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RAV4 Problems In 2016 – Watch For Water Pump Leaks And Exhaust Leaks! 

RAV4 Problems In 2016

The Toyota RAV4 is a compact crossover SUV that Toyota has produced from the 1994 model year until the present. Designed for car owners that want the benefits of an SUV, like increased room and higher visibility, along with the maneuverability and performance of a compact car, the RAV4 is a versatile and reliable option. However, the RAV4 problems in 2016 deter some owners from purchasing this model year. 

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


Let’s look at the most common problems across all model years of the RAV4. By knowing the most prevalent signs and symptoms to watch out for, drivers can ensure their model year will run safely and at a high-level for as long as possible.


In addition, car owners need to be aware of the reliability of the 2016 RAV4. Knowing the ratings this car model earned from various sites and publications can educate the car shopper before they purchase this vehicle. 


Lastly, drivers need to know how this car stacks up against the competition. Does the RAV4 problems in the 2016 model year affect the overall ranking, or does it still earn the top spot amongst other similar cars? Keep reading to see if the RAV4 problems in 2016 affect the reliability, safety, and performance of this vehicle. 

Toyota RAV4 Common Problems

To get an idea of what to look out for with the RAV4 problems in 2016, drivers need to know the most common issues across every model year. The third generation (2006-2012 model years) did not fare well in terms of reliability, with the 2006-2008 models being especially susceptible to increased oil consumption that would reduce the overall performance. 

  • Water pump leaks

  • The average water pump replacement cost is around $550, with the prices ranging from $461 to $638.
  • Exhaust leaks due to rust formation

  • Rust repairs can cost as little as $20 for minor repairs and as much as $2000 for more extensive fixes depending on how much you want to repair on your vehicle. 
  • Clunking noises from the steering column

  • Replacing your steering column is anywhere between $400 to $900, with the cost of the parts only between $100 to $300 at a local auto body shop.
  • Whining or growling noise while driving

  • Toyota found the loud noises came from a failed bearing in the AWD models’ rear differential, with replacing the rear differential costing between $200 and $400 on average.

Along with this model year’s problems, these car years were susceptible to various recalls due to unintended acceleration while driving. After numerous Toyota and Lexus cars accelerated without the driver pressing down on the accelerator pedal, it was noticed that design flaws in the floor mat caused the accelerator pedal to slide forward and be trapped in a constant down position. 

2016 Toyota RAV4 Car US News Reliability

The 2016 Toyota RAV4 earned the #11 spot in the 2016 Affordable Compact SUVs category despite the RAV4 problems in 2016. The 2016 model year had great safety ratings, a very high cargo capacity for long road trips, and features comfortable seating. The positives of the 2016 Toyota RAV4 include abundant cargo space, supportive and comfortable front seats, and excellent crash test ratings.


However, the negatives of 2016 include the finicky and unresponsive infotainment system, lack of style, and other RAV4 problems 2016. With these various issues, the RAV4 in 2016 ranked at the bottom third in every other category in terms of rankings.

  • #17 in 2016 Affordable SUVs with 2 Rows
  • #19 in 2016 Affordable SUVS with 2 Rows
  • #27 in Used SUVs with 2 Rows $15k to $20k
  • #27 in 2016 Affordable Crossover SUVs
  • #47 in Used Crossover SUVs $15k to $20k


The Car US News gave this car a scorecard of 7.9 out of 10. The highest scoring categories were the total cost of ownership, coming to 9 out of10, and the safety rating earning a whopping 90,3 out of 10. However, the not-so-good categories included the critics’ rating of 7.4, the performance coming to 7.3 out of 10, and the interior rating coming to 7.4 out of 10. 

Is it better to buy a used 2016 RAV4 or a new 2021 model?

The used 2016 model is less expensive, contains high-rated safety features for its model year, and offers similar performance scores to the new 2021 RAV4 model.


If you consider whether it is worth it to buy this vehicle even with the RAV4 problems in 2016, you need to know if it is smart to purchase this car brand new or if a used car will do the trick. Today, a new model would be the 2021 RAV4, would cost around $3,500 higher than the 2016 model.


When comparing the latest model to the 2016 option, the newest version has increased towing, advanced safety features, and increased performance capabilities. 

How safe is the 2016 RAV4?

Car shoppers will be delighted to know the 2016 RAV4 performed exceedingly well in all crash tests. 


When deciding whether you should purchase the RAV4 despite the RAV4 problems in 2016, drivers need to know if the positives outweigh the safety concerns. 

  • This car earned the Top Safety Pick+, the highest award given by the IIHS
    • Received the top rating of ‘Good’ in 5 out of 6 category  evaluations
  • The worst rating it received was a ‘Poor’ in the passenger-side small front overlap test
  • The National HighwayTraffic Safety Administration gave this vehicle a perfect 5-star overall safety rating despite the RAV4 problems in 2016

2016 Toyota Rav4 vs. The Competition

2016 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2016 Mazda CX-5

  • The positives of the Mazda CX-5 include the fun and agile handling, confident steering, modest power in the base engine, excellent fuel economy for driving long distances, user-friendly infotainment system, and easy-to-use controls.
  • When comparing the RAV4 and the Mazda CX-5, the Mazda wins due to the handling, easy infotainment system, high-powered engine options available, and excellent fuel economy, outweighing the RAV4 problems in 2016.

2016 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2016 Honda CR-V

  • The CR-V positives include the high ranking earned by various websites and organizations, such as the 2016 Best Compact SUV for families, more seat space, better fuel economy, and ample cargo space.
  • The only positive of the RAV4 compared to the CR-V is the additional cargo space for long trips. However, the RAV4 problems in 2016 mean the CR-V is the better option for any driver.

2016 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2016 Ford Escape

  • The Ford Escape is a high-performing SUV with two strong turbocharged engines, strong acceleration, good passing power, agile handling, and a spacious backseat.
  • When comparing these two compact SUVs, the Ford EScape wins out due to the RAV4 problems in 2016.

2016 Toyota RAV4 Common Problems

Interior Accessories

  • The most common RAV4 problems in 2016 regarding the interior accessories focus on the cruise control acting erratically, the navigation system failing, and the radio display not working.
    • The average cost for a cruise control switch replacement is between $157 and $171, with the labor costs between $55 and $70 for 45 minutes to 1 hour of work. 


  • The most severe RAV4 problems in 2016 regarding the braking system focus on the car lurching while braking and the car losing brake pedal pressure.
    • A complete brake repair that includes brake pads, brake rotors, and brake calipers typically costs between $300 and $800.
    • If you find the brake pads are the only issue, you can pay between $75 and $100 per pad, whereas a drum or rotor will be hundreds more. 
    • For a master cylinder repair, drivers can expect to pay between $200 and $300 but can increase spending on the scope of the fix. 


  • When looking at the RAV4 problems in 2016 in the engine category, car owners complain of the engine losing power while turning, the engine leaking oil, and unintended acceleration.
    • Sudden acceleration usually occurs when an electronic malfunction occurs within the vehicle, causing the throttle to expand and the car to accelerate without the driver physically pressing down on the pedal. 
    • If the engine leaking oil is the main concern, simple fluid leaks range from as low as $20 for a new filter to as high as $200 for a new gasket. The highest price point would be between $400 and $600 to replace a hose, pan, or piston ring. 

Steering System

  • The worst concerns when dealing with the RAV4 problems in 2016 regarding the steering system involves the car pulling to one side and the power steering no longer working while driving.
    • The main reasons your car pulls to one side while driving is due to inconsistent tire pressure, tire conicity, a worn-out part in the steering or suspension, or uneven brake wear. 
      • If you need to replace your tire pressure monitor sensors, this cost ranges from around $50 to $100, depending on the type of car you have.
      • Fixing your suspension is between $1000 and $5000, coming in at one of the most expensive RAV4 problems in 2106.
      • The average brake pad replacement cost is around $150 per axle to fix the uneven brake pad wear. 

Body and Paint

  • Car owners complain about the trunk not opening, the paint chipping, and the car easily rusting when discussing the RAV4 problems in 2016 in the body and paint category.
    • The fix of repairing your paint chips usually runs between $150 and $250, with more extensive scrapes, dings, and dents costing hundreds more. 
    • Permanent rust proofing for your vehicle will cost around $500 to prevent the RAV4 problems in 2016 from consistently occurring. 


  • RAv4 owners cite issues with their transmission, such as premature transmission failure and erratic shifting while using cruise control.
    • The average transmission repair cost ranges from $300 to $1400, depending on the severity of the RaV4 problems in 2016. If the transmission needs a new clutch, car owners can expect to pay around $800 on average, while a full replacement ranges between $1800 and $3400 for a new mechanism. 
    • Buying a remanufactured transmission ranges between $1300 and $3400, a used transmission is between $800 and $1500, and a rebuilt transmission is in the price range of between $1100 and $2800 to fix the RAV4 problems in 2016. 

2016 Toyota RAV4 Recalls

  • Incorrect Load Carrying Capacity Label

One recall that affected the 2016 RAv4 was the incorrect load carrying capacity label recall issued in April of 2016. In the affected vehicles, an incorrect label could result in the vehicle being overloaded, increasing the crash risk due to a lack of handling. 

  • Toyota recalled the certain model year 2016 Yaris, RAV4, Land Cruiser, 4Runner, Scion FR-S, iM, and TC vehicles manufactured between January of 2016 and March of 2016.
  • In these cars, the Modification Label might not accurately display the correct weight of the installed accessories, leading the cars to fail to comply with the Safety Standards requirements. 
  • Brake Actuator With Damaged O-ring

The other recall that came about due to the RAV4 problems in 2016 focused on problems with the brake actuator, brake fluid, and loss of brake pressure. 

  • Toyota recalled the certain model year 2016 Toyota RAv4 vehicles manufactured between October of 2015 and February of 2-16, 2016 Lexus RX350 vehicles manufactured between October of 2015 and February of 2016, and 2016 Lexus ES350 vehicles produced between September of 2015 and February 29 of 2016.
  • The affected vehicles contain an ABS actuator that could have a damaged O-ring, leading to the potential for improper brake fluid pressure control during anti-lock braking, traction control, or stability control activation on slippery surfaces. 

The Bottom Line

By keeping an eye out for the RAV4 problems in 2016, car owners can prevent having the expensive repair and replacement costs. Watch out for rust formation, water pump leaks, transmission failure, and other concerning issues! 

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