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.


really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
2,283 miles
Total Complaints:
1 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
2002 Toyota RAV4 body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2002 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #1

Oct 172016

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,283 miles


entire car, including engine rusted out within 2 years

I bought a Rav 4 due to a friend owning one in 2002, paying full price with 10,000 down, and the rest financed. I never missed a payment, and cannot remember the financing rate, other than paying in off in 4 years. Unfortunately this purchase was made during a period of being disabled after a traumatic event. Although garaged it began to rust out, first the body, then the engine. Since mentally, I was suffering with physical, and PTSD symtoms, I was unable to stand up for myself, and follow through with legal ramifications.

I remember the car was still under warranty. I cannot believe, in looking back, the car was taken to the dealership in San Francisco, put up on a lifting device, surrounded by managers and such, thus giving me the diagnosis of, "You have been driving in salt water. Case closed." So untrue, so cruel. I am a Registered Nurse with excellent personal references at the time, had been assaulted while on duty, suffered as I stated above and these men, no female present except myself, and never drove through salt water. Obviously, the car had not been sealed properly. Stupidly, the payments were still made. I just was not myself. If I was, I would have fought it with all my strength, and gotten proper closure.

When I look back today, it is still very much in the forefront of my mind. My marbles are all in a row, and I want this to be rectified. I live on disability pay, which is poverty. To most of the county 25,000 is a good bit of money. I drive a 26 old car that is on its last legs. After all the deceptive individuals that have taken advantage of a person, who was temporarily vulnerable, and permanently disabled, what is left is one that is on a mission, to get Toyota to listen.

- , San Mateo, CA, USA

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