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.


fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
11,000 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.

2003 Toyota RAV4 engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #2

Nov 262004

RAV4 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,000 miles


While driving to san antonio on 11-26 2004 my Toyota Rav4 just lost power and shut off while in heavy traffic on I-37 I pulled over and it started right up.I've taken the vehicle in on three other occasions and have been told that nothing wrong could be found with the vehicle.on 11-28-04 about two blocks from my home on the return trip from san antonio it did it again once again I pulled over and it started right up. I feel that this could be very dangerous and life threatening and I don't think that the Toyota company is taking this problem seriously.

- Corpus Christi, TX, USA

problem #1

Jul 072003


  • miles
Toyota rav 4 drive belt pulleys were not installed correctly.. while driving, the battery discharger light came on, and the vehicle lost all steering capability. It was discovered the belt tensioner and belt housing broke.

- Elkview, WV, USA

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