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:
88,333 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

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2003 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #3

Jul 032015

RAV4 4-cyl

  • miles


Since last summer of 2015, my driver side seatbelt has been fraying. The fray is over a foot long and a 1/2" inch of seatbelt is frayed. I will attempt to send pics along with this form. It is a habit with me to always wear my seatbelt, and of all the other vehicles I have own this is the first time I've had a problem like this. I do hope that even though this may be an unusual issue, I trust you will consider this a serious problem and one that should be dealt with promptly, for it does cause me to have safety concerns each time I drive with this frayed seatbelt on. I thank you for your immediate attention on this matter. Safety is top priority with me, as I am sure it is with you as well. Again, thank you for your time and prompt attention. Fyi: If my 2 pictures just so happen to not be with this form, please contact me by E-mail and I will try to sent them to you again. Thank you, [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Remer, MN, USA

problem #2

May 152015


  • 167,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Toyota Rav4. The contact stated that the driver side seat belt was frayed. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 167,000.

- Remer, MN, USA

problem #1

Dec 022009


  • 98,000 miles
Engine light has been on for awhile. I spent 1400 to get it fixed last year so that I can pass emission but still failed and had to get a waiver. On December of 2009, a friend of mine and I was driving and it started to lose its power and started jerking. We immediately parked the car and turned it off. We waited a little while to see if we can get help somewhere but we were in a place where we can't get any cell signal so we decided to turn the car back on and at least try to drive to a place where we can get signal. Car drove ok that day but since then had jerking or shifting problem several hours after first used in the day. I had the ECU changed this year and it cost 1500. It drives better now but now the problem starts during the first use of the car each day. It doesn't happen all the time but it is annoying and might damage my engine more than the old emu had damage it. Also the seat belt on the passenger back seat during the use for the last couple of years(it didn't have much use before 2008) had started snagging to the point that it has unraveled. We found out that the metal loop that the seat belt goes though is very sharp and had caused the seat belt to get shredded.

- Seattle, WA, USA

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