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.

8.4

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$2,066.00
Average Mileage:
97,472 miles
Total Complaints:
120 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (44 reports)
  2. replace ecm (35 reports)
  3. replace transmission (18 reports)
  4. replace ecm and transmission (6 reports)
  5. rebuilt transmission and reflashed (5 reports)
  6. Toyota has issued an extended warranty on this issue 10 year / 150k (5 reports)
2002 Toyota RAV4 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments (Page 6 of 6)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #20

Jul 252008

RAV4 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,200 miles

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

I have had the same problem as other 2002 Rav 4 owners on this site. I had the ecm reprogrammed about 6 months ago when I got the recall letter. Car started bucking when I tried to take off, was scary when merging into traffic. Than Check engine light came on. I took it the next day to auto repair shop. They ran the code and found out it was my ecm. They called me to advise of what it was and that it may also be a issue with my transmission. But they would try replacing the ecm first ,at the tune of $1600 with parts labor and all the diagnostic work. Thank God my auto repair people read their memos as they knew of the ecm problem but advised me it was not a recall. They also told me to call my local Toyota dealer to see if they would cover it as it was just over the 8yr 80,000 warranty. Yup, you guessed it! So sad too bad, basically that is what they said. Over the warranty time. So I had my mechanic do the work. I guess I was glad they knew the problem right away or I also would have ended up paying for a transmission. I had three Saturns before my Toyota,never having a problem with them. I may be going back! I love my Rav For size and traction in the snow. But I think with all these (and probably many more) complaints about this problem if Toyota doesn't compensate for this issue I will have lost faith in the company. Like others have said. All we hear is how Toyotas never die. I guess that is not true.

- , Plymouth, MA, USA

problem #19

Jul 102008

RAV4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

Well I guess I'm having the same problem as everyone else with their Toyota RAV4. At first it drove me only slightly crazy. This was due to the fact that after my mechanic experienced it, he told me I needed to take it to a transmission shop. Of course it worked fine for the transmission shop for the first couple of times that I brought it in. It did indeed act up and thanks to a very honest shop (Horgan's Transmission, San Rafael, CA) Steve said he wanted to have it on the scanner when it acted up (since this was an intermittent problem). Once again that took time for it to act up while the scanner was on. Of course it didn't show what the problems was when they finally had the scanner on as it was acting up. He then contacted Toyota and they supposedly were going to research their data base and get back to him with any others that may have had the same problems. We'll see on Monday (tomorrow) if that happens. But in the meantime I had mentioned this problem to many of my customers at a local tavern I work at. Well one of those wonderful customers researched the problem via the computer and came across this awesome sight that had so many of the same complaints. I will discuss the problem tomorrow with the transmission shop...I don't think they can really help me on this but sure appreciated what they did. I guess I'll contact Toyota and see if they are yet willing to help all of us with this problem that they have given us. I also started experiencing the transmission problem after the recall for the service engine soon light work was performed. Does anyone know if it will ruin my transmission if I have to drive it for a while dealing with Toyota. I don't want to add more problems. Good luck to all and I would appreciate any and all comments!!!

- , San Rafael, CA, USA

problem #18

Jul 042008

RAV4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

This is my continued complaint about the 2002 RAV4 transmission problem. I took my car to a 2nd mechanic to have this problem diagnosed. Today I am told that the check engine code revealed that the solenoid (what ever that is) is the problem. My car is now being transferred to a specialist to be have the transmission diagnosed. As with the other complaints I have read on this site, I have the same symptoms with the same recommendations of fixing this solenoid part in the transmission AND you guessed it....the warranty is expired. What is this ECM, I think I already brought it in on a recall notice for that last year? Should I bother with the solenoid? It appears that wasn't the problem. I used to love Toyota. A recall should be mandatory after reading all that I just read. My check engine code didn't fall into the right range either!!!! There is no way after reading everything on this site and others that Toyota doesn't know what is going on here. My mechanic also mention burnt transmission fluid....I am also still paying for a vehicle that barely runs, please let me know of any recalls or class actions for this. TOYOTA do the right thing!!!! Where is your integrity???What happened to your good name.

- , Gloucester, MA, USA

problem #17

Jul 042008

RAV4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles

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

I bought my 2002 Rav4 in 12/2007 as a "Certified" pre-owned vehicle. It was running great until 7/4/2008, then it started hesitating when I stepped on the gas and then the RPM would jump up and it will jerk into gear. It feels like the power is there, but the car won't shift. Then all of the sudden it jumps into gear and flys forward. I put it in the shop where they flushed the transmission, changed spark plugs, gave it an oil change. Drove away and $310.00 and one hour later it was still doing the same thing. The next think I know the check again light comes on and then goes off again. It will ride ok for a day a two and then start doing it again. The mechanic says he thinks its the transmission but he doesn't fix transmissions. (See 2nd complaint).

- , Gloucester, MA, USA

problem #16

Aug 022008

RAV4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

i purchased a 2002 Toyota rav4 1 year ago. i was told by everyone including internet sites that Toyota was THE BEST, MOST RELIABLE CAR ON THE ROAD. i have driven it for a year with absolutely no problems. then, without warning, the car started jerking and hesitating. the trans was slipping and i had no idea what on earth was happening. i realized, much to my horror, that my car had just turned over 65,000 miles and the warranty expired at 60,000. so instead of going to a Toyota dealer i went to a local trans specialist. after having the car for 2 days he called to tell me the ecm was shot. he said he was not sure if it had effected the transmission or not. he also told me he could not count the number of 2002 Toyota rav 4's he had replaced the computer (ecm) and the transmission. he then told me he thought the best course of action would be to have Toyota replace the ecm. when i called the Toyota dealership i was given a brief runaround. then 2 days later they called and let me know that the ecm was under warranty, however the transmission was not. i asked them why would the ecm be covered but not the transmission, especially when the trans man told me the ecm is the reason the transmissions have gone out. the Toyota mechanic kept insisting that the transmission was not under warranty no matter what because my Toyota has turned over 65,000 miles. he also quoted me a price for the transmission of $3800 (at a minimum). so i am waiting until Monday to find out if the ecm fixes things or if i have to replace the transmission. up to this time i had driven only fords. i thought that purchasing a Toyota would be the most responsible move for having a vehicle that was maintenance free for quite some time. i have no idea what to do next. if anyone reading this knows of a law suit against Toyota for this please let me know. it is absolutely IRRESPONSIBLE TO KNOW OF THESE PROBLEMS AND NOT HELP THE CUSTOMER WITH THIS. A TRANSMISSION SHOULD NOT GO OUT OF A CAR WITH THIS AMOUNT OF MILES.

a disgruntled Toyota owner

- , Colorado Springs, CO, USA

problem #15

Jul 112008

RAV4 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,400 miles

Actually this problem started May 28 2008. Our Rav4 is the exactly the same as all the rest on this site. We thought it was fuel related until we had a scan done at Silverwood Toyota Lloydminster Alberta. A quote for $ 5663.00 new transmission. The Rav4 was taken to the local tranny shop, a quote $ 1500.00 plus parts.

Then we found this site wow!! what a shock. Yes ours is the ECM and Transmission! Our Rav4 is at the tranny shop having the tranny removed and a quote for repair done. We are in negotiations with Silverwood Toyota to have the tranny repaired or trade the Rav in at retail value against a newer model. This is clearly a Toyota problem and they should fix the problem or provide special pricing and financing to anyone that wished to upgrade.

We have filed a complaint with Toyota Canada file # 1170495 and emailed a letter to indicating our position. If Toyota fails to take some responsibility we intend to join the law suit in the States. Our first step will be to place an ad in the local and national news papers advising all Rav owners to contact us or their local dealers to inquire about this problem. A liitle bad press can go a long way!! We hope they step up and do the right thing.

Our Serial number is JTEHH20VX20155110 I am wondering if this is a particular serial number run that is having the problem. Check your numbers

- , Turtleford, SK, Canada

problem #14

Jul 012008

RAV4 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,000 miles

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

First of all Id like to thank all the other Rants and Informers of the problems associated with the Rav4 and the ECM / Transmission Problems. This information was really helpful but disheartening for me. I had the exact problem that most other rants have complained about. My transmission seemed to jerk, hesitate, and not function properly at all. It was acting really erratic. I only drove it maybe 5 miles total when it did this. At that time I looked up some information about what the causes might be and found MANY sites stating the same info regarding the ECM and Transmission failure issue. So I had my Rav towed to the Camelback Toyota Dealership in AZ hoping to get out with a Computer ECM for about a thousand dollrs. The dealership needed to run a diagnostics, we let them do that, and then determined that they "Think" it is a bad Computer or ECM but they dont know for sure. And If that does not fix the problem then they "Think" the problem is a bad transmission. In turn This could all add up to approx. 5800 and there is no guarantee this is what the problem is. They are only going off the "CODES" the system is putting out. WTF! Are these Toyota Certified ASE Techs or what? I already knew all this info just looking it up online and Im not a certified tech! And these so called Techs "Think" they might be able to fix the problem for 5800. First starting with the computer. Then moving on to the transmission. I really agree with many of you that Toyota has really dropped the ball on this one. I personally have loved Hondas and Toyotas. But I will never buy another Toyota again based on this experience. Im picking my POS Rav up tonight from the dealer, Driving it down to an "AMERICAN" car company and getting rid of it. I refuse to pay 5800.00 for a computer and transmission that Certified Tech dont know will fix the problem!

- , Chandler, AZ, USA

problem #13

Jun 262008

RAV4 L 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

It started a couple days ago when my husband began to notice a jerk while we were driving. We didn't pay much attention to it because we thought it might still be trying to warm up. Yesterday the gear did not shift correctly from 1st to 2nd gear. It was even worst when we got on the highway. It felt like the car was about to give up on up.

When we came home I immediately went on line to see if anyone was having the same problem. I found this website. I am thankful that I am not the only one out there. I called Toyota Corporate office the very next day. I filed a complaint and express my feelings how I felt that this was a manufacturing issue and that I didn't have to pay out of pocket for having someone look at the issue. The gentleman on the phone gave me a big attitude and said that they are not at fault for anything. I tried explaining to him about the website of all these complain and they should do a recall. He said that he can only document that I called and can not do anything else and everyone may be having different issues. I would have liked him to show some concern and bring this issue it to the big boss. He still insisted that I go to a dealership and get it checked out before I run into conclusion. I feel like this is a way for Toyota to get money from us because they charge us about $50 to have one of there technician look at it.

Despite all the anger and frustration, I still took it to Toyota anyways. They said it was the ECM. They needed to order some parts to get it fix. My extended warranty will cover the part and labor after a $50 deductible. I am hoping to get it tomorrow. I hope that this will be the end of my misery and nothing else will go wrong with it. I honestly lost all my respect for Toyota. I thought that their car we suppose to be the best quality out there. Guess not! I might as well buy a Honda or a Ford next time I decide to buy a car.

- , Milwaukee, WI, USA

problem #12

Jun 102008

RAV4 2.0L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,467 miles

I'm having the same problem being reported by everyone else on this site. Rough shifting started after driving through a big puddle during a heavy rain storm. Thought maybe something got wet. Check engine light came on a few km later. Had a friend plug in his code reader and error codes P0758 and P0755 Shift Solenoid 'B' came up. Took the veh into a Toyota dealership where they reflashed the ECM as part of a recall campaign that they said would fix the shifting problem. This did nothing but make it worse. I drove it straight back to the dealership the same day, but because the check engine light had not come back on and they could not "duplicate the problem" (which I find hard to believe), they told me to drive it for 50-100km because the computer needed to reset itself. I was driving with my severely disabled son in the veh and we narrowly missed being t-boned in an intersection when the veh wouldn't accelerate. Scared a year off my life. Took it back to the same dealership where they then miracously found a TSB regarding this condition that recommends replacing the ECM (I was quoted approx. $1000). It further states that if the condition persists after replacing the ECM that it may require replacing the transmission. Oh, and the ECM parts are back ordered 2-3 weeks, so I would have to pay for it in advance before they would even order it. I don't think so.

My formerly beloved RAV is gathering dust in the driveway.

I called Toyota Canada this morning to express my disgust and they could not possibly have been less helpful. They told me there was nothing they could do about this over the phone, and that I would have to take this up with the service manager at my Toyota dealership if I want anything done about it. I plan to print off every entry I can find about this issue anywhere and present it to the service manager. This is a totally unacceptable response from Toyota, and after reading all of these complaints I can't believe they aren't issuing a complete recall. This is the first Toyota, or any import for that matter, that I've ever owned and I would never buy another one.

- , Calgary, Alberta, Canada

problem #11

Jun 162008

RAV4 L Pack

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,302 miles

The transmission was slipping and jerking into gear with a loud bang.

The car has been at the dealer for 10 days. They reprogrammed the ECM in April 2007 (which had a recall) and are telling me they are sure that I need a new transmission.

I asked if the ECM that they reprogrammed could have caused the damage because it already had 70,000 miles on it when the performed the recall. Of course they are telling me no, even though other mechanics tell me that even after reprogramming they still can fail

It is now out of warranty and they want $3,700 for a new transmission (no, way) It has always been serviced by a dealer and I will tow it out of there before I let them fix it.

Right now they want to take a control module out of another 2002 (if someone trades in) to see if that fixes it.

well if the tranny and the module are bad that won't show it

I called Corporate and they won't help. Heck I would have bought another Chevy if I knew how crappy the Rav 4 was.

- , Santa Clarita, CA, USA

problem #10

Jun 202008

RAV4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,332 miles

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

I first noticed the problem with shifting on my way home from work. I took it to the local dealer who informed me that my transmission was shot. I came home and got on the internet trying to find a cheaper one than what the dealer had said. i accidentally came upon this site. Armed with all of these complaints I called an 800 number for Toyota. After he finished blowing smoke I asked about the ecm. So today I took it back to the dealer who was supposed to change it out. (my husband marked it) So when he gets home I'm sure he'll say it's the same one. Anyway, the problem remains. And today the service manager tells me that both ecm and the transmission need to be replaced to the tune of about 5 grand. I am sooooo pissed! I called the 800# again BBB and local news complaint guy I really don't know what else to do.Thanks for listening.

- , cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #9

May 252008

RAV4 Limited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 73,000 miles

I have the same exact problems encountered as people mentioned here about the Toyota Rav 4,four weeks ago. My car hesitated to go and jerking from the 1st gear to 2nd gear plus my check engine lights on, so i brought it to my mechanic and told me that at first need to fix the solenoid and after that need to rebuild the transmission it cost me 2000 to fix it, then mechanic said that still has a problem which my computer needs to replace, so i called Toyota and file a complaint about my ECM bec. they just recall it a few months ago and i was told that my warranty was expired and after all the battle of words and sleepless night finally they covered to replace a new ECM with no cost.It's been a week now since a got out my car from mechanic and it's running good. So i was wondering if it needs to file a complaint seems everybody almost has the same symptoms of the problems the transmission and ECM. I know that when it comes to transmission the car won't wear out that fast and possible it's a ECM is the root of the problem and the transmission got affected. It seems it's a manufacturer's defect. Let me know if anybody file a class action.

- , Rowland Hts., CA, USA

problem #8

Jun 022008

RAV4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 118,000 miles

Glad I found this site. My RAV4 just started hesitating, and loosing power going into 1st gear and when accelerating from 1st to 2nd. Called the dealer asking if they knew if it was still under warranty, who didn't get back to me yet. After reading this, I assume it isn't and now have some information when I call the dealer back. We were loyal Caravan owners (lasted over 200,000 miles) and switched to Toyota (because of its reputation) when our family downsized. Will update later on my experience.

- , Newton Hamilton, PA, USA

problem #7

May 282008

RAV4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 57,130 miles

I have always been a Toyota owner. I have always recommended Toyota's to my friends, told them you couldn't buy a better vehicle, NOW I'M NOT SO SURE!! I never had any problems with my previous Toyota Corolla's The first one I had for 15 years and had over 100,000 miles and sold it to my niece until she totaled it. The second one I sold due to circumstances out of my control at the time. I have alway wanted a RAV4 but could not afford a lot. I found this RAV4 at a dealership, did a carfax on it, this vehicle only had 49,314 miles and 1 previous owner who only drove a little over 8,700 miles a year had it's regular maintenance done at a Toyota Dealership according to CARFAX!!!!!. Vehicle was spotless, I took it for a test drive, drove nice everything. I purchased this vehicle only 3 months ago and ALREADY I HAVE TO REPLACE THE TRANSMISSION WHICH IS GOING TO COST ME ANY WHERE FROM 3-4 THOUSAND DOLLARS TO FIX, NOW YOU TELL ME, HOW DOES A 6 YEAR OLD CAR WITH ONLY 52,000 MILES HAVE TO HAVE A TRANSMISSION REPLACED ALREADY!!!! ACCORDING TO THE THE TRANSMISSION SERVICE THE TRANSMISSION OIL WAS BURNT, I HAD THE TRANSMISSION OIL CHANGED ONLY 3 WEEKS AGO!!! I am going to continue to fight this with the Toyota Company, they knew about the transmission problem with the 2002 RAV4 vehicle and never did anything about it, and still won't. This past week has been HELL for me because 1. I'm still in shock that this Toyota needs a new Transmission already, 2. I don't make a lot of money and I work 2 JOBS!! don't know where I going to get the money to pay for this. 3. I have been so upset about this it is really affecting me at work, not eating or sleeping because I am so worried about this and angry that this is even happening. I am going to continue to fight the Toyota Company and Dealership about this because this should not be happening.

- , Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #6

Apr 032008

RAV4 2WD 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,500 miles

like other people's complains about their RAV 4s, regarding transmission problems. it has problems engaging at low gear during take-off and that is very very annoying and of course highly dangerous on the road. This is very unusual at 72,500 mileage after normal use and regular maintenance, i was told by independent mechanics. i had it checked at a toyota service center , they had updated the ECM unit (which shows in the report) they said that it's either to have it rebuilt or complete replacement which will cost at least $3,000.00. toyota service people are saying that the previous independent maintenance center (which is of high repute) might have placed a transmission fluid not within specs. from what i have read from previous postings of the same problem, toyota had sent recall regarding ECM units of which we are not aware of. i just don't know where this complaint will end up especially during these hard times.

- , Rohnert Park, CA, USA

problem #5

May 102008

RAV4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

my computer was re flashed by harr Toyota (dealers) ones last year after the engine light went on. then out of no where the car starts to jerk when changing gears. called dealer said it was gonna cost approximately $4300-4500 to change the transmission. brought it to aamco transmissions and had it rebuilt and computer re flashed for about $2600. a day the later, the problem exists. my warranty expired at 60k miles. i'll be contacting Toyota to file a compliant since this seems to be a problem most '02 rav4 owners are experiencing. good thing this website exist. i hope Toyota company can help out. i think there should be a recall for this model.

- , Worcester, MA, USA

problem #4

May 012008

RAV4 LS V4

  • CVT transmission
  • 89,930 miles

Well at the beginning of May my car started jerking etc.. and it immediately made me think of transmission problems and scared me because how could this be so fast. Anyway I now have the car at the dealership which I ask to replace the ECM and transmission because when I put in google rav4 2002 problems I saw many other complaints of the same thing and became upset because this means toyota knows there is a problem but has not really done anything about it but put the customer through a lot of unnecessary stuff. So to make a long story shorter the service dept first has kept my car for about 9 days and during that time I had a hard time getting in touch with the service person I was dealing with and once when I did she told me they had done a flush of the tranny and that could be the problem which I told her it was not the problem and I ask that they would just straight out replace the transmission and ECM. She told me it was the policy to first flush the transmission if the fluid is dark and then try other test this is after they had flushed already and then after that didn't work they kept the same ECM just rebuilt it. I told her that toyota knows they need to replace the tranny and the ECM so please just do it and its not the policy to do so. it is within my warranty also she said since this was reported during the time of the warranty that if it turns out to be transmission and ECM they will still fix since problem was reported during the warranty if it happens she says. I need input because toyota to me this is rude to allow your customer to go through this when you know what you should do.

Any one have input for m? I am returning the loaner today.

- , Hyattsville, MD, USA

problem #3

Apr 072008

RAV4 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

I am the only driver of my Toyota Rav 4, bought it brand new. Thought I was doing the best thing by buying a Toyota I'm a single women and needed reliability and a car with a name i could trust. So I purchased a Toyota which was way out of my price i could comfortably afford but wanted the best so i worked multiple jobs to pay for it. This month makes it six years old, And I have been told I need a new tranny at 3,000.00 I am stunned and scared to death. I just recently lost my job due to company closing. Have no money saved owe a lot on my credit card and now I'm presented with the biggest problem ever MY CAR .. Wish I bought a Chevy. Please help If anyone has this figured out. Can't get a job if I don't have a car. Can't afford to fix it right now. So before i start spending !!! If anyone knows anything about this tranny problem, I would be eternally grateful.Thanks DJ.

- , Weymouth, MA, USA

problem #2

May 082008

RAV4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 111,398 miles

I was having problems like everyone else; it was having trouble shifting from 1st to 2nd (but this didn't happen all the time) took it to the dealership and they said nothing was wrong. I told them that there was and to figure it out. They finally called back later that day and said that i needed a new ECM and the cost almost $1400. I don't know about anyone else but the reason i bought a toyota is because they are suppose to be great cars. I don't think i will ever buy another one again. I also had the problem with the check engine light, i don't know if this is connected at all. The dealership told me there was nothing that i could have done to help prevent this from happening.

- , Kingwood, TX, USA

problem #1

May 022008

RAV4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 69,000 miles

I purchased this RAV4 brand new in 2002. I just notice the AT jerking when I put into reverse or into second gear sometime last week. I did some research on this problem before I have the local dealer check this problem out, Came to found out that there have been similar problem happen to other RAV4. It appeared that the problem is caused by the defective ECM. I am not suer whether this part would cover under by Toyota after the initial warranty already expired. Any suggestions is appreciated...

- , Bothell, WA, USA

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