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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, first time posting, received my 06 Rav4 not long ago from a relative, sorry if i don't know too much.

Recently i've been starting to noticed the battery sign flickers when starting up in the morning, but went away after a restart or driving for 30mins. But the other day i was on the highway and the battery sign starts to flicker again, then after about 20 mins of constant flickering, i suddenly lost power steering with all sorts of warning lights came on, the speedometer and tachometer went to 0, but i was still travelling the same speed. I pulled over, started the car again, only the check engine light, vsc and 4wd light stayed on and i drove home.

The next day i went to my local dealer they checked everything but could not find anything wrong. On my report i see that it says Codes P0500 P0138 and they suggested it to replace o2 sensor b2s1, they quoted me $350 so i was hesitant. This morning it happened again, lost power steering and all that jazz, but after few restarts the check engine, vsc and 4wd light disappeared.

I don't know too much about cars and i read online that people had similar codes replaced o2 sensor and air/fuel ratio sensor which solved their problem, i am not sure if this is what i should do, please help me and anything would be appreciated!
 

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The loss of electric power is THE issue here especially because the car has electric power steering. Fixing it will likely clear all the codes and problems.

Three possibilities come to mind.

Probably a weak battery since we've had a myriad of reports and posts on the subject. While those are mostly in reference to starting problems this thread more specifically addresses your situation. How old is the battery? A load test will confirm its condition.

Could also be a wiring problem - usually battery cables.

A failing alternator would cause the same symptoms especially with the battery light coming on. How many miles on the car?

Any of these faults should have been easily diagnosed by a competent shop. Sounds like your dealer just wants to charge you not fix your charging system.
 

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Hi, first time posting, received my 06 Rav4 not long ago from a relative, sorry if i don't know too much.

Recently i've been starting to noticed the battery sign flickers when starting up in the morning, but went away after a restart or driving for 30mins. But the other day i was on the highway and the battery sign starts to flicker again, then after about 20 mins of constant flickering, i suddenly lost power steering with all sorts of warning lights came on, the speedometer and tachometer went to 0, but i was still travelling the same speed. I pulled over, started the car again, only the check engine light, vsc and 4wd light stayed on and i drove home.

The next day i went to my local dealer they checked everything but could not find anything wrong. On my report i see that it says Codes P0500 P0138 and they suggested it to replace o2 sensor b2s1, they quoted me $350 so i was hesitant. This morning it happened again, lost power steering and all that jazz, but after few restarts the check engine, vsc and 4wd light disappeared.

I don't know too much about cars and i read online that people had similar codes replaced o2 sensor and air/fuel ratio sensor which solved their problem, i am not sure if this is what i should do, please help me and anything would be appreciated!
Classic battery/alternator problem. Do as the Doctor says.
Not sure what you mean by "they checked everything". Did they test the alternator and load-test the battery? Bet they didn't.
 

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i had that recently. it was my alternator that went dead at 70k miles. i thought it was my battery and i bought a new one. the battery light was still on. used a voltimeter and the alternator wasn't charging. get a denso remanufactured alternator from rockauto.com.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hi Dr. Dyno thank for your reply, as i mentioned i got the car from a relative so i am not sure how long ago the battery was replaced, the car is around 150k kms. I think you are correct regarding my dealer did not do their job, I will be going to a local mechanic to help me test the possible problems that you mentioned.

I've noticed that yesterday when i was on the highway, constant flickering again and i lost power steering 2 times, after the second restart i reduced my speed and the battery light did not flicker as much, and i did not loose power. Does that mean anything? I hope it is a simple battery problem and not the alternator.
 

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From my personal experience, I would say your alternator is about to die. It is also possible that you have some loose cable at the battery or alternator.
Alternators sell for about $100 (rebuilt) and labour could be 1.5 hours or $150.

ALso, the red battery light is on and power steering is lost, you have at most 20 minutes to drive on battery alone. Better know where your favourite garage is so you can direct your RAV straight there before it dies. Otherwise, you will have to use CAA or call tow truck at your own expense. Ask me how I know :( That won't be fund in this cold winter weather we are now having.
 

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If there are no loose connections it could very well be the alternator failing since once the car is started it should be providing all the power.
I recommend a plug-in voltmeter such as this so you can monitor the voltage as you drive. It should stay above 13.5V
 

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Thanks so much for your reply, is there anywhere i can check if the alternator if failing for free? The battery was bought from Canadian Tire, im wondering if they will look at it for free. The mechanic i go to is pretty far so i don't want to drive all the way just to do a test.
 

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Thanks so much for your reply, is there anywhere i can check if the alternator if failing for free? The battery was bought from Canadian Tire, im wondering if they will look at it for free. The mechanic i go to is pretty far so i don't want to drive all the way just to do a test.
I don't know about Canada but in the US you can get it checked for free from some auto parts stores like
ADVANCE AUTO PARTS. You could call the place you bought the battery or your local auto parts stores and see if they will check your alternator and battery for free.

It would also be a good idea to get to a plug in meter that DR. DYNO recommends for future use.
 

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Thanks so much for your reply, is there anywhere i can check if the alternator if failing for free? The battery was bought from Canadian Tire, im wondering if they will look at it for free. The mechanic i go to is pretty far so i don't want to drive all the way just to do a test.
If you own several vehicles and want to test charging system and battery load test yourself to get the most out of your batteries, I suggest this excellent load tester.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IZFNJ6Y/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I don't know about Canada but in the US you can get it checked for free from some auto parts stores like
ADVANCE AUTO PARTS. You could call the place you bought the battery or your local auto parts stores and see if they will check your alternator and battery for free.

It would also be a good idea to get to a plug in meter that DR. DYNO recommends for future use.
I went to a local shop to check my battery, funny thing is when i started the car the battery light was flickering again, after driving it there the light disappeared. The mechanic checked the battery and it was at 14v so nothing wrong with the battery, and he said it probably is the alternator but not sure.

After reading more post i am 90% sure it is alternator's problem, but because my family has recently been through some up and downs that why i wanted to come here and ask for help, as i understand alternator replacement will cost $300-400, so i just want to make sure this is the problem before i get it replaced. I think i'll summarize my problem again because i still have some questions.

Most of the time when starting the car in the morning after a long night, battery light flickers, sometimes P/S light, VSC 4wd light would also come on, i just turn off the car and restarting it makes those light disappear. The battery light flickering would disappear after about 10-15 mins of driving, i guess that when the engine warms up so the alternator doesn't have to work so hard? One thing i don't understand that does driving at high speed also put some stress on the alternator?If that is the case, then it answers the battery light flickering and the loss of power steering when driving on the highway.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Did you take your RAV to CanadianTire or PartSource for them to check the alternator? Give them a call before you go.
Do PartSource and Canadian Tire do free checks? I see that on PartSource website it says free battery testing but i does not say anything about alternator.
 

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I went to a local shop to check my battery, funny thing is when i started the car the battery light was flickering again, after driving it there the light disappeared. The mechanic checked the battery and it was at 14v so nothing wrong with the battery, and he said it probably is the alternator but not sure.

After reading more post i am 90% sure it is alternator's problem, but because my family has recently been through some up and downs that why i wanted to come here and ask for help, as i understand alternator replacement will cost $300-400, so i just want to make sure this is the problem before i get it replaced. I think i'll summarize my problem again because i still have some questions.

Most of the time when starting the car in the morning after a long night, battery light flickers, sometimes P/S light, VSC 4wd light would also come on, i just turn off the car and restarting it makes those light disappear. The battery light flickering would disappear after about 10-15 mins of driving, i guess that when the engine warms up so the alternator doesn't have to work so hard? One thing i don't understand that does driving at high speed also put some stress on the alternator?If that is the case, then it answers the battery light flickering and the loss of power steering when driving on the highway.
If the battery was at 14 volts when checked after driving I would think that the alternator was charging. Do you have a volt meter you can use to check the battery in the morning after its been sitting overnight to see what its reading cold? The volt meter that Dr Dyno listed DROK® Cigarette Lighter Plug Car Battery Voltage Monitor 12V 24V and USB Charger | eBay
might help with seeing whats happening to the voltage when your problems occur. Have you checked the battery cables to make sure there not loose or dirty. You might also check to make sure the cable is tight on the starter. I once had a problem with a Honda Accord when the cable connectors on the battery where old and weak and my car wouldn't start sometimes for no reason.
 

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If the battery was at 14 volts when checked after driving I would think that the alternator was charging. Do you have a volt meter you can use to check the battery in the morning after its been sitting overnight to see what its reading cold? The volt meter that Dr Dyno listed DROK® Cigarette Lighter Plug Car Battery Voltage Monitor 12V 24V and USB Charger | eBay
might help with seeing whats happening to the voltage when your problems occur. Have you checked the battery cables to make sure there not loose or dirty. You might also check to make sure the cable is tight on the starter. I once had a problem with a Honda Accord when the cable connectors on the battery where old and weak and my car wouldn't start sometimes for no reason.
I think that his alternator is working intermittently and able to prove a decent charge most of the time, hence the 14v.
 

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A 12 volt battery should not ever be 14 volts (resting voltage) unless the car is running, and then you are not testing the battery you are checking the charging system. You cannot check a battery by just checking voltage anyway. It must be LOAD TESTED.

And since this is happening more in mornings, that is classic sign of battery issue. Sounds like you have an intermittently shorting dead cell, that could cause voltage drop while running. And an alternator problem would kill the battery (until re-charged), and you would not be able to randomly re-start the vehicle like you are doing.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
A 12 volt battery should not ever be 14 volts (resting voltage) unless the car is running, and then you are not testing the battery you are checking the charging system. You cannot check a battery by just checking voltage anyway. It must be LOAD TESTED.

And since this is happening more in mornings, that is classic sign of battery issue. Sounds like you have an intermittently shorting dead cell, that could cause voltage drop while running. And an alternator problem would kill the battery (until re-charged), and you would not be able to randomly re-start the vehicle like you are doing.
Thanks for your reply, now that you have pointed out, i think battery might be a issue. I also just went to a different place to get my alternator checked out, he tested the battery when the car is off and said the volt is dropping, when i started the car and turned everything on he said the alternator should be fine since it stayed around 14V.

He suggested me to take the battery out in the morning and go straight to the store where i purchased the battery, because if i drive there the battery will give a false reading, is this true?
 

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That's why I said to give them a call. Most of them do it for free.
Yes, thanks to your suggestion i did went to PartSource and got it checked out :) I think i will try to get the battery replaced first and see if that fix the issue!
 
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