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:
76,678 miles
Total Complaints:
7 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace transmission and computer per dealer (4 reports)
  2. not sure (2 reports)
  3. computer and tranny need to be replaced (1 reports)
2002 Toyota RAV4 accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2002 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #7

Sep 282010

RAV4 2.0L

  • Manual transmission
  • 107,808 miles


I have no idea what's wrong with my 2002 Toyota RAV4 manual transmission that 5th gear doesn´t shift. When push into gas pedal it just comes out! All other gears works normal

- , Esparza, Puntarenas, Costa Rica

problem #6

Feb 022003

RAV4 L 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150 miles

Transmission surges and sometimes acts like it doesn't want to go into gear and sounds like it's winding out. I brought it to the dealership after I bought it and they said the transmission fluid was dirty and it would cost me like 200 bucks to fix it, "Because it takes special transmission fluid". The stupid thing was still under warranty. They probably said this because I am a woman. I never got it fixed and other than the engine going out because of the oil pump going out at 163k mile, I've never had a problem with it. The transmission still acts up, but oh well. Check engine light always on too.

- , Louisville, GA, USA

problem #5

Sep 102009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles

Just after my 100k warranty went out, this problem started. My Toyota authorized service center says it is a known service problem (Toyota Technical bulletin #T C002-06) and Toyota will not cover it unless the mileage is less than 80K.

Last year, my engine blew up due to the Sludge problem (another KNOWN problem).

I was a Toyota die hard - but NO MORE! I'm looking for a class action suite that I can be added to. If anyone has that info, please email me. Thanks

- , Upland, CA, USA

problem #4

Aug 032009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles


My friend has spent $2000 trying to get this issue resolved and has had no luck. The Toyota shop just keeps asking for more money and has no real clue as to what the problem really is. The poor girl is trying to get through college with no help and now has to deal with this.

She will come to a stop and when she tries to go again...the car won't move. She has to turn off the vehicle, put it in park, wait at least 30 seconds, turn the car back on, and then she can go. If she shifts from drive to reverse the same thing happens. She has been VERY good about having the vehicle serviced.

I will NOT purchase a Toyota.

- , Culpeper, VA, USA

problem #3

Sep 052007

RAV4 Limited 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,500 miles

I had a horrible problem with my transmission not shifting into gear for about a week before it would not go at all. It started out a nuisance then got to a point where i knew i was going to invest a lot money into my car because the warranty was up. I took it to my neighborhood car guy who flushed my transmission and said to watch it because that might not be the problem and flushing it could make it worse. Well it did and when i took it to a transmission shop they told me i needed a whole new transmission!!! After $1,300.00 and a whole lot of fighting with these stupid ass transmission people, my car still did the same thing. I finally took it to Toyota where they said it was my computer and they recalled it to an extended warranty of 80,000 miles. I was relieved that they were going to replace a $900.00 part for free, which totally fixed the problem, but when I took my car back to the transmission shop and told them that i didn't even need a new tranny they said there was nothing they could do. My predicament was that they knew what was up with my computer and knew it was warrantied for that extended period but figured they could get a transmission out of a 26 young blonde, and they did. Now my car runs like brand new with my new, unneeded transmission and my much needed new computer!!!!

- , Cleveland, OH, US

problem #2

Feb 112008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,528 miles

In mid January i started getting a revving sound from the engine or what i thought was the engine i thought maybe the car just needs to have her yearly service after all i did run her about 3000 miles! she also started jerking back and hesitating when i tried to accelerate during high speed limits. i took it to a shop they changed everything from the oil to the spark plugs. For a few days my car (which i lovingly named Ravi) mad a liar our of me and ran smoothly, then she began to hold back again. only this time she made a loud revving sound followed by a jump from the engine then a slow momentum began to increase as she gave me very little speed. It's now February and i decided to stop to a Toyota dealer who has explained to me the the cost of diagnosing my cars problem will cost me a mere $250 usd. but that if i get the work done with them that they'd be happy to add that fee to my repair cost. it happened upon a pep boys going home in tears and they gave me a diagnostic for $100.00. they also gave me some insight to the fact that i needed to get a replacement on my ecm and that Toyota is responsible because they had a recall on this matter just 5 months after i purchased my vehicle! funny how they called me to refinance and to upgrade but not to worn me about the potential danger i was putting myself in everyday! i work two jobs 300 miles a part one in MD during the week and one in New York during the weekend. i ready to strangle Toyota. incidentally, i purchased this car @ Forham Toyota in Oct 2005 with 47,000 miles on it and an extended warranty that expired Oct 2007. And do you know they called me in Nov to see if i wanted to refinance but not to remind me about my extended warranty or the recall!!! now Pep boys is telling me to take the car to Aamco where there will be a svc charge of 300.00 to replace the solenoid problem with my transmission! ain't this a kick in the back! I'm ready to go to court! who's with me?! -Nick

- , Waldorf, MD, USA

problem #1

Dec 162007


  • Automatic transmission
  • 108,763 miles

I am really disappointed I was a sold out for Toyota..transmission went out no warning.. shifts but will not accelerate... I had all regular scheduled maintenance and no mention of transmission at all. I am very disappointed..I don't want to buy another Toyota now.

- , Riverdal, GA, USA

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