really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
15,673 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2012 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #12

Apr 152012


  • 7 miles


The contact owns a 2012 Toyota Rav4. When the ignition was turned to the on position while the vehicle was parked on an incline, the vehicle moved backwards when it was shifted into drive. When the vehicle was parked on a decline, the ignition was turned to the on position and the vehicle moved forward when shifted into reverse. The failures recurred numerous times. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failures. The failure mileage was approximately 7.

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #11

Feb 022016


  • 65,000 miles
I got out of my car and forgot to put it in park. Because the car has keyless start, I was able to leave the car without taking a key out. The car started to roll back and because I live at the top of a hill, it began to pick up speed. My neighbor lives at the bottom of my driveway and the car was heading straight to their house. Lukily, the car hit a tree which stopped it from hitting their house and potentially killing someone. The adjuster just told me my car is totaled due to the speed at which it hit the tree. However, he also indicated that the speed at which the car was travelling when it hit the tree, it may have hit the neighbor's house and continued through the other side. This is a significant safety flaw of which no one I speak to about it is aware. They actually test it which their own car and notice the same issue. In my opinion, there should be a modification to this feature to prevent this issue. Especially is there are kids near the car.

- Guilford, CT, USA

problem #10

Jan 302015

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 21,418 miles
This problem has to do with the Rav4 gear shifter sticking and/or deformed. The problem is addressed for years 2013-2015 in Toyota tsb 0145-14; however, the problem also exists in the 2012 model. The 2012 Rav4 can have a sticking or deformed gear shifter. This could be caused by coffee having been spilled into the area.

- Arlington, TX, USA

problem #9

Jan 012015


  • miles


2012 Toyota rav-4. consumer stated car was on an incline and rolled backwards and hit another vehicle.

- Fair Lawn, NJ, USA

problem #8

Jul 082014

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 19,000 miles
Engine, in idle and in gear, suddenly surged. It propelled the car forward in driveway and struck a car about 1 foot-18 inches in front of it, damaging front bumper of our car and rear bumper of other car. Damage to our car was quoted at $878 and second car (our granddaughter's) was less. Reported to Toyota. They sent analyst to check "black box" and reported to me accelerator pedal and brakes were ok. Not car's fault. I have experienced this surge many times since leasing the car 30 months ago but no accidents. Each time I reported it to dealer. Service man said he found nothing wrong.

- Palmyra, NJ, USA

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problem #7

Sep 062014

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 18,500 miles
On September 6, 2014 at 4:20pm while pulling forward into a parking space the car had an unintended acceleration. This is the third time with the exact same circumstances. I pulled forward into a parking space and stopped. I placed the car into reverse with my foot on the brake to re-adjust the position of the vehicle in the space. Backed out without applying foot to accelerator. I applied the braked when car was out of the space. With foot on brake then shifted into drive and the car immediately accelerated to 4,000 rpms. With my foot firmly on the brake the car continued at 4,000 rpms for three seconds then dropped the rpms to 1100. The weather was clear, 84 degrees, 77% humidity, dry pavement, no all weather floor mats. The car had recently had an ECU programming update at 17,000 miles, when at Toyota for an oil change. The problem started immediately after the programming update. I have had the vehicle back twice and Toyota can not find the issue.

- Patterson, NY, USA

problem #6

Jan 132014


  • 10,000 miles


Since January 13, I have had my battery die on me 4 times (including the first time) - twice in January and the others a few months in between. It never sat for more than a few days. Brand new car end of November 2012, so it was only a year old. I think there may be some discrepancy between the battery and where you can plug in your ipod for music... that's the only thing that was 'left on'/plugged in (I checked every time). The Toyota guy said that shouldn't be issue, but nothing else makes sense. I even went to a battery specialist guy and he said something was just slowly draining and a good charge overnight would do the trick.

- Fayetteville, AR, USA

problem #5

Apr 122014

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
Car can be turned off while car is in drive. When foot is taken off brake the car can roll as if in neutral.

- Huntington, NY, USA

problem #4

Feb 162014


  • 23,302 miles
TL-the contact owns a 2012 Rav4 Toyota. The contact stated while she was pulling into a parking space the acceleration pedal stuck to the floor of the vehicle. The vehicle ran up on a sidewalk. The vehicle was towed to a Toyota dealer. The mechanic had not diagnose or repaired the failure problem. The manufacturer was made aware of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 23,302.lj

- Franklin, TN, USA

problem #3

Jan 012013


  • 300 miles
After owning my new 2012 rav 4 for only 3 days, I visited a friend's house and attempted to park my car on a slightly sloped driveway. I got out of my car after turning off the push button start but neglected to put the car in park. As I was getting out of the car, someone shouted, "your car is rolling - step on the brake!". by the time I was able to reenter the car, it had already rolled into another vehicle in front of it. My rav 4 was damaged, as was the VW passat wagon it ran into. The damage to my brand new car is estimated to be $1000. The damage estimate to the other car is not know yet but at least in that vicinity. Luckily, no one was in between the 2 cars. This is obviously a huge safety concern.

- Auburn , CA, USA

problem #2

Sep 122012

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 50 miles
I parked my car in residential neighborhood and proceeded to cross street with my car parked behind me. Thankfully a man facing car yelled "your car!" my new car was rolling down the street backwards, gaining speed down the incline, headed for curb, sidewalk and huge tree. I chased the car down the street, got door open, jumped inside vehicle as it was moving and slammed on brake, injuring my back and shoulder in the process. The push-button start allowed car to "free-wheel" out of control when turned off, left in drive, and key left in car. I am in and out of car many times a day. No other car I have ever owned will allow me, without warning, to leave car if left in "drive". I was not informed by Toyota that push-button ignition would allow my car to become a potential weapon, free wheeling, if left in drive and unattended. I would like this situation to be remedied to save lives and property damage. Even after going through this frightening experience, I cannot be sure it won't happen again without an effective warning system.

- Shirley, NY, USA

problem #1

May 012012

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 500 miles
My 2012 has done this virtually from day 1. when braking, there is a sudden acceleration for 1/4 to 1/2 second at the time the transmission downshifts. I also notice it while driving at high speeds and braking. It is more dangerous at slower speeds especially when braking at a light with someone in front of you. It feels like you are pressing both the brake and accelerator at the same time. It does not do this all the time. Maybe once or twice a day. I think it has to do with how hard you brake and what speed you are going. It is most noticeable just before you come to a stop. It always happens just as the transmission automatically downshifts and most noticeable when it downshifts to second or first. I notice it when braking say from 65 to 55 mph as well, but the sudden acceleration at that speed has no or minimal affect and is not that noticeable.

- Lyons, CO, USA

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