Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
29,404 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2009 Toyota RAV4 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2009 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #16

Jul 112015


  • 42,330 miles


Inintended acceleration occured while braking. Engine reved while braking -I put the car in park - engine redlined - switched off ignition - car ran normally after the ignition was switched on. This is the second occurrance in one year. The first time we took the car to the dealer but they could find no fault.

- Nantucket, MA, USA

problem #15

Jun 292015


  • 65,400 miles
While my wife was driving on the highway at 60 mph the engine lost power. Moving to the right lane to pull over, flames began coming out of the top of the hood, hitting the windshield. She tried stopping but brake pedal went to the floor, requiring her to put the car in park and slide on grass. She jumped out of the vehicle and within 8 minutes the car was completely destroyed.

- Massapequa Park, NY, USA

problem #14

Feb 052015

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 57,000 miles
Driving alone in heavy traffic, on a major road. About 6 pm. Warning light appeared followed immediately by whole dashboard that lit up. No previous warning. Vehicle lost complete power. I made split-second decision to make a quick right turn into small shopping center but only managed, without power, to maneuver vehicle on a slant up the incline. Emergency flashers stopped working shortly thereafter, so car not easily visible to others. No heat in car due to lost power and it was a bitter cold and windy night. Had to be towed to dealer at cost of $190 (insurance reimbursed me only $25). Cost of replacement parts plus labor at dealer was $1499.87. I could have been plowed into from behind by another driver. I was vulnerable with no power to car. An online search reveals Toyota has many irate customers re water pumps failing on their rav 4S from various years--not just the year of my model. Yet Toyota sent no recall notice re this dangerous flaw in their vehicles. And they maintain that since the warranty expired, they are under no obligation to cover my costs. They have offered only $522 47 to me. An expired warranty is not relevant. This is a safety issue. Suppose I had been on an interstate highway with high speeds?

- Westminster, MD, USA

problem #13

Jan 082015


  • miles


The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Rav4. While driving 30 mph, the four wheel drive check warning light illuminated. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was unknown. The VIN was not available. Updated 03/30/15 updated 6/22/2015

- Kenosha, WI, USA

problem #12

Sep 082014


  • 38,364 miles
The brake was engaged in traffic when the car started to accelerate. I applied the brake more firmly and put the car in park. The engine began to rev uncontrollably in a cloud of white smoke. I switched the car off and restarted the motor and it then ran normally.

- Nantucket , MA, USA

problem #11

Jan 012012

RAV4 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Rav4. The contact stated that the ignition button failed to shut the engine off. The contact also mentioned that the door locks failed to function. The failure was experienced numerous times. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The failure mileage was 30,000 and the current mileage was 60,342. Updated 6/10/14

- Ft Mayers , FL, USA

problem #10

Jan 162014

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 27,788 miles


Extensive rodent damage to wiring harness, passenger air bag, heat/ac ducts, headliner, carpeting front & rear, instrument panel, and many more misc. Parts. Repair costs - $10,257.91 because Toyota chose to make this car with a smaller carbon footprint using edible products (soy foam, rice husks, etc.) in place of petroleum for much of the plastic parts. This material is now attractive to rodents and they designed the air inlet to the heater without a screen which allows rodents entry to the vehicle. It becomes a safety issue because the air bag was damaged enough to require replacement. My Toyota has become the incredible edible car.

- Cadillac , MI, USA

problem #9

Mar 302013

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 33,960 miles
While stopped at red light with right foot on brake, engine suddenly accelerated to very high RPM. Shifted to neutral and engine revved even higher. Turned off ignition. Signal turned green and since I was in traffic, decided to try to start engine again. Engine started and performed normally. Immediately drove to Toyota dealer who said they could find nothing wrong. We are now afraid to drive this vehicle! things could have been much worse had we been moving in traffic!

- Hollister, CA, USA

problem #8

Dec 172012

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 46,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Rav4. The contact stated that once the headlights was deactivated, the radio failed. The vehicle was not taken to a mechanic or the dealer for inspection of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 46,000.

- Crownsville, MD, USA

problem #7

Sep 012011

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 36,000 miles
I was driving up my driveway, applied the brakes and did not stop, but was forced forward until I hit my house. I searched for the brakes but could not find them, because the brakes were stuck to the floor. There was no brake light on. Before that the odometer was jumping between numbers (20,17, 54, ect.). I had my car to the Toyota dealership twice and they could not find anything. I had 5 boys in my house and hit my son's bedroom, someone could of been injured.

- Ada, MI, USA

problem #6

May 302011

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 35,629 miles


Toyota new start and start button on my 2009 rav-4 limited does not always work when button is pushed.

- Hernando, MS, USA

problem #5

Nov 232009

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 500 miles
I purchased a 2010 Toyota rave 4 on November 10, 2009. Drove the 400 400 miles for thanksgiving. On November 23, did errands and the car surged when I was in a parking lot. That evening the news had the story of the Lexus accident in California. Took the floor mat out. A few days later, the car surged again. When I returned home, I took the car to the dealer. Theycould not duplicate the problem. On Feb. 5, 2010, was driving home from Florida and pulled into a rest area and at the car surged. Went to dealer and they put in a new ssc-ada accelerator. Said at the reinforcement bar system was operating normally. March 3, 2010 - car surged. Turned off engine - took 3 times for car to idle normally. Dealer found nothing. May 20, 2010 - drove 2 blocks. Stopped for 5 minutes. Car revved to 3500rpms. Dealer kept car overnight. No problems. May 27, 2010. Car surged to 4,500 rpms. Dealer called Toyota and opened a tas cas. Reset memory. January 26, 2011 - car surged to 6000 rpms. Restarted 4 times before car would idle normally. Dealer said car working within manufactures parameters. February 28, 2011 - car surged. Dealer kept car. Test drove 619 miles and no problems. March 18, 2011 - rpms went to 3500. Dealer found nothing wrong. April 11, 2011 - car surged again. Dealer found nothing wrong. All these incidents are documented with Toyota's customer service. They claim since I was not in an accident or injured, and that dealer can't find anything wrong, Toyota states there is nothing wrong with my car. But there is.............

- Hot Springs Village, AR, USA

problem #4

Nov 152010


  • 19,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Rav4. Upon starting the vehicle, the tire indicator light illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a repair shop but the failure could not be diagnosed. After three days, the non-skid, cruise control and check engine lights also illuminated. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer but the failure could still not be diagnosed. The vehicle had not been repaired. The current and failure mileages were approximately 19,000. Updated 01/14/11

- Mineral Bluff, GA, USA

problem #3

Aug 232010


  • 11,000 miles
I am having a sporadic, continuing starting problem with a 2009 Toyota Rav4. The problem seems to appear after the car has been driven, then parked. On attempting to restart the car, the accessories (radio, lights, etc.) come on but the engine does nothing. There is no sound from the starter. Repeating the starting sequence has no effect. Attempting to change the "start/stop" by using the method described in the user's manual also has no effect. It appears that something has to cool down before the car will restart. This has happened at least four times in the year I have had the car, and always at unexpected times. My dealer has had no luck recreating the problem, or finding a solution for it.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #2

Apr 152009


  • 24,500 miles
Vehicle fails to start occasionally, lights turn on with normal brightness indicating it is probably not a battery issue, but no cranking. Dealer checked the car, but could not replicate the problem. The date below is the approx last incident date.

- Aurora, IL, USA

problem #1

May 272009


  • 3,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Rav4. After placing the vehicle into park, the contact noticed smoke under the hood of the vehicle. The smoke mostly appeared on the passenger side underneath the dashboard and windshield wipers. By the time the fire department arrived, there were very strong flames coming from the vehicle. The heat from the fire melted the garage door. The fire was extinguished and the fire marshall stated that the cause of the fire was due to a mechanical or electrical defect in the vehicle. A police report was filed and there were no injuries. The vehicle was destroyed and is still at the parking garage. The contact believes that a recall should be issued. The current and failure mileages were 3,000.

- Weatherford, TX, USA

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