Toyota RAV4 Forums banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
My beloved '97 Rav4 AWD (186,000 miles) decided not to start today. No sound, no clicking, no lights, nothing. It was running great four days ago and the battery should be fine. I don't think I left anything on that would run the battery down that far -- although I guess I shouldn't rule out the interior light, but I still kind of doubt it. Little Rav ALWAYS starts, so I'm kind of in shock.

I'm sure this has been asked/answered a thousand times already but I've been searching the threads and haven't found anything. I'm happy to be pointed to an existing thread.

It will probably have to be towed in tomorrow or Friday, but I'm curious/fearful about what might be the problem. (Personally I suspect it may have died of a broken heart as just last week I purchased a 2012 Rav4; However, I'm planning on hanging on to Little Rav and keeping it as a second/backup car.)

Thanks a million.
Red
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,144 Posts
Possibilities are:
Fully discharged battery from something being left on. If so it'll need a charger or jumper cables (please don't reverse either!) Whatever comes on first is what drained the battery.

Main fuse failed or is blown. Garage or shop needed for repair.

Battery cable broken or badly corroded. Also a garage trip.

Many tow services will diagnose the problem before towing the car away.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RedSoprani

·
Registered
Joined
·
412 Posts
I am thinking...... BATTERY....... PERIOD !!
 
  • Like
Reactions: RedSoprani

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,535 Posts
Possibly either a bad battery, although they don't usually die so completely so quickly and/or battery and cable terminals with corrosion, sometimes not readily visible, which can prevent the battery from being charged by the alternator and also then would prevent electrical current outflow. Suggest charging the battery with a battery charger until charger switches off and then having a battery capacity test done - some auto parts stores will do that at no cost. Also clean battery cable terminals, and if the battery tests OK clean the battery post terminals.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RedSoprani

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Fingers crossed it's the battery etc.

I appreciate your encouraging responses. Will try jumping and take it from there.

It's required some expensive repairs this year (and currently sports a non-working drivers side window), so I've gotten a little gun shy. The expenses have been worth it in terms of maintaining its reliability as my only car during brutally cold Minnesota winters (and I do a lot of driving), but still . .

Little Rav, which I bought new in 1997, is the first car I've been totally in love with. I still get complements on how pretty it is (love that Ocean Mist aqua color), fun to drive and has never left me stranded.

Thanks for all your suggestions and comments.

-Red
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,144 Posts
Remember that jumping a completely dead battery is dangerous.
First, if you reverse the cables you can blow lots of stuff out since the battery may give no protection.
Second, you could get very high surge currents, spark shows and heated cables.
Would rather you take Blogson's advice and use a charger and leave it on for a day.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RedSoprani

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Rav has only needed to be jumped once in 19 years so I did not know that. Thanks for the warning! I don't have a charger and I'm remarkably un-handy, so it sounds like a tow to the mechanic is in order. I'll use the AAA tow service instead of asking them to jump it and get it hauled in.

REALLY appreciate the warning.

Red
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,535 Posts
Agree with Dr. Dyno about jumping completely dead batteries. In addition, if the RAV was left outdoors in Minnesota winter and the battery was completely dead the electrolyte may well have frozen, which could crack the battery case. Jumping a battery in that situation could very well result in a disastrous mess.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RedSoprani

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,144 Posts
... if the RAV was left outdoors in Minnesota winter and the battery was completely dead the electrolyte may well have frozen, which could crack the battery case. Jumping a battery in that situation could very well result in a disastrous mess.
Agreed, I didn't think of that possibility but if the battery is frozen and cracked the last thing you'd want to do is thaw it in the car! :surprise
 
  • Like
Reactions: RedSoprani

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
It's in good hands now - problem being resolved

I consulted my (trusted) shop and they gave go ahead for AAA to try to start it with their device (and I told AAA about the situation as well) and it started right up. Seriously glad for the warning, however, so I could discuss it with the pros rather than blithley asking a neighbor to jump it. Luckily it hasn't been especially cold -- even by Minnesota standards.

Drove it in and left it for them to check it out. The battery should still be on warranty and they'll check the electrical system just in case. And they'll service it because it's due in a couple weeks and it's one less hassle.

Thanks again, everyone! If Little Rav wasn't so reliable I probably wouldn't have freaked as much. In 19 years its only failed to start a few times and for only minor issues like the clutch switch or battery.

It's been needing more repairs lately so I'm also considering the cost of keeping it. Every car has battery stuff to take care of, so this doesn't count. And I know it's always cheaper to repair than buy a new car, but I also worry about reliability with the number of miles I put on it lately and occasional need to make long trips into Chicago. Hence the newer Rav.

I appreciate all your replies.

Next up (in a new thread): Fix the driver's window or continue to let the black duct tape do its job . . . :wink
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
419 Posts
RedSoprani- Glad your older RAV4 is still doing you well, other than a few maintenance issues.

Just wanted to share a recent 2008 Nissan Rogue alternator/battery failure.

Son bought brand new Lexus RX350 recently, we didn't even try and traid it in / 2-3 thousand dollars, wouldn't help much.
So I said, Dad will sell SUV off our front lawn, on busy highway / I like doing this anyway.
Took 7 weeks to sell private, for an additional $5,000...:)
- car was driven, in 1st month / but not much
- 2nd month, insurance removed / so just parked

When Rogue finally sold, drove 28 Km and car died, at garage's bay door / driving in for safety check.
a) dead battery
b) alternator fried, and caused a)
c) battery put on the charger
d) ordered a new alternator & had it changed out

My Head mechanic worked in the AirForce for 25 years, fixing fighter jets.
He asked me, "was this car parked, for a period of time" / I answered Yes.
- the little red security light on the dash, run down the battery (overtime) because the alternator wasn't providing a charge while parked
- during prolonged vehicle inactivity, the battery discharged beyond the minimum required for the SUV's computer, to manage things
- eventually, the alternator shorted out

^^ So even when head lights are off, dash or interior light are also off, etc. / the little red flashing dash security light, is always drawing a small amount of 12v current / I should have disconnected a battery terminal, when parked vehicle, till it finally sold.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,109 Posts
So all of this was about a dead battery RedSoprani?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,535 Posts
I consulted my (trusted) shop and they gave go ahead for AAA to try to start it with their device (and I told AAA about the situation as well) and it started right up. Seriously glad for the warning, however, so I could discuss it with the pros rather than blithley asking a neighbor to jump it. Luckily it hasn't been especially cold -- even by Minnesota standards.

Drove it in and left it for them to check it out. The battery should still be on warranty and they'll check the electrical system just in case. And they'll service it because it's due in a couple weeks and it's one less hassle.

Thanks again, everyone! If Little Rav wasn't so reliable I probably wouldn't have freaked as much. In 19 years its only failed to start a few times and for only minor issues like the clutch switch or battery.

It's been needing more repairs lately so I'm also considering the cost of keeping it. Every car has battery stuff to take care of, so this doesn't count. And I know it's always cheaper to repair than buy a new car, but I also worry about reliability with the number of miles I put on it lately and occasional need to make long trips into Chicago. Hence the newer Rav.

I appreciate all your replies.

Next up (in a new thread): Fix the driver's window or continue to let the black duct tape do its job . . . :wink

Let us know how it all turns out - sounds like you've had a lot of great service out of your RAV! :smile
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Apparently so. Had this not been such an insanely reliable car . . .

We don't have a security light. When it was much younger it sat in a garage for 8 months while I traveled. Got home, it started right up and off we went. Disconnecting the battery would have been a good idea, but it wasn't disconnected. So yeah, Little Rav always starts.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top