Copyright: (c) 1997-2001 by Ralph Becker, All Rights Reserved
Posting-frequency: monthly (15th of the month)
Last-modified: 17 April 2001
Toyota RAV4 FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Maintained by Ralph Becker <http://www.ralphb.net/>
(Bright Red 1997 2-Door 4WD 5-Speed RAV4). Send comments, suggestions,
corrections, and additions to me at <ralphbATwhoeverDOTcom@NOSPAM.com> or
fill out this form: <http://www.ralphb.net/form.html>.
You can retrieve this FAQ in several ways:
- anonymous FTP
ftp ftp.ralphb.net /pub/RAV4/RAV4FAQ.txt
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- World Wide Web
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Put the following into the BODY of the message:
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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
1.2.2 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
2.2 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 (:
3.1.1 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:
* Toyota reliability
* Good fuel economy
* Good light-duty off-road capability
* Good handling; sporty, car-like feel
* Aftermarket part & accessory availability
* Distinctive styling
* 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/>
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
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:
1) A "Classic" RAV4 Mailing List has been created to cover issues
specific to all model year 2000 and earlier RAV4s
2) A "New" RAV4 Mailing List has been created to cover issues
specific to all model year 2001 and later RAV4s:
3) A general RAV4 mailing list has been created to cover issues
that relate to all model years of the 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.
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
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
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
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
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 <email@example.com>:
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
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:
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:
A comprehensive collection of links is available at Kenton's web site, at:
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>:
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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:
Drive, Transmission City/Highway estimate
2WD, 5-speed 24/29
2WD, Automatic 24/29
4WD, 5-speed 23/27
4WD, Automatic 22/27
Drive, Transmission City/Highway estimate
(could someone please send me these numbers?)
Drive, Transmission City/Highway estimate
2WD, 5-speed 24/28
2WD, Automatic 23/28
4WD, 5-speed 22/26
4WD, Automatic 22/26
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:
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
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
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 <email@example.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
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.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>:
"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
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 <email@example.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
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:
For general car audio information, check the rec.audio.car FAQ:
Subject: 3.2.7) What size speakers does the RAV4 take?
According to the Crutchfield <http://www.crutchfield.com/>
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
- 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
- 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>:
"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
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
Subject: 3.2.12) Can I add a remote to my RS3000 security system?
From Thomas A. Yurick <email@example.com> by way of
Mark Miller <firstname.lastname@example.org>:
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
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
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
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Send corrections/additions to the FAQ Maintainer:
Ralph Becker <ralphbATwhoeverDOTcom@NOSPAM.com>
Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM