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:
122,000 miles
Total Complaints:
4 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. catalytic convertor needs to be replaced (1 reports)
  2. not sure (1 reports)
  3. replace engine (1 reports)
  4. replace sensor (1 reports)
2001 Toyota RAV4 engine problems

engine problem

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2001 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #4

Apr 032015

RAV4 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles


When my engine light turned on, I started panicking because my biggest fear was the fire. I took it to the shop and the mechanic ran the tester and it came out that it has a bad left sensor. So, I got it replaced but after that more issues started popping up which I am going to mention in y next complain.

- , Arlington, VA, USA

problem #3

Jan 202016

RAV4 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

Now the engine light is turned on again and this time it is Catalytic Converter which cost almost $1250 if Toyota dealer is going to replace it. It's really painful because who is going to spend $1250 on this car. I feel that I spent money on repairs but engine light keeps turning on and I keep spending money on a crap.

- , Arlington, VA, USA

problem #2

Jan 122010

RAV4 L 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 112,000 miles

at 112000 engine blew , in process of repair will fill more info soon

- , Emmett, ID, USA

problem #1

Oct 172009

RAV4 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,000 miles

In 2005 (?), I was driving home from work when the 'Check Engine' light came on. It freaked me out so I headed to my local Toyota dealership in Marina del Rey. After a few hours of waiting, they charged me around $80.00 to reset the computer. The service rep. told me it was because I hadn't tighten the gas cap (where is makes a loud ticking noise when turned) enough and that is why the Check Engine Light came on. I was ticked! Just because I hadn't tightened the gas cap to the extreme, it cost me over $80.00!

In January /2007 I received notification from Toyota that there was a recall for my 2001 Rav4 as stated, "Check current engine control module calibration & reprogram the engine control module". I took it in right-a-way and they did the repair.

After they performed what ever they did, I noticed a buzzing noise coming from the front left of my dashboard when the car was in low gear. This noise has been with me ever since they fixed the control module and reprogrammed the engine control module.

October 17, 2009, coming home from the market, the Check Engine light came on again. It seems that the engine loses a little power, but can't identify it.

I can't afford to take my car to that Toyota Dealership to get jerked around as I am on a limited income.

After reading the complaints, I feel there may be something to the fact that the ECM is defective. I will post what I find out after I call Toyota Motor Sales in Torrance, CA. I'm really worried as I need my transportation.

- , Culver City, CA, US

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