really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
16,859 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.

2006 Toyota RAV4 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2006 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #20

Jul 102010

RAV4 4WD 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles


When starting up from a stop, the automatic transmission shifts properly from 1st to 2nd gears however when it shifts from 2nd to 3rd gear, it appears to momentarily go in to neutral where the engine wines out before quickly banging into third gear. Very harsh shifting. This appears to occur only after the transmission heats up after driving for about 30 minutes or longer. After this occurs, it will do this every time when starting from a stop. I have complained about this to the dealer for some time however was only recently able to prove it to them. I was then told that I would need a new transmission for about $4000.

- Dryden, NY, USA

problem #19

May 112009


  • 30,000 miles
My 2006 Rav4 sport that occasionally has problems with acceleration, this usually occurs right after starting the vehicle and can last up to 15 min into the drive. Occurs when accelerating from a stop, you press the gas pedal and receive a very slow response from the vehicle; almost as if trying to drive with the E brake on. Once you have reached 5-10mph it engages and goes, but until then it is very unsafe. This is especially true when making a left hand turn, although you would normally have enough room and time to turn and be out of the way for incoming traffic, if you don't compensate for that additional lag, you could get T-boned.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #18

Jan 152010


  • 61,000 miles
At approximately 60,000 miles I noticed when I backed up I heard a loud clunking noise in what seemed to be the rear. At approximately 62,000 miles I took it to my dealer and it was diagnosed as a "transaxle" problem.

- Hillsboro, OR, USA

problem #17

Nov 012009


  • 100,203 miles


2006 Rav4 unsafe to drive!!! le brun Toyota, canadaigua, NY, made me pay to exchange lemon with only 150-200 miles 2 days after purchase, they made me pay an additional 7K to trade for the V-6 I have now, because of the transmission accelerated downhill, on both 4cyl and V-6, it still does it though not as severe, still scary at times. Recently, my steering went out on the exit ramp luckily and locked a few times, it now makes a thump and caused a minor accident, next time I won't be so lucky. Really loud noise from rear also. Antifreeze smell inside car too.H.E.L.P.

- Salisbury, NC, USA

problem #16

Oct 012008


  • miles
This is in reference to the electrical problem referenced recently. I have had the same experience of the car just not starting. I discovered that it is related to the stick shift. It looks like it is engaged. If you give it the tiniest jiggle it engages and the car will start. I don't know what the deal is, but planned to bring it up when I take car to be serviced next.

- Newtown, PA, USA

problem #15

Mar 172008

RAV4 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 17,687 miles
The contact owns a 2006 Toyota Rav4. On March 17, 2008, while coasting into a parking space with her foot on the brake, the engine revved and the vehicle accelerated at a high rate of speed and crashed into another vehicle. There were no warning signs prior to the failure. The vehicle had undergone regularly scheduled maintenance before the crash occurred. The weather was dry on the day of the crash. The vehicle was released back to the contact; however, it had to be taken back to the shop due to riding roughly when placed into overdrive. The dealer stated that the torque converter was locking everytime the transmission was placed into overdrive. A police report was filed. There were no injuries and the contact was not cited. The current mileage is 17,690 and failure mileage was 17,687. Updated 5/13/08 the dealer determined there was a problem with the overdirve. Updated

- Mantua, OH, USA

problem #14

Oct 302006

RAV4 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,070 miles


The contact owns a 2006 Toyota Rav4. The drivetrain in the transmission makes a whining sound. The dealer replaced the transmission. A regional engineer recently stated that the noise was typical of a 2006 Rav4 and there was nothing to repair. The noise began while driving 40 mph hour and is currently ongoing while driving between 30 to 55 mph. The engineer also stated that the sound of the transmission is inherent to the vehicle. The failure mileage was 5,070 and current mileage was 24,100. Updated 04-08-08 updated 04/08/08

- Santee , CA, USA

problem #13

Jan 162006

RAV4 4WD 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Purchased rav in 1/2006 and have had many acceleration issues with this car. From a slow/start or stop/start, I have experienced the car hesitate on acceleration. This occurrence is all the time, creating a very unsafe situation. Have complained to the dealer several times about this issue and was told that it was a safety mechanism to prevent "hard" shifting in the transmission. This situation still occurs several times daily.

- Mountaintop, PA, USA

problem #12

Oct 162007

RAV4 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles
Details: The vehicle has frequent problems with acceleration when cold. Car has no power when trying to enter traffic. I will step on the gas, begin moving, then the engine will bog down and I will have no acceleration at all. I have taken this up to my dealer, and their explanation is that nothing is wrong. However, this problem can occur when ever it is cold.

- White Plains, NY, USA

problem #11

Sep 172007

RAV4 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 16,000 miles
Our 2006 Toyota Rav4 has had issues on several occasions of either hesitating when the gas pedal is pressed or lunging forward when trying to slow down for traffic or a stop light. We have made several complaints to our dealer, but they keep saying nothing is wrong. We feel this car is unsafe/ reliable at this point.

- Garrison, NY, USA

problem #10

Aug 102007

RAV4 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 14,400 miles


Throttle lag when requesting immediate acceleration from either a stop or a T low speeds.

- Buffalo, NY, USA

problem #9

Jan 262007

RAV4 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,400 miles
I was driving my 2006 Toyota Rav4 when I applied the brakes from about 25 mph to stop for traffic at a light. As I applied the brake the engine accelerated and I had to stand hard on the brake to keep from hitting the car in front of me. After a few seconds the engine speed came back to normal. At that time I double checked my foot position on the brake pedal and am confident that I was in no way contacting the accelerator pedal.

- Falmouth, MA, USA

problem #8

Aug 052006

RAV4 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I have the 2006 Toyota Rav4 base model with an automatic transmission. I have noticed that the transmission is very sluggish to respond to braking, such that the engine sometimes continues to rev forward for a second or two even after the brake pedal is depressed. This leads to excessive braking distances. I believe this problem is the cause of an automobile accident that we suffered on 8/5/06. In dense highway traffic, I was about 20 feet behind an older Toyota pathfinder and had just accelerated from about 15 mph to about 25 mph, as the distance between the vehicles was growing. Then the pathfinder in front of me suddenly slammed on his/her brakes because another vehicle swerved directly in front of it. I slammed on my brakes too, but the Rav4 did not immediately begin to slow. Instead, I could feel the engine still pushing the car forward. The Rav4 finally did begin to slow down right about the same time the pathfinder came to a complete stop. As a result, we hit the now-stationary pathfinder in front of us at a speed of about 5 mph. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but the front end of the Rav4 was mashed in. I have driven dozens of different vehicles over nearly 20 years of driving experience, and I think every other one would have come to a complete stop well before the point of impact (as did the pathfinder in front of me, despite a vehicle cutting directly in front of it). This leads me to suspect there must be something wrong with the Rav4 transmission. The transmission should immediately disengage from drive whenever the brake is depressed, but there seems to be a dangerous time lag. When I took the vehicle to the dealership and explained what happened, they road-tested and examined the vehicle and said nothing was wrong. They claimed what I experienced was the vehicle down-shifting, which results in higher rpms but less forward motion. I don't buy it. I have tried jamming on the brakes to cause such downshifting and it doesn't happen.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #7

Mar 012006

RAV4 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles
: the vehicle had an acceleration lag issue causing the transmission to not switch gears in a timely manner. The service dealer could not duplicate the problem.

- Kailua, HI, USA

problem #6

Sep 162006

RAV4 4WD 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 800 miles
On several occasions there is a severe hesitation when pressing on the accelerator. This is most notable when accelerating from a stop or a near stop. I thought it was just the A/C being on or in my head, but I have ruled out the A/C, and sometimes it will work wonderfully one night and the next morning, the throttle response is very sluggish. Sometimes seems to bog down if you give it more gas and then you have to ease way back on the accelerator pedal once it gets going.

- Charlottesville, VA, USA

problem #5

Jan 272006

RAV4 4WD 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
My Rav4 "lags" or "hesitates" when I try to accelerate in order to get up to speed-especially when I am trying to merge into oncoming traffic. I have been told by technicians that others are experiencing the same problem and that there is no "fix" for this problem.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #4

Jun 302006

RAV4 4WD 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles
Serious hesitation problem in my 2006 Toyota Rav4. I've reported to Toyota, but they indicate it's normal. Problem has happened seriously 3-4 times. When slowing to a near stop or from a stop, accelerating, I get nothing when I push on accelerator. This is beyond hesitation. The first 2 times I panicked since I was merging in traffic, floored the pedal and after perhaps 1/2 to 1 second (might not sound long, but imagine no response to pushing you pedal with oncoming traffic doing 60-70)....it kicked in/downshifted or whatever. Really scary. Again, I noted this to Toyota. I noted a post on edmunds site today with a 2005 article on past hesitation problems with Toyota/Lexus. And other complaints as well on this serious safety issue. I've posted a date of June 30 for incident, but actually 3-4 separate times in past 4 months.

- Newark, DE, USA

problem #3

Jun 292006

RAV4 4WD 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,312 miles
Hesitation problem - '06 Rav4 I4 sport model when trying to overtake, when pressing the pedal harder, engine didn't respond right away.

- Astoria, NY, USA

problem #2

Jun 152006

RAV4 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,400 miles
A 2006 Toyota Rav4 V6 limited 4X2. Problem: Automatic transmission defect? sometimes when I step on accelerator there's lag time before car shifts and gets going. Also there's an ongoing (month or so) droning noise. I took car to Toyota dealer 6/15/06. Service writer and 2 techs heard droning noise while I was there. With the car. I asked to bring the car in the following Saturday as I work during the week, but they said saturdays not good so I made appointment for 6/26/06. They told me it wasn't dangerous to drive the car. I took car in 6/26/06 & rode with master tech who was able to hear the droning noise. He drove car, also sat in parking lot with engine running and shifted into park and into reverse etc. With his foot on the brake and noise changed in intensity in different gears. He took car back to service center and checked it out. The service writer said the tech not able to pinpoint problem, but tech would call Toyota engineering the next morning because he didn't want to try a fix when he didn't know what the problem was. They gave me my car back, said they'd call me after talking to Toyota engineering. They called me 6/27/06, said master tech had talked to Toyota engineering and they've had other complaints re same droning noise, are working to find cause so they can create a tsb and either reduce or eliminate the noise. Service writer told me T there is no timeline for a fix and to just "sit tight" and wait until they call. They agree the noise should not be there. I'm worried that ongoing noise indicates that some part is overworking and may wear out and since the noise changes in intensity sometimes depending what gear the car is in I worry that it is the transmission and that a failure may result. I don't understand how they can tell me the vehicle is safe to drive when they claim they don't know what the problem is. It is very unsettling to have to just wait for who knows how long for them to fix the problem.

- Petaluma, CA, USA

problem #1

Jun 202006

RAV4 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,900 miles
I have a new 2006 Toyota Rav4 with automatic transmission and, in the first 2000 miles, it has failed to shift correctly on 3 separate occasions. This has created dangerous situations when merging in traffic. Specifically, when I step on the gas pedal, the rpms shoot above 4-5K but there is no accompanied increase in speed. Given the repeated postings on edmunds.com about these problems, it does not appear to be an isolated case with my vehicle.

- College Station, TX, USA

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