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Discussion Starter #1
Well, this is my first problem with our Rav4. First of all, its a 2013 Limited, only 10,700 miles on it. We inherited/bought the car from my mother in law's estate. We have had it about a year and have put on about 5k. Recently was at the dealer for an oil change etc. The battery was replaced by mom about 2 years ago as she had some kind of problem, but it has worked fine since. She didn't drive it much as you can tell so maybe the inactivity ruined the battery. Don't know. Anyway, I drove the car in the morning and everything was fine. About 3 hours later I went to do an errand and the car started fine. After the errand, about 20 minutes later, the car would not start. The battery in the key fob is new so that shouldn't be a problem. As a matter of fact, I tried another brand new battery and no start. The doors lock and unlock, the headlights etc. work. When the start button is pushed, the usual multitude of dash lights go on and the radio goes on, but nothing else happens. I do notice a slight difference in the brake pedal feel when trying to start up. Normally, there is a slight give in the pedal, now there is no give. Called AAA and together we tried to jump start the car and some other things. Nothing. I had called the local dealer and we went through several things and still nothing. Had the car towed to the dealer. The next day the dealer asks if I have an alarm in the car. The selling dealer (in Arizona) installs alarms in their cars for security, but in this case, when the car was purchased, mom was asked if she wanted the alarm and she did not. We thought the alarm was taken out. The local dealer (VT) wanted to charge me 2 hours labor, plus the diagnostic fee to remove the alarm ($450:surprise). They said there was a 'short' in the alarm. As we were not supposed to have an alarm, that was a surprise to me. I got in contact with the selling dealer's service manager and he was puzzled as they have put in hundreds of these alarms without issues. He then put me in touch with the alarm company installer(Jaime) who also felt it was not the alarm. If the customer doesn't want the alarm, then they are 'disabled' with a software command. He eventually was contacted by VT and they are going to take out the 'brain' of the alarm, and then a relay to see if that works. Jaime was quite surprised when I told him of the cost to 'remove' alarm. I hope to know more on Monday.:frown:confused:
 

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Are the brake lights coming on when you press the brake to start it? That needs to happen for the car to start. It uses the brake light switch to tell the ecu that your foot is on the brake and ok to start. Since you said the brake feels still maybe it is not depressing far enough to activate the switch.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Good question. I didn't check that. With the difference in the pedal feel, I doubt that they go on. I can have the dealer check that. If it is that, then the original dealer 'finding' of the alarm having a short is way off base.
 

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You did try moving the shift lever in case there's an issue with the Park/Neutral switch?
 

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Although not push button start this is exactly the problem I had (and still do occasionally)
with my '08 Limited V-6. A dealer came up with the same conclusion after it was towed in and removed the Viper aftermarket alarm. While doing that they also cut the wires to my stereo amplifier and auto day/night mirror. The "fix" did not work.

When I had another alarm installed elsewhere they found & repaired the cut wires to both and replaced both remote batteries. I also had the neutral safety switch replaced at a different dealer after the first one buggered things up so badly.

It hasn't done this no start crap since last Nov/Dec and did it twice in the same day recently. Fortunately it started in neutral both times this go round unlike all previous times. The car has a will of its own!

Please let us know if they come up with anything on yours, it might help me out as well. I did a write up about all this on this forum but can't seem to locate it.

Edit: Here's part 2, can't find part 1 of the story:
http://www.rav4world.com/forums/99-4-3-mechanical/233841-not-again.html
 

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Definitely sounds like your vehicle thinks the transmission is in N or D. I'll bet your neutral safety switch is being engaged or has an issue. Hopefully covered under warranty, as your vehicle isn't that old!
 

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A couple of things to consider.....

In my vehicle (not a RAV4 BTW), if I press the stop button with the gear selector in any position other than PARK, the engine will stop running as expected, but an audible warning beep begins, and a message on the dash reminds me to switch the selector to PARK. I expect this is the way all smart key vehicles will work.

So if the OP did not get that message when he shut down his RAV, or if he is not getting that message now, I assume the transmission safety switch must be closed, and reporting properly.

A defective brake switch would indeed cause symptoms like this, but it would take two steps. If the driver fails to step on the brake when he pushes the start button, the vehicle will be turned on in "accessory" mode. The radio will operate, but there will be very few dashboard lights. It is only when he presses the start button a 2nd time, the the vehicle will switch on the ignition and cause all the idiot lights to come on. The 3rd time he pushes the button, everything will turn off.

So if the driver goes through those 3 stages when he pushes the button, a defective brake switch is likely the problem. If the first push goes immediately to "ignition on" mode, then the brake switch is not likely at fault.

An alternate way of testing the brake switch is to turn the ignition on (all idiot lights on) and attempt to move the gear selector. The gear selector will not move unless the vehicle senses the drivers foot is on the brake. This test may prove the brake switch is working and the no start condition is caused by something else.

OP, it is normal for the brake pedal to get firmer after pushing it down several times without the engine running. A running engine creates a vacuum reserve to assist your braking ( i.e. "power brakes"), and stepping on the pedal depletes that vacuum reserve, leaving you with standard (non power) brakes. I imagine most readers of this forum are too young to remember when "power brakes" didn't exist.
 

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I came across these instructions in the owners manual for the situation you described.

 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all the suggestions. I just got off the phone with the dealer and was informed that they have eliminated the possibility of the cause as being the alarm. They have opened a case with Toyota and are working on a solution. I followed up on the suggestion by Noderb regarding the brake lights operating and they are working. I would hopefully think that they have eliminated the possibility of the neutral safety switch and the brake safety switch. The dealer did say it seemed to be an ECU problem.

The car does have the platinum warranty fortunately. When Mom bought the car (in Scottsdale, AZ), it was recommended by the dealer as the temperatures down in the southwest can cause problems with the electronics. While I live in much cooler climates (Monterey, CA), maybe there is an issue. Mom hardly drove the car and it spent a lot of time in the garage.

The cause may be the result of bad muffler bearings. Consequently, they will have to scrap the car and provide me with a new one of my choice.

Hopefully, I should know more by the end of the day.
 

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Thanks for all the suggestions. I just got off the phone with the dealer and was informed that they have eliminated the possibility of the cause as being the alarm. They have opened a case with Toyota and are working on a solution. I followed up on the suggestion by Noderb regarding the brake lights operating and they are working. I would hopefully think that they have eliminated the possibility of the neutral safety switch and the brake safety switch. The dealer did say it seemed to be an ECU problem.

The car does have the platinum warranty fortunately. When Mom bought the car (in Scottsdale, AZ), it was recommended by the dealer as the temperatures down in the southwest can cause problems with the electronics. While I live in much cooler climates (Monterey, CA), maybe there is an issue. Mom hardly drove the car and it spent a lot of time in the garage.

The cause may be the result of bad muffler bearings. Consequently, they will have to scrap the car and provide me with a new one of my choice.

Hopefully, I should know more by the end of the day.
I'll bet it all has to do with the lack of the 'BLINKER FLUID' being changed! :wink

Seriously, a defective/malfunctioning ECU sounds logical.

Good luck!
 

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I'll bet it all has to do with the lack of the 'BLINKER FLUID' being changed! :wink
C'mon everyone knows there's no such thing! But it may be marginally low on power steering fluid.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
UPDATE:

The dealer informed me on Tuesday that it was finally determined that the steering computer failed and the alarm was not involved. The steering computer was ordered and installed. The dealer has been working with the technical department at the main office.

Here is a link regarding steering computers that I found:

Toyota-Alabama.com » Blog Archive » Toyota Electric Power Steering (EPS)

This evening, Thursday, I received a call from the dealer and was informed that the car now will start, but the key fobs do not register with the new hardware. A new computer for that is ordered and will be here in a couple of days. They have offered me a loaner car....I asked if they had something sporty.... I probably won't have the car till next week..

The dealer has had to spend a lot of time working with the technical dept. to try and figure this out. I am sure that it isn't fun for them. With all the systems so interconnected it must be very frustrating for the mechanics and certainly the owners. I am sure glad I wasn't on a trip or something.
We will see what happens. Stay tuned.
 

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JeffInMonterey, Thanks for the update. All for a non-start. Sure's a complicated car.
 

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Yeah, all cars are complicated. No wonder the Yugo never was a success.
So true.

A friend of mine has a Subaru Imprezza that he had purchased brandy new from a dealer. Shortly after the purchase, he had a no start issue. Dealer had his car for weeks until finally determining the cause of his no start issue ... the dashboard, of course!
 
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