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Toyota RAV4 FAQ

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Archive-name: autos/toyota-faq/RAV4
URL: http://www.ralphb.net/RAV4FAQ.html
Copyright: (c) 1997-2001 by Ralph Becker, All Rights Reserved
Posting-frequency: monthly (15th of the month)
Last-modified: 17 April 2001

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Toyota RAV4 FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

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Subject: Table of Contents 0.0 - Disclaimer 1.0 - Finding Out About the RAV4 1.1 What's So Great About the RAV4? 1.2 Online Sources 1.2.1 WWW 1.2.2 RAV4 Mailing Lists 1.2.3 Usenet Newsgroups 1.3 Phone Numbers 1.4 Toyota-Supplied Information 1.5 What does "RAV" stand for? 2.0 - Buying a RAV4 2.1 Pricing 2.2 Dealer Information 2.2.1 How do I find a dealer in my area? 2.2.2 What about a buying service? 2.3 Miscellaneous Questions 2.3.1 Any good general sources of information for new owners? 2.3.2 What does the VIN mean? 2.3.3 Is the RAV4 safe? 2.3.4 Can I order a RAV4 with only the options I want? 2.3.5 Where do I get one of those cute little paper RAV4 models? 2.3.6 What's new about the 2000/2001 models? 2.4 How does the RAV4 compare to the competition? 3.0 - Keeping Your RAV4 Happy (: 3.1 General 3.1.1 How do I "break in" my new RAV4? 3.1.2 When should I change the oil the first time? 3.1.3 How does the Four Wheel Drive (4WD) system work? 3.1.4 What should I expect when Anti-Lock Brakes engage? 3.1.5 How can I keep from getting a shock when I exit my RAV4? 3.1.6 What should the fuel economy (Miles per Gallon) be? 3.1.7 What kind of fuel should I use? 3.1.8 How much gas can I put in my RAV? 3.1.9 Is my Fuel Gauge Inaccurate? 3.1.10 Is brake noise normal? 3.1.11 What size are the tires? 3.1.12 At what pressure should I keep the tires? 3.1.13 What should I buy to replace my worn tires? 3.1.14 Why doesn't my factory jack lift the vehicle off the ground? 3.1.15 What are the ECT and OD buttons on my automatic transmission for? 3.1.16 Why does the A/C come on when I use the defroster? 3.2 Maintenance and Modifications 3.2.1 What kind of parts can I get to modify my RAV4? 3.2.2 What is a K&N filter and what will it do for my RAV4? 3.2.3 Should I use an oil additive, like Slick 50? 3.2.4 Why is my gas pedal sticking? 3.2.5 How do I change my front brake pads? 3.2.6 How can I improve the stereo in my RAV4? 3.2.7 What size speakers does the RAV4 take? 3.2.8 Can I remove the rear seats to make more room? 3.2.9 How can I carry bikes with my RAV4? 3.2.10 Why won't my dual sunroof RAV4 2DR rear sunroof stay open? 3.2.11 Can I disable the passenger's side airbag? 3.2.12 Can I add a remote to my RS3000 security system? 3.2.13 What should I use to wash & wax my RAV4? 3.2.14 How can I touch up scratches/chips on my RAV4? 3.2.15 How do I get Wax off the Cladding? Copyright Notice and Distribution Permission
Subject: 0.0) Disclaimer All the information contained in this document is provided for the convenience of current and prospective RAV4 owners. All information is accurate as well as can be reasonably verified. There are no guarantees or warranties stated or implied through the distribution of this information. Use the information in this document at your own risk, and no liability shall be given to the author(s), owner(s), or provider(s). Any damage or loss is the sole responsibility of the owner of the vehicle.
Subject: 1.0) Finding Out About the RAV4
Subject: 1.1) What's So Great About the RAV4? The Toyota RAV4s are Toyota's entry in the small Sport-Utility Vehicle (SUV) market. They appeared at dealers in the US in February 1996. They have received many favorable reviews and have a combination of economy, sporty feel, and attractive styling. Here are some opinions from the RAV4 mailing list: Advantages: * Toyota reliability * Good fuel economy * Good light-duty off-road capability * Good handling; sporty, car-like feel * Aftermarket part & accessory availability * Distinctive styling Disadvantages: * Purchase price * Engine noise * Lack of Engine Power * Fragile front and rear bumpers * Expensive to repair body damage * Inaccessible cup holders (improved for '98) * Distinctive styling
Subject: 1.2) Online Sources
Subject: 1.2.1) World Wide Web Toyota Corporate Pages Toyota Home Page <http://www.toyota.com/> Toyota RAV4 page <http://www.toyota.com/rav4/> Toyota dealer locator <http://www.toyota.com/dealer/> RAV4 Links Scott Cummings' RAV4 Zone <http://surf.to/rav4zone> Kelly's Toyota RAV4 World <http://come.to/RAV4> Kenton Lee's list of RAV4 links <http://www.rahul.net/kenton/rav4/rav4.shtml> RAV4 Web Ring <http://www.webring.org/cgi-bin/webring?ring=rav4;addform> RAV4 Price & Specification Information Edmund's <http://www.edmunds.com/> Kelley Blue Book <http://www.kbb.com/> Microsoft CarPoint <http://carpoint.msn.com/>
Subject: 1.2.2) RAV4 Mailing Lists The headers and table of contents of this FAQ will be posted to the Toyota RAV4 Mailing List(s) on or about the 15th of each month. The original RAV4-L mailing list has been shut down. Three new RAV4 lists have been created on the web site Yahoo Groups, formerly known as eGroups: <http://groups.yahoo.com/> 1) A "Classic" RAV4 Mailing List has been created to cover issues specific to all model year 2000 and earlier RAV4s <http://dir.groups.yahoo.com/group/OldRAV4> 2) A "New" RAV4 Mailing List has been created to cover issues specific to all model year 2001 and later RAV4s: <http://dir.groups.yahoo.com/group/NewRAV4> 3) A general RAV4 mailing list has been created to cover issues that relate to all model years of the RAV4: <http://dir.groups.yahoo.com/group/RAV4> To subscribe to a RAV4 mailing list, go to the appropriate link listed above. Click on the link to Subscribe, and follow the instructions. You will need to register with Yahoo Groups if you are not already registered there. To post to the list, send an email message to <OldRAV4@yahoogroups.com>, <NewRAV4@yahoogroups.com>, or <RAV4@yahoogroups.com>. Please do not send subscribe or unsubscribe requests or other administrative requests to these addresses, as all members of the list will see them, and you cannot change your subscription options that way. To post, you must already be a subscriber to the appropriate RAV4 list, and you can only post messages to the list from the email address you subscribed from. To remove yourself from a list, go to the list home page and follow the unsubscribe instructions. You can also choose whether to receive individual messages, a digest format, or to view messages on the list web site only for each list you join. List Etiquette ======== Stay on topic - this list is about the Toyota RAV4, and by extension 4X4 vehicles and technology. No one is interested in virus alerts, sales pitches, scam warnings, or personal topics. Please find an appropriate venue for your posting. Be polite and cordial when you post to the Lists. Remember, hundreds of people may see what you write. We are all only trying to share information; please try not to be insulting or inflammatory. If something bothers you personally, ignore it or take the debate off the list. When responding to someone on the list, trim their original posting to be as small as possible, just leaving the essence of what you are responding to. Excess posting of nested replies are annoying and waste bandwidth, and make reading the Digest version of the list almost unbearable. If you use Netscape or other mailer that formats mail text with HTML code, or if you use an on-line email service that sends HTML, please turn this feature off when posting to the list. Also, some mailers will form a MIME attachment automatically; please disable this feature. The majority of readers do not use these features, they make reading postings very annoying, again, especially when reading the Digest format, and they consume bandwidth unnecessarily. Finally, please don't post blatantly commercial postings. Most people who are savvy enough to subscribe to a mailing list would consider such a posting as spam, and would never buy from you anyway. It is OK to respond to a request for information about a specific product or solution, but keep to the point and provide a URL where people can get more information if they want it.
Subject: 1.2.3) Usenet Newsgroups alt.autos.toyota - General Toyota rec.autos.4x4 - 4X4 and Off-Road rec.autos.misc - General automotive
Subject: 1.3) Phone Numbers 800-331-4331 - Toyota Customer Assistance Center (US Only) 800-GO-TOYOTA (800-468-6968) - Toyota Information Center (US Only) US Corporate Office: Toyota Motor Sales USA 19001 S. Western Avenue Torrance, Calif. 90509 (310) 618-4000 (general number) (310) 781-2442 (Exectuive Customer Relations)
Subject: 1.4) Toyota-Supplied Information Call 800-GO-TOYOTA or see your dealer to get a brochure that describes the features of the RAV4. You can also get a brochure that describes the entire Toyota vehicle line. To get the RAV4 CD-ROM, call 800-GO-TOYOTA (US Only). The CD-ROM is free and runs on Windows 3.1 and Mac System 7. You can also get a CD-ROM that describes all the vehicles in Toyota's line. See your dealer for other information, including the Automobile Magazine "1997 Automobile of the Year" article and a Competitive Comparisons handout that gives the results of various tests.
Subject: 1.5) What does "RAV4" stand for? Recreational Active Vehicle with 4-Wheel Drive, according to Toyota.
Subject: 2.0) Buying a RAV4
Subject: 2.1) Pricing For current invoice/MSRP prices and standard equipment and package content, check your newsstand for a price guide or look at the Edmund's <http://www.edmunds.com/> or Kelly's Blue Book <http://www.kbb.com/> web sites. Prices paid will vary widely depending on the market for RAVs in your area, and availability. The RAV4 has proved to be very popular and deep discounts are rare in some areas. 2-door models are somewhat less popular that 4-door, and good deals can sometimes be struck.
Subject: 2.2) Dealer Information
Subject: 2.2.1) How do I find a dealer in my area? Your local telephone directory "yellow pages" should list new car dealers. You can also check the Toyota Dealer Locator <http://www.toyota.com/dealer/dealerloc.html>. They'll give you names/numbers of the dealers in your area.
Subject: 2.2.2) What about a buying service? Online car brokers or buying services provide a convenient way to link buyers and dealers. They are usually time-efficient and hassle-free, but do not always allow a buyer to get the lowest possible price. People have reported that they used the buying service price as a starting point when negotiating with a dealer in person.
Subject: 2.3) Miscellaneous Questions
Subject: 2.3.1) Any good general sources of information for new owners? Yes! Look in your glove compartment and pull out your owner's manual. Every new car owner should spend some time reading their manual cover-to-cover, preferably before they drive the car for the first time. This book should be considered the definitive source of information regarding features and their operation, driving procedures, maintenance schedules, and other information.
Subject: 2.3.2) What does the VIN mean? According to Kelly Malleck <kmalleck@flash.net>: Digit 1 - Country Digit 2 - Make Digit 3 - Vehicle Type Digit 4 - Others Digit 5 - Line Digit 6 - Series Digit 7 - Body Digit 8 - Engine Digit 9 - Check Digit Digit 10 - Model Year Digit 11 - Plant Digits 12-17 - Serial Number Note: On the RAV4, if Digit 4 is G or X, you have a 2WD; If Digit 4 H or Y, you have a 4WD.
Subject: 2.3.3) Is the RAV4 safe? Crash testing of vehicles is done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Agency (NHTSA) <http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/>. The following was summarized from their web site information; go there for complete details. The RAV4's crash test performance was about average. Cars are tested against other cars in their size and weight class. The RAV4 rated 3 Stars (out of 5), indicating a 21 to 35 percent chance of serious injury in a head-on 35 MPH crash with a similar vehicle. These overall results combine the head and chest injury measurements, and the same rating was given to both the driver and front-seat passenger.
Subject: 2.3.4) Can I order a RAV4 with only the options I want? In the US, some regions allow factory orders and some do not. In regions that do allow factory orders, not all dealers allow them. If your dealer does take factory orders, you can expect to wait at least several months for the car to be shipped. If you have information about which regions do or do not allow factory orders, let me know so I can add that here. Some dealers say they will take a factory order, when in fact they don't. These dealers simply wait for a car that matches or nearly matches your order to arrive by chance. They may be able to access information about all vehicles shipped to your region and/or swap cars with another dealer.
Subject: 2.3.5) Where do I get one of those cute little paper RAV4 models? You can't. These were included in the 1996 RAV4 US brochure and are no longer available. The model is a clever heavy paper cutout that you fold and insert tabs into slots to form a '96 Bright Red 2-Door RAV4. However, you can get a scanned-in version online that you can print with your color printer onto thick paper stock and get a reasonable imitation. See: <http://rav4world.com/index/foldup.html>.
Subject: 2.3.6) What's new about the 2001 models? Culled from the Kelley Blue Book <http://www.kbb.com/> site: The RAV4 is all new for 2001. See Toyota's offical web site at: <http://www.toyota.com/rav4>. A comprehensive collection of links is available at Kenton's web site, at: <http://www.rahul.net/kenton/rav4/rav4.shtml#2001>.
Subject: 2.4) How does the RAV4 compare to the competition? This is a very subjective area, but in general, the RAV4 compares very well to it's competition. People like the RAV4 for it's combination of visual appeal ("cuteness"), good fuel economy, versatile FT 4WD system (fair off-road and excellent on-road), comfort, space, handling, acceleration, accessibility, and reliability. The RAV4 does have it's drawbacks, notably it's styling, lack of power, lack of space (compared to full-size sport-utilities), cheap construction in places, crashworthiness, mediocre sound system, and interior noise levels. Primary U.S. competitors as compared to the RAV4: Honda CR-V: much more conservative styling (often compared to a minivan), reactive 4WD system. Same reliability as Toyota, more interior room, more powerful engine. Worse off-road performance. Kia Sportage: Cheap. Poor engineering touches all around. Rough ride, uncomfortable seating, difficult access to cargo area. Subaru Forrester: Styling like a station wagon. Very car-like ride, low ground clearance, comfortable. Reactive 4WD system, similar to CR-V. Fuel efficient. Full-featured, excellent value. Suzuki Grand Vitara: Poor construction dominates the overall comments about this vehicle; inexpensive, but shows it. More horsepower, but doesn't seem to use it well, and correspondingly worse gas mileage. Good off-road vehicle for the price.
Subject: 3.0) Keeping Your RAV4 Happy
Subject: 3.1) General
Subject: 3.1.1) How do I "break in" my new RAV4? According to Chips Yap <chips2@pc.jaring.my>: "For those interested (and many of you might be as you'd have a new RAV4), these are some of the things I do when I run-in a new vehicle. The process is usually useful for the first 5,000 kms or 3,500 miles. (Disclaimer: If you choose to follow any of the tips here, I accept no responsibility for any damage or loss resulting). First of all, why run-in a new vehicle? The reason is that the manufacturing process of metal parts leaves them with some minute imperfections and also they are being mated against other parts. Running-in enables these parts to interface more smoothly by causing a certain degree of beneficial wear and also by wearing down the imperfections. Note that they aren't defects in any sense. A visible example would be on new tires where you see stuff that looks like 'hair' sticking out. As you drive around, they get worn off. Over the past decade, manufacturing processes have improved a lot and the parts are coming out more perfect in form and tolerances are finer. So the running-in process is not as crucial - but still important - as before when you even had to use special oil which permitted a higher wear rate. New engines are tight because everything's new so some degree of wear has to occur to allow them to rev freely. But unlike a decade or two ago, you don't have to be as 'religious' about running-in and I note that the manuals are now providing only basic and simple advice. In fact, the notion of treating a new engine with tender loving care contrasts to what you will find if you visit an engine factory. The new engines, after assembly but before installation in the car, are run at high revs by a computer. It provides some running-in and also allows for checking of integrity or whatever. But to see it being done can be quite shocking! You still need to run-in a new car and engine, allow the various parts to bed in and function with each other efficiently. This calls for thoughtful driving strategies but they are not necessarily boring. The main thing to remember is not to allow your engine to load up, meaning you don't try to drive it up an incline in top gear and labor the engine. The load is bad for the engine at any time, more so when it's brand new. The effects can be long-lasting and ruin the engine's ability to give its best for the rest of its life. Even if you have an autobox, it's a good idea to manually disengage the overdrive on an incline or even slot into 2nd. You won't hurt the engine by doing that and you will even do it a favor if you help it to run up the incline with less effort. Using the gearbox, auto or manual, liberally is a good way to run it in and you will be rewarded by a smoother unit later on. Varying the speed is also an important point and it is mentioned in the manual. This exercise is intended to get your engine used to high and low revving conditions. If you have cruise control, don't use it for at least 3,500 miles because the constant speed is not good. Even on the highway, you should vary your speed a lot. You can do so as you drive by using lower gears and shifting up and down. But you should also pay attention to what rpm you run up to. For the first few 100 miles, maybe you shouldn't get past 4000 rpm. Then you can gradually go higher and by maybe 1500 miles, you can start to push it to 5000 rpm. Do not run it up to 5000 rpm and just hold it there; rev it up as you're driving and change up quickly when you get to 5000 rpm. When you get up to 2000 miles or more, maybe you might like to try running it up to the redline for brief spurts. I learnt that this is helpful for the engine from a racing driver and mechanic. You accelerate in 2nd gear up the the redline and shift up right away. Don't hold it there longer than a shift action. Why? The high revs give the engine a 'taste' of that sort of condition and prepares it for the ability to cope with such conditions. It's like when you do a high-speed run down the highway and after that, the engine feels nice and free-revving (although that's more of the oil being well circulated too). If you stick to low revs all the time, there is a possibility that your engine will remain tight and unwilling to give all its potential when you want to drive hard and fast. I have experienced engines where the owners really pussy-footed them in the run-in period and they never had an edge in performance compared to other similar engines. The manual doesn't seem to recommend an oil change at 1000 km (600 mi) but I am used to it and will do so. No harm and the only thing that will be hurt is my pocket. I personally believe that the first 600 miles are a time of great wear inside and so the oil will have a lot of metal stuff in it. The filter will remove it, of course, but it's still there and it's minute too. I'd rather get rid of the dirty oil and have some new oil inside; besides, the original oil is of unknown quality to me although I'm sure Toyota would use something good enough. The next oil change would be at 5000 kms or 3500 miles, but you can follow the interval indicated in your manual. For the brakes, I also take a bit of care. You need to brake a lot to run-in the new pads but you also have to be cautious about how hard you brake. Excessive pressure on new pads can cause them to glaze over and that's going to reduce braking power. Some people drive around with a very light pressure for a while to wear them out a bit but you need to really be deliberate about that. Other things: I like to use Rain-X, a liquid which makes the glass very slippery so that water beads off easily. I put it on the front and back, the front side windows and the door mirrors. It's corrosive so don't let it get on your paintwork! I also like to spray on fabric protector which helps to stop moisture from seeping in (most of the time). And I've earlier mentioned the point about loose screws and bolts. Take a screwdriver and small spanner (preferably a box type) and gently tighten the fasterners you can see. Not too tight but if you find them able to take another turn, then do so. From experience, I've always found the bolts holding the front fenders to the body (along the side of the engine bay) to be less than tight (same thing in the RAV4)."
Subject: 3.1.2) When should I change the oil the first time, and what kind should I use? Some people think that a lot of metal particles and assorted gunk collect during the break-in period, so they get the oil changed at around 500-1500 miles, or 800-2400 km. You should then follow the schedule in your owner's manual (every 7500 miles (12000 km) for regular service, or every 3750 miles (6000 km) for severe service) as the minimum oil change interval. The extra oil change is considered by many to be cheap insurance. Also, average driving often falls under "severe" conditions that require more frequent oil changes. The manual recommends using 5W-30 or 10W-30 SG oil, depending on the expected temperature during the oil's service life. The 10W-30 should not be used under extreme cold conditions (below 0 F). You can use a conventional oil, or synthetic. Synthetic oil has better heat and cold handling characteristics, and resists viscosity breakdown much better than conventional oil, but is significantly more expensive.
Subject: 3.1.3) How does the Four Wheel Drive (4WD) system work? Very well :) Actually, it depends on your choice of transmission, and whether you have the Limited-Slip Differential (LSD) option. See the Traction Adding Devices FAQ <http://www.a1.nl/phomepag/markerink/diffs.htm> for more general information on these types of devices. If you have a 2-Wheel-Drive RAV4, then it is powered by the front wheels only. If you have 4WD, a full-time system puts power down to all four wheels at all times. Some refer to this as an "all-wheel drive" system, rather than 4WD, but AWD usually refers to "reactive" systems that delay transfer of power until after slip is detected. The RAV4 drive system is most correctly called "Full-time 4 wheel drive." It is reported that 25% of the engine power is normally sent to each wheel. - For automatic transmissions, there is a center coupling that detects wheel slip and gradually locks the front and rear axles as the slip increases. There are no driver controls for this feature. - For manual transmissions, there is a center differential lock button on the dashboard that manually locks the front and rear axles. When engaging, an amber "C. Diff Lock" indicator lights on the dashboard. When disengaging, there will be a beeping sound until the center differential is fully disengaged; it may beep just once, or may beep for as much as a full minute (seems to beep longer when cold). Toyota recommends that it only be used only in difficult situations, and that the center differential can be damaged if used improperly. - For 4WD vehicles, there is an optional rear LSD available. In 1996 and 1997 model year, it was available only on standard transmission models, but starting in 1998, the rear LSD is available in all 4WD models. This device is called a "Torsen-type" LSD by Toyota, and is one of the most sophisticated and effective types available. It automatically detects wheel slip by either rear wheel and redirects the most power to the wheel that is slipping the least. There are no driver controls required for this device.
Subject: 3.1.4) What should I expect when Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) engage? You should get feedback in the form of an audible "chunk chunk chunk" sound AND a strong pulsing of the brake pedal. This is normal and you should NOT release the pressure on the brake pedal or attempt to modulate the brake pedal pressure. If you live in the snow belt, a good way to test your ABS is to find an open, snow-covered area, drive to about 30MPH, and slam on the brakes as hard as you can. The described effect should be obvious. Warning: Don't test or show off your ABS system until after the break-in period, because it can create hot spots that can cause excessive brake system wear.
Subject: 3.1.5) How can I keep from getting a shock when I exit my RAV4? Method 1: Get a conductive strap that bolts to the frame - when you stop, the end contacts the ground and bleeds the charge off the car. These work well, but wear out rather quickly. Method 2: Keep your hand on the edge of the door (or any metal part) as you exit the vehicle. Method 3: Whenever you exit your vehicle, hold your key and make sure that the first thing you touch after you exit is made of metal, and that you touch it with your key first. This will dissipate any static electricity. Method 4: a quick spray of a product such as Static Guard also helps to eliminate the static buildup from rubbing on the cloth seats. (Thanks to Jim Janecek <Janecek@Tezcat.com>) Method 5: Drive naked. Then you won't build up any static electricity between you and your clothes. If you wet your pants, that should dissipate the excess charge as well. <g> Also from Jim Janecek: "You might want to also check the type of tires on vehicle, if they are 'low rolling resistance' tires they may have more of a silicone base instead of a carbon base and this does not allow the static charge that normally builds up on a object moving through the air to disperse through the tires. The silicone base is more of an insulator than the carbon base. Unfortunately, I don't have a list of what tires have the silicone base and what have the usual carbon base in them. I just know that Michelin had a series of 'low rolling resistance' tires that came as factory standard on some recent (2-3 year old) model Hondas and they would not allow the static buildup to bleed off into the ground through the tires, so when you stopped at a toll booth and touched the tollbooth operator, the operator would get a real big shock."
Subject: 3.1.6) What should the fuel economy (Miles per Gallon) be? First, remember that your MPG will vary depending on many factors: - how far you are into your break-in period. - whether you have 2WD or 4WD (4WD reduces fuel economy). - automatic or manual transmission (manuals are generally better). - whether you run the air conditioning (A/C reduces fuel economy). - cars that are sold in California and Massachusetts (others?) are required to have the "CA" emissions option that can reduce mileage. - many states now require "oxygenated" fuels [MBTE additive] in cold weather or even year-round (can reduce fuel economy). - using a roof rack or other accessories can increase drag and reduce fuel economy. - adverse weather can reduce fuel economy. - bad driving habits (fast acceleration, riding the brake, etc) can reduce fuel economy. - increasing tire pressure can improve fuel economy slightly due to reduced rolling resistance. To compute MPG, you should average stats over a number of fillups and make sure you fill your gas tank to the same level each time, preferably using the same gas pump at the same station, if practical. The Environmental Protection Agency <http://www.epa.gov/> tests all vehicles sold in the US and publishes fuel economy estimates. The RAV4 mileage depends on transmission and whether the vehicle has 4WD: For 2001: Drive, Transmission City/Highway estimate =================== ===================== 2WD, 5-speed 24/29 2WD, Automatic 24/29 4WD, 5-speed 23/27 4WD, Automatic 22/27 For 2000: Drive, Transmission City/Highway estimate =================== ===================== (could someone please send me these numbers?) For 1998: Drive, Transmission City/Highway estimate =================== ===================== 2WD, 5-speed 24/28 2WD, Automatic 23/28 4WD, 5-speed 22/26 4WD, Automatic 22/26 For 1997: Drive, Transmission City/Highway estimate =================== ===================== 2WD, 5-speed 24/30 2WD, Automatic 24/29 4WD, 5-speed 22/26 4WD, Automatic 22/27 For 1996: (thanks to HouryCori@aol.com Drive, Transmission City/Highway estimate =================== ===================== 2WD, 5-speed 24/30 2WD, Automatic 24/29 4WD, 5-speed 22/27 4WD, Automatic 22/27 If your fuel economy is significantly below these estimates, and cannot be accounted for by any other factors, you should see your dealer service department for diagnosis. Note that many drivers report that fuel economy can be poor when the vehicle is new, gradually improving to acceptable levels through the break-in period.
Subject: 3.1.7) What kind of fuel should I use? The owner's manual recommends 87 octane regular unleaded fuel. The RAV4 is not designed to take advantage of higher octane gas, so while putting it in will not harm your vehicle, you will receive no benefit and the cost is significantly higher. If you are hearing a "knock" or "rattle" sound from your engine during high load, and the problem is reduced or eliminated by higher octane gas, then you probably need an engine tune-up.
Subject: 3.1.8) How much gas can I put in my RAV? The owner's manual says that the RAV4 has a 15.2 US Gallon tank. Most people report that they can fit about 13-14 gallons in when they fill up soon after the low fuel warning light has come on. This should give the RAV4 a typical range of 250-350 miles between fill ups, and about 30-60 miles of driving after the low fuel warning light has come on.
Subject: 3.1.9) Is my Fuel Gauge Inaccurate? Due to the shape of the gas tank (best described as an Inverted U), the fuel gauge does not show fuel use linearly. Most report that it is fairly linear from Full to 25%, then drops rapidly. Others say it tends to go from Full to 75% very quickly, then goes down at a steady rate. In any case, you should refuel as soon after the low fuel warning light comes on as possible.
Subject: 3.1.10) Is brake noise normal? Sometimes, you will hear a high-pitched squeak or squeal as the brakes are applied. This problem happens on any car due to dirt getting into the brakes. Although you can have a reputable dealer check it out, it's usually just bad luck to get squeaky dirt in the brakes.
Subject: 3.1.11) What size are the tires? RAV4 tires are delivered in one of two sizes, depending on the option packages that were ordered. Most RAV4s are delivered with tires with a size designation of P215/70R16. The alternate size is P235/60R16. You can easily determine the size of your tire by reading the size code stamped into the sidewall. The first number in the size code is the width of the tire, measured from sidewall to sidewall, in millimeters. To convert to inches, divide by 25.4. For example, the width of 215mm is equal to 8.46". The second number is the aspect ratio, or the ratio of sidewall height to width. For the RAV4, the 70 indicate that the height of the sidewall is .70 of the width. So, the height of the tire sidewall is 215mm X .70 = 150.5mm or 8.46" X .70 = 5.93". The "R" indicates a Radial tire design. Virtually all tires available today are of this design. The last number is the diameter of the wheel in inches. For more details of other markings on the sidewalls of tires, see: <http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/sidewall.htm> Often, tires and wheels are replaced as a set for various reasons. When a "plus 1" wheel is used, the driver wants better handling characteristics. A wheel one inch larger than stock is installed, and tire with a correspondingly smaller sidewall height is chosen to retain the same diameter of the tire. Maintaining tire diameter is important to keep speedometer and odometer readings accurate. In the same way, a "minus 1" tire and wheel package may be installed, often for a snow tire package. A wheel one inch smaller is installed with a tire with a correspondingly larger sidewall height. A taller, skinnier tire performs better in the snow. To calculate the differences in wheel and tire size, use this tire size calculator: <http://www.powerdog.com/tiresize.cgi>
Subject: 3.1.12) At what pressure should I keep the tires? According to the owner's manual and the driver's door sticker, the stock tires should be inflated to 28 psi front and 26 psi rear. You can increase the pressure to get a stiffer ride, more responsive feel, and slightly increased fuel economy, but do not exceed the recommendation stamped into the sidewall of the tire. Most drivers keep their tires inflated to between 28 - 30 psi, providing a good compromise between performance and comfort. You should experiment with tire pressures and go with what works best. Note that there are also certain low-traction situations (such as driving on sand) where lowering tire pressure can improve handling. I has been noted by several owners that their vehicles were delivered with tires inflated to 40-50 psi. It is reported that Toyota ships their vehicles like this to prevent flat spots on the tires in transit. Some dealers apparently forget to check this; the result is a very harsh ride and a potential for premature tire wear. All owners should check their tires as soon as practical after taking delivery.
Subject: 3.1.13) What should I buy to replace my worn tires? It very much depends on how you drive your RAV4. Tires are always an exercise in tradeoffs; for example, harder rubber compounds last a long time, but tend to be noisy and provide worse traction than softer rubber compounds that don't last as long. Tires are also designed for different environments. Tires with aggressive tread designs are better in snow and ice, but generate more road noise. Others with less aggressive treads are better on dry pavement and are quiet, but are bad, even dangerous, in the snow. Most people replace their worn tires with a type similar to what is shipped on their RAV4 - all-season tires. These tires are a general compromise between most normal driving conditions. They are adequate for all of them, but excel in none of them. They have a moderately aggressively tread pattern that is good in rain and snow, but it not excessively noisy. They are designed to last for 40,000 to 60,000 miles under normal use. With the Full-Time 4WD that most RAV4s have, these tire are all that most people will ever need. Some people who live in the "snow belt" maintain 2 sets of tires, often on separate wheels; one set of tires that are designed for good performance on wet and dry surfaces, and one set that are for winter driving exclusively. The wet/dry tires provide better performance and tire life, while the winter tires are excellent for snow and ice conditions. This helps eliminate many of the compromises of all-season tires at the cost of an extra set of tires and the inconvenience of installing them each winter. Still others do extensive off-road driving. They require special tires for this purpose that maintain traction in sand, mud, and other harsh conditions. They may install these tires only when they plan to drive off-road.
Subject: 3.1.14) Why doesn't my factory jack lift the vehicle off the ground? The factory jack, which is stored under the passenger's seat, will lift a RAV4 tire off the ground if the correct lift point under the vehicle is used. You should not need to use a board or other extension to use the jack. The exact lift points are vaguely pictured in the owner's manual. The lift points are the shape of a small tab that fits into a corresponding slot on the lifting surface of the jack. These points are not on the frame of the vehicle, as on most cars, but on the suspension. In the front, the lift points are behind the wheels, slightly to the rear of the wheel center. In the rear, the lift point is several inches in from the edge of the body just forward of the rear wheel. On sensible suggestion is to find the lift points at a convenient time and then clean and paint them a bright color. That will make finding them at a less convenient time easier.
Subject: 3.1.15) What are the ECT and OD buttons on my automatic transmission for? The ECT button (which stands for "Electronically Controlled Transmission") changes the shift points for the automatic transmission. When engaged, the transmission shifts later, allowing the engine to get to a higher power level and accelerate faster. Gas mileage is usually reduced in this mode. Use it when you need to get up to speed faster; for example, to merge into fast moving traffic. The normal position for this switch is OFF. OD, or OverDrive, is a 4th gear on the transmission that will engage when you are going above about 35 mph that lets the engine operate at a lower speed (RPMs) when all it has to do is maintain a high speed when you are going over flat, even highway. This improves fuel economy. Technically, any transmission gear with a ratio of less than 1:1 is considered "OverDrive". OD can normally be left ON except when going up a gradual hill; the overdrive tends to not give the engine enough power to maintain a steady speed. This may cause the transmission to annoyingly "hunt" between 3rd and 4th gear.
Subject: 3.1.16) Why does the A/C come on when I use the defroster? It's supposed to. The owner's manual is specific about this feature. The idea is that whenever you need the windshield cleared, the air conditioner will come on to help get the job done. The A/C not only provides cool air when it's hot outside, but it also dehumidifes the air. Dehumidified air is much less likely to cause the windshield to fog up. Many cars have this feature without their drivers even knowing about it. Some people even contend that the primary purpose of the A/C is to dehumidify the air, and cooling is a happy side effect. In any case, if the conditioned air is too cold for you, just add a little heat by sliding the temperature lever to the right a bit. That said, use of the A/C does cause a reduction in both available power and gas mileage. Most estimates I've seen are in the 10% range, but this kind of drop is especially noticable in a vehicle like the RAV4, with a small engine and relatively low horsepower. Some drivers would prefer to have complete control over whether or when the A/C comes on because of the penalties. The easiest way is to disable the A/C in defrost mode is to move the control lever all the way to the right (full defrost), then move it slightly to the left until the A/C turns off. Update: This "feature" was removed in the middle of the 1999 model year. In the newest RAV4s, the A/C no longer comes on when the defroster is engaged. A more permanent way to disable the automatic A/C feature requires a minor modification to the vehicle. According to Mark in Vegas <ranyhyn@wizard.com>: I just did it, probably took about 10 minutes. If your Rav is the same as my '97, it's pretty straightforward. If you aren't mechanically inclined, maybe have someone at a stereo shop do it for you. Start with removing the fascade for the stereo, remove the two phillips screws on the bottom of the fascade, there are two tabs on the top that will come loose once you swing the bottom of the radio fascade out. Then there are 4 phillips screws holding the radio in place, two on the sides and two on the bottom. Remove those and pull the radio out, if yours is like mine, it should pull out enough so that you can get your hands in the opening and not have to pull any radio wires loose. Anyway, take a look in the opening and you'll see the bottom of the temperature control unit, on the back of this, towards the center pointing down is a white plastic plug with a yellow wire and a black wire with a blue stripe. There is a little tab on the plug that you can push in and the plug will pull out (down). Do this and voila, you can now control the A/C manually when in defrost. If you want the A/C on to defrost the windshield, push the A/C button, if not, don't push it. A comment from another reader: The wire colors have changed on my '99. Instead of yellow and black/blue to the plug in the procedure, my colors were yellow and white with a blue tracer.
Subject: 3.2) Maintenance and Modifications
Subject: 3.2.1) What kind of parts can I get to modify my RAV4? Your Toyota dealer carries an array of accessories you can add to your vehicle, including but not limited to floor mats, a cargo net, a roof rack and associated accessories, fender flares, side sport bars, a rear bumper and tow hitch, hard or soft spare tire covers, a center console, wheel locks, rear door storage bags, a cargo area mat, a rear wind deflector, and a front mask (bra). Many aftermarket companies have discovered the RAV4 and are coming out with accessories for it. Many of the factory accessories are available in aftermarket versions. In addition, you can get things like bike carriers, front and rear bumpers, front brush guards, headlight and taillight covers.
Subject: 3.2.2) What is a K&N filter and what will it do for my RAV4? A K&N air filter is a replacement made of layers of cotton gauze between a wire mesh to hold its shape and covered (saturated) with an oil. It passes more air than a paper filter, and due to the oil, filters better than a paper element. It can give you more power at higher RPMs and increase your MPG slightly (~1MPG). The filter is pre-oiled and ready to install. Eventually you will need the cleaning and re-oiling kit, which costs about US$20 and comes with spray cans of cleaner and oil. K&N warranties their filters for 1 million miles when properly cared for, so the overall cost can be dramatically lower when compared to disposable paper air filters. Filter # 33-2030 is the same size as the stock RAV4 air filter. Installing this is the same as installing a Toyota filter. K&N's home page is at <http://www.knfilters.com/>
Subject: 3.2.3) Should I use an oil additive, like Slick 50? No, absolutely not, never. Lubrication system additives are never necessary as long as you are following the manufacturer's recommendation for oil change intervals. Additives do not provide any protection or performance improvements, and can in some cases cause engine damage or excessive engine wear. The Federal Trade Commission <http://www.ftc.gov/> has settled with the makers of Slick 50 for making advertising claims that were "false and unsubstantiated." Follow this link for more detailed information. <http://www.ftc.gov/opa/1997/9707/slick.htm>
Subject: 3.2.4) Why is my gas pedal sticking? Sometimes, the gas pedal of the RAV4 will feel like it's sticking, or offering more resistance that usual. This problem may come and go, but tends to become more pronounced and frequent over time. The problem is most likely to be a dirty throttle body. Cleaning the throttle body is not a difficult job, but your dealer may charge a lot of money to do it for you. Here's a procedure for how to do it yourself from Thomas A. Yurick <designer@penn.com>: "Try to park the car so that the drivers side is slightly downhill. Open the hood and find the clamp that holds the big rubber air intake hose to the throttle body (the big rectangular aluminum "box" that sits on top of the engine). Loosen the clamp a few turns until you can work the hose off. There isn't much clearance around the opening, but if you're careful you can move it slightly off to the side. Place an old towel under the opening, and using a flashlight if needed, spray carb cleaner like Gumout <http://www.pennzoil-quakerstate.com/products/gumout.htm> all around the butterfly valve and the related linkage. You'll be amazed at the crud that will run out. Have someone work the gas pedal back and forth a few times while you spray until it seems to be clean. Allow a few minutes to dry and *lightly* spray a pure silicone oil on the point on the inside that the linkage enters the throttle body. Dispose of the towel safely (it will be combustible) and replace the air intake hose and tighten the clamp securely."
Subject: 3.2.5) How do I change my front brake pads? Changing the brake pads is an easy job. The following set of instructions look intimidating, but are actually very straightforward. Most dealers will charge US$100 to $200 to do this job, but the parts cost about US$25 and can be replaced in under an hour. From: Thomas A. Yurick <designer@penn.com>: Jack up front wheel. Remove wheel. Remove small bolt holding the flexible brake line bracket on the strut tower. Looking at the caliper assembly, there are two long sliding pins that the caliper slides back and forth on. Each has a hex head on the back (away from you) side. There is a place on the pin that you can fit a wrench and hold it while you loosen the hex head bolt. Remove the bottom hex head bolt ONLY. The caliper will now flip up off the rotor, rotating on the upper pin. Use a piece of string to tie it in the raised position while you work. Make a note of how the pads are installed. Look at the wear indicator on the inside pad in particular. Now carefully remove the pads, the anti-squeal shims and pad support plates (the little clip-like things at the top and bottom on each pad), noting the way they are installed and their sequence. The pad support plates may be stuck to the calipers with grime and crud. Gently pry them out. Clean any crud from the caliper in the area where the pad support plates go. Clean up the pad support plates. Reinstall the pad support plates in the same positions that they were removed from. You are not supposed to reuse the anti-squeal shims (the two thin plates on the side of the pads) but I always do if they aren't damaged and I never have a squealing problem. If your pads come with new ones, use 'em. Otherwise, use the old or get new ones from your Toyota dealer. Sparingly apply disc brake grease (I use Never-Seize or equivalent) to both sides of all of the anti-squeal shims. Install the anti-squeal shims, just as they were removed from the old pads, to the new pads. Install the inner pad into the pad support plates with the wear indicator facing up. Install the outer pad. Remove a small amount of brake fluid from the reservoir under the hood. Using a wooden hammer handle or other suitable non-marring tool, press in the caliper piston all the way. If the piston is difficult to push back in, you can open the bleeder plug on the caliper slightly and allow some fluid to escape while pushing it in. Untie the caliper and swing it back down over the rotor. Hold the pin with a wrench again and install the hex bolt and torque it to 20 ft/lb. Install the flexible brake line bracket and torque the bolt to 25 ft/lb. Repeat on the other wheel. Bleed all brakes starting with the farthest from the master cylinder (right rear) and working to the closest (left front). Fill the brake fluid reservoir to the full line. From: Rav4 <Rav4@2929292.com>: A couple of enhancements to the excellent instructions from Tom on brake pad replacement. 1. The easiest was to compress the piston is to use a large "C" clamp with a piece of wood across the piston face to distribute the force and prevent pinching of the rubber boot. Although you can put the adjustable part of the clamp inside some pistons, it is not a good idea to put all the force in the center area of the piston, so use a piece of wood, it is safer. 2. With ABS systems, it is undesirable/dangerous to compress the piston back into place without relieving the back pressure. In other words, it is important that you "crack the bleeder valve" when compressing the piston. If you use a piece of clear tubing over the bleeder valve first (rising vertically above the caliper), as the fluid escapes, it goes into the tube and provides no ingress for air. This way no air gets back into the caliper when you stop compressing the piston and you can safely tighten the bleeder valve without bleeding the whole system unless you really want to.
Subject: 3.2.6) How can I improve the stereo in my RAV4? The factory stereo in the RAV4 is generally considered to be mediocre at best. It includes an ordinary Toyota head unit (the dashboard piece), and cheap paper cone speakers. The best recommendation is to replace the speakers and the head unit. Beyond that, more speakers, including a subwoofer, could be added; also a separate tuner and amplifier can help, as can upgrading the wiring. You can also add a CD player/changer; many people have a CD changer mounted under the driver's seat, or have a small changer mounted in the dash in the "cubbyhole" space. If budget is tight, start with replacement speakers, then upgrade the head unit, then do the other add-ons. Ken Lee's RAV4 Page has some good pictures of his stereo upgrade installation, plus pointers to step-by-step instructions for speaker and head unit replacement: <http://www.rahul.net/kenton/rav4/> For general car audio information, check the rec.audio.car FAQ: <http://www.mobileaudio.com/rac-faq/>
Subject: 3.2.7) What size speakers does the RAV4 take? According to the Crutchfield <http://www.crutchfield.com/> electronics catalog: Rear speakers: 6.25" Door speakers: 6.25" (limited clearance (0.6") between speaker & door panel) Note: '96 models and some early '97 2-door models may accept only 5.5" speakers in the front doors. Also received a report that the rear speaker location will only accepts a 5.5" in some models.
Subject: 3.2.8) Can I remove the rear seats to make more room? Yes, either or both seats can be removed. Here's how for a 2-door: Each rear seat is held in place with 2 bolts. To remove, you have to pop off 2 pieces of trim on each seat that cover the bolts. They are at the front of the seat, about where a passenger's heels would be. Then, remove the bolts with a socket wrench and a 14mm socket; a long (6") extension is handy here. It may take a good deal of strength to loosen these bolts. Finally, from the back, pull the seat release loop and the seat should be free to pull out from the back. Installation is the reverse; put the seat in place, line up the holes in the seat brackets with the holes in the floor in the cabin, install the bolts tightly, and snap on the bolt cover trim pieces. Installation or removal should take just a few minutes. The instructions are slightly different on a 4-door: Each rear seat has a pair of angle brackets at the front of the seat. Each angle bracket has two bolts. The bolts are very easy to get at, provided one has an extender for the socket wrench. Remove them and remove the seats as per the instructions for a 2-door.
Subject: 3.2.9) How can I carry bikes with my RAV4? There are several options for carrying bikes with a RAV4: Inside the Car, Roof Rack, Trailer-Hitch Carrier, Spare Tire Carrier, or Trailer. Each has advantages and disadvantages. In all outside-the-vehicle options, consider the ability to properly secure your bikes to prevent theft. - Inside the Car -- One or maybe two bikes should fit in the back of a 4-door RAV4 with the rear seats folded up, more easily with the rear seats removed. If you need to carry more stuff or require the back seats for passengers, or if you have a 2-door RAV4, consider one of the outside-the-vehicle options. - Roof Rack -- Only tall people should consider this, as the RAV4 (among other sport-utilities) is already a tall vehicle, and access can be difficult. Toyota sells a roof rack (about US$150). Major aftermarket rack makers such as Yakima <http://www.yakima.com/> and Thule <http://www.thuleracks.com/> also make RAV4-compatible racks. Note: The Toyota factory roof rack accepts all Thule accessories, including their bike carrier and all ski carriers. Also, from John Fawcett <fawcett@gwis.com>: "The RAV4 factory rack is the same size as the Thule rack system (20 x 30 mm) and will accept all Thule accessories. Yakima now sells an adaptor called the 4H MightyMounts that are specially designed versions of the Yakima SnapAround that attach to factory- installed roof racks and other non-Yakima rack systems such as the Thule and other European standard 20 x 30 mm crossbars. However, the Yakima Steelhead fork-mount bike rack will not fit the RAV4 factory rack. The Steelhead is designed to clamp/lock directly to a round bar. The new Thule VeloVise, a similar fork-mount bike rack is the only option I've found at this time." - Trailer-Hitch Carrier -- If your RAV4 has the rear step bumper/trailer hitch, you can buy a bike carrier that utilizes the trailer hitch. These will hold 1 to 4 bikes. You may need to remove the carrier to open the rear cargo door, although some of these carriers include a "swing away" feature. - Spare Tire Carrier -- This option is a carrier for 1 or 2 bikes that attaches to the rear spare tire. They usually attach to the tire via straps. This is relatively inexpensive, easy to install, and does not impede access to the rear cargo area. Consensus opinion and user experience suggests that the rear door and the spare tire are sturdy enough to carry bikes securely and without damage to the vehicle. - Trailer -- You can always buy or rent a pull-behind trailer that can carry bikes, as well as other cargo. The number of bikes that can be carried this way is limited only by the size of the trailer, and the RAV4's towing capacity of 1500 lbs (150 lb tongue weight).
Subject: 3.2.10) Why won't my dual sunroof RAV4 2DR rear sunroof stay open? Toyota apparently felt that having the rear sunroof open was a potential safety problem. However, dual sunroofs are available in europe and elsewhere with the rear sunroof that can be popped open. You can modify your RAV4 by doing the following: - Obtain a replacement sunroof latch from Toyota (P/N 63250-16020, dealer cost of $42.22, retail is $50-$60) - Replace the rear latch. This is very easy, just remove 2 trim screws and 2 bolts that attach the existing latch, and reverse the procedure with the new part. - Remove the rear sunroof, and remove the latch mechanism from the roof with 2 screws. You will need to disassemble the latch and reassemble the locking arms in reverse so that the sunroof will lock in place. - The arms are held in place with snap rings that can be pried off with a small screwdriver. Be careful! The snap rings will fly across the room unless you cover them when you remove them. - Remove the latch arms and replace them in reverse, i.e., the left arm on the right, and vice versa. - After reassembling the latch arms, reattach the mechanism to the sunroof, and reinstall the roof. - You can examine the front sunroof latch system to see how it is supposed to look if you run into any difficulty.
Subject: 3.2.11) Can I disable the passenger's side airbag? Yes, but only under certain circumstances. Many people are concerned about the safety of people, especially children and small adults who sit in the front passenger's seat, because of the recent reports of deaths and injuries in low speed collisions caused by the deployment of the passenger's side airbag. Most of the deaths and injuries occurred because the occupant was not properly seated and using a seat belt at the time of the accident, or an rear-facing infant car seat was placed in the front seat. The best action to take is to carefully follow the instructions for safe operation of the airbags. Always wear your safety belt, and keep kids buckled in the back seat at all times. There is also a procedure you can follow to get an airbag disable switch installed. You need to fill out a form and get a certificate that allows you get a switch installed. NHTSA has a comprehensive page at their web site that has complete instructions, background information, and a copy of the form. The site is at <http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/airbags/>
Subject: 3.2.12) Can I add a remote to my RS3000 security system? From Thomas A. Yurick <designer@penn.com> by way of Mark Miller <mark@bccd.com>: First, some background info. You will need to find the ECU for the alarm/keyless RS3000 system. Mine is under the drivers seat. Looking at the side with the connectors on it, there is a small button or hole on the right-hand side. you will need to press the button or insert a paper clip into the hole to press the switch inside, following the instructions below. The Status Monitor is the the Red LED light on the dash that says "security" under it. This procedure seems quite simple, although the manual still advises one to contact a dealer to do it. It sure isn't worth $76! Be sure that you follow the procedure exactly or there is a chance that you might mess up the programming of the original remote. If that happens, just follow the procedure again to add the remote back to the system. 1. Insert key into the ignition switch and turn to "ON". 2. Press and hold the ECU's programming switch for 3 seconds. The Status Monitor LED turns on for 5 seconds. YOU MUST PERFORM THE NEXT STEP WITHIN 5 SECONDS! 3. Press and release the remote control's top or bottom button (whichever one you want to operate the system). The Status Monitor LED turns off. The Piezo "chirper" chirps once. The exterior lights flash once. 4. Turn off the ignition. The ECU will now operate with the remote just programmed.
Subject: 3.2.13) What should I use to wash & wax my RAV4? Wash your RAV4 regularly with a mild detergent designed for cars. Dishwashing soap, like Ivory or Dawn, is fairly mild and works pretty well, although some people do not recommend using a dish soap. Any harsh soap or ammonia based cleaner will remove the wax from your finish and leave it looking dull. To keep your car's finish looking nice, avoid automatic car washes; the soap tends to be harsh, the brushes and strands may not have been thoroughly cleaned after the previous car went through, and even touchless car washes hit your car with a lot of (water) pressure. They don't clean well underneath or in the crevices of the car. Unfortunately there may be no alternative in the winter. There are any number of high quality polishes and waxes available for automotive finishes. Some that are mentioned/recommended frequently include Zymol <http://www.zymol.com/>, Autofom <http://www.bluecoral.com/>, and Meguiars <http://www.meguiars.com/>. Most folks suggest waxing at least 3-4 times per year to protect the finish. According to some people, you shouldn't wax your car until at least two months after manufacture, because waxing too early doesn't allow the paint enough time to cure. This should not be an issue with cars that have a clear coat finish.
Subject: 3.2.14) How can I touch up scratches/chips on my RAV4? Toyota sells small bottles of touch-up paint. The parts department can look up the paint code and sell you the correct one. If you have the paint code, any autobody supply store can make you a larger amount. For very small chips you can use medium weight porous paper and just dab a sharp corner of the paper with a small mound of paint on it in the chip. For very thin scratches, you can use a thin paper towel dabbed in paint and then just sort of drag it along the scratch. For larger scratches, matchsticks or paint brushes work well. Make sure to have a towel and some paint thinner handy in case you make a mess. It is best to apply touch-up paint in many thin layers to fill a chip, rather than fewer thick layers. Fill the chip until it is slightly higher than the surrounding body, then use a polishing compound to equalize the height. Finally, wax the chip and surrounding area to protect it.
Subject: 3.2.15) How do I get Wax off the Cladding? Try any of the following: - Apply peanut butter as you would apply wax and remove. - Apply silicone spray or Black Chrome, scrub, and wipe off - Apply a vinyl dressing (like Armor-All or low-gloss Armor-All).
Subject: Copyright Notice and Distribution Permission This FAQ is Copyright (c) 1997-2001 by Ralph Becker, All Rights Reserved Permission is granted to freely distribute this document in it's entirety via email, usenet posting, BBS, on-line service, or hard copy. Distribution for profit or financial gain is is not permitted. Distribution in commercial collections, compilations, or books without express permission from the author is not permitted. Excerpts of the FAQ may be reproduced only if the following copyright notice appears with the excerpt: Toyota RAV4 FAQ Copyright (c) 1997-2001 by Ralph Becker <ralphbATwhoeverDOTcom@NOSPAM.com> http://www.ralphb.net/RAV4FAQ.html

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