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:
73,000 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2001 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #1

Apr 102006

RAV4 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 73,000 miles


2001 Rav4 manual transmission - the gear shift started moving back and forth in the 5th gear position when pressure was applied/released from the gas pedal. Went to balise Toyota in West springfield, MA and was told that this was normal behavior (even though I had the car for 5 years and it just started happening. About a week later, the car started "popping" out of 5th gear. Balise then admitted that this was not normal and "repaired" the problem (there was a service bulletin from Toyota out about the problem). When I got the car back, the gearshift did not move when in 5th gear. It is now December and the gearshift is once again moving back and forth in 5th gear and balise Toyota is telling me it is normal and they refuse to fix the problem while the car is still under the extended warranty. There are other people on the internet who have reported this same problem. Toyota should have a recall to fix the problem as having a car drop out of gear is a safety hazard, especially at highway speeds when it would be most apt to happen.

- Stafford Springs, CT, USA

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