really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
15,156 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.

2012 Toyota RAV4 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2012 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #13

Jul 222015


  • 24,000 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Toyota Rav4. The contact stated that the air conditioning unit failed. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was discovered that the parts needed for the repair were not available. The contact was advised by the dealer that the vehicle was included in NHTSA campaign number: 15V577000 (visibility). The dealer stated that the parts were not yet available to any of the dealers. A recall notice was also received for NHTSA campaign number: 16V096000 (seat belts). The contact called the dealer and was advised that the parts for the recall were also not available and could not provide a time frame in which the parts would become available. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 24,000. Updated 06/23/16

- Iseilin, NJ, USA

problem #12

Jan 032016


  • 36,000 miles
Wiring harness that controls normal 2wd/4WD has been chewed by rodents leaving vehicle stuck in 4WD. Vehicle was parked on garage apron when wires were chewed.

- Fort Scott, KS, USA

problem #11

Apr 152015


  • 19,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Toyota Rav4. The contact stated that the avs warning light remained illuminated. The failure recurred once. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 14V054000 (electronic stability control, service brakes, hydraulic). The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 19,000.

- Cedarhurst, NY, USA

problem #10

Jan 302015

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 21,418 miles


This problem has to do with the Rav4 gear shifter sticking and/or deformed. The problem is addressed for years 2013-2015 in Toyota tsb 0145-14; however, the problem also exists in the 2012 model. The 2012 Rav4 can have a sticking or deformed gear shifter. This could be caused by coffee having been spilled into the area.

- Arlington, TX, USA

problem #9

Dec 182014

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 33,000 miles
On Thursday 18 December, my wife and I left springfield, Missouri to dallas, Texas to visit our family for the christmas holiday. We were driving our recently purchased 2012 Rav4 with approximately 33,000 miles which we purchased in late September 2014. We stopped several times during our trip to refuel and allow my wife, who is 6 month pregnant, a chance to stretch her legs. For much of the trip, I used cruise control when possible at varying speeds from 65 mph (in Missouri) to 75 mph (in parts of Oklahoma). At approximately 4:30 pm, while driving through tushka, Oklahoma we approached a stoplight where the speed limit dropped from 65 to 45 mph. The light was red, a semi was stopped at the light, and I attempted to apply the car┐'s brakes. As I did so, the car felt as if it was fighting my attempts to stop it. I had to keep both hands on the wheel, and I do not know if the cruise control disengaged. As I approached the semi, I pressed harder on the brakes in order to stop my vehicle. Finally with less than a car length, my car came to a full stop. With my foot still pressed firmly on the brakes, both my wife and I heard the car begin to make a high-pitched noise. I immediately put the car into ┐┐park, ┐Ł at which point the engine began to rev and I saw that the RPM gauge on the car rose to 7-8,000 RPM. At this point, I turned the car off at the ignition switch. My intent was to re-start the car and safely pull over after we proceeded through the intersection. However, at this point the light turned green and, as I restarted the car, we were hit from behind by another vehicle. On Friday, the 19th, I took my vehicle to Toyota of lewisville (tx) where they proved unable to diagnose the problem. I was contacted by a representative on 12/29/2014 who informed me that nothing would be done unless the event "replicated" or someone had been injured.

- Evansville, IN, USA

problem #8

Aug 062014

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 19,637 miles
While foot was one the brake and vehicle was stopped the engine accelerated by itself. The car lurched forward I slapped the shifter into neutral and shut the vehicle off.this has happened two other times since. I took the vehicle to the Toyota dealer the last time this occurred 9/13/14 they put it on the computer and could not detect any faults.I googled this condition and found similar complaints online.note each time this has occurred prior to the acceleration the anti skid light has come on as I was applying the brake.

- Salem, NH, USA

problem #7

Jan 132014


  • 10,000 miles


Since January 13, I have had my battery die on me 4 times (including the first time) - twice in January and the others a few months in between. It never sat for more than a few days. Brand new car end of November 2012, so it was only a year old. I think there may be some discrepancy between the battery and where you can plug in your ipod for music... that's the only thing that was 'left on'/plugged in (I checked every time). The Toyota guy said that shouldn't be issue, but nothing else makes sense. I even went to a battery specialist guy and he said something was just slowly draining and a good charge overnight would do the trick.

- Fayetteville, AR, USA

problem #6

Nov 132012

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 2,000 miles
This incident occurred on a tues nite in nov2012 at 930est. I had been playing bridge at a club house. I attempted to start car(this is a keyless ignition system)by normal procedure. Press brake, then press start button.nothing happened!I waited a few seconds, tried again, no joy. I got out to maybe hitch a ride, but all others had left. I opened and closed all doors plus thetailgate. I got back in at the car started ok. About 5 months later after attending a pizza party at walmart parking lot 3pm hot day, the problem recurred. I slammed all doors again and the car started.I don't know if slamming doors is electrically involved, maybe a time delay is the answer.the next time was on July 18 2013. Ihad been playing bridge at the clubhouse at 1pm, I finished at4pm (another hot day) the car would not start I noticed thewindows would not work, in factnothing electrical would work. Icalled my road service and they verified bat was low, they charged for just a few minutes and car started.I drove immediately to the local Toyota dealer. They could not make the problem reappear.they kept the car overnite and supposedly went overthe circuits.by the way the mileage on the car was 3947 miles and car was 14 months old!they told me to have it towed to them the next time but that's no always convenient. My 2 yr warranty expired in may of 2014 and I have had 2 additional occurrences, one in June 2014 and onein july2014. Im afraid to go on any trps out of town for fear it will happen again. I would like for Toyota to furnish me a schematic ofthe circuitry involved or provide a bypass switch so that the rf circuitry can be disabled and the car could be started like a normal car! by the way, this failure has occurred 6 times,4 times while in warranty!

- Clermont, FL, USA

problem #5

Jun 012012


  • 200 miles
Trying to use the 'hands free' feature of the bluetooth feature in the Rav4 Toyota, I ran into a curb trying to find a telephone number in the phone book. I had to purchase a new tire for over $200. And I just had the car for approx 2 or 3 days. I can't believe Toyota would even have a bluetooth feature that requires you to use the rotary tuner to find a telephone number. The salesperson told me to get a smart phone and it may help, but it did not. The bluetooth in my Rav4 is almost useless! who would design or put into a car a feature that would almost insure accidents if used as designed? I thought I was getting a bluetooth that would allow voice commands. As it is, I can only use voice commands using my phone and only talk using bluetooth. -- some hands free feature!!! my 1999 Camry had a better interface with my flip phone than my 2012 Rav4. I feel the feature was mis-represented. I have spent the last two years trying to get my samsung galaxy S3 to work with the Rav4 bluetooth. It is useless. I think Toyota should update the software or whatever is needed in my radio to get the hands-free feature more usable.

- Reading, MA, USA

problem #4

Apr 232014

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 29,718 miles
At first 3 warning lights were on where I was driving at speed around 10mph: Check, 4WD, trac off. Then suddenly I could not turn the steering wheel easily, and I realized I was loosing control of the vehicle. I made a decision to move out of the busy road and turn into a small street. This I did, but only was able to stop the car on the other side of the street. As there were no car driving on the street, I did not crash my car. After the car was stopped, I noticed that an additional warning was on: Electric powering steering system warning light. The car was towed to Toyota dealership.

- Belmont, MA, USA

problem #3

Jan 282014

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 653 miles


I drove vehicle in the morning, no indications of any steering problems. During my drive in the late afternoon, the power steering assist stopped working. I was stopped at a left turn lane and heard a faint "click" sound from below the steering wheel area at around knee level. This sound was not that of a "turn signal switch" click, it was just a "click". the engine stayed running, the eps warning light came on, the steering wheel was very hard to turn (I have carpel tunnel in my right hand), with assistance from my passenger we were able to complete the turn. We drove vehicle home without power steering and parked it. My brother-in-law came that evening to inspect for failure. Vehicle started up and power steering worked without problems. Since no eps warning light came on, he volunteered to take vehicle home to test drive until problem recurred. The dealer told him to drive the vehicle to them to have problem evaluated. He has put 500 miles on the odometer so far and problem has not recurred. He said the dealer will just give me the run around if no "hard code" is set and condition of no" power assist" is present. I am afraid of driving this vehicle now because of this problem.

- Monterey Park, CA, USA

problem #2

Mar 052012

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 305 miles
Abrupt speed changes in normal speed and cruise control, radio and clock flashing occasionally, low tire pressure constantly, damage in air conditioning.

- Antioch , TN, USA

problem #1

May 112012

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 1,100 miles
The car was parked in the driveway with the doors locked and the windows rolled up. Sometime between 10pm and 5:30am there was a fire that created enough heat to melt the coating on the front windshield and blow out the front windshield, melt the center of the dash and the area between the visors where the controls for the sunroof and interior lights were. It also caused a short in the wiring that resulted in turning on the headlights even though the switch was off. We had to disconnect the car battery to turn off the lights. Toyota did an investigation and decided that the Aurora be any baby on the dash spontaneously combusted in the middle of the night causing the fire and damage. Since there have been reports of other Toyota having problems with electrical I thought you would want to know about this case.

- Woodland, CA, USA

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