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:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
9,049 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 #5

Jan 032011


  • 9,400 miles


Had just pulled slowly into a parking space, I took my foot off the accelerator and applied the brake. As I was applying pressure to the brake, the engine sped up to more than 7,000 RPM. (my foot was not on the accelerator. It was on the brake only.) I continued to press the brake which started to slip, and then I immediately put the transmission in neutral. As the engine reached maximum RPM's, it died back to an idle. This identical incident happened twice within 10 minutes. My parents and wife were in the car and can vouch for me. Note: Two months prior, this identical incident occurred while I was stopping at a busy intersection while preparing to turn left. There was a stopped vehicle in front of me which I nearly hit. My wife was in the car and can vouch for me.

- Goldsboro, NC, USA

problem #4

Jul 202010


  • 20,000 miles
10 month old Toyota rav-4 caught fire under the hood while sitting in parking garage and burned.

- Wentzville, MO, USA

problem #3

May 112010


  • 12,432 miles
As I drove into our parking lot at work after lunch, I was idling engine with foot on brake as I pulled into a parking spot. I was already making my turn into the parking spot with foot on brake and engine idling when my car began to rapidly accelerate. I responded by applying foot brake and grabbing and pulling the emergency brake but only had about 15 - 20 feet before hitting a concrete wall at the bake of the parking spot. I managed to not hit hard enough for the air bags to deploy but there is damage to my front bumper and hood. This is the only time my car has done this. I bought it new last Aug. 09 and it has approx 12,432 miles. Toyota took it to quality imports Toyota and "investigated" it and has found no defect. I talked to the inspector over the phone and he explained that he spent a few hours going through a series of tests attempting to find or reproduce a malfunction with no success. He told me that while my report is quite common he has never found a defect to explain sudden unexpected acceleration and that he thinks my car is safe and "he would let his daughter drive my car." I attest to the fact that a sticking accelerator and/or a slowly returning accelerator cannot explain this experience and is no "fix" for my accident. My education is in mechanical engineering and I have been an equipment mechanic on machinery for 15 years. I do not believe that just because you cannot reproduce an electronic problem in a matter of hours that the conclusion should be that there is no defect. It does not excuse the fact that there is a major problem and nothing serious is being "investigated."

- Santa Rosa Beach, FL, USA

problem #2

Dec 292009


  • miles
I purchased my 09 Rav4 in June 2009. I noticed an odd odor a few times while running the air conditioner & assumed it was from the exhaust form the cars in front of me. When I began using the heat in the fall, I started smelling a bad, burning, almost chemical smell coming out of the vents. On Dec 29, 2009, I took my car to the dealership & Toyota told them to replace the evaporator, cabin air filter & disinfect/deodorize the vents & that would fix the problem which they said was mold in the system. It is now Feb. 23, 2010 & the smell is back & my car is sitting at the dealership because it makes me sick to drive it. The service manager is waiting to hear from Toyota what to do next & says it is a problem with alot of Toyota. Why hasn't there been an investigation &/or recall for this problem" it is a health issue for anyone inhaling that disgusting air from those vents. I think it needs to be looked into since I have found other complaints on-line about the same issues. Is the health/safety of Toyota owners not important to Toyota" other than this issue, I love my rav & I really would like to be driving it instead of the yaris they loaned me until mine is fixed.

- Wooster, OH, USA

problem #1

Feb 022010


  • 3,415 miles
My wife was sitting at a signalized intersection in our 2009 Toyota rav 4 on Tuesday February 2, 2010 with her foot on the brake, when the vehicle suddenly lurched forward. She was able to keep the vehicle from traveling further by applying more pedal pressure on the brake and then shifting into neutral. While in neutral, the engine revved loudly for about 10 seconds before returning to normal idle. She brought the vehicle home but was visibly shaken up from this experience. I immediately called the Toyota dealership and was told to take the vehicle in for them to check. They could not replicate this condition and thus said there's nothing that can be done at this time. This is one of the vehicles that does not have the so-called faulty sticking accelerator pedal, and floor mats did not cause this issue, so this leads me to suspect that an electronics problem is the cause and that Toyota is refusing to come up with a viable fix for the situation. I called the Toyota main office this morning, but was not given any satisfaction regarding this issue. Meanwhile, we are stuck with a vehicle that we are both afraid to continue driving.

- Hamburg, NY, USA

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