Toyota RAV4 won’t start, how can I fix it?

Toyotas are solid built cars with excellent reliability record, but still its possible to face issues as anything can go wrong throughout the life of the car in real world. So lets troubleshoot a RAV4 that won’t start.

2012 Toyota RAV4

So, if your car won’t start and you are stuck somewhere and you tried to jump-start the car using jumper cables, but still the engine didn’t crank. What is the first thing to check if such a problem occurs?

First thing that you should do is get your DC volt meter and stick positive to positive and negative to native terminals. This will tell you if your battery is too low on volts, as if its very low like 4-7 volts, it won’t start the engine even with jump-start. If its too low then your battery is most probably dead. If this happened to a new battery then you might have left a light on which drained the battery or something else is draining the battery. Simply get a car battery charger. It is highly recommended to disconnect the terminals from the battery before charging this way.

One little trick to know if your battery is dead is to check the clock. After you try to start the engine the clock resets to 12:00, then it means that your battery is weak. You can also turn your headlights on and the clock display will disappear.

Clock in 2012 Toyota RAV4

So if the battery is good, then what next? Now generally its either starter motor is bad or engine is locked up. Both of these are complicated issues and needs an expert to deal with, so its recommended to get it towed to an auto repair shop.

If you know what you’re doing then you can check it yourself by manually rotating the crank shaft from engine bay with the help of cheater bar and appropriately sized socket. if it rotates then engine is good, if it doesn’t then its locked up.

Rotating crank shaft

To check starter motor connect the positive terminal of starter motor to the positive of battery, if engine cranks then your wiring is bad, if it doesn’t then starter motor is bad.

RAV4 starter motor

A few more things you can check is a blown up fuse for starter circuit. You can check terminals of battery if there is gunk buildup which is preventing connection between clamps and terminals.

Author: Nabeel K

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