Notes: If you're looking for a vehicle with one of the most complained about transmission on the road, look no further than the 2001-2003 Toyota RAV4.

In 2001 Toyota completely redesigned the popular SUV. While some enjoyed the new look, they did not enjoy the harsh shifting, jumping from gear-to-gear and eventual transmission failure that cost owners well over $3,000 to fix. The problem stems from a malfunctioning Electronic Control Module (ECM).

Consumer outrage coupled with pressure from different agencies led Toyota to extend the warranty nationwide back in 2010. The previous power train warranty only covered 5 years/60,000 miles, while the extended warranty now covers the transmission and ECM for 10 years/150,000 miles. Toyota also pledged to reimburse any owners who had previously paid for repairs, if they had "proper proof". Good luck collecting on that one.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
130,468 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.

2001 Toyota RAV4 brakes problems

brakes problem

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2001 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #6

May 052014

RAV4 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 148,000 miles


My 2001 Toyota Rav4 had the same problem that was covered in Toyota's extended warranty and recall for this make and model. According to a July 10, 2010 article online at it is an issue with the automatic transmission and electronic control module. The issue, which affects around 235,500 vehicles, can lead to a damaged, rough-shifting transmission. While the Rav4 for those model years was originally covered for five years or 60,000 miles on power train components, Toyota is extending coverage to ten years or 150,000 miles. The auto maker is also offering to reimburse current or former owners for repairs already made. For me, the problem did not appear until near the very end of the coverage date. It was mis-diagnosed and when problem was finally identified, I was told it was outside the warranty window and Toyota would not cover the repair. This issue is well known to Toyota and widely documented. The consumer stated the vehicle was not picking up speed as quickly. Updated 11/10/14

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #5

Sep 092014

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 166,000 miles
I was driving along and came to a stop. When I started to go, my rav had no power, then it lurched and almost stopped. I had to nurse it-slowly accelerate-in order for it to move. Every time I stopped and started it did this. Once it made a noise like a hard shift from the rear of the car. I had to put my emergency flashers on to drive it safely, and drove to a transmission shop. In speaking with them, they said that Toyota has a known recall on this situation! the computer locks up the transmission. They called Toyota and gave them my VIN, it has not been replaced. Its going to cost anywhere from $1500 to $5000 to fix, depending on if the transmission is actually messed up or if it is the computer causing the problem. He has to pull the transmission to check it first. If it is the computer they said about $1000. Who do I contact to get reimbursed for this recall? when I put my VIN number in your site, it says there are no known recalls. The internet says differently. I need help!

- Broomfield, CO, USA

problem #4

Dec 092011

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 115,807 miles
The transmission suddenly began slipping and jerking when accelerating from a stop or while in low gear and shifting from a low speed. I became aware of the ECM problem known to occur in my make and model of Toyota upon calling the dealership; however, I am being told that the warranty only covers ten years from the date of purchase (I purchased my car 11 years ago) despite the fact it is known that the ECM, the computer that controls the transmission, is defective and causes transmission problems. This is a dangerous problem as the car will not accelerate and the transmission slips. It is difficult to understand how Toyota cannot ethically cover this knowing it is defective and is probable to cause owners problems in the future, regardless if it's 8, 10, or 12 years down the line.

- Bakersfield , CA, USA

problem #3

Dec 282010

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 130,000 miles


Toyota Rav4 2001 sudden acceleration, and throttle surge... no way to stop car with brake pedal.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #2

May 152010


  • 128,000 miles
Toyota Rav4 2001 - computer problems & total transmission problem my Rav4, 2001 model initially started giving "check engine light" and having hard time accelerating from stop signal. The BBB approved service center checked it and found out the error code as P0750 and advised the replacement/rebuilding the transmission to fix the problem. They charged me approx $3000 for this transmission rebuild work/fixing the error code issue. Two days after, I got the same problem again and when I took it to the same service center, I was told that the computer system is the culprit for causing the problem. Now, based on the details available on the internet (, I understood that this is the common problem of Toyota Rav4 cars. When I spoke to Toyota customer service on 800-331-4331 (case # 1006150572), they said they are helpless. I am interested to file a complaint with carsafety to take this up with Toyota as to why this common problem of Rav4 is not being addressed/recalled, though there are customers facing serious safety problems with the car. The problem can even lead to accidents resulting in the loss of the lives. As an example, on freeway, while going at 60mph, the speed suddenly falls down to 30 or even 20mph and continues like that for few minutes before it goes automatically to higher speed. This failure occurs every 10-15 minutes if not earlier.. the whole transmission was rebuild (including the solenoids, geartrain components, torque converter etc), the computer was replaced with a total of approx $4500, though there were no deaths/injuries yet. This problem needs to be taken up seriously with Toyota and needs a quicker resolution. Thanks in advance.

- Irving, TX, USA

problem #1

Oct 032009


  • 95,000 miles
The contact owns a 2001 Toyota rav 4. while the contact was driving 30 mph she noticed that the vehicle started to pull back and fourth and then the engine shut off. A local mechanic stated that the ECM needed to be replaced. There were no prior warnings and the current and failure mileages were 95000.

- Kennewick, WA, USA

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