Poorly Designed Cable Costs Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and Prime Owners
The high-tension cable that powers the rear motor on Hybrid and Prime four-wheel-drive models corrodes quickly. Out of warranty, the bill to replace it can exceed $6,000. Owners are anxiously awaiting a lasting solution from Toyota.
Since 2019, the RAV4 Hybrid and Prime to four-wheel drive have a high-tension cable that corrodes quickly.
Corrosion is primarily caused by road conditions. From 2019, the position of the connector between the cable and the motor of the rear wheels favors the accumulation of debris and humidity.
A corroded cable after less than 60,000 km of driving, once the protective cover has been removed
This is a circuit that must be completely isolated from the rest of the vehicle for it to work properly, explains Sacha Leroux, owner of the Arleco Génération III garage.
Sacha Leroux, owner of the Arleco Generation III garage
“The way the cable is plugged in, it doesn't seem weatherproof enough.” Water seeps in and calcium builds up, causing the connection to rust really prematurely. »
— Sacha Leroux, Owner, Arleco Generation III
From mid-2021, Toyota redesigned the part to allow water and dirt to drain away. However, after inspecting several vehicles, Sacha Leroux believes that the new design does not give the expected results.
The new version of the high voltage cable is not completely covered by the protective cover to facilitate the flow of water.
In my experience, that's still not enough, because it still traps dirt and calcium. There is still corrosion, he confirms.
As early as October 2020, the American division of Toyota suspected corrosion problems with the high voltage cable .
At home, it was last March that Toyota Canada sent a procedure to its dealers: detect corrosion, replace defective cables and, if out of warranty, invoice customers .
When the dealer diagnoses a corrosion problem, Toyota replaces the cable at no charge. But only if the vehicle is less than three years old or 60,000 km. Nonsense for other drivers, according to the Automobile Protection Association (APA).
George Iny, director of the Association for the Protection of Motorists (APA)
“We are talking about a part that is supposed to last the normal life of the vehicle. If Toyota didn't design it to withstand our road conditions, now's the time to take responsibility.
—George Iny, Director, APA
Out of warranty, part cost is $4500 plus labor. In some cases, the total bill exceeds $6,000.
The APA has received several complaints. The price is grossly exaggerated, that's clear. For that price, you can buy an entire engine from some manufacturers, argues George Iny.
Add to this the problems of supplying the part. Several testimonials report delays of several weeks, even several months, before receiving a new cable.
Jean-Thomas Landry owns a 2019 RAV4 Hybrid. He took the plunge when his dealer estimated the cost of replacing his cable at nearly $6,000. Dissatisfied, he contacted Toyota Canada to complain.
Jean-Thomas Landry received his new cable after several months of waiting.
The automaker offered to pay two-thirds of the bill, on the condition of closing the file for good and not disclosing the contents of the agreement. Jean-Thomas declined the confidential offer and opted instead to alert the public by creating a Facebook group.
“En signing the agreement, I could not have sued them. It's nonsense that Toyota leaves people like that. I just wait for there to be a call back and then they change the room for everyone. »
The Facebook group created by Jean-Thomas Landry has more than 3200 members.
Today, more than 3200 people have joined the Facebook group. Jean-Thomas can count on the help of a former RAV4 hybrid owner to administer the page, Hugo-Sébastien Aubert.
“People don't understand that Toyota can't fix the problem. The product is acclaimed all over the world. Now the "management" should be at the same level. »
— Hugo-Sébastien Aubert
Jean-Thomas and Hugo-Sébastien combined media interventions. Newspapers, radio, specialized broadcasts; the cable problem even has a name, #CableGate.
The scale of the mobilization impresses George Iny, of the APA. He tells us that the owners of these vehicles are very keen people. Many of them have the part checked before the end of their warranty and they try, as much as possible, to protect their rights.
For months, members from the Facebook group are hoping for an important announcement from the car manufacturer, a solution applicable to all. The announcement is still pending.
For many RAV4 Hybrid and Prime owners, simply extending the warranty would save them a lot of angst.
Hybrid system components are already guaranteed for eight years or 160,000 km, which is significantly more than the base warranty of three years or 60,000 km.
Against all logic, according to the APA, the high voltage cable is not included in the components of the hybrid system. George Iny feels that Toyota Canada should revise its fine print and include the cable in this warranty. It also asks the manufacturer to reimburse customers who have already changed their high voltage cable and were no longer under warranty.
In addition, the APA recommends that Toyota Canada install a sheath or apply grease to cables that are still in good condition. Whatever the means, the objective is to delay corrosion as much as possible.
What path does Toyota Canada plan to take to overcome #CableGate? Impossible to know. The company refused our request for an interview, as this matter is currently before the courts [… ], writes a spokesperson.
Pending a permanent fix, RAV4 Hybrid and Prime owners should replace their damaged cables, or risk having to do it again in a few years.
To find out if your high voltage cable is corroded, nothing beats a professional inspection. However, a quick test may give you a clue.
- Start the vehicle
- Tune to an AM station
- Run the engine on the rear wheels while moving slowly forward or backward
If you hear interference, your cable is likely corroded.
Test to see if the cable is corroded.
A request for class action authorization was filed in Montreal last May against Toyota Canada. Among the demands: reimbursing the cost of cable replacement, paying punitive damages and extending the warranty, just like the other components of the hybrid system.
Jean-Luc's report Bouchard is broadcast on the show La invoice on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. on ICI Télé.