Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.

CarComplaints.com Notes: If you're looking for a vehicle with one of the most complained about transmission on the road, look no further than the 2001-2003 Toyota RAV4.

In 2001 Toyota completely redesigned the popular SUV. While some enjoyed the new look, they did not enjoy the harsh shifting, jumping from gear-to-gear and eventual transmission failure that cost owners well over $3,000 to fix. The problem stems from a malfunctioning Electronic Control Module (ECM).

Consumer outrage coupled with pressure from different agencies led Toyota to extend the warranty nationwide back in 2010. The previous power train warranty only covered 5 years/60,000 miles, while the extended warranty now covers the transmission and ECM for 10 years/150,000 miles. Toyota also pledged to reimburse any owners who had previously paid for repairs, if they had "proper proof". Good luck collecting on that one.

8.5

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$2,520.00
Average Mileage:
111,737 miles
Total Complaints:
113 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (45 reports)
  2. replace transmission (26 reports)
  3. replaced ecm (20 reports)
  4. new tramsmission (8 reports)
  5. replace transmission & ecm at the same time (5 reports)
  6. added a bottle of Lucas transmission treatment (2 reports)
2001 Toyota RAV4 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2001 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments (Page 4 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #53

Apr 272009

RAV4 ES 2.0L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

I have a 2001 Toyota RAV 4. I love this suv, but now the trans is going bazuca on me. To fix the problem is going to be from $1,300-$3,500?????????????????????????What...???

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NO WAY.... so I went to car max and they will give me $3500.00 dollars for it. What the hell, I thought that this Toyotas went over 200K miles...From what every one tells me about this AWD rav 4 trans they go bad around 80K miles....We need to get a recall on this ravs....

- , Aurora, IL, USA

problem #52

Mar 272009

RAV4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

I'm having problems with my 2001RAV4. First it would hard shift from 1st to 2nd, then my check engine light came on. I took it into Aamco and they charged me $700 to open it up to see what was wrong. They then proceeded to tell me it was going to cost $4,128 to fix it, by replacing the transmission and I can't remember what else they told me had to be replaced. I was pissed! Here I am retired, thinking I wouldn't have to buy another automobile and shame on me. I don't have that kind of money laying around. I need help on the class action suit against Toyota.

- , Portsmouth, VA, USA

problem #51

Feb 142009

RAV4 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Man I have the same problem with my car, just like the rest of you nice people. We have to do something about this issue, it looks like some of you people have spent a lot of money for nothing. What we need is a lawsuit. We need someone that is a lawyer up in here. Sounds to me like, "Toyota" knows about this problem but no one has done anything about it yet. So they just keep on doing what that do best, take people's money.

For anyone that is reading this, do not get anything fix at dealer shops, unless it is a recall. They will try to take anything they can...go find some other small repair shop to do the job.

So, here's what I did to help my car run a little better, but not perfect. I undid the battery and cleaned up all of the ground wires with a wire brush and fine sandpaper and reconnected it. I hope that will help you a little, like it did me.

- , Lansing, MI, USA

problem #50

Apr 032009

RAV4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 157,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Was the class action suit filed against Toyota? If so, anyone has an update? I had my catalytic converter replaced at 65K in 2004 and fortunately, it was covered under warranty. Fast forward to 2009 and the same issues are still there today. I encountered the same issues as everyone else with the transmission having difficulty from 1st to 2nd gear. In 2008, I spent over $1,200 on a new ECU because the Toyota dealership said that I needed to have it replaced because the engine was misfiring. I asked if this was a common problem at the time and they said that they had not heard about it before. Yeah right...My check engine light has been on for 5-6 months since late 2008 and I'm now needing to replace my catalytic converter again. I'm tired of this BS that Toyota is claiming to not acknowledge any of this. Any thoughts or suggestions?

- , Auburn, GA, USA

problem #49

Mar 172009

RAV4 LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

I am having problems with my transmission and have been told that it's due to a faulty Powertrain Control Module (which I received a recall on and brought into the dealership as instructed). Now I not only have to rebuild my transmission but I also have to purchase a new PCM. I spoke with customer service and waited two entire days to hear back from them. When I called back I received VERY poor service and I threatened to start a class action. I've since been googling and am realizing that this is a very big problem

- , River Ridge, LA, USA

problem #48

Feb 262009

RAV4 AWD 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

Toyota should be held accountable for this faulty error. They do know of the problem, there is a class action law suit against them...were signing up people, getting the word out...The only true way to fix your car, replace the transmission, replace and reprogram the ECU entirely...running you, thousands of dollars.

- , Clarksville, TN, USA

problem #47

Mar 012009

RAV4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

So much for a reliable Toyota! In addition to the transmission problem, I also have had check engine light issues for over 2 years. I have taken it to Toyota on more than one occasion to have them not be able to turn it off. I now find myself with a failed transmission after taking excellent care of this car since I purchased it in 2001. Shame on Toyota for not owning up to this huge problem!

- , Northfield, NH, USA

problem #46

Jan 062009

RAV4 LS V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,320 miles

The transmission was slow shifting from 2nd to 3rd. Also the car jumped. I had the transmission rebuilt. I got the car back, but the same thing began happening again. Now I am told that the problem is the computer. It ruined the transmission and if I use the car, it will ruin the fixed transmission. What is going on???? Does anyone know if there has been a recall for the computer?

- , Arecibo, PR, Puerto Rico

problem #45

Jan 312009

RAV4 AWD 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,692 miles

Toyota RAv4 2001 AWD, from 1/31/09 onwards the transmission problem starts. It do not shift, it tries to shift but do not. during this it gives jerking and stalling or stopping. after reading some transmission problems reported regarding the same kind, I am going to contact dealer tomorrow. i will write up later after that.

- , Wheaton, IL, USA

problem #44

Jan 102009

RAV4 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Hard shifting from 2nd to 3rd. After driving around town, the car will not accelerate and will jump down the road until it finds 2nd or 3rd gear. Sometimes, I will shift into reverse or drive and the car will not move. Had it towed to a dealer. They said they checked the computer, but I needed a new transmission. Then, I received a notice from Toyota to reprogram my computer for free. Took it to another dealer. Just had the computer reprogrammed for free b/c of the recall. They said I needed a transmission flush, and my fluid was a little low. We decided to drive the car home b/c we are new to the area and do not trust the dealers here. Car drove fine home. Now, it's happening all over again. Going to have it towed once more to see what the problem is. I hope it's just the transmission fluid/flush. If not, I have a feeling my computer damaged the transmission. I had a Corolla for YEARS and never experienced problems like this.

Update from Oct 22, 2009: MY ADVICE TO EVERYONE IS TO REPLACE YOUR ECM. REPROGRAMMING IT DOES NOTHING! DO NOT REPLACE THE TRANSMISSION FIRST.

THIS IS A MONEY MAKING SCHEME. IF TOYOTA TOLD YOU YOUR ECM WAS DEFECTIVE, THEN THEY WOULD BE ADMITTING THE DAMAGE TO YOUR TRANSMISSION IS CAUSED BY THEIR DEFECTIVE PART (ECM).

AAMCO IS ALSO SCHEMING CUSTOMERS INTO PURCHASING A TRANSMISSION WHEN THEY KNOW THE ECM SHOULD BE REPLACED.

I HAD TO PURCHASE AN ECM FROM A DEALERSHIP IN WASHINGTON FOR A DISCOUNTED PRICE. IT CAME WITH A ONE YEAR WARRANTY. I HAD A MECHANIC INSTALL IT. OVERALL, I FIXED THE PROBLEM FOR LESS THAN $900. THE DEALERSHIP WOULD HAVE CHARGED ME ALMOST $7,000 FOR THE TRANSMISSION AND ECM. THE ECM ESTIMATES WERE AROUND $1500. THIS IS RIDICULOUS BECAUSE THIS IS A TOYOTA CREATED DEFECT AND PROBLEM. BELIEVE ME, REPLACING THE ECM IS MUCH CHEAPER THAN WHAT THE DEALERSHIPS WILL CHARGE YOU TO FIX THE PROBLEM ONLY TO REPLACE THE TRANSMISSION THEN THE ECM.

THEY TOLD ME MY TRANSMISSION WAS SHOT, AND MY COMPUTER WAS FINE. I REPLACED THE COMPUTER, AND THE HARD SHIFTING WAS ELIMINATED. I KNOW MY TRANSMISSION IS NOT GOING TO LAST FOREVER, BUT IT IS CERTAINLY CHEAPER TO FIX THE SOURCE OF THE PROBLEM FIRST.

- , Greenville, NC, USA

problem #43

Jan 092009

RAV4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 156,889 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Please help! I'm having problems with my 2001 RAV 4 shifting gears. I was told by toyota to replaced the chip, and the cost associated with such is close to $3000 dollars.

I'm not quite sure what to do! I can not stand the jerk and the noise that the makes while trying to shift gear. Toyota need to fix this problem right now!

- , Miami, FL, USA

problem #42

Jan 122008

RAV4 1az-Ff

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles

I have this 2001 RAV4 with the same problem with the rest, the ECU is malfunctioning and the shifting is really bad in 1st and 2nd gear. I almost got an accident twice in the freeway. I called toyota regarding this issue and had told me that there was no recall regarding RAV4 ECU's malfunctioning and told them to visit this website.

I am sick and tired of this car!!!

- , Ontario, CA, USA

problem #41

Dec 222008

RAV4 L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles

I'm sad to add myself to this list of unhappy 2001 rav4 complaints about the transmission. Has anyone had any luck getting this resolved with the deal/toyota? or has a law suit been filed?

- , Rockwell City, IA, USA

problem #40

Dec 012008

RAV4 L 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles

I would like to share my frustration with the transmission of my 2001 Toyota RAV4. The car is in excellent condition (no problem what so ever) but recently the car jumps when shifting from 1 to 2 gear. I had the transmission fluid flushed (may be not needed) and I am curious to know whether anyone out there has any opinion what could be the cause of this?

- , Kansas City, MI, USA

problem #39

Apr 102008

RAV4 L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles

I bought the car used from a dealer in 2006. I didn't purchase the warranty because it didn't seem worth the money per month since I was buying a well made, long lasting Toyota. While I still believe that once upon a time Toyotas were great, they clearly have not been making them like they used. I had the car for a year and half and the transmission failed. It started to shift smoothly in and 'uh oh something is really wrong way' and then it finally just stopped, in the middle of the road. I had to be towed and subsequently had to fork over $2800 for my transmission to be replaced. Am I angry? Yes! I loved my car, was very excited to have it. Now I curse it everyday for being a stupid money pit. I had heard of these things happening to Fords and Chevy's, not toyotas and hondas. And now my husbands 2002 Honda accord seems to have the same issue!!!

- , Playa Del Rey, CA, USA

problem #38

Jun 302008

RAV4 4 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,000 miles

my rava 4 transmission went out on me while on vacation I was 500 mile from home,durning my time on the hwy i smelled something thinking it was the 18teenwheelers with the heavy loads, after reentering stop and go traffic i realized that I HAD A PROBLEM. Took it in to transmission shop they said yes there is something wrong with my transmission had it restored but still there was problem so I tolled it back to Virginia the dealer service manager said that the computer had begin causing owner problems. it cost me 1200 for a replacement of a new computer 1600plus for restoration while on vacation transmission doctor would not honor there warranty so I had to spend 2300plus at aamco third and fourth gear failure. plus attorney cost (1000 plus)

- , Falls Church, VA, USA

problem #37

Nov 232008

RAV4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 134,850 miles

I just started having problems with the automatic transmission on my Toyota 2001 Rav4 with regards to the hard shifting from 1st to 2nd gear just a couple of days ago. I have not done anything yet and I am not sure what to do at the moment. Should I call the local dealer, the car is definitely out of warranty? What repairs should be done to fix this problem. It is a very dangerous problem and can cause an accident because of the car stalling briefly while going from 1st to 2nd gear. Please help!!!

- , Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #36

Nov 082008

RAV4 L 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,540 miles

This is the 10th or 11th site I've looked at for the RAV4 ECM/transmission problem. Here's what I've deduced after many hours of research:

1. The engine light comes on. 2. The tranny slips and jerks from 1st to 2nd, and sometimes from 2nd to 3rd. 3. If you drive more than about 50 miles in this state, the transmission is ruined. 4. Toyota put a faulty code into the ECM of lots of Rav4s, Camrys, and other models. 5. After years of hundreds of angry complaints, Toyota issued a recall on these models. 6. A large percentage of these people lose their transmissions and pay big. 7. Once the ECM is reflashed (or reprogrammed) the engine light stops coming on. 8. The transmission is only OK if it hasn't already been damaged. 9. Toyota mechanics plead ignorance, non-Toyota mechanics are bewildered. 10. Toyota refuses to admit that they've even ever gotten complaints. 11. People are angry, but Toyota works to keep them in small groups by model. 12. People in small groups are ineffective in calling Toyota to account for mistakes.

My RAV4 fits nicely into this recurring 12-step nightmare for Toyota owners. Even a number of chat sites try to isolate the responses by brand, much of their advertising coming from Toyota or its dealerships. I can just pay for my new transmission if I don't take a vacation this year, but there are lots of drivers who just can't afford to pay for a new transmission.

I used to be a loyal Toyota owner, but after watching the company dodge its responsibility and lie about why, I'm going elsewhere from now on. Go to the site http://www.topix.com/forum/autos/toyota/TEACK3S8TKGJN6IA3 and read on and on ad nauseum. People are looking for a class action lawsuit there. I'll join it if you will,,,

- , Pelham, MA, USA

problem #35

Aug 012008

RAV4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 124,000 miles

I bought my Rav used and loved it, took care of it and then started to shift funny from 1st to 2nd and the engine light came on. Took it to the dealer and told me it need a ecu and a transmission. The cost was 5500.00 Didn't have the money to fix it so it is sitting in my yard. Toyota should do something to fix this problem. Maybe a class action suit. Not a happy camper.....

- , West Brookfield, MA, USA

problem #34

Oct 202008

RAV4 L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,900 miles

an ordinary morning driving to work, out of nowhere my rav4 would not accelerate when i stepped on gas, and if it did it would jerk significantly to make the car jump. when i would step on the accelerator smoothly it would go easy to 2 RPMs n instantly jump to almost 4 RPMs with barely stepping on the gas n then instantly go back down to about 1-2 RPMs. This is the case every time i come to a stop, red light, trying to get the car moving is problematic. 2 days later the engine light turned on. When we connected it to the computer it gave a trouble code P0750. After speaking to several mechanics n the toyota dealer itself they admitted multiple cases with this problem. The issue is known but the solution not quite. Suggestions ranged from replacing solenoid yo maybe even whole transmission an expense that could go up to $3,000 however, not guaranteeing it will solve the problem. Im debating on the best and wisest way to take care of it. what are the updates with this problem?

- , North Hills, CA, USA

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