Flame-Engulfed 2018 Toyota RAV4 Is Indicative of Electrical System Problems

When it comes to purchasing reliable vehicles, people want the best for their money. The Toyota RAV4 often comes up as one of the best choices you can make because of the automaker and its reputation

CarComplaints.com, however, has a few posts reported from the NHTSA from owners that experienced some electrical issues resulting in a fire within the vehicle. What happened and will it affect sales of this model?

What was the big deal with the 2018 Toyota RAV4?

One owner drove off the dealer parking lot with a brand-new 2018 model of the Toyota RAV4. They hadn’t gotten far when, all of a sudden, the cabin started filling up with black smoke. 

They pulled over and got out of the car just in time for flames to break out and start destroying the vehicle. The owner, unfortunately, had to watch the SUV burn up while they waited for the emergency services to arrive to put out the fire. 

Because the vehicle was purchased right before the fire, there were no miles noted on it. No physical injuries or death took place, but it was pretty traumatizing to watch your hard-earned money burn up on the side of the road.  

Was that the only instance, and what could’ve caused it?

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Car Complaints had two other listings describing the same kind of fire. One incident happened when an owner drove the vehicle down the road. They noticed the 4WD warning light displayed on the dash, and smoke began rolling out from under the hood. So, they pulled over immediately to the side of the road. 

Before they came to a complete stop, however, flames started shooting out. The driver was barely able to escape. The emergency services were called to put out the fire, but before they could stop the flames, two explosions occurred in the vehicle. 

The second incident happened while the vehicle sat on the street during the night. It had been parked there for over 12 hours when, for no reason, the SUV broke out in flames. While firefighters were trying to put out the fire, the vehicle exploded, knocking over one of the firemen. 

In the second incident, investigators from the firefighting team and Toyota evaluated the situation. Both felt the cause was due to an electrical wiring issue, but the problem couldn’t be pinpointed because of the amount of damage done to the vehicle from the fire and explosion. 

What’s even more interesting is that a few other complaints mentioned their Toyota RAV4 also had electrical problems. But, they were able to determine the cause to be the wiring harnesses in the vehicle. They were made of food-based materials, which attract rodents and squirrels that will ultimately chew on them. Toyota was sued over this issue before.

What can you expect with the 2018 Toyota RAV4?

This model came with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that generated 176 hp. As far as fuel economy, the RAV4 did pretty well with this model year. On city roads, you could expect to get around 23 mpg. When you go out onto the highway, you could get around 30 mpg. If you chose the hybrid, you could get 32 mpg combined.

The 2018 model was the first year it offered a few off-roading amenities. Two of the more popular items were its all-wheel drivetrain and its 6.1-inch ground clearance to give it a taller ride. 

Other features included hill-start control and all-terrain driving modes, which help you drive in snow, mud, and even gravel. Some reviewers, like Cars.com really liked the way this model handled the road, its comfortability, its exterior styling, and its performance. 

The 2018 Toyota RAV4 is a good choice for a used SUV. Keep in mind, though, that a few owners experienced some horrific fires with their vehicles. All three incidents, noted on Car Complaints, had only a few miles, so hopefully, if you find a used one with a few thousand on the mileage meter, you won’t end up in the same boat.