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:
No data
Average Mileage:
112,256 miles
Total Complaints:
4 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (3 reports)
  2. replaced the ECU/ECM (1 reports)
2002 Toyota RAV4 engine problems

engine problem

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2002 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #4

Dec 042015

RAV4 Limited 2.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles


Having bought many Toyota vehicles, the RAV4 has really let me down. Needless to say, I would never purchase a Toyota vehicle in the future. Have a 2002 RAV4, about 135,000 miles on it, clean title.The car stalls and going from 2nd to 3rd gear especially when accelerating at 3000 RPM. Replaced the ECM and "thought" the problem went away but came back two days later.

- , Sacramento, CA, US

problem #3

Mar 032013

RAV4 4 cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 79,526 miles

Engine light came on 2 days before the car completely stalled out & was running really rough, but light went off again and Toyota service folks could not get a code reading from the computer. They suspected contaminated fuel. Drove 2 more days without incident, then car completely stalled on a Sunday. Had to get towed to Toyota service shop. Gave me quote for emptying gas tank, tried to start car, wouldn't start. Checked plugs and they were completed saturated with fuel. Then they also discovered the computer was fried. 3-4 days est. to get ECU in and replace. Once it was replaced, they 'discovered' the ignition coil was also fried. All was replaced and they assured me I could have complete confidence in driving the car. Story isn't done yet. See next complaint.

- , Salem, OR, USA

problem #2

Sep 232010

RAV4 ES 2.0L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 84,500 miles

Ok. So Thurs. September 23, 2010 I Left my folks' home to make the 27 mile return trip to my house. Well, I tried to, at first. The vehicle stalled twice while I was trying to back out of their driveway. Again, I didn't think much of it. Figured I needed to let the engine warm up, so I let it run for a few minutes before I put it back into R and backed out of the driveway. No problem this time, or so I thought. I continued on my merry way. 5 minutes later, while in D, at 35 mph and accelerating, the vehicle stalled AGAIN. I was in HEAVY traffic,and NEARLY GOT REAR ENDED by the person behind me when the RAV4 stalled and STOPPED DEAD, transmission gears GRINDING. I put it in P, started it back up, and had to continue on, as I was on a 3 lane HIGHWAY and blocking a lane of traffic and could not get anyone to let me change lanes to pull off the road. I managed to get home and immediately called the dealership where I got the RAV4 and made an appointment for the next day to take it in for service and diagnostics. It gets even better, folks...

- , Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #1

Aug 092010

RAV4 2.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

The car shuts off, all the time ideing. I have put 2000 dollars in to this car and problem is still there my Mech can not fix, not even the dealer, would like to sell it. I would not like to stick some some else with this.

- , Surprise, AZ, USA

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