Toyota has announced a recall for the RAV4, including model years from 2013-2018 — affecting approximately 1.8 million owners in the process. The issue lies with some replacement batteries not having the correct dimensions. Affected batteries can shake loose and potentially start a fire in the 4th generation RAV4s while you're driving. Toyota put out a statement confirming the recall's issue:
"Some replacement 12-volt batteries of the size specified for the subject vehicles have smaller top dimensions than others," Toyota said. "If a small-top battery is used for replacement and the hold-down clamp is not tightened correctly, the battery could move when the vehicle is driven with forceful turns. The movement could cause the positive battery terminal to contact the hold-down clamp and short circuit."
Toyota hasn't explicitly told owners to stop driving their RAV4s completely, and there aren't any extra precautions you have to take at the moment, such as parking outside. Toyota dealerships will offer replacement of the battery hold-down clamp, battery tray, and positive terminal cover free of charge once the fix becomes available at dealer locations — a common practice for vehicle recalls.
Owners will be contacted in December when it's time to take their vehicles in. Toyota did not that drivers will want to do their best to avoid sharp turns in the meantime, as sudden movements can jostle the battery and cause an electrical fire in the vehicle's engine bay.
How to know if your vehicle is recalled
For those that don't know if their Toyota RAV4 falls under the recall, owners can easily check by visiting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website, or visit Toyota's website for more information. From there, you'll want to type in your car's Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), which can be found either on your car's windshield sticker, or in your insurance information — you're looking for a 17-character number. Enter that into the website and you'll receive information about whether your vehicle is affected by the recall or not.
If it does have a recall, you'll be given information on the recall and what to do about it. This will usually mean you have to take your car to the dealership as soon as you can for the fix. If there isn't an active recall, the site will come back and say there aren't any associated with your VIN number. Recall searches by VIN number check within the past 15 calendar years, so you'll likely find out if your RAV4 will need the fix.