— Toyota RAV4 Hybrid gas tank problems have caused a class action lawsuit that alleges the fuel tanks cannot be filled to capacity before the gas pumps automatically shut off.
The 2019-2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrids are advertised as being equipped with 14.5 gallon gas tanks, but owners complain flaws in the tanks or fuel systems don't allow more than 10 gallons of gas or less.
California plaintiff Ken Ly purchased a 2019 RAV4 Hybrid in August 2019 and says the gas tank suffered the problem the first time he tried to add fuel. The gas pump allegedly shut off prematurely each time he tried to fill the RAV4 Hybrid to the advertised capacity of the fuel tank.
Even when the low fuel light was on, Mr. Ly could not put more than 10 gallons of gas into the 14.5 gallon tank before the nozzle would automatically shut off, indicating the gas tank was full. The plaintiff complains his RAV4 Hybrid doesn't get anywhere near the 550-mile range Toyota promised as his SUV averages only 435 miles.
The lawsuit alleges the Toyota dealer could do nothing about the gas tank problem because the automaker changed the shape of the RAV4 Hybrid gas tank from a “Native American papoose” shape to a “latitudinal, saddle-shaped design[.]”
The class action lawsuit alleges Toyota advertises the 2019-2020 RAV4 Hybrids as having a 14.5 gallon tank that averages 41 city / 38 highway / 40 combined mpg. A vehicle advertised as having a 14.5 gallon tank that gets 40 mpg has a driving range of 580 miles, but gas tank problems mean a vehicle won't achieve anything close to that distance.
The RAV4 Hybrid owner's manual says the low fuel warning light will illuminate when there is about 2.2 gallons or less of gas left in the tank. Owners are instructed to refuel the vehicle, but the lawsuit says this means a driver should be able to add about 12.3 gallons of fuel to the tank.
However, a driver allegedly cannot add more than 10 gallons before the gas pump nozzle shuts off.
Owners who complained to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claimed the RAV4 Hybrid gas tank problems started as soon as they purchased or leased the vehicles.
Owners also claim the vehicles run out of gas, and not only is running out of fuel a frustrating event, it may also damage fuel system components and block the hybrid system from starting.
The lawsuit alleges Toyota knows about the 2019 RAV4 Hybrid gas tank problems because the automaker issued a "Tech Tip" to dealerships in November 2019. The information concerned a “Fuel Gauge Concern,” and says:
“Some 2019 model year RAV4 HV customers may be experiencing some concern related to fuel gauge reading less than full…The meter may display somewhere around 3/4 or 7/8 full at time of gas station pump auto stop.”
Dealer technicians are told to test the gauge and if everything functions normally, technicians should not perform any repairs because the problem is under investigation by the automaker.
The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid gas tank class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division: Ly, et al., v. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. Inc., et al.
The plaintiff is represented by Blood Hurst & O'Reardon, and Barnow and Associates.
CarComplaints.com has owner-reported complaints about Toyota RAV4 Hybrids.