RAV4 no spark no gas - help needed

Tonight on the way home from work the car died as if I had turned off the ignition. The spark plugs are bone dry (no gas) and there’s no spark. I can’t see the timing belt (it has less than the recommended 60,000 miles on it - I had it, the water pump and the seals replaced in late 2010). Does this sound like the timing belt? I can’t see the cam shafts thru the oil filler cap hole and the plastic cap on the front of the timing belt cover only reveals a silver bolt…

What year is your Rav4? Are you certain it has a timing belt? V6 or I4 engine?

On my Corolla I can see the camshaft pulley (gear) from the oil filler cap. You can’t see that either? If the filler hole is on the timing belt side of the engine, use a flashlight and look through that hole to the left. You should be able to see that camshaft sprocket. If that turns with the crankshaft, then the timing belt is probably intact.

Suggest to not crank or otherwise attempt to start the engine until you are certain the camshaft is turning in sync with the crankshaft. It would be unusual with less than 60K on the timing belt for it to break, but I suppose anything is possible. So its best to be on the safe side until that’s been verified. I didn’t change the timing belt on my 4afe equipped Corolla until 100 K and it still had quite a few miles on it left by its appearance. A timing belt break occurring before 60 K seems pretty slim odds, unless the tensioner froze or something like that.

This could be an ignition switch problem.

The 1997 RAV4 has a distributor, remove the distributor cap and observe the rotor while cranking the engine.

There are a number of failures that can cause no spark, one possibility is a failed crankshaft position sensor.

I was finally able to remove the small cap (it broke into a number of pieces, very brittle from age) from the timing belt cover that covers the bolt to one of the two belt tensioners. I can see the rim of the tensioner its not turning when I crank the engine…

Oh oh, well at least you know what to do next.

Yep, it was the timing belt, I’m back in business!

Good for you. And thanks for letting us know the result.

Just for future reference, timing belts are to be changed my the prescribed miles OR 7 years! You were overdue for the belt change based on time. Glad to see it was a non-interference engine, and the fix was easy.

OP said timing belt and related items replaced in 2010. Five years ago. Sounds to me like a premature failure.