What to look for when buying a used Toyota RAV4

Common problems: The RAV4 common problems are mostly minor. There is a notable amount of complaints about leaking water pump (part of the engine cooling system). Replacing the water pump in a 4-cylinder engine could cost from $400 to $650. Judging by the Consumer Reports ratings, some of the 2006-2008 RAV4 were affected. A clunking or knocking noise when turning the steering wheel left or right could be caused by a worn intermediate steering shaft. The repair is not very expensive. Failed ignition coils are quite common too.

What to look for when buying a used Toyota RAV4: During a test drive, watch out for a whining or humming noises from the drivetrain. This would indicate a problem. Watch for knocking, clunking or rattling noise from the steering when driving over small bumps or rough road. When the car is parked, try to shake the steering left and right; there should be no clunking noises. Check for leaks. Check the engine oil level; low oil level could be an indication that the engine burns oil. If any of the warning lights come on after the engine is started, this indicates a problem. Some of the issues causing the "Check Engine" light to come on could be quite expensive to repair. For example, some of the issues with an evaporative system could require a replacement of the charcoal canister; which is a few hundred dollar repair. Read more what to look for when buying a used car. Before buying a used RAV4, have it inspected by your mechanic.
Guides for used car buyers:

Maintenance: Change engine oil regularly. Toyota recommends using 5W-20 or 0W-20 oil for the 4-cylinder engine and 5W-30 oil for the V6. Keep the engine coolant and other fluids clean and topped up. When adding or changing transmission fluid, make sure to use only the recommended type; wrong transmission fluid type can cause problems. In 4WD models you also have the transfer case oil and the rear differential oil that need to be changed in recommended intervals. The US Toyota Owners website offers a lot of information on maintenance and ownership, including how-to videos, owner's manuals and more. To check a maintenance schedule for a Canadian vehicle, visit Toyota.ca website and follow For Owners > Service Your Vehicle > Maintenance Menu.
You might also be interested:

Safety Recalls - NHTSA - check for recalls.
Transport Canada - Road Safety Recalls - check for recalls in Canada.
Toyota Owners - maintenance schedules, electronic owner's manual and how-to videos.

2011 Toyota RAV4 specifications

Dimensions (4WD model):
Overall length:
Overall width:
with over fender:
without over fender:
Overall height:
Ground clearance
181.9 in (4620 mm)

73.0 in (1855 mm)
71.5 in (1815 mm)
68.7 in (1745 mm)
104.7 in (2660 mm)
7.5 in (190 mm)

Seating Capacity:


Cargo Volume (5-seat model):

Behind Front Seats:
Behind Rear Seat:

73.2 cu. ft.
35.9 cu. ft.

Towing Capacity:

4-cylinder model:
V6 model:

1500 lb. (680 kg)
3500 lb. (1587 kg)

Turning circle:

4-cylinder model:
V6 model:

37.4 ft (11.4 m)
39.4 ft (12.0 m)


4-cylinder models:

V6 models:

2.5-Liter, 4-Cylinder, DOHC, 16-Valve,
Dual Variable Valve Timing w/intelligence (Dual VVT-i),
179 hp @ 6000 rpm, 172 lb. ft. @ 4000 rpm

3.5-Liter, V6, DOHC, 24-Valve,
Dual Variable Valve Timing w/intelligence (Dual VVT-i),
269 hp @ 6200 rpm, 246 lb. ft. @ 4700 rpm
EPA Estimated Fuel Economy:

2WD 2.5L 4-cylinder engine:

2WD 3.5L V6 engine:

4WD 2.5L 4-cylinder engine:

4WD 3.5L V6 engine:

city: 22 mpg (10.7 L/100 km)
hwy: 28 mpg (8.4 L/100 km)

city: 19 mpg (12.4 L/100 km)
hwy: 27 mpg (8.7 L/100 km)

city: 21 mpg (11.2 L/100 km)
hwy: 27 mpg (8.7 L/100 km)

city: 19 mpg (12.4 L/100 km)
hwy: 26 mpg (9.0 L/100 km)

Recommended Fuel: Regular unleaded

Fuel Tank Capacity:

15.9 US gal (60 liters)

Oil capacity:
Oil change, with filter:
2.5 L 4−cylinder (2AR−FE) engine:
3.5 L V6 (2GR−FE) engine:

4.7 qt. (4.4 L)
6.4 qt. (6.1 L)