How do you jump start a RAV4

June 27th, 2022 by

Knowing practically nothing about cars, I am useless when it comes to most roadside emergencies. But there are two things I do know how to do that have helped me immeasurably over the years. I can change a tire and I can jump start an engine should its battery go dead—two of the four most common roadside emergencies, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). The other two are locking the keys inside and running out of gas, which makes me four for four.

Every new car comes with a spare tire, but none (to my knowledge) come with a set of jumper cables to restart your engine should the battery lose its charge. I invested in a set more than 20 years ago and they have outlasted my last three vehicles. Jumper cables are inexpensive, available at most any big box or auto parts store, and well worth the investment. I still keep them stowed in the trunk of my car.

The only problem is that jumper cables require a second (donor) car, or a 12-volt battery, from which the cables can draw power to transfer to the dead battery. Very often, a good Samaritan is nearby and willing to be the donor car. But just as often, someone isn’t around when you are stranded late at night or in the middle of nowhere.

For this reason we recommend a jump starter box for your emergency road kit. This multi-purpose tool, of which there are varied sizes and brands, usually includes a jump starter, portable power bank, and LED flashlight. You can recharge smartphones, tablets, and other USB devices; and it is easily rechargeable from any powered USB port in about 3 hours. Plus, mine includes an integrated LED flashlight with seven light modes, including emergency strobe and SOS.

Should the need arise, however, and all you have on hand is a standard set of jumper cables, don’t despair. Here are the steps to take to start your Toyota RAV4 successfully:

  • Below the dashboard, on the driver’s side, pull the hood lock release lever. The hood will pop up slightly, but the auxiliary catch lever will prevent it from opening.
  • Just beneath the hood, locate the auxiliary catch lever, push it to the left and lift the hood, which can be held open by inserting the thin support rod into the slot.
  • Move the vehicles close together so that the cables can easily reach from one battery to the other. Turn the engine off on the second (donor) vehicle.
  • If there is one, remove the red cap from the positive terminal on your car’s battery. Connect the red jumper cable clamp to the positive (+) battery terminal on your vehicle.
  • Connect the red clamp on the other end of the cable to the positive (+) battery terminal on the donor vehicle.
  • Connect the black negative cable clamp to the negative (-) battery terminal on the donor vehicle.
  • Connect the clamp at the other end of the negative cable to a solid, stationary, unpainted metallic point in your car’s engine compartment, away from the battery and any moving parts, as shown in the illustration.
  • Start the engine of the donor vehicle. While keeping it in “Park” with the emergency brake on, increase the engine speed slightly and maintain at that level for approximately 5 minutes to recharge the dead battery.
  • RAV4s with a smart key system only: open and close any of the doors of your vehicle with the engine switch off.
  • RAV4s without a smart key system: maintain the engine speed of the second vehicle and start the engine of your vehicle.
  • RAV4s with a smart key system: maintain the engine speed of the second vehicle and start the engine of your vehicle by turning the engine switch to ignition on mode.
  • Once the vehicle’s engine has started, remove the jumper cables in the exact reverse order from which they were connected.
  • Have the vehicle inspected at your authorized Toyota dealer as soon as possible.
Posted in Safety, Toyota SUV