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:
Average Mileage:
98,842 miles
Total Complaints:
49 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace transmission (34 reports)
  2. not sure (8 reports)
  3. replace ECM and/or transmission (6 reports)
  4. replace clutch and transmission (1 reports)
2002 Toyota RAV4 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2002 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments (Page 3 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #9

Jun 212008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 113,000 miles


My car has 113,000 miles and the transmission has started to slip. I have done all the proper maintenence required, and I had a recall at 60,000 miles to correct a problem with the check engine light being on. I am bringing it to a transmission specialist tomorrow. I will come back and let you know what the answer is. I'm pissed, this car was suppose to run good until at least 200K miles!

- , San Jose, CA, USA

problem #8

May 032008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 87,000 miles


- , Cidra, PR, Puerto Rico

problem #7

May 272008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,000 miles

I am highly upset that the Toyota Corporation will not do anything about the problem with the toyota transmission or computer problems. They should be willing to pay for the fixing the computer problem which looks like that is what is causing the transmission problem in the first place. They should also honor the power train warranty even if it is past the year mark and accept it if vehicle is still under the mileage required, after all this is their problem/defect, not the consumer. If it wasn't for the consumer they wouldn't be in business. I am very disappointed in the toyota quality. I have had two previous toyota's with no problems. This is going to cost me 4-5000 that I do not have. Toyota needs to take responsibility for this.

- , Tucson, AZ, US

problem #6

Jun 042008

RAV4 4WD 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,000 miles


I took my RAV4 into the dealership to have the ECM recalibrated in Jan 08. Since that time I had subtle changes - did not accelerate or pick up quickly especially when going up inclines. On yesterday, the car really started to stutter and it sounded like it was even backfiring. The engine light came on and I took it to the dealer. I was told I had transmission failure, lucky to get there and that I also had to get the ECM replaced. Cost $4900!. The advisor told me it was nothing I could have done to prevent this. I had done all the recommended maintenance on the vehicle. Now I discover that this is not an isolated problem for this year/model of Toyota. I am not looking to purchase another Toyota. Anyone have any luck with Toyota headquarters?

- , Dacula, GA, USA

problem #5

Mar 272008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

The first time I noticed that my transmission went bad was in October 2007. I went to my mechanic and they notified me that I had to get a new transmission, which cost me $1,900.00 to replace. Within seven days of getting my car back, I had problems shifting again. So I brought my car back into the shop where they went from checking the fluid, to rebuilding the transmission. From October 2007 - March 2008, it was a continuous cycle. They even rebuilt the transmission and put it back into my car three times. So everyone was stressed out because my mechanic and the transmission specialist were losing time and money, and it was very inconvenient for me where I had to borrow other people's cars to get to places or even pay for rental cars at my own expense and called in for work due to car issues.

February 2008, my transmission was having problems AGAIN. Like most people with this issue, I dreaded stopping at intersections as my car would slowly accelerate when I hit the gas. Sometimes it would even jerk while my poor car is trying hard to pick up the speed that it's supposed to be in. It was very dangerous and embarrassing.

I tried to ignore the issue (because I was so tired of bringing my car to the mechanic) but after almost getting stuck on a intersection on a hill, I brought it back one more time. They rebuilt the transmission for the third time and later found out that I need a new ECM computer for the engine/transmission. The old computer has been causing the transmission to fail. They wouldn't let me drive the car out of the lot because they knew that the transmission would break again ....unless, I get the computer replaced.

They towed my car to the Toyota dealership and I had my ECM computer replaced. Which cost me $1,200.00. It wasn't under warranty since the mileage was over $80k. So now I got Ravvy back, and it's been good so far.

- , Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #4

Mar 052008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,800 miles

Another victim of Toyota. I had the same problem with the transmission. While driving the car seems to downshift and this is very dangerous - I have a child in the car! Toyota is very well aware of this problem and yes, I got hit for $1,400. Very important that you don't drive the car with this problem because instead of the $1,400 fix you might damage your transmission and then we're talking the $1,400 fix + a new transmission. Any comments on there being a class action suit or anything further? I did put a complaint into Toyota and I think it's shameful that they're aware of this problem but don't recall the cars. I want to get my money back from Toyota. Let me know if anyone knows about a suit.......

- , West Islip, NY, USA

problem #3

Jan 142008

RAV4 Limited 3.2L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 141,968 miles


I have the similar problems. I was notified by Toyota by by the recall notice for the Engine control Reprogramming notice mailed to my home. I was also called on the phone. This recall notice was on the check engine light problem , which I currently was having. I made my appointment and brought my car in on Jan. 14, 2008. The dealership involved was Rudy Luther Toyota in Golden valley Minnesota. Within a short time, the service manager called and stated there there was some additional testing that needed to be preformed. He stated that there would be a charge of qpprox. $112.00. I advised him only to do the warranty work and to let me know when the car would be done. He stated there were about 300 codes that could be affecting this problem. After I picked up my car I notice a vibration, I only live about 2 miles away so I didnt have to drive far. I started having problems right away , My car was shaking, and it felt like it wanted to stall out . It is an automatic and it would not shift right. The Rpms would rev up real high and would drop down. I kept thinking my engine was going to stall. I have had a hard time getting off free and on freeway ramps. I had been close to many accidents , almost two just this morning. This is a safety hazard and someone is going to be hurt. I have complained to Toyota customer service and the local dealership. The customer service center states that I have to deal with the dealership. No one will accept responsibility for this. I did not have any of these problems until I went in for this recall. I have stated this over and over. I called the highway traffic nd auto safety board at 1-888-327-4236 to register a complaint with them. I am urging you to do the same. Maybe we can get some help. The service manager at Rudt Luther Toyota said that i needed to bring my car in to replace the Ecm. The cost could be anywhere from$950.00 and up to $5000.00 depending on what they would find at my cost. I asked the to reprogram my computer , they would not do it, and even when I asked them to test drive my car, he refused. I asked him for the general managers phone number and name, he would not give me a phone number, a name , but when i asked to talk to her, he said she wasn't available this week, i then asked him for her managers number and name he declined to give me that information. He said he would have to make some calls and get back tome. He never did. When I called this morning to reach the service manager they said he was not in , he was at a meeting. We need to stick together, has anyone done any research regarding a class action lawsuit? The dealership just called me and said they would make me a one time offer, they would pay a third of the cost , the dealer would pay a third and i would have to pay a third of the cost which would be Around $300.00. This was a one time offer by the Technical service representative Mike Horejsi in customer service thee Chicago region. They said Toyota is going way beyond what they would normally do. I can either take it or leave it. If I don't take this offer I am out of luck.. We all need to call and do something soon about this, I never had a problem with my car until they did the reprogramming. please comment or help..Thanks Sue

- , Minnetonka, MN, USA

problem #2

Jan 142008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,000 miles

My mechanic has been trying to figure the shifting/jerking issue for over a month. They finally found metal shavings in the transmission pan. I've called Toyota corporate and left a complaint, but I'm not expecting any results. I called my dealership and they denied the issue and even tried telling me that it's normal for a transmission to go out after 106K miles in hopes I would trade it in for another Toyota.

I do plan on suing Toyota over this. If anyone is interested on helping me fight this cause, please contact me at Toyota needs to take responsibility for this piece of crap car they made! I'm looking at a $4000 replacement for the transmission. I'm not confident this will fix the issue.

I've also had to replace my catalytic converter. I haven't seen this issue posted on here yet.

- , Seattle, WA, US

problem #1

Jan 282008

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles

Sludge and metal in transmission, stopped running. The engine also went in the car at the very same time. This cost me 3500 dollars.

- , Jacksonville, FL, US

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