Toyota RAV4 Liftgate Not Working: Causes & How to Fix

If you are using one of the more recent Toyota RAV4 versions, then your car has a liftgate. This feature was designed to make using your vehicle a more enjoyable experience. A liftgate adds some convenience to your vehicle.

While this is a great addition, the liftgate doors in Toyota RAV4s and other vehicles can develop faults. This raises the question: “why is your Toyota RAV4 liftgate not working?” We will provide you an answer in this post and also show you how to deal with common issues.

toyota rav4 liftgate not working

Explaining the Toyota RAV4 Power Liftgate Feature

Before we go ahead, it is wise to explain what the liftgate feature is and how it works. This will give you a better picture as to the possible reasons why it isn’t working as it should.

The liftgate or power liftgate is an electronically operated motorized hatch. This means that it closes and opens through electronic impulses based on the user’s action. As such, you can activate the liftgate by holding down or pressing a button inside the car. The button could also be on the key fob or even the hatch.

In older versions of the liftgate, you have to first unlock your vehicle with the key fob before activating the hatch. It is also possible to use the hatch manually. However, in newer models car owners can disable the power operation of the liftgate. If you make use of your RAV4’s cargo area frequently, then you’ll need your liftgate to work all the time.

Whether you use a RAV4 or another brand of vehicle, there are certain problems common to liftgates. Liftgates help to keep cargo stationary while loading and offloading. As such, it presents the user with the following advantages:

  • A better substitute for ramps
  • Protects cargo from damage
  • Makes the process of loading and offloading easier and faster
  • Reduces the need for human effort

Toyota RAV4 Liftgate Not Working: Common Problems

By now, the importance of a liftgate must be clear. Unfortunately, liftgates aren’t completely perfect. There is always the possibility of malfunctioning. In this section, we will look at a few liftgate issues and the causes of such problems. Check them out below:

Clicking noise

This is one of the most common problems with liftgates. You’ll notice that when you activate the switch, you begin to hear a clicking noise. Most likely, this noise is from the motor start solenoid. It means that the solenoid is bad.

No power to the liftgate

Sometimes, you will notice that there is no power going to the liftgate. This is always a cause of concern for owners of RAV4s. Well, it isn’t so much of a problem. The switch is likely bad or the circuit is broken somewhere. We don’t advise that you try to fix this problem yourself. Instead, speak to a professional technician in case there are other complications.

The motor is running but the liftgate isn’t responding

This is another common issue with liftgates. Everything is working perfectly but the liftgate is not responding when you activate the button.

According to experts, it could be that your battery is not dispensing enough voltage to the liftgate. When the voltage to this part of the vehicle is low, it will not function or it will function below expectation. We will tell you how to fix this issue later in this post.

The liftgate isn’t lifting off the ground

One thing you should know about liftgates is that they run on a pump/motor system. So when they malfunction, it is likely that the motor or pumps are having issues. It is also possible that the hydraulic reservoir oil is low. In this case, the liftgate will struggle, depending on the level of oil available.

Squeaking noise

Most RAV4 users complain that their liftgates make squeaking noises. If you know anything about machine parts, you can guess what the problem is when this occurs. It is more of a lubrication problem and you can fix it yourself by topping up the lubricant.

How to Fix Common Toyota RAV4 Liftgate Problems

Having known the likely problems that your RAV4 liftgate may encounter and their  possible causes, it is time to consider the solutions.

Of course, you wouldn’t be able to fix every liftgate problem by yourself. There are some technical issues that only a licensed professional can fix. Here are some liftgate quick fixes you can try out before contacting a professional:

Solenoid issues

If you notice that the solenoid is the problem, here’s a simple way to fix it. Get a jumper cable and use it to put direct power on the motor, bypassing the solenoid. It should work if the solenoid is the problem. All you need to do is to replace the solenoid. If you cannot do it yourself, get professional help.

Low voltage issues

If you suspect that your battery isn’t supplying sufficient voltage to the liftgate, get a booster. When you use one, you can determine if the battery is sending low voltage to the liftgate. If the booster works, it means that you have to get a new battery for your RAV4. Also, ensure that your car is running before using the liftgate.

Check hoses, lines, cylinders, and fittings

There are times when your liftgate malfunctions because of leaks. Check all these parts for damages. If you notice any leaks, first try to tighten the connections at those points. When you notice that any of the parts is damaged, you should reach out to a technician to help replace them.


If you keep hearing squeaking noises, simply get the required lubricant and apply it to the pulleys, gears, and sprockets. Ensure that you use the right lubricant to avoid further complications.


If you have tried all these fixes and your Toyota RAV4 liftgate is still not working properly, then you must speak to a consultant. It is better to do this than cause more complications.