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Gas Tank Issue for Toyota RAV4 Hybrid: Here is Your Fix (with Video)

Learn about the fix for some RAV4 Hybrid gas tanks. A Toyota technician explains it all in our included video.

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Some Toyota RAV4 Hybrid owners may have received Customer Support Program notification letters from Toyota in the past couple months.

This specific campaign is for certain 2019-2020 RAV4 Hybrid vehicles and applies to gas tanks and how much you can fill them up.

One of the key benefits of buying a new 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid (or a 2019 or 2020 model) is the very good gas mileage it offers. Posted window sticker fuel estimates for RAV4 Hybrid are 41 in the city / 38 on the highway / 40 combined.

Toyota RAV4 is the best selling small SUV in the country. A big reason for this is sales for RAV4 Hybrid and its mpg ratings. Clearly we need a fix for this gas tank issue.

I will take “What is the Issue?” for $8000 please

An issue with gas tanks on a small number of Toyota RAV4 Hybrid vehicles may interfere with the amount of fuel you can put into your tank while at the pump.

Some owners have reported they can only fill up with a smaller number of gallons (I have heard a range of 7 to 11 gallons) once their RAV4 multi-information display reads they are in need of refueling.

Fortunately, this is not a safety issue. However, this is more of a convenience / annoyance issue for those owners involved. This affects the total driving range you can travel before hitting the gas station. Plus, owners must find those same gas stations more frequently.

Again, this is a big annoyance. I can see how it would be frustrating.

Time for the good news.

This issue does not apply to all RAV4 Hybrids – just a small amount. And now, Toyota has announced a solution to the problem and has begun contacting owners whose vehicles apply.

Toyota Letter on RAV4 Hybrid Issue

2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid gas tank issue

Here is an excerpt from the Toyota letter to RAV4 owners:

“Toyota has received customer reports of certain 2019-2020 model year RAV4 HV vehicle fuel gauges displaying less than full and/or total fuel dispensed is less than expected, when the fuel nozzle automatically clicks off when refueling.

Some customer reports have also noted the “Distance to Empty” shown on the multi-information display is less than expected.

Based on our investigation, Toyota believes these conditions to be primarily related to a variation of fuel tank shape and the potential for the fuel sender gauge to become inclined.

These conditions can cause the fuel level to be read incorrectly and may cause the low fuel light to illuminate with more fuel in the tank than usual.”

Next steps for Toyota RAV4 owners

2021 Toyota RAV4 XLE Hybrid Blueprint Profile view front end

If your RAV4 does not have any of these symptoms, then you do not need to take further action. More than likely your car is not affected.

For those who are experiencing these warning signs, as I explained before, it is not a safety issue. No need to panic. But you do have a “next step.”

You can contact your local Toyota dealer and ask them to run your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Their database will determine if your vehicle is involved in this campaign or not.

After that, if your vehicle applies, schedule a convenient time for your service appointment with your dealership.

Toyota RAV4 Gas Tank Issue Video

My friend Ali Mohagheghi is a Toyota master diagnostic technician (he has been working on Toyota vehicles for 35 years) and happily offers his time and his knowledge when I need more insight and education. I really appreciate his kindness.

We filmed a video explaining the RAV4 gas tank issue and what simple steps you can take for your fix.

I hope you find it helpful.

Time for your Toyota RAV4 thoughts

2021 Toyota RAV4 XLE Hybrid Blueprint Profile view

More good news for you. No other Toyota model is involved in the gas tank issue. A couple people have emailed me asking if 2021 Venza might be involved as well. No, Venza is not involved.

On a side note, I absolutely love my new 2021 Toyota Venza Limited. I purchased it late December after a week-long evaluation thanks to Toyota. It is already the best car I have ever owned. I encourage you to test drive one if you think it fits your driving needs and style. You may find your next car this way.

Thanks for reading everyone. I try to write stories that focus on Toyota breaking news, latest developments, reviews and how-to articles. Feel free to bookmark my Torque News / Toyota News column so you can follow along.

Do you own a Toyota RAV4 and have you experienced this issue? What RAV4 Hybrid trim level do you own?

Have you had it fixed yet? If not, do you plan on visiting your dealer soon?

Watch what fans say about the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime Hybrid and click to subscribe to Torque News Youtube channel for daily EV news.

See you next story when I discuss 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime comfortability.

- Do Toyota hybrid batteries last longer with extreme high mileage driving?
- 2021 Venza safety systems: what you need to know

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ROBERT FLETCHER (not verified)    February 20, 2021 - 9:18AM

My 2020 Highlander hybrid takes 13 gallons when empty versus the 17 it's supposed to take. Sounds like the same issue to me.

Nick (not verified)    February 20, 2021 - 9:38AM

Even though I like my 2019 Rav 4 , I think Toyota has turned their back on that year of vehicle. Being the first year in the new platform they didn't include Android Auto. They aren't very good at pushing out updates and when you call them about tge headunit, nobody knows anything about their product.

Constance Long (not verified)    August 20, 2021 - 1:14PM

In reply to by Nick (not verified)

I just purchased a 2016 Toyota RAV4 XLe I’ve had it less than two months it has had to fuel system clean ounce in two weeks read my Carfax last night it had one in December and I’m only getting 223 miles to a tank which is 15.9 gallons! One time only got 180 miles to a full tank I’m having to fill up my car every three days the only thing that has stayed consistent is the gallons I’m putting in the car and the amount is costing me! Years ago I had a Toyota Highlander four-cylinder and it got excellent gas mileage I am so disappointed I don’t know if it’s just this particular car or if it’s Toyota now. I bought it from a Ford dealership because it was a trade-in they seem to not be wanting to really fix the issue I’m pretty much in tears I don’t know what to do!

Harrison bitte… (not verified)    February 20, 2021 - 9:59AM

I have a 2021 Venza and seem to be having this fuel tank issue. I've driven the vehicle to near empty and can never get more then 11.5 gallons into the 14 gallon tank. And after filling I only get 460-490 miles til empty registered. Is anyone else having an issue with their new Venza?

Jack (not verified)    March 22, 2021 - 4:36PM

In reply to by Harrison bitte… (not verified)

Im in Canada and get the exact same gallons and miles as you. Even the Venza i took on a test drive was at 460 miles to empty on a full tank. Seems like most Venzas have this range. Toyota needs to be made aware and they need to fix this!

Kevin Chandler (not verified)    February 20, 2021 - 10:05AM

Thsnk you for the article Jeff, love your YouTube channel! I really enjoy my 2021 RAV4, it Is only taking 10-11 gallons on each fill up after the reduelylighy comes on. My dealer received feedback from Toyota USA “if the vehicle takes 9.8 gallons or more after refuel light comes on, this is within design specifications”.

This is very disappointing for a $37,000 vehicles that had a 14.5 gallon tank. Do they designed a 40 mpg hybrid to have the fuel light come on with 1/3 of the fuel in reserve??????

Andrew Cremer (not verified)    August 18, 2021 - 3:16PM

In reply to by Kevin Chandler (not verified)

Had fuel tank replaced and instead of getting 7 gallons of gas at empty I get about 10. have had it 17 months and now told if it accepts 9.8 gallon it is operational. I get about 425 to 450 miles distance to empty at fill up, a far cry from the 580 combined mileage advertised. Very disappointed in the vehicle and customer service from Toyota.

Chuck (not verified)    September 18, 2021 - 7:21PM

In reply to by Andrew Cremer (not verified)

I had exactly the same problem. I took it in because it would only take 9 gallons of fuel. I took it in and after it was worked on, it now gets 10 gallons. I brought it up to them, and they said that’s the fix. I’m not impressed with the dealership.

Tariq Hashmi (not verified)    February 28, 2022 - 4:39PM

In reply to by Kevin Chandler (not verified)

Had the exact same experience. After seeing two different dealers, was referred to corporate support, who stated that 10 gallon capacity is 'within design specifications', and fed some nonsense about air residing in the top of the tank and safety mechanisms to prevent completely running the tank to empty. As if this explains a 30% range discrepancy on a $40000 car. Very disappointed.

Charlie Bruns (not verified)    February 20, 2021 - 10:18AM

My 2008 Prius has always had fueling issues, especially in cold weather. My 2020 Rav4 XSE hybrid only fills to 80%. For both of these vehicles, I carefully top them off to fill the tank. This can be tricky at best. Milage for both vehicles are very good, however, on trips, the idea is less fuel stops. So that is the issue.

L T (not verified)    February 20, 2021 - 11:05AM

I have a 2021 Highlander Hybrid and it has the same gas tank issues. My range should be over 600 miles but seldomly shows more than 500 after filling. A quick internet search will produce numerous discussions of other Highlander Hybrid owners experiencing the same issue.

ahc586#1 (not verified)    February 20, 2021 - 11:19AM

I’m having this issue with my 2021 rav4 hybrid and I’ve called a couple of dealers but when they’ve run my VIN it says I don’t qualify for the Customer Support Program.

I recently purchased the vehicle so I still have the bumper to bumper warranty. Has anyone been able to get the issue fixed by the dealer without the customer support program (CSP)?

I have a service appointment scheduled for today and I’ve been told it should fall under warranty but I’m crossing my fingers.

I otherwise love the car but this one issue is definitely bothersome. If I’m able to get the fix without the CSP I’ll post about it here for others concerned about it

Kevin Chandler (not verified)    February 20, 2021 - 10:43PM

In reply to by ahc586#1 (not verified)

Having same issue here, I posted above. 21 RAV4 XSE hybrid only taking 10-11 gallons on empty. Toyota not authorizing my dealer to make any repair.

This the exact opposite experience I was expecting when I traded on my 2018 civic hatchback, ZERO issues with that car.

This rav 4 already has a loose side view mirror and a loose panel mount on passenger side bumper which they had to replace but they had my vehicle for 3 days.

Kevin C. (not verified)    March 4, 2021 - 1:46PM

In reply to by ahc586#1 (not verified)

GREAT NEWS! They are adding 2021 Rav4s to the program. My Dealer just called today and scheduled.....they need to retest, but said it's for the same parts....fuel tank, fuel sending unit, etc.

Debbie Tarpey (not verified)    August 2, 2021 - 8:08AM

In reply to by ahc586#1 (not verified)

Gas tank we replaced on my 2020 Rav4 hybrid. Instead oh holding 9 gallons it now holds 11. Toyota has refused to address the problem further.
This will be my first and last Toyota product.

Debbie Tarpey (not verified)    August 2, 2021 - 8:08AM

In reply to by ahc586#1 (not verified)

Gas tank we replaced on my 2020 Rav4 hybrid. Instead oh holding 9 gallons it now holds 11. Toyota has refused to address the problem further.
This will be my first and last Toyota product.

Dave Z (not verified)    February 20, 2021 - 11:23AM

There are potentially three gas/tank-related issues. Ours was diagnosed with all three and supposedly fixed, but not sure about that. Our permanent “fix” was to unload our 1 year old RAV for a new CRV. :(

gerry grenz (not verified)    February 20, 2021 - 11:39AM

we have the same fuel fill problem with a 2017 Prius-V. We run down to 5 miles to empty and cannot put in 10 gallons.

Ty McCartney (not verified)    February 20, 2021 - 11:42AM

Thank you for your article. Our 2020 RAV4 hybrid had this issue and they replaced the tank a month ago. We just finished a road trip and we will have to take it back to the dealership as the problem still remains. I'm not sure if we don't have a 14.5 gas tank as it should or something is wrong with the internal computer to give a false reading.

Mike Rouse (not verified)    February 20, 2021 - 11:54AM

I have a 2021 Rav 4 Hybrid. Toyota states that it has a 14.5 gallon tank. I could at low fuel warning and 7 miles left in range get 11.5 gallons gas in the tank. Toyota states that is normal because they have a 3 gallon reserve . If that is true I should be able to drive another 100 miles after the low fuel warning light comes on.
This seems to be to much reserve ?

Ozzzy (not verified)    February 22, 2021 - 10:54PM

In reply to by Mike Rouse (not verified)

When the low fuel indicator is on its time to refuel. Going past the level and you're asking for a very expensive repair in terms of a new fuel pump tank assembly. My Prius has a stated fuel capacity of 11.9 gallons. When empty I may be able to add no more than 8+ gallons tops. Again it's always good practice to fill once the low fuel indicator comes on.

Alain (not verified)    May 14, 2022 - 8:35PM

In reply to by Mike Rouse (not verified)

those guys were able to drive 150mi past the 0 mark - clearly way too much of a reserve - they don't trust us to get gaz when close to zero ? sicne the meter doesn't go negative it's really hard to tell how much you really have left, which is bad.

in my 2014 Prius (didn't know it has a 11.9gal) I can usually put close to 10gal (which I assumed was the capacity.

1gal reserve should be safe and rpetty standard on other cars - that 40mi on hrybrids!