Toyota confirm investigation into 2019 Rav4s that won't take a full tank of fuel

It could be related to the shape of the fuel tank

1y ago

It's very rare where I can actually relate to a piece of automotive news. Hell, it's rare that any of us can relate to very specific news because there's so many different cars and so many different parts of cars that when news, or recalls, or other things happen you are not really affected.

This one, however, hits close to home for me. The news portion of this is that Toyota is investigating an issue where some 2019 Rav4 owners cannot fill their tank to it's fullest level. According to reports is has to do with the shape of the fuel tank itself.

This report comes from Automotive News and Toyota has issued a statement on the problem:

"[We are] investigating a fuel tank shape issue on certain RAV4 Hybrid vehicles. In these cases, variations in fuel tank shape may prevent a full refill by up to several gallons. This condition may impact the vehicle's total available driving distance. As a best practice, customers should refuel before or when the low fuel light illuminates, to prevent running out of fuel."

Now I said this hits close to home because my wife used to own an Gen2 Toyota Prius. Hatred for that car aside, it was actually a fantastic commuter car that was wonderful on gas in a time when gas prices were skyrocketing. But the issue was that Toyota had fitted the car with a rubber bladder gas tank. This meant that in very cold weather it would contract and not fill completely due to the rubber shrinking and excess vapor getting trapped in the top of the bladder (which a vapor bleeding through the fuel filler neck would rectify a bit, but only minimally). This Rav4 issue is a tank shape issue and not related, but as a consumer who has experience with a fuel filling issue it does become an inconvenience when trying to calculate total miles and range of each tank.

Now with the Prius, the bladder tank was quite small to save space and weight to maximize MPGs for the fuel sipping hybrid. That meant we couldn't fill by maybe 1-2 gallons. With the Rav4 issue, there are multiple sources claiming to Automotive News that their 14.5 gallon tank won't fill past 9 to 11 gallons. Which is a significant amount and would hugely deplete range.

Given how many Rav4s Toyota sells (400,000+ in the US alone), this could be a major issue in the very near future. Time will tell on if Toyota issues a recall for a new tank.

Do you own a Rav4 and have this issue? We want to hear about it in the comments!

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Comments (4)

  • I own a Mazda CX-5 with the same issue. The pump automatic shutoff cuts off at 11 gallons, but with the right pump and about 5 minutes of trickling in fuel, it can be filled up to 15 gallons. If there’s any volume of flow after 11 gallons, the pump shuts off immediately. It is a super obnoxious problem that can double or triple the time spent filling up.

      1 year ago
    • Same issue here with an old 2005 mazda tribute. Just gotta let it flow slowly and hope it doesn't spill out.

        1 year ago
  • I have this very problem. Purchased car in May 2019. First tank from dealer the car recorded approx 500+ miles on a tank. Is after It was 450 - 475 miles per tank. It has been steadily lower each month. Now in December its about 300 miles to a tank.

      1 year ago
  • Gosh what the heck Toyota?! 🤦🏻‍♂️

      1 year ago