Toyota RAV4 Liftgate Problems Leads to Lawsuit. Here’s What You Need to Know

Toyota RAV4 Liftgate Problems Leads to Lawsuit. Here’s What You Need to Know

Key Takeaways

  • Safety Risk from Defective Design: Toyota RAV4 models from 2014 to 2021 have a defect in the power liftgate’s hinges, causing safety hazards as the liftgate may not close or could open while driving.
  • Class-Action Lawsuit for Consumer Rights: Owners have sued Toyota, accusing it of concealing the liftgate defect, which undermines consumer rights and vehicle value, seeking compensation and corrective action.
  • Financial Impact and Warranty Issues: Toyota’s refusal to honor warranty claims for the liftgate defect forces owners to bear costly repairs, highlighting a significant financial burden and contesting Toyota’s warranty practices.

The power liftgate featured in Toyota RAV4 vehicles is undoubtedly a convenient addition. However, imagine the frustration when, over time, the hinges responsible for supporting the liftgate start to weaken, resulting in bending and cracking.

This deterioration inevitably leads to misalignment issues between the liftgate and the vehicle’s body—a problem encountered by some 2014 to 2021 RAV4 owners.

This unfolding legal battle, Hughes vs. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., isn’t just about malfunctioning car parts. It’s a critical conversation on consumer rights, safety, and corporate accountability.

The core of the problem lies the hinges, integral to the liftgate’s operation, were defectively designed and/or manufactured, leading to premature failure. Specifically, the hinges are unable to withstand the force and weight required to operate the liftgate. This defect results in the hinges becoming bent, deformed, and beginning to crack and fall out of alignment.

This malfunction not only poses an inconvenience but also raises safety concerns, as the defective liftgate may not close properly or could unexpectedly open while the vehicle is in motion.

In article, we delve into this lawsuit, and uncover what every 2014 to 2021 RAV4 owner should know about the defect.

Rav4 Liftgate Problems Explained

The Toyota RAV4 models spanning 2014 to 2021 have been identified to possess a critical flaw in their power liftgate system.

The hinges integral to the liftgate’s operation were found to be manufactured with materials inadequate for the task, leading to bending, deformation, cracking, and misalignment.

Rav4 liftgate hinge cracking

As a result, the power liftgate struggles to function as intended. Owners often notice unusual noises during liftgate operation.

Perhaps the most obvious sign of liftgate problems–an uneven alignment between the liftgate and the vehicle body when closed.

Rav4 liftgate misalignment

What Legal Actions are Owners Taking Against Toyota?

The class-action lawsuit voices the collective frustrations and financial burdens faced by RAV4 owners. These owners have contended with the liftgate defect, often encountering repeated failures despite undergoing repairs.

The lawsuit accuses Toyota of failing to disclose the defect knowingly, thereby deceiving consumers and diminishing the value of their vehicles.

The lawsuit aims to secure compensation for the affected owners, and urges Toyota to rectify the defect responsibly.

Vehicle reliability research tool.

Toyota’s RAV4 Liftgate Warranty Controversy

Toyota has sidestepped warranty claims by asserting that the liftgate issue does not constitute a defect. Owners are denied coverage for the necessary repairs, and forced to pay out-of-pocket.

The lawsuit argues that the restrictions in Toyota’s warranty are unfair both in how they’re set up and in what they cover.

Pointing out the difference in power between Toyota and consumers, the lawsuit emphasizes that consumers didn’t know about the defect when they bought the product and couldn’t discuss the warranty terms.

Financial Impact on Consumers

The lawsuit reveals the extensive nature of this defect, potentially affecting a vast number of vehicles across several model years.

The financial impact on vehicle owners can’t be ignored. One RAV4 owner, after being informed that warranty coverage would not apply, was forced to pay $2,018.55 for repairs.

However, the problem persisted, with the liftgate continuing to malfunction.

This scenario underscores the broader implications for potentially thousands of RAV4 owners facing similar repair costs due to the defect.

What Are The Symptoms of a Defective Liftgate?

If your Rav4 is equipped with a potentially defective liftgate hinge, there are several symptoms to watch for. Being aware of these signs can help in early detection and possibly prevent more serious issues:

  • Unusual sounds when opening or closing the liftgate
  • Liftgate uneven with the body of vehicle when closed
  • Liftgate fails to open or close

Toyota Rav4 Models Affected

The following models are affected by the liftgate defect.

Status of the Toyota Rav4 Liftgate Class Action Litigation

Hughes vs. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., Case No. 5:24-cv-00912, in the U.S. District Court for the District of California.

Filed by the law firms of: Stirling, Hale, Miller & Sweet, LLP and Sauder Schelkopf.

The lawsuit is about Toyota not telling Rav4 owners about a problem with the liftgate hinges on their vehicles.

The hinges on the liftgate are poorly designed or made, causing it to fail. This can make the liftgate stay open longer than it should or not close properly, leading to continuous beeping while driving.

This problem can also damage other parts of the liftgate and the car’s body. And even if the hinges are replaced, the same issue can happen again.

Questions About This Lawsuit? is not counsel or the settlement administrator in this class action lawsuit. Our goal is to inform owners of these vehicles of the recent lawsuit. This post will be updated when/if new suit information is released.

Please considering subscribing to this post for critical updates.

Are you driving a Toyota and experienced Rav4 liftgate problems? If so, add your voice to this post in the comments below, or add your car complaint for review.

Final Thoughts

The RAV4 liftgate problem reveals a significant manufacturing issue. The hinges, made from weak materials, leads to bending, cracking. As a result, often leading to misalignment affecting the liftgate’s performance.

The resulting lawsuit aims to cover repair costs. It highlights the importance of strict quality control in car manufacturing to prevent such issues and ensure customer satisfaction.

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2 thoughts on “Toyota RAV4 Liftgate Problems Leads to Lawsuit. Here’s What You Need to Know

  1. Avatar
    June 1, 2024 at 7:17 am

    My 2019 RAV4 limited. The right side is defective and I cannot open the liftgate fearing I won’t be able to close it. Started about January 2024 the gate not always opening but got worse by 1 May 2024. Got in touch with my dealership and they told me to go toa machine shop which could cost 2500 dollars. I have the extended warranty which goes for another year (2026) and 125k. I am currently at 116k. Also they had to replace my fuel tank and lines because gas wasn’t going to the engine. Something also happened to my hybrid system.

  2. Avatar
    Jeff Hise
    May 7, 2024 at 8:22 pm

    Our 2021 Rav 4 Prime SXE started showing problems with the tail gate lift system this winter. On several occasions it would stall in mid lift position and not respond in either direction. I have yet to resolve this issue.

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