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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
60,500 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 miscellaneous problems

miscellaneous problem

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2002 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #2

Mar 282007

RAV4 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles


ECU or engine computer unit. This computer is bad. When shifting.the automatic transmission in the computer does not know what gear to shift in. This is scary when in traffic. It would start in lets say 2nd gear then bang back to 1st gear. What a jolt for you and the driver behind you.

- Perkiomenville, PA, USA

problem #1

Nov 012004

RAV4 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Car smokes early in the morning, I took car in before warranty expired but was told by dealer that there was nothing wrong with the car. At the beginning car would only smoke early in the mornings and not all the time. Later as the car began to smoke more regularly the dealer refused to repair due to expiration of warranty. The car is now smoking drastically, I was told by the dealer that the smoking is a common situation (defect) with Rav4's of 2002. I was also informed that other cars had been brought it and had been fixed because they were under warranty.

- La Mesa, CA, USA

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