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Rav4 Interior Lights Come On When Approaching Car

The interior lights of my 2011 Rav4 illuminate when approaching and/or walking past the vehicle when locked. I work in a bad neighborhood, and often leave work late at night… so I want this feature disabled so that the interior lights only come on when unlocking and/or opening doors.

The dealer insists that there is no documentation of how to do this, and therefore this cannot be done. Inasmuch as this feature is coded in the vehicle’s on-board computer, I suspect that this can be done, probably pretty easily. I just need to find someone who knows how to do this. Any suggestions?

Many thanks.

First, can I assume you’ve already scanned your owner’s manual?

Second, is there an ON/OFF switch in the lights?

Clarify, does this only happen to you or anyone walking by the vehicle ? Assuming you bought it used I would suspect an after market proximity alarm.
Does this thing have smart key with push button start?

Email Toyota customer service and ask them.

hmm … if even the dealership doesn’t know how, that’s a tough one. No harm asking here of course, but if nobody here knows either, well, you know what to do next, as posted above. I agree with you that it is at least theoretically possible to accomplish what you want by modifying some of the car’s software, but this may require equipment only available at the plant the car was manufactured. Did you try googling “hack this rav 4” or something like that? Maybe there’s a hackers group that knows how to modify the car’s internal software. One more idea, there are companies that repair automobile electronics modules. And those companies need to know quite a bit about how those modules work and how the module’s installed software works. One of them is called “Module Master”, but there are several others you can find by Googling. You might give one of them a call and ask them this question. No harm done to ask anyway.

Thank you for your reply.
Yes, I’ve scanned the Owner’s Manual. There is no mention of how to disable this feature.
Switching the lights off works, but it would be nice to have the lights come on when I get in and out of the car.

Thank you for your reply.
Yes, this happens when I get within about 10 feet of the vehicle and I have the key fob with me.
Evidently this is a standard feature on this year and model car; it is not an after-market proximity alarm.
Yes, this car has a smart key with push button start.

Yes, I tried googling “hack this Rav 4” and similar searches, but no luck.
I hadn’t heard of “Module Master”. I’ll check with them.

I e-mailed Toyota Customer Service several times. They tell me that this can’t be done, as it is a “Safety Feature”. Yet they were able to disable the panic button on my smart key so I no longer set off the alarm when it mingles key and ask them.

(sorry for replying multiple times… )

It is a safety feature so Toyota Corp. or the dealer will not tell you how to turn it off even if there was a way.
Think about it, you approach vehicle in the dark, the interior lights come on and if someone is inside the vehicle waiting to hit you in the head you may have just enough warning time to get out of Dodge.

VOLVO_V70, I understand that this is a “Safety Feature”. However, as I mentioned, they had no problem disabling the panic button on the smart key.

So here’s my problem: I work in a really bad neighborhood. I think the chances are pretty low of someone breaking into the car and waiting for me. On the other hand, I’d rather not alert anyone who may be around that the car over there is mine… If I feel unsafe, I’d rather keep walking past rather then advertise where my car is… Make sense?

Does this happen when anybody comes near the car, or only when you come near? If the latter, it is probably sensing the presence of the fob device you are holding. You might be able to prevent that by placing the fob device in a metal box or metal-foil wrapper of some kind.

Put your ID fob in a metal container and the car won’t see it.

I’ll disagree. The idea of the lights coming on is so that you can see if anything is amiss inside your car before you enter it. Something like someone hiding in the back seat. This is a feature you especially want in a bad neighborhood. I can understand where you might think this is advertising that you are enroute to your car, but you should also be taking protective measures while you are walking to your car like having the key out, or ready with protective tools like mace or a weapon.