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:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
40,420 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2002 Toyota RAV4:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2002 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #5

Aug 132008


  • 112,000 miles


Air bag on my 2002 Toyota rav 4 did not deploy when my vehicle rear ended a truck my speed was 40-45 mile per hour. Toyota representative said the airbag was not designed to deploy unless I was in danger of serious injury. "a fractured sternum is not serious enough for it to deploy."

- Coden, AL, USA

problem #4

Oct 072005

RAV4 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,100 miles
I have a 2002 Toyota rav 4. I have taken my car to the dealer for the changes of oil and filter. Twice they suggested a wynns system engine cleaning which we paid for. The last one was done on April 2005. Last October 7, 2005 I was driving my car on the expressway and all of a sudden the oil light lit up and the car stopped. The car was towed from the highway to our house and the next day was towed to the dealer adriel Toyota in rio grande, puerto rico. About two hours later they called me and stated that the motor stalled and the warranty was not going to pay since I had not taken the car to them for the last oil change. I reminded them that just nine months earlier a wynns motor engine cleaning had be done by them and that it was impossible for the motor of the car to have sludge if they had done the job correctly. The Toyota company of puerto rico called to tell me the same thing. I made a complaint at the consumers affairs in puerto, I am waiting for a decision. Today I showed the pictures to an automotive expert who states that the motor have not had any oil changes and the worst was that there was no way that the engine had be cleaned. The dealers states that they have not had any motor sludging on any rav 4 in puerto rico but consumer report states that Toyota has this problem most commonly with Camry's. today I found out that rav 4 have the same engine Camry's have. Am I supposed to be punished for whatever problem Toyota engines have?

- Carolina, PR, USA

problem #3

Oct 192004

RAV4 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles
Was in eight car chain reaction collision, where I was the 7th of 8 cars. Therefore, I had severe front-end damage and even worse rear-end damage. I actually hit the car in front with my own force (2 on scale of 1-10) and then again when the car behind hit me. The second hit was 10 on a scale of 1-10. The cars where going over 20 mph (estimated) at time of accident. Front airbags did not deploy. According to the Toyota manual they should deploy at 15mph or more, force is great enough, or when vehicle inside pressure change is great enough. (note: When the car was hit in the rear, the entire rear window schattered, thereby, causing great pressure change.) according to the body shop which gave estimate for repair the airbags should have deployed according to the front-end damage alone. (we have digital pictures of the vehicle and can send them.)

- Cranberry Twp., PA, USA

problem #2

Nov 302002


  • miles
Consumer was in a accident and the air bags didn't deploy upon crash.consumer also that she was going 35 mphat the time of the accident.

- Millis, MA, USA

problem #1

Jun 212002

(reported on)


  • miles
While traveling 35 mph tires somehow got caught between pavement/grove on side of road. Truck then pulled to right, and owner tried to maintain stability. Truck went off the road, rolling over several times. Seat belt became loose, and no air bag deployed. This is was a rental vehicle.

- Lake Los Angeles, CA, USA

Not what you are looking for?