6 Toyota RAV4 Suspension Problems

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The Toyota RAV4 series ranks among the most dependable vehicles manufactured by Toyota. Although the car presents fewer technical concerns than some brands, some models have had to account for problems with suspension systems consistently. 

Car suspension isn’t just destined to safeguard the car from damage and friction but also for the comfort of the driver. So, any issue with the suspension should be a real concern. 

Up to 491 known incidents involving Toyota RAV4 owners have been reported to become a part of data regarding suspension issues since the 1990s. 

Here, we will discuss specifically the problems with Toyota RAV4 suspensions. Following our guidelines, you can enjoy a smooth ride to and from your Rav4 without a suspension problem. Let’s take a look! 

Toyota RAV4 and Its Suspension System – At A Glance

Recreational Active Vehicle with 4-wheel drive, in short (RAV4), was Toyota’s first-generation crossover SUV and the very first vehicle of its kind to hit the market. 

For its fifth-generation model, Toyota has made significant enhancements to the vehicle’s design and mechanical layout, which has enabled the vehicle to maintain much of its popularity over the years. The 2023 Toyota RAV4 comes with a multi-link rear suspension. 

Common Toyota RAV4 Suspension Problems

RAV4 suspension problems

Enough of the basic discussion; let’s now hit the main point. However, it’s worth mentioning that we have gathered only the most common and severe suspension issues reported by users. 

1. Difficult Steering Wheel

This issue is most frequent among Toyota RAV4 vehicles made after 2018, and similar complaints like those have been heard. Drivers said while taking off or braking at 20 mph, they heard a loud clicking sound coming from underneath the vehicle’s front bumper. 

The noise would occasionally stop and reappear intermittently. However, in all scenarios, no warning lights were illuminated. You will likely hear and feel the knocking sound when the vehicle either slows down or is turned. It is most noticeable while the vehicle is stopped and turning the wheel left and right.

2. Unusual Noise

Within motion, the RAV4 suspension makes incessant noises, and you can feel road dips as well as clattering on uneven roadways. Most of these sounds can be heard while driving over bumpy roads. Moving then becomes less stable and insecure, which can lead to a befuddled feeling while riding.

Some users also reported a knocking noise. This generally occurs at low speeds on uneven surfaces such as roads during sudden bumps, rotations, and heaves. Emerge from beneath and near the driver’s seat and show up clearly for both the driver and passengers.

3. Sway Bar Issue

As some drivers stated, when braking at a turbulent spot on the road, the dynamic wobble of the car became more exaggerated than the dynamic wobble as the car was less tilted forward. Drivers are next to hear a severe bang or thump as well as a sudden rise of airplane assets in the back. At first, it may seem as if broken objects in the rear minor cargo compartment are rising up and then settling down. 

4. Rear Shocks Issue

We have heard of a few Toyota RAV4 owners advising Toyota of the previous generation’s rear shock absorber issues. In that case, driving may become uncomfortable for those who feel all of the vibration in the car’s wheels, even at low speeds (30-40 mph).  

Similarly, even small oscillations do not go away and stay even for a prolonged time while driving on a highway. The second scenario presents a major safety risk since a very unusual road makes Rav4 switch from side to side quite drastically, making its drivers very prone to a collision.

Surprisingly, drivers can shake the car with bare hands when the car is stationary. Well, you may be inclined to regard it as a characteristic of an SUV based on its specifications. What they were finding was that the rear shocks weren’t working well, so they needed to replace them.

5. The car Doesn’t Stay Aligned Properly

Have you ever come across your Toyota RAV4 resting a tad low to one side even though it’s parked on a level surface?  When you notice any noticeable sag in the corner of your vehicle, it could result from a bad suspension or faulty springs. Be sure to have your automobile inspected for these types of problems. Fixing suspension issues is not a substitute for repairing springs.

Read also: Do You Need an Alignment After Replacing Struts?

6. Crack in Suspension Arm

The Toyota RAV4’s suspension system is prone to breakage due to a crack in the suspension arm. This break can cause other parts of the suspension arm to separate from the steering assembly. There are a variety of factors that can ultimately cause the suspension arm to break, including the form of the break and the density of the vehicle’s suction on the road.

As Toyota figured out, the steel panels in certain models of RAV4s were prone to disintegration. Toyota’s executives determined that this was grounds for a voluntary recall on May 14, 2020. They looked into the number of recorded incidents at that point and found that none of the defects was liability caused.

Toyota RAV4 – Which Versions Have the Least and Highest Suspension Issues?

As you can see, not all Toyota RAV4s are affected by suspension issues. While you may find a particular issue in some versions, it might not be visible in the later releases. However, let’s see which Toyota RAV4 vehicles have the least and highest suspension issues. 

Toyota RAV4 with The Least Suspension Issues

The first generation of the RAV4 was the closest approximation to the very first design of the RAV4, which had a good appearance, many extra options, and excellent reliability. It looks like a vehicle that would be enjoyable to drive on a vacation to the beach and would be suitable for daily commuting.

A second amendment that may be considered is a 2009-2012 third-generation RAV4 based on the performance of the car, the V6 engine, and the availability of the vehicle. 

However, if you don’t care about the wild appearance of the car or its exciting features, the fourth-generation RAV4 (2013-2018) is another option. The fourth-generation RAV4 received very few issues regarding the suspension system.

Toyota RAV4 with The Highest Suspension Issues

Among the most recent fifth-generation Toyota RAV4 versions, vehicles engineered in late 2019 and 2020 are particularly prone to suspension failures. Information collected from car forums and analysis portals showed that Toyota recalled as many as 10,000 RAV4 vehicles released between those years due to suspension failures.

In early rushes, it was discovered that the front arms of many cars were produced cheaply and with low-quality materials, making the individual vehicles increasingly rickety and weak.

Tips for Maintaining Toyota RAV4 Suspension

No matter how bad your suspension is, good maintenance and careful driving can add a few more times to its service life. So, to get the most out of your suspension, keep the following tips in mind. 

  • The first thing you need to do is check your vehicle when you drive it to anticipate any potential repairs that need to be made and regularly have the vehicle repaired by a professional mechanic. 
  • Don’t forget to rotate your tires as frequently as you can as this will help you find suspension issues and prevent your struts and shocks from wearing down.
  • Be prepared to check the pressure in the tires regularly, so they remain in alignment so long as the vehicle is utilized regularly for accomplishing work jobs like plowing snow or hauling heavy loads. Unbalanced wheels will lead to accelerated wear and tear.
  • Whenever possible, drive more slowly than normal to prevent leaving your car sitting until the odometer shows 1,000 miles, as rough roads, bumps, and potholes may damage the suspension, shock absorber, and steering system of the car. When navigating rough roads, it is better to yield to bumps or slow down than to run over them at full speed.