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. 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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
6 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
30,396 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Toyota RAV4 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2003 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #6

Aug 092011


  • 50,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Rav4. The contact stated that while driving in rainy conditions at 35 mph, the brakes were applied and seized. As a result the contact lost control of the vehicle and crashed head on into a tree. The airbags did not deploy during the crash. An authorized dealer was notified and stated that the airbag might not have deployed because the airbag sensors were located on the sides of the vehicle. The vehicle had not been repaired. A police report was filed. The failure and the current mileages were 50,000. The VIN information was not available.

- Chevy Chase , MD, USA

problem #5

Feb 122010


  • 75,080 miles
Was involved in an accident with the Toyota 2003 Rav4 rolling over and none of the air bags had opened front or skirt above the head for roll over.

- Independence, MO, USA

problem #4

Jan 202005


  • Automatic transmission
  • 18,200 miles
While driving at approximately 30 mph consumer's vehicle rear ended anothetr vehicle. Upon impact, driver's side seat belt failed to restraint the driver, and the air bags failed to deploy. Driver sustained injuries, and the vehicle was totaled.

- Castle Hayne, NC, USA

problem #3

Jan 202005


  • 18,000 miles


When the consumer rear ended another vehicle at 25 mph the front air bag did not deploy, nor did the seat belt restrain the consumer. Vehicle was towed. The dealership was notified, but did not resolve the problem.. vehicle was totaled.

- Castle Hayne, NC, USA

problem #2

Dec 132004

RAV4 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 21,094 miles
While driving 50 mph consumer's vehicle was involved in a frontal collision. Upon impact, both frontal air bags failed to deploy. Driver sustained minor injuries, and was transported to a hospital. The vehicle was towed to dealer for inspection.

- Dublin, CA, USA

Search for these popular complaint phrases...

problem #1

Apr 142003

(reported on)


  • miles
The vehicle was involved in a frontal collision, and the air bags failed to deploy.

- Saint Cloud, FL, USA

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