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Lost Oil & Blew Oil Filter Only After Towing With 2012 Toyota RAV4, I'm Perplexed, Cause? Please Read.

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Hello. I have a 2012 AWD Toyota RAV4 Sport Edition that has over 84,000 miles on it and 2.5L 4-cylinder engine. I have had it for over 2 years now and bought it used with only 62-63,00 miles on it from a reputable Toyota dealer in New York State, USA. It has been a good car thus far. Right after I bought it, I installed an aftermarket Draw Tite 2-inch x 2-inch tow hitch with wiring harness kit, had it installed by my cousin. With this 2012 AWD Toyota RAV4, I only towed using my Carry On 4x6 foot steel utility trailer with mesh floor a couple of miles around my home with some light items to a local steel recycling center and dump a couple of instances in the past. I have added some photos of the Carry On 4x6 utility trailer for your inspection to get an idea what my utility trailer looks like. I had customized the utility trailer with aluminum walls and some wooden framework 14 years ago as I have used this customized utility trailer with my former 2002 AWD Toyota RAV4 Limited Edition 2.0L 4-cylinder with no issues at all! After installing an aftermarket tow hitch too on my former Toyota 2002 RAV4, I had driven that RAV4 all over the US Northeast with utility trailer in tow without issues.

Now, on Friday, July 26th, 2019, was the first REAL towing I have done with my 2012 Toyota RAV4 and this very utility trailer. I had a small amount of garage sale stuff I was towing to a family member's house 40 miles away. I had 1 additional passenger in the RAV4 with a few small items in the trunk area too. I was driving on a main interstate highway traveling approximately 60-65 MPH most of the way. At first, things were fine, until the last 15 miles of the drive when I started to hear a low hum coming from the engine and getting gradually louder with each passing minute and each mile. The last 15 miles of the drive also had 5 steep hills on the interstate and when I drove up each hill, the engine hum got louder and eased off when I came down the hill. Overall, the hum got exceeding louder. I got off the exit for my family member's town and my car was about to stall with a few shutters with the Oil light on the dash’s instrument cluster started flickering signaling Oil issues. I drove the car to my family house only a half-mile away and stopped the car and turned off the key. In their driveway, the Oil light was steadily before I shut off the car. I saw some smoke vapors coming from the hood and looked under the car and saw from the Oil filter back Oil sprayed all over the car. A few remaining drops of Oil dripped on their driveway. I had the car towed to a local reputable garage where they later determined that the Oil filter "blew" and Oil itself blew out the O-ring out between the cartridge style Oil filter and the lower Oil filter threaded mount on the underside of the RAV4. The garage replaced the RAV4's cartridge with a new Oil filter and new Oil. I test drove the car after I left the garage and the car sounded and ran just fine as if nothing happened! Luckily, I did not cause any damage to the engine with no Oil in the engine the final leg of the journey! The mechanic could not answer why this happened to my RAV4 and he was baffled to explain why. The mechanic never heard of anything like that happening before. IT IS OBVIOUS, MY RAV4 MUST HAVE HAD Oil PRESSURE INCREASE TO BLOW Oil OUT AROUND THE O-RING ON THE Oil FILTER CARTRIDGE? …LIKEY FROM TOWING MY UTILITY TRAILER, MAYBE? PEOPLE I HAVE SPOKEN WITH ASSUME THAT MY UTILITY TRAILER IS FINE TO TOW WITH MY 2012 TOYOTA RAV4, IS IT?


a. NO check engine light came on the entire time when I was towing the utility trailer with my RAV4.

b. The coolant meter level on my dashboard’s instrument cluster was normal the entire drive. A matter-of-fact, it was halfway between hot and cold on the dial; typically where it is when I do not tow with the RAV4. Therefore the engine did NOT overheat.

c. I had my last Oil change 3-4 weeks ago and I did it myself knowing and recalling that I did tighten the Oil filter cartridge against the underside of the motor. Therefore it was not loose.

d. I had driven the RAV4 over 1,800 miles since my last Oil change 3-4 weeks ago (without ever once towing the utility trailer) driving up and down some very steep hills on vacation in nearby states without any issues.

e. I have never had the utility trailer weighed after it was customized, I would guess with all the customizations I have done to it; it would weight around 700 pounds.


SO, WHAT DO YOU THINK HAPPENED? WHY DO YOU THINK THIS HAPPENED? I DO NOT NEED TO DESTROY MY TOYOTA RAV4 ENGINE IF IT WAS THE TOWING THAT CAUSED THE ISSUE! Too much weight for my 2012 Toyota RAV4 to tow? I find that strange that my 2012 RAV4 would have issues towing when my former smaller 2002 RAV4 with a smaller 2.0L 4-cylinder engine towed just fine without issues and I had just as much other stuff in my utility trailer as this RAV4 towed that very day. I have attached a copy of the car identification sticker for your inspection from the inside driver’s door panel on my 2012 RAV4’s GVWR and GAWR on weight capacities. I hope with all this information, you can tell me what likely happened and why?





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Forum Administrator:

After I posted this, I realized this is the wrong area by accident it was posted in. I have reposted this into the appropriate area. Sorry. 


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