How to adjust the idle on a rav4

Updated March 23, 2017

Like many newer vehicles, the Toyota RAV4 does not have a manual adjustment for your idle. The idle on older vehicles can be adjusted with the turn of a screw, but the idle on your RAV4 is adjusted automatically by a computer-controlled process. However, you can adjust the idle to some degree by cleaning the idle speed control valve. If oil or debris has gummed up the valve, this can lead to lower idling and possible stalling of your RAV4.

Disconnect the negative cable from the battery terminal. Secure the cable away from the metal on your RAV4 to prevent an electrical short.

Remove the air cleaner cover from the engine block. The cover is square and has a large hose extending from the bottom. It will often have the number of litres of the engine and letters -- "2.0 VVT-i," for example. Disconnect the hose and remove the bolts using a crescent wrench or ratchet and lift the cover up.

Unbolt the throttle body from the engine block with a socket wrench. The cup in the centre of the throttle body is where the hose you removed from the air cleaner was connected.

Spray a liberal amount of valve cleaner onto the idle speed control valve and the throttle body and let it soak for a few minutes. Wipe gently with a clean cloth to remove any oil or residue from the throttle. Coat the valve and throttle body with another liberal dose of valve cleaner. Use a small brush to clean the interior of the throttle body. Wipe thoroughly with a clean cloth.

Reattach the throttle body to the engine block. Set the air cleaner back onto the throttle body. Bolt it down and reconnect the hose.

Reconnect the negative cable to the battery terminal and start the RAV4. Your idle should be back to normal.


Keep the air filter from the air cleaner clean of debris and gunk and replace every 5,000 miles. This will keep debris from entering the throttle and other sensitive parts of your engine.

Things You'll Need

  • Socket wrench
  • Crescent wrench
  • Ratchet
  • Valve cleaner
  • Brush
  • Clean cloths
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About the Author

David Roberts has been writing since 1985. He has published for various websites including online business news publications. He has over 11 years experience in tax preparation and small business consultation. He is also a Certified Fraud Examiner. He received a Master of Business Administration from Florida Metropolitan University in 2005.