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:
58,042 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #8

Feb 242011

RAV4 4WD 4-cyl

  • 77,836 miles


I have a 2004 Toyota Rav4. The check engine light came on and after about 20 miles the car started shifting hard and finally wouldn't get in gear. Took it to the dealer, and they said the electronic control module (ECM) is at fault (error P0766- shift solenoid D stuck). They replaced the ECM but the problem persisted. The dealer told me the only way to fix the problem is to replace the transmission. I spoke to Toyota Corp but they told me the problem with the shift solenoid is a "wholly" separate issue. I told them about the 2001-2003 extension of warranty that Toyota did the Rav4 but they refused to cover the transmission replacement. This problem is very dangerous because the transmission can just disengage from the motor and leave you stuck in the middle of the road when you pull out of driveway or on the ramp entering a highway.

- Somerset, NJ, USA

problem #7

Jan 032011

RAV4 4WD 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
2001 Toyota rav 4. consumer states problems with computer and transmission the consumer stated a few months after the vehicle was purchased, the check engine light illuminated. The consumer took the dealer to two dealers who gave him different stories as to what the problem was. He finally took the vehicle to his personal mechanic for the check engine light. And it was determined the oxygen sensor need to be replaced. Also, the transmission would slow down in first gear and then activate hard in second gear. The consumer was informed a letter was mailed regarding problems with the transmission. However, the consumer stated he never received a letter and the vehicle was serviced several times at the dealer and no one mentioned it.

- Thiells, NY, USA

problem #6

Apr 272010


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Rav4. The contact stated that the vehicle jerked violently while the gears were changed and there was trouble accelerating. The failure occurred at any speed. The vehicle was taken to a local repair shop where the contact was informed that the transmission fluid was black; the fluid was replaced. The failure occurred intermittently. The failure mileage was approximately 50,000 and the current mileage was 62,600.

- Long Beach, NY, USA

problem #5

Dec 222010


  • 49,500 miles


I drove my 2004 (6 1/2 year old) Rav4 sport AWD today as usual to work (16 miles). It has just short of 50,000 miles on it and is ready for the next oil change in more than 1000 miles. I have done the majority of maintenance at the dealership. I drove the car from my office at 169 and 62, on 62 then North on I35W to minneapolis and then on I94E to St. Paul. Soon after I got on I94 I noticed sudden failure to accelerate with a jerking and high revs (to about 4500) when going from 55 to 60. The gears did not fully engage and rumbled and did not change or drive fully in any gear. I was concerned about transmission problems and stopped at a service station (mike's bp in St. Paul downtown) that had done an oil change on my car. The service person checked my transmission fluid and said it was "filthy" but full. He said it may need a new transmission. I chose to cancel my trip out of state for work, and drove directly home after setting up with my regular mechanic for next Tuesday, the earliest open appointment. I was surprised to have this issue come up so suddenly and it is a clear danger since I mostly would drive on interstate highways in rush hour traffic or long distance for work and it could cause a crash. I will not drive the vehicle. This car had no issues at all so far - only replaced the wipers a year ago. I am concerned to have further damage to the transmission as the car drove so unpredictably and makes strange noises now if it is shifting. I have a Toyota purchased extended warranty good until end of June 2011 and I'll work on getting this covered. It is frightening to have this happen to my vehicle as I depend on my car for work trips and for commuting. I'm glad I have the warranty and will have the work done to fix the problem if that is possible. My car goes through regular maintenance at a Toyota dealership and they run checks for any recalls every time it is in the shop. There has been nothing at all on the vehicle thus far.

- St. Paul, MN, USA

problem #4

Jan 012007


  • miles
Transmission issues, not shifting properly all the time! dealer tells me trans needs $3000 in repairs!

- Wood River, IL, USA

problem #3

Apr 092008


  • 102,000 miles
Was driving down the road and the transmission started making noises. It cracked real loud one time and I had no power. When I came to a red light and tried to go again it wouldn't take off. Took me 3 hrs to drive 55 miles to get my rav home. Contacted a garage that specializes in transmission. Was told they just received a notice from Toyota that the computer chip in the transmission was failing but that I had to many miles to qualify. The garage put in a new computer chip (recommended by Toyota) and it didn't completely take care of the problem so they ended up putting a whole new transmission in to the price of $4611.

- Shippensburg, PA, USA

problem #2

Dec 042009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles
2004 rav 4 automatic transmission began shifting very hard. I have researched the internet and there are many complaints on this same issue. Took it to aamco for testing. It is related to the computer module and caused internal damage to the transmission.

- Rainier, WA, USA

problem #1

Oct 182009


  • 50,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota rav 4. the vehicle would only drive normally when the engine was warm. While idling on top of a hill the vehicle would also roll backwards. The dealer has not diagnosed the failure. The current and failure mileages were 50,000.

- Foster City, CA, USA

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