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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
144,036 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 fuel system problems

fuel system problem

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2003 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #2

Sep 142016


  • 84,072 miles


2003 rav 4 85,401 miles. The transmission began to miss shift, engine would speed up and there would be a loss of power. From a stopped position the engine would rev and not shift into gear. Toyota tech advises that the vehicle requires new computer and transmission, a $6,000 expense. Mind you that this vehicle is 13 years old but has only 85,000 original miles and has been maintained. Toyota advises no warranty effect for the vehicle. The vehicle was being driven on a main highway ( sunrise highway long island) when malfunction occurred.

- Lynbrook, NY, USA

problem #1

Aug 262016


  • 204,000 miles
While driving my vehicles rpms cut out and the throttle would not respond it started to slow down and then died in the middle of the hwy in lawton Oklahoma. It took me 2 and a half hours to get the vehicle home in ryan Oklahoma because I had to constantly put the vehicle in neutral all while coasting and let it die then turn it off and try several times to get the vehicle to stay started and even then it would only review to 2000 rpms and die. I had to guide it to the side of the hwy several times and let it set for 20 to 30 minutes before it would drive at around 60 mph for only 2 to 3 minutes. I was almost hit several times because of how the throttle would not respond while the rpms cut out and the vehicle would not get up and go.

- Ryan, OK, USA

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