2020 Toyota RAV4 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Fuel system, steering, and engine issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The 2020 Toyota RAV4 is an SUV that continues to gain popularity among enthusiasts. Even the automaker claims that you can use this vehicle to “seek out the adventure in every day,” but owners are finding that the adventure isn’t worth the cost. This SUV tends to suffer from a faulty engine, defective steering and suspension systems, a glitchy electrical system and trouble with the fuel system.

Click on other model year to view more problems:  2019   2021   2022   2023

Problems with the Engine

Arguably, one of the most vital components of any vehicle is the engine. If this part isn’t working right, driving can become miserable.

That’s what is seen with this Edmunds review. “Known problem with Mass Air Flow Sensor. Had Rav4 one day after driving home from dealer. Check Engine Lite Return To Dealer came on 40 hours after owning car. Towed to nearest Toyota Dealer. Told by service rep this is a known problem, no part in stock. Engineers trying to figure out why. Been in dealer service dept longer than in my driveway. Told could be weeks or months.”

No new car owner wants their vehicle to sit in the shop longer than at their home – what a disappointment. However, there are even bigger issues occurring with the engine on the RAV4. NHTSA Campaign Number 20V064000 states that these vehicles suffer from an engine coolant leak. This is a problem with more than 40,000 vehicles. If the coolant leaks, it can cause the vehicle to stall or start an engine fire because of damage to the motor. To repair the problem, Toyota must replace the engines due to cracks in the castings that are allowing fluids to leak. This is an expensive problem that never should have occurred and certainly causes many owners to undergo an “adventure” they don’t want.

2020 Toyota RAV4 Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
Fuel/propulsion System
Unknown Or Other
Power Train
Air Bags
Service Brakes
Vehicle Speed Control

Steering Issues

The next major issue seems to be occurring within the steering system.

Another Edmunds customer states, “With the steering issues – what I have noticed that the car will randomly veer to one side or another as if a tire is flat or the alignment is out. Fun fact – when I bought the care it was out of alignment in the front end! I have now had two alignments done on the vehicle and it is STILL happening. I drive flat roads and haven’t even hit pot holes to cause that to go out of alignment. Lane keep assist randomly tried to jerk me off the lane one day while driving on the interstate (brand new pavement and lines with nothing else for the computer to track – almost got in a wreck because of that) – I was holding the wheel and it just jerked hard to the right out of my hand. Still trying to figure all this out, two dealerships haven’t been able to figure out why this is happening.”

Sadly, there is yet another recall related to this system. NHTSA Campaign Number 20V373000 states that water could enter through the power steering gear box cover leading to a loss of power steering assist. If this occurs, owners need to use additional force to try and control the vehicle. Hopefully, owners have been working out their upper bodies in preparation for this event.

Don’t be stuck with a lemon. You have legal rights to cash, return or buyback.

The law makes Toyota pay legal fees.

We've fixed thousands of lemon problems. Message or call 877-795-3666 today.

Problems with the Suspension

Along with the steering system, the suspension is also vital to creating a safe ride.

Here is one NHTSA complaint worth mentioning. “The contact owns a 2020 Toyota RAV4. The contact stated that upon purchasing the vehicle, the power steering was loose and became difficult to maneuver the vehicle while driving at various speeds. She also stated that the steering wheel pulled to the left while driving at various speeds. The vehicle was taken to [dealership] on three occasions where the alignment was adjusted. However, the failure persisted. The contact then took the vehicle to[dealership] where the vehicle was diagnosed with a missing front toe link. The vehicle was repaired however, the failure persisted. She then took the vehicle back to [dealership] for the second time where the mechanic manually adjusted the steering wheel. However, the failure persisted. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. Upon investigation, the contact linked her failure to NHTSA Campaign Number 20V286000 (Suspension). However, the VIN was not included. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 60.”

The recall being referenced talks about the front lower suspension arms having cracks, which can result in the arms separating from the front wheel assembly. If this occurs, the vehicle can lose complete control, leaving occupants in danger of having an accident. It’s just one more “adventure” that owners face every time they get behind the wheel of the RAV4.

Electrical System Problems

In every system on a vehicle, the electrical system is running in the background keeping everything going. Even with the features inside the cabin, the electrical system must be top-notch, but that’s not the case.

One Edmunds claim states “The JBL premium sound upgrade is a big failure. The connection does not work. Most irritating is the system looses its memory when the car is started causing it to forget all presets. Toyota has been waiting for three months for an upgrade to fix this. A known problem that they will not inform customers about?  Irritating at a minimum. It’s a lemon at this point.”

According to Service Bulletin #T-SB-0146-19_Rev owners are complaining about numerous problems. There could be flashing screens, a “Destination Assist Unavailable” message, intermittent blank screen, disconnecting Bluetooth, trouble with radio playback and an inability to answer calls while connected. If the manufacturer is acknowledging all of these problems, just imagine what really is occurring. Sitting in the RAV4 is an “adventure” in itself.

Problems with the Fuel System

Finally, a deeper look at the fuel system on the RAV4 also reveals some major malfunctions.

Another Edmunds review reveals, “After purchasing  this xle premium,  on the way home from the dealership, the check engine light came on accompanied by a slight bump in the power delivery.  About 25 miles on the odometer.  It was returned the next day where it has been in the shop ever since (over 3 weeks and counting) awaiting parts.  It was diagnosed as a bad O2 sensor but there are none available anywhere in the US right now.”

Among the fuel system issues, Service Bulletin #T-TT-0581-19_Rev states that some vehicles are equipped with a faulty gauge that reads less than full, even when it has been filled. While this isn’t a major issue, it’s important that customers know how much fuel is inside their SUV. Of course, the thrill of the mystery must also be added to the list of “adventures.”

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Toyota pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

Leave a Reply or Comment

Write a comment below to share online. Or, instead you can to our legal team.

Please select your star rating.

Briefly describe your experience Briefly describe your experience

What’s your name? What’s your name?

What’s your phone number? Please enter a valid phone number

Want to know if you could sue? Get a free legal evaluation from Lemberg Law?

Get Your No-Obligation
Case Evaluation

Send a secure message to our legal team.

What’s your name? What’s your name?
What’s your email address? What’s your email address?
What’s your phone number? What’s your phone number?
Briefly describe the problem Briefly describe the problem
Confidentiality Guarantee: We keep your information completely confidential and will not send you spam or sell your information.
By submitting above, I agree to the privacy policy and terms and consent to be contacted by an agent via phone call or text message at the phone number(s) listed above, including wireless number(s).