Cars and Trucks

1.9 Million Toyota RAV4 SUVs Investigated for Battery Fire Risk

MICHAEL SIMARICar and Driver

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened an investigation into the Toyota RAV4 after receiving 11 complaints of fire coming from the engine compartment.
  • The investigation covers nearly 1.9 million vehicles in the U.S. from the RAV4’s fourth generation, which was built between 2013 and 2018 model years.
  • NHTSA said it suspects the 12-volt battery terminal in the vehicles is shorting on its hold-down frame. The vehicles haven’t been recalled, but the investigation could lead to that.

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened an investigation into the 2013–2018 Toyota RAV4 after receiving 11 complaints of a fire starting from the engine compartment, as first reported by the Associated Press. The investigation covers nearly 1.9 million vehicles, and NHTSA said it suspects that the problem comes from the 12-volt battery terminal shorting on the battery’s hold-down frame, “which may result in the sudden loss of electrical power, vehicle stalling, and/or a fire originating in the engine compartment,” according to a document released by the regulatory agency.

    Of 11 complaints submitted, seven reported experiencing the fire starting while the car was being driven, and the other four said it occurred while the ignition was off. In the instances where the car was being driven, half of the drivers experienced the car stalling prior to the fire. No accidents or injuries have been reported as a result of the problem.

    NHTSA also pointed out that improper battery installation or previous front-end collision repair were factors in some cases.

    The vehicles haven’t been recalled, but this preliminary investigation could lead to a recall. For more information on the investigation process, this document from NHTSA covers the details of the recall process and investigations.

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