Skip to main content

Your 2020 Toyota RAV4 May Have Remote Engine Start – and You Might Not Even Know

Learn how to tell if your 2020 RAV4 comes with remote engine start.


I recently created a video for my “Toyotajeff” YouTube channel on remote engine start that has been popular with viewers. I got the idea from the many comments and questions I get on the topic.

In fact, over the past few years, whether a vehicle has or does not have factory-installed remote start is probably the most common question I get. Well, besides whether a model comes with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

Toyota RAV4 is the best-selling SUV in the country. It is smooth and comfortable and versatile. Plus, it is loaded with safety and technology features.

But does it come with remote engine start?

People are trying this 2020 RAV4 trick

I am far from old school, but I was late to the game learning about the term “life hack.” A life hack is a trick or technique people use make things easier or simpler.

For example, you can use your sunglasses to prop up your cell phone so you can watch it without having to hold it. Or use Doritos for campfire kindling if you do not have anything else to use.

And you can start your Toyota remotely with your key fob.

Since I uploaded my video, people have been trying it and giving their results in the comments section.

“Works on my XSE Hybrid.” Reported Terrance.

Lunar Skrudder had similar success. “Works on my 2019 Adventure. Big mahalos Toyotajeff. You know what’s good.”

Jose added. “My local Toyota dealer never told me about this feature on my 2020 Corolla XSE ‘til I watched your channel. I have JBL premium sound system.”

Katie replied to Jose. “Mine didn’t either. I have learned a lot about my RAV4 from Jeff.”

Toyota RAV4 Remote Start

Remote engine start is beneficial for many reasons. I find it most useful for starting your vehicle a few minutes early when it is very hot or cold outside. This process allows the heating or air conditioning to run, making inside cabin temperature more tolerable when you get inside your car.

Many 2020 Toyota RAV4 models have this feature when they buy it. Here is the best way to tell.

2020 Toyota RAV4 XSE Hybrid multimedia interior

Your RAV4 multimedia system of either Audio Plus or Premium Audio will give you factory remote engine start. An 8-inch touch screen will be the key feature to look for.

Base Toyota Audio systems will not have remote start. These systems include a slightly smaller 7-inch screen. This means vehicles like RAV4 LE and LE Hybrid do not have it.

How to make it work

Starting your car remotely is a simple process, although it does take “a bit of a touch” as you learn and perfect your technique.

Hold your key fob in front of your RAV4 and press “LOCK” and then “LOCK” again and then hold down “LOCK.” Keep it held down until you see the lights flashing. A few seconds later your engine will start up.

Note: a Toyota Hybrid will start a bit differently. You will first hear the electric motor humming for 5 to 10 seconds before the gasoline engine starts. My video below demonstrates this.

VIDEO: See if your RAV4 has remote engine start in my demo video.

Remote start on other Toyota models

You may also be able to remotely start your vehicle from your smart phone or smart watch using Remote Connect on your Toyota app. Give it a try as well.

I encourage you to test this life hack to see if it works for your car, truck or SUV. You may have great luck with your Camry and Highlander and 4Runner.

In fact, you may want to try this for other brand vehicles as well. Every once in awhile I hear from someone who has done it successfully on other makes.

Time for your thoughts on Toyota RAV4

Thanks for watching everyone. I am looking forward to seeing if remote start works on your car. Please report back with your findings.

See you next story when I talk about the one feature I wish would have been added to 2021 4Runner.

Follow Jeff Teague on social media:

- My website
- Torque News Toyota - my regular column
- YouTube channel - My "Toyotajeff" Toyota reviews
- My Facebook page
- My Instagram page
- Twitter @toyotajeff1

Thank you everyone for following me.


Elizabeth Jenkins (not verified)    March 5, 2021 - 2:41PM

In reply to by Olive Herman (not verified)

Toyota's remote start is a joke. We paid for this feature on my Sequoia Platinum. They say it is a security feature. I had a Tahoe with remote start (heat/air came on as well as seat warmer in winter) and loved it. It is not an option on one of their most expensive cars. (Crazy) My tips: Set your heat/air on high when you get out. When you remote start, the car will be heated/cooled when you get in. We did not add this to our daughter's 2020 Rav4. Waste of money. :(

Keith (not verified)    October 15, 2020 - 1:45PM

Hi Jeff
When I use the key fob to remote start 2020 RAV4 Hybrid my prior heater settings for windshield defrost do not return to prior setting. I notice prior years allowed you to default remote to last heater setting by going to 'convenience' tab in 'settings'. This is no longer in the menu. How can I still use my remote without going to the 'smart' sensor default?

Thank you

Lynn (not verified)    December 18, 2020 - 8:51AM

In reply to by Keith (not verified)

I was wondering the same...just had a remote starter installed for my Rav4hybrid (has actual key) and all systems turn off when you turn the car off-what to do so the remote will warm/defrost...often it is in "electric" just sitting quietly mode.

Nicole (not verified)    November 22, 2020 - 10:31AM

Thanks so much for writing this article! I got a rav 4 2020 adventure in August 2020 and the dealer told me it did not come with automatic start, so now that it’s getting cold here we were looking into getting automatic start. But I stumbled upon your article, tried it out, and it works!

Mitch (not verified)    December 16, 2020 - 10:44AM

Just purchased 2021 Toyota Rav4 XLE Premium. As part of deal, dealer installed remote start. Car uses FOB. I am in NY and it is almost winter. Remote start does not work first thing on a cold morning but works fine after driving a bit. Been back to dealer 3 times already and still having problem. They even swapped out the original unit and replaced with another. Still having same issue. What to do next?

Jessica (not verified)    January 5, 2021 - 1:05AM

I have a 2018 Rav4 and on mine the Lock, lock, lock combo doesn't work. HOWEVER...if I press Lock, Unlock, Lock (no holding for 3 seconds or anything) it will start! Just wanted to add that info so people can try that as well!

varatharaj bal… (not verified)    February 5, 2021 - 3:12PM

Ra4 2020 premium. I fix Remote Engine starting.i have Samsung galaxy s5 i already downloaded app

varatharaj bal… (not verified)    February 5, 2021 - 3:15PM

Ra4 2020 premium. I fix Remote Engine starting.i have Samsung galaxy s5 i already downloaded app

Ed (not verified)    February 13, 2021 - 2:46AM

We have 2021 Rav4 push button start and the dealer informed us that lock, lock ,lock hold would work till Sept 2021 and then it would cost us $8 a month or $80 a year to keep it. Hope it's not true because the car cost to much to have it be a continuing revenue stream for Toyota.

Alan (not verified)    March 12, 2021 - 8:39PM

Worked on my 2021 rav4 limited (has the premium audio which I think is standard?). Pressing unlock turns off the engine btw. After a few minutes, car will lock itself too.

Thanks for the info! Is there a way to enter car without turning off engine though?

mark (not verified)    July 16, 2021 - 5:28PM

This "hack" isn't a hack. It's a known part of the systems for the last few years in Toyota and Lexus vehicles. It is described in the manual, and if your sales rep is worth his/her salt, they'll tell you about it...but there is only so much time, and soooo much to cover in our current cars.


The Toyota FOB-based remote start capability is somewhat anemic, usually requiring a relatively short distance between operator and vehicle without much if any obstruction. Aftermarket transmitter receivers are often of higher frequency/longer range.

The factory-installed system that is tied to the upgraded audio systems is best, for the subscription is free year one, and if you added up the subsequent years you will use it, unless you keep a vehicle a very long time, will likely end up still costing you less, for a much higher level of service that includes a variety of notifications if the vehicle goes outside a selectable range, radius, speed, etc., and shows odometer, gas tank level, vehicle health reports, and more.

Tom Loughlin (not verified)    October 5, 2021 - 3:21PM

Maler- und Gipsergeschäfte gibt es viele. Aber keines wie die Roberto Salafia GmbH. Seit der Gründung im Jahr 2006 setzen wir konsequent auf Partnerschaften. Wir arbeiten mit Kunden, Lieferanten und Mitarbeitenden partnerschaftlich zusammen. Das ist unsere Basis, um gemeinsam erfolgreich zu sein.

All unsere Projekte, ob für Firmen- oder Privatkunden, haben ein gemeinsames Ziel: Dienstleistungen, die keinen Wunsch offen lassen, höchsten Qualitätsansprüchen genügen, zu einem unschlagbaren Preis.

Mit diesem Anspruch konnten wir in der Vergangenheit viele Kunden begeistern und glücklich machen. Deswegen werden wir diesen Weg auch in Zukunft verfolgen.

Am liebsten mit Ihnen als Partner.

Email [email protected]