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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
7 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
5 / 0
Average Mileage:
46,251 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #16

Jan 182016


  • 60,000 miles


I was pulling into a parking spot at less than 10 mph when the engine revved loudly, lurched forward, jumped the curb and continued up a slope. I was unable to stop the car. I was able to turn the wheel to avoid a head-on collision with a building, and instead hit the building on an angle on the left front side. The car stopped only after hitting the building. This is the third instance of "unintended acceleration" I have experienced with this vehicle. This was the most serious episode. The other two events were similar. In the first instance the car again accelerated while I was parking at low speed and hit a fence. In the second instance there was no damage or injury as I was able to put the car into park.

- Mount Arlington, NJ, USA

problem #15

Apr 082014


  • 45,309 miles
I was stopped at a red light with ~1 car length between me and one car in front of me. When the light turned green and the car ahead began to move, I took my foot off the brake and moved it to the accelerator as usual. At that point, my car rapidly accelerated out of control and hit the car in front. My brakes wouldn't engage and my car continued to accelerate rapidly. I had to swerve around the car I hit while my car continued at high speed through two stop signs in a residential neighborhood. During this time, I had to swerve to avoid hitting oncoming cars. All the while I was trying to apply brakes, but they wouldn't engage and my speed didn't decrease. After approximately 1/2 mile, the brakes finally engaged and I was able to bring the car to a stop. My airbags didn't deploy after the initial impact, perhaps because of the initial low speed.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #14

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 #13

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 #12

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 #11

Jun 072013

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 80,764 miles
I entered my car in the home garage while coasting and the car suddenly accelerated as I approached about 5 feet within my parking spot. After the car suddenly accelerated, it was a matter of seconds before the car crashed into a floor cabinet and refrigerator that rests against our garage wall stopping the car's forward movement and allowing me put the car in the drive gear and turn off the engine. The air bags did not deploy and fortunately I was not injured. The crash caused extensive damages to the front of the car, both front side fenders, driver and passenger doors, the garage wall, floor cabinet and refrigerator. There may be additional internal damage under the hood but at this point that has not been determined. The car damages are so extensive that it may be a total loss. Obviously, I'm very disappointed by this incident and will not trust the car in the future. I promptly reported this to my insurance co. And filed an incident with Toyota and requested that they perform a root cause analysis.

- Pickerington, OH, USA

problem #10

Jan 232013


  • 39,800 miles


My car had the check engine and vsc trac lights came on at the same time. If I start the car, put it in drive and press on the gas pedal sometime nothing happens, sometimes the car suddenly accelerate. I took the car back to Toyota dealer next. They said it was a accelerator pedal error (P2121 error) and card was not safe for driving. The car is still at Toyota dealer for further trouble shooting.

- Edison, NJ, USA

problem #9

Feb 162011


  • 62,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Rav4. The contact started the vehicle and as he shifted into reverse, a rapid acceleration occurred causing the vehicle to crash into a building. The contact sustained minor injuries to the neck. A police report was filed. The vehicle was destroyed and towed to a collision facility. The failure mileage was 62,000. Updated 04/07/11

- Newland , NC, USA

problem #8

Mar 112010


  • miles
While exiting a parallel parking space, I lightly tapped the accelerator pedal and the car jerked forward and then started to go at a rapid speed. I pressed the brake pedal and the car stopped. I believe that this has happened in the past.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #7

Feb 242010


  • 45 miles
Have a 2004 Toyota Rav4. On occasion, when the cruise control is turned off by applying the brakes or to slow down. When resume is engaged on the cruise control the car will accelerate beyond the set speed. Have to turn cruise control off when this happens or the car would continue to speed up. Happens only occasionally, not all the time.

- Flat Rock, NC, USA

problem #6

Nov 182004


  • 1,000 miles


Toyota 2004 rav 4 SUV will surge when letting up on the gas pedal to turn a corner. Response of the pedal is erratic at times when backing up or when pulling away from a stop. We have a service tech. Reprogram the commuter that learns are driving habits and it has not corrected the problem. Hence, the 36 mo. Warranty expired and so we just live with the situation, but the current recalls got us to thinking that they include alot of the problems that we have been experiencing. Stopped complaining after the warranty.

- Chadron, NE, USA

problem #5

Nov 122009


  • miles
2004 Rav4. Accelerator has become erratic in the last 3 months. Car will leap ahead with virtually no pressure on pedal. Only does it occasionally. Pedal is mounted quite high, above the brake pedal, and cannot contact floor mats. While pulling into a right angle parking spot at low speed and with foot on brake, vehicle suddenly surged ahead. I was only 5 feet from a brick wall and could not respond quickly enough to brake the vehicle. Impact with wall plaster (about 1 foot wide) crushed the bumper, grill and buckled the hood. Apparently speed was not great and the airbags did not deploy but seatbelts caused chest injury to both my passenger and myself. Perhaps fortunate that the wall was so close or my passenger and myself might have been more seriously injured. Will be trading this car in as soon as it is repaired.

- Romeoville, IL, USA

problem #4

Oct 182009


  • 80,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Rav4. While driving 35 mph his vehicle accelerated to a high speed, and would not decelerate. Consequently he crashed into a pole. She sustained multiple injuries and was hospitalized.the police were still conducting an investigation, and a report will be available if necessary. The vehicle was towed to an impound. The Toyota manufacturer was not called. The failure mileage was 80,000.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #3

Jan 162009


  • 151,100 miles
Tire pressure light is always lit...even with full tire pressure. Now at 151K miles, the vsc trac, trac off and check engine light are on. Nothing seems to be wrong and bulletin boards show people spending a lot of money at dealership only to have it come on again. I will not go that route, and will try to turn it off as it seems that it is a glitch. Want to report in the hopes that Toyota will fix/recall. I love my Rav4 and want to buy another one when this one is too old to drive, but don't want to have electrical problems.

- Kissimmee, FL, USA

problem #2

Dec 262007

RAV4 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Check engine light and vehicle stability light are on, I have on and off smelled the sulfur smell. Also, have a problem with the cruise control going out of control, around sharp corners where I have to slam on brakes to disengage to control the vehicle as it will not stop acceleration, it increases acceleration.

- Greenfield, MA, USA

problem #1

Mar 072004

RAV4 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Sudden and rapid acceleration when auto was put in reverse. Brakes did not work. Car forced into park and continued to roll backwards while engaged in park.

- New Market, MD, USA

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