How many miles can a Toyota RAV4 last? When you’re in the market for a new or second-hand RAV4, that’s a very reasonable question to ask. After all, you’re probably looking to get the most bang for your buck. In this blog, we’ll look at this question in great detail but first, let’s start with a quick answer:
On average, a Toyota RAV4 lasts between 230.000 – 250.000 miles. A RAV4 needs to go to the garage for unscheduled repairs about 0.26 times per year, with a 10% chance of severe problems. Furthermore, RAV4 owners spend an average of $429 per year on repair costs.
We’re certainly not done. Below, we’ll explain in more detail how many miles a RAV4 can last. After that, we’ll also show you how much a RAV4 costs annually and which production years are the most and least expensive. Furthermore, we also discuss the common problems that the car can have. Read on!
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How Many Miles Can A Toyota RAV4 Last?
Today, we will analyze how many miles a Toyota RAV4 can last. We conducted in-depth research on several different platforms to answer these questions. First, we have to look at the Toyota RAV4 as a group. For this, we went to Autotrader.com to gather our sample size.
We took a pool of 17.027 Toyota RAV4 units and divided them into groups based on the miles they had already driven. The results of this research are displayed in the table below.
|Amount Of Miles||Percentage Of Cars|
|Cars With 150.000+||4.2%|
|Cars With 100.000 – 149.000||8.99%|
|Cars With 45.000 – 99.999||29.82%|
|Cars With 0 – 44.999||56.93%|
What we can see in the table above is the fact that 4.2% of RAV4s that are for sale in the United States have crossed the 150.000 miles mark. By itself, this number doesn´t say a lot. However, from writing hundreds of articles like this, we know that we expect an SUV to achieve a number between 5-7%.
Therefore, the RAV4 seems to be a slight underachiever. When numbers are lower than expected, it´s typically either because the car is relatively new or because many new units have been sold in recent years, skewing the average percentage. However, in both cases, this is not true for the RAV4.
Therefore, it initially seems the RAV4 does slightly worse than what´s expected from it. However, this is only our first data point, and further research will tell us how reliable the RAV4 is.
How Reliable Is A Toyota RAV4 Compared To Its Competitors?
Even when you see a vehicle having hundreds of thousands of miles on the gauge cluster, more proof is necessary to know for sure what you are buying is, in fact, the most reliable and long-lasting vehicle.
In the table below, we´ve displayed the expected and highest recorded mileage of different RAV4 competitors. Please keep in mind we´ve written separate articles for these vehicles as well, and therefore we´re confident in the displayed results.
|Model||Sample Size||Expected Mileage||Highest Mileage|
When we compare the RAV4 to its competition, we conclude that the RAV4 doesn´t do all that bad. In fact, it seems to be a pretty reliable vehicle all of a sudden. This is because competitors like the Tucson and the Tiguan don´t have a high expected mileage at all.
The Forester and the CX-5 have decent longevity, but the RAV4 beat all of its competition. As it turns out, compact crossover SUVs (like the RAV4 or Highlander Hybrid) can´t be compared in terms of lifespan to midsize or full-size SUVs. Instead, they should be judged more like regular cars. In that case, the RAV4 is putting up great numbers.
How Reliable Is A Toyota RAV4 Compared To Other Toyotas?
We took several Toyota models and examined their reliability based on the same data. We took the mileage numbers of these models and compared them with the mileage numbers of the Toyota RAV4.
What becomes clear from this table immediately is the fact that Toyota builds vehicles with an incredible lifespan. Typically, car brands have vehicles that last between 200.000 – 250.000 miles, and anything above that is very rare.
However, Toyota has many vehicles with an expected mileage of 250.000 or higher.
The RAV does hold up well; however, it isn´t the longest-living Toyota out there. That honor mainly goes to the trucks and larger SUVs (like the Sequoia) that Toyota sells. And, of course, the long-lasting Toyota Camry. Overall though, we have to conclude that Toyota builds vehicles with a very long lifespan, and that´s a plus for the Toyota brand.
|Model||Sample Size||Expected Mileage||Highest Mileage|
The maintenance cost must be as low as possible for a vehicle to be truly reliable. Any unreliable vehicle can achieve high mileage if money is put into the repairs. But a reliable car does not require those expensive repairs. In the table below, we´ve gathered the maintenance costs for many model years of the RAV4. This data was acquired from Repairpal and Caredge.com.
On average, we expect to pay $429 in annual maintenance costs for a Toyota RAV4. Let it be clear that this is an incredibly low number. Typically, it costs a car owner $521 per year to keep a compact SUV like the RAV4 on the road. Therefore, the RAV4 is almost $100 cheaper yearly than its competition.
What´s also interesting to see in the table is the fact that all model years that are five years or older have very consistent annual maintenance costs. None of them go over $500 per year, and this indicates that no model years are problematic in such a way that owners had to pay extraordinary amounts to fix them.
|Model Year||Annual Maintenance Cost|
Owners’ Reviews Of The Toyota RAV4 Reliability
Besides knowing all the data, it’s, of course, also essential to see how owners experience the RAV4. For this, we went to Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, and Cars.com. All three platforms have gathered hundreds of reviews from actual car owners. We summarized our findings in the image below.
What´s worrying about these ratings is that they´re poorer than we´ve seen so far in any other vehicle. Especially the ratings on Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book let us know multiple things that displease owners.
The main one is that the RAV4 provides a very noisy ride with poor handling. The other point is that the build quality seems to be also lacking. The quote below sums up the 2019 – 2021 owners´ experiences quite well.
Vehicle is too light for snow covered roads. Looks nice but too many low price parts result in noisy ride and low quality feel. The added safety features are nice but actual feel and ride are not impressive. I would rate the feel and ride at 1 star. Based on this over priced vehicle I would not recommend it over other market AWD.Source, 2021 owner
However, it´s essential to know that the 2022 model year did receive a refresh and that this model’s ratings seem to be better so far. However, the future will tell if things remain like that. For now, this generation doesn´t seem to be the vehicle people want.
Toyota RAV4 Common Problems
Besides knowing the factors we´ve already discussed, it´s also vital to understand the common problems the RAV4 has had throughout the generations. This gives us a complete understanding of the vehicle as a whole. If you want to read more about the problems of the Hybrid RAV4, check out this article we wrote on that.
NOTE: Before buying a used car, I always like to make sure the vehicle isn´t having any problems that you should be aware of. The easiest way to do this is by buying an OBD2 scanner. These scanners can easily be plugged into any car you’re interested in, and they’ll give you a rundown of potential problems.
Fifth generation (2019 – Present)
First of all, there´s the fifth generation of the RAV4. As we saw earlier, the ratings of this model aren´t that good. Looking at the list of problems and recalls, we start to understand why that is. This model year doesn´t only have quite a few problems; many are pretty severe, leading to many problems for owners.
Failing Fuel Pump
2019 – 2020 RAV4 hybrids were recalled because a failing low-pressure fuel pump caused many problems for owners. The most noticeable issue of this defect was engine stalling and a loss of power. Even after the recall (recall number 20V682000), owners experienced the same problems, so it seems Toyota replaced the fuel pump with another defective one. Definitely, something to watch out for.
Cracked Engine Block
Toyota recalled a number of its hybrid models, including the 2019 – 2020 RAV4, for cracks in the engine block. Coolant leaking through these cracks could cause engine stalling, leading to accidents and crashes. Other issues experienced by the coolant leak could be internal mechanical damage and overheating shown by engine smoke or noise.
A recall was made for failing suspensions in 2019 and 2020 RAV4s, including RAV4 hybrids. The suspensions might fail because the front arms could come loose due to a manufacturing defect that made the arms weaker than required. Another likely cause of failing suspension might be rough driving habits.
Deformed Fuel Tank
Many consumers complained that they were unable to fill their fuel tanks completely. This problem started in the 2019 model, which has a fuel capacity of 14.5 gallons but, in most cases, is unable to store more than 11 gallons.
This dramatically drops the advertised 580 miles range by 140 miles or more, regardless of the type of fuel you’re using. Toyota is aware of the issue and states that it is caused by a defective fuel tank shape that prevents a full refill. Toyota has now rectified this problem by changing the shape of the fuel tanks in the latest models.
Loss Of Stability Control And Brake Assist
Toyota’s 2019 RAV4 was recalled to fix the loss of stability control and brake assist. Stability control uses some components from ABS and Traction Control systems to prevent the vehicle from skidding, and brake assist helps fully activate brakes in an emergency. With these systems failing, the likelihood of severe or fatal injuries due to collisions increases significantly. It´s essential to know these issues already occurred in the 2017 – 2018 models but that only the 2019 one received a recall.
Furthermore, owners of the 2019 RAV4 complained about a buzzing noise coming from the front transfer case. Toyota didn´t issue a recall for this, but it was a technical service bulletin. In the bulletin, Toyota stated that this problem was caused by the electromagnetic clutch shifting from 2WD to 4WD in some models of the RAV4.
Fourth Generation (2013 – 2018)
Disastrous Electrical System
One of the most complained about problems throughout the whole generation is that the electrical system is a minor disaster. Specifically, the entire generation suffers from random electrical shorts that unexpectedly make the car lose all power.
What´s causing this has never been determined. Mechanics and dealers will always first look at the battery, but the battery seems to be completely fine in many cases. This makes us wonder if there´s something wrong with the electrical wiring or the wiring harness, but this has never been confirmed. This is certainly a large issue that hasn´t been addressed by Toyota at all.
Loss Of Braking Power
Another commonly complained about aspect of the RAV4 for the whole generation is a sudden loss of braking power. Owners complain about wanting to stop the vehicle and the brakes not engaging at all or feeling spongy. This is most likely a problem caused by the master brake cylinder; however, Toyota didn´t recall the vehicles or even issue a technical service bulletin.
Power Steering Loss
Many 2014 – 2015 models suffered from a complete and sudden loss in power steering. This was caused because the electric power steering (EPS) electronic control unit (ECU) may have been damaged during the manufacturing process. Toyota issued a recall for the 2014 model year (15V144000), but they didn´t for the 2015 model year, and owners had to get this fixed themselves.
Three issues plague the exterior lighting of 2016 – 2019 models. The first one is that the automatic high beam system doesn´t function properly, and it randomly engages and disengages, and, as you can imagine, this causes hazardous situations.
For the same model years, the second problem is that many owners have had to replace their headlights and taillights multiple times. Often, this is already the case for very young vehicles.
The third and final problem is the fact that the illumination of the headlights is poor in general. Owners have complained extensively about poor side and high-beam illumination and not having a way to adjust this.
The first two problems are most likely caused by the faulty wiring we reported earlier, and the latter problem is simply a design flaw inherent to this generation of the RAV4.
Is a Toyota RAV4 A Smart Buy?
Finally, we have to answer the question of whether or not the RAV4 is a vehicle that´s worth buying. Looking at the potential mileage the car can get, we see that this is more than sufficient. We expect a RAV4 to last around 240.000 miles which is higher than all of its direct competitors.
Furthermore, Toyota is a brand that´s known for building long-lasting vehicles. This is also reflected in the average annual maintenance costs for the RAV4, which are much lower than we would expect to see.
However, things go downhill quickly from there for the RAV4. The owners’ ratings of the current generation aren´t good at all. The driveability of the RAV4, as well as the way the vehicle is designed in some areas, makes many owners less than satisfied.
Furthermore, the last two generations have had a whole range of complaints that continued throughout the generations. The main pain points are engine stalling caused by cracks in the engine or a faulty fuel pump, and the electrical system caused too much annoyance.
Overall, it does seem like the RAV4 is a vehicle that has a long lifespan, but it doesn’t seem to get there easily. For this reason, it´s probably better to look at alternatives in the market before looking at a RAV4.
Are you in the market for this Toyota? Don’t forget to check out our extensive list of the largest Toyota dealers per state!
Toyota RAV4 Maintenance Schedule
To keep your Toyota Rav4 free of all those repair needs, you must show dedication to the maintenance schedule. If you keep a regular maintenance tab, you will never be stranded on the road due to some mechanical issue.
Most manufacturers suggest a maximum of 10,000-mile interval for the engine oil replacement, but it is better if you keep it at 5000 miles. It is even better if you change it before 5000 miles; the sweet spot is at 4000 miles. It costs a bit more on the oil, but it will save you significant engine repairs later. Further maintenance includes:
- Oil filter replacement
- Tire rotation
- Brakes inspection
- Inspecting all the fluid levels
- Lubrication where needed
- Cabin air filter replacement
- Brake oil inspection and replacement if necessary
- Inspect the underside of the vehicle; if there is rust, carry out the rust prevention treatment
- Inspect the brake pads, rotors, and calipers
- Recalibrate the system to remove any bugs
- Replace the transmission oil to keep this long-lasting transmission running
- Replace the brake pads if they are worn out
- Replace the rotors and calipers if required
- Replace the brake fluid
- Examine the engine with a scanner tool, and see if it has any codes
- Examine the suspension components and replace the worn-out parts with new ones
- Inspec the steering system
- Inspect the PCV system for any leaks
- Examine the exhaust system
- Replace the spark plugs
- Clean the fuel pump and see if the fuel injectors are clogged
- Replace all the fluids in your Toyota Rav4
- Having it detailed will remove the dirt from those crevices that might start rusting if the dirt is not removed. Plus, you will have a fresh-looking Toyota Rav4 ready to go on a cruise.
Hi! My name is Stefan; I’m the owner and lead writer at TheDriverAdviser.com.
I’m an active writer on this blog myself, as well as a novice car mechanic. For the really technical stuff, I find writers with experience as a mechanic or who have studied mechanical engineering.
Read more about our fantastic team on our about page!