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
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
0 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 exhaust system problems

exhaust system problem

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2003 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #1

Nov 012004

RAV4 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles


Owner of 2003 Toyota Rav4S, purchased as a new vehicle November 2003. In the past several months owner has experienced increasing medical problems ( respiratory, gastrointestinal, neurologic, etc.) and has received extensive and expensive medical testing without clear diagnosis. Test have also been performed in the home which fail to suggest environmental cause within the house. Owner has progressively associated issues of illness with driving this vehicle, even for short distances and short durations. Although having only 17, 500 miles driven, the vehicle is basically now not useable. An independent evaluator has suggested that an odor is definitely being discharged from the heating and aari conditioning system, although they were not able to say what it might be. An authorized Toyota dealer service department ran a few tests, indicated that they were unable to discern a problem, and has basically washed their hands of the problem. No specific incident date would be applicable, as the symptoms have accelerrated over time. Other details to be provided as needed.

- Plymouth, MI, USA

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