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
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
180,000 miles
Total Complaints:
1 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace o2 sensor/catalytic converter (1 reports)
2003 Toyota RAV4 engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #1

Jun 092015

RAV4 S 1.6L V4

  • Automatic transmission
  • 180,000 miles


2003 RAV4 engine check light appeared which when diagnosed the codes were o2 sensor and catalytic converter needed to be replaced. Dealer price was $1950. Went to MIDAS and for $1550 got repairs done. 24 hrs later car still bucks a little. Found out about an ECM issue with Rav4 where engine light appears and indicates replacement of o2 sensor and catalytic converter are necessary, when actually they do not need to be replaced.

Called Toyota in Torrence, CA who denied any such issue but offered us a way to receive reimbursement if we purchased a 2015/2016 Rav4 in the way of upgrades/accessories and such. This is second engine with 80k -First engine cracked due to sludge build up-which was a major issue for many Rav4 owners-cost 10k to replace.

- , Sunnyvale, CA, USA

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