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2009 RAV4-CEL on

Hi all, I’ve got a 2009 Toyota RAV4, 88,000 miles on it. I got it back in December, and have had no problems until now. I drove it Tuesday to the airport (~50 miles) for a short work trip, with no issues. I came back Thursday and upon starting up the car the CEL and traction control light came on. At the time, I pulled a P0037 code, and thus drove home on it. The car performed fine, with the exception that the cruise control wouldn’t work. Since then, it’s also given a P0138, a P0607 (which are still there), and a pending P0000 (which mercifully cleared itself). Also, I noticed the clock was an hour and a half off.

The codes all point to an O2 sensor, but that doesn’t explain the traction control light staying on, the disabled cruise control, or the clock jumping time. My next thought was electrical-that water might have gotten in and shorted something-but a quick check of the fuses shows nothing blown.

Any thoughts?

You need to have someone check the battery connections.

The clock resetting indicates that battery power was lost to the vehicle.

And when battery power is lost, it can reset all kinds of computers/modules.


My guess, Tester is correct, most likely all these codes are being caused b/c the ECM isn’t getting a steady shot of voltage from the battery like it expects. This confuses the ECM to no end, and it will post a bevy of complaints in the diagnostic memory. Sort of like taking a first-date to McDonalds, lots of complaints.

Despite what the codes say, it is unlikely related to any of the O2 sensors. Some of the O2 sensors are heated, and the heating circuit uses quite a bit of current, so if you have a battery or charging system problem it wouldn’t be surprising that the ECM saw the problem on the O2 heating circuit first.

There’s a fuse btw in that circuit, you could get lucky, might just be a bad fuse. That’s an alternative theory (aka guess). This would be especially possible if the clock used the same circuit.

The relationship to the traction control and cruise control is probably by Toyota’s design. When the engine isn’t performing properly, they turn those off, as using those w/a misbehaving engine could be dangerous. In other words, fix the electrical problem first, and the other problems will likely resolve themselves. Best of luck.

Thanks to both of you. The info about traction and cruise control is particularly helpful-I don’t need to waste time worrying about those.

I checked the battery connections and fuses-everything looked good on that end. I started tracing the ground wire, but it’s been raining a lot lately and I park outside, so I didn’t quite want to lie in a cold puddle under the car to trace it to the frame. I’ll check that in the next day or two when it dries up a bit.

Right now you should remove and clean both connections at the battery. They can look good and be bad. And, check to see if the battery has fluid, if you can. If it’s the original battery, it’s done for, and you need a new one.


It turns out, it was just the O2 sensor. The clock resetting was my own dumb fault. When I was checking fuses, the first one I pulled was incorrect (I had the guide from the instruction manual upside down). I went back and checked-that fuse went to, among other things, the clock. I’ve got to admit I felt a bit dumb on that.

Between that and the traction control/cruise control being disabled, I chased down a lot of red herrings on this one, largely due to me being not 100% familiar with this car yet (I’ve only had it a few months). Thanks all for your help, as always.

Wait… What? An Eight Year-Young Toyota At Only 88,000 Miles With Bad O2 Sensor?
I’m In Shock! Somebody Call Consumer Reports And Ask Them, “What’s Up With That?”
:wink: CSA

I know CSA is being sarcastic but, as a Toyota owner, I can vouch for the fact that the O2 sensors seem to go around every 80K to 100K miles. I buy them online for about 50 bucks and put them in myself.

Yes, Toyota’s design disables the cruise control and traction control when the CEL is on. It is a smart design move but incredible annoying when a sensor invariably dies on a long highway trip. The last sensor died on me on my way from Cleveland to Rochester and I had to drive without cruise control for three hours. I know, I know. “First World Problems”.

“…as a Toyota owner, I can vouch for the fact that the O2 sensors seem to go around every 80K to 100K miles.”

Yikes! Nobody told me that. We have very few Toyota or Asian cars around here.
I have replaced two 02 sensors in the past several decades (1 Dodge, 1 Chevrolet), both at over 250,000 miles.
EDIT:Oops, I forgot one. I had an O2 code on my 84 Fiero. I looked at the sensor to see how hard it was to access (It was simple) and I was surprised to see that the wire had broken right off the sensor. Easy diagnosis.

I know some many most(?) mechanic enthusiasts will say I should routinely replace them, but I don’t and don’t want to do it.

I do very little to my GM cars, except gas and oil changes. I just drive them. I like low maintenance products.
I guess Consumer Reports and others are looking at cars with under 100,000 miles.

What other surprises come with those cars?

OP writes they pulled the wrong fuse b/c the

guide from the instruction manual upside down

I’m a driveway diy’er and have a similar problem w/my Corolla. Part of doing a tune-up, I have to put a jumper wire between two terminals on an irregular shaped connector that has maybe 20 terminals. There’s a drawing of exactly where the jumper wire goes w/respect to the connector on the under-side of the hood. But I don’t think I’ve ever got it right the first try yet. I look and look, imagine the orientation in my mind, rotating it to fit what it looks like on the car, racking my brain to try to figure it out so I don’t make the same mistake I’ve made 10 times before. But no, I install it in the wrong place again … lol … The drawing is both upside down and above my head, both unfamiliar ways for me to look at a technical drawing, so I guess that’s how the pro mechanics earn their pay, knowing how to read drawings posted on the underside of the hoods …

@“common sense answer” - The service life of an O2 sensor is supposed to be 100,000 miles, although I have gotten much more out of some. While some say you should replace them at set intervals I run mine until failure, since the engine keeps running even if the sensor is dead. Then I order a new one and replace it myself. As long as they keep putting them in places that are not too hard to reach I don’t have an issue with them wearing out.


an oxygen sensor can be skewed/biased without any kind of code being set

Now what?

The sensor isn’t dead

How do you account for that situation?

How do YOU define “failure”

I have my own answers, but I’d like to hear YOUR take on it

That makes sense to me. That’s what I do.

@db4690 - I have a simple answer. Dead = unable to pass inspection.

If the sensor doesn’t set a code and the car runs fine then I am ok with running my vehicle with a sensor that is “skewed/biased”. Unless the sensor favors Donald Trump. Then I definitely replace it.



If you pick on Trump, he will start calling you Crooked bloody_knuckles. How will you ever deal with that?

"If the sensor doesn’t set a code and the car runs fine then I am ok with running my vehicle with a sensor that is “skewed/biased”. Unless the sensor favors Donald Trump. Then I definitely replace it. "

I only replace a sensor if it outright fails or is skewed/biased and moving toward center or beginning to lean left. Once they do that then they start commanding the drivetrain to do things that the original engineers had never intended. It’s all downhill from there. Most other systems begin to fail and shut down. So, out they must go!
:wink: CSA

@jtsanders - If he calls me crooked then I will build a wall around him so we can make Car Talk great!!!

Well spoken!

We have not seen this much bluntness in politics since Harry “Give’m Hell” Truman. LBJ was a crude individual but hid it well other than lifting his dog by the ears and shaking the much shorter Canadian Prime Minister Pearson by the lapels and yelling at him “you peed on my rug!” after Pearson made a speech at Harvard criticizing the Vietnam war effort for which he was applauded.

November will tell whether the voters prefer bluntness over two-faced smoothness.