I recently bought a 2012 Rav4 Limited V6 4WD. The last car I just sold was a 1985 Toyota Van. During the time owning the van, I joined an awesome forum called Toyotavantech.com and it was such a huge wealth of knowledge, I told myself that whatever car I bought in the future, I would join a forum of.
Me and my wife have owned CR-Vs for about 8 years and we've always loved them and the fact that they seem to keep going on forever. We ran one into the ground then bought another one that we were expecting to have for a while, but after deciding to move from San Diego back to our homeland in New Hampshire, we started thinking about what kind of car we wanted for the snow and also for pulling a 5x8 cargo trailer cross country. After researching several small to midsize SUVs, we decided to part ways with the CR-V experience and try a Rav4. I made this decision without actually seeing any Rav4s but basing it solely off the V6 with 4WD option. CR-Vs don't have a V6 option and we wanted something a little more heavy duty than what Honda has been using in their CR-Vs. After we looked at a few Rav4s, we quickly realized this was quite a bit bigger than we expected, with significantly more interior room and cargo space, larger backdoor access for adding or removing a child car seat, and overall a beefier feel. So we settled on a 2012 Limited V6 with the 4WD.
Our car only came with one smart key, so I spent the first two days we owned this car reading over the forum about self copying smart keys. This technology is way over my head and I'm pretty confident I could figure it out eventually, but I do have a cross country move coming up in a few weeks and I didn't want the added pressure of not being able to figure it out and/or screwing up what I already have, so I found an independent locksmith who could program a new smart key for $90. I read on that smart key thread about how to match your key fob to another programmable one. I found one on ebay that actually had a Lexus case on it, but as far as the FCC, IC, and curcuit board numbers, they all match up perfectly. So I'm hoping that will go smoothly. After obtaining a second smart key, I'm heading to a local shop to get a viper alarm system installed with a remote start option.
BTW, when I bought from the dealership, I was offered and pressured into getting a dealer supplied alarm system. First they were gonna give it to me for 650, then after I kept refusing they kept lowering it until they were town to $400. I was mentally teeter-tottering on it for a bit and then decided to refuse it. And I'm really glad I did. As soon as I got home, I looked up the alarm system, which was branded as "Karr alarm" and sure enough, it was a super cheap, overpriced offer and I could get a much better product at a fraction of the price, so if you want to spend any money on an alarm system, go to a stereo shop or aftermarket installer, and skip the dealership shams.
On top of the alarm and key upgrades, I've been in the middle of a project installing a tow package on the vehicle. I'm not actually installing a complete factory based tow package, but just the basics (hitch and lighting). I'm skipping out on the tranny cooler because I am only making one tow cross country and I plan on never towing again. I called some local transmission shops and they said they wouldn't bother installing the cooler if it was them. Plus I am moving to New England where it is much cooler climate, so if I did put on a cooler, I would then have to drop extra for thermal bypass valves and such. Just not worth the effort and money. I was originally planning on bringing it in to a shop to have them do all the tow installs, but I found a website called etrailer.com and I got free shipping for my order and got a great deal on all the supplies I needed. They were super helpful and had great customer service. I received my box after a week and just installed the hitch today. It was so surprisingly easy to install, I almost thought it was too good to be true. I got the job done in 10 minutes, underneath the car while I was on the phone with my grandma. Heck, it was so easy, I bet my grandma could have done it in 10 minutes while she was on the phone with me! Anyways, I just had to throw that company out there, so if anybody is looking to install their own tow package, check them out. They even have custom wire harnesses for lighting specifically built for each make, model, and year of vehicle.
So far I am loving this. I'm very happy with everything. This is the newest car I have ever owned (last newest was our 2004 CR-V), so honestly the computer parts of this car intimidate me quite a bit. I'm kind of a do-it-yourself kind of person when it comes to most things on cars, and dealing with more recent cars, you have to be more computer savvy than mechanically savvy, and I'm not fully prepared to tackle the potential computer oriented problems that may arise. But this car does have low miles (56,000) so I think I will have some time to research and learn more about it. I do plan on sometime in the future, buying a dedicated laptop with a Techstream installation on it to get into the computer of the car and see what's on there to mess around with. I hope to be on this forum more as I learn more about this car and I look forward to hearing all of the things others have learned and shared on here.
Take care all,