Toyota RAV4 problems (2013–2018) Mk4 (XA40) – Buyers Guide

Toyota RAV4 problems: The Toyota RAV4 made from 2013 to 2018 was the fourth generation of the highly popular crossover SUV. The fourth generation is also known under its codename, the XA40. If you ever wondered what RAV4 means, wonder no more. RAV4 stands for “Recreational Active Vehicle with 4-wheel-drive”. And it is exactly what it promises to be. It is spacious enough for camping trips with your family, has enough ground clearance and a reliable 4WD system to wander off the road and it is safe and reliable. Just like any car on the market, it has its problems and complaints. Here is what we have found out by reading forum threads and reading many owners’ reviews.

Toyota RAV4 problems and major faults

  • There are really not a lot of major faults, the biggest would be the RAV4s automatic transmission issue that occurs on the U760E/U760F transmission. The transmission delays the engagement into the reverse gear which is a result of a worn-out valve and sleeve on the valve body of the transmission. The repair is not that difficult so it is nothing to be afraid of.
  • Toyota also extended the warranty for all claims of a shuddering transmission at lower speeds (25-50mph). There was a problem with the automatic transmissions torque converter. Make sure that this part has either been replaced or that no shuddering is present! Not a cheap repair.
  • There were no other specific major faults with none of the engines it the fourth generation of the 2013-2018 RAV4. The diesel engine and the petrol engine were all perfect.
  • From 2015 to 2017 the RAV4 might experience fuel leaks. This was admitted by Toyota. Contact your dealer if you detect this issue (smell of fuel). The dealership will have to inspect the low-pressure return hose if there is a problem.
  • Certain 2.2 D4D diesel engines were prone to excessive oil consumption. These were only offered outside of the US.

Minor faults

  • All XA40 RAV4s are prone to water pump failures. The failure is not sudden so be on the lookout for any coolant leaks under the car or in the engine bay. Any mechanic should be able to spot a water pump leak at your regular oil replacement service. If there are any leaks, replace the 100$ water pump before it leaves you stranded or with an overheated engine.
  • On European diesel variants, there are common issues with weak exhaust bolts. If you notice any exhaust rattle, contact your dealer to issue a recall service.
  • Some models made between 8 October 2015 and 13 December 2017 had problems with loose fuel injectors. Toyota issued a recall.
toyota xa40 rear

Body and interior problems

  • Owners report that the paint on the 2013-2018 Toyota RAV4 (XA40) chips very easily which is not something you want to experience on an off-road vehicle. This is one of the major 2013-2018 Toyota RAV4 problems, exterior wise.
  • Automotive media and owners often complain about the poor interior materials that push the fourth-generation RAV4 below the competition.
  • Many owners complain about the poor screen visibility of the navigation/infotainment unit. You can buy an aftermarket shade to avoid the excessive daylight glare that causes the problem.

Electronic problems

  • A magnitude of owners is reporting that the 2014 model year of the RAV4 experiences issues with the infotainment system. If the car is out of warranty, the cost of a new unit is enormous (1000+$). Many owners decided to install a 2DIN aftermarket unit. Be aware that you might lose the steering wheel controls if you do not buy a compatible unit.

Frequently asked questions

Is the 2013-2018 Toyota RAV4 (XA40) a reliable car?

It most certainly is. Owners and Consumer Reports are reporting very few major faults and other problems. It is one of the most reliable crossover SUVs on the used car market right now.

Does the 2013-2018 Toyota RAV4 (XA40) have a timing belt or chain?

All the RAV4 models and engines are equipped with a timing chain. There are no reported issues with the timing chain so they should last plenty of miles.

Does the 2013-2018 Toyota RAV4 have a CVT transmission?

In some cases, yes. Toyota did offer the Multidrive S automatic CVT transmission in some models. Make sure to avoid the Multidrive S transmission if you do not wish to have CVT automatic transmission.

Does the 2013 Toyota RAV4 have a backup camera?

Yes, the 2013-2018 RAV4 had the backup camera as an optional feature.

When did the 2013-2018 Toyota RAV4 receive a facelift?

The 2013 Toyota RAV4 received a facelift or a body change in 2015 for the 2016 model year. The body changes delivered new LED front and rear lights, an updated speedometer design that featured a full-color multi-information screen.

2013 toyota rav 4 interior

Toyota RAV4 Problems (2013-2018): Conclusion and recommendation

Would we recommend the 2013-2018 Toyota RAV4? Yes, we definitely would! And so would many of the owners. The 2AR-FE 4-cylinder petrol engine that was offered in the USA is one of the best Toyota petrol engines and so are all the engines (petrol and diesel) offered in the European version of the 2013 RAV4. The AWD system in the 2013 RAV4 was optional but it was light and performed well. While this is not a hardcore off-roader it is still capable enough to beat a decent amount of rough terrain. Having an AWD does bring up some more maintenance costs but at the end of the day, you can expect the reliability and longevity of a Toyota. You can get these cars fairly new with low mileage but we recommend that you always buy a car with a clear service history.

Check out our other buyers’ guides here!

About The Author