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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
49,472 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.

2009 Toyota RAV4 engine problems

engine problem

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2009 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #14

Jul 162016


  • 81,300 miles


The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Rav4. The contact stated that when the vehicle was started there was a loud noise coming from the engine. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the timing pinion needed replacement. The contact also stated that the same failure occurred three other times. The vehicle was repaired under warranty. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 81,300.

- Barceloneta, PR, USA

problem #13

Apr 082016


  • 135,547 miles
When car is at 1500 RPM at 40 mph, the transmission vibrates and thrusts. Noise goes away if above 2000 RPM or above 40 mph. It's Toyota of manchester nh has been able to reproduce. Waiting to see if Toyota will do anything.

- Litchfield, NH, USA

problem #12

Sep 182015


  • 87,500 miles
Whenever we are traveling about 40 mph and 1500 RPM, there is a rattle noise. The vibration holds for as long as 1-2 seconds. As soon as the vibration starts, you can let off the gas or step on the gas to change the rpms and it instantly stops. The car has been making this sound since shortly after we bought it brand new. Now we're being told that it's a transmission failure. The torque converter is the route if the problem. At 1500 RPM and 38-40 mph the torque converter in the transfer case is vibrating, causing the heat shield to rattle because of the transfer of vibrations. It just seems like we've had a faulty transmission all along.

- Tallahassee, FL, USA

problem #11

Jun 292015


  • 65,400 miles


While my wife was driving on the highway at 60 mph the engine lost power. Moving to the right lane to pull over, flames began coming out of the top of the hood, hitting the windshield. She tried stopping but brake pedal went to the floor, requiring her to put the car in park and slide on grass. She jumped out of the vehicle and within 8 minutes the car was completely destroyed.

- Massapequa Park, NY, USA

problem #10

Dec 122014


  • 57,668 miles
I was driving and the air bag inadvertently went off, exploding in my face. The vehicle filled with smoke, dust, and debris. Because I could not see (airbag in my face and smoke/debris in the vehicle), I crashed into the vehicle in front of me.

- Las Cruces, NM, USA

problem #9

Jan 032015

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 37,000 miles
Vehicle was parked overnight on our front driveway facing the garage. Where it always parked everyday. The weather was warm and clear my wife was in the vehicle and was preparing to buckle up and drive to church, I entered the vehicle into the passenger seat and buckled up. She started the vehicle and immediately accelerated through the roof. I yelled at her to get her foot off the accelerator and she yelled at me that she was no where near it. I then told her to pull the floor mat / carpet back and it was already back and locked down to the floor. I told her to turn it off. The car idled down to stop once key was turned off. We sat there for a few moments, I told her to depress the accelerator pedal once and try to start the vehicle. The car started normally we let it warm up for a moment and drove away. She told me she was glad I was in the car to see the event because it had happened 3 other times in the last 45 days. Fortunately she was not traveling at a high speed when it occurred or on a busy roadway or school zone.

- Denison , TX, USA

problem #8

Sep 082014


  • 38,364 miles


The brake was engaged in traffic when the car started to accelerate. I applied the brake more firmly and put the car in park. The engine began to rev uncontrollably in a cloud of white smoke. I switched the car off and restarted the motor and it then ran normally.

- Nantucket , MA, USA

problem #7

Jan 142014


  • 20,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Rav4. The contact stated that while in reverse, the check engine warning light illuminated as the four wheel drive failed to function. The contact mentioned that the failure recurred intermittently. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the four wheel drive needed to be reset. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure and current mileage was 20,000.

- Cool Ridge , WV, USA

problem #6

Jul 012013

RAV4 6-cyl

  • miles
Brought vehicle in for a recall and oil change, and was told that the water pump has failed and requires replacement at a cost of over $700. Upon research, this early water pump failure appears to be a common problem with Rav4's, although no recall has been issued yet.

- Chepachet, RI, USA

problem #5

Apr 012013

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 49,000 miles
I noticed a strange rattling noise from the engine when starting my car 1st thing in the morning and when starting it after it has sat for a few hours; I researched online for other similar complaints and found that Toyota has discovered an issue with the cam shaft on some vehicles. I have just learned of a 2nd recall on my vehicle, this one for the rear suspension after visiting the Toyota website, but I found nothing about a recall regarding the cam shaft. I had planned on bringing the cam shaft issue to the attention of the service tech when I take the vehicle in for the rear suspension recall but am unsure if anything will be done. Please advise.

- Victorville, CA, USA

problem #4

Mar 302013

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 33,960 miles


While stopped at red light with right foot on brake, engine suddenly accelerated to very high RPM. Shifted to neutral and engine revved even higher. Turned off ignition. Signal turned green and since I was in traffic, decided to try to start engine again. Engine started and performed normally. Immediately drove to Toyota dealer who said they could find nothing wrong. We are now afraid to drive this vehicle! things could have been much worse had we been moving in traffic!

- Hollister, CA, USA

problem #3

Jan 122013

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 26,000 miles
I was coming to a stop at traffic light. As I slowed down with my foot on the brake the engine suddenly began to surge. Since my foot was already on the brake I was able to push down harder on it to stop it from hitting the car ahead of me. Within a second or two, as the engine continued to surge, I shifted the transmission into park. When I did this the engine surged even more. I then turned off the engine by turning the key which did shut everything down. I then restarted the engine and it ran normally. I was somewhat shaken up by the incident. Note that this had nothing to do with the floor mats or hitting the wrong pedal. My foot was on the brake pedal the whole time the incident occurred-if it hadn't been I would have crashed into the car in front of me.

- Newtown, PA, USA

problem #2

Oct 042012


  • 27,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Rav4. The contact stated that while driving approximately 35 mph the contact noticed the check engine light illuminated on the instrument panel. The warning light stayed on constantly. Also, the contact mentioned that the noise volume in the cabin of the vehicle was extremely loud while driving at all speeds. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 27,000.

- Burke, VA, USA

problem #1

Jul 052012

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 33,870 miles
While driving 25 mph, I started to brake for a light. The car suddenly accelerated and it took both feet applied to the brakes to stop and avoid hitting the car in front of me. Ten minutes later, another sudden acceleration occurred, followed in rapid succession by a third acceleration.

- Avon Lake, OH, USA

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