1.9M Toyota RAV4 SUVs Are Being Investigated by the US Government for This Scary Reason

The RAV4 is one of the top-selling vehicles in the United States. But these days? Toyota’s bestselling SUV is being faced with some troubling news. Because, according to sources, the U.S. government is currently investigating complaints surrounding engine compartment fires in nearly 1.9 million Toyota RAV4 SUVs.

2018 Toyota RAV4 parked
2018 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

The RAV4 is being investigated for a potential fire risk

Now, here’s the thing, this problem isn’t all that new. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it first began investigating the issue last month. It launched its investigation shortly after receiving several complaints “alleging a non-crash thermal event originating in the left side of the engine compartment” of multiple RAV4 models.

“NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has received eleven complaints and additional Early Warning Report (EWR) data alleging a non-crash thermal event originating in the left side of the engine compartment of the fourth generation (XA40 platform, Model Year 2013-2018) Toyota RAV4 vehicles.”


Unfortunately for 2013-2018 Toyota RAV4 owners, the NHTSA says that most of the incidents took place while the Toyota RAV4 was being driven. The NHTSA added, “Drivers experienced stalling prior to the thermal event in half of the instances where the vehicle was in motion.” However, the NHTSA notes that four incidents did happen after the vehicle was turned off. 

The front end of the 2018 Toyota RAV4.
2018 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

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Is the Toyota RAV4 being recalled?

Toyota RAV4 models from 2013 through 2018 haven’t been recalled. At this point, the NHTSA says that this is a ‘Preliminary Evaluation’ that 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.” Thus far, however, the NHTSA is attributing the 2013-2018 Toyota RAV4’s problem to improper battery installation. 

“Improper battery installation or prior front end collision repair was a factor in the EWR Field 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.”


As for Toyota’s reaction to the potentially bad news? Well, the NHTSA claims that the automaker is aware of the issue, which isn’t all too surprising. However, when contacted by ABC News, a Toyota spokesperson would not say whether 2013-2018 Toyota RAV4 owners should be parking their SUV outdoors until the matter is resolved. They did, however, say that the company is cooperating in the investigation. 

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Does this mean you should steer clear of this Toyota?

Now, we wouldn’t exactly recommend going out and buying a 2013-2018 Toyota RAV4 right now. So if you have your eye on a used RAV4 from those model years? You may want to hang tight while the NHTSA investigates this potential fire risk. 

But if it’s a new RAV4 that you’re after? You can rest assured knowing that this year’s model isn’t currently being included in the NHTSA’s investigation. Fortunately, this year’s new model hasn’t been faced with any recalls either.