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
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
81,440 miles
Total Complaints:
1 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (1 reports)
2003 Toyota RAV4 engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #1

Mar 132014


  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,440 miles


sluggish at different times...slows right down

The first time this happened, I was going up a hill. I thought I was going to stall. My Rav4 kept slowing down and kept hesitating as if it were going to stop in the middle of the road....Scary! Then it came back to normal. After the first time, I've been noticing this happening more often, not only on hills. It would happen going down a hill or on a level road. We checked the transmission fluid when we finally got home. It was full and looked OK. It does not seem like enough miles on this Toyota RAV 4 vehicle to be needing a new transmission. This is my daily commute vehicle and I totally depend on it. There must be a recall on this situation. I've been hearing about many similar situations. When I think about this more, I believe this was happening way before yesterday. I just never paid much attention when it would happened for a brief instant...thinking it may have been the way I stepped on the gas petal or something similar.

- , Dudley, MA, USA

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