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:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 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 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Toyota RAV4:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2003 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #2

Oct 032008


  • 0 miles


Instructions say a 12 yr. Old or under should sit in the back seat due to the fact an airbag could kill the child. However, we are only 5 feet 2 inches which is the size of a 12 yr old. Shouldn't our airbags be disconnected??

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #1

Feb 252008

RAV4 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
My mother was driving back from her second home on the 60 freeway in southern California at normal highway speed and came up upon stopped traffic. She applied her brakes hard but ran into the back of one vehicle which was pushed out of the lane and then my mother continued into the back of another vehicle before coming to a stop. In neither of the 2 separate collisions did any of the airbags in her 2003 Toyota rav 4 deploy. Because of the accident she broke her neck between C5 and C6 in her spinal column and has been in the icu unit of the local hospital ever since.

- Fullerton, CA, USA

Search for these popular complaint phrases...

Not what you are looking for?