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I tried searching and didn't find any posts or threads on this. Also I hope this is the correct section to post in. My apologies if this has been posted and if this is the wrong section to post in.

My RAV: 2009 Limited 4-cylinder.

This just happened to me and I feel compelled to share my experience to help someone who may encounter the same situation and as a safety notice. I'm not a car guy so my apologies if my terminology is incorrect.

I recently just made a 300 mile trip to Maine. I've been driving around for 4 days now. Nothing further than 60 miles. Some short quick trips. A handful of starts and stops each day. My RAV had been running fine. It's hot so I've had my AC on. Charging a couple of phones. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Today I stopped and started the engine 3 times. The 4th stop was at a gas station. Put it in park. Pressed the 'push to start' to turn off the engine. Filled the tank. Got back in. Pressed the gas and pressed the button to start. Nothing happened. The dash Lights flickered in a way I've never seen before. I tried to repeat the process. This time the only visible dash indicators were the 'check oil' and 'check engine' lights. The green push to start light was on as well. The brake pedal was stiffer than normal to depress. I tried the start procedure a few more times. My first theory was the battery. I tried to turn on the headlights and the hazards. Neither worked. I tried the cabin lights. They worked but were flickering. This validated the battery issue. Luckily a kind gentlemen I approached had jumper cables and hooked his truck up to my battery. With the cables connected all the electronics in my RAV worked. I tried to start multiple times with no success. No response from the engine. When he removed the cables I tried again and it went back to the same state as before: Oil, engine, green start button on. I thanked him and he went on his way. I called AAA. Luckily the guy was in the area and got to me in less than 10 minutes. As soon as he put his head under the hood he immediately responded to the rotten egg/sulfur smell. He knew what it was right away. There was also a bit of smoke coming from the battery. He informed me it was hydrogen and basically my battery was fried.

Maybe this isn't news to most of you. But this is the first time I was made aware of two different types of automotive batteries. I've been so used to 'sealed' batteries. Turns out in the RAV I had a 'flooded cell' Type battery. I won't try to explain the differences because honestly I don't really know. Maybe someone else can chime in. Turns out one of the covers on my battery was missing, leaving 3 exposed holes. So one of the cells dried out and I'm sure tons of debris had made its way into the battery. All this compounded seems to have killed the battery. The AAA technition informed me that in its state the battery was very dangerous. He said that it could have exploded had the previous jump start caused a spark. He warned that with the battery in such a state doing a jump start it's extremely dangerous.

In the end he swapped batteries. My RAV started up and so far so good.

I'm not sure if it's related but for the last week or two I've had 3 dashboard indicator lights. One was the check engine. The other two I believe were the slip or VSC and the 4WD. The previous owner of the RAV informed me that the sensors for these lights may be malfunctioning because they would only go on after it rained. And after a day or two would turn off. However this time they stayed on continuously. I'm not sure if this is related to the battery issue but I figured I should mention it. Since the battery swap these indicators have been off.
 

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Your Humble Administrator
2008 RAV4 Limited V6
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Yep, what you were smelling is hydrogen sulfide gas which has the rotten egg smell. Lead acid batteries produce hydrogen gas when charging--a spark from jumper cables can cause the battery to explode throwing sulfuric acid everywhere. That could ruin your whole day. Keeping your battery in top notch condition is very important with a RAV4--the electric power steering is especially dependent on a good battery. Which is one of the reasons I created this sticky thread at the top of this very forum:

Sticky: Weak battery causes slow starting and other problems
 

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Your Humble Administrator
2008 RAV4 Limited V6
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17,330 Posts
Pressed the gas and pressed the button to start.
Not related to the issue but there is no need to press the gas with a fuel injected engine.
Like my wife always says when I correct her: "You know what I MEANT!"

He meant to say "Pressed the brake....."
 

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I had a battery blow up a foot from my face. Fortunately a fellow mechanic hit me with the water hose and I have no scars.


Most all batteries are flooded. Some vehicles like the Prius use an AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) battery that does not have liquid electrolyte. This is not the main HV battery.


I wonder who left the vent cap off the battery? They don't pop off my themselves.
 
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