really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
3 / 0
Average Mileage:
49,150 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2008 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #29

Jan 152014

RAV4 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,262 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Rav4. When the contact started the vehicle, the power steering malfunctioned and the steering wheel became difficult to turn. The dealer stated that the power steering control unit needed to be replaced. The repair was made and the steering operated normally. The manufacturer was not notified. The failure mileage was 65,262. Updated 9/8/14

- Roselle Park, NJ, USA

problem #28

Mar 152014

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 20,070 miles
Vehicle makes noise when the steering wheel is turn. Diagnosed with rack & pinion problems by the Toyota dealer at 20, 070 miles.

- Aguadilla, PR, USA

problem #27

Nov 212013


  • 23,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Rav4. The contact stated that she heard a knocking noise while turning at various speeds and steering the vehicle became difficult. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was determined that the steering shaft needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 23,000.

- Milwaukee, OR, USA

problem #26

May 212013

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 107,000 miles


My alternator went in my vehicle but was discovered was disturbing. I had just had my oil changed 4 weeks prior and the vehicle was almost empty of oil. If the alternator had not failed my engine would have blown due to the lack of oil. The lack of oil is due to the piston assembly in my 2008 Toyota Rav4. This is a known problem with Toyota since they issued a technical service bulletin on Aug. 11 known as SB002411 and SB009411. Toyota said the problem was traced to the piston assembly, yet I have not received any notification from Toyota regarding this issue. There isn't any recall. This repair is only covered for 60 months or 60,000 miles, whichever occurs first. In my situation, the financial burden of this repair is on myself ($4-$5K). This is the second issue with Toyota rav 4 where it should be a recall. My prior issue was the steering intermediate shaft which was making a clucking sound and if not addressed the I could lose control of the vehicle, that financial burden was $800. Both should be a recall by Toyota.

- Cumberland, RI, USA

problem #25

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 #24

Apr 062011

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
While driving the steering becomes tight does not smoothly go into a curve as if the steering needs to be lubricated throws off the vehicle because I have to jerk the wheel.I am afraid I'm going to have a crash due to this.

- Punta Gorda, FL, USA

problem #23

Jun 292013

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 70,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Rav4. The contact stated that while driving approximately 5 mph, she noticed that the rear passenger's side tire had buckled inward. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnosis. The technician stated that one of the tie rod bolts was missing and had caused the tie rod to become bent. The contact referenced NHTSA campaign number: 12V373000 (suspension) but was advised by the manufacturer that the VIN was not included in the recall. The vehicle was not repaired. The approximate failure mileage was 70,000.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #22

Jun 012013

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
I had just dropped off my fiance at work and was attempting to turn around in the parking lot when my steering wheel dropped roughly 8 inches hitting my leg. The steering wheel can be moved 8 to 12 inches up and down with little resistance. It can also move be moved 6 to 8 inches left to right with no resistance. It's not guided in any way, you can move it around in a large circular motion. The car amazingly enough still steers. The steering assembly is still attached to the steering intermediate shaft as well as the rack and pinion. Though when you do attempt to steer, it makes a horrible popping sound, which makes sense because the shaft is no longer in a fixed position. Upon investigation it looks like a factory weld has failed. For a 2008 Rav4, the steering column assembly is mounted to the instrument panel reinforcement bar. This is a large bar that runs the length of your dashboard. This bar has a few welded mounts on it that allow you to bolt on the steering column assembly, which holds the steering wheel in place, it is these welds which have failed. This is a major safety issue, if the steering wheel had dropped 5 minutes earlier when I was traveling at highway speeds I could have easily lost control of the vehicle. The car had 65,000 miles on it at the time of incident.

- Somerville, MA, USA

problem #21

Dec 212012

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 37,370 miles
Resistance is felt at intervals when turning the steering wheel. Steering feels loose, unresponsive and dangerous. Dealer recommended replacing intermediate steering shaft. Online research showed this is a common problem and an upgraded part exists to remedy the problem. Contacted Toyota customer service. Had complaint escalated to Toyota corporate regional manager. Was only offered 15% off repair at dealer. I believe this is a safety issue created by a defective part. Thank you.

- Franklin Lakes, NJ, USA

problem #20

Oct 182012

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 33,000 miles
There is a clunking noise when the steering wheel is turned to the left or right.

- Baldwin, NY, USA

problem #19

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 #18

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 #17

Nov 242012

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 36,500 miles
Every time I make a turn (right or left), I hear this knocking sound on my steering wheel. It feels like something is about to break. I just noticed this right after I replaced the battery.

- North Hills, CA, USA

problem #16

Feb 102010

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 49,500 miles
Steering column clunking sound when ever you turn the steering wheel left or right or going at speeds of 25-35 and 55-70. The noise was narrowed down to the steering column assembly.

- South Ogden, UT, USA

problem #15

Jul 012008

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 9,934 miles
I have experienced a clunking noise when turning the steering wheel at low or no speeds for much of the time I have owned the car. It was reported and checked while under warranty. The dealer made an adjustment but did not record it in their service records. Now, at 42,159 miles, the noises have become more frequent and I can feel it while turning the wheel. Today, the dealer found a technical service bulletin for intermediate shaft noise and are recommending replacement of the shaft. Checking the web I have found that there have been many complaints on this with 2006 - 2008 Rav4's including numerous reports to the NHTSA. It is a known safety issue. I contacted Toyota today and was told there is no recall on the vehicle for it and the car is out of warranty. I will have to pay the cost for the shaft replacement. Since this is a known safety problem, I feel there should be a recall on it and Toyota should take care of the repairs at no cost.

- Ithaca, NY, USA

problem #14

Oct 012012

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
I was making a slow speed turn when, without warning, it became very difficult to steer, as if the power steering quit working. As I accelerated the steering started working again. A few days later it happened again and this time the battery warning light came on. Both times this happened it almost caused a collision. I ended up taking it to the dealer and learned the alternator was going bad. An alternator on a four year old vehicle with 60K miles should last longer. I've since learned, from safety sites, that this is a common safety issue with the rav as the steering is electrically powered. There is also some indication the alternators are failing too soon.

- Upland, CA, USA

problem #13

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 #12

Aug 112012


  • 70,000 miles
I have a 2008 Toyota Rav4 and it has had a whining sound when idling or accelerating for a week. Today I was driving it and the power steering quit while I was driving it. I could barely steer it, if my wife was driving, she could not have turned the vehicle. Many of the warning lights came on- brake light (checked the parking brake), ABS, SRS, battery, vsc, maintenance, and slip indicator lights. Also the radio quit working, all at once. New battery installed last month. We have owned this vehicle since new from the dealership, had 2 recalls fixed for air bag sensor and floor mats, but no other problems until this.

- Mcalester, OK, USA

problem #11

Jan 112012


  • 23,000 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Rav4. The contact stated that the steering wheel had become stiff and hard to maneuver. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who diagnosed that the steering column needed to be replaced and advised the contact not to drive until the repairs were complete. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure who did not offer any assistance since the vehicle was no longer under warranty. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 23,000 and the current mileage was 25,500.

- Marstons Mill, MA, USA

problem #10

Oct 132010


  • 30,000 miles
The contact owns 2008 Toyota Rav4. The contact stated that while driving 40 mph, the power steering failed. The contact stopped the vehicle and the vehicle was towed to a dealer. The dealer was unable to diagnose the failure, but believed that the failure was due to an electrical issue. The dealer repaired the battery and various other electrical components. The failure mileage was 30,000 and the current mileage 40,000.

- Quincy , MA, USA

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