The Worst Used Toyota RAV4 Years Have Expensive Issues

Is buying a used Toyota RAV4 worth it? This SUV has been incredibly popular for years, and it is a Toyota. That means if it’s like Toyota Tacoma or Sequoia, it should last forever. But not every Toyota RAV4 model is reliable. Some used model years could quickly turn into money pits. 

Is buying a used RAV4 worth it? 

Maybe. The 2021 Toyota RAV4 begins around $26,050, which is pretty high priced. No wonder families are looking for used options. But what’s new for the 2021 RAV4 model? Not much at all, actually.

According to Car and Driver, the 2021 model only has some new colors. Also, the plug-in hybrid Toyota RAV4 Prime joins the lineup, and the hybrid model got a new XLE trim. So, unless you want a luxurious hybrid, you can save with a used model. 

2021 RAV4 Prime
2021 RAV4 Prime | Toyota

However, let’s switch gears and head to Car Complaints to figure out which Toyota RAV4 models need to be avoided. Car Complaints allows real owners to list problems that occurred with their vehicles. Some issues are safety concerns posted by the NHTSA too. 

The 2013 Toyota RAV4 

The 2013 Toyota RAV4 seems to have collected the most complaints in the last decade. The biggest problems seem to be due to interior accessory issues.

The navigation display is apparently difficult to see. It’s impossible to use during the day. Adjusting the brightness and contrast doesn’t help. Some drivers took their Toyota RAV4 to the dealership for a software update, but that failed to correct the problem. 

2013 Toyota RAV4
2013 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

RELATED: How Reliable Is the Toyota RAV4?

Other drivers faced transmission problems with the 2013 RAV4. Their vehicles began to shake and vibrate very early on at low speeds. Then the shuttering got worse over time. When one driver went to the dealership, they were told the vehicle was operating as normal. Another driver paid $4,400 to replace the torque converter. 

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 

Wow, the 2019 Toyota RAV4 is such a recent model. You wouldn’t expect it to have a lot of issues reported yet. However, the most common issue seems to involve transmission problems. 

Along with rough shifts and transmission slippage, this Toyota RAV4 model could be prone to hesitating and lurching at slower speeds. One driver bought their RAV4 with 17,500 miles on it. They immediately noticed that the vehicle was lurching as it shifted gears, but the dealership said it was fine. 

There are a lot of brake problems reported too. One driver noticed that there was a clinking sound when they hit the brakes. It also seemed to take a few seconds to get their vehicle to come to a complete stop. 

One driver braced for impact because they hit the brakes once pedestrians stepped into the street, but their RAV4 revved instead of stopping. Luckily the pedestrians were able to move out of the way in time. 

Other drivers faced loud squealing brakes with as little as 2,000 miles on their new RAV4s. The cause of the brake problems wasn’t listed. Some dealerships claimed the RAV4s were operating as normal, leaving drivers stuck with the problem.