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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
20 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
9 / 1
Average Mileage:
33,509 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.

2008 Toyota RAV4 engine problems

engine problem

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2008 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 5)

problem #89

Feb 192016


  • 65,000 miles


The problem is repeatable. Going uphill on a highway at around fifty mph with speed control on. Vehicle speed has dropped about 2 mph below the set point. I tap the speed control lever once to reduce the set point by about 1 mph. The speed control instantly opens the throttle wide and the transmission shifts to a lower gear. The result is an abrupt increase in speed rather than than the intended decrease. If, under the same circumstances, I pull the speed control lever to turn off the control the same thing happens but is quickly terminated when the control disconnects, without much increase in speed.

- Los Alamos, NM, USA

problem #88

Mar 152016


  • 105,000 miles
Sudden acceleration. Car was stopped in park and shifted to drive. Transmission made a large clunk sound as it went into drive and then accelerated to what sound like full throttle. My foot was on the brake and the car didn't move much but was bucking against the brake. I shifted into neutral and turned off the car. I then put it into park. I got out of the vehicle, looked under the dash and the accelerator pedal looked like it was in a normal position and the floor mats were several inches from the accelerator pedal. This took place at the bemidji high school parking lot. I then re-started the car and drove it home with no incident. There was no damage to the car and no injuries.

- Bemidji, MN, USA

problem #87

Jul 172015

RAV4 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,200 miles
The Rav4 has exhibited sudden unintended acceleration three times: Latest occurred on 7/17/2015 at 7:30 pm while stopped at an intersection; the 2nd on 7/06/15 while in park in my driveway just after stating the car; the 1st on about 6/30/15 around noon while stopped at a traffic light. Fortunately, I had my foot on the break or was in park so that the car did not move. After turning the car off and restarting the problem went away. The vehicle was tested at local dealer on 7/20 with diagnostic data sent to Toyota central, but they could find no problem in the data - no error codes. The technical case number is [xxx]. after contacting Toyota customer service (case # [xxx]) I was told they could do nothing further that the car "performed as designed" per sabina charfauros, case manager, 188-331-4331 ext. 73846 updated 9/28/15 updated 3/23/2016

- Scott Depot, WV, USA

problem #86

Mar 202015

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 70,733 miles


While stopped at a light waiting to turn left the Rav4 engine began to rev and lurched forward with driver's foot still on the brake. Driver put car into neutral while holding down the brake pedal to prevent the car hurtling into the intersection. Driver then turned off the car and put gear shift to park. After 30 seconds restarted the car with foot on brake and the engine began to rev again with car in park. The engine noise was very loud. Car was again turned off. Car was restarted after about 2-3 minutes and engine behaved normally. Owners took car to Toyota dealer within an hour of the incident. Toyota dealership ran diagnostic and manager said driver had foot on the accelerator when it happened which is certainly not true. Dealer would not release a copy of the diagnostic report. Owners have had all recall work done on the vehicle and have done regular maintenance as required in the owner manual.

- Bristow, VA, USA

problem #85

Mar 012015


  • 94,000 miles
ABS light, vsc light, brake light and traction control light illuminated causing all systems to be inoperative. After taking car to local dealer problem was found to be bad left wheel speed sensor, harness for sensor and wheel hub that had corrosion on it possibly from living in an area that deices roads with salt. In my research it has been brought to my attention through several Toyota blogs this is a recurring problem around the country. Several people have had the same complaint and the associated cost to fix this problem is expensive. If an owner fails to fix the problem the outcome could become catastrophic in inclimate weather.

- Burlington, KY, USA

problem #84

Sep 252014

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 83,552 miles
The vehicle slows down and the engine shuts off while driving around 65 mph or higher the throttle control is not responding very dangerous.

- Anaheim , CA, USA

problem #83

May 172014


  • 77,000 miles


Check engine light, vsc light, and 4WD lights stayed on after we purchased vehicle. We were advised to disconnect battery to reset, it worked until car was shut off. Then the lights care on again, and 4WD would not work. Our driveway requires 4WD! took it to Toyota service near our home, he called warranty company, they would not pay because evap cannister and hoses had previous water damage, and were rusted. Manly Honda in santa rosa has put us off for two and a half weeks. This is where we purchased the car for our daughter. They will not return calls. We were informed Toyota only covered this problem up to 70,000 miles. To take it to dealer!! they will no longer respond.

- Witter Springs, CA, USA

problem #82

Jan 102014

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 7,048 miles
I was pulling into my garage. I took my foot off the accelerator and went for the brake and the car suddenly lurched forward and struck a folded deck chair which was pushed through the garage wall.

- Dublin, OH, USA

problem #81

Mar 252014

RAV4 4-cyl

  • miles
2008 Toyota rav 4. consumer writes in regards to vehicle sudden acceleration. The consumer stated 2 service recalls were performed. After the services were performed, the consumer stated a friend pickup up the vehicle, and experienced the following events: When the vehicle was started, the engine began to idle very rough with considerable vibration, as if the vehicle was running on 3 cylinders. The dealer claimed with a little driving the software update would work itself out and no longer be an issue. The service representative said the rough idle would sometime happens after the recall software update. Over the next 3 weeks, the consumer drove the vehicle daily and it continued to run rough. As she approached a red light, she took her foot off the accelerator and placed her foot on the brake pedal to stop. However, the vehicle instead accelerated, and she began quickly pumping the brake pedal. Eventually, the vehicle did come to a stop with the engine running at a lower rate, but still running rough.

- Lancaster, NY, USA

problem #80

Dec 302013


  • 56,000 miles
I do own a Toyota Rav4 2008, it does have a whining noise which comes in to play from 20-30 miles an hr. I have brought it to Toyota many times for check up and they cant find the issue they are insisting it is the brakes, I did replace the brakes but the noise is still there. Is there any resolution on this I am afraid of this noise. I want to know if Toyota will have a recall on this noise. If I press the acceleration pedal the noise starts at 20 miles per hr and it stops after 30 miles per hr but if I let go of the acceleration the noise will stop even at 20-30 miles per hr. I wonder what it could be" will this noise cause any accident while driving" please help on a response on this issue, thanks

- West Roxbury, MA, USA

problem #79

Oct 222013

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 66,465 miles


I had just arrived to work was in the employee park lot getting ready to pull into a parking space when the car accelerated on it's own. I stepped on the brakes to stop the car but it will not. I pulled emergency brake right before I hit the wall at the parking garage when the car finally stopped. I contacted Toyota and had the car towed for inspection. Went to Toyota and wrote a statement on 10/23/13 at 0900, they called again to ask what had happened. They then called again at 418pm and left message that car was ready for pick up. Went there today and I asked what was wrong with the car and they told me to call corporate to tell me. I called corporate as told and they referred me back to the dealer as they did the diagnostic test. They stated manager is on vacation until Monday. I called corporate again and they told me to speak to the service manager. I called him at 352pm and he asked me what happened and I explained myself again. I asked what tests were run on the car and what they found. He then told me that the technician who tested the car is not available and therefore he cannot give any information. I then called corporate again to get answers and was told someone will be in touch with me in 1 business day. My fear is what if this happens again as they are not telling me anything. I have a 5 month old baby and I don't know where to get answers to ensure this car is safe to drive. Please can somebody help me get answers from Toyota in regards to the tests they did on the car.

- Bear, DE, USA

problem #78

Sep 272013


  • 142,000 miles
I was turning around in a parking lot (360 degree turn) when the vehicle suddenly accelerated...I hit the brake, the engine continued to race and I tried to put the engine in neutral. I was heading toward a parked vehicle (I would have T-boned it but I swerved), foot depressing the brake to the floor, nothing on the accelerator, engine continued to race and while I tried to put the vehicle in neutral I overshot, threw it into reverse (engine still racing), then park. Engine racing, I shut off the car. Nothing was on the accelerator and the original floor mat replaced by a different style. I had the original recall issue fixed so the accelerator is the new, shortened version. Apparently that fix did not correct the problem. So now what do I do? I can no longer trust this vehicle to operate safely. Nothing should override the brake!!

- Rock Creek, OH, USA

problem #77

Jun 182013

RAV4 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Rav4. The contact stated that while driving 25 mph, he then applied the brake, as stopped traffic was ahead. However, the vehicle accelerated independently and crashed into another vehicle. The vehicle was destroyed. The driver and passenger suffered minor injuries. The manufacturer had not been notified of the failure. The failure and current mileage was 113,000. Updated 07/16/13 the consumer stated most of the data was difficult to interpret as far as implications concerning the events leading up to the time of impact. Specifically, the vehicle speed showed very little reduction in mph until less than one second before impact, assuming time 0 represents impact. The data supported the consumers claim that there was no significant response to his braking when he became aware of apparently stopped traffic ahead after he had completed a lane change. Also, the accelerator rate and engine RPM data did not support the common explanation that he was pushing on the gas pedal instead of the brake. His reaction at the time was to brake as a panic stop, but there was enough distance to have been able to stop before impact or at least greatly reduce his speed before impact. Updated 10/21/13

- Carlsbad, CA, USA

problem #76

Jan 312013


  • 54,450 miles
The onboard computer (ECM) program is defective in the 2008 Rav4, and probably other years and models, causing owners to unnecessarily bring cars in and pay for unneeded service. When I started the car to begin an interstate drive, 3 fault indicators (check engine, vehicle stability control, 4 wheel drive) illuminated. Following owners manual, my wife called the nearest Toyota dealer who told her to bring the vehicle to a Toyota dealer immediately, and to drive cautiously, to allow additional room when following other vehicles, and not to attempt sudden stops. Another fault indicator (cruise control would not engage) presented itself enroute. The service technician said the reason for all 4 fault indications was the #6 cylinder misfired 1 time a few seconds after I started the vehicle. He said the ECM is programmed to give these 4 fault indications for a cylinder misfire, but he did not know why. He said that he could find no reason for the single misfire, but that he found and tightened a slightly loose air intake hose that could not possibly have caused the misfire. He told me that it would have been fine for me to make my interstate drive without coming to the dealership. I believe that the onboard computer programming that provided these 4 fault indications is defective for the following reasons. 1. a single cylinder misfire is unrelated to and has no effect upon the three systems pointed to by the fault indications (vehicle stability control, 4 wheel drive, cruise control) 2. a single cylinder misfire at startup is not an emergency situation requiring immediate service at a Toyota dealership with extraordinarily cautious driving enroute. 3. during the 1 hour drive to the dealership the cylinders of the vehicle fired successfully around 360,000 times, and the programming did not recognize this faultless operation and automatically clear the fault indicators.

- Loveland, OH, USA

problem #75

Feb 242013

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 56,340 miles
Was driving 2008 Rav4 out of town with my wife. Came to a stoplight and quickly applied brakes and engine started revving upward. Had to press on brake with full force to keep the car from accelerating through the red light. Shifted to park and the car "bucked" and engine almost red-lined at 6000 rpms. Shifted to drive and went through red light and pulled off to the side. Tried to replicate in neutral and could only get to 5000 rpms. Thank goodness no one was in front of me and my wife wasn't driving as I don't think she would have known how to react to such an unexpected and dangerous situation. Brought to dealership and they performed health check analysis and said "all ok at this time". unhappy with the result of the "check", called dealership back and was told to call 800-331-4331 (Toyota headquarters in ca) to file a report. Rep took down all of the information and put me on hold to check into the matter. Created a case number and notified customer service manager at dealership to have a field tech rep look at the car. Hoping they can rectify the situation (computer glitch?) as my wife is now afraid to drive the car for fear of possible damage, injury or death. Since the 2008 wasn't part of the recent acceleration/floor mat recall, if you've had a similar scare with your 2008 Rav4, please call the 800 number and report it for further investigation.

- Destrehan, LA, USA

problem #74

Nov 302012

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota rav-4. the contact stated that while sitting idle with the brakes depressed, the vehicle suddenly accelerated as the engine rpms abnormally increased. The contact crashed into the rear of another vehicle, causing that vehicle to crash into a third vehicle. The contact was not injured. The police were contacted and a report was filed. The vehicle was later towed to the dealer for diagnosis. The technicians were unable to duplicate or diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was contacted and advised her that they would send an investigator to inspect the vehicle. The failure and current mileages were approximately 40,000. The consumer stated there were numerous occassions when the vehicle would lurch into gear. The consumer discovered this was called jack rabbit starts. The consumer no longer owns the vehicle. Updated 03/29/2013

- Highland Park, NJ, USA

problem #73

Aug 202012

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
Car was pulling into parking space. Suddenely, engine revved up, accelerated, and jumped the curve. Was able to stop the car when applied the brakes.

- Tucker, GA, USA

problem #72

Aug 142012

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
I was pulling into a parking space in a lot in front of a building. In a split second the car had jumped the curb up onto the sidewalk and crashed through the brick wall and window in front of me. I was applying the brake as hard as I could and tried and succeeded into shifting it into park. The airbags did not deploy and I was not injured and did not hurt anyone else - thank goodness. The only explanation other than unintended acceleration was that I hit the accelerator very hard and I do not believe I did that. I had not been distracted by anything and had no sense of my foot slipping from the brake or anything like that.

- Liberty Hill, TX, USA

problem #71

May 152012

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 33,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Rav4. The contact stated that while stopped, she removed her foot from the brake pedal and the vehicle surged forward unexpectedly. The brakes were applied with extreme pressure, but the vehicle accelerated down a hill and crossed into a patch of large rocks. The contact suffered injuries when her head made contact with the rear view mirror. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer, where the failure would be diagnosed. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileages were 33,000. Updated 06/12/12 updated 06/13/12

- New Castle , PA, USA

problem #70

Mar 012010


  • 18,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota rav-4. the contact stated that when driving approximately 5 mph and depressing the brakes, the vehicle would continue to accelerate. The contact would have to use extreme force on the brakes in order for the vehicle to stop. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where they advised him that they were unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was contacted and they offered no assistance. The failure mileage was approximately 18,000.

- Renton, WA, USA

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