Print this page Notes: The 2013 RAV4's top complaint is that the navigation screen is impossible to see in direct sunlight.

While certainly an annoyance, it's not a big deal in the world of car problems. Luckily the fix is a $10 anti-glare screen cover.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
6,150 miles
Total Complaints:
10 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (10 reports)
2013 Toyota RAV4 AC / heater problems

AC / heater problem

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2013 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #10

Jul 302015

RAV4 Limited 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,500 miles


I'm having the exact same issue with the stench coming from the vents. Even if I turn off my A/C the odor still seeps in. I just scheduled service to have it checked out, but now I'm totally discouraged. I thought that maybe it was the air filter but I was told it shouldn't need to be replaced at 10K miles. I'm already regretting my purchase. I'll update after they tell me they can't fix it.

- bxcitykitty, Mount Vernon, NY, US

problem #9

Aug 152013

RAV4 XLE 2.8L 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles

Terrible musty urine like smell comes from air vents. AC is really bad, but the smell is always there. I mentioned it to my Toyota dealer and he said "no big deal" just drive it more. I am now at 3,000 miles and it is getting worse. What a pain: Toyota get a fix or replace the RAV4 with a newer one that does not smell. Can't believe Toyota is so lax in this area. I may trade in for a Honda, or Subaru if this continues much longer.

- Ellis B., Vancouver, WA, US

problem #8

Jul 012014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,000 miles

After I turn off the air condition and restart the car after about 30 minutes or so, I would get this Stinky and Moldy smell from vents of my 2013 Rav4 Limited.

Went to the dealership and they did was spray disinfectant and replace the Cabin Air Filter. The car smelled really really bad for about 4 to 5 days I had to drive with my windows open. I was told to turn off my air conditioning 5-10 minutes before I reach my destination.

Now If i turn the defrost (change the air to my wind shield) I guess automatically air conditions turns on to pump dry air to remove the moisture from the wind shield. So again its starting to get cold and I can not use my defrost! WTF I will not risk my or my families lives on this stupid system.

I called the main Toyota customer service (1800-331-4331) according to them its known issue with 2004 - 2014 models and only thing they can do is mail me the bulletin OR take it in for another disinfection but NO FIX. If i will keep on having this issue then I DON'T WANT THIS CAR / REFUND MY DAMN MONEY I will not keep on getting this issue fix again and again....

Time I lose from work is costing me $$$ Fixing it costing me $$$ WTF IS 2 YEAR WARRANTY IS FOR? oil changes?

Update from Jun 9, 2020: This problem had continued and I eneded up trading the vechile in for another one. According to Toyota these are the other models from 2010-2014 that were affected by the same moldy smell.

4Runner, Avalon, Avalon HV, Camry, Camry HV, Corolla, FJ Cruiser, Highlander, Highlander HV, Land Cruiser, Matrix, Prius, Prius C, Prius PHV, Prius V, RAV4, Sequoia, Sienna, Tundra, Venza, Yaris

- sonu222, kino, MD, US

problem #7

Aug 222014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,000 miles


Glad to know I am not the only one who is having this problem. Took mine to the Toyota dealer today and they cleaned the system with a disinfectant. Service manager personally called Toyota direct on my behalf and inquired on a fix for the problem for rav 4. He was told that they are working on a fix for the problem.

- Kerry H., Topeka, KS, US

problem #6

May 172014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 4,000 miles

The car’s AC system has developed a bad odor when you first start up the car. I have sprayed Lysol disinfectant in the vents, in both the intake ones outside of the car as well as the output ones inside the car. I have also replaced the ac filter and sprayed Lysol in the fan area to try and remove the smell, but nothing has worked. The smell is only temporarily covered up until the Lysol evaporates.

- Lazaro H., Enterprise, AL, US

problem #5

Apr 122013

RAV4 XL 2.5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,000 miles

My RAV4 has a terrible smell of exhaust fumes from outside the vehicle or from my vehicle itself it smells inside from the AC/heater. Very disappointing and hazardous. Brought to Service Center twice but was never fixed.

- ravy2013, Maple Ridge, BC, canada

problem #4

Aug 302013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,500 miles


I had exactly the same experience as the owner with previous complaints.

When the car is started the moldy smell is very strong. It is getting worse as temperature rises.

No solution from the dealer.

- Qicheng Y., Lexington, MA, US

problem #3

Aug 122013

RAV4 Limited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 7,456 miles

Disgusting sour/moldy smell from vents of brand new 2013 Rav4 Limited.

Already took it twice to dealership and all they did was spray "disinfectant". Now instead of smelling like 500 wet, dirty socks, it smells like 500 wet, dirty socks doused in chemicals. The smell was so bad I almost threw up.

I've been told to turn off my air conditioning 5 minutes before I reach my destination to solve the problem. First of all: why should I have to? The car is supposed to have automatic climate control, but now I have to sit in the heat for the last 5 minutes of the my drive?? "Open your windows", they tell me. Wow, I'm glad I bought the Limited edition so I can't use the A/C and should just open my windows. SECONDLY: It didn't help anyways!! It's getting to be winter now, and it still smells bad, even without the A/C.

As far as I can see, there does not seem to be a solution except to sell the car at a huge loss.

- Roz T., Edmonton, AB, canada

problem #2

Sep 022013

RAV4 Limited 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,700 miles

Glad to see we are not the only ones having this terrible musty moldy smell when we start the car when the air conditioning comes on. We took it to the dealership and they actually gave us something that states that some models may have this issue. ???? Really??? They said that we needed to make sure the recirculation button was turned off when we turn off the car. Now I have seen that others with this problem are getting no results from Toyota when complaining about this problem, I guess we need to emphasize the safety and medical issues that can become even more problematic for people (like myself) who have allergies and asthma conditions. Now I am not one of those wienies that have all these medical issues and I don't consider myself a bitch, but I cannot believe a company would chance their reputation over a problem like this. We will see how tomorrow goes when our salesman gets involved. And if that does not work then maybe I forward all these complaints to yahoo news, Google, or one of those other sites that are just looking for some company to trash about their faulty products. Or maybe we just take the step to sue them over these moldy allergy enhancers.

Update from Sep 17, 2013 The big deal about this is HEALTH ISSUES. You cant sell a house with why should they be allowed to sell a vehicle that has this problem??

- milleca, Chillicothe, IL, US

problem #1

Aug 162013


  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,915 miles

Dealer sprayed deoderiser into the air intake? The smell is getting worse. They don't seem to have a solution.

Word is that this is some type of gas being produced by something deteriorating in the ventilation system

Update from Feb 18, 2015: Dealer is no help on this issue and although the vehicle is under full warranty won't proceed any further unless i pay for the labor. There only suggestion is spraying a deoderiser which only lasted 2 days

- Robert S., Edmonton, Alberta, canada

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