really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
92,026 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.

2004 Toyota RAV4 engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #9

Apr 192016


  • 76,968 miles


Feb 2016 - while checking fluids I noticed the antifreeze level was low. Sansone automall NJ was notified and told me what to buy and fill it until my appt on 2/27. During service check they found nothing wrong. Now, April 2016, my car overheated and I was able to drive it back to sansone with the heat on high on to keep it from overheating. Now I'm being told I need the headgasket replaced along with the engine ($1950 for headgasket and $4500 for used engine) oh and they made it a point to tell me that the 25 point inspection was free the last time I was there. Since I refused service, they asked us to leave the car, think about it and come back Saturday to speak to the mechanic and director. We showed up but no one who inspected the car was there. We refused service and had the car towed home. Very disappointed with their service and for Toyota for not been proactive in dealing with this issue which seems to be growing as I have been researching and found many others this has happened to. I have a 2004 Toyota rav with only 76,970 miles which really was a great car- never any issues. I purchased this 'certified used' car in 2007 at sansone automall which can not be driven...cost to fix it will be used towards the purchase of a new non Toyota vehicle. In conclusion, Toyota needs to work on this issue and they are losing loyal customers and we are spreading the word.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #8

Feb 052016


  • 133,000 miles
The seals on the head gasket are leaking coolant. This is due to several of the metal bolts being stripped. This has rendered our car useless. Our mechanic, being an honest person, is hesitant to begin a several thousand $ repair, since he is unable to guarantee that he will be able to repair it for the long term. The car was overheating so coolant was added but this leaked quickly with a 18 mile ride from the Chicago suburb of woodridge into the city.

- Woodridge, IL, USA

problem #7

Jun 132015


  • 100,000 miles
Head gasket blew. According to mechanic the bolts that anchor the gasket to engine block failed causing leakage of coolant into engine block subsequently blowing the head gasket. This appears to be a common problem with the 2004 Rav4. $1800 repair! updated 11/23/15

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #6

Feb 282014


  • 71,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Rav4. While the vehicle was parked, there was a puddle of antifreeze that leaked from the vehicle without warning. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the head gasket had blown and the engine needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 71,000.

- Canton, OH, USA

problem #5

Feb 092014


  • 121,000 miles
We were driving on the city streets of boston, MA at approximately 25 mph when the check engine light and vsc light came on. I called our local dealer to see if the car was safe to drive and I was told that as long as the check engine light was not blinking it was ok to drive the car. We then proceeded to get on the highway to get to our house in New Hampshire when the head gasket blew out and we lost all our coolant. When we finally were able to get the car to our dealer we were told the engine was ruined and it was going to take $5000+ to fix.

- Epping, NH, USA

problem #4

Oct 102014


  • 95,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Rav4. While driving approximately 45 mph, the antifreeze leaked from the engine. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic who stated that the engine needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 95,000.

- Canal Fulton, OH, USA

problem #3

Oct 182013

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 53,415 miles


In October/2013 while driving on the road, my 2004 Toyota Rav4 start smoking from the engine compartment, pulled over and saw that it was coolant fluids all over the engine, towed to my local mechanic and after check it out, it was leaking from the top of the engine, results was the head bolts were loose and stripped from the block of the engine, and the head gasket was cracked, replaced the affected parts, new coolant, total cost $1874, the vehicle is back on the road, note to that is that the car has only 53000 miles, purchased new a Toyota dealership and it was only what it was driven. Toyota dealerships (3 contacted), they want nothing to do with the problem and they "have not knowledge or recalls for the problem", (little hard to believed to me) the local mechanic found that there is a kit to fix the problem, drill and re-tap, insert new head bolts, new head gasket, back on the road. Unfortunately Toyota as manufacturer will not assume the responsibility or have the acknowledgement of the problem, arguing the vehicle already is out of warranty, even as is noted is a manufacturer issue.

- Elmwood Park, NJ, USA

problem #2

Feb 272013

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 143,850 miles
On 02/27/2013, my car was leaking coolant, so I took it to my local Toyota dealer to have a check. It turns out the coolant were leaking from the head gasket and the head bolt was loosen and stripped. They told me they can't fix the leak. The only solution is to replace the whole engine. It will cost me $8,000 to replace the engine. I turned to internet for help and found out a loosen head bolt cause to replace the engine is a very comment issue for Toyota engine 2az-fe. It's obvious to me the striped head bolt is an engine defect. This could have never happened if Toyota have done a better job to ensure the head bolt won't striped over time. I am not saying the bolts should last forever. However, the bolts in a car engine should out last the bolts on my outdoor deck.

- Ontario, CA, USA

problem #1

Sep 132012


  • 34,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Rav4. The contact was driving approximately 15 mph and attempting a left turn when another vehicle crashed into the front passenger side door of the contact's vehicle. The vehicle slid forward and proceeded to crash over a curb and into a pole. The side curtain air bags failed to deploy. Immediately after the crash, smoke began emitting from the engine compartment. The driver was able to exit the vehicle and noticed flames coming from under the hood. The fire department was called and extinguished the fire. The contact sustained bruising and pain to the lower back. The contact was transported to the hospital via ambulance and was later discharged with no major injuries. The vehicle was towed to an auto body lot. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and sent an engineer to inspect the vehicle. The engineer advised that the crash did not occur in between both doors so the curtain air bags would not have deployed. Additionally, the engineer stated that the front bumper pushed the engine back and fractured the transmission lines, causing transmission fluid to leak into the engine manifold. As a result, the failure resulted in a fire which caused the engine to melt. The vehicle was destroyed. The approximate failure mileage was 34,000.

- Breezy Point, NY, USA

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