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 1 of 3)

problem #49

Apr 012016


  • 100,000 miles


The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Rav4. While operating the vehicle and turning the steering wheel in either direction, the steering column made a clicking noise. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic who diagnosed that the steering column was faulty. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 100,000.

- Forest Park, GA, USA

problem #48

Sep 272016


  • 53,000 miles
1st issue was repeated recall over lower arm suspension bar that was permanently glued, to remedy safety concern. Now intermediate steering arm is bad, and problems w car swaying, and tires feeling wobbly. Being told Toyota will not cover expenses to repair related suspension issue. $750 car has only 53,000 miles... many other Rav4 owners w same problem. Afraid to drive.

- Mount Laurel, NJ, USA

problem #47

Apr 012016


  • miles
There are have been 6 recalls to date since we purchased 2008 Rav4. Most recently, seatbelts were deemed unsafe in the rear, where we harness our children's carseats. This was in April 2016, and we have yet to be contacted about a remedy. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to push for a fix to this situation. We are frustrated that this car is a lemon, but not according to law, since the recalls are rolled out over the course of the last 6-8 years.

- Pompton Lakes, NJ, USA

problem #46

Aug 032016


  • 128,000 miles


Clunk in steering wheel when turning to the left or right.

- Huntington, NY, USA

problem #45

Apr 292014


  • 83,812 miles
I hear a " thud noise " whenever I turn the steering wheel left or right, especially when getting in and out of a parking space.

- Concord, CA, USA

problem #44

Aug 012015


  • 45,000 miles
Vehicle developed a clunk noise that could be heard and felt throughout the vehicle, especially in the steering system and especially during slow speed operation. The problem began in 8/2015 at ~45,000 miles. Vehicle also developed a loose feel in the steering and would pull to the right under hard acceleration. By 1/2016, the problem got noticeably worse. I then took the vehicle to a local auto repair shop for diagnosis/repair. After an hour or so of checking the entire suspension and steering system, the problem was diagnosed as a bad "steering intermediate shaft". the local shop owner stated he had replaced several of these same steering shafts on other Rav4S around the same vintage (2006-2010). I contacted my local Toyota dealership and the service agent also stated they had "several" incidents with this vintage of Rav4S and steering shaft problems but there was no recall and since the vehicle was out of the warranty period, Toyota would not cover the repairs. I then looked online to see if any other owners had the same problem and was shocked to see how many others have had the same issue with Rav4S of the same vintage and had similar results with local Toyota dealers. I believe this is a serious safety concern as eventually the steering shaft and/or shaft U-joint knuckles could fail due to this poor design and cause loss of control (steering) of the vehicle. Toyota does not seem to be taking this seriously, hopefully the NHTSA will.

- Peabody, MA, USA

problem #43

Jan 062016


  • miles


2008 rav 4 has less than 60K miles. Was experiencing a clunking noise when turning left or right at low speeds. Took my vehicle into the dealership and was told it needs a new steering shaft at a cost to me of $688. Upon researching this issue I have discovered that it has been an issue with this make, year and model for a long time. Would like to see a recall generated for this as Toyota owners should not have to bear the cost of faulty manufacturing.

- Castro Valley, CA, USA

problem #42

Nov 222015


  • 89,000 miles
Having just exited I-95, I was turning the steering wheel to the right to pull up to the curb at the philadelphia airport to pick up a passenger. Upon doing so, the steering column made a loud pop or clunk sound, and the steering wheel immediately lurched approximately 6-8" to the left - and nearly out of my hands - almost causing me to crash into the crowd at the curb. After this sound occurred, the steering wheel (as in a previous complaint in 2013) was still operational, however was able to move approximately 6 - 9" up, down, right, or left while still remaining operable. Upon taking the vehicle to the Toyota dealership, I was asked if I had been in a front-end collision (answer, "never"), as a factory weld had failed that keeps the steering column attached to a safety rod in the dash. Repairs are expected to run approximately $3,700. Matter has been sent to Toyota corporate, however no word has come back. It appears as if I will be responsible for the full repair cost, despite failure in factory weld. Apparently no fail-safes are in place should this weld fail, such that a very dangerous situation arises, especially if this had happened three minutes earlier when I was in very heavy interstate traffic, instead of just having exited, and moving at 10 mph or less.

- Exton, PA, USA

problem #41

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 light switch circuit that has malfunctioned. Piercey Toyota in milpitas investigated the incident on 10/09/15. They found C1249 open stop light switch circuit, C1223 ABS system malfunction, my vehicle had intermittent brake light switch circuit malfunction. Piercey Toyota replaced brake light switch assembly.

- Union City, CA, USA

problem #40

Oct 072015


  • 73,000 miles
I have a 2008 Rav4. In 2010, I experienced a "clunking" or "thunking" sensation in the steering column on low speed turns. The dealer determined that a faulty intermediate steering shaft was the cause and replaced it. The same problem occurred again in 2012 and the dealer replaced the intermediate steering shaft again. In 2015, I had steering problems which had a similar feel (a "thunk" or "clunk" feeling when turning). This time the dealer determined that the steering rack and related parts needed to be replaced and charged me $2,400 for the repair.

- Chadds Ford, PA, USA

problem #39

Sep 292015


  • 98,386 miles


Upon starting the vehicle and attempting to go in reverse, the power steering became difficult to turn. Had it towed to my mechanic and was told the electric steering control module and steering column motor assembly had to be replaced. Total cost was $3,300. This is becoming a common complaint and, considering the cost involved, should be thoroughly reviewed by the NHTSA.

- Parma Heights, OH, USA

problem #38

Jul 232015


  • 89,901 miles
The contact owns a 2008 Toyota Rav4. While the vehicle was being serviced, it was discovered that the vehicle had a fractured steering rod. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 89,901.

- Claremont, NC, USA

problem #37

May 112015


  • miles
Clunking noise when turning the steering wheel.

- Chandler, AZ, USA

problem #36

Apr 222015


  • 60,000 miles
We recently took our Rav4 in for recall work. The service department decided to do a complimentary inspection on my Rav4. We were told that the power steering pump needed to be replaced. It had never been a problem before. Now, the power steering pump is squealing on tighter than regular corner turning. I researched this issue on the internet. The disturbing, more constant compliant is that the power steering on my year, make and model will fail intermittently and then suddenly fail. This is a very serious issue since most of the drivers on the road are used to power steering and may not know what to do if the power steering should suddenly fail while driving. I want to make it clear that I am not blaming the dealership or the service department. They gave us a heads-up on what we had no idea was about to become a problem. The power steering pump problem is a serious issue, the Rav4 is a family car for the most part.

- Graham, WA, USA

problem #35

Mar 202015


  • 63,347 miles
Makes a clunking sound when I turn and I feel a "bump" in the steering wheel. I was charged $594.45 at the dealership for the repair replace the intermediate steering shaft. After searching online, I found that there are many complaints about this problem. Please enforce a vehicle recall for this problem.

- Netcong, NJ, USA

problem #34

Aug 142013

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 40,230 miles
Power steering became difficult, dealer replaced steering column. Problem with sensor located at column. Cost to me $1260.

- Marstons Mills, MA, USA

problem #33

Nov 032014

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 75,200 miles
Clunking noise from steering shaft that is both audible and felt through steering wheel. Occurs turning both left and right, going forward or reverse, but not when driving straight.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #32

Nov 112014

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 80,933 miles
Requested steering shaft replacement during inspection (need attention soon). Thought that was odd. Went online and appears to be a problem with Toyota vehicles. Called Toyota 800 331-4331, they didn't care. Thought I file a complaint to get it recalled.

- Camarillo, CA, USA

problem #31

Sep 172014

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 48,000 miles
After being told I needed a steering intermediate shaft, I started investigating on the internet and come to realize there are hundreds of complaints on this issue dating back to 2007. When steering I hear a cracking sound and feel that it is a defect. All of the rav 4's are having the same problem, and this can really cause injury.

- Lanham, MD, USA

problem #30

Jun 052010

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 19,874 miles
I went to the dealer because I heard a clunking noise when turning the steering wheel. They did not hear anything and I could not do anything because the vehicle was under warranty. A year later, at a routine checkup, they said they heard the sound and it was a damage steering shaft and rack & pinion. A year later the same sound, but only the steering shaft was replaced. The year after that, the noise again and they had to replace the steering shaft and rack and pinion. Today I was told that I have to change the rack and pinion. I read on internet that this is a common problem throughout Rav4 2008, but this is ridiculous.

- Trujillo Alto, PR, USA

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