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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

I have a new-to-me 2007 Rav4. We have had it for a couple of months without issue but in the past few days it will sometimes have the battery light flickering.

Twice I have driven with that without incident but on one instance when I took the car out of park and tried to drive the power steering was out. Restarting the car resolved the issue with the light and the steering.

Another time, the power steering cut out after having driven about 10 blocks, coming out of a stop at a stoplight. Restarting the car solved this, too.

In both instances, the airbag light came on when the power steering cut out.

Since then, when I get the flickering battery light i just restart the car and it seems to be fine for that trip.

I have seen a lot of people post similar issues in past years but I have not seen anyone post a final resolution.

The battery is less than two years old (Nov 2015), the terminal connections are tight.

I am not an expert by any means with cars but the couple of inches of belt I can see on the alternator look healthy enough and unchecked.

Please let me know of anyone has resolved this and what the solution was.
 

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Only guessing here, the battery could be bad, regardless of how young it is, especially if you live in a particularly hot climate. For some reason, your profile doesn't say, nor can we tell if you have the I4 or V6 engine. Profile information can be helpful for diagnosing problems.

Otherwise a likely culprit is the alternator itself is starting to fail, which given its age (mileage???) is not unreasonable, presuming it's the original that came with the vehicle.

At the very least you may want to get the battery load tested.

Power problems, including having a bad battery, have been known to cause all kinds of weird and sometimes downright crazy issues with the RAV.

Best of luck.

.
 

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the most common culprits would be battery, alternator, ground wire
 

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I agree with DVS. The symptoms (the EPS takes a lot of power) and flickering charge light point to the alternator. You didn't say but presumably an '07 could have well over 100,000 miles and be due for an alternator rebuild or replacement.
Also agree with load testing the battery since it could be getting worn down by not enough charge.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you, everyone. I have updated my profile, but the Rav4 is Limited edition, 2WD, I4, with around 105,000 miles.

I drove the car the six miles to work this morning and, unlike yesterday, could not get it run without the battery light flickering by restarting.

Part way through my commute on the freeway, the battery light went totally solid and then out completely, and the lights for Check Enging, VSC, and the indicator that I assume is for traction control (a little car with squiggle lines) came on and my power steering cut out. The stereo speakers, although off, crackled a few times.
 

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Same symptoms = same answers! :doh:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you, Dr. Dyno. The issue is that many people have reported these same symptoms over the years and have replaced alternators and batteries and belts and come back saying they were still getting the issue. I don't want to throw money at a new alternator if it doesn't solve the problem.
 

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Yep, many of those folks simply guess and throw parts at the issue w/o proper testing. A few basic voltage tests are needed to confirm which parts are defective.
And as you've seen with your searches, many times we never hear back from them when the problems may very well have gotten solved.
 

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Yep, many of those folks simply guess and throw parts at the issue w/o proper testing. A few basic voltage tests are needed to confirm which parts are defective.
And as you've seen with your searches, many times we never hear back from them when the problems may very well have gotten solved.
I'll let you all know what I find out.

I am lucky enough to work next door to an auto shop that specializes in electrical issues and they are looking it over.

I called the local Toyota dealer and Toyota corporate today, both of whom claimed to have never heard of this issue before. An odd thing to claim when there are complaints files with NHTSA on this exact issue.
 

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I'll let you all know what I find out.

I am lucky enough to work next door to an auto shop that specializes in electrical issues and they are looking it over.

I called the local Toyota dealer and Toyota corporate today, both of whom claimed to have never heard of this issue before. An odd thing to claim when there are complaints files with NHTSA on this exact issue.
This shouldn't be a difficult problem for an auto-electric shop to fix. Forget that dealer you went to.
 

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This shouldn't be a difficult problem for an auto-electric shop to fix. Forget that dealer you went to.
Agreed. This isn't a "federal case" problem. A five minute voltage monitoring test drive, if a drive is even necessary, should pinpoint the cause. I'd know with one of my half dozen voltage testers plugged into the 12V outlet.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well, my update is not going to be helpful:

On my second-to-last time driving the car, the battery light had flickered then gone solid, then the power steering cut out, a bunch of diagnostic lights (VSC, slip, etc) came on, and the speakers crackled for a moment.

The last time I drove the car two blocks to the auto shop, the power steering was working again, the battery light was not flickering, and the Check Engine light was on with a couple other diagnostic lights.

I just spoke with the shop and they have been unable to get it to reproduce any of the issues. The checked the OBD code and it was only indicating the speed sensor. They cleared it and drove it and could not get it to throw any code or have any problems.

They checked the entire charging system and everything is in good shape.

So I will be getting it back not having any idea what caused this, not knowing if or when it will happen again, etc.

I did learn that if it happens again, I should pull over and run my own OBD scanner on it without turning the car off to have my best shot at a helpful code.
 

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Something tells me the alternator is on its last legs and is intermittently failing.
Did they test the alternator in the old fashion way i.e. using voltmeter/load test?
 

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Buy one of these voltmeters so you can monitor the voltage live when the problem happens.
 

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Well, my update is not going to be helpful:

On my second-to-last time driving the car, the battery light had flickered then gone solid, then the power steering cut out, a bunch of diagnostic lights (VSC, slip, etc) came on, and the speakers crackled for a moment.

The last time I drove the car two blocks to the auto shop, the power steering was working again, the battery light was not flickering, and the Check Engine light was on with a couple other diagnostic lights.

I just spoke with the shop and they have been unable to get it to reproduce any of the issues. The checked the OBD code and it was only indicating the speed sensor. They cleared it and drove it and could not get it to throw any code or have any problems.

They checked the entire charging system and everything is in good shape.

So I will be getting it back not having any idea what caused this, not knowing if or when it will happen again, etc.

I did learn that if it happens again, I should pull over and run my own OBD scanner on it without turning the car off to have my best shot at a helpful code.
An intermittent problem like this can be frustrating. Especially when the "intermittent" part NEVER happens at the shop! I recall you said you worked near the shop. Can you arrange to leave it there each day so they can use it during the day for errands or whatever? It's bound to show it's ugly head eventually.
You said that they checked everything out ok but what exactly did they do? Were both the battery and the alternator put under a load test, or just static voltage metered?
 

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This was their written summary of the findings and diagnostics.
They said they checked the tire pressure on all FOUR tires. They apparently don't know there is a TPMS sensor on the spare tire as well.
 

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They said they checked the tire pressure on all FOUR tires. They apparently don't know there is a TPMS sensor on the spare tire as well.
When I spoke with them while picking it up, they confirmed they checked the spare, too. It's just a faulty TPMS sensor that has been faulty since we bought the car.
 
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That spare tire is tricky! I always tried to check the spare tire pressure on customers cars, they're a pain to check when the tire is installed so you can't get to the valve stem though. I bet 75% of them were very low or flat. Hope your battery issue gets cleared up. Intermittent problems are the hardest to diagnose.

Have the battery terminals been cleaned? Clean the main ground terminals too.
 
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