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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
78,400 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 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2001 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #1

Dec 202007

RAV4 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 78,400 miles


Failed ECM results in the car starting in the wrong gear and hesitating when switching gears. Driving the car with this ECM failure causes visible damage to the transmission within less than 100 miles of driving and makes the driver unable to be confident that their car will shift into gear when necessary, which is especially dangerous on left turns in highly trafficked areas. One dealership (cobb county Toyota, kennesaw, ga) refused to replace the ECM even though a tsb issued by Toyota stated it should be replaced when these symptoms persisted. Toyota usa refused to replace the transmission even though the shifting problems caused by the failing computer will almost certainly damage the transmission.

- Kennesaw, GA, USA

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