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.


fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
90,000 miles
Total Complaints:
1 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace catalytic converter and oxygen sensors (1 reports)
2002 Toyota RAV4 engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #1

Oct 012009


  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles


One particular year: Transmission, ECU, ECU reflash, ECU replacement. (warranty).

Next year: can't pass smog, had to replace catalytic converter AND all four O2 sensors.

The bill: about $1300.00.

The car will ONLY take and ONLY has made the Toyota parts.

I inquired with Toyota experts through various blogs.

An overly "rich" mixture from the ECU / ECM (?) sends problems "downstream" (i.e., the gunking up and permanent damage to a catalytic converter).

Some would argue that "it was high time" for the cat. converter to go.

I find substantial evidence inidcating this is not the case.

Rather, the ECM sending a "too rich" mixture is the reason for the $1300.00 bill.

So, basically, this ECM malfunction would cost a typical owner: $1500-1800-200 or more for the transmission/ ECM flash, re-flash and ECM replacement. then $1300 the next year, to pass smog , due to the destroyed cat-converter and four O2 sensors.

For everything else, there's mastercard.

I paid out of pocket, as my car was out of "extended care warranty".

I WILL tell you that.... I wish I had found the money to replace the cat converter SOONER.

I waited about 6 months. I can't be "certain" that this led to the destroyed oxygen sensors (that sit downstream from the converter. However, I was told it wouldn't have helped.

Thus, I could have saved maybe $800, had I gotten this fixed sooner. I can't be sure, however, b ecause we "just don't know" how long this problem existed (with the ECM).


OF COURSE, by now, most people probably have received the class-action information via mail.

Unfortunately, it is restricted (in my understanding) to the ECM replacement and transmission replacement (boo).

I did not see/ recognize / understand there to be compensation for the latter problem we discussed above (with emissions oxygen sesnors and the catalytic converter).

Thus, I suspect that owners will "eat " this cost.

As an aside, to the "cost" question-- I shopped around. No one makes the O2 sensors except toyota. Therefore, you are best advised to go ahead and get it done at the dealer.

The labor was minimal in comparison. I could not save more than a hundred on this job (at an independent garage).

- , City Name, State, USA

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