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.

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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
93,833 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.

2004 Toyota RAV4 brakes problems

brakes problem

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2004 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #6

Jun 122016


  • 120,000 miles


Often after a cold start (all year round), stability control kicks in (with beep and stability control light coming on) after a few hundred feet of driving, resulting in one or more wheels applying the brakes and causing a jerk in the steering wheel. This happens on smooth surfaces and with normal acceleration where stability control should never activate. Has never happened at high speed because it always happens shortly after start, so always fully recoverable, but very concerning. Toyota (acton Toyota of littleton, MA) has failed to diagnose the issue.

- Cambridge, MA, USA

problem #5

Mar 102014


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Rav4. The contact stated that the ESC warning light randomly flashed. The contact experienced the suspension being unstable each time the vehicle was driven over 30 mph and upon making a turn. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who was unable to replicate and diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and provided no permanent remedy. The approximate failure mileage was 80,000.

- Spring Valley, NY, USA

problem #4

Jan 262014


  • 115,000 miles
My cars check engine and vsc trac lights came on at the same time when I started the car. I then put it in drive and pressed on the gas pedal and nothing happened, but sometimes the car suddenly accelerates. My husband had to drive my car and I had to follow him home B/C the car was so unpredictable. He would have to push down hard on the gas pedal and it would hesitate but then all of a sudden it would then jerk forward. He was terrified that he would get stuck in the middle of an intersection! I found an article online about how Toyota provided extended warrantys to 2001-2003 Rav4 vehicle owners for this exact issue. Please see article: please help me with this! its not fair that people with a 2004 or later can't benefit from this! I also called Toyota and left a complaint.

- Bethesda, MD, USA

problem #3

Aug 202010

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles


Vehicle decelerate, ignores throttle input with esp light flashing and sometimes a 'beeping' sound with violent sequential brake application by itself of right front wheel, with the violent consequence that it has on steering wheel. Made a 'reset' of steering wheel angle sensor procedure by Toyota steps. Problem not solved. By my experience as an automotive technician I suspected of an esp problem. I also noticed that there was a slightly increased input of steering wheel needed to have the same effect than before. By visual inspection, with another person moving the steering wheel, there was an excessive movement (play) of steering 'rack and pinion' from its mounting bushings to the body. Y pay to have those bushings replaced, and problem solved. It is a common issue. Now 135,000 miles and still no problems. The esp, because of the excessive steering wheel angle sensor reading (caused by the additional input required by rack and pinion defective mounting bushings) behaves like vehicle is going straight, sliding, instead of taking the turn, so the esp try to 'correct' a condition that it's not happening. Problems could also happens to vehicles going straight (decelerating, esp light flashing, beeping sound and/or violent brake applied to one of frontal wheels).

- Yabucoa, PR, USA

problem #2

Mar 012013


  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Rav4. The contact stated while driving approximately 35 mph the traction control activated. The contact stated the steering and brakes locked and the warning chime began to sound. The vsc warning light also illuminated. The failure occurred intermittently at different speeds. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing where the technician was unable to diagnose the failure. The tires were replaced but the failure continued to occur. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 30,000.

- Penn Valley, CA, USA

problem #1

Oct 182012


  • 143,000 miles
When I drive my automatic AWD 2004 Rav4 (143,000 miles, only owner, maintained well throughout the life of the vehicle) on the freeway around slight curves, the traction control light turns on and beeps loudly. The last time this happened my engine stalled, jerked, and the car automatically swerved me into the next lane, almost causing a horrible accident, I was not applying the brake or turning the wheel. It was like the car had a mind of its own. I took the car into the Toyota dealership for a diagnostic on the car, but they could not give any solid answers on why my car is having this problem, and that the tech almost crashed my car during the test drive. After paying $100, they said it could possibly be due to blown rear struts that are causing the back wheels to bounce around freeway curves which make the speed sensors think one of the wheels is skidding and activates the traction control system, but they were not completely sure. They said the sensors were all good. They wouldn't tell me anything else unless I started out by spending over $2000 to try fixing random things they recommended. They told me it is too dangerous to drive. Before the diagnostic at Toyota, I had already cleaned all the sensors and speed rings, and all the speed rings are intact. The car does not throw any codes or check engine lights. The traction control light is the only light that comes on when this happens and once the car gets back to normal (ie pulling over to the side of the road or off the freeway), the light and alarm turn off. I have tried disconnecting and reconnecting the battery. This is supposed to be a safety feature on the car, yet it is malfunctioning and making my car incredibly dangerous to drive! also, I live in Arizona...there was no rain, snow, ice or mud when this happened while driving on the freeway...the system activates on its own. Please help!

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

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