— Toyota RAV4 fires are under investigation after the government received complaints alleging non-crash fires occurred where the 12-volt batteries are located.
The 12V battery B+ terminals may be experiencing electrical shorts to the frames that hold the batteries in place in 2013-2018 Toyota RAV4 SUVs.
This will cause a complete loss of electrical power as the RAV4 stalls, possibly resulting in a fire.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says seven RAV4 vehicles caught fire while driving and four SUVs burned while parked with the ignitions off. It was confirmed the majority of fires originated from the 12-volt batteries.
The driver of a 2013 Toyota RAV4 says the vehicle went up in flames as he was trying to get fuel at a gas station. The driver says the RAV4 shut down as he was turning into a gas station, but he got the RAV4 restarted and made it to the pump.
He went into the store to prepay for the fuel, filled the RAV4 and tried to start it.
"[C]alled my wife to get a tow truck to have it removed from the gas station, then went in to station to tell attendant the situation. While exiting the store I noticed sparks and glowing embers dropping to the ground from inside the left front wheel area. I turned back and asked the station attendant for a fire extinguisher, returned to car, with 5 lb extinguisher, hood would not release so sprayed extinguisher up under wheel, around hood cracks, and by this time the head light had a hole where the flames were shooting out, so sprayed fire repellent into the hole. After about 10 sec extinguisher was empty. Told gas station attendant to call fire department as the vehicle was going up in flames."
And according to the driver of a 2015 Toyota RAV4:
"I was driving on the interstate entrance ramp when the battery died but then I was able to start it back and drove just a short distance when the hood started smoking. I pulled over and turned the motor off and raised the hood, and the battery was on fire. The battery and electrical system burned."
NHTSA says some of the SUVs had been repaired after prior front-end collision damage, and the government also believes some of the batteries may not have been installed properly.
However, safety regulators claim the overall number of vehicle fire allegations with the battery as the area of origin is larger than in other similar vehicles.
The investigation includes nearly 1.9 million model year 2013-2018 Toyota RAV4s.
CarComplaints.com will update our website with results of the RAV4 fires investigation.