These SUVs can catch fire while driving or when parked, according to Toyota.
The issue comes from replacement 12-volt batteries, which can move around and cause a short circuit.
249,000 vehicles are affected in Canada alone.
Toyota has announced a large recall of more than 2 million units of the previous-generation RAV4 SUV in North America due to a risk of fire.
This large number of recalled vehicles, 249,000 of them in Canada, is due to the sustained popularity of the RAV4 as well as the six-year production run of the previous generation, which was sold from 2013 to 2018.
According to Toyota, the problem comes from replacement 12-volt batteries that might not have the same dimensions as the original item.
Indeed, it was found that installing a battery that features a smaller top portion than the factory component could cause it to slide around in the engine bay under hard cornering if the hold-down bracket hasn’t been tightened correctly.
This could cause the positive terminal to come into contact with the bracket and thus cause a short circuit, which could result in an under-hood fire.
This could happen both while driving or after the vehicle has been parked for some time, according to the automaker.
While Toyota hasn’t said how many complaints it has received in relation to this problem, a preliminary investigation opened in 2021 by the NHTSA found 11 instances of a short circuit occurring due to battery movement.
According to the NHTSA, about half of the owners who experienced a «thermal event» while driving said that the engine stalled before other symptoms appeared.
Neither Toyota nor the NHTSA have confirmed whether injuries have occurred due to this issue, and if so, how many.
The automaker is still working on the details of the fix, but it says that its dealers will replace the hold-down bracket, the battery tray, as well as the positive terminal cover with revised items that should prevent the battery from moving and causing short circuits.
Owners in the United States and Canada will be notified by mail starting in late December.