really awful
Crashes / Fires:
20 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
9 / 1
Average Mileage:
33,509 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2008 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments (Page 2 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #69

Feb 202012

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 25,300 miles


I was crossing a parking lot and pulling out into a street. I stopped then pulled forward, so I could see if any cars were approaching. A car was approaching so I pressed the brakes, then the car surged forward. It felt like when the cruise control accelerates. Because a crash was imminent, I decided my best chance was to move my foot to the gas petal and speed up. I drove the car straight and then to the left. The other driver laid on his horn, slowed down and drove on. I purchased this car in early November 2011 from fred anderson Toyota. It appears to never have been wrecked. It had around 23,300 miles on it at time of purchase. That night of 02/21, I checked consumer reports online and found that there had been a recall on 2008 Toyota Rav4. The next morning, I removed the floor mat from the driver's side floor. It did not appear to have been moved before. There are 2 holes at the back of the mat and one of the holes had a black rubber hook device holding it to the floor. The other hole (back right side) did not have a hook. When I entered the VIN on the Toyota website, it showed a repair order for a car with 30,599 miles on 11/08/2012. My car still does not have that many miles. I don't think a repair has been done on my car. My notes show that I bought the car on 11/05/2011.

- Raleigh, NC, USA

problem #68

Nov 252011


  • 54,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota rav 4. the contact was driving 52 mph when a roaring noise emitted from the accelerator pedal after being depressed and the vehicle increased in speed unexpectedly. The failure caused another vehicle to crash into the contact from the rear. The crash caused no injuries and a police report was filed. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and the manufacturer was contacted. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and the current mileages were 54,000.

- Virginia Beach, VA, USA

problem #67

Dec 292011

RAV4 6-cyl

  • miles
The vehicle, a 2008 Toyota rav 4, was sitting at a complete stop at a red light with operator's foot on the brake waiting for the light to change. Inexplicably and suddenly the engine revved to a high RPM and the vehicle lurched forward and struck the rear bumper of the vehicle in front. The collision was low speed and there were no injuries and no noticeable damage to either vehicle. We immediately drove the vehicle to the Toyota dealership for evaluation.

- Wallingford, PA, USA

problem #66

Dec 172011

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles


Was at a complete stop at a signal. Had foot on the brake. Engine surged to approx 6500 RPM plowed into the vehicle in front of me. I climbed on the other vehicle. Car would not stop moving until I turned and pulled out the key from the ignition. Airbags did not go off. Reported incident to tarpon city officer, while the accident report was written up. My daughter and I were pretty banged up. Don't know if the other vehicle reported injuries. The rav was not drivable. Had to have it towed to suntoyota for repairs. Reported incident to sun Toyota service and body shop Dec 22, they asked me what I wanted done about the problem. Called Toyota 800 331-4331 case #[xxx], 12/22/11 promised to call back in 24 hrs case worker [xxx]. talked to [xxx] at Toyota headquarter in California. Still waiting for a response from Toyota. I don't feel safe in this vehicle now. I can't sell it in good faith, because of the product liability. I am thankful there was a car in front of me. The tarpon springs christmas parade was in progress and there were a least a dozen kids in the crosswalk in front of us. What a christmas present my rav would have given some parents if my car had hit these kids. Just an fyi. I had a perfect driving record for 35 years until this happened. Thank you Toyota! Toyota needs to man up before innocent people are killed. I forgot this is big corporation, they don't care, as long as it doesn't effect their bottom line. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Palm Harbor, FL, USA

problem #65

Sep 262009

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
Date is approximate, but this has happened numerous times, not always under the same conditions. It has happened after being driven in light rain & heavy rain & after vehicle being parked & restarted all of the lights would illuminate. Initially while driving in moderate rain, multiple vehicle warning lights illuminated, cruise control failed on freeway @ set speed of approx 60 mph due to rainfall. While continuing to function, the vehicle started to feel like it was rolling on marbles & the feel was a little unnerving, but you are able to maintain control of the vehicle. Diagnostics revealed multiple codes, but once reset all lights were out & the vehicle performed normally again, until driven in rainy conditions. Independent garage said to take it to Toyota when the rain induced the warning lights again & I'm headed to a Toyota dealer this morning after a light rain on Saturday morning all lights illuminated again & the cruise will no longer engage. Don't know if this has been reported by any other rav 4 owners, but independent garage so far has said "we can't find a failure just a lot of codes & once we clear the codes it is okay." If I understand the premise of the warning lights they are there to indicate something requires attention - so my faith in "there's nothing wrong or we can't find anything" is a little shaken. I spoke with Toyota & they deny that this has ever been reported by any rav 4 owners & I would have to bring it to them when the failure & warning lights come on - they will see them this morning. Thank you for your time.

- Georgetown, TX, USA

problem #64

Aug 012011


  • 63,000 miles
My 2008 Toyota Rav4 accelerated when the brake was applied on two separate occasions recently. One instance took place on or about June 30, 2011, the second time happened on or about Monday, August 1, 2011. The first time, Toyota claimed that the non-braking/unexpected acceleration problem was caused by floor mats I put in the car. I bought these for the car because I felt the ones Toyota originally provided were not safe (heels on my shoes, though flat, kept getting caught in the deep ridges of their mats, making it difficult to maneuver). After speaking with the Toyota 's mechanics, I threw out my mats and replaced them with new Toyota mats recommended by the dealership. About one month later the same thing happened again. When I applied my foot to the brake, instead of this action stopping the car, the car accelerated and moved forward. The first time this happened, my car was approaching a stop sign at the bottom of a hill leading to my complex's exit. As I neared the stop sign in front of a very busy roadway, I started applying my brakes. The car did not slow down. Although I pushed down harder & harder on the brake in a desperate effort to stop the car, it continued to move forward. My Rav4 went onto the roadway, narrowly missing a truck in oncoming traffic. The second time I was in a parking lot. I think there is something significantly wrong with this car and do not believe it to be safe. The mechanic at Toyota, before even examining the car, claimed it was "human error." I have driven many cars in my lifetime and have never had this happen to me before. It is my sincere hope that the NHTSA & dot will look into this and other related matters. It appears there are many people having brake problems with these cars. I truly believe people's lives are in danger. I'm afraid to have my granddaughters travel in my car!

- Wappinger Falls, NY, USA

problem #63

Jun 162011

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 35,500 miles


Yesterday, June 16, 2011, as I was driving my Toyota 2008 Rav4 (35,500 miles), the car accelerated uncontrollably. The car was still cold -- it was less than 2 miles after start-up. Outdoor temp was about 65. No rain or inclement weather. I approached a red light very slowly, at less than 10 mph. As I was braking, I became aware that the car was not stopping. I braked harder and could feel the breaks engaging, but underneath that feeling was the feeling of the car continuing to accelerate and fight the brakes. I got the car stopped, but only after extremely hard braking. If there had been someone in the cross walk in front of me, I'd have hit them. The car was still trying to take off. I put the transmission in park and took my foot off the brake. By now the engine was screaming. I sat there for a couple of seconds, foot neither on the brake nor the accelerator and the car sounding as if it would soon explode, and finally just turned the car off and called a tow truck and took it to the dealership. The service writer was cold and distant, non-verbally making sure I understood that he thought I was either lying or blowing the incident out of proportion, while at the same time saying nothing that could actually be quoted as rude. A special technician is supposed to come out from Toyota to look at the vehicle. Based upon what others have experienced, I expect the dealership to do nothing. The car is clearly unsafe, and knowing that, I cannot ever drive it again.

- Simi Valley, CA, USA

problem #62

May 092011

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 66,010 miles
My 2008 Toyota Rav4 cruise control fails to hold speed during up hill climb and causes engine surges.

- Duncansville, PA, USA

problem #61

Feb 072011


  • 26,500 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Rav4. The contact was driving 5 mph and came to a stop. As he shifted the vehicle into park, the vehicle abnormally accelerated and the engine exhibited an increase in rpms up to 7000. He was able to stop the vehicle by placing the vehicle into neutral. The vehicle was not inspected for the failure nor was it repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and offered no assistance. The failure mileage was approximately 26,500.

- Ocean Side, NY, USA

problem #60

Dec 152010

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 25,000 miles
While my wife attempted to park the vehicle head first, under normal conditions, at the street in front of our home, the vehicle suddenly accelerated. The acceleration occurred while the vehicle was already nearly stopped, and caused her to hit another vehicle parked in front causing significant damage to both vehicles. Even after our vehicle was stopped the engine kept accelerating, thus pushing the vehicle in front which we had collided into. The engine only stopped accelerating after my wife turned off the car. At no point did my wife step on the gas pedal, this was not a case of pedal confusion. Her foot was on the brake (slowing down to park) before and after the vehicle started accelerating. The acceleration was quite severe, I am not sure the car could accelerate that fast even if the gas pedal was pushed all the way down intentionally. This is the fourth incident of unintended acceleration we've had with this vehicle. The three other incidents occurred on the highway. We complained to Toyota in the summer of 2010, but they told us that the vehicle was not covered by the recall and we could do nothing about it. They refused to inspect the vehicle closely to determine the cause of the problem. In no case was the gas pedal stuck, or the floor mat was in the way. The vehicle simply accelerates without warning and at seemingly random times.this problem has caused over $4000 in damages in just the latest incident. When we reported the latest incident to Toyota they claimed that this was a case of pedal confusion and dismissed our complaint. This was not a case of pedal confusion. My wife already had her foot on the brake slowing down to park the vehicle. Only once the vehicle was nearly parked did the vehicle accelerate while my wife's foot was still on the brakes. Our problem is being dismissed by Toyota. Surely other Toyota vehicles are suffering the.

- Bronx, NY, USA

problem #59

Dec 212010


  • 50,000 miles


Greetings, we have a 2008 Rav4 which has twice exhibited uncontrolled engine acceleration. My wife has contacted Toyota to no avail. Toyota has recalled other models but not the Rav4. They have not heard our complaints as a mortal safety concern. It is as if we are trying to con the company. As a lifelong safety professional, this is very disturbing. Please advise as to our possible actions. [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Bangor, MI, USA

problem #58

Dec 102010


  • 32,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Rav4 ltd (na). The contact stated that while driving 50 mph, the vehicle suddenly accelerated to 65 mph. The contact shifted into park and then drive to slow the vehicle. The vehicle did not slow down so the contact rubbed the tires along the curb and applied the emergency brake. The contact fainted and was taken to the hospital. The manufacturer had not been notified. The failure mileage was approximately 32,000.

- Port Washington, NY, USA

problem #57

Oct 162010


  • 35,855 miles
2008 Toyota Rav4 (35K miles) purchased in 12/07. After a 40 mile drive, we were sitting in stop and go traffic for approx 20 minutes. During a stop, the engine began revving loudly and lunged forward. With both feet still on the brake, the car continued to creep forward until hitting the vehicle in front of us. Then the car was put into neutral and ignition was shut off. This is the first occurrence. After settling down, and discussing the accident with the other vehicle, no damage to their car, so no need to file an accident report. We called Toyota to file a complaint. And took the car directly to the nearest dealer. After a checking out the car, they found no issues, and said the car was 'to Toyota's specifications', and there was nothing they could do. They also said they couldn't guarantee how it could happen again.

- Cassville, MO, USA

problem #56

Aug 102010


  • 54,000 miles
Bought '08 toyo Rav4 new from serra toyo in B'ham al. Now with 54K miles and no problems until now. About 10 days ago while in traffic and upon braking for traffic signal, as we came to a near stop, with foot on the brake pedal, the car accelerated and lunged forward about 8-10 ft stopping only inches short of the car ahead of us. I had my foot firmly on the brake pedal the entire time and the car had decelerated to a near stop, so this is not a stuck accelerator. Floor mats were not near the accelerator pedal. Even so, I decided that I must have erred in some way and moved on. About two days later as we were pulling into a business, we had an identical repeat, this time coming within inches of hitting the front of the business. There was no doubt this time that this was not operator error. It is the distinct feeling of the accelerator being pushed down and overriding the brake. Each time, the stop was not as a result of my foot on the brake, it was simply related to the fact that the acceleration stopped before we hit anything. I called for a flatbed and paid $160 to have the vehicle towed 60 miles to the dealership as driving was not an option. Serra assured me that they would take this very seriously and would have investigators come in and check the car out. They called me today to tell me that everything checked out fine and there was nothing wrong with the car and we could pick it up. I absolutely refuse to drive this car again. We live on a major hwy and if this had occurred at the end of our driveway it could have produced tragic results. I need help! what do I do? I called Toyota customer serv. And they said if the investigators say nothing is wrong, there is nothing for them to do. The '08 Rav4 is not included in the recalls and I suspect that Toyota is simply going to refuse to acknowledge this so they don't have to address yet another model year. If you have other reports of this in a '08 Rav4, please take them seriously. Please advise!

- Horton, AL, USA

problem #55

Aug 112010


  • 15,735 miles
Last night I experienced a sudden, unexpected increase in engine rpms while stopping and while stopped at a stop sign after my car had been driven approximately 1/4 mile on a cold engine (although the temp outside was in the 70S). The air conditioner may have been on in the car. I was just coming up to a stop at a stop sign when the engine suddenly began to roar and though I saw a car coming on the cross street, I couldn't understand why the car seemed to be hard to restrain from moving forward. I have an automatic 2008 Rav4 V6 with about 15,000 miles, and I had my foot squarely on the brake. There is no floor mat as I removed that the first week of the news that mats could be a contributing cause to unintended acceleration. I am very familiar with the slight increase in rpms that happens when the air conditioning cycles, and this was several orders of magnitude beyond that. I immediately put the car in neutral and turned the ignition off. At that point, I smelled a very distinctive chemical smell, probably from the tires since the brake and the accelerator were both working at the same time. I started the car up again almost immediately and it was fine for the 10 minute drive home. The next morning I drove it to Toyota and they ran a computer diagnostic on it and they said it showed nothing. They told me to "monitor the car and note the tachometer reading if it ever happens again." To be honest, I always thought that people made too much of this problem, but then I never expected it to happen to me. I am reluctant to drive the car now, so I want it noted that this model and year of Rav4 may also have this problem. It is possible that I turned the engine off so quickly that the computer didn't register the problem? I'm just glad that I wasn't on the open road, but at a stop sign when this happened so I was able to shut the car off immediately.

- Maynard, MA, USA

problem #54

Jun 122010


  • 14,415 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Rav4. The contact stated while parking, when she removed her foot from the brake pedal the vehicle abnormally accelerated. The contact was unable to stop the vehicle and steered into a curb in an attempt to bring the vehicle to a stop. The vehicle did not stop and instead accelerated over the curb, into a fence and finally stopped when crashing into a utility pole. The contact sustained a fractured foot and crushed dentures and was transported to the hospital. A police report was available. The vehicle was towed by the contact's insurance company and was declared totalled. This was not the contact's first instance of unintended acceleration. She was advised by her dealer that there were no recalls on the vehicle and no failures. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure mileage was 14,415.

- Harrington Park, NJ, USA

problem #53

May 142010


  • 7,100 miles
Purchased Toyota rav 4 2008 [xxx] on 12/07. 4 incidents of throttle opening. First 2 occurred within a few weeks of each other when car was new. Engine started to race at high RPM when placing car in park after having been driven on an outing for a period of time. Not reported to Toyota. Early May 2010, in congested construction traffic inching along, throttle opened again. Stayed hard on brake but car kept inching forward and tapped a car in front before I put car in neutral. Reported incident to national Toyota and brought car to local dealership. They could find no problem. May 14 with wife in car, foot on brake attempting to park, throttle opened up completely-red line RPM. Immediately placed car in neutral as engine continued to race for 20-30 secs. Dealer could find no problem as well as national company technician a week later. We offered to let technician keep and drive our car for a month or two in the hope that the problem would manifest itself but Toyota declined. Car is essentially new, no scratches, dents etc. 7200 miles. We told Toyota that we are a family far removed from litigious behavior and agitating trouble. As my family is now not comfortable with driving the car we are being forced to trade this car in at a dealership (we could not in good conscience sell it privately) for a price that is nowhere near its value. We have explained this to Toyota. All we want is for this problem to be recognized and fixed on our car. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #52

Mar 302010


  • miles
On my way to tufts medical in boston mass. I paid the last toll in and not 200 ft from the toll booth, my car stopped. My Rav4 shut down and rolled back towards the toll booth (towards oncoming traffic). The car would not stop despite lifting the emergency brake. After turning the car off, it slowly stopped but, did continue to roll. Mass state troopers arrived in about 5-7 minutes and placed his vehicle so that it would not roll into anyone. My car was towed back to the dealer while I rented a car to get back to western mass. The dealer has looked at the car 3 different times and found nothing. I can no longer Transport my elderly mother to her appointments in boston without renting a car.

- Springfield, MA, USA

problem #51

May 012010

RAV4 4WD 6-cyl

  • 15,250 miles
My fiancee and I were driving, 2008 Rav4/limited/V6/4WD. We were at a stop light. I was driving, I had my foot on the brake for about 30 seconds waiting for light to turn green. It was a busy intersection here in denver and there was a car in front of us. All of a sudden the accelerator took off and I could feel the car trying to move forward. Luckily, I already had my foot on the brake and I pressed down even harder on the brake as I immediately put the car in neutral. When I put it in neutral the accelerator continued to rev higher than it was before. I slammed the gear shift into park and shut the car off. We were obviously shaken from this and just sat there for a minute as we realized what had just happened. My fiancee wanted to get out of the car and call a tow truck. I wanted to try and start the car again but leave it in park and test it out. I started the car without touching the brake and it did it again. Every light on the dash board lit up like a christmas tree. We were in park so the car could not move but the RPM's were on the way to redlining and I turned off the car again. The lights around the speedometer had never lit up like that before. Seriously every dummy light on the car was lit and flashing. We were completely scared at this point and we just turned on the emergency lights and just sat there in shock. We sat there for ten minutes at this busy intersection trying to figure out what to do. I decided to try it again and this time the car started normally. My fiancee was afraid to drive it but I assured her if it happened again I could just put it in neutral and we could pull over to the side of the road. We drove directly to the dealership. We explained what happened and they said the would check it out. They called later that day and said all the diagnostic tests were normal. They told me it must have been the floor mats. That is impossible since the floor mats weren't even touching accelerator. Updated 05/12/10 updated 07/16/10.

- Denver, CO, USA

problem #50

Dec 012009


  • 1,100 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Rav4. The contact was driving approximately 35 mph when the accelerator pedal was engaged the speed failed to increase; however, the vehicle hesitated and lunged forward. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the technician was unable to diagnose the failure. The failure occurred on several occasions. The failure mileage was 1,100. The current mileage was 1,500.

- West Islip, NY, USA

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