Toyota RAV4 Remote Start Guide

The internet is full of articles that provide inaccurate information about the Toyota RAV4 remote start system. Does the RAV4 have remote start and how does it work?

If you want up-to-date information, I’ve got you covered.

I talk about the RAV4 models with remote start and discuss how to use it. If your RAV4 doesn’t include remote start, I also illustrate your options for upgrading.

toyota rav4 adventure

Compatible Models

Not every Toyota RAV4 comes with remote start. Since it can be pretty confusing to understand which RAV4s have remote start, I’ve broken down the information below based on model year.

2023-2024 Toyota RAV4

The 2023-2024 Toyota RAV4 remote start is slightly different than the previous model years.

No longer is the Audio Plus or Premium Audio required to access remote start in the 2023+ Toyota RAV4.

  • Without Audio Plus or Premium Audio: Remote Connect is available with a paid subscription only
  • With Audio Plus or Premium Audio: Remote Connect is available with a trial offer or paid subscription

This means that you can get remote start on lower-end trims of the 2023 RAV4 which weren’t previously available in older models.

To remote start a 2023 Toyota RAV4 with the key fob. quickly press the lock button three times. On the third press, hold the button down until the mirror lights flash. Let go of the button and the vehicle will start.

Please note: I have not yet been able to confirm that the key fob method works with all trim levels of the 2023-2024 RAV4. Please contact me if you have more information!

You should also know that the trial periods for Remote Connect vary by model year, as explained below.

  • 2020-2024: 1-year trial
  • 2019: 6-month trial
  • 2018 or older RAV4s with remote connect: Operate with key fob without restrictions

To use the app functionality after the trial is over, you must sign up for Remote Connect. Currently, it costs $8 per month, or you can pay $80 a year, which is the same as getting two months for free (Toyota).

2019-2022 Toyota RAV4

To start, let’s look at the 2019 to 2022 Toyota RAV4 models. These same rules also apply to the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid remote start systems.

Here are some general guidelines to consider for 2019-2022 Toyota RAV4s:

  • Models with Audio Plus also have remote start. This system includes a larger multimedia screen and a glossy frame.
  • Models with Premium Audio (JBL speakers) also come with remote start.

In short, your RAV4 should have remote start if you have Audio Plus and/or Premium Audio. However, keep reading as there are more details you need to understand.

To access remote start through the app, you must have a Remote Connect trial or subscription service. Remote Connect is a service offered under Toyota’s “Connected Services” program. This app also offers special tech features such as roadside assistance, remote vehicle controls, and more.

Otherwise, you can use the key fob to remote start the RAV4 for up to ten years. Once that time is over, you must get the Remote Connect subscription.

How to Use

using the Key Fob

So, you have a compatible model listed above. Now, you need to know how to use the remote start on RAV4 models. If you prefer visual descriptions, this YouTube video gives you the basics.

Here are some written instructions to follow.

  1. Quickly press the lock button three times.
  2. On the third push, hold the button in.
  3. Lights will flash and the vehicle should start.
  4. You can let go of the button once the vehicle starts.

Remember: The RAV4 Prime operates differently. Refer to the previous section.

If you held the key fob lock button and the lights never flashed, your vehicle is not equipped with remote start. Reference the information above for more information, or check out the bottom of this article explaining how to install remote start on your RAV4.

Using the App

If you prefer to use the Toyota app to remote start your vehicle, you must first have a subscription or trial to Remote Services.

To use your Remote Connect services on the Toyota app, follow these instructions.

  1. Download the Toyota app. It’s available on Google Play for your Android device or the App Store for your iPhone.
  2. Open the app on your device.
  3. Set the country and language.
  4. Sign in.
  5. Use your email address or mobile phone number to log in.
  6. Add your Toyota RAV4 to the app.
  7. Activate Remote Services by walking through the on-screen prompts.
  8. Hold down the Start Engine button, found on the home screen of the app.
  9. The turn signals flash several times before the engine starts.
  10. If the vehicle isn’t driven, the engine only runs for ten minutes before it shuts off. The timer is shown on the app, so you know how long you have.


toyota rav4 remote start app

The Toyota RAV4 remote starter app also offers functionality to lock and unlock the car doors. You can also use it to stay on top of maintenance and pay your monthly bills.

Differences With the RAV4 Prime

If you have a RAV4 Prime, you may notice that your vehicle behaves differently than what I’ve explained in the article so far.

Because the RAV4 Prime is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, it technically does not have remote “start”, but rather “remote climate”. There’s no need to actually start the engine in the Prime to get the benefits of remote start.

You can’t actually start the RAV4 Prime’s engine remotely, but you can set the temperature and defroster settings right from the Toyota app. You cannot use the key fob.

Why the Engine Turns Off When Opening the Door

You may have noticed that your RAV4 shuts back off when you open the door. Don’t worry – it’s not a malfunction.

This is a safety measure from Toyota where the remote start shuts off automatically when the door is opened or if someone attempts to move the vehicle (Toyota Support).

Although many RAV4 owners find this frustrating, it’s an important safety measure. Imagine how easily someone could steal your vehicle if this safety feature did not exist.

Simply give the engine a re-start when you hop in and you’ll be on your way. The engine will be all warmed up and ready to go!

Aftermarket Options

If your Toyota RAV4 doesn’t have a remote starter installed, there are other options. In this section, I cover the remote start installation cost for Toyota RAV4 models. I also help you decide whether to have a professional install it or do it yourself.

Installation Cost

On average, the Toyota RAV4 remote start cost is typically between $250 and $400. However, this price is affected by multiple factors.

  • Remote starter range: The further the remote starter works, the more it costs
  • Remote starter brand: Reputable brands cost more but also provide a more durable product
  • Features: A basic remote starter costs less than one with advanced features
  • Warranty coverage: It costs more to get a remote starter with a lengthy warranty, but you gain more protection from defects
  • Installation: Professional installation adds to the price but also brings peace of mind


DIY vs. Professional Installation

If you are mechanically inclined, you might decide to tackle the Toyota RAV4 remote start install on your own. While this is tempting, I don’t generally recommend doing the installation yourself. Hooking up a remote start system isn’t the same as changing the oil or putting on a spare tire.

Remote starters are integrated into the electrical system. Unless you have vast experience working with automotive wiring, you should avoid this task. Yes, it’s tempting to save money and do it at home, but what will be the cost if you create an electrical issue?

If you don’t have knowledge of the 12-volt automotive wiring system, you should visit a professional installer.

To find a reputable installer in your area, look for these factors.

  • Experience: Choose an installer with many years of experience
  • Reviews: Read through online reviews to ensure customer satisfaction
  • Transparent pricing: Get a detailed quote showing the price for labor vs. parts
  • Warranty: It’s worth more to visit an installer that offers a warranty on the labor

Don’t cheap out on installation. Paying a little more is well worth the expense in the long run.

Compatible Remote Starters

If you plan to purchase your Toyota RAV4 remote starter on your own, it’s important to choose a model with exceptional customer reviews. I don’t recommend going with the cheaper options, as these are more likely to break.

You can save a little money by choosing a remote starter with a shorter range. However, the 3,000-foot range is ideal under most circumstances. If trees, buildings, and other interferences are between you and the vehicle, the range doesn’t reach the maximum. For that reason, I often recommend paying a little extra to get the 3,000-foot range, just in case.

Frequently Asked Questions

2019 to 2022 Toyota RAV4 models generally have remote start if they include the Audio Plus or Premium Audio system. The 2023 Toyota RAV4 can be equipped with remote start with or without these two systems when you have a Remote Connect subscription.

To have a remote start professionally installed, you may spend between $250 and $400. This cost includes the price of the remote starter and the labor. If you have experience with the RAV4 electrical system, you may be able to install it yourself and save on labor rates.

It depends on the model. Some Toyota RAV4s allow for the key fob to start the engine for a maximum of ten years. After that time, a Remote Connect subscription may be necessary. If the RAV4 doesn’t come with remote start, an aftermarket system can be added.


With your RAV4 remote starter, it’s simple to adjust the climate of the cabin before you get inside. This technology is beneficial in cold winter and warm summer months. If the equipment is already included with your RAV4, start using it and experience the difference.

If your RAV4 is equipped with remote start, you can use it either through the Toyota app or the key fob. However, you’ll need a Remote Connect subscription to use the app.

Keep in mind that the RAV4 Prime is different. Rather than starting the engine, you’ll be able to control the interior climate remotely.

If you don’t have remote start and want to install it aftermarket, don’t skimp to save a few dollars. The cost is directly related to versatility and reliability, so it’s worth spending more.

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  1. Nick Mcfallo says:

    Remote start on the 2023 RAV4 with the key fob press the lock button twice. On the third press hold down until the mirror lights start flashing at that time let go of the lock button and car will start.

    1. Jonathan Buckley says:

      Thanks for confirming this info!

  2. Perry Fisher says:

    2022 XSE TECH can start with fob and roll my windows down and open sunroof with fob as well. For windows press unlock 3 times holding the 3rd time and windows will go down. This must be set up by your dealer no cost.

  3. 2023 Rav4 Prime XSE – I can sometimes start the climate using the app. Sometimes.
    Curiously though, it never works when it’s currently plugged in.
    Generally I would always need to heat windows and car in our harsh Montreal winters, and I always leave it plugged overnight.
    And I would rather it be plugged while it’s warming up, to maximize battery charge.
    So rather shocking that I can’t start when plugged in.