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
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
1,189 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 lights problems

lights problem

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2002 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #1

Jul 072003

RAV4 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,189 miles


On July 7, 2003 I was on my way to work when the battery discharge light came on and I had no steering capability. I was travelling about sixty miles per hour on the interstate. I almost hit the median divider before I could steer the vehicle to the side of the road. I called the dearlership and explained what had happened. They told me to have the vehicle towed in, they didn't even offer to have it towed. Incidentally this is a new vehicle with less than 1100 miles on it and I had only driven the vehicle about one week before the above happened. The dealership kept my vehicle for two days and I went to get my Rav4 and asked what had happened. The service manager said that the drive belt pulleys had not been properly installed on my new Rav4 and that caused the drive belt to come off of the pulleys and broke the tensioner and the housing guide. I took the car home and the next morning, the new Rav4 would not start. I jumped srtarted the Rav4 from my wifes vehicle and let it run for about fifteen minutes thinking that the battery just needed a charge. My wife was going to use the neew Rav4 vehicle that day to shop. She called me about mid-morning and informed me that the new Rav4 vehicle would not start as she had gone to the mall. That evening my wife and I went to the mall and jum started the vehicle agin and I finally got it home and it is now in my garage, it just will not start. I called and talaked to the service director about all of the problems that I was having with my new Rav4 SUV. He equated my break-downs to going to the store and buying a box of four light bulbs and taking the light bulbs home and putting a new light bulb in a lamp that had a burned out light bulb and when the lamp is turned on then the new light bulb burns out. This really made me angry. I told him that there was big difference in a fifty cent light bulb and a $25,000 new vehicle with only 1100 miles on it.

- Elkview, WV, USA

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