RAV4 hybrid gas tank issue

Hybrid RAV4s have a known issue in which the 14 gallon gas tank only holds 11 or 12 gallons, and some related issue with the fuel pump, and perhaps the fuel gauge.

Toyota has acknowledged the issue/s, but has not produced a fix.
It’s NOT a big deal for me, cause I usually fill up when the gauge registers 1/2 tank. Only a couple times have I run it closer to empty. One of those was following Toyota’s instructions to run it to empty and record the gallons to fill it (11.9 gallons IIRC).

In early December, I pulled up to a gas pump, and noted the person in front of me took a LOOONNNGGG time to fill his small car. When I pulled up to the gas pump, the pump ran VERY SLLOOOWWWLY. Very slow!
I knew that I needed about 6 gallons… the pump just kept pumping. At about 9 gallons, it finally shut off.
The fuel gauge was WAY PAST the “full” mark. Further past the Full mark than I’ve ever seen it.

I now assume that if I were to fill the tank VERRYYY SLOOWWWLYYY, I could get 14 gallons into the tank. But what would that do to the fuel pump and gauge?

I suspect that is the only time the tank has actually had 14 gallons in it.

ralph is really just commenting on the experience.

But what would that do to the fuel pump and gauge?..

Nothing bad for those, but over filling can cause problems with the pollution control system. There is a system that takes gas vapors from the tank and saves them to be burned in the engine, If the system sucks raw gasoline from being over filled it can mess up the system.

The trick is to fill the tank but not over fill.

One click should do it,


Thanks Pete. I didn’t remember about the gas vapors thing. Thanks for the reminder.

This was a one-off event, IMO, due to the extremely slow speed with which the gas entered the tank. I assume the extremely slow fill rate did not produce the conditions that trigger the nozzle to ‘stop’.
I kept waiting for the gas nozzle to click off. … and waiting, nervously… waiting, until it clicked off at about 9 gallons, putting the fuel gauge WAY over ‘F’, and by my estimate, about 14 gallons in the tank.

I almost never fill past the first click. Occasionally, it’ll click off and I will know that it didn’t ‘fill to full’. I usually have some idea of the ‘amount needed’.

Normally, the gas will click off, and the fuel gauge will show between 1/8th BELOW ‘F’ to Slightly above ‘F’. FWIW, that seems to be a difference of about 1.5 gallons.
I assume that’s due to the differences in the gas nozzle at different pumps, and not something with the RAV4 fuel tank. But, maybe not. LOLOLOL.

I’ve previously reported the 12 gallon ‘fill’ limit to the Toyota Service folks. First, they claimed no knowledge of such an issue (although it was widely reported on the internet.) Next, I got a letter saying ‘maybe there’s an issue’ from Toyota, and took that to the service center. Again, blank stares.
Third came a letter from Toyota saying ‘yep there’s an issue, and when we figure out a fix, we’ll be in touch. Don’t call us, we’ll call you’, type letter. I took it to the Service center, where they basically said ‘poo poo’. I asked them to put a note in the file for my RAV4. I don’t know if they did or not. There has been nothing from Toyota since.

I’ve a routine maintenance coming up, and will mention this to them. I’m skeptical that anything will come of it.
In the scheme of things… this is really low priority? LOLOLOL. It’s really not even an annoyance.

The electrical ‘poltergeists’ mentioned in the previous post are more concerning… but even they are just an annoyance - at this point. Until they become constant - as opposed to intermittent - I’m skeptical about any resolution/s.


I’ve previously reported the 12 gallon ‘fill’ limit to the Toyota Service folks.

There’s a difference between the stated tank capacity and how much it takes to fill it. The capacity is the total the tank will hold. But you can never put that much in during normal driving. Maybe you’ll get close if you run out of gas and coast in to the station as the engine sputters to a stop. Even then, there’s probably some portions of the tank that don’t actually empty.

I’d also point out that fuel gauges are never accurate. Never. I’ve had cars that have to use 3 or 4 gallons before the needle comes off of full. Had one that ran out of gas when it indicated 1/4 tank remaining. And several that still had about 1/4 tank when the needle hit empty.

So what to do? I certainly wouldn’t complain to the dealer. They’ll spout some platitudes to make you feel better, then laugh behind your back. It’s also a good way to get a reputation as a complainer at the dealer. Of course, if the needle never moves, you do have a problem. But as long as it’s close to full when you fill up and takes something like 2-4 gallons less than the stated capacity when you fill up from an indication near empty, your gauge is working as well as it’s going to work.


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Toyota advertises the 2019-2020 RAV4 Hybrids are equipped with 14.5 gallon fuel tanks, but the plaintiffs who filed the class action claim the tanks cannot hold that amount of fuel.

The plaintiffs say this should provide a range of 580 miles on a tank of gas.

I run in ECO mode (ECOnomy mode - supposedly gets best gas mileage. In “Sport” mode, it definitely has more torque, and acceleration).
I get about 380 miles per tank… or LESS? The display often suggests more like 365 miles?
I’ve averaged 36 mpg, according to the display.

Mostly, I just drive it. I don’t worry cause I fill up when the tank is half empty.
But, I also believe Toyota promises one thing and delivers less.

Apparently some of the affected RAV4 have been fixed?
I’ll ask about it.