Toyota RAV4 manuals

Toyota RAV4 Service Manual: Symptom simulation


The most difficult case in troubleshooting is when no problem symptoms occur. In such a case, a thorough problem analysis must be carried out. A simulation of the same or similar conditions and environment in which the problem occurred in the customer's vehicle should be carried out. No matter how much skill or experience a technician has, troubleshooting without confirming the problem symptoms will lead to important repairs being overlooked and mistakes or delays.

For example:

With a problem that only occurs when the engine is cold or as a result of vibration caused by the road during driving, the problem can never be determined if the symptoms are being checked on a stationary vehicle or on a vehicle with a warmedup engine. Vibration, heat or water penetration (moisture) is difficult to reproduce. The symptom simulation tests below are effective substitutes for the conditions and can be applied on a stationary vehicle.

Important points in the symptom simulation test: in the symptom simulation test, the problem symptoms as well as the problem area or parts must be confirmed. First, narrow down the possible problem circuits according to the symptoms. Then, connect the tester and carry out the symptom simulation test, judging whether the circuit being tested is defective or normal. Also, confirm the problem symptoms at the same time.

Refer to the problem symptoms table for each system to narrow down the possible causes.

Toyota RAV4. Symptom simulation

  1. Vibration method:

When a malfunction seems to occur as a result of vibration.

  1. Part and sensor

Apply slight vibration with a finger to the part of the sensor suspected to be the cause of the problem, and check whether or not the malfunction occurs.


Applying strong vibration to relays may open them.

  1. Connectors

Slightly shake the connector vertically and horizontally.

  1. Wire harness

Slightly shake the wire harness vertically and horizontally.


The connector joint and fulcrum of the vibration are the major areas that should be checked thoroughly.

  1. Heat method:

When a malfunction seems to occur when the area in question is heated.

  1. Heat the component that is the possible cause of the malfunction with a hair dryer or similar device. Check if the malfunction occurs.


Do not heat to more than 60°c (140°f).

Exceeding this temperature may damage components.

  1. Water sprinkling method:

When a malfunction seems to occur on a rainy day or in high-humidity.

Toyota RAV4. Water sprinkling method

  1. Sprinkle water onto the vehicle and check if the malfunction occurs.



If the vehicle has or had a water leakage problem, the leakage may have damaged the ecu or connections. Look for evidence of corrosion or short circuits. Proceed with caution during water tests.

  1. High electrical load method:

When a malfunction seems to occur when the electrical load is excessive.

Toyota RAV4. High electrical load method

  1. Turn on the heater blower, headlight, rear window defogger and all other electrical loads.

    Check if the malfunction reoccurs.

Symptom confirmation and diagnostic trouble code
Hint: The diagnostic system in the rav4 has various functions. The first function is the diagnostic trouble code (dtc) check. A dtc is a code stored in the ecu memory whenever a malfunction ...

Diagnostic trouble code chart
Look for output diagnostic trouble codes (dtcs) (from the dtc checks) in the appropriate section's diagnostic trouble code chart. Use the chart to determine the trouble area and the proper inspecti ...

Other materials:

Rear seats
General information The seat adjustment switches are located on the center armrest of the rear seats. If the safety switch is pressed, the seats cannot be adjusted. Additional information: Safety switch Safety information Warning There is a risk of jamming when folding down the center armrest in ...

Disconnect cable from negative battery terminal Caution: Wait at least 90 seconds after disconnecting the cable from the negative (-) battery terminal to prevent airbag and seat belt pretensioner activation. Remove air cleaner cap (see page es-411) Remove air cleaner case ...

Data list / active test
Read data list Hint: Using the intelligent tester's data list allows switch, sensor, actuator and other item values to be read without removing any parts. Reading the data list early in troubleshooting in one way to save time. Connect the intelligent tester (with can vim) to the dlc3 ...

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