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A Toyota is supposed to be very safe and very reliable, and that’s generally true of the RAV4 too. In fact, like many other Toyotas, the RAV4 recently got the coveted “Top Safety Pick+” award. But even a Toyota can have issues, and that’s especially true of the 2008 RAV4.

The 2008 Toyota RAV4’s most common problem

Like other Toyotas in this era, such as the Camry, one of the most common problems that the 2008 RAV4 had was that its engine consumed an excessive amount of oil. Just like the Camry in that same era, 2008 RAV4s started drinking a lot of oil after the SUV was old enough.

As owners on Car Complaints said, after the 2008 RAV4 hit about 100,000 miles, the engine just started guzzling oil. The cost to fix this was very high, as the average cost for repairs was about $3,300.

However, that’s not including the extra oil that owners had to buy before they got their RAV4s repaired. The cost of that extra oil will be significant given how much oil the 2008 RAV4 ate up.

The 2008 RAV4’s most serious problems

While this oil issue hurt people’s wallets a lot, the 2008 RAV4 had more serious problems. Like the Camry and the Corolla from that era, the 2008 RAV4 had serious safety issues that simply plagued Toyota in those years. 

These safety issues affected multiple areas of the RAV4, and that’s why they were so common and so problematic. Chief among these issues was the fact that the RAV4, like the Camry and the Corolla, would accelerate suddenly by itself. Then, sometimes, the brakes wouldn’t work as well as advertised, and that would cause some accidents. 

Fortunately for RAV4 owners, these safety issues weren’t as common or as deadly as they were on the Camry. That said, Car Complaints does say that people have died due to these problems.

Car Complaints says that about 20 crashes were caused by the 2008 RAV4’s acceleration issues and that nine people were injured as a result of them. Unfortunately, one person died from this issue as well. 

Unlike the oil consumption issue, these safety issues were happening to newer RAV4s. The average mileage of the RAV4s that had this acceleration problem was about 34,000 miles, according to Car Complaints.

Another common safety issue that the 2008 RAV4 had was with its airbags. Unlike the acceleration problem, these airbag issues were happening on RAV4s that had over 100,000 miles on them. There were various issues with the airbags as well. Some owners said that the airbags simply failed to deploy, and others said that the airbags deployed suddenly while the RAV4 was resting. That said, while Car Complaints says that 10 people were injured due to the airbag issues, nobody died as a result of them.

Terrible for a Toyota, but still pretty good 

While the 2008 RAV4 is easily the worst model year of the SUV, both Consumer Reports and Car Complaints still liked it anyways. In fact, Car Complaints gave the 2008 RAV4 a “Seal of Pretty Good,” which sums up how Toyota lovers feel about it. For a Toyota, the 2008 RAV4 is terrible. But compared to most other automakers’ cars, it’s still decent. 

Consumer Reports says similarly. Even though Consumer Reports cited similar issues with the 2008 RAV4’s handling, it still says that the 2008 RAV4 is the best 2008 SUV in terms of reliability. In fact, Consumer Reports still recommends the 2008 RAV4 to consumers. But again, there are simply better model years of the RAV4 to look at.