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:
No data
Average Mileage:
80,000 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

Aug 082011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles


My 2003 Rav4 smokes when I start it. I had about 80,000 miles on it when this started happening. I took it to dealership. The dealership diagnosed it as valve seals. Which would cost about $1400.00. It doesnt waste oil in between oil changes. I change the oil every 5,000 miles as the manuel recommends. It is really embarrasing after work when I start my car! Theres a big cloud of smoke, so I wait till no one is around before I start my car, so I dont smoke anyone out! For being a Toyota I never expected this to happen. We don't get this fixed because we can't afford it. Toyota is really slacking! Please read my other problem on my Rav4 also listed (Transmission)

- , Peralta, NM, USA

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