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.

8.8

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
$2,251.00
Average Mileage:
97,124 miles
Total Complaints:
135 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (56 reports)
  2. rebuild the transmission, replace ECM (40 reports)
  3. replace ecm (18 reports)
  4. rebuild the transmission (11 reports)
  5. replace computer engine (6 reports)
  6. re flash computer (3 reports)
2002 Toyota RAV4 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments (Page 5 of 7)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #55

Jun 162008

RAV4 RAV4 2.0L 4 cyls

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,447 miles

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

Attention: Anyone who has a 2002 Toyota RAV4 there is a recall for the ECM (Electronic Control Module ----The Brain---) please take it to your local dealership to have it re-flash or re-program the Toyota will pay for it ( because that problem would lead to the transmission shifting issue)

- , Palm Desert, CA, USA

problem #54

Jun 162008

RAV4 RAV4 2.0L 4 cyls

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,447 miles

Yesterday I had my regular oil change at E-Z Lube. After they finished, they strongly recommended that I need to have the transmission and radiator flush. When it was done, I have found out a major delay in shifting from the 1st gear to the 2nd gear. I reported this to the manager, and he went for a drive test. He told me that he needs to re-flush the transmission fluid. After that the problem still existed. He decided to use the hand hold machine to diagnose my car and told me that the problem is the transmission shift SOLENOID B. I agree with all of you. Toyota should be responsible for this problem. By the way, I own this 2002 Toyota RAV4 since day one and it has 80,447 miles.

- , Palm Desert, CA, USA

problem #53

Mar 202008

RAV4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,200 miles

Our problems started with the check engine light turning on and off about a year ago. At first the car wouldn't pass through smog testing. We got a recall notice from Toyota to have the ECM reprogrammed and went to fulfill the recall. After the reset on the EMC the car passed smog. The light then came on again about a month later. We were told that it could be a gas cap issue, so we made sure we tightened the gas cap and that turned the light off for about a month but then it came back on again. It wasn't until this March that we had the first signs of a shifting problem. All in the same day, the transmission began to make noises and shift rough between 1st and 2nd gears (its an auto trans). As we were making our way home the transmission then froze in the middle of an intersection during a red light, very scary. Once we got the car going forward, we worked our way back home, and that was it for the car. We began saving our money and left the car in the garage until this month (June) when we needed to use it. It was at this time when driving on the freeway, the transmission failed again and slowed the speed to 45mph. We took the car to the transmission shop who said that it would cost $3500 to replace the transmission. I then took the car to Toyota and they said they don't deal with this issue so late, and that we should have brought the car in when the problem first happened. Yeah, and what about the expense. Thats why we were saving the money.I researched the issue on the internet and found this site. We hope that by filing the complaint, and bringing this website to Reno Toyota's attention will wake them up to fixing the problem.

- , Reno, NV, USA

problem #52

Jun 012008

RAV4 V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 53,000 miles

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

I was having the same problems as many of you listed on this page. I contacted Toyota corporate and filed a complaint with customer service. I told them about this site and of the many complaints about problem shifting/ECM unit. They contacted my local Toyota dealer and the dealership called me in about two days. I made an appointment to bring in the car and I also printed out all of the blogs from this website to show the service manager. The service manager was happy to have a look at the complaints and the dealership ended up replacing the ECM unit at no cost to me (parts or labor). The car is fine now; the shifting is smooth with no jerking, hard shifting or hesitating. My advise is to contact Toyota and advise them that you would like them to absorb the cost of this repair. Also, you will get farther with them if you are kind (even though this is a really aggravating situation). I also said a prayer!

- , Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #51

Apr 282008

RAV4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,897 miles

What ever happened to Toyota quality??? I had a friend who had a Toyota which he put thu HELL!!! But, ya know what? It ran like a top afterwards and he N-E-V-E-R had any problems out of it! NONE!! I have had this a short time. Bought it with 118k miles on it. Heard that it was just being broke in at that mileage since it was a Toyota. HA!! I was fooled. Had it for about 2k and it all went to pot. Was gonna cost $3k to fix it. Got to reading around on the Net, found this site. All the situations were right on with mine. I have read that others have it updated and the tranny fixed, but the prob reappears. My question is, will a new ECM fix the problem? I really don't want to shell out the money to have it fixed if the ECM is gonna "fudge" it up again. BTW, I did file a complaint with this site http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/tsbs/. Hopefully Toyota will step up and take responsibility. This may be my first and last Toyota.

- , Ne, OH, USA

problem #50

May 282008

RAV4 Linited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Anyone who is having problems with the Rav4 Transmission/ECM plese file a complaint with the government. This will force a recall.

http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/tsbs/

Mine has just started having issue shifting and I have it in the shop now.Toyota needs to help fix their faulty ECM!

- , Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #49

Mar 052008

RAV4 L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles

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

Same problem and same answer at Toyota. Ended up replacing the transmission and still has the same problem as everyone else. ECM was probably the problem all along. This is unacceptable by Toyota. This is a major flaw in a large number of Rav 4s. I think Toyota is in for a wakeup call because this is a safety issue. Losing power on freeways is very dangerous. This will wake them up. They need to accept the fact that they are responsible for the safety of thier vehicles and recall the ECMs. This is a large can of worms and I hope you guys are all in. Going to see if they will replace the ECM at 84k. Had it misdiagnosed 4 mo. ago when it was still under warranty so we will see what happens. They should pay for the transmission that was replaced as well!!!!!

- , San Ramon, CA, USA

problem #48

May 012007

RAV4 LX 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles

My ECU was reprogrammed 1 year ago. I have noticed a slight delay in the shifting from 1st to 2nd gear. After reading all the complaints, I have to agree, this is a Toyota problem, not a consumer problem. I am concerned when reading what some of the consumers have paid and still the problem exists. My sister has a 2002 Rav also, but her problems (transmission) is worse. I don't have any solutions. I plan on telling my sister about this website. The more complaints the better.

- , Lisbon Falls, ME, USA

problem #47

May 282008

RAV4 Linited

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles

I just started having problems with my car shifting. My mechanic says it is the transmission. I have been reading a lot here but don't know if rebuilding the transmission is the fix. What did everyone else do? Did Toyota help foot the bill?

- , Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #46

Apr 282008

RAV4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

I WAS SOLD THE CAR WITH THE PROBLEM AND THE BULLETIN BEING PUT OUT! NEVER MENTIONED BY MY SALESMAN(FRIDAY). I TOOK THE CAR TO THE DEALERSHIP TO HAVE LOOKED AT AND THEY GAVE MY THE OUT OF WARRANT ACT AND NOTHING THEY COULD DO SPILL! AND GAVE MY A $4400.00 ESTIMATE. THAT INCLUDED A O2 SENSOR AND CADI-CONVERTOR. I TOOK IT TO A SHOP HE REBUILT THE TRANS. AND IT WAS DOING THE SAME THING THE DAY I GOT IT BACK AND THE 2ND DAY. ON THE 3RD DAY I WAS TOLD TO TAKE IT TO THE DEALERSHIP AND THEY RAN A SCAN TOOL ON IT AND HE SAID IT WASN'T SAYING ANYTHING WAS WRONG. NOW IT HAS RAN GOOD FOR 2 DAYS NOW....SO WE WILL SEE AND I AM VERY UPSET THAT I WAS SOLD A CAR WITH THESE PROBLEMS AND THE TOYOTA PLACE WAS AWARE OF IT AND AREN'T STEPPING UP TO THE PLATE TO HELP US OUT!!! I PAID 11,999 FOR A CAR THAT WILL COST ME AT LEAST 2000 MORE NOT EVEN TWO YEARS LATER!! THIS IS AWLFUL!!! THIS IS MY FIRST TOYOTA AND IT WILL BE MY LAST!!!

- , Monroe, La, USA

problem #45

May 162008

RAV4 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

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

I was having no problems with my RAV until TODAY!!! I was going to my sisters in Philadelphia because she has been sick. On my way my mom and I got stuck in traffic for two hours due to an accident. I noticed that my truck was shifting right. I called my dad on the phone and he told me that it was probably because the transmission oil overheated. ON the Schuylkill Expressway the problem was getting worse a couple of times I thought the RAV was going to shut off!!!! That road is the last place you want to breakdown because you will get killed because everyone drives like mad-men!!! I got to my sisters and thought to myself thats alright you're going to be here a while the truck will have time to cool off and everything will be OK!!! Boy was I wrong!!! As soon as I left the RAV started to do the same thing. I called my dad again and told him if we weren't home in 3 hours to get a Rollback and come look for us!!! I made it home 4 hours later. I drove slowly and cautiously. I had received a recall notice about a year ago to have the ECM reprogrammed. I took it to the dealer and had it done. My dad works for a Transmission shop. He took it there to see what was wrong and came home to tell me that it was the solenoids in the transmission. I them came home and wanted to do some research on this subject. I went on Toyota's website and got NOWHERE. I couldn't find any recalls or anything. I then did a web search and found this site. What a God sent!!!! I then in turn called my dad and told him what I found out. He wanted me to print all of it out to show his boss! I absolutely love my RAV4 but after reading the complaints on this website I am contacting a lawyer first thing Monday (05-19-2008) morning. I want to explore all of my options on this!! I REFUSE to put any money out for this problem until I get some answers from SOMEBODY!!!! If I have to start with filing a class action lawsuit I will! I'm so sick and tired of the Auto Company's thinking they are all HIGH AND MIGHTY. If anyone wants to join let me know. I will repost once I talk to my attorney on Monday (05-19-2008). I'M GOING TO FILE COMPLAINTS TO WHOMEVER I CAN. I'll start with the BBB and the NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION BUREAU

- , St Clair, PA, USA

problem #44

May 052008

RAV4 ?

  • Automatic transmission
  • 127,000 miles

well, i went to Seattle to buy a car and test drove for about 5 minutes a 02 rav4. it was great! bought it and on my way home in the city i noticed it slipping and jerking from transmission. took it back and mechanic seemed to know something was up with ecm. i got my money back. the next day i researched and noticed this is a problem for this vehicle. called dealer and let them know what i found. needless to say i will not be buying a 02 rav4. i pity all of you that own them. Toyota will not do the right thing by replacing the ecm. instead they want to try and reprogram.

- , East Wenatchee, WA, USA

problem #43

May 012008

RAV4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 83,000 miles

I also had the same problem as the other people on this page. The car didn't want to go when I accelerated, and then would shift very hard. I took my car to the Toyota dealer and was told that it would need at the least a new ECM, and possibly even a new transmission. The cost for the ECM $1200, and the transmission $3600. The service manager told me that Toyota had put out a statement saying if the car presented with these problems to first replace the ECM. Apparently the computer is at the root of the problem, but if not fixed soon enough will damage your transmission. My car was past the warranty period, so I ended up footing the bill. If Toyota knows about this problem, they should repair or recall all ECM's before more people end up spending this kind of money. This is very costly, especially on a car that is 7 years old. I was told that only 3-5% of the 2002 Rav 4's had this problem, and therefore it was not a big enough group to warrant a recall. My guess is that is all of the complaints they have had so far. Maybe if enough people complain they will have to recall this model, and may reimburse the ones of us that have already had to pay the bill.

- , Louisville, KY, USA

problem #42

Mar 072008

RAV4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

At approximately 100,000 miles, my RAV4 began having difficulty shifting from 1st to 2nd. For several weeks we tried different corrections to repair the problem, to no avail. Finally the check engine light came on and my husband was thrilled that it would finally throw a code so that we could repair it.

The check engine light came on on Sunday evening and went off the next day. We still took it to a transmission repair place for their expert advice. Surprisingly enough, they said it needed a new transmission. They said this does not normally happen with Toyota's, but it seems to be happening with mine. We agreed to pay them $1,500 for the rebuilding of the transmission. Once the car was torn down, they found that it also needed to have the torque converter replaced, for another $600. We agreed to pay this and yet we kept waiting to get the car back. Then they called and said that there was a bad solenoid, fortunately this was covered in the previous amounts.

About a week latter, we received a call that there was a computer problem. We paid $100 to have the computer flashed and got the car back a week later. After having the car back for 1 day, it started the same thing all over again. It looks like the only other alternative is to have the computer replaced. The part alone costs $1,200 and then there is installation. So far, we have not found a rebuilt computer and the repair shop and us are skeptical as to this repairing the problem.

- , Senoia, GA, USA

problem #41

Feb 122008

RAV4 LTD 4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,807 miles

Same problem as posted on here. Shifts erratically from 1st to 2nd, sluggish from start. Dealer diagnosed error codeP0755 shift solenoid electrical concern...replace ECM under warranty. They are replacing the ECM free of charge, supposedly under extended warranty. My regular warranty expired last July, so am wondering why they they are doing this under the extended warranty. They must know about the problem and thus fixing it free of charge. However, I don't know if this is a permanent fix for the problem. Sounds like it could be the whole transmission. Should I keep it or trade it off...my question at the moment! ??

- , Drumheller, Alberta, Canada

problem #40

Mar 052008

RAV4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

I began having problems with my car when it would try and shift from 1st to 2nd. I took it to my local Toyota dealer and they ran a check and said they couldn't find anything wrong with the transmission, so they suggested getting the transmission flushed. I left it there and they completed the work...cost $120. The result...the problem still exists. I then went and had my transmission replaced... the cost $3015. The result, same problem. Now, I am reading where many, many Toyota RAV4 owners are experiencing this same thing. I am so angry because I am not getting good response from the dealer. They seem to not really care at all. And now I am concerned that if I continue driving the car, my newly replaced transmission will go bad and then I will be stuck in this repair cycle. I don't know about all you other folks but financially this is really awful. I hope a class action comes soon. Toyota needs to show some integrity and help their customers out.

- , San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #39

Mar 282008

RAV4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles

Rav4 started to shift poorly into 2nd, couldn't believe it was my transmission. Check engine came on later. Mechanic said diagnostic read P0755. Shift solenoid malfunction.

Decided to take it to Dealer. Said it could be the ECM which will cost 1350 and hope its not the transmission which will be 3500. Found 38 Complaints about this. I guess Toyota doesn't want to open the door for a recall. That will cost money. Hopefully a class action will take place. No longer a Toyota fan.

- , Gahanna, OH, USA

problem #38

Mar 142008

RAV4

  • Manual transmission
  • 72,950 miles

Experienced issue very similar to other descriptions; hard/strange shifting and "bucking" at the worst. Local mechanic examined transmission, found "burnt" fluid, but no obvious mechanical issues, and then found service bulletin regarding replacement of computer module under extended warranty. Dealer just did this and it is better, but not perfect. Seems to have corrected issues in forward gears, but now some odd troubles with reverse. Dealer says next step may be new transmission; what have others experienced? Any success with getting Toyota to cover this large expense?

Thanks

- , Camden, ME, USA

problem #37

Feb 062008

RAV4 V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 63,000 miles

I am having the same problem described by all the other complaints about the RAV4 and not being able to get into gear...my car only has 63,000 miles on it. The transmission fluid was changed by my mechanic. Then the engine light began coming on sporadically. Not being able to get going from a stop also happens sporadically.

Has anyone had success getting Toyota dealer to replace the ECM at no cost?

- , Seattle WA 98178, WA 98178, USA

problem #36

May 132007

(reported on)

RAV4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

I'm having this same problem. For me, it started after the recall/reprogramming too. Should have ignored that notice! I've had it to 2 separate dealerships and they never experience it. A friend works at one dealership and he believes me, and changed the tran fluid which worked for about 2 weeks. Then it was back! Don't know what to do yet. Please email me if you have solutions or ideas besides jumping through all the costly hoops.

- , Vancouve, WA, USA

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