really awful
Crashes / Fires:
8 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
15,118 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.

2012 Toyota RAV4 brakes problems

brakes problem

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2012 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #23

Dec 292016


  • miles


I started having problems 04/06/2015 with my brakes grinding and vibrating the front of my 2012 rav 4. I took it in to the dealership and they put new brake pads and resurfaced the front rotors. 42,968 miles on the car.. I was told these new brake pads had a life time warranty on them.. again Dec. 2016 I started having the same issues so I had to take the rav 4 back in for service and I was told that the brake warranty would not cover the brakes until the brake pads are worn down more. I can not drive a car with my brakes grinding and vibrating the front end of my car when I use the brakes. The brakes are grinding down into the rotors because I was told the rotors where blue.. which means they are hot. I'm not a mechanic but these pads I'm being told are to hard and they are grinding into the rotors. I was to hear back from the Toyota garage because they where to order these new type pads for my Rav4. I waited a week and never heard back from the garage. So I took the SUV to another repair service to have these brakes and rotors replaced.. the grinding and vibrating has stopped. And I feel safe to now drive my rav 4.. when your having grinding // vibrating of the brakes on your car I don't believe that's a safe way to continue to drive a vehicle.. I didn't even have to drive over 35 miles an hour for this grinding// vibrating to start. It would only happen 50-60% of the time I would use my brakes.. but that's 50-60% of the time to much. The brakes on a vehicle are very important. I made this repair garage give me the brake pads and the rotors. So I did keep them.. I'm not going to be the accident that takes my life "then there"S a recall" on these faulty brake pads.. being to hard and grinding into the rotors. This is my 5th Toyota and my 3rd Rav4. So I know what they should be driving like. And I never had any of my brakes ever replaced prior to these..

- Fayette City, PA, USA

problem #22

Oct 032016


  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Toyota Rav4. While driving various speeds, the brake pedal was depressed and an unknown warning indicator illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the master cylinder and the actuator needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The contact was aware of NHTSA campaign number: 14V054000 (electronic stability control, service brakes hydraulic), but the VIN was not included. The failure mileage was 40,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Deland, FL, USA

problem #21

Dec 162014


  • miles
When coming to a stop and my foot is on the brakes, the car continues to move forward. This has happened at least a dozen times: 3 times going down a bridge, twice on the interstate, and the rest is when I'm going down a hill and put my brakes on to stop. My daughter has been with me on three occurance. I have taken it to the dealership twice and they said they couldn't find anything wrong. This is a safety issue. So far I've been lucky and not hit the rear of another car, but I don't want to take a chance.

- Charleston, WV, USA

problem #20

Jan 092015


  • 50,000 miles


Without cause or reason, the "brake actuator" circuit malfunctioned causing the car to lose cruise control, ABS, anti-skid and sporadic tail light problems (lights will stay on or come on when the car is parked). I brought it to my Toyota dealer and they were unable to identify the problem. The next day, the roads were snow covered and the brakes locked up approaching an intersection causing the car to skid into another vehicle. When I brought the car back to the dealer, after the body was repaired, they located the problem and said it would cost $2900 to replace. Before I was able to have the vehicle repaired, the wiring caught fire, probably because the taillights came on by themselves during the night, as they occasionally did (without a key in the ignition). The car was towed to the Toyota dealer who estimates upwards of $10,000 for repairs to the computer and wiring system. The Toyota service manager recommends we sell the $19,000 car for "wholesale." Insurance will not cover the damage as it was a mechanical malfunction. Toyota Corp. In California, consumer experiences department, will not give me any help as the car is 21,000 over the 36,000 mile warranty. How or where can I get a lawyer or consumer advocate to help me?

- East Chatham, NY, USA

problem #19

Feb 142015


  • 10,600 miles
New Rav4 purchased 2/2013;bought extended platnum warranty. 5 separate incidents of sudden acceleration 2/14/2015-5/25/2015-had passenger in car each time.1st- traveling S I-79 warrendale pa 60 mph speed drops to 50 mph car in front hit brakes to slow I applied my brakes to slow Rav4 started to accelerate engine started to rev loudly passenger said shift to neutral then I hit brake again to slow. 2nd-local traffic 30 mph applied brake to slow instead car accelerated put into neutral to slow engine revving. 3rd-driving from oakland-North hills pa in traffic 30 mph hit brake to slow for traffic light instead rav accelerated engine revving loudly put in neutral to stop. 4th-traveling 20 mph at local park 3/7/15 approaching stop sign car in front applied brakes, hit my brakes & car accelerated put car into neutral engine revving loudly then applied brakes to stop-drove directly to Toyota dealership advisor checked floor mats stated were properly placed. I made appt at dealership on 3/10. Toyota's conclusion-nothing wrong stated "possible pedal misapplication", suggested I buy flat Toyota floor mats had weathertechs, I purchased new driver's mat & Toyota installed. 5th-5/25/15 leaving grocery store 10 mph went to stop before exiting lot rav would not stop engine loud threw into neutral finally stopped. 5/25/15 emailed CEO of Toyota N America received call back & made appt for 5/29/15 to have rav looked over again at dealership for sudden acceleration issues. Received call back on 5/29/15 from nicki @ Toyota executive office-stated that Toyota stands by their March 2015 assessment that there is nothing wrong with my rav & if I have it towed to dealership by aaa, I would be responsible for all costs to have my vehicle serviced at dealership, would not be covered under any warranties. I have been driving for 40+ year & possible pedal misapplication 5 X's is a bunch of bull.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #18

Dec 182014

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 33,000 miles
On Thursday 18 December, my wife and I left springfield, Missouri to dallas, Texas to visit our family for the christmas holiday. We were driving our recently purchased 2012 Rav4 with approximately 33,000 miles which we purchased in late September 2014. We stopped several times during our trip to refuel and allow my wife, who is 6 month pregnant, a chance to stretch her legs. For much of the trip, I used cruise control when possible at varying speeds from 65 mph (in Missouri) to 75 mph (in parts of Oklahoma). At approximately 4:30 pm, while driving through tushka, Oklahoma we approached a stoplight where the speed limit dropped from 65 to 45 mph. The light was red, a semi was stopped at the light, and I attempted to apply the car┐'s brakes. As I did so, the car felt as if it was fighting my attempts to stop it. I had to keep both hands on the wheel, and I do not know if the cruise control disengaged. As I approached the semi, I pressed harder on the brakes in order to stop my vehicle. Finally with less than a car length, my car came to a full stop. With my foot still pressed firmly on the brakes, both my wife and I heard the car begin to make a high-pitched noise. I immediately put the car into ┐┐park, ┐Ł at which point the engine began to rev and I saw that the RPM gauge on the car rose to 7-8,000 RPM. At this point, I turned the car off at the ignition switch. My intent was to re-start the car and safely pull over after we proceeded through the intersection. However, at this point the light turned green and, as I restarted the car, we were hit from behind by another vehicle. On Friday, the 19th, I took my vehicle to Toyota of lewisville (tx) where they proved unable to diagnose the problem. I was contacted by a representative on 12/29/2014 who informed me that nothing would be done unless the event "replicated" or someone had been injured.

- Evansville, IN, USA

problem #17

Jan 102013


  • 200 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Toyota rav 4. the contact stated that while traveling 40 mph, the contact attempted to engage the brakes but the vehicle failed to stop. As a result of the failure, the contact crashed into another vehicle. A police report was filed and no injuries were reported. The vehicle was towed. There were repairs completed on the vehicle that were not related to the brakes. The manufacture was not contacted. The failure mileage was 200 and the current mileage was 5,000. The VIN was not provided. Updated 01/15/15

- Brighton, MA, USA

problem #16

Jun 032014


  • 51,580 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Toyota Rav4. The contact stated that her brakes would not engage when attempting to stop the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where the technician was unable to determine the cause of failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 51,580. The current mileage was 51,613.

- Kingsley, PA, USA

problem #15

Jun 292013

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 10,100 miles
Slowing down at a stop sign the brakes pedal became very soft and the engine started revving up and the vehicle moved forward while I was pressing on the brake. This has happened three times since January and it's very scary. I've made an appointment with Toyota for tomorrow 6/3.

- Oceanside, NY, USA

problem #14

Mar 182014

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 32,212 miles
Rough engine, car speed up without feet on pedal, slow braking I took the car into dealer the next day(3/19/2014) this am and they told me they have to duplicate what I had experienced. They stated they did not see anything on the computer data, but will test on next morning of 3/20/2014 to drive it.the complaints were that I was driving in a 70 mile zone and the car accelerated to 90 miles the car shifted out of D drive to 3D on it's own while driving and also rough engine while accelerating higher than the speed limit, and while braking, isaw very little stoppage.also same day near my home, I stopped at a stop sign, when taking off the car jerks forward to 22 miles.this was not the first time I had reported to them, was after I had the 2010 Toyota rava4 about similar problems, they offered to buy it back the 2010 model in return for the 2012 Toyota Rav4 that I got in 2012.my maintenance is up to date also.it is scary when you experience a problem like this, thank god for no accident.update as of last night no communication on findings or repairs, I received a call while reporting this information to you(safer car), a rep [xxx],stated they cannot find anything wrong with car, they checked all data drove the car could not fine anything, I asked about engine and transmission, he stated that they checked the levels, data could not find anything, for me to could come pick the car up, I insist they do a more intensive look into this, the guy became aggressive, and stated he has to check with his manager to check again later today.tony meyers manager of gainesville Toyota called stated could not duplicate what I was experiencing, stated he drove the car to the mall of Georgia, he found a down shift when going down a hill, car was safe, and that the shift was a normal thing, and there is nothing else they could do and for me to come and pick up the car. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Oakwood, GA, USA

problem #13

Jan 252014


  • 23,300 miles


On January 25 2014 I was driving in S snowy and icy conditions. I was only driving about 20 miles an hour. When braking, turning corners, or generally driving on the bad roads, the electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, and traction control features of my Rav4 did not work, causing the car to slide all over the road, almost causing me to hit another vehicle. This has continued throughout the winter; the light for stability control on the dashboard goes on, but the anti lock brakes, ESC, and traction control do not work and the Rav4 slides all over. Given the bad weather we are experiencing this winter, it has caused me to not drive the vehicle, which is a major inconvenience for our family. I took the Rav4 into the local Toyota dealer for this issue on January 31, 2014. They said they could not reproduce the problem in their shop so dismissed it with no action and no repair I read a couple of weeks other that Toyota has recalled Rav4's for exactly this issue; however, when I called the dealer about the recall, he still insists that there is nothing wrong with my Rav4. So far I have gotten nothing from Toyota about this recall, and I don't feel safe driving the Rav4 this winter, a major inconvenience in commuting to work. I feel my Rav4 is undrivable this winter.

- Aurora, OH, USA

problem #12

Nov 282013

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 16,350 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Toyota rav-4. the contact stated that while driving 20 mph, she attempted to engage the brakes but it failed to stop the vehicle. The contact mentioned that the brake pedal sunk to the floorboard. The vehicle was taken to the dealer however, the technician was unable to diagnose the failure. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and current mileage was 16,350. Updated 02/11/2014

- Southgate, MI, USA

problem #11

Aug 312013

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 7,000 miles
I am filing a complaint about spongy brakes behavior in a 2012 Toyota Rav4. The problem I was experiencing were the brake pedal traveling to the floor and reduced stopping power during application. The spongy behavior of the brake pedal was also present with engine off. I report this event to two separate Toyota dealerships which technicians claimed this is a normal function and this is a soft pedal design (according to the first dealership). The second dealership showed me another similar vehicle (2011 Toyota Rav4) and it almost did the same thing (engine off - pedal was still spongy but was less than my vehicle). Since being a ase master technician before becoming an mechanical engineer, I bleed the brakes which only helped a little and there were no fluid leaks. Finally, I researched that the ABS pump might need to be activated using a scanner to cycle the actuators that might hold air trapped inside. I took the car to my previous place on employment where I consulted this issue with the shop manager in which he agreed that this is a possibility. The shop manager performed the ABS pump cycling process with the scanner and the brake pedal became hard and firm like it suppose to be (procedure time: 5 minutes!). I am very disappointed with Toyota trained technicians and any good technician knows there is no such thing as soft pedal design especially with a vacuum brake booster with engine off (hydraulic fluid is only slightly compressible!). only vehicles with hydraulic brake booster can experience a brake pedal feeling spongy since the booster will continue to function after engine had been turned off (approx:10 ┐┐ 20 brake pedal applications ┐┐ diesel & very few gas vehicles). It seems to me Toyota is skipping a step in there manufacturing process.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #10

Sep 032013


  • 8,400 miles
I was slowly maneuvering into a parking space when the car revved up, jumped over the concrete barrier, over the curb and sidewalk. I was headed directly toward a building and a large plate glass window. The brakes did not stop the car, and felt squishy when I pushed them all the way to the floor. I swerved to the right, turned off the key and hit a parked car in order to stop. I also want to mention that the tire pressure gauge light would come on any time I was driving on the highway at speeds over 50 mph.

- Wake Forest, NC, USA

problem #9

Sep 152012


  • 500 miles
The contact owns a 2012 Toyota rav-4. the contact stated that when driving at various speeds, the vehicle would make a clicking noise. The vehicle was taken to the dealer several times. The technician stated that it was normal for a new vehicle to make noises but proceeded to replace the brakes pad and shim kit. Additionally, all of the brake components were lubricated however, the failure recurred. The contact stated that while driving 40 mph, she attempted to apply the brakes and they failed to respond. As a result, she crashed into the rear of another vehicle. The contact sustained whiplash and minor burns caused by the seat belt and deployment of the air bag. A police report was filed. The driver of the second vehicle was also injured and transported to hospital. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and was not repaired or inspected. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 500 and the current mileage was 17,000.

- Biddeford, ME, USA

problem #8

May 202013


  • 9,500 miles
I was driving approximately 20 mph. When tried to stop at the traffic signal and pressed the brake then instead of stopping the car was going forward. It almost hit the car at front of me. There was a sudden acceleration and RPM went upto 9000. I pressed the brake pedal multiple number of times then the car engine stopped. Once the vehicle was restarted, it resumed as normal. It was really scary.

- Rexford, NY, USA

problem #7

Mar 062013

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 7,600 miles
2012 Rav4, second incident, 1st was dismissed. Was driving approx 20 mph in a 35mph business district on 4 lane street. Pressed brake with right foot to decelerate for stop light & car in front of me, car suddenly surged forward with engine revving. I depressed brake further with more strength and took left foot and place on top of right foot. Had the feeling the accelerator pedal was moving as well but wasn't touching it. Car continued to jerk forward, engine revving, with brakes partially engaged for approx. 20 feet. Then engine shut off completely and brakes fully engaged stopping the car. Was inches from car in front. Restarted car and finished drive home. Checked car mats but still in place on brackets. Had car towed to Toyota dealership. They found no unintended acceleration but did find that both brake and accelerator pedals had been depressed. Suggested I must have stepped on both accidentally. Not a chance. Was well aware of foot/feet placement. Service mgr showed me what to do "should this happen again." Excuse me?! told to shift into neutral for brakes to engage or another gear to stall the engine and stop the car. 1 wk later, regional inspector spent day w/car and reported nothing wrong. Did show both pedals depressed at same time long enough to trip sensor but nothing was wrong. Dealer suggested I report to Toyota. Reported incident to Toyota customer experience center. Not happy. 2 incidents, other reports online, and it's a 2012 that wasn't supposed to do this. Feel lucky I didn't rear end someone, especially as the car didn't slow very much until it died. Scared silly for next time. Do not want my rav. Am being told car is perfectly safe but no one at dealership would sign statement saying I was safe and this wouldn't happen again. Hmmm. Want them to take car back! purchased new in Oct. 2012 w/less than 10 miles on it.

- Penn Hills, PA, USA

problem #6

Feb 262013


  • 6,900 miles
Made a right turn after stopped at red lite. Coming up to line of traffic stopped at another lite I stepped on brake and it felt like it was going down three times while car continued to accelerate. I hit the car in front of me. Police report filed. My front bumper was damaged. Took car to dealer next day they would not look at it and was told to call their customer service who would arrange an independent inspection. This was done and I'm waiting for a call from them to set date for inspection.

- Nicholson, PA, USA

problem #5

Feb 242013

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 6,800 miles
I just read about someone in canton, Illinois who seems to have the same issue as mine; we have a 2012 ( manufactured in July 2012, purchased in August 2012, ) Rav4 limited with a V-6, the first time I had a stopping problem was about 2 months ago, when pressing on the brake pedal the engine RPM went to about 3,000 and I could not stop the vehicle, so pushed the start button to shut it down, attempted to repeat this problem when stopped, with the selector in park I noted if my foot was slightly at an angle when pressing on the brake pedal, it would catch the accelerator pedal at the same time, would run the RPM up to 3,000 or more depending on how much pressure was applied to the brake pedal, I am sure there a number of people who wear size 12 shoes, my wife drives this vehicle most of the time; this happened again on the 23rd of February at a traffic light with a camera, I overshot the limit line, may get a citation in the mail? have previously documented this with Toyota customer service, just to get the standard response that there have been no complaints about this problem and they are confidant there is no problems with this design ; my experience indicates there is serious problem with the brake and accelerator pedal either being too close or at the same height, someone will be injured or killed at some point, the 269 hp engine over rides the brake system, mine has smoked the first time it happened.; I also notified our local Toyota dealership in Aurora, Colorado, the service manager is looking into this, my thoughts in light of all the previous problems with stuck gas pedals, this should be resolved quickly.

- Aurora, CO, USA

problem #4

Jan 112013

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 5,012 miles
While attempting to roll the vehicle forward to clear a doorway, the vehicle jumped forward about 6 feet. At that time I pulled my foot off the gas and pushed the brake pedal to the floor. The vehicle stopped momentarily, then began to accelerate picking up speed rapidly as evidenced by the revving of the engine. I continued to pump the brake since holding it to the floor was doing nothing. By this time I had gone through a chain link fence, through a ditch over a curb and continued to pick up speed to pass through a concrete block wall and into the back of a parked R.,the vehicle impaling itself on the steel pipes of a motorcycle carrier attached to the back of the R.V. the vehicle could not move any further but the engine was still revving. Needless to say the Rav4 was totaled and amazingly I suffered only minor bumps and bruises. At no time did any of the air bags deploy.

- Apache Junction, AZ, USA

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