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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
117,745 miles
Total Complaints:
8 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (4 reports)
  2. replace ecm (4 reports)
2001 Toyota RAV4 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2001 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #8

Jul 062015

RAV4 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 159,000 miles


Have seen how extensive this is online and can definitely see how this is a safety issue. If Toyota knows this is a problem they should fix it no matter how many miles are on the vehicle.

- , Broomfield, CO, USA

problem #7

Jul 012013

RAV4 LS 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,463 miles

I have a 2001 RAV4. It is 79463 miles, three weeks ago, it out off control, sometimes press the gas pedal, it's not move, suddenly it accelerate, almost collision with front car, sometimes, when driving from the garage ramp, it suddenly stop, the car followed horn me, I send it to Toyota dealer take a checking, the dealer said the ECM is damaged, if repairing it , the price is $985.86, so I take much more time search on the website, oh I understood, it is Toyota very bad quality of ECM, Toyota is a big company, but the electricity equipment is very bad, I think they just for save money, so the component is not good enough for build up auto equipment. I talk to Toyota service, they said it is over 10 years, they don't care, so rude! I am a electronic engineer, I know it is easy repair by them, component fees less than 2 buck, but their price is $985, Toyota totally know this problem (2001 2003 ECM) but they do not recall this part (ECM) they only extended the warranty time, originally 5years 60,000miles, then 8years 80,000miles, then 10years 150,000miles, this is under the press. almost all the automatic transmission RAV4 (2001 to 2003) ECM will be dead, and how to repairing RAV4 EMC create a big market worldwide. This is Toyota = bad quality + dishonest !!!

- , Shrewsbury, MA, USA

problem #6

Jun 152012


  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

My 2001 RAV4 recently started to have this shifting problem and my wife looked it up on the internet and found this site. She printed out all the complaints for me to read when I got home. We have not been to mechanic or dealer yet and it is the weekend so will have to wait for Monday. I am very grateful she found this and descriptions of the problem are exactly the same as mine.

She also found a CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT. You can find it by typing in TOYOTA RAV4 CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT in the browser and selecting it. You can read the lawsuit and fill a request for more information. It contains what and who the lawsuit covers. Do it right away. My worry is that my car may be past the 10 year extended warranty but I didn't get letter from Toytota alerting me of this issue and plan to fight for my rights.

I say don't give up and drive them crazy with complaints until they do right by all of us.

Good Luck to all of us.



- , Sacrmento, CA, USA

problem #5

Jul 112010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,500 miles


Experienced harsh shifting and car jerking, when was out of town and before long check engine light went on. Was quite scary. The TSB code shows P0755. Called Toyota dealership and was told extended warranty was 8 years or 80K miles. Brought the car in next morning and the advisor, a different one from the one I talked over the phone, said Toyota just further extended the warranty to 10 years, or 150K miles. Read some complaints here and would like to share this information with other owners who suffer the same 'pain'.

- , Santa Clara, CA, US

problem #4

Jun 152010

RAV4 4x4 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

Another RAV4 ECM failure. Erratic shifting, etc. Elk Grove Toyoto (CA) recommended a tranny flush. they said it was fixed - it wasn't. They then stated I needed a new transmission and possibly and ECM. Thanks to a little research and discussion groups like this, I towed the vehicle home and sent the ECM to Check Engine, etc. It's been a week and no problems so far. Shifts very smoothly. In Elk Groove Toyota's defense, they reimbursed me for the tranny flush. However, they swore that the ECM was fine because there was no check engine light and they definitely said I needed a new transmission. If you are have similar issues with your RAV4, I recommend Check Engine, Etc. I sent the unit out Friday and got it back on Monday.

- , Sacramento, CA, US

problem #3

Sep 012009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 170,000 miles

had my RAV4 for 8 years and just recently having problems with the check engine light going on and off. Need EMC fixed.

- , Portland, OR, USA

problem #2

Jul 062009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles

I love our Toyota Rav4 2001 but, when it started to have choking problems we took it in immediately to have it looked at.....Our trusted mechanic said that our ecm (electronic control module) had gone out and killed our transmission. :-( He told us to contact the Toy. company and ask for help with the computer. They told us that we were over our warranty (last year - 08) and that they could do nothing for us. If it is a bad faulty computer put in by them should they not replace it? We can not afford to fix it. I am thinking of reporting them to the BBB but, not sure if this would even help! Is there any legal actions that we could take....with little money to use? Thank you, Becky

- , Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #1

Apr 252008

RAV4 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

The ECM in this car has always had problems. It has required numerous updates from Toyota to fix check engine conditions. I tends to miss-fuel the engine, leading to premature failure of the catalytic converter, and excessive emissions. It also develops grounding problems, and transmission control problems that are destructive to the transmission. If this happens, the transmission is a $3000-$5000 repair. If the ECM is not replaced when this happens, it will continue to destroy transmissions until it is replaced. NOT SIMPLY REPROGRAMMED. My last repair for this was over $5000, for the transmission and a new computer.

- , Woodinville, WA, USA

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