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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
27,000 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.

2002 Toyota RAV4 electrical problems

electrical problem

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2002 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #1

Dec 222004


  • 27,000 miles


I had driven about 3 miles then got stuck in a traffic jam. At that time, I could smell something burning but I thought it was the car in front of me. Finally, I got off that road and drove another 10 miles but I again noticed the burning smell. I checked the panel and the car was not running hot. Next, a small curl of smoke came from under hood on passenger side. Then suddenly smoke began billowing from under the hood and into the car through the vent. I lost steering and braking. I removed the key from the ignition, but the car continued moving forward. Then the car abruptly stopped. Flames engulfed the engine. The fire department came out and extinguished the fire but the car was totaled.

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

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