CarComplaints.com 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.

8.0

pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
75,450 miles
Total Complaints:
1 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
2001 Toyota RAV4 engine problems

engine problem

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2001 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #1

Jan 302008

RAV4 4wd

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,431 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

click to see larger images

sudden unintended acceleration sudden unintended acceleration sudden unintended acceleration

Owner periodically experienced Sudden RPM Engine Racing Problems with his 2001 RAV 4 usually when stopped at a traffic light or stop sign with foot correctly placed on brake pedal - while engine idling. Owner reported receiving notification card (#SSC601) entitled "A Special Service Campaign" sent by Toyota Motor Co. instructing that his ECM unit be "reprogrammed" with new "Logic" (their words) as instructed. Owner had RAV 4 serviced as requested, however RPM problem persisted, occasionally emitting Engine Diagnostic Light.

Repeated servicing of RAV 4, the RPM racing occurrences were mentioned to Toyota Service Center, however tech/mechanics unable to locate problem. Sent letter to the President of Toyota Motor Co. back in February 23, 2010 about recurring check engine diagnostic light, to no avail. Received a letter from Customer Relations dated March 4, 2010 and called Customer Relations, as instructed in the letter and L/M. No records nor recollection of returned call.

In the interim, Owner received another notification from the Toyota Motor Company, this time in a detailed two page letter form which specifically listed owner's VIN # in the header of the letter; Entitled ZTL - Certain 2001 through 2003 Model Year RAV 4 vehicles. The letter stated that the warranty on the owner's RAV 4 would be extended for 150,000 miles or ten years for a "harsh shift condition" that would only require the ECM to be REPLACED and if needed, replacement of the Automatic Trans axle unit. However, this servicing and replacement would only be implemented with the following specific codes: P0750, P0753,P0755, P0758, or P1760. Owner sent claim form with a letter to Toyota Motor Co. on August 27, 2010 with receipts from Toyota Service Center regarding engine light problem and recurring RPM engine racing problem.

Request for reimbursement was denied in a response letter dated November 1, 2010 from Toyota regarding "not meeting criteria under Csp 01-03 my Rav 4 Transaxle Ecm Warranty Enhancement".

Fast Forward: 2018, RPM racing problem has reoccurred, had to shift to P-Park to stop RPM racing wildly when waiting for T/L to turn green at intersection and again at drive-thru Bank ATM. In June 2018 had transmission fluid and oil changed w new filters, RPM problem seemed to subside? In February 2019, while coming to complete stop at congested T/L intersection, owner reports sudden RPM/engine racing wildly causing SUA (Sudden Unintended Acceleration) RPM/Engine jerking forward while owner applies more brake /pedal pressure - force of sudden RPM's fast acceleration with combination of RAV 4's 4WD traction/force and foot on brakes still moves RAV into rear end collision. Owner quickly shifts to P-Park. Damage occurred to front of owners RAV 4 and back of SUV in front of RAV 4.

Police Report filed and Owner immediately reported incident to Toyota Motor Company. A case number was filed with the Toyota Company and a third party Engineer/Inspector was dispatched by Toyota Motor Company to examine the damaged (bent inward hood,damaged plastic grill, and front bumper) 2001 RAV 4. Analysis Inspector informed owner that this 2001 2nd edition RAV 4 did not have the EDR (a/k/a "Black Box") installed, implementation of EDR began with 2002 and above RAV 4 models. The inspection took 5 hours. Owner had to wait 4 weeks for results - expecting to receive pages of a full copy of inspection report, but only received a one page letter from the "Legal Dept" from Toyota Motor Company basically summarizing the five hour inspection into one paragraph stating everything is fine - no indication of S.U.A problems , brakes fine, etc., however stated a .75 slack in throttle cable that needs service? NO mention NOR indication in the letter regarding the inspection of or tests conducted on the Owner's ECM unit such as voltage meter current/flow tests, etc by the Analysis Engineer, since Legal Department at Toyota never sent owner a copy of the full inspection report. Owner also sited inconsistent comment in Letter from Toyota legal stating that Inspector noted "Driver side floor mat was movable" which is false, incorrect and inconsistent because Owner had stated to Inspector prior to inspection that Owner of the RAV 4 took pride in having original Genuine Toyota Floor Mats safely secured with Genuine Toyota Retaining Floor Hooks. Owner also had pictures taken of interior floor mats secured with Toyota hooks in good condition and sent pictures that were archived in Owner's Accident report file with his Car Insurance Company PRIOR TO Toyota Analysis Engineer's inspection of his RAV 4.

Owner has requested a full copy of the Engineer's inspection report and awaiting for response from Toyota Legal about his request. Owner questions why Toyota Legal Department had not included a complete copy of the five hour inspection report- as a courtesy, for the Owner - particularly sighting the inconsistent and odd comment that the Inspector had included about the floor mat "movability"? Letter from Toyota Legal Dept. concluded stating sorry about the accident with no offer of ECM replacement - nothing. The Sudden Unintended Acceleration issue still remains an issue with no resolution from Toyota due to incomplete information and failure of Toyota Legal for not sending Owner a complete copy of the full report that was conducted. In addition, no mention of the ECM inspection and condition, was included in the one page letter sent by the Legal Departemnt of Toyota - which was the main issue with past SSC notifications sent by Toyota specifically regarding his 2001 RAV 4 VIN number.

Will update when and IF I will receive a copy of full inspection report and any responses from Toyota and their method of dealing with claims from Toyota Customers.

- Michael P., Desert Hot Springs, US

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