pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
97,700 miles
Total Complaints:
6 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (5 reports)
  2. driveshaft replacement (1 reports)
2008 Toyota RAV4 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2008 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #6

Apr 202019

RAV4 Limited 3.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 93,206 miles


In my second year of owning my first toyota, a shudder or vibration I noticed in April started to become much worse into May. When I had it in the dealership for repairs on a tranny leak (complaint logged in another thread) I inquired about the cause. Surprisingly they knew about the issue before I could finish. It is a known issue with ALL Rav4's and ALL model years they blow through driveshafts like candy! And if you saw the shaft you would quickly realize why! It looks like a chinsy twig of steel driving all that torque to the back axle. So the waltz between me and the dealer continued. Only this time toyota has a parts shortage and I would have to wait months for a freshly made shaft at a humble price of $3000.00 (YEAH RIGHT!) just for the part! Checked other dealers around as this is only a dealer part and the best I could find was 4 weeks for $3200 installed. Tried out a third party transmission shop specialist in town, he said yes it is the shaft, yes we fix these on rav4s all the time, and we manufacture the shafts ourselves! He made me a new shaft and did the job in 4 days for $900.00. He also told me this shaft will never cause you trouble again because he over-designed it to the truck. At this point, I'm loosing faith in Toyota vehicle quality statements.

- Chris G., Windsor, ON, Canada

problem #5

Sep 252017

RAV4 Sport 2.4L 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 139,000 miles

No warning - transmission just went. It jerked at a stop sign, I turned & headed up the road and it just stopped. I applied gas, and car wouldn't move. Had it towed & was just told I need to replace the transmission. I am doing some research - we have a mechanic in the family who said this is not a common issue.

- Denise C., Phoenixville, PA, US

problem #4

Dec 162016

RAV4 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles

TOTAL TRANSMISSION FAILURE AT 86,865 MILES. I was told by the Toyota dealer service that the transmission pump was low to no pressure and there was metal shavings in the fluid. A few days prior, the transmission had jerky, banging noises when shifting into forward or reverse.

- Timothy P., Leesburg, OH, US

problem #3

Dec 012014

RAV4 Limited 2.4L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles


Starts off jerkily, not sure when transmission is going to fail!

- dusha, Bridgewater, NJ, US

problem #2

May 252012

RAV4 LX 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 52,817 miles

EXACT PROBLEM AS IDENTIFIED by similar post on this site... transmission jerked hard in reverse...usually on an incline. Only happens sporadically. took a while for the dealer to hear it. I was 12,000 km over warranty by the time they identified. toyota is willing to pay 1/2 the $4000.00 transmission replacement cost. I am asking them to do a little better because I really feel the problem was there long before the warranty expired. transmission fluid changed every 40,000 km... regular maintenance. very sad... cannot afford the repair but don't have the heart to trade it and let someone else be stuck with a bill like that.

- Sean T., Grand Falls-Windsor, NL, canada

problem #1

Mar 242011

RAV4 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

It bought my 2008 Toyota in November of 2008. It was used certified and had close to 30,000 miles. After about 6 months, the problem first occurred. It was intermittent so I could never get the dealer to deal with it. This week the problem almost got me in an accident when parking. I brought the car in the following day. They did not test it the way I asked them to. The problem occurs more often when the car is at an incline. I will go into reverse, the car will hesitate, then lurch/jerk backward, making a loud noise. Sometimes I cannot get it to stop doing this. It's pretty scary when you are in a tight spot. I kept the car there overnight. I was told to call at 10. I did and got the machine and left a message. Nobody called me back so I had to call them again and was told to I come in. I went for a long drive with a technician who tried to explain to me that the problem was my fault (the way I was driving) until it finally happened. Then he seemed concerned and we went back to the dealer. Yep. There was a problem. DUH! Given the situation, I expected some better service. No such luck. I was told to take the car home and come back in two days. When I explained I needed a rental because I was too nervous to drive the car I was told in the lamest way possible that there was nothing he could do. It would not get paid for. I explained my car was certified and I had the extended warranty. No dice. This was the service manager by the way. When I asked if he cared about costumer safety and backing the product his store sold me, he really did not respond. He had to call Toyota and get their approval once the problem was officially diagnosed. I took the car home (on a Saturday) and won't drive it until I take it in. Why my car is not being inspected on Monday, I will never know. Not a priority? I have to wait until Tuesday. I have already had my car in the shop for two days and missed one day of work.

So tonight I have done research and found that this is not a new problem to RV4s. There are many complaints like mine out there. Problems that have to do with transmissions and ECMs. I feel like I am following in their shoes and don't want to get ripped off. My car is a newer model but has higher mileage. Maybe that's why it's getting worse? Who knows. Any advice is appreciated. I will NEVER by a Toyota again. It's funny. A little costumer service goes a long way. Bad service goes even longer.

- burlrug, Oakland, CA, US

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