really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
108,247 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.

2008 Toyota RAV4 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2008 Toyota RAV4:

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

2008 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #19

Jun 102016


  • 1,006,000 miles


2008 Toyota Rav4. 1006,000 mileage. Suddenly stalls while driving at any speed. Taken to newark Toyota dealership several times since June this year unable to fix the problem. Stalled several times while driving on highway and on a city street.

- Newark, DE, USA

problem #18

Dec 072015


  • 100,519 miles
Rear U joint seized at 100519 miles. Noted vibration and rear wheel instability starting approx 30 mph.

- Oswego, NY, USA

problem #17

Dec 062014


  • 103,811 miles
Vehicle in for service at my regular service location. Mechanic noted leaking rear differential and I was hearing a "whiring" noise while driving, told to contact Toyota. Contacted local dealership, vehicle was looked at by the dealership and they noted it was the differential coupler. Would not cover the $1400 repair even though tsb-0080-13 and special policy adjustment no 960 was in place at that date/time. Shortly thereafter, purchased part through Toyota dealership and had installed by regular repair shop due to safety concerns. Contacting Toyota customer service via letter to request reimbursement for the differential coupler that I had to have installed since so many Rav4 owners have had this same issue and others have had theirs repaired at no cost to them. I have attached a fellow Rav4 owners invoice that shows coupler replaced under the special policy adjustment that is also attached.

- North Tonawanda, NY, USA

problem #16

Oct 082015


  • 124,019 miles


On October 5 and 6, 2015 my 2008 Toyota Rav4 was in for service at piercey Toyota in milpitas to replace all four tires, front/back brakes and front shock absorbers, a total of $2,000. On October 8, 2015, while I was driving my car back from stanford lucile packard over dumbarton bridge, I have noticed that my brakes would not engage and I could not slow down my car. Just before this event, the ABS, vsc, and slip warning lights all came on. The brake pedal felt very stiff and I was not able to do any repetitive pumping of the brake. I called 911 and requested assistance. When the front traffic came to a hold I had to use my emergency brake and my entire car slipped to the left. We almost got hit by the bus behind us. Some good samaritans saw what happened and helped me to get my car off the road. That day, my 9 yrs. Old son and I could have been killed. I request that Toyota investigates/recalls the brake actuator assemblies for Toyota Rav4 2008. In the subject vehicles, the brake system contains a brake actuator that adjusts the fluid pressure of each wheel cylinder. Within the actuator is an electrical terminal that connects the brake actuator motor and the circuit board of the skid control electronic control unit (ECU). Due to manufacturing variation, there could be a reduction in contact force between the two components of the terminal, causing oxide film to increase resistance. A larger than normal increase in resistance can cause the illumination of various warning lights, including those for the skid control (vehicle stability control or vsc) system, antilock brake system (ABS), and traction control system. Lfthis occurs, these systems could become inoperative, which could increase the risk of a crash.

- Union City, CA, USA

problem #15

Apr 062015


  • 99,241 miles
Water pump has failed, despite timely and complete maintenance and normal operating conditions. A google search reveals widespread, premature water pump failure on 2008 V6 Rav4 vehicles at even earlier mileages.

- Anchorage, AK, USA

Search CarComplaints.com for these popular complaint phrases...

problem #14

Mar 022015

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 70,733 miles
While stopped at a light waiting to turn left the Rav4 engine began to rev and lurched forward with driver's foot still on the brake. Driver put car into neutral while holding down the brake pedal to prevent the car hurtling into the intersection. Driver then turned off the car and put gear shift to park. After 30 seconds restarted the car with foot on brake and the engine began to rev again with car in park. The engine noise was very loud. Car was again turned off. Car was restarted after about 2-3 minutes and engine behaved normally. Owners took car to Toyota dealer within an hour of the incident. Toyota dealership ran diagnostic and manager said driver had foot on the accelerator when it happened which is certainly not true. Dealer would not release a copy of the diagnostic report. Owners have had all recall work done on the vehicle and have done regular maintenance as required in the owner manual.

- Bristow, VA, USA

problem #13

Oct 082014


  • 74,200 miles


Just learned today that I need a new transmission for a 2008 Rav4 with only 74,000 miles on it. Had the car in for service at 72,000 miles where they did the 70K mi service to include multipoint/floor mat, replaced the water pump, brake fluid flush and "engine minor". I think something is wrong here. My 5 year or 100K prepaid warranty ended in June so no coverage available. Shouldn't a transmission last longer than 70K miles?

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #12

Sep 252014

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 83,552 miles
The vehicle slows down and the engine shuts off while driving around 65 mph or higher the throttle control is not responding very dangerous.

- Anaheim , CA, USA

problem #11

Jun 022014

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 95,000 miles
A little after its regular scheduled maintenance my 2008 Rav4 started to make an odd noise (rattling) when reaching 40 mph at 1500 RPM. Checked fluids and noticed that engine oil was dry (burnt oil on stick) and black atf. Immediately replaced fluids (engine and ws atf). Took car to dealer and they said they didn't noticed anything unusual. Drove with tech and showed him the noise at specified conditions. He said more tests needed to be done. Up until today they are not sure what the issue may be and suggested a bunch of different "fix" that I will have to pay for myself. Found a tsb online for a similar issue (T-sb-0094-11). Toyota should be held responsible and fix this issue at no cost to users.

- Louisville, KY, USA

problem #10

Jun 162014

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 71,000 miles
Water pump starting making incredible diesel / mechanical grinding sounds. Coolant leaking from water pump. Water pump bearing overheating - odor clearly discernible from inside vehicle. Checked internet - this is a very common complaint among Rav4 V6 owners - many owners having replaced water pump on this year vehicle at 25,000K miles! dealers charging anywhere from us $325 - $900.

- Palmdale, CA, USA

problem #9

Apr 112014

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 88,200 miles


Rear differential started making a whirring noise while driving down the road. The noise increased in pitch and volume with speed. Dealer informed me that it was a bad magnetic coupling between the transmission and the rear differential and replaced it.

- Oswego, NY, USA

problem #8

Aug 222012

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 48,155 miles
I took my 2008 Toyota Rav4 to the dealership for its schedule appointment, and I was told that the rack and pinion and shaft needed replacement. Researching about this problem online, it was evident that many Rav4 owners were experiencing the same situation. This a common problem with many Rav4S. A so called dependable car should not have this problem before reaching 100,000 miles. Certainly, Toyota must clearly know that this is a common problem and should address it as soon as possible because this problem could potentially lead to an accident which can disrupt the safety of our communities.

- Miami, FL, USA

problem #7

May 152012

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 20,000 miles
2008 (started at 20,000 miles, 1 year out of warranty) Toyota rav 4 started a clunking noise in the drive shaft when turning the wheel. We took it in for service and the dealer said they could not duplicate the problem. It's a constant sound! why they said this is unexplainable. It's been non stop since and getting worse. We read on the internet this is common problem for rav 4 owners. We will be taking it back in again and will probably be told the same thing. I also understand there is a tag issued for this problem by Toyota also. The repair is averaged to be $800 and some dealers are willing to share in the repair cost. This should be Toyota's 100% responsibility!

- Middleburg Heights, OH, USA

problem #6

Nov 172012


  • 48,255 miles
Happy holidays & hanukkah! bob bridge took advantage of my age & background. They charged me $1280 out the door for tsb recall service. It's unfair & absurd 4 me paying Toyota's design flaws. Can you please help me get in touch with portland regional office so they can start reimbursement to me? bob bridge is milking both me & Toyota district managers. They took 14 days to put in new steering shaft and offered zero in-depth report on failure & steering shaft's warranty. Rushed through the job and left me dying battery & alternator. T-sb-0318-08 (steering shaft recall) steering now feels hard since they didn't refill power steering reservoir. My alternator & battery was left as is with diminishing capacity. I will only pay $150 out the door labor for this tsb service, the rest will be paid by Toyota's district office. When can you send me my check?

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #5

May 312012

RAV4 4-cyl

  • miles
For a while I recall a light flashing on my dash but it would disppear before I could actually see what it was. On May 31, '12, I was able to see it was the oil light. Apparently my Rav4 was running "low" on oil and I didn't know. So on June 1 (61,469miles) I took it in and the service advisor couldn't "elaborate" what happened, so they topped off the oil until I was due for another maintenance. (I did have another scheduled oil change before my next incident) well, during the first few weeks of Nov '12 I noticed the flashing again and I couldn't confirm what was flashing until Nov 17 when I had to hit my brakes and bam, the oil light again! when we got home & rav was cooled off we checked the oil.....and guess what, I had no oil again! I took it back to the service dep't (after doing research as to this happening around the country) and since a tsb doesn't mean crap to them, I have to do this oil consumption test because I am over the 60,000mile powertrain warranty and they will not honor the "life time powertrain warranty" that was given to me by the previous owner of the lot. I have contacted Toyota and opened a case, but they will not even began to review it until the oil consumption test comes back "abnormal". so in the mean time I have to worry is my "engine" going to blow up due to lack of oil. This is my only means of transportation. When will Toyota acknowledge that there is a problem and make this a recall rather than a tsb....is it because they don't want to front the bill" does the consumers safety not matter to them" and don't forget the tsb came out in 2011 and yet the service department didn't even think to tell me that this could "possibly" be the issue!

- North Fort Myers, FL, USA

problem #4

Dec 212011


  • miles
My 2008 rav 4 is burning oil at an unusually high rate. This began last December when my oil light flicked on when I was braking. When I brought it into a service station they said I had no oil. I have since brought it back to my dealer a few times for the light coming on and being out of oil. I have already done the oil consumption test back in may but Toyota felt that it was normal for my car to have lost oil in 1569 miles (per the owners manual). I just had it back at the dealer because after driving only 3,200 miles since my last oil change, my oil light flicked on again. When I checked it there was no oil in the vehicle. I know there is a tsb out for this issue with my car, and several other models of Toyota, but since I don't have an extended warranty on my vehicle the dealer/service dept told me to contact Toyota directly. Toyota did not acknowledge that I have an issue and continued to quote me page 314 of the owners manual and the oil consumption criteria on the page. For some reason they could not see the notes from my dealer from earlier in the day that I had run out of oil after 3,200 miles. The customer service rep actually said to me "what is it you want us to do"" I told him I want you to fix my car that you know has a problem as described in the tsb. I was told to once again do the oil consumption test with my dealer. I agree with others, if my car is set to go 5000 miles without an oil change, but I only went 3200 and had no oil, how can they not recall the vehicle or be forced to fix this known issue"!! Toyota, I feel, is jeopardizing mine and my family's safety by not correcting this issue. What disturbs me greatly is that the light doesn't come on and stay on, it flicks on when you are breaking so if you miss it, you will not know you are out of oil. A recall is in order and I hope it occurs before my engine is blown!!

- Hanson, MA, USA

problem #3

Dec 012011

RAV4 4-cyl

  • miles
Car is having excessive oil consumption issues. Problem started around 57,00 miles when the oil light came on whenever I stepped on the brakes. Took it to the dealer(keyes Toyota) who told me that there was no oil in the oil pan. Dealer changed the oil but "neglected" to tell me that there was a tsb put out by Toyota for this problem. Took it to the dealer a few more times and each time I expressed concern about the oil loss. Dealer did not take my concerns seriously till after my powertrain warranty was up. Then they told me that could document the oil loss, which they also "forgot" to mention when the warranty was still in effect. My car is losing about 1.5 quarts per 1000 miles. Toyota will not cover the repair to fix the problem because it is out of warranty. I believe the dealer deliberately mislead me into thinking there was nothing wrong with the car till after it was past my warranty period. Powertrain warranty was good for up to 60,000 miles or 5 years. Dealer tried to blame poor maintenance but when I offered to show proof that I did all the recommended maintenance, they stopped blaming the problem on that.

- North Hollywood, CA, USA

problem #2

Dec 072009


  • 17,000 miles
Slipping brakes, requiring frequent checkups and replacement popping noise in the steering wheel ( which after two years of complaining, I was informed is a defective steering shaft ) sudden acceleration increasing noise from under the vehicle jumping when the vehicle is place in reverse.

- Roosevelt , NY, USA

problem #1

May 062008


  • 7,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Rav4. The contact struck a deer while driving 75 mph. She pulled off the road to inspect the vehicle and noticed that it was on fire. The vehicle soon became engulfed in flames. The insurance company stated that the fire was due to the transmission fluid line being ruptured. The coolant dripped on the catalytic converter and caused the fire. A police report was filed. Toyota is not accepting responsibility because the contact was the one who struck the deer. The failure mileage was 7,000.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Not what you are looking for?