really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
55,736 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.

2009 Toyota RAV4 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2009 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #11

Apr 082016


  • 135,547 miles


When car is at 1500 RPM at 40 mph, the transmission vibrates and thrusts. Noise goes away if above 2000 RPM or above 40 mph. It's Toyota of manchester nh has been able to reproduce. Waiting to see if Toyota will do anything.

- Litchfield, NH, USA

problem #10

Jun 012015


  • 78,385 miles
On May 20, 2015 my 2009 rav 4 developed a whining noise in rear area that got louder the faster I went. Vehicle has 78,385 miles on it and is just out of warranty. Took to dealer and was told that it was the viscous coupler assembly that needed to be replaced at a cost of $1,806.75. I mentioned the service bulletin put out in 2013 and the multiple posts on the rav 4 forum online but they still refuse to cover the repair.

- Ledgewood, NJ, USA

problem #9

May 062015

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 68,000 miles
(no accident) a whine started in the rear of the car that got progressively more prominent over the course of a week. My mechanic discovered that the rear differential coupling hub assembly has failed. According to Toyota parts manager -- and much internet 'chatter' I later discovered -- this is a wide-spread problem (they can't keep the part in stock) and there has been a tsb (0080-13/ special policy adjustment wab 2190) issued, yet Toyota will not cover, or even partially cover, this known defect. It's a very expensive repair, and while a 2009 isn't under warranty anymore, it's far too new to have a problem like this.

- Bedford, MA, USA

problem #8

Jun 132014


  • 100,000 miles


Differential gear box started to slowly leak fluid just over 100,000 miles and eventually the rear differential carrier assy had to be replaced.

- Stockbridge, MI, USA

problem #7

Sep 082014


  • 38,364 miles
The brake was engaged in traffic when the car started to accelerate. I applied the brake more firmly and put the car in park. The engine began to rev uncontrollably in a cloud of white smoke. I switched the car off and restarted the motor and it then ran normally.

- Nantucket , MA, USA

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problem #6

Jul 072014


  • 78,555 miles
I purchased a used 2009 Rav4 with about 78,000 miles. It was a one owner with a clean car fax. It was great during the test drive. About 2 days after I purchased it, it started to make a rattle/rumble/vibration at approximately 40mph and 1500 - 1800rpm. It seems like the noise was coming from the transaxle/transmission area. The noise progressively got worse. It typically happened when on an incline. I took it into a dealer and they flashed the ECU since there were multiple tsbs out with this problem related the ECU. This helped with the problem for a week. Then the rumble came back with a vengeance. The dealer worked on diagnosing for a couple of days. The Toyota engineers on the technical service line had the dealer's technician taking heat shields, plastic covers off, etc thinking something was just hitting resonate frequency and vibrating loudly. Nothing helped. Eventually the technician used listening ears and isolated the noise to the transfer case. The official diagnosis was components in the transfer case were failing. I bought this vehicle thinking Toyota still were high quality. I've discovered Rav4S are basically tin cans on wheels. It makes an amazing amount of creaks and rattles. When I spoke to the Toyota customer service representative on the phone I was basically informed Toyota are now designed to go the 60,000 miles (the manufacturer warranty). After that it's anyone's guess how long the mechanical components will last.

- Tacoma, WA, USA

problem #5

Oct 012009

RAV4 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 500 miles


The contact owns a 2009 Toyota Rav4. The contact stated that when attempting a downward turn, the vehicle sporadically failed to respond to acceleration attempts. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was notified. The failure mileage was 500. The current mileage was 35,000...updated 12-30-13

- Cresson, PA, USA

problem #4

Jan 122013

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 26,000 miles
I was coming to a stop at traffic light. As I slowed down with my foot on the brake the engine suddenly began to surge. Since my foot was already on the brake I was able to push down harder on it to stop it from hitting the car ahead of me. Within a second or two, as the engine continued to surge, I shifted the transmission into park. When I did this the engine surged even more. I then turned off the engine by turning the key which did shut everything down. I then restarted the engine and it ran normally. I was somewhat shaken up by the incident. Note that this had nothing to do with the floor mats or hitting the wrong pedal. My foot was on the brake pedal the whole time the incident occurred-if it hadn't been I would have crashed into the car in front of me.

- Newtown, PA, USA

problem #3

Aug 172012

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 75,676 miles
While braking (at about 5 mph) to make a turn into our carport, the vehicle began to accelerate with a rapid increase in engine rpms. In order to stop the vehicle, the gear was shifted into park (tried to shift it into neutral, but ended up in park). Car returned to idle. Immediately check the floor mat to find it was not a factor. Called Toyota dealership in the area and made appointment for following work day. After 1-1/2 weeks at the dealership, they checked the vehicle and said nothing was found wrong with it. He noted that the floor mats were after market floor mats and not recommended. I explained that this was checked immediately after the car returned to idle and was not a factor. He assured me that everything was checked and nothing was found wrong with the vehicle.

- Wentworth, MO, USA

problem #2

Dec 022010

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 5,364 miles
My wife was parking her 2009 Toyota Rav4. After backing up into a space she put the car in drive and it took off, crashing into the car in front of her. My wife was petrified being my daughter, who is six months pregnant was in the passenger seat. Thank god no one was hurt. The owner of the other car was more concerned about the well being of my wife and daughter then the damage to his car. To bad Toyota didn't feel the same. Called Toyota financial and reported the incident. Asked to have car towed to the dealer and did not want car anymore being my wife was afraid to drive it, being it was an unsafe vehicle. Thats when the fun started. Talking to a rude rep. I was informed that whether I wanted the car or not I was liable for the payments if the dealer had it or not. I then asked him if he gave the same response to the family's of the 34 people who have been killed with this accelerator problem or the hundreds of people who have been injured. His response was that if I did not make the payments they would screw my credit ratings for the next seven years. Hung up. Called Toyota customer protection centrer. More fun. Was told I would here from a case mgr. The next day. Would have car towed to dealer and would be provided with a loaner car while said car was being inspected. 3 days later and 5 phone calls I was able to get case mgr. No loaner car would be provided, 7 to 10 day before someone would call to make an appt. To look at car, and approx. 30 days to get response. The Toyota has been in the driveway for two weeks plenty of calls which are all documented and some one will call you soon. Made payment in good faith. Today is Dec 15., ten days till christmas. I can see the holiday excuses coming. Maybe I mght see some one in the next few months, but remember they want their money.

- Jersey City, NJ, USA

problem #1

Jan 302010


  • 6,700 miles
Engine attempted to accelerate on 2009 Toyota rav 4 while stopped at stoplight behind other vehicles. Driver, standing on brakes, quickly put car in neutral and then park and engine returned to normal idle speed.

- Mercer Island, WA, USA

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