Toyota RAV4 Hybrid model years 2019, 2020, and 2021 vehicles allegedly contain one or more design and/or manufacturing defects which will not allow owners to add more than 10 gallons of fuel to a nearly empty fuel tank.
As first reported by LegalScoops, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid fuel tank prematurely engages the automatic fuel shut off–stopping the pump from filling the tank. Owners allege the faulty tank only allows for a maximum of 10 gallons of fuel to be pumped even when the tank is almost empty.
Toyota advertises the RAV4 Hybrid fuel tanks has a capacity of 14.5 gallons and a range of 580 miles before empty. Inability to fill the fuel tank therefore impacts the vehicle’s total available driving distance and forces owners to make more frequent stops at the gas station.
RAV4 Hybrid Fuel Tank Problems
RAV4 Hybrid owners report that the fueling problem is consistent and not intermittent. Even when low fuel warning light is on, owners are unable to fully fill the tank to the advertised 14.5 gallons.
Reports of fuel tank problems started to emerge in 2019. Toyota even released a statement confirming that the issue is “primarily related to a variation in the shape of the fuel tank and the position of the fuel sender gauge.”
Plaintiffs allege that Automotive News reported in 2020 that when Toyota redesigned the RAV4 for the 2019 model year, Toyota changed the design of its fuel tank from “a longitudinal 14.8-gallon tank roughly shaped like a Native American papoose to a latitudinal, saddle-shaped design with 14.5-gallon capacity, according to parts diagrams” to accommodate the location of the electric motor’s battery.
The defect of the redesigned fuel tank causes the affected vehicles to have a markedly lower driving range than designed.
Toyota Models Affected
According to publicly available data, the total number of Class Vehicles sold is approximately 186,000 vehicles. The following Toyota models are affected by this defect:
Status of the RAV4 Hybrid Fuel Tank Defect Class Action Litigation
Pulkrabek, et al. v. Toyota Motor Sales, Case No. 2:20-cv-00036-JRG-RSP, was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas on February 13, 2020.
This lawsuit is being settled. This lawsuit has been dismissed. See important details at the bottom of this post.
In Re Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Fuel Tank Litigation, 3:20-cv-00337-EMC, was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California on January 15, 2020. This case is still pending and has not been settled.
Owners will soon have the option of participating in that settlement or bringing your own claim and “opting out” of that settlement or the litigation.
Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Class Action Settlement Details
Under the settlement, Toyota will offer an Extended Customer Support Program (“Extended Program”) to all class members. The Extended Program includes the RAV4 Hybrid model years 2019-21. The Extended Program provides all class members who believe that their fuel tank is experiencing the fuel tank capacity issue: (1) free inspections of the fuel tank and fuel sender gauge unit; (2) if a problem exists, repair and replacement of the fuel tank and fuel sender gauge unit with a new, improved fuel tank or fuel sender gauge unit; and (3) a complimentary Loaner Vehicle, if the repair exceeds six hours or the Subject Vehicle, must remain at the dealership overnight. The Extended Program will increase the original Customer Support Program by seven (7) years and 50,000 miles for a total coverage period of 15 years from the date the Subject Vehicle was initially sold/leased or 150,000 miles, whichever occurs first, on original parts.
Toyota will also pay all settlement administration costs, including class notice and any award of attorneys’ fees, expenses, and Class Representative service awards.
Class Members may exclude themselves from the Settlement or object to the Settlement, but they may not do both.
What Action RAV4 Hybrid Owners Need to Take
Approximately 45 days after the court preliminarily approves the settlement, you will receive a class notice describing your options. Those options will be: (a) do nothing, in which case you may get nothing but be bound by the settlement, (b) submit a claim form if requested and get whatever relief is provided, and the settlement also binds you, or (c) opt-out and pursue your own claims, in which case you are not bound by the settlement but cannot participate in the relief being offered to class members.
If you decide you want to bring your own claim, you can do so now and opt out when you receive notice. Or the class will be defined as those people who have not filed lawsuits or settled their claims and you will be automatically opted out of the settlement.
Important Class Action Settlement Update
The Pulkrabek, et al. v. Toyota Motor Sales, Case No. 2:20-cv-00036-JRG-RSP has recently been dismissed by agreement of both parties. At this time, no class action settlement for Toyota RAV4 Hybrid owners has been announced. MyCarVoice.com continues to follow this case, and will provide further details as they become available. Please consider subscribing for critical updates.
The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Fuel Tank Litigation, 3:20-cv-00337-EMC is still pending and has not been settled.
It’s our understanding that Toyota is now offering a customer campaign to correct certain Toyota 2019, 2020 and 2021 RAV4 Hybrid vehicles. If you are experiencing this problem then we suggest you contact Toyota Customer Care at: 800-331-4331. As part of the settlement the automaker has agreed to provide an Extended Customer Support Program to all eligible class members, including free repair of the fuel tank issue.
Order to Extend Toyota RAV4 Hybrid Fuel Tank Litigation, 3:20-cv-00337-EMC Deadline for Joint Submission Recently Announced.
Last Updated on July 23, 2023
Finder and reporter of automotive news & recalls. Emily is a professional writer who has covered various industries such as law, automotive, and mobility. She enjoys spending time with her family and improving her photography skills. While she loves writing, Emily’s true passion lies in helping others.