Anyone who owns or leases a 2013-2019 Toyota RAV4 and had their vehicle catch fire, stall, start smoking or suddenly lose power.
What’s Going On?
It’s believed that some Toyota RAV4 models may be prone to catching fire – even when the engines aren’t running. Drivers have also reported unexplained smoking, stalling and sudden loss of power.
What’s the Cause?
The cause of these problems is believed to stem from the battery, but attorneys want to investigate whether it’s related to a manufacturing or design defect. If so, they believe a class action lawsuit could be filed against Toyota.
How Could a Lawsuit Help?
A class action lawsuit could help RAV4 drivers recover the money they paid to repair or replace their vehicles. It could also force Toyota to fix any alleged defect in the cars.
A concerning number of Toyota RAV4 drivers have reported that their vehicles spontaneously caught fire, started smoking, stalled or suddenly lost power.
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are investigating whether this could be related to a defect. If it is, they may be able to file a class action lawsuit against Toyota to help drivers recover the money they spent repairing or replacing their RAV4 vehicles. Read on for more.
What Problems Have Been Reported?
Drivers of certain Toyota RAV4 models – especially the 2018 model year – have reported that their cars have started smoking and almost caught fire, or actually did catch fire, without obvious explanation.
Some drivers have noted that their RAV4’s dashboard displayed warning lights related to a computer system malfunction beforehand.
RAV4 drivers have posted complaints online about the issue. We’ve included some below [sic throughout]:
After purchasing our brand-new 2018 Rav4 from authorized Toyota dealer, we were heading back home. On our way, we noticed burning smell followed by black smoke filled front side of the cabin. I quickly moved my car to the right side parking lot. While changing the lane I could not even see the right mirror because of the black smoke in the cabin. As soon as I parked the car and we got off the car, within a few seconds flames from the hoods were noticed I called emergency service (911) and to our disbelief to watch our new car burning in front of us...” — 2018 RAV4, Alpharetta, GA. CarComplaints.com
My Rav4 caught fire in the middle of the night while parked on the street in front of my house. It had been parked for 12+ hours. After burning for about 10 minutes, it exploded with a force so great that it lifted the car onto the curb, knocked over a firefighter, and damaged our boat parked 10 feet across the street. The inspector from the fire department determined the initial fire was from faulty electrical wiring but said he had never seen a car explode in his 25 years on the force. Toyota conducted their own investigation and agreed it was electrical but could not determine fault due to the severity of the damage” — 2018 RAV4, Minneapolis, MN. CarComplaints.com
I was driving on the highway and smoke began to fill my vehicle. I pulled over and my vehicle caught fire. Unsure of the cause.” — 2016 RAV4, Houston, TX. Complaint #11031632, NHTSA.gov
The car was being driven in Philadelphia at a low speed when the engine caught fire. The fire quickly was out of control and destroyed most of the car, including the engine, dashboard, front seats, windshield, windows, front tires which exploded, and airbags.” — 2015 RAV4, Philadelphia, PA. Complaint # 10840172, NHTSA.gov
Other problems reported by Rav4 drivers include a sudden loss of vehicle power and stalling. Complaints posted online by drivers include the following [sic throughout]:
Toyota Rav4 2014 engine just pauses at different times. It has happened entering a highway....leaving a red light, getting ready to pass. It is very scary as there is no power at all. The car starts to slow down and you have fear of getting hit. Does anyone else have this problem? It has happened 5 or 6 times but they are spaced apart with no apparent connection. — 2014 RAV4, Danvers, MA., CarComplaints.com
when making a left u turn the engine just shuts off! Has happened four times in less than one thousand miles! Accident waiting to happen! I have to pull over till engines starts again! — 2016 RAV4, Tucson, AZ., CarComplaints.com
“While making left turns, (at speed) the engine tends to lose power and almost dies out. I have never experienced this on a fuel injected vehicle. It has happened more than 6 times now and I have an appointment to have it checked out.” — 2016 RAV4, Surprise, AZ., CarComplaints.com
“Was driving on the expressway at 75 mph & the engine died momentarily - center of the console showed it, turned orange & peeped, car lunged & then thank goodness started back up. Was pretty scary though when in the middle of nowhere! Will be calling the dealership this morning. Don't know if anyone else has had this happen or not.” — 2017 RAV4, Stevens Point, WI., CarComplaints.com
“I was driving at 45MPH with cruise control, the car stalled. I was able to feel clearly the jerk of the car and the RPM meter showed the stall clearly.” — 2017 RAV4, Laurel, MS., CarComplaints.com
“Second time in cold weather, loss of power on interstate almost causing accident. All lights on dash flashing and flashing through several codes. Full tank of gas both times, with heat in gas tank. Engine rumbling and running on 2wd, very week power both times.” — 2019 RAV4, Moorhead, MN. Complaint #11390102, NHTSA.gov
What’s the Cause of the Car Fires and Power Loss?
Attorneys are looking into whether a manufacturing or design defect could be to blame.
In March 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into nearly 1.9 million Rav4 vehicles over a potential fire risk. According to the agency’s report, a terminal in the 12-volt battery can “short to the battery hold down frame” and cause stalling, loss of electrical power and a fire from the engine.
Has There Been a Recall?
Toyota has not issued a recall for the RAV4 models. Notably, a recall was issued in late 2018 for Toyota Prius hybrids that were reportedly prone to catching fire.
How Could a Lawsuit Help?
If a case is successful, it could help drivers recover the money they spent repairing or replacing their vehicles. A lawsuit could also force Toyota to issue notices to RAV4 owners and offer a fix.