I have a 2006 Toyota Rav4 - The other day, the car wouldn't start. We jumped the battery and it started right up. No lights were left on and nothing is plugged in that would be causing this. I took it to the dealership and they said the battery was fine. Every morning it struggles to start, but eventually starts up. The dealership said it may be because I don't drive it far enough daily - However, I drive the car every day and I don't think that is the problem.

Does this sound like an issue with the alternator or starter - or does it just sound like the battery is bad - but was charged after jumping it and gave false results?

  • 3
    When the starter motor is running, does it sound like a labored effort and it is struggling to turn the engine, or does it sound healthy, but the engine turns over for a long time without starting? How long in minutes do you drive the car between starts?
    – HandyHowie
    Oct 26, 2015 at 11:59
  • Once the car is running, it sounds fine. It just has an issue starting. If it matters, the light behind temperature knob for the a/c doesn't turn on until I turn the knob - that started after the car died the other day as well. I drive my car to work every day which takes about 15 minutes. Yesterday I drove it across town (about a 30 min drive - 15 of which was on the interstate) and then back before shutting it down for the night. Then this morning it almost didn't start.
    – Brianna
    Oct 26, 2015 at 13:48
  • When you turn the key to start, does it crank and crank and crank before starting, or does it sound like it is having a hard time turning the engine? If it is having a hard time turning, its the starter or a bad connection. If it cranks alot before starting, its likely a fueling issue.
    – rpmerf
    Oct 26, 2015 at 14:08
  • I thought crank and turning could be used interchangeably. I guess I don't understand the question. It tries to start. So, it isn't as if the battery is completely dead and just clicks. It just has a hard time firing up, but once it starts - it is fine. This doesn't happen all the time - like, if i have driven it that day - it will start up fine later. It is usually overnight after it has set for like 8 hours or more that it has a problem starting.
    – Brianna
    Oct 26, 2015 at 14:52
  • What was the actual voltage of the battery when checked? Also, did they check it under load? I'm betting the battery is about done for, especially if it hasn't been changed in the last five years. Oct 26, 2015 at 22:31

2 Answers 2


Apparently, the Rav4 has an undersized battery to begin with and is sensitive to under-voltage problems when starting.

The rav's prior to 2009 have an undersized battery -35. Check the battery and if weak get a 24F for replacement.

As one user mentioned:

I just ran my tests on our RAV. Interesting! It has a Toyota battery. The size wasn't readily discernible but it fills the battery box. Since I bought the car used I don't know if it's the original or not. Anyway, with the car not having been run since noon yesterday and overnight temperature at 50F, my analog load tester meter read right on 12V at 9:30 AM today. While cranking it dropped to 9.5 volts. The engine cranked over 5-6 times and took less than two seconds to start at which point it jumped to 14V indicating normal charging. After a few more starts trying to "use up" some voltage I got it just below 9V but it was hard to read the drop because the engine started so quickly. Finally I held the load test on it until the "toaster" glowed red - about 15 seconds. The tester gauge went to 11V and into the "weak" region. The next start got the voltage down to 8V. Again it started instantly and sounded like it cranked normally.

Conclusion: It's very possible that a weak battery would still crank the engine over fast enough to sound okay while the voltage is dropping low enough (which I didn't reach) to shut down the electronics. That says changing the battery may be the fix.



Oxygen Sensor: Your Oxygen (O2) Sensor has a thermal sensing tip that must reach a high Temperature of about 600 degrees for your car to start normally otherwise you will get the same symptoms you are getting right now with your car. Have your car diagnosed. You may need to replace one or more of your exhaust / emissions sensors. Some vehicles have more than one and perhaps up to 5 sensors but for the most part as far as I am familiar with.. the most would be 3 but your vehicle might have only 2 sensors. I did not research the sensors for your type vehicle and so I will not promise the number of sensors on your particular car. You also want to ensure that your exhaust pipe is in good condition with no holes around any the sensors. Holes around the sensors will not allow the sensor tip to heat up fast enough which could also slow down the heating of your sensor and the starting of the vehicle. Check out videos on replacing (O2) sensor and how (O2) sensor works!

  • 4
    Please explain how replacing O2 sensors will fix the starting issue
    – Zaid
    Dec 4, 2015 at 16:40

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