really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
49,031 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.

2011 Toyota RAV4 engine problems

engine problem

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2011 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #15

Jun 032016


  • 135,000 miles


I have a defective vvt-I gear on my 2011 Rav4. Upon researching the diagnosis from my local Toyota dealer (david maus Toyota), I discovered that Toyota has known about this engineering flaw since 2010 and had put out a technical service bulletin (T-sb-0146-10) so that dealerships would know how to replace the defective part. My vehicle's VIN # is specifically listed on this tsb as an effected vehicle. Also, there are many of forums, online, of people having the same problem and Toyota is refusing to replace these parts for owners. This is not a wearable part. It should never have to be replaced and it is a very expensive repair (approx. $2,000) with no discounts. I should mention that I have been dilligent with my car's maintenance and can pull most (if not all) of my oil changes, if necessary. Apparently, the same issue was discovered with certain Lexus models, back then, and they did a recall for those vehicles but not the Toyota models (Camry, highlanders, Rav4S, siennas, and venzas were all affected from this particular factory from the years of 2009-2011). I filed a case with Toyota's corporate office (case # 1606011778) and they offered a $400 refund after I paid for the repair. This is just not acceptable, in my view. Yes, the vehicle is out of warranty, but this is not a warranty issue. This should have been a recall back in 2010 when they discovered it and ditributed the tsb. I offered to pay for the part (at Toyota's cost) if they covered the labor (that is the most expensive cost to the repair), but they would not budge. It is a time sensitive issue, as well, because I am a single mother. This is my only vehicle and operating the vehicle with a malfuntioning vvt-I gear is causing damage to the engine. I am attaching the tsb with the listed affected VIN #S.

- Lake Mary, FL, USA

problem #14

Sep 152015


  • 45,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Toyota Rav4. When the contact depressed the brake pedal, the engine roared and the vehicle accelerated without warning. The vehicle was taken to a local dealer who was unable to replicate the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and stated that there was no recall; therefore, they declined to help unless the dealer replicated the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was approximately 45,000.

- Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #13

Jan 252016


  • 67,259 miles
When braking, sudden acceleration occurred- seems to reset by letting up on brake and reapplying. Has happened on various locations and types of roads. While out of state dealership replace purge valve- seemed ok, but then on 1/25/16 was backing out of driveway had foot on brake and felt engine racing, put into park with racing engine, turned key off restarted and seemed ok had garage check could not find anything no codes showing currently back at dealership to put on their computer. This is an on-going issue for several months, but does not happen on any regular basis so it has not been identified by any garage yet. Please help

- Turnersville, NJ, USA

problem #12

Oct 052015


  • 55,500 miles


Four unintended acceleration incidents has occurred with my Toyota Rav4. Recent incidents on 9/1415 (college park, md when brake applied at a red light with vehicle ahead; passenger/witness in car). High RPM and engine rev occurred; both feet on brake in attempt to keep car from advancing; put car in neutral and then park and engine stopped revving. And on 10/5/15 (damascus, md when brake applied at stop sign with vehicle ahead). Both feet on brake, car to neutral then to park. Actions did not stop engine rps. Turned key to turn off vehicle. Rubber mat (on top of Toyota carpet mats) was removed before leaving the Toyota service center on 9/15/15. Proving on 10-5-15 that the unintended acceleration problem is not a result of floor mats which Toyota would like everyone to believe. Vehicle will be taken to darcar frederick md to filed second incident report on Monday, 10/12/15 (delay because I left on travel 10/5/15). Intent will be to determine trade-in value of car and most likely purchase another vehicle. It's time that Toyota recognize unintended accceleration problems with their Rav4S.

- Damascus, MD, USA

problem #11

Jul 062015

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 117,000 miles
About a year ago, I packed my car to go on vacation. I put the dog in the car and returned to my house to get something. When I returned to the car, it was locked. I assumed I had inadvertently pushed the lock button on the remote so ignored it. Over the last 6 months, this has happened more frequently. On July 6, 2015, my mother and I went to walmart. I went in and she stayed in the car. When I returned the door was locked and she could not open it with the power door lock on the door, so I had to use my remote. Today, I was taking things out of the rear compartment and the keys were hanging in the door to the house. I heard the car door lock itself. I took it to the dealership and we could open the door and watch it lock itself in less than one minute of being opened. During that time, the inside electronic door locks would not work to open the door, it would only open with the remote or the manual door lock. The dealership wants me to bring the car in for inspection tomorrow, but Toyota corporate will not assure me that I won't have to pay for the diagnosis of this problem. I feel this is a safety feature of the Rav4 and they should be willing to diagnose this for free. If they don't, I will not take the car in. I told them I am very concerned that this may happen to someone else and could involve children getting locked in a car without the ability to unlock the door (if they don't know how to use the manual lock)....updated 09/11/15 updated 10/13/15

- Westminster, MD, USA

problem #10

Apr 222015


  • 51,000 miles
On 4/22/2015, I had been driving my 2011 Toyota Rav4 limited edition at highway speed for about 2 hours. After leaving the interstate I was braking and completing a counterclockwise U-turn going about 10 mph when the engine began to race uncontrollably. Based on my previous experience with this problem (this is the fourth time this has occurred) I threw the shifter into park while continuing to brake. This quickly brought the engine speed down to idle. I had my wife confirm that I had my right foot on the brake pedal only. There was no "pedal misapplication." The floor mats were securely in place and there were no loose objects on the floor. The road was dry and the temperature was probably in the 50S. The odometer was about 51,000 miles. This was the first recurrence of this problem since 12/26/2014. I brought the car to my Toyota dealer. They could not identify the problem and said they would charge me if I brought the car in again for a recurrence of the problem.

- Morgantown, WV, USA

problem #9

Feb 052015

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 38,620 miles


I was driving down Suburban road at approx 20-25 mph before attempting to come to a complete stop at a red light. The brakes lost power and engine quickly redlined to 6000 RPM. It was only by immediately shifting into neutral that I avoided running a redlight and plowing through an intersection. I placed in park and shut off engine within 3-5 seconds to avoid engine damage. I waited about 10-15 seconds stuck at a red light before restarting engine and limping it back home less than half a mile away.

- Eagan, MN, USA

problem #8

Dec 152014

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 48,300 miles
After driving my 2011 Toyota Rav4 limited edition for several minutes, I came to a complete stop waiting for an opportunity to turn left. I turned left and accelerated to about 15 mph. I then noticed pedestrians entering a crosswalk so I hit the brakes a bit harder than normal, but not in a panic mode. As the car decelerated, the engine began to race. I increased my pressure on the brake pedal and when the speed was almost zero shifted from drive to park. This immediately cured the problem. The distance from stop to stop was less than 100 feet. I believe that the pavement was damp, but it was not raining and the temperature was in the 40S. I drive with one foot, and my foot definitely was on the brake, not the accelerator. The floormat was securely in place and there were no loose objects on the floor. I brought my SUV to the Toyota dealer. They tested the vehicle and contacted the company. They could not find the problem and attributed the problem to "pedal misapplication" (tas case#-143510469). As it is geometrically impossible to press the accelerator and brake pedals at the same time in a Rav4, I conclude that Toyota cannot find the software/hardware bug in their product. I feel that I am driving a vehicle that could turn on me at any time. I would like to sell it, but how can I pass such a serious defect on to an unsuspecting buyer?

- Morgantown, WV, USA

problem #7

Jul 172014

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 45,000 miles
While approaching an intersection on a busy thoroughfare, the light turned yellow and at the last minute I decided against running the yellow light and applied my brakes very hard. The vehicle started to slow down but as I approached the stop line my vehicle continued to slowly move forward no matter how hard I pressed on the brake pedal. At first I thought my brakes had failed, but then I heard the whine of the engine and I realized that I was fighting against an accelerating engine. I put the vehicle in neutral which I thought would kick the accelerator back to normal but the engine was still revving quite high, but I was no longer moving forward. I then shifted to reverse and the vehicle started to back up even though my foot was still on the brake. At that point I placed the vehicle back into neutral and turned the engine off. After about 10 seconds, I restarted the engine and it performed normally. I drove 6 blocks to my destination, parked the car, called the dealership and had the vehicle towed there. I did not feel safe driving the vehicle, as I thought Toyota had solved the problem of unattended acceleration. Obviously not. The car is currently at the dealership and I am waiting to hear from them as to what they find. From the reports I have read, I'm not holding my breath. They mentioned that they might have to call for an independent engineer to assess the vehicle, and that might take up to a week. I have no grudge against Toyota, as I also own a 2002 Camry which has been a fantastic car with no problems. I just don't believe that all the reports out there are because of loose floor mats, sticky accelerators or con artist trying to get money out of a big corporation. Please look into the electronics of these cars as something is not communicating right. Thank you.

- Oregon City, OR, USA

problem #6

Feb 202014

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 42,531 miles
Came to stop sign and put my foot on the brakes - the engine began to accelerate and move the car forward. Had to put my foot hard on the brakes and put the car into neutral - and the engine stopped accelerating. This is the second time in a two week period that this has happened. Afterwards, the vehicle operated as expected with no problems. However, it is a very scary situation. I checked the floor mat and it was anchored correctly and away from the accelerator. And "no" my foot did not slip from the brake to the gas peddle. I had both feet hard on the brake to avoid jolting forward and hitting the vehicle in front of me.

- Fort Mill, SC, USA

problem #5

Jan 062014

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 6,000 miles


On 1/6/14 I was coming to an intersection and I was slowing down. I noticed that the engine was raving and was trying to pull me forward. Because I was pressing the brakes the car was able only to jerk forward. I had to switch to neutral to prevent car jerking forward. Then the engine returned to normal RPM. This actually happened the second time. The first time it happened in October 2013. On 1/9/14 I gave the car to a Toyota dealer. They said that they will take this matter very seriously and the Toyota engineers will come to read the computer data and review the vehicle. After one week it appears that nothing happened. I wrote to Toyota. They opened case #1401231137. After that the dealer kept the car for another week but "could not duplicate the problem". they opened the case #140230518. Finally, today 1/25/14 they gave me the car back with a stupid advice "not step gas and brakes at the same time". they said they test drove the car, but the mileage in and out is the same (6,085). I bought the car new and it never was in any accident. Now I believe to every claim of unintended accelerations of Toyota vehicles. I hope the federal Agency will do something about this.

- Lake Forest, CA, USA

problem #4

Jul 132013


  • 56,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 Toyota Rav4. The contact stated that while attempting a left turn, he crashed into another vehicle at very low impact. The front of the vehicle immediately caught on fire. The police and fire department were on scene to assist and the fire was extinguished. The hood and the battery were melted and the vehicle was deemed as destroyed. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. There was no injuries. The failure and current mileage was 56,000.

- Buchanan , NY, USA

problem #3

Apr 072012

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 23,253 miles
Problem 1 - I have brake noise and brake does not stop properly. Spoke to Toyota dealer and then created a case number with Toyota customer experience. Toyota verified and they say no problem in brake. What Toyota says after inspection - *inspect brake linings and check parking brake adjustment ~|~*inspect brake linings and check parking brake adjustment ~|~ ~|~could not verify brake noise.front brakes have 5 mm remaining and rear brakes still have 7 mm.all good and no tsb pertaining problem 2 - the vehicle has a wind like noise when driving the freeway, which Toyota says they fixed and the problem was "secure loose roof rack bar".

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #2

Sep 012011

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 5,000 miles
There is a hesitation at low speeds, causing engine to intermittently loose power for 1.5-2.5 seconds. This is an extremely dangerous when accelerating onto interstate highways where cars going in the same direction are already traveling 70-75 M.P.H. and where making turns at intersections with oncoming traffic and other situations where power is necessary to avoid a collision. This condition has already resulted in several near miss accidents making the vehicle unsafe and not suitable for normal driving. This hesitation also seems to be noted in the related NHTSA report examining the Toyota electronic throttle control that may have resulted in unintentional acceleration and at the Toyota dealer where the car has been serviced, they have advised me that I am not the only one complaining about this issue. The problem seems to be one that does involve the programming of the etc and selection of a forward gear.

- Broomfield, CO, USA

problem #1

May 282012

RAV4 4-cyl

  • miles
According to our insured, the insured had pulled into his driveway, and the vehicle had a sudden acceleration, causing the vehicle to run into the house, damaging the wall, the sliding door and the typhoon shutters.

- Hagatna, GU, USA

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