2020 Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid Blueprint color profile view RAV4 Hybrid gas tank issue
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Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Gas Tank Issue: Toyota’s Response

Learn more details about the 2019 and 2020 RAV4 Hybrid fuel tank situation, and how Toyota is addressing it.
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Did you know that Toyota RAV4 is America’s best-selling SUV for the past three years? Did you also know it is the country’s top hybrid vehicle? One more for you here.

Did you know Toyota RAV4 just broke the record for best-selling SUV in a single year – of all time?

Pretty remarkable stuff here.

Yes, RAV4 is incredibly popular. And why wouldn’t it be? It is smooth and comfortable and loaded with safety and technology. Plus, there is RAV4 Hybrid that offers 40 mpg and 219 horsepower. Yes, extremely popular indeed.

2019 Toyota RAV4 XLE Hybrid Ruby Flare Pearl front and and profile view RAV4 Hybrid gas tank issue

However, with every bit of good there is also some news on the other end of the spectrum. Just like every other auto manufacturer, Toyota does have issues that need to be addressed.

This time, a situation involving Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and its fuel capacity.

Tell us about this RAV4 Hybrid problem

We are discussing certain 2019 and 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid models.

This reported issue is not one that involves safety or that should cause a panic by any means. But it is something that is annoying and takes a little bit away from the reason people choose to buy a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.

2019 Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid Magnetic Gray Metallic profile view power liftgate RAV4 Hybrid fuel tank

Several owners are not able to completely fill their gasoline tanks to full capacity. Often, people can only get between 10 and 12 gallons of gasoline whenever they try to fill up.

YOU MAY ALSO ENJOY: RAV4 Prime Specs vs RAV4 Hybrid

Remember, a 2020 RAV4 Hybrid is rated for a driving range of around 580 miles. Most people can drive between 551 and 594 highway miles on one tank of gasoline, depending on driving style along with road and weather conditions. This can take a family quite a long distance on a road trip before needing to look for a gas station along the way.

However, if the RAV4 Hybrid gas tank issue only allows 10- or 12-gallons capacity, this lessens the distance traveled until next fill time.

I can see why vehicle owners would be displeased.

Toyota’s response to RAV4 Hybrid issue

Toyota is very aware of complaints their customers are bringing forward. This is their official statement on 2019 and 2020 RAV4 Hybrid.

“Toyota takes customer concerns seriously. Toyota has received customer reports of certain 2019 and 2020 RAV4 Hybrid vehicle fuel gauges displaying less than full and/or total fuel dispensed is less than expected, when the fuel nozzle automatically clicks off. Some customer reports have also noted the "Distance to Empty" shown on the multi-information display is less than expected.

Based on our ongoing investigation, Toyota believes these conditions to be primarily related to a variation in the fuel tank shape. As indicated in the owner's manual, customers should still refuel when the low fuel light illuminates, and when refueling, customers should not "top off" the fuel tank.

While we investigate this issue, Toyota has an interim option available until a final remedy is identified. We recommend customers who have a concern visit a Toyota dealer. Toyota’s Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331 is also available to answer questions.”

2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Specs and notes

This is interesting. The water cooler rumor for months was this issue was related to the actual shape itself of RAV4 Hybrid fuel tank. Toyota’s statement seems to support this theory.

Other news and notes of interest. When the “low fuel” light comes on, the RAV4 owner’s manual states there are still 2.2 gallons or less of fuel remaining in the tank. A small sigh of relief for all of us who have driven a little too far “left of low” from time to time.

VIDEO: Learn more about RAV4 Hybrid gas tank fix and issues in my video review.

Toyota does recommend drivers get gasoline immediately when this warning light comes on. Better safe than sorry.

They also say to not try and “top off your tank” after the nozzle initially clicks and stops.

There is an interim fix, and this more than likely involves replacing the fuel tank itself. This is not the permanent fix, though.

I suspect there will be an official solution announced sometime by the end of the year.

Time for your thoughts on RAV4 Hybrid fuel tank

I will keep you updated as this story progresses. Please bookmark Torque News / Toyota News page for the latest Toyota news, reviews and how-to’s.

Do you own a popular Toyota RAV4 or RAV4 Hybrid? How do you like it so far and how many miles do you have so far?

Have you seen this problem with your vehicle and what is your personal experience?

Thanks for reading everyone. See you next story when I talk about 2021 RAV4 Prime color choices.

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Comments

My first fillup, April 2019 the hose clicked... just above 3/4 full. I very slowly filled it to full. And ever since, a very slow fill to full. The directional noise is not audible with the radio on. Only 3 blinks for lane change. The dealer says they are set to max. The cloud GPS map is not up to date. A two year old ramp on a major highway is not present. Road noise is very present. My Sonata hybrid is much quieter, silent at 65mph in EV mode. The Rav4 hybrid trans is amazing, but I have/had more features on my Sonata/Santa Fe Sport. My other car has window button lights, power passanger seat, better GPS / reverse screen resolution. Yet 44 mpg with AWD, the SF Sport would get 24 mpg at their best.
I'm in the market for a vehicle and what concerns me more about the Rav4 hybrid are stories of the battery repeatedly dying... is this a widespread problem?
Geoff, you’ll see from my comments and those of several others, the fuel tank issue is bad enough that we can’t get our cars to go more than 75-100 miles at a stretch in some cases. That really doesn’t give the battery enough time to act up, so far. But given all of the other problems with the 2019 and 2020 models, I won’t be surprised if it has electrical problems as well. If you’re really keen on this vehicle, wait a year - there will be several thousand buybacks dumped on the market at significant savings. If you’re fine with the risk of having the tank take only 3-8 gallons, or if a range of only 100 miles or so and poor mpg doesn’t concern you, it could be good value for the money in your case.
Jim Persinger - thanks so much for your reply! I’ve read tons of other comments but didn’t realize it was that bad of a problem. Thought, ok I can fill up (partly fill up) every 350 miles or so. But wow, if some can’t go more than 75-100 miles ... forget it. Very thankful that you shared this info! Geoff
This article vastly understates the problem. It’s not that there are “several” reports of this, but rather it effects up to 92,000 of the 2019 and 2020 models. And Toyota says simply that it is an inconvenience in which the gauge may not show as full, when the reality is that the tanks are shorted by several gallons. In my case, the tank only takes THREE gallons. They have known about this for close to a year, when I received one of the first as they were being delivered. Instead of offering a fix, Toyota has officially told me that my 3 gallon tank capacity is a “normal operating characteristic” which does not need fixing. These models also purport to get 40 mpg on average, while some such as mine get as low as 26 mpg. Toyota also says that’s “normal.” So in some cases like mine, I have a vehicle with a range as low as 75 miles, which doesn’t help here in rural Kansas where I have a commute to work of nearly 200 miles a day. That Toyota is still failing to disclose these manufacturing defects to unsuspecting buyers is FRAUD, and is the source of multiple class action lawsuits.
I bought a new 18 RAV4 Hybrid XLE and absolutely no problems. Tried and true! I may not have gotten the new tech and bells and whistles but I also don't have "teething" problems of a completely redesigned vehicle. Every mechanic and even Consumer Reports tells you not to buy a first year completely redesigned vehicle. Here is my question? Why would Toyota manufacture and continue to sell a vehicle with a known defect? They have opened themselves up to class action lawsuits, destroying their reputation as a reliable manufacturer and risking their sales. They have put greed and profit above customer satisfaction. I have lived in remote areas of the US and similar to Canada have areas with few and far between gas stations (West Texas, Montana, the Dakotas and even Nebraska where I lived). If someone has this vehicle and doesn't know they could put themselves in life threatening danger during a bad snowstorm, etc. In this case it is not a mere inconvenience as Toyota wants you to believe.
We bought a 2019 RAV4 Hybrid LE model in July of last year and noticed immediately that the fuel system had/has issues. Our vehicle was remotely delivered to us with only 40 miles to empty showing and the fuel gauge showing close to empty. I thought I had more than enough miles to run an errand and head to the gas station after but I ran out of gas 8 miles after first getting the RAV4. It's a very long and drawn out story about showed on the dash and ends with me getting towed to the dealer. Several things were very concerning to me: #1. The fuel light NEVER ILLUMINATED, even after i ran out of gas. #2. The dash computer never alerted me that I was out of gas, or even low on gas, (other than the indicated 32 miles to empty showing.) #3. The vehicle instead told me the "engine wasn't available", and then to "pull over soon", then 'hybrid system unavailable". and then it shut down. Why didn't it tell me at all that it was out of gas?? A few hours after having to pay to have the car flatbed towed to the dealer, and after giving up on ToyotaCare to dispatch a tow truck.... The dealer called and said it had been out of gas and they put fuel in it and it was ready to go. Since that day, we've done quite a bit of logging and sampling and have figured out the following: -The fuel tank seems to have a varying capacity at fill up between 7 and 12 gallons. Most times when we refill it like "an American" it will not take more than 9 gallons on a low tank, which also translates to about 9.9 gallons on an EMPTY tank with less than 40 est. miles showing and the gauge resting on E. -If you refill the vehicle VERY slow from about 7 gallons, you can manage to put in about 11 gallons with some effort, but that also requires topping off the last 1/2 of a gallon or so. It takes me an addition 5 minutes of slow pumping to accomplish this. -The 'low fuel" light didn't seem to work for the first 3 tanks of gas and now for some reason it works as expected. -Only 1 time and at a very low state of fuel was I able to get more than 11 gallons in the RAV4, even though I have seen other non-hybrid folks putting 13 gallons or more in their vehicles without much effort. Just 1 time I was able to trickle in 12 gallons of gas in the car. -Now that we know it's an issue we have given up trying to document it and are just waiting on Toyota to issue a recall for our car. We don't even try to get more than 9 gallons into the car, it's just too much of an annoyance (and possibly damaging to the emissions system) to continue topping it off over and over.. after the slow fill method drops out at 8.5 gallons. So now we just have to be content that the last 100 miles of range just isn't available to us in the RAV4 Hybrid and we just have to live with it for now. As for the rest of the car, it's pretty awesome. It's roomy, smooth and punchy at stoplights. It's solid and easy to use. We don't like the artificial noise the car makes in reverse (but's against the law to do something cool like the Jetsons sound I guess). Having owned a Chevrolet Volt before the RAV4, we can't help but notice how much Toyota saved on the slow, out of date infotainment system. Our 13 Volt was just as good or better with regards to tech here. The hybrid battery should be bigger, this car would get even better gas mileage. Its annoying that I can't even go down the street 3 blocks on electric power. Why couldn't Toyota provide even 1 mile of range at moderate speeds is beyond me. Instead i get 1/2 a mile at minuscule throttle, and under 20 mph. I feel like my rav4 was designed in 2005, before electric cars were a thing... Instead we are almost 10 years after the introduction of Tesla, Chevy electric,and Nissan ev;s. We now also have, Kia, Hyundai, Audi, Porsche, Mercedes, Jaguar, Volvo, Ford, Chrysler, Mini, BMW, Smart, Honda, Jeep and Subaru all offering more range than my RAV4. Toyota could've easily offered 1/20 the range of a 2011 Volt and I would've been happy, instead I get 1/40th. It's a good car, but Toyota could've easily done better. I give the RAV4 a 8,75 out of 10.
"Several owners..."? How about several tens of thousands owners? This will be a tough fix for Toyota because they have to tear the car apart to remove and replace the tank. Meanwhile, after the pump shuts off, one can still milk in another couple gallons if you're patient.
I have a 2020 RAV4 XSE Hybrid. I don't understand why some vehicles have this problem and why some don't. Aren't they all made from the same parts, put together the same way? I also don't understand why Toyota is taking so long to redesign the tank or the filler tube (I've heard the problem could be with either). Another question is, why would it initially solve the problem to replace the gas tank, only to have it reoccur? I mean, if replacing the tank fixes it, what makes it start back up again? If this is the case, it seems like that would be a clue as to what the problem is. It also seems like it would be a waste of time and money to replace the tank until it is redesigned. One last thought: What good would it do to contact a Toyota Dealer about this? From pretty much everything I've read online, it's my understand that 9 times out of 10 they will claim to not know anything about the problem, or tell you there's nothing they can do. The only reason I can think of to contact them would be to have on record the fact that my car is also having this problem. Being able to drive 580 miles on one tank of gas was a main factor in my decision to buy this car. My daughter had recently moved to another state, which was just about that far away, and I was really looking forward to being able to make it there on one tank of gas or stopping only once. Unfortunately, the reality is that, no matter how conservatively I drive, I get nowhere near the promised 40 mpg, and because of that and the inability to completely fill the tank, I usually have to stop for gas 3 times when going to or coming home from visiting. I do like the car, overall. There are a few things I'm not wild about, and that I feel could have been done better, but for the most part, except for this gas tank issue, I'm not going to complain. Yet.
You’ll see from my posting I completely understand what you’re dealing with. Yes, they promise 40 mpg but it gets in the 20s, and you have to fill it up 2-3 times a day to do any sort of commute. Yes, if you contact the dealer, they will tell you they have no idea this is a problem, but I have had communications with 5-6 people from Toyota including their field services representative who describe it as a known issue, and a manufacturing defect - happy to share if you end up needing them for a lawsuit. Like you, the range was the ONLY reason I bought the car, and Toyota is fraudulently failing to disclose defects effecting the mpg and the range. Proceed as you will, but I’ll strongly suggest you put it in for service multiple times for the express purpose of having them look at the poor mpg and fuel tank capacity, just to establish the defect and that they cannot fix it. You may regret not doing so. Remember in my case which involves our county consumer fraud protection unit, and our state’s Attorney General consumer protection division, Toyota suddenly claimed these aren’t defects, but are “normal operating characteristics.” They are being dishonest in handling this situation and you should protect yourself.
I have a '17 Rav4Hybrid Limited. 29K miles. I have had ongoing brake problems making scraping and clunking noises. It has been back to the dealer 4 times with the problem. They just turned the rotors saying they had hot spots, whatever that is. It seems to be OK in heat, so i won't Know for 6 months. One thing that is horrible is the emergency crash avoidance braking system. In snow, the sensors get packed with Ice & Snow and the car will randomly slam on the brakes with a false sense of impending crash when there is not anything in front of it. When it does that in the snow, it locks up the brakes in the ice and I slide all over the place including sideways and spinning in a circle out of control. It won't let off of the brakes until the car comes to a complete stoop. If it is wet or snow outside I shut off collision avoidance to keep from getting killed!
Just want to say that I have the same fuel tank problem mentioned by others on the 2019 RAV4 Hybrid I bought in November. A long mileage range was key to me in purchasing the vehicle. The limited tank capacity and mileage well under 40MPG is certainly frustrating. Toyota knew they had the problem quite a while ago. Why did they keep selling defective vehicles?
My 2019 Rav4 hybrid xse has the same fuel tank issue. Would love to get it fix. I love the car otherwise, even without Android auto. But fixing the tank would be a great reward for not having Android auto.
I am frustrated that I spent so much money on this car and should expect to at least be able to fill the gas tank. Never get more that 8.2 gallons or so. Toyota should do better! Fix the problem!!
I know what is going on. If I drive to the needle in on empty, I can put in ~9 gallons. What is happening is that air is bubbling up through the fill port and covering the tip of the pump nozzle. The nozzle interprets this as full and shuts down. Need a better way to vent the air from the gas tank when filling.
I just received a mailer from Toyota Motor Sales USA yesterday. It contains 2 legal sized double-sided letter and COVID-19 cover leaf. The title is "Customer Support Program Interim Notification, 2019-2020 RAV4 HV Vehicle Refueling Performance". Did anyone else receive this? Finally, Toyota has sent something in writing to owners. Note that this is NOT a recall letter, but a notification that Toyota will have the ability to fix the fuel capacity issue with a combination of fuel tank and fuel sender gauge units on affected RAV4 HVs. The parts are not yet available for the masses but will be in the coming months. Coverage for the free replacement service will be 8 years or 100K miles, whichever occurs first.
Yes! I got the same letter as well. This is a step forward for Toyota. Hopefully they keep the momentum going until the problem is fixed.
Toyota really dropped the ball on this one. How they could have let this issue happen speaks to a failure in engineering and quality control - unusual for Toyota. I have a 2017 Rav4 Hybrid that has been very reliable. I won't consider a new Toyota Rav4 Hybrid for at least another year. I am hoping the widespread complaints and loss of sales will cost Toyota enough that they tighten up the quality/engineering before selling new models.
I have had the (defective faulty) Rav4 Hybrid for almost a year, the DTE computer is also inaccurate due to the gas tank issue. This whole launch and next model year launch were flawed and Toyota new it and still decided to play the money grab game and release the 2020 model. Toyota quality, workmanship, and design has all decreased comparative to what it used to be.The overall build quality of the RAV4 and Rav4Hy are despicable. An almost $40k vehicle with issues with gas tanks (something that has been around since the model T) and yet Toyota can't get it right now. Also there are rattles and sounds that the car makes over 25mph that wouldn't happen if the car was put together solidly with better materials and workmanship, I can hear rattling form the backseat overhead portion, annoying to say the least. Also side passenger mirror was loose after I bought it and had to get it tightened, but it still makes noise. And now I have issues with the liftgate inside handle separating and falling apart, and I don't even use the thing often. Luckily I am in the process of getting rid of this s#itbucket and getting a Model Y. The Model Y may have problems but I doubt it will be anywhere near the problems the Rav4 and Rav4Hy has. I will take this monetary loss as an expensive lease but but from here on out I will never buy Toyota again.
I have had the (defective faulty) Rav4 Hybrid for almost a year, the DTE computer is also inaccurate due to the gas tank issue. This whole 2019 launch and next model year launch were flawed and Toyota knew it and still decided to play the money grab game and release the 2020 model. Toyota quality, workmanship, and design has all decreased comparative to what it used to be.The overall build quality of the RAV4 and Rav4Hy are despicable. An almost $40k vehicle with issues with gas tanks (something that has been around since the model T) and yet Toyota can't get it right now. Also there are rattles and sounds that the car makes over 25mph that wouldn't happen if the car was put together solidly with better materials and workmanship, I can hear rattling from the backseat overhead portion, annoying to say the least. Also side passenger mirror was loose after I bought it and had to get it tightened, but it still makes noise. And now I have issues with the liftgate inside handle separating and falling apart, and I don't even use the thing often. Toyota sent out a letter from their corporate refusing to issue a recall but saying a fix was in the work, but not describing that fix in detail or even at all, they just describe the problem. This lets me know that they have no fix at all currently and don't plan on it, they are just trying to buy their time so the Lemon Law timeline and buyback timeline run out for the customer, and in the event someone tries to initiate one, they can claim that a "fix is in the works" bs. Luckily I am in the process of getting rid of this nuisance vehicle and getting a Model Y. The Model Y may have problems but I doubt it will be anywhere near the problems the Rav4 and Rav4Hy has, and Tesla service (another issue I had was with the Toyota service departments at every dealership messing up something on the vehicle everytime I brought it in), will be night and day difference vs Toyota. I will take this monetary loss as an expensive lease but from here on out I will never buy Toyota/Lexus again.
I suspect my new Rav4 hybrid has the problem. I was only able to put in 10 gallons on my first refill. What I have not seen yet is an answer to the question, when the light come on is there still 4 gallons left in the tank and will it use those gallons if I continue to drive on?
Wow! This article and the comments that follow have certainly caused me to hold off purchasing a new Toyota RAV 4 Hybrid. Will most likely go with my alternative purchase which is a normal ICE Subaru Forester.
Update: I ended up steering clear of Tesla too, another QC nightmare and shoddily put together vehicles. I ended up getting an EV, an Audi eTron. Amazing build quality, technology and features. Also LED lighting everywhere which the Rav4 was severely lacking in. Even in the XSE they were using crappy halogen bulbs that didn't light up crap in the Rav4 2019 I had. Range is always accurate and less mechanical parts and no gas tank. Much more power and even nicer than the Rav4 Prime. Got it for a good price and the Fed Tax Rebate too. Rethought the whole Hybrid thing as I didn't need spectacular range as I only drive around town less than 25 miles a day. Never going back to ICE now.
[An update on the gas situation in my new (3 week old) RAV4 Hybrid and questions for the group, and Toyota if they are listening.] When I got my RAV4 new it has 54 miles on the odometer and a full tank of gas, presumably with 14.5 gallons in it (less some for that 54 miles). I then drove it 570 miles. The light came on at 530 miles so I figure I drove it one of the two gallons that were supposed to be in the tank. Gassing up, it took....10 gallon. Either I got superb over-the-top gas mileage (57 mpg) or...i have the dreaded gas issue. The gas gauge light came on with this second tank with the gauge showing 1/8th of a tank left. It again took just over 10.1 gallons. If the tank really holds 14.5 gallons there have to be 4.5 gallons left, not 2.5 gallons. I have no idea if I used 14 the first time and now all I have is 10 gallons on the tank, or it there are 4 gallons in the tank that I cannot get access to. I do not believe I am getting over 50 mpg. No way of knowing with this gas issue. Worse, no way of knowing if there are 2 gallons left with the light comes on or if there are 4 gallons. So here are my questions 1. Has anyone ignore the light and driven until the tank is dry? How far beyond the yellow light in miles did you get? How many gallons did it take to fill it up when empty? 2. Has anyone checked if the air holes on the tank are actually open? (I had this issue on a corvette once and the culpret was the air holes were not open. When opened the tank worked beautifully. I would really like to hear from Toyota what testing they have done. Have they looked into a talk to see if there are 4 gallons left when the light comes on? Have they looked at a full tank to be sure it is actually holding 14.5 gallons and not 12.5. (That would explain the issue as well.) Tony
Here's another CLUE, Toyota. Both times when I filled up the new 'distance to empty' was the miles I had driven on the last tank. The first reset set the distance to empty to 569 miles, and the second time to 535. Strange that the DTE would be exactly what the Trip A odometer was for that tank. [In the computer world we would say feels like a bug in the code to me.] CHeck it out yourself. Measure the distance you get for a tank and then reset the distance to empty. See if it's not the same number. CHeers.
The news yesterday was that Toyota has solved the gas tank problem and has announced a TSB that involes a tank replacement. While invisible to owners, this has been in the works for quite some time, and involved considerable testing. It is said to resolve all the symptoms we have been experiencing. Let's hope it works and Toyota moves quickly to replace all the affected tanks.
Just piling on. I bought a 2020 Hybrid in early September, and it takes 10 gallons on the fillup and then show full. Of course, neither Toyota or the dealer advised me that there was a potential issue when I was buying the car. I have less than 2k miles on the car, and I'm not sure what I'll ask for once the Toyota case manager calls me back. But Toyota making their problems their customers' problems is a really bad move. My kids just got a Honda in August, and now Honda is releasing a CRV hybrid...
Update: So, Toyota wants to have a dealer verify my concern before they will indicate my VIN is affected. let's break that down - Toyota thinks there is a remote possibility that my car not taking more than 10 gallons is possibly some other issue, so I need to drive the tank down, then spend a couple of hours having the dealer go fill it up to verify that it stops at 10 gallons. Because that makes much more sense than entering my VIN as affected by their known, documented (by Toyota) issue. So, they didn't disclose that their cars had an issue, and expect their new (first-time Toyota buyer) customers to spend more time and money proving that their cars have the issue that Toyota is trying not to fix. I really feel bad for the car - it has been very good to me and now it's going to go to buyback heaven without ever getting a proper road trip.