Reader gallery: RAV4 boot woes

2013-06-12 08:54

Earlier in June 2013, Wheels24 reader DAVE WILLIS shared his views on his 2013 Toyota Rav4 SUV and what he calls a "finger-snapping" boot.

Image gallery

Willis said that to prevent "injury" he resorted to adding a makeshift handle to the boot of his RAV4.

The article received a number of responses and Wheels24 asked him to send us images of his makeshift solution to his boot woes.


Willis sent us a several images and explains why he resorted to installing an oven door handle on his RAV4:

In addition to my initial comment, friends and other drivers have all said that Toyota slipped up in terms of the design of its RAV4 GX boot.

The closing mechanism  in particular definitely fall into the "unsafe for use category", especially when without touching/gripping the actual boot, which at times was the case in pushing the door down and engaging the locking mechanism.

I bought my vehicle from McCarthy Toyota in Mobeni, Durban. It did not mention this potential injury-causing  opening/closing process.

I advised them about it and I believe dealers should make buyers of these new vehicles aware of this particular design fault and its potential to injure.

My wife questioned the standing height of the average Japanese male or female and feels sure that they would not be able to reach the handle when the boot is fully open.

To reiterate – Either a similar handle to mine or electric power should be included on future models.


I used a hollow plastic oven door handle from Defy, roughly 600mm long, with two self tapping fixing points at each end.  I removed part of its length, giving it an overall two part handle length of 225mm. I glued both parts together, reinforced the joint with two 120mm strips of alluminium, fixed with five pop rivets in each. The handle is spray painted in three coats of matt black Duco paint.

While drilling into the boot, I inserted a magnetic strip to capture drillings, placed rubber gasket type materials between the door and handles and used sillicone screws with gaskets on fixing. 

Not too shabby when viewed close up, even less so when viewed from a distance. I think it really complements the door.”

What do you think of Willis’ solution? Email us and we’ll publish your thoughts on Wheels24.

  • Vaughan - 2013-06-12 09:11

    Are South Africans turning into Americans? Doesnt it come naturally to average Joe Soap that you simply close a boot by putting your hand on the outside of the boot.

      Dave Willis - 2013-06-21 01:58

      It appears that yourself and other Joe Soaps should accept what is put before you as acceptable, a door is a door, the vast majority of which clearly and visibly so have what is known as a handle, for opening and closing same doors, not a silly pocket type that has been foisted on you. Think about it, the verticle planes of these pocketS do not assist the downward pulling of the door with finger tips, please ensure clean dry hands when using your method and, possibly consider also the point load of pressure applied by finger tips, for some can dent the flimsy material car bodies are made of these days. I served a genuine five year trade apprenticeship, the key essence of which was/is, "carefully learn to know, that which is good enough in whatever you may produce" My handle, made from no matter what, is easily recognised as just that, clearly visible and easy to understand how to operate it. Oh yes I did check that which is available in retail, none. Last of all and with no consideration of all with infinite wisdom about their 2013 Rav4s displayed herein, instead the wives of same, be they petite or more toward stout, or built like the proverbial brick one, the latter would probably cope the same as yourselves, for the petite/demure no ways, as was proved by a young lady at the dealership. Because of the fully open door height, finger tips it genuinely was, and she could not start the initial and necessary downward travel of the door with one hand.

  • Thando Gqabaza - 2013-06-12 10:37

    News 24 trying desperately to make something out of nothing here. Pathetic "journalism"

  • Erik Kasper Van Wyk - 2013-06-12 11:00

    The purpose of the "handle" inside the boot was never to fully close the boot anyways regarding which ever vehicle. That handle is used to lower the boot from full opened position and then with your other hand close the boot by pressing down on the outside of the boot. Im sure its a common mistake by some people, fair enough but attaching an appliance handle on the outside is just retarded to say the least!

  • Neo Anderson - 2013-06-12 11:16

    Why not put an oven handle on the bonnet too... retard.

  • Wessel de Bruyn - 2013-06-12 12:49

    Ek sal nooit u gaaitjie in my kar boor nie. Ek is seker sy roes waarborg sal ook verval.

  • Deon Evert - 2013-06-12 15:21

    Oh dear Dave. A little more money would've bought you a VX, which includes - guess what - an automatic tailgate with memory function. Truly hope nothing goes wrong with your car, cause you've pretty much voided the warranty....

  • Heinrich Spreeth - 2013-06-12 16:44

    Why buy such a big car if it is too big for you? I suppose next thing you'll do is bolt down a chain next to the shock so the door won't open all the way? This is stupid....

  • Graeme Ryley - 2013-06-12 22:07

    Wheels 24, I have to agree with the other folk commenting, this is WEAK journalism. I would hardly call this news-worthy!! What about a regular sedan? You have to close the boot by touching the bodywork.

      Wynand Steyn - 2013-06-14 09:59

      Hi Graeme, I'm with you on this one. I had a look at all types of vehicles while sitting in traffic yesterday - if this was such a serious design flaw, I can tell you now that the sales of appliance handles is going to skyrocket!

  • Bertus Pretorius - 2013-06-12 22:53

    How did he close his previous vehicle's boots? Stupid story...

  • Dave Willis - 2013-06-18 00:47

    Oh dear again, it appears that we have some in the 47% of motorists on annual earnings over R400000 a year, the type who dont recognise something that even Toyota states, it is necessary to exercise care when closing the boot, for fear of injury to a hand or arm, eg, page 157 of the 960 page Owners Manual, this information only becomes available after the car is bought. Yes, myself, my wife, and others did use the the boot of our car and had to place hands on the boot lid to close it, after 4 years of same, wear and tear was very apparent and, why the hell should I have to accept it. To those in the 47%s, get real, have a look at the wear and tear on the paint work areas around the side doors handles, generally your vehicles are items of high cost and value, why are you all so slovenly in your attitude to same and abusively so at that, ie, easy come easy go, I will just buy another one, or, are they company vehicles that you never even lift the bonnet of, you know, its not yours so why the hell, You dont recognse handles for what they are intended, you probably slovenly close them by pressing by hand against the door body, or use your backsides, knees, elbows, but, not those readily recognised for the purpose of opening and closing things like doors, not such that dont have some silly misfunctional unapparent pocket called a handle. But then also, there is the ambiguity of the Toyota promo, stating, "boot door electric" To all, have a banana.

      Wynand Steyn - 2013-06-18 12:37

      Hi Dave, I just ate a banana. It inspired me to remove the handle from my chest freezer, modify it, and install on the boot lid of my Mitsubishi Lancer...more bananas PLEASE!

  • Dave Willis - 2013-06-18 01:10

    To Neo Anderson. Dont cowardly hide behind your key board using words like "retard", the printed worded is powerful, particularly so when couched as to be of a offesive nature, I live in Durban, pop in some time, check out the handle, its obvious functionality compared to the silly pocket called a handle and, utter same offensive word to my face, once again, have a banana, if that is you catch my drift

      Wynand Steyn - 2013-06-18 12:47

      Dave, it must be said with grammar and spelling like "printed worded" and "offesive" I think you should lay of the banana rum ;)

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