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Toyota RAV4 Battery-Related Stalling and Fires Class Action

Pamela Woodman, one of the plaintiffs in this class action, was driving her Toyota RAV4 when she smelled burning rubber. “As she pulled over [to] the side of the road,” says the complaint, “Plaintiff Woodman saw flames coming from the center console. She stopped the vehicle and exited quickly, before the vehicle burned to its frame…” The complaint alleges that this happened due to a defective battery in RAV4s, which can cause them to “suddenly lose electrical power, stall, smoke, or catch fire…”

The class for this action is all individuals in the US who bought or leased a2013-2018 Toyota RAV4 vehicle. Subclasses have been defined for Florida, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Missouri.

The complaint brings suit against Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. (TMS), and Toyota Motor North America, Inc. (TMNA) for not recalling the vehicles or replacing the defective batteries.

The complaint says a vehicle’s battery fulfills several roles: “provides power for starting the vehicle, acts as a surge protector for the car’s computer, and provides power for short-term use of vehicle functions such as lights, infotainment systems, GPS, or wipers when the engine is turned off.”

However, the 12-volt battery in the RAV4 is defective, the complaint alleges, because it “causes electrical shorts when the B+ terminal makes contact with the battery hold down frame, which may result in the sudden loss of electrical power, vehicle stalling, and/or a fire originating in the engine compartment…”

In February 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began an investigation into a “thermal event originating in the left side of the engine compartment” of the RAV4. It did this because of eleven consumer complaints and Early Warning Report information from Toyota.

The complaint quotes its investigation summary as saying, “A majority of thermal events occurred during driving conditions, with four taking place with the ignition off. Drivers experienced stalling prior to the thermal event in half of the instances where the vehicle was in motion.” The battery was named as the “area of origin” for the problems.

The complaint claims that Toyota knew or should have known about the defect, from pre-sale and pre-production testing, consumer complaints, and dealer reports.

“In addition to consumer complaints,” the complaint claims, “there were several high-profile incidents” with the RAV4. For example, in a 2018 case, a couple’s new RAV4 caught fire “in the middle of the night while the car was turned off. The fire department arrived and while they were laying down a hose line, the vehicle violently exploded.” In that case, Toyota claimed the cause might have been improper tow hitch wiring and did not compensate the couple.

The complaint alleges that Toyota has known about the problem and has not warned consumers, has not devised a remedy, and has not recalled the vehicles. It claims that Toyota has actively concealed the problem.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Automobile

Most Recent Case Event

Toyota RAV4 Battery-Related Stalling and Fires Complaint

July 24, 2021

Pamela Woodman, one of the plaintiffs in this class action, was driving her Toyota RAV4 when she smelled burning rubber. “As she pulled over [to] the side of the road,” says the complaint, “Plaintiff Woodman saw flames coming from the center console. She stopped the vehicle and exited quickly, before the vehicle burned to its frame…” The complaint alleges that this happened due to a defective battery in RAV4s, which can cause them to “suddenly lose electrical power, stall, smoke, or catch fire…”

Toyota RAV4 Battery-Related Stalling and Fires Complaint

Case Event History

Toyota RAV4 Battery-Related Stalling and Fires Complaint

July 24, 2021

Pamela Woodman, one of the plaintiffs in this class action, was driving her Toyota RAV4 when she smelled burning rubber. “As she pulled over [to] the side of the road,” says the complaint, “Plaintiff Woodman saw flames coming from the center console. She stopped the vehicle and exited quickly, before the vehicle burned to its frame…” The complaint alleges that this happened due to a defective battery in RAV4s, which can cause them to “suddenly lose electrical power, stall, smoke, or catch fire…”

Toyota RAV4 Battery-Related Stalling and Fires Complaint
Tags: Battery, Defective Automobile