Toyota RAV4 to avoid and which to buy.

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Toyota RAV4 Years to Avoid | 7 New and Used Model Years to Avoid

2002 Toyota RAV4

what years toyota rav4 to avoid

Edmunds Consumer Rating: 4.3 out of 5
J.D. Power Reliability Rating: not rated

The 2002 RAV4 is the second-generation vehicle in the RAV4 series.

Let’s take a look at some common problems with the 2002 RAV4:

  • Transmission Problems: Transmission problems include shifting issues, jerking of the vehicle, transmission computer failure, etc.
  • Engine Problems: ECU failure, faulty check engine light, engine failure, and sudden engine stall are the main engine problems.
  • Interior Accessories Problems: The interior accessories have issues with gear shifters, door locks, and parking brakes.

There are also exhaust system problems, body or paint problems, electronic problems, etc.

2001 to 2003 models have those common issues, and you should avoid buying them.

2006 Toyota RAV4

rav4 models to avoid

Edmunds Consumer Rating: 4.6 out of 5.0
J.D. Power Reliability Rating: 84 out of 100

2006 RAV4 was completely redesigned in 2006, and it is the third generation SUV in the family.

Let’s take a look at some common problems:

  • Engine Problems: Excessive oil consumption is the main issue. Defective engine design and limp mode are also included.
  • Steering Problems: Clunking noise and steering power failure are the most common problems.
  • Transmission Problems: Humming noise, vibration, jerking, and transmission failure are common issues.

This model also has body and paint issues, AC, cooling system, seat belt, airbag, suspension, and brake issues. So, you should also avoid purchasing a 2006 Toyota RAV4.

2007 Toyota RAV4

what toyota rav4 years to avoid

Edmunds Consumer Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0
J.D. Power Reliability Rating: 81 out of 100

2007 models are not so different from 2006 models. So the problems of the 2006 models also exist in this model.

Let’s take a look at some common problems:

  • Engine Problems: Excessive oil consumption, engine failure, oxygen sensor failure, rattling noise, cracked head, and cracked gasket are the major engine issues.
  • Steering Problems: Clunking noise while turning, power failure, and squealing from the right are the most common steering problems.
  • Exhaust Problems: Leaks in the exhaust, catalytic converter failure, and loud noise during acceleration are exhaust-related problems.

There are also body, paint, cooling system, transmission, and interior accessory issues. So you should also avoid the 2007 Toyota RAV4.

2008 Toyota RAV4

Edmunds Consumer Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0
J.D. Power Reliability Rating: 85 out of 100

2008 RAV4 has a good consumer rating and reliability rating.

Still, there are some problems that you may want to know about before purchasing:

  • Engine Problems: Excessive oil consumption, leaks, and sudden power loss are the most common issues.
  • Transmission Issues: Jerking, rattling noise, transmission fluid leaks, and transmission slipping are the main problems.
  • Brake Problems: Brake slipping, weak brakes, noisy brakes, and auto brake release are the main issues.
  • Electrical Issues: Dead batteries, starter failure, and burned wiring are included in the electrical problems.

There are also several problems, including steering, exhaust, windshield, suspension, cooling system problems, etc. So, you should also avoid the 2008 Toyota RAV4 models.

2013 Toyota RAV4

2013 rav4 years to avoid

Edmunds Consumer Rating: 4.2 out of 5.0
J.D. Power Reliability Rating: 85 out of 100

The 2013 RAV4 is the fourth generation of the RAV4 family.

Toyota redesigned it again, but there are still a few problems:

  • Interior Accessories Problems: Interior accessories problems include navigation display issues, glove boxes that won’t open, inaccurate MPG gauges, radio and Bluetooth issues, etc.
  • Body Problems: Loose paint, rusting paint, poor hood support, and water leakage are the main problems with the body.
  • Transmission Problems: Vibration during shifts and low speeds, transmission slipping, random shifts, and transmission fluid leaks are the main transmission issues.

Also, the vehicle has brake, AC/heater, engine, and electric problems. So you should also avoid the 2013 Toyota RAV4 models.

2014 Toyota RAV4

Edmunds Consumer Rating: 3.8 out of 5.0
J.D. Power Reliability Rating: 79 out of 100

2014 Toyota RAV4 is not so much different from 2013 models.

We can also see that the user and reliability ratings are lower than in the previous model.

Let’s see the common problems with 2014 RAV4 models:

  • Interior Accessories Problems: Stereo system, infotainment system not working properly, touch panel issue, poor instrument panel lighting, etc.
  • Body Problems: Mud, snow, sand accumulation under the door, water leaking, and loose and chipped paint are body-related problems.
  • Brake Problems: Loose breaks, scraping noise from calipers, etc.

There are also a few more problems, including AC/heater, engine, transmission, miscellaneous issues, etc. So you should also avoid the 2014 Toyota RAV4 models.

2019 Toyota RAV4

what year toyota rav4 to avoid

Edmunds Consumer Rating: 3.2 out of 5.0
J.D. Power Reliability Rating: 79 out of 100

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 is the fifth-generation model of the RAV4 family.

Toyota redesigned it again and gave it a new look, but there are still some issues:

  • Transmission Issues: Hesitation at lower speeds, rough shifting, stuck gear in parking mode, slipping, and transmission failure are the most common transmission issues.
  • Engine Problems: Loud noise during acceleration, faulty gas pedals, and excessive oil consumption are the main engine issues.
  • Exterior Accessories Problems: Distorted side mirrors, vibration, and shaking of side mirrors are exterior accessory issues.

There are also several issues, including fuel system problems, interior accessory issues, brake issues, body and paint issues, etc. So you should also avoid the 2019 Toyota RAV4 models.

New and Used Toyota RAV4 Years to Buy

Toyota RAV4 is a reliable SUV, and there have been some model years with excellent reliability ratings and higher safety ratings from IIHS and NHTSA with very few issues.

Here is a list of the new or used Toyota RAV4’s best model years to buy:

  • 2000 Toyota RAV4
  • 2004 Toyota RAV4
  • 2009–12 Toyota RAV4
  • 2015-16 Toyota RAV4
  • 2018 Toyota RAV4
  • 2021–23 Toyota RAV4

Toyota RAV4 Recall History

Toyota RAV4 has received several recalls for different issues. Let’s look at the recall history:

2000 Toyota RAV4 Recall: This model year is recalled due to faulty airbags.

2004 Toyota RAV4 Recall: This model year is recalled for Air bag, frontal, and drive-side inflator issues.

2005 Toyota RAV4 Recall: Due to Air bags, inflator modules, and different equipment issues.

2006 Toyota RAV4 Recall: Recalled for Airbags, suspension, seats, seat belts, and visibility issues.

2007 Toyota RAV4 Recall: Due to suspension, airbags, seat belts, visibility, and seat issues.

2008 Toyota RAV4 Recall: For suspension, visibility, airbag, equipment, and accelerator issues.

2009 Toyota RAV4 Recall: Recalled for the seats, seatbelts, wipers, window control, suspension, and accelerator pedal issues.

2010 Toyota RAV4 Recall: Recalled due to the seatbelt, wiper, window control, suspension, seat, and accelerator pedal issues.

2011 Toyota RAV4 Recall: Recalled for windshield wiper, window control, seat belt, seat, suspension, and accelerator pedal issues.

2012 Toyota RAV4 Recall: Recalled for speed control, accelerator pedal, seat, seatbelt, wiper, window control, and suspension issues.

2013 Toyota RAV4 Recall: Recalled due to exterior lighting, trailer hitches, suspension, accelerator pedal, seat, seatbelt, wiper, and window control issues.

2014 Toyota RAV4 Recall: Recalled for steering electric power assist system, exterior lighting, and trailer hitches issues.

2015 Toyota RAV4 Recall: Recalled due to exterior lighting, trailer hitches, and steering electric power-assist system issues.

2016 Toyota RAV4 Recall: Recalled for tires and electronic stability system issues.

2017 Toyota RAV4 Recall: Recalled due to equipment, labels, temporary tires, and spare tire issues.

2018 Toyota RAV4 Recall: Recalled for equipment and label issues.

2019 Toyota RAV4 Recall: Recalled for the fuel system, fuel pump, steering electric power assist system, suspension, control arm, engine, engine cooling, rear camera, electronic stability control, equipment, and label issues.

2020 Toyota RAV4 Recall: Recalled due to steering electric power assist system, suspension, control arm, engine, engine cooling, fuel system, and fuel pump issues.

2022 Toyota RAV4 Recall: Recalled for airbags, sensors, and electronic stability system issues.

Toyota RAV4 Complaints

According to NHTSA.gov and Carcomplaints.com, Toyota RAV4 user complaint numbers till now according to model years are:

RAV4

Model Years

Complain Numbers

(Carcomplaints)

Complain Numbers

(NHTSA)

2000 8 40
2001 210 321
2002 519 553
2003 146 324
2004 20 149
2005 27 138
2006 191 696
2007 355 989
2008 197 564
2009 68 317
2010 76 389
2011 62 262
2012 65 249
2013 133 205
2014 112 142
2015 74 220
2016 40 193
2017 73 191
2018 32 192
2019 123 526
2020 19 267
2021 7 112
2022 0 32
2023 1 4

To Sum Up

Most of the older RAV4 models lack modern technologies.

Other than that, they can reliably give you service up to 1,50,000 miles with proper maintenance.

Toyota recalled many RAV4 models to fix most of the problems.

There are few or no complaints about the new Toyota RAV4 models.

Avoid the troublesome model years if you want to buy an old Toyota RAV4.

You must choose from the best model years with good user reviews and reliability ratings.

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