really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
18,858 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2012 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #11

Aug 032015


  • 19,000 miles


This has happened about three times. When I am stopping the car with my foot on the brake the engine suddenly revs up and I have to really exert pressure on the brake to prevent the car from lurching ahead. After a few seconds of braking, the engine stops revving.

- St Augustine, FL, USA

problem #10

May 222015


  • 34,000 miles
I was waiting at a stop light on norristown road to cross bethlehem pike in springhouse, pa at approximately 5 pm on 5/22/15. I was first in line to cross the intersection in the direction of picking up 309 South in about 1/2 mile. I had been waiting at the light for a minute or two when my car surged forward. I put both feet on the brake but I was moving into the intersection nonetheless. There was sparse traffic and it was safe for me to turn right onto bethlethem pike. Almost as soon as I made the turn onto bethlehem pike the surge dissipated and the engine performance returned to normal. The whole incident took about 30 seconds to a minute. It was probably ill-advised, but I continued to drive to my destination, home. Upon reaching home and thinking about what had happenned I had the car towed the next morning (yesterday) to a dealership for repair. The car at this moment is there awaiting repair, I had to estimate the number of miles on the odometer. On the first leg of my errand on that day (Friday 5/22), I drove North on rt 309. I noticed that at freeway speed the tachometer was in the neighborhood of 3000 RPM. I had done a long trip with this car the previous Sunday, 5/17, and at cruising speed the tachometer was in the vicinity of 2100 RPM.

- Wyndmoor, PA, USA

problem #9

Feb 262015

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 48,000 miles
On Feb 26, 2015 I turned left into my bank going maybe 5 mph. Then I turn left again into a parking spot. I put on my brake to stop and the engine started roaring and pushing the brake with both feet the car would not stop. Going about 7 to 10 feet up curb and bumping into a flower barrel planter. As soon as it hit something the car disengaged and I was able to stop car and put in reverse. Lower front end damage occurred. It happen one other time last August 2014. I was pulling into a gas station and the same thing. Engine roaring and wouldn't stop with both feet pushing hard on the brake. The car stopped when it bumped into the step up that the gas pumps were on allowing me to back up and drive again. No damage occurred.

- Walker , MN, USA

problem #8

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 #7

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

problem #6

Jul 012014

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 7,000 miles
While attempting to stop for stop signs or traffic lights, the engine started revving at a high RPM. It required shifting out of drive into neutral to keep the car from accelerating forward. Occurred about 5 times over a two month period.

- Fairfax, VA, USA

problem #5

Aug 062014

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 19,637 miles


While foot was one the brake and vehicle was stopped the engine accelerated by itself. The car lurched forward I slapped the shifter into neutral and shut the vehicle off.this has happened two other times since. I took the vehicle to the Toyota dealer the last time this occurred 9/13/14 they put it on the computer and could not detect any faults.I googled this condition and found similar complaints online.note each time this has occurred prior to the acceleration the anti skid light has come on as I was applying the brake.

- Salem, NH, USA

problem #4

Nov 132012

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 2,000 miles
This incident occurred on a tues nite in nov2012 at 930est. I had been playing bridge at a club house. I attempted to start car(this is a keyless ignition system)by normal procedure. Press brake, then press start button.nothing happened!I waited a few seconds, tried again, no joy. I got out to maybe hitch a ride, but all others had left. I opened and closed all doors plus thetailgate. I got back in at the car started ok. About 5 months later after attending a pizza party at walmart parking lot 3pm hot day, the problem recurred. I slammed all doors again and the car started.I don't know if slamming doors is electrically involved, maybe a time delay is the answer.the next time was on July 18 2013. Ihad been playing bridge at the clubhouse at 1pm, I finished at4pm (another hot day) the car would not start I noticed thewindows would not work, in factnothing electrical would work. Icalled my road service and they verified bat was low, they charged for just a few minutes and car started.I drove immediately to the local Toyota dealer. They could not make the problem reappear.they kept the car overnite and supposedly went overthe circuits.by the way the mileage on the car was 3947 miles and car was 14 months old!they told me to have it towed to them the next time but that's no always convenient. My 2 yr warranty expired in may of 2014 and I have had 2 additional occurrences, one in June 2014 and onein july2014. Im afraid to go on any trps out of town for fear it will happen again. I would like for Toyota to furnish me a schematic ofthe circuitry involved or provide a bypass switch so that the rf circuitry can be disabled and the car could be started like a normal car! by the way, this failure has occurred 6 times,4 times while in warranty!

- Clermont, FL, USA

problem #3

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 #2

Sep 142013


  • 2,552 miles
Accelerating from a stop light, the car lost power. The electric motor stopped and the check ev system warning came on. There was no engine power, power steering or power brakes. The car was stopped in the middle of the street.

- Cupertino, CA, USA

problem #1

Nov 022012

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 2,621 miles
I was stopped at a stop sign waiting to make a right hand turn. A car was coming from the left. With my foot on the brake, the car felt as if it were going to take off. I pushed my foot on the brake pedal as far down as I could. Luckily, the approaching car turned down the street I was stopped on and I was able to turn right. As soon as I took my foot off the brake the car surged forward like the gas pedal was stuck. This happened about one quarter mile from my house. I made it home safely. After I got in the driveway, I turned off the engine and restarted the car back up again. I drove it up and down the driveway a few times and it was fine. My husband checked the floor mat and it was in place. Very scary!

- Endicott, NY, USA

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