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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
9 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
13,052 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.

2012 Toyota RAV4 engine problems

engine problem

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2012 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #35

Aug 182016


  • 9,500 miles


While stopped in a left turn lane at a major city intersection behind a line of about 6 stopped cars, the engine suddenly began to race at high speed. The car moved forward and hit the rear of the car in front before I could depress the brake hard. I did that, put the car into neutral, applied the emergency brake, and turned the engine off at the ignition key before checking on the condition of the folks in the car in front. There was no way that I could have mistaken which pedal was which, as I was already depressing the brake pedal to keep from moving.

- Eagle Rock, VA, USA

problem #34

Jun 102016


  • 22,000 miles
I was driving in heavy traffic at appx: 35-40mph. On us interstate #66. The weather was clear, and the road was relatively level. As the other cars slowed, I took my foot off the accelerator but the car surged forward. I --literally--had to stand on the brake as the engine surged. I managed to push the shifter into park. The engine continued to race but, when I pumped the accelerator several times, the engine speed dropped back to idle. I did not hit any other vehicle or object. I have had two (2) similar incidents in the last 5-6 months-- but this is the first time that I reported it--to both nhsa and Toyota. I took it to the Toyota dealership, expecting a quick fix but instead, the dealership personnel became defensive, claimed that the well known history of Toyota acceleration problems was a fraud. Nevertheless, they had a preprinted" unexpected acceleration" report form which they filled out with my "verbatim" accounts.

- Alexandria, VA, USA

problem #33

May 192016


  • 55,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Toyota Rav4. While attempting to engage the brakes, the vehicle accelerated withouty warning. The vehicle was taken to the dealer, but the technician was unable to diagnose the cause of the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 55,000.

- Ithaca, NY, USA

problem #32

Dec 152015


  • 39,800 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Toyota Rav4. While driving 5 mph, the vehicle accelerated independently without warning. The contact was able to stop the vehicle by shutting it off. The contact mentioned that the failure occurred on multiple occasions. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 39,800.

- Northville, MI, USA

problem #31

Nov 162015


  • miles
The contact owns a 2012 Toyota Rav4. The contact stated that while making a right turn, the vehicle accelerated. There were no warning indicators illuminated. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was unknown. The VIN was not available.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #30

Dec 212015


  • 53,700 miles
12/21/15 - my vehicle was stationary. I just finished refueling and started the car. I had my right foot on the brake, and switched from park to drive. My left foot stayed on the floor, to the left of the brake pedal. Without removing my right foot from the brake, the engine revved and the car lurched forward. I pressed extremely hard on the brake to keep the car from moving forward, and could hear and feel the engine and brake fighting each other. This lasted approximately 3 seconds and the engine returned to idle. The brake and accelerator pedals are not that close, it would be impossible to press both at the same time.

- Clifton Park, NY, USA

problem #29

Feb 142015


  • 10,600 miles


New Rav4 purchased 2/2013;bought extended platnum warranty. 5 separate incidents of sudden acceleration 2/14/2015-5/25/2015-had passenger in car each time.1st- traveling S I-79 warrendale pa 60 mph speed drops to 50 mph car in front hit brakes to slow I applied my brakes to slow Rav4 started to accelerate engine started to rev loudly passenger said shift to neutral then I hit brake again to slow. 2nd-local traffic 30 mph applied brake to slow instead car accelerated put into neutral to slow engine revving. 3rd-driving from oakland-North hills pa in traffic 30 mph hit brake to slow for traffic light instead rav accelerated engine revving loudly put in neutral to stop. 4th-traveling 20 mph at local park 3/7/15 approaching stop sign car in front applied brakes, hit my brakes & car accelerated put car into neutral engine revving loudly then applied brakes to stop-drove directly to Toyota dealership advisor checked floor mats stated were properly placed. I made appt at dealership on 3/10. Toyota's conclusion-nothing wrong stated "possible pedal misapplication", suggested I buy flat Toyota floor mats had weathertechs, I purchased new driver's mat & Toyota installed. 5th-5/25/15 leaving grocery store 10 mph went to stop before exiting lot rav would not stop engine loud threw into neutral finally stopped. 5/25/15 emailed CEO of Toyota N America received call back & made appt for 5/29/15 to have rav looked over again at dealership for sudden acceleration issues. Received call back on 5/29/15 from nicki @ Toyota executive office-stated that Toyota stands by their March 2015 assessment that there is nothing wrong with my rav & if I have it towed to dealership by aaa, I would be responsible for all costs to have my vehicle serviced at dealership, would not be covered under any warranties. I have been driving for 40+ year & possible pedal misapplication 5 X's is a bunch of bull.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #28

Jan 282015


  • 16,500 miles
The contact owned a 2012 Toyota Rav4. While driving at approximately 20 mph, the vehicle suddenly experienced unintended acceleration causing the driver to lose control and crash into a traffic light pole. During the crash, the vehicle shook and wobbled from side to side and could not be stopped when depressing the brake pedal. The driver sustained a fractured rib and upper torso contusions. A police report was filed. The vehicle was destroyed. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 16,500.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #27

Dec 182014

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 33,000 miles
On Thursday 18 December, my wife and I left springfield, Missouri to dallas, Texas to visit our family for the christmas holiday. We were driving our recently purchased 2012 Rav4 with approximately 33,000 miles which we purchased in late September 2014. We stopped several times during our trip to refuel and allow my wife, who is 6 month pregnant, a chance to stretch her legs. For much of the trip, I used cruise control when possible at varying speeds from 65 mph (in Missouri) to 75 mph (in parts of Oklahoma). At approximately 4:30 pm, while driving through tushka, Oklahoma we approached a stoplight where the speed limit dropped from 65 to 45 mph. The light was red, a semi was stopped at the light, and I attempted to apply the car¿'s brakes. As I did so, the car felt as if it was fighting my attempts to stop it. I had to keep both hands on the wheel, and I do not know if the cruise control disengaged. As I approached the semi, I pressed harder on the brakes in order to stop my vehicle. Finally with less than a car length, my car came to a full stop. With my foot still pressed firmly on the brakes, both my wife and I heard the car begin to make a high-pitched noise. I immediately put the car into ¿¿park, ¿ at which point the engine began to rev and I saw that the RPM gauge on the car rose to 7-8,000 RPM. At this point, I turned the car off at the ignition switch. My intent was to re-start the car and safely pull over after we proceeded through the intersection. However, at this point the light turned green and, as I restarted the car, we were hit from behind by another vehicle. On Friday, the 19th, I took my vehicle to Toyota of lewisville (tx) where they proved unable to diagnose the problem. I was contacted by a representative on 12/29/2014 who informed me that nothing would be done unless the event "replicated" or someone had been injured.

- Evansville, IN, USA

problem #26

Jun 262012


  • 8,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Toyota rav-4. the contact stated that while stopped, the vehicle accelerated without warning. The vehicle was taken to a dealer. The technician was unable to determine the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 8,000.

- Detroit , MI, USA

problem #25

Jan 062014

RAV4 4-cyl

  • miles


The contact owns a 2012 Toyota Rav4. The contact indicated that while traveling at various speeds, the vehicle suddenly accelerated without warning. As a result, the contact had to apply force to the brake pedal in order to slow the vehicle down. The failure was progressing. The safety concern was reported to an authorized dealer and the manufacturer, and neither were able to replicate or diagnose the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was not available. Updated 12/9/14

- Teaneck, NJ, USA

problem #24

Oct 012014

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 49,000 miles
I was pulling into a parking place at our church. When I turned into the parking place the car took off and it jumped an 8 inch curbing and ran into the parish center wall. It tried to climb the wall. I push the accelerator to turn into the parking space and the car took off! it was not driver error!

- Oakwood, IL, USA

problem #23

Mar 012013

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 4,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Toyota Rav4. While driving various speeds or while idling at a traffic light, the vehicle would surge forward independently. The dealer was unable to diagnose the cause of the failure. The manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 4,000. Updated 10/22/14

- Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #22

Jul 242013

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 3,181 miles
I drive a Toyota Rav4 V6 ltd, 2012 purchased on Jan 2, 2013. Prior to that we had a Toyota Camry 1999 with more 200K miles on it. On July 24th, 2013, I was driving at a speed of 10 mph inside the apartment complex and was turning right to park. I was almost parked when all of a sudden the car surged and zoomed over parking stopper, breaking overhead storage bin, zoomed ahead and banged into the building stairs. I kept pumping the brake all through, but the car didnt stop until it hit on to the stairs of apartment. The wheels were still rolling but it couldn't go ahead because of the heavy stairs and finally after continuously stepping on the brake it stopped. My right foot was all along on the brake as it always is when I'm parking. Body of the car was severely damaged with glass pieces all over me. Luckily my 3 year old was safer at back in her car seat. The airbags did not deploy on impact. I'm having more than 10 years of driving experience and it was the first time that I was involved in an accident. Since I'm a woman everyone was quick to conclude that, I had stepped on the gas pedal instead of brake. But I know my foot was all along on the brake, until the car finally stopped. This has caused a lot of damage, although I had insurance to cover the car, the value is zilch now. The car was not totaled and repairs was worth more than 20K. Driving the car now, doesn't feel the same as the collision center did a crappy repair job. Now the car makes sounds while driving, as though it will come apart. We are left with no options other than just to drive the same car because we can't afford another car. After notifying Toyota and after numerous calls they collected the edr and sent us a report stating that nothing was wrong with the vehicle. It was our fault that we didn't realize Toyota had issues related to unintended acceleration prior to buying the Rav4.

- Bend, OR, USA

problem #21

Mar 182014

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 32,212 miles
Rough engine, car speed up without feet on pedal, slow braking I took the car into dealer the next day(3/19/2014) this am and they told me they have to duplicate what I had experienced. They stated they did not see anything on the computer data, but will test on next morning of 3/20/2014 to drive it.the complaints were that I was driving in a 70 mile zone and the car accelerated to 90 miles the car shifted out of D drive to 3D on it's own while driving and also rough engine while accelerating higher than the speed limit, and while braking, isaw very little stoppage.also same day near my home, I stopped at a stop sign, when taking off the car jerks forward to 22 miles.this was not the first time I had reported to them, was after I had the 2010 Toyota rava4 about similar problems, they offered to buy it back the 2010 model in return for the 2012 Toyota Rav4 that I got in maintenance is up to date is scary when you experience a problem like this, thank god for no accident.update as of last night no communication on findings or repairs, I received a call while reporting this information to you(safer car), a rep [xxx],stated they cannot find anything wrong with car, they checked all data drove the car could not fine anything, I asked about engine and transmission, he stated that they checked the levels, data could not find anything, for me to could come pick the car up, I insist they do a more intensive look into this, the guy became aggressive, and stated he has to check with his manager to check again later today.tony meyers manager of gainesville Toyota called stated could not duplicate what I was experiencing, stated he drove the car to the mall of Georgia, he found a down shift when going down a hill, car was safe, and that the shift was a normal thing, and there is nothing else they could do and for me to come and pick up the car. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Oakwood, GA, USA

problem #20

Feb 112014

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 33,500 miles
Approaching stop light and slowing down to 35 mph. Stepped on brake with right foot and engine went from 2000 to 3000 RPM without anything against accelerator. Stepped on brake as hard as possible, but could not get vehicle to slow down until well past the stop light. This exact same thing happened again three days later on 2/14/14. Had walser Toyota run a diagnostic check on this vehicle on 2/14/14, but it did not show any errors.

- Victoria, MN, USA

problem #19

Oct 242012

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 545 miles
11 Oct 12 - I bought a 2012 Rav4. 24 Oct 12 - I stopped at a stop sign. As I applied the brake the car accelerated. I pushed the brake hard and the car decelerated. A few minutes later I approached a stop sign at my house. When I applied the brake the car accelerated. Before I could push harder on the brake the car ran the stop sign and then decelerated. I called Toyota customer service. I explained what happened with the acceleration issues. I told the rep I looked at my foot position in between incidents and there was no way I could press the accelerator and brake pedals together. The rep told me there was no recalls on this year Rav4. He said take the car to the nearest Toyota dealer. I took the car to Toyota and explained everything to them. The service man told me that the floor mat being caught up underneath the brake was the issue. He told me that the rep from Toyota would look at it. 5 Nov 12 - Toyota called to say the Toyota rep couldn't duplicate the problem. 6 Nov 12 - I went to Toyota to pick up my car. I left the dealership and stopped the car to wait for traffic. After sitting with my foot on the brake for about 4-5 seconds, the car began accelerating on its own. I firmly pushed hard on the brake and looked at my foot to assure myself I wasn't near the gas pedal. I verified the floor mat wasn¿¿T on the gas pedal. I placed the car in neutral as it was revving up and noticed the tachometer went between 6500 to 7000 RPM¿'s (in the red). When traffic cleared for me to turn, I made a turn, the car lunged forward and the acceleration decelerated. I drove the car directly to Toyota and explained what just happened. 7 Nov 12 I got a phone call from Toyota customer service corporate telling me that I could pick up the vehicle from the Toyota dealership. They could not duplicate the problem and they said the car was safe to drive.

- Panama City, FL, USA

problem #18

Sep 052013

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 3,872 miles
On three occasions during 2013, the car accelerated and jumped forward as the brake was being applied to stop the car. On September 5, 2013 the acceleration and movement forward was more pronounced and was accompanied by a noticeable sound of the engine. This occurred as the brake was being slowly applied during an approach to an intersection. There was no movement or involvement of the floor mat on the driver?S side and no possibility that the driver's foot could have hit the accelerator at the same time as his foot was placed on the brake. We requested that the car be examined by the Toyota dealer in order to determine the nature of the defect and the corrective action needed. The dealer reported that it could not identify any problem.

- Panama City Beach, FL, USA

problem #17

Sep 032013


  • 8,400 miles
I was slowly maneuvering into a parking space when the car revved up, jumped over the concrete barrier, over the curb and sidewalk. I was headed directly toward a building and a large plate glass window. The brakes did not stop the car, and felt squishy when I pushed them all the way to the floor. I swerved to the right, turned off the key and hit a parked car in order to stop. I also want to mention that the tire pressure gauge light would come on any time I was driving on the highway at speeds over 50 mph.

- Wake Forest, NC, USA

problem #16

Sep 142013


  • 2,552 miles
Accelerating from a stop light, the car lost power. The electric motor stopped and the check ev system warning came on. There was no engine power, power steering or power brakes. The car was stopped in the middle of the street.

- Cupertino, CA, USA

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