How to Fix AWD System Malfunction in RAV4

How to Fix AWD System Malfunction in RAV4

The all-wheel-drive (AWD) system is a crucial component of your Toyota RAV4. It ensures that your car has the necessary traction and stability to navigate through different terrains and weather conditions. However, if you see a warning message on your RAV4’s dashboard that reads “AWD System Malfunction,. 2WD mode is engaged. Visit Your Dealer,” it can be concerning. In this article, we’ll discuss the common causes of this issue, safety concerns, and how to fix it.

Interpreting the Error

When you see the “AWD System Malfunction” warning message on your RAV4’s dashboard, it means that there is something wrong with your all-wheel-drive system. When the built-in electronics in your car detect that the all-wheel-drive system is not working properly, it produces a warning message to alert you. This message is also an indication that the AWD system is disabled electronically to prevent further damage to the system. This is done to prevent further damage to the system. When the AWD system is disabled, your car will operate in two-wheel drive (2WD), which means that only the front two wheels will receive power to drive the car forward.

Potential Causes

An error message can appear without warning while driving. This message can appear even if the issue is not related to the all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. Here are some common causes of this error message that are unrelated to the AWD system:

  • The battery has died, and the car has been jump-started.
  • The gas cap is loose.
  • The “check engine” light is on.

If you have recently had either one of these events occur, then you can feel at ease that this is likely the cause. It may not be the system itself that’s causing the problem. If neither of the aforementioned causes apply, we suggest taking your vehicle to a nearby mechanic to ensure that any issues are diagnosed promptly.

How to Resolve

Unfortunately, an AWD system malfunction isn’t typically something you can also fix on your own. To get started on diagnosing the problem, we have some recommendations depending on what warning lights you see on your dashboard. You’ll want to look for your “check engine” light. It looks like this:

Check Engine Light

If your “check engine” light is on, get your engine error codes checked by your local mechanic, auto parts store, or Toyota dealer. They will be able to diagnose the issue and provide you with a solution.

If you’re comfortable working on your car, you can try the following steps to resolve the issue:

  1. Diagnose the AWD system malfunction using an OBD-II scanner to identify the issue accurately.
  2. Inspect the wheel speed sensors for any damage or malfunctioning.
  3. Replace faulty wheel speed sensors to ensure proper functioning.
  4. Start by removing the wheel and then disconnect the sensor.
  5. Install the new sensor securely.

Additional Tips

  • Ensure that all tires are properly inflated and have the correct tread depth.
  • Inspect the wheel speed sensor harnesses for any damage or loose connections.


An AWD System Malfunction can be concerning, but it’s important to understand the cause and fixes for this issue. In this article, we’ve discussed the common causes, safety concerns, and how to fix your AWD system malfunction. If you’re not comfortable working on your car, we recommend taking your vehicle to a local mechanic to ensure you can get any issue diagnosed promptly. Remember, regular maintenance and inspections can help prevent issues like this from occurring in the first place.

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