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Hello guys,

As the winter is coming in, and the temperature is around 5-10 Celsius, my rav4 can`t heat up. When I am going shopping ( 10 minute ride ), and I am driving normally with 30mph, it stays cold. When it is running in a traffic jam, or staying still, it slowly heats, but when I get out on the open route, and I am driving 50mph, i gets cold quickly, even when the trunk is fully loaded.

In the hot summer it was great, if i was cruising on the highway, or I was going down hill, the car was cold and nice, no overheat. But now I can`t use the heater.

Last summer it was OK. No issue. I had done nothing to the car during the summer. The antifreeze is little low, but nothing alarming.

Any advice?

Thank you.
 

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The problem almost certainly is the thermostat.
 

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2008 RAV4 Limited V6
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Yes, your thermostat is stuck open.
 

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Yes, but you will need to drain only enough so that when you remover the thermostat the coolant level in the radiator and engine is just below the level of the thermostat. This may be easier - if your antifreeze/coolant is still good you can drain it into a clean container so that after the thermostat has been replaced and everything is re-assembled you can use the same coolant again.
 

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Hello guys,

As the winter is coming in, and the temperature is around 5-10 Celsius, my rav4 can`t heat up. When I am going shopping ( 10 minute ride ), and I am driving normally with 30mph, it stays cold. When it is running in a traffic jam, or staying still, it slowly heats, but when I get out on the open route, and I am driving 50mph, i gets cold quickly, even when the trunk is fully loaded.

In the hot summer it was great, if i was cruising on the highway, or I was going down hill, the car was cold and nice, no overheat. But now I can`t use the heater.

Last summer it was OK. No issue. I had done nothing to the car during the summer. The antifreeze is little low, but nothing alarming.

Any advice? Thank you.
^^^ Cold on the highway / air flowing into rad at 50 mph, will cool a rad off quickly...That's why some people, blocks rad opening with cardboard, during the winter...poor mans fix, on diesel trucks.

Lower antifreeze, check for leaks...engine oil getting milky color / head gasket problem ?

*********************************************************

I've driven 10-15-20 year old vehicles, most of my 40 year driving life / and the newer RAV4 Limited, is for the wife & family driving.

Heater not working:
a) change thermostat, for preventive maintenance
But due to age of vehicle, I bet your real problem lies in b)
b) Your old radiator is plugged & corroded from antifreeze/water mix, through normal driving.

^^ I had a newer 1989 Nissan Pathfinder once.
- wife drove it several years, dad drove it for a few years & we finally handed it down to our 16 y/o son in high school
Finally, one winter it didn't have any heat / couldn't even defrost the front windshield.
- sent to garage, I'm not changing a radiator in freezing temperatures outside
I instructed garage to do exactly a) & b)...a) was OK but old part was replaced...b) original rad was sent out & pressure tested - found to be a plugged rad.
- I was pissed at mechanic...spending $75 for a useless pressure test I didn't ask for (on old rad), and new rad was only $150

ALSO
c) heater core could be plugged, but often the radiator goes first / more restrictive design
d) many older vehicles used a 14 PSI radiator cap / even a bad cap, can cause a blown head gasket

So to answer your question gruntz / could be a) b) c) d), or some combination.
- but my guess is b) install a new radiator & a) plus d) is cheap maintenance

TIP - always use 5 year premium antifreeze, mixed 50% with distilled water / tap water contains iron, promoting rust buildup on inside rad core.

Please let us know the outcome / fix.
 

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^^^ Cold on the highway / air flowing into rad at 50 mph, will cool a rad off quickly...That's why some people, blocks rad opening with cardboard, during the winter...poor mans fix, on diesel trucks.

Lower antifreeze, check for leaks...engine oil getting milky color / head gasket problem ?

*********************************************************

I've driven 10-15-20 year old vehicles, most of my 40 year driving life / and the newer RAV4 Limited, is for the wife & family driving.

Heater not working:
a) change thermostat, for preventive maintenance
But due to age of vehicle, I bet your real problem lies in b)
b) Your old radiator is plugged & corroded from antifreeze/water mix, through normal driving.

^^ I had a newer 1989 Nissan Pathfinder once.
- wife drove it several years, dad drove it for a few years & we finally handed it down to our 16 y/o son in high school
Finally, one winter it didn't have any heat / couldn't even defrost the front windshield.
- sent to garage, I'm not changing a radiator in freezing temperatures outside
I instructed garage to do exactly a) & b)...a) was OK but old part was replaced...b) original rad was sent out & pressure tested - found to be a plugged rad.
- I was pissed at mechanic...spending $75 for a useless pressure test I didn't ask for (on old rad), and new rad was only $150

ALSO
c) heater core could be plugged, but often the radiator goes first / more restrictive design
d) many older vehicles used a 14 PSI radiator cap / even a bad cap, can cause a blown head gasket

So to answer your question gruntz / could be a) b) c) d), or some combination.
- but my guess is b) install a new radiator & a) plus d) is cheap maintenance

TIP - always use 5 year premium antifreeze, mixed 50% with distilled water / tap water contains iron, promoting rust buildup on inside rad core.

Please let us know the outcome / fix.

Far too much information, sorry, change the thermostat and see how you get on. My guess is that - problem sorted. Plugged and blocked radiators and pipelines are quite rare.
 

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Far too much information, sorry, change the thermostat and see how you get on. My guess is that - problem sorted. Plugged and blocked radiators and pipelines are quite rare.
^^ Bad radiator rare, in a +15 y/o vehicle...really !!

Of course, do a) before b) c) d) e) etc...only makes $$ sense.
- but if a) isn't the full fix...having more options & understanding of heating problem, will never hurt
^^ Far too much information...:laugh...:roll:

Another old timers trick, some thermostats rated at 160^ 180^ 195^....pick higher temp. rating (aka winter thermostat) & make the engine run hotter, to compensate for a partially plugged radiator.
- or fix the problem right / and restore the operation of the in-cab heater, to like new performance
 
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