AWD Light On RAV4: Causes, Troubleshooting, and Solutions

The AWD (All-Wheel Drive) system is a crucial component in Toyota RAV4 vehicles, providing enhanced traction and stability in various road conditions.

However, if you notice the AWD light on RAV4′s dashboard illuminated, it could indicate an underlying issue with the system.

Understanding the possible causes of this warning light and how to troubleshoot the problem can give you peace of mind and help you ensure the vehicle’s optimal performance.

What Is AWD Light On RAV4?

awd light on rav4

The RAV4 AWD light refers to the warning message that signals a potential issue with the car’s All-Wheel Drive system.

It indicates that there may be a problem with the system and the truck’s traction and stability capabilities might be compromised.

In this case, addressing the AWD system malfunction is significant to ensure the optimal performance and safety of the RAV4, especially during driving on challenging terrains or extreme conditions.

What Are The Causes Of AWD Light On RAV4? 

Some common causes of AWD and check engine light on RAV4 include the system being active, sensor failure, dead battery, faulty transmission components, opened gas caps, problems with the engine and exhaust, etc..

The System Is Active

When the AWD check engine light is on in a RAV4, one of the possible culprits could be that the AWD system is actively engaged.

The AWD system is designed to automatically distribute power to all wheels to enhance traction and stability on slippery or uneven road surfaces.

It may activate in response to certain conditions, such as heavy rain, icy roads, or rough terrain.

In such situations, the check engine light and AWD light on RAV4 will show up on the dashboard to indicate the system is operating.

Sensor Failure

The AWD system relies on various sensors to monitor wheel speed sensors, vehicle speed, and other relevant data to determine when to engage or disengage the AWD system.

If any of these sensors malfunction or fail, the all-wheel drive vehicle system may not operate as intended, which makes RAV4 check engine light and AWD light on.

Dead Battery Issues

Like many other electronic components in contemporary vehicles, the AWD system requires electricity to operate properly.

When the battery’s voltage fluctuates, it can disrupt the AWD system’s electrical circuits, temporarily triggering the engine error codes.

Faulty Transmission Components

The AWD system uses effective communication and coordination between various transmission components.

If any of these components, such as sensors, solenoids, or actuators, develop faults or malfunctions, it can give rise to issues with the driving mode and trigger the check engine and AWD light on Toyota RAV4.

For example, a faulty speed sensor in the transmission may not accurately detect the vehicle’s speed and wheel rotation, affecting the AWD system’s ability to distribute power correctly.

Similarly, a malfunctioning solenoid can disrupt the transmission’s fluid pressure, leading to improper functioning of the AWD system.

Opened Gas Caps

awd and check engine light on rav4

An unexpected cause of the AWD light going on in a RAV4 can be an opened or loose gas cap.

Modern vehicles, including the RAV4, are equipped with a system that monitors the fuel vapor system, the Evaporative Emission Control System (EVAP).

This system is designed to store and capture fuel vapors from the gas tank to prevent them from escaping into the atmosphere.

If the fuel cap is not correctly tightened or left open, a leak will appear in the EVAP system.

As a result, the vehicle’s onboard computer, known as the vehicle’s engine control module (ECM), detects the leak and triggers the error message to inform the driver about the issue.

Problems With The Engine And Exhaust

The engine and exhaust play critical roles in the vehicle’s overall performance, including its ability to provide power to all wheels in an AWD system.

If there are issues with the engine or exhaust components, it can hamper the proper functioning of the AWD system.

For instance, a malfunctioning oxygen sensor in the exhaust system can impact the air-fuel ratio, leading to reduced engine performance and potential misfires.

Similarly, a faulty engine control module (ECM) or electronic throttle control system can hinder the engine’s ability to efficiently deliver power to all wheels.

Damaged Speed Sensors

In addition, damaged or malfunctioning speed sensors can explain a check engine light and AWD light on RAV4 2013.

Speed sensors are crucial for relaying wheel speed data to the vehicle’s computer.

This information determines how much power should be sent to each wheel for optimal stability and traction.

If one or more speed sensors are faulty or broken, the AWD system may not function correctly, resulting in the activation of the engine issues.

Overheating System

An overheating engine or transmission can activate the check engine light and AWD light on RAV4 2015.

Overheating can happen for various reasons, such as a malfunctioning cooling system, low coolant levels, a faulty thermostat, or a clogged radiator.

When the engine or transmission overheats, it can adversely affect the vehicle’s overall performance, including its AWD capabilities.

Broken Fuel Pumps

Delivering fuel from the petrol tank to the truck is the responsibility of the fuel pump.

The proper fuel delivery to the engine can be disrupted if the fuel pump suffers damage or stops working properly, resulting in decreased performance and turning on the AWD light.

Proper fuel delivery is crucial for the engine’s power output and efficiency, which can affect the AWD system’s performance.

Incorrect Size Of Tires

Using tires with incorrect sizes or uneven wear patterns can activate the AWD light.

In an AWD system, all four tires should have similar specifications, including size, type, and tread depth.

Mismatched tires can cause the AWD system to engage more frequently, increasing wear and possibly triggering the 2014 RAV4 check engine light and AWD light on.

How To Fix The Issue?

2014 rav4 check engine light and awd light on

Fixing the issue that triggers the AWD light on a RAV4 depends on the specific cause.

Here are some steps to address common causes of AWD light illumination:

  • Firstly, I will check if the AWD system is actively engaged due to driving conditions. The light will go off when no longer needed.
  • Use a diagnostic scan tool to identify and replace any faulty sensors causing the light to illuminate.
  • Recharge or replace the battery if it’s dead.
  • Ensure the gas cap is tightly sealed. Replace if damaged.
  • Address any engine, exhaust, or overheating issues promptly.
  •  I shall replace broken fuel pumps.
  • Verify all tires have the correct size, type, and tread depth.
  • If unsure, consult a qualified mechanic for accurate diagnosis and repairs.
  • Regular maintenance helps ensure a properly functioning AWD system in your RAV4.


The AWD light on RAV4 can serve as an essential warning indicator, signaling potential exhaust issues with the All-Wheel Drive system.

By identifying the possible causes behind the illuminated light and following the troubleshooting steps provided, you can diagnose and resolve the problem effectively.

Professional assistance from a certified Toyota technician is always recommended if you encounter persistent or complex issues.

Now you can drive confidently with your RAV4, knowing that you have the knowledge to address any AWD-related concerns that may arise.

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