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:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
47,640 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 steering problems

steering problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2009 Toyota RAV4:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2009 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #20

May 262016


  • 47,500 miles


At 47,500 miles, steering started making a clunking noise when wheel turned all the way to one side or the other. Usually it occurred when turning the wheel back to center but not always. Tended T happen in a parking lot or when a sharp turn was required. Dealer repaired at a cost of almost $700. Car was unsafe to drive without repair. (cost of repair covered under extended service plan which was purchased when car was purchased.) this type of serious safety issue should not happen at under 50,000 miles or even ever.

- Davenport, FL, USA

problem #19

Jan 212016


  • 50,000 miles
When turning the steering wheel either direction at low speeds a clunking noise was audible. Car has only 50,000 miles. Looked on internet and found hundreds of reports of the problem in multiple models and over many years. The cause is the steering column shaft. Took it to dealer and that was exactly the problem! $600 to repair ! further research indicates that Japan has recalled these cars for this reason already. Recall these cars now!! steering failure can eventually happen!!

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #18

Mar 022015


  • 66,000 miles
Would hear and feel a popping sound when truing right or left. Had car serviced a 75000 mile reported the problem to beck Toyota. They said this was caused by a binding og the intermediate steering shaft and cost $544.68 dollars to replace. I did not have the shaft replaced because they would have to order one. I came home and did some research on the web. I seems that over a 100000 people have had this problem. Some have had the shaft replaced to have it fail again in a short length of time. This is a safety issue if the shaft was to hard bind a person could wreck.

- Greenwood, IN, USA

problem #17

Dec 152014


  • 105,000 miles


There is a noticeable thumping, like a belt slipping or a gear missing, when making sharp turns. The frequency of the issue becomes more prevalent the longer you drive. On 12/22/14, york auto group, my local Toyota service department, determined there is a failure in the rack and pinion. It is my understanding from my research that some people have managed to get this repair covered by Toyota since it is a potential safety issue and becoming more frequent in this model. I did contact Toyota and opened case # [xxx] Toyota was less responsive in my case. If this is becoming a known issue, I would like them to cover the repair and possibly alert other Rav4 owners. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- York, PA, USA

problem #16

Oct 142013


  • 62,215 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Toyota Rav4. The contact stated that the vehicle engine raced as the rpms increased. The vehicle then accelerated independently. The contact was previously serviced under NHTSA campaign number: 11V113000 (vehicle speed control). The manufacturer was not alerted of the failure. The vehicle was not diagnosed. The failure mileage was 62,215. The vehicle was not repaired.

- Kent, WA, USA

problem #15

Jan 292014

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 107,480 miles
Steering: During New Hampshire state inspection mechanic failed vehicle due to excessive play in wheel assembly because of defective electronic power steering rack. Note: Vehicle had never been involved in an accident or excessive vibration due to road or off road driving experienced. Remedy: Replace electronic power steering rack and accessories. Of the three other Rav4's owned by driver, all drove over 200,000 miles without steering problems. Wheels: During New Hampshire state inspection mechanic found rear axle seals leaking. Note: Vehicle had never been involved in an accident or excessive vibration due to road or off road driving experienced. Remedy: Replace rear axle seals.

- Stoddard, NH, USA

problem #14

Jan 232013


  • 55,000 miles


Vehicle experiences loud "clunking" noise and noticeable shaking in steering wheel while turning at slower speeds. The problem has gotten progressively worse and I am seriously concerned of steering or related subcomponent failure while driving in the midst of traffic. After doing some research I noticed my symptoms are fairly wide-spread amongst other rav 4 owners.

- Oak Harbor, WA, USA

problem #13

Dec 272012


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Rav4. The contact stated that there was an abnormal noise heard from the steering wheel when turning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection and they stated that the steering shaft needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified but provided no assistance. The failure mileage was 90,000.

- Attleboro, MA, USA

problem #12

Jan 092009


  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota rav 4. the contact stated that while driving 30 mph, the steering wheel began to pull to the right and caused the contact to crash into a pole. The vehicle was destroyed and there were no injuries. Neither the dealer nor the manufacturer was notified. A police report was filed of the incident. The contact stated that the vehicle was not inspected for the cause of failure. The failure mileage was 30,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Middleton, MA, USA

problem #11

Jan 012013


  • 66,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Rav4. The contact stated that while driving approximately 20 mph, a strange noise was emitted from the steering column while making a turn. The contact stated the failure occurred when driving between 10 and 40 mph. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The technician stated that the intermediate steering shaft would have to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 66,000.

- Shoreham, NY, USA

problem #10

Sep 152012


  • 33,000 miles


The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Rav4. The contact stated that while driving in reverse approximately 5 mph, the steering wheel became difficult to maneuver and the power steering assist failed. The vehicle was towed to the dealer for diagnostic testing. The technician was unable to diagnose the failure however, the failure recurred three times. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and an inspector was sent to further assess the vehicle failure. The inspector was unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 33,000.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #9

Oct 172012

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 33,000 miles
I started my car and attempted to reverse out of my driveway - but it started then stopped and would not move - the power steering emergency light had turned on and the power steering wasn't working. I towed the car to my Toyota dealership. They told me the computer was faulty (on a 3 year old car ?!!) and I needed a new one at a part cost of about $700 and labor cost of $300-$400. The car was just out of warranty but they agreed to pay for the part if I paid for the labor. I was suspicious of why they agreed to do this, but I agreed. The following week I drove my car down my driveway and onto the road and as I was turning the power steering failed again, the light came on again, and I could not steer so I crashed into a hedge. (but I could have crashed at high speed and been killed). I towed the car to the Toyota dealership - now they tell me they are replacing the whole steering column, at no cost to me. Obviously they know there is a problem. If you google it, lots of people have had power steering issues and even crashed at high speeds. This is a life threatening fault. Please look for a pattern.

- Escondido, CA, USA

problem #8

Sep 072012


  • 42,600 miles
Vehicle starting a popping/binding feel when making a turn left or right at about 36000 miles. It became more pronounced and by 42000 miles it could be felt when sitting still. Toyota tso issued to replace the intermediate steering shaft. I feel that this is a progressively dangerous condition that will cause failure and loss of life one day. Cost the replace shaft, $517. Search finds many, many Rav4 owners have this complaint.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #7

Jan 012012

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 37,000 miles
I have a 2009 Toyota Rav4. The steering column started making a clunking noise when turning right or left at low speeds. Looks like others have had this same problem. No recall that I know of, but there should be. Noticed problem shortly after 36,000 mile warranty expired so all out of pocket expense. Had to replace steering shaft at dealer for $378. Ouch!

- Edinburg, TX, USA

problem #6

Aug 202011

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 49,000 miles
Steering started creating occasional mild noise while turning at around 49000. At 53000 during maintenance service at burlington Toyota, Ontario I reported this incident along with a metallic noise when the brake pedal is pressed. They mentioned not to be able to reproduce the problem and hence did not make any fix. They refused to deal to brake noise and mentioned that my brake pad will last for much longer time and reason may be a little bit of rust. They will have to charge me for any further diagnosis even though it was within the warranty period. Later I have escalated this to Toyota Canada, as another Toyota dealer found that the shaft inside the steering column is cracked. Toyota Canada claims that to be a wear and tear and refused to cover that as my warranty was over even though I have reported this problem when my vehicle was within warranty period. Today November 10th, newspapers publish that more than 500,000 Rav4 are recalled for steering. I called the dealer and they mentioned, this recall is only for 2006 Rav4 and not for 2009. I strongly feel that Toyota Rav4 2009 has the same issue. I could not find an Ontario site. So I could not enter my province and zip code below.

- Burlington, NY, USA

problem #5

Oct 172011


  • 41,000 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Rav4. The contact stated while driving 20 mph, the steering wheel seized. The vehicle was safely maneuvered onto the emergency lane and shut off. Upon restarting the vehicle it began to function normally. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer, but they were unable to diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 41,000.

- Milford, MA, USA

problem #4

May 312011

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 22,900 miles
The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Rav4. The contact stated that the vehicle accelerated while trying to avoid what she thought was an animal in the road, but it turned out to be paper. The contact was unable to stop the vehicle and the steering wheel locked as the brake pedal depressed to the floor. The vehicle continued to accelerate forward until crashing into a parked vehicle. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer where it was awaiting repairs. The manufacturer examined the vehicle, and stated that there was no failure. The failure and current mileages were 22,900. Updated 08/22/11 the consumer suffered a shoulder injury trying to exit the vehicle. Updated 06/22/12

- West Chester, OH, USA

problem #3

Nov 012009

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 2,300 miles
2009 Toyota Rav4 safety issues the consumer stated the steering wheel developed a vibration. The vehicle was examined. However the mechanic stated nothing was wrong. The tires were balanced, but the problem still continued.

- Ottumwa, IA, USA

problem #2

Dec 132009

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 3,800 miles
Electronic power steering (eps) and fuel gauge problems: I bought my brand new 2009 Toyota Rav4 sport V6 4X2 on May 09, 2009 in houston Texas. It was on Dec. 13, 2009 that I was traveling on interstate highway I-10 from houston to New York city. I was in the middle lane of I-10 between exit 775A and 776A. I was traveling at 65 mph. Suddenly, I heard a "click" from the dash board and the eps warning light came on and then I lost the electronic power steering, I felt my steering wheel so hard and could not turn it. I realized that I was in the very dangerous driving situation. I tried to calm down and put my foot firmly on the brake pedal and started slowing down my car. It took me almost ten minutes to move my car to the road shoulder and stopped. I called Mr. Zhu - a manager of sales department at my Toyota dealership in houston Texas immediately and reported this incident. He found me a phone number of the service department at fred haas Toyota nearby and asked me to call them and get my car towed and checked. I called the number a couple of times however, nobody was there then. I tried to restart car engine for five times or more, I finally solved the eps problems. I called Mr. Zhou again, and told him that nobody was there answering my phone call. I asked him for the address of the fred haas Toyota. I drove my sick car for 30 minutes very carefully to fred haas Toyota; unfortunately, the service department was closed on Sunday. I called Mr. Zhu again and told him about it. Then I drove my car back to houston on interstate I-45, after 15 minutes driving, the same problems happened again......after that my fuel gauge was not read correctly, it showed only 1/2 fuel of my fuel tank after I filled it up. Moving straight forward and making turns should not be an issue. I believe eps problems are more serious than the gas pedal problem, because this effects immediately and directly. I have been worrying about my safety driving my car since I experienced the dangers!

- Stafford, TX, USA

problem #1

Dec 232009


  • 9,000 miles
I was traveling on I-94 from madison, wi to minneapolis, mn in late December. The interstate was in good driving condition -- no ice, snow, or rain. It was a nice day with little wind and temperature in the mid-20's. I was in the left lane, passing a slower car in the right lane. I was traveling at 75 mph with cruise control on. Just as I pulled ahead of the other car, my 2009 Toyota Rav4 pulled violently to the left. I thought we might roll, but then the car stabilized and I was able to maintain control. There was no obvious external cause for the lurch to the left. It felt like a blowout, but we stopped to check the tires and they were fine. It couldn't have been wind sheer because there was very little wind. There were no potholes in the road. At the time I thought the car to my right might have hit a rock or something and sent it sliding into my path. I suppose that's a possibility, but I didn't see anything behind me in the rear view mirror, so I think it's unlikely. I'm wondering if a malfunction of the electronic stability control occurred there has been no recurrence.

- Black Earth, WI, USA

Not what you are looking for?