— A Toyota RAV4 lawsuit alleges battery defects cause the SUVs to lose electrical power, stall and catch fire. The class action lawsuit says 2013-2018 Toyota RAV4 vehicles have defects in the 12-volt B+ terminals which suffer electrical shorts to the frames that hold down the batteries.
The class action was filed by Michigan RAV4 owner Juliet Murphy who owns a 2015 Toyota RAV4 which she leased in 2015 and purchased in 2018 at the end of her lease.
In February 2020, the plaintiff says she had the RAV4 serviced at a Toyota dealership and shortly afterward noticed corrosion around the 12-volt battery and the terminals. Murphy says it interfered with the operation of the RAV4, so she replaced the battery.
"Plaintiff Murphy is concerned and fearful regarding the integrity and safety of the battery system of the Vehicle." - Toyota RAV4 class action lawsuit
The Toyota RAV4 lawsuit was filed a week after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation following 11 complaints about non-crash RAV4 fires.
NHTSA says it also received additional early warning reports concerning fires that started on the left side of the engine compartments where the 12-volt batteries are located in 2013-2018 RAV4 SUVs.
According to NHTSA, most of the fires occurred while driving, but four complaints indicate RAV4 fires occurred with the ignitions off.
Safety investigators allege the B+ battery terminals may experience electrical shorts to the frames that hold down the 12-volt batteries, causing problems with electrical power, stalling and conditions ripe for engine compartment fires.
NHTSA says improper battery installation or prior front-end collision repair was a factor in some of the fire reports.
"Despite these external influences on the battery retaining method, the overall number of vehicle fire allegations with the battery as the area of origin is larger than its peer population. This Preliminary Evaluation has been opened to better understand the contributing factors and frequency of vehicle fires originating from the battery region of the subject vehicles relative to peer vehicles." - NHTSA RAV4 investigation
According to the plaintiff, Toyota has concealed the alleged battery problems for years which has caused the RAV4s to diminish in value. The lawsuit also alleges the battery defect "materially threatens the health and safety of drivers and passengers who ride in the Class Vehicles."
The class action alleges many owners and lessees have complained to dealerships, but Toyota allegedly evades its warranty obligations by refusing to make repairs and allegedly by failing to tell customers their RAV4 SUVs are defective.
The Toyota RAV4 class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division: Murphy, v. Toyota Motor Corporation, et al.
The plaintiff is represented by Steckler Wayne Cochran Cherry PLLC, Freed Kanner London & Millen LLC, LeVan Muhic Stapleton LLC, Carlson Lynch, LLP, and McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP.