Notes: The 2013 RAV4's top complaint is that the navigation screen is impossible to see in direct sunlight.

While certainly an annoyance, it's not a big deal in the world of car problems. Luckily the fix is a $10 anti-glare screen cover.


fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
18,155 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.

2013 Toyota RAV4 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2013 Toyota RAV4 Owner Comments

problem #9

Aug 152016


  • 28,000 miles


Torque converter shudder: Occurs between 35 mph - 40 mph, when engine still cold and accelerating lightly. Occurs during shifting between low gears. Never had this issue at higher speeds. Shudder is temporary lasting just a few seconds but vibration is obvious during power transfer from front to back.

- Sterling, VA, USA

problem #8

Mar 312016


  • miles
Vibration at low speeds.

- Glen Rock, PA, USA

problem #7

Feb 212014

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 12,000 miles
Potentially lethal transmission failure in Toyota Rav4 in March 2013 I bought a new Toyota Rav4 at acton Toyota, in Massachusetts. On February 21st 2014, I was driving the vehicle in sudbury, Massachusetts on route 20 when suddenly it went completely haywire. The engine stalled out " restarted ? stalled out again " restarted. This was all while the vehicle was moving. I drove into the local citizens bank car park, where I parked head in to a very large snow drift. I then discovered that all the gears were gone except for 'd'! oi cycled several times through closing the car down and restarting it - no change. Oi could not push the car backwards away from the snow drift on my own. Oeventually I was towed to the dealership. Oon arrival at acton Toyota, the service director - randy irwin - tested the car and immediately encountered the issue - shifter in reverse - revving the engine - nothing. He tried this with all the different shifter positions other than 'd', always with the same result. He then engaged 'd' and moved the car forward slightly. He then slowly engaged reverse and there was a huge clunk from under the car. And now reverse was engaged! the dealership gave me a loaner vehicle and kept the Rav4. On March 3rd 2014, I phoned irwin - he said a Toyota representative drove it the previous week. There had been no recurrence of the problem - now they were doing a 'visual inspection' (whatever that is!) since nothing came up in diagnostic tests. On March 5th 2014 I phoned irwin again " he said that Toyota had taken the case over. Toyota then called - they said they had not been able to get the issue to recur, and so they requested that I pick up the vehicle at the dealership. This I did. At no point did Toyota ever acknowledge a problem " they always stated simply that they had not been able to get the issue to recur.

- Sudbury, MA, USA

problem #6

Aug 012013

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 20 miles


Since brand new at times when stopped then accelerate to turn left or right it will hesitate when I am half way turned causing the vehicle to lose power then it will catch causing a burst in acceleration. At times I have lost power when I need it most. It is very dangerous. I have called my dealers attention to it and was told they cannot duplicate in a test drive so nothing is wrong. It does not do it often 6 or 7 times a week but it seems to be getting worse. This is a huge safety issue.

- Hampstead, NH, USA

problem #5

Oct 182013

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 114,146 miles
Vehicle hesitated when shifting into gear. No power and then a surge causing the car to jerk. Happens when accelerating from stop into first and second gear. The ECM is defective and Toyota was forced to address this after class action suit see, although this resulted in an extended warranty rather than a recall. My car is 4 months passed the 10 year warranty although it has low mileage. The faulty ECM can cause the transmission to fail. This is a dangerous and unfair situation for thousands of owners. Toyota did not notify me of this issue.

- Belmont, MA, USA

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problem #4

Oct 112013

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 8,425 miles
I have brand new 2013 Toyota Rav4. While I was driving the vehicle, vehicle suddenly stopped without any kind of indication or warning. The car behind me was about to hit my vehicle. Some how, he could manage to divert the vehicle. After that engine starts, but it was unable to move any further. I had stand in the middle of road, blocking the traffic. Finally I had to tow the vehicle from that place to service center. Luckily it happened in the city limits. If the same thing happens on the highway, I am sure, I might not be living anymore. I checked with Toyota service department, they said it is an axle failure. I am surprised to hear that, how come a brand new car (4 months old) could have mechanical failure without anykind of warning and in the middle of the road suddenly stops. I could not even pull out the car from the road.

- Melbourne, FL, USA

problem #3

Sep 092013


  • 258 miles


On local road, accelerating from stop. Vehicle suddenly "shut-off" going into neutral and unable to put back into drive. Steering went "limp". vehicle drifted right, power steering was effected, steering difficult. Vehicle coasted into parking lot to the right, fortunately no vehicles happened to be passing on the right at that precise moment, therefore no accidents. But there could have easily been one. Attempts at restarting vehicle resulted in "take ev to nearest dealership" message and several warning indicators on dash. Vehicle was towed to originating dealership which it continues to be diagnosed and unresolved. Vehicle was purchased on 9/3/2013 < 6 days prior.

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #2

Jun 222013

RAV4 4-cyl

  • 15 miles
While accelerating from approximately 20 mph, a jerk was felt and a noise was heard as the vehicle was shifting gears. (this vehicle is an automatic.) this same incident occurred again later the same day. However, after the second incident, the "check engine" light and the "traction control" light came on. This occurred on the first day of ownership of the vehicle with only 15 miles on the odometer. This vehicle was brought back to the dealer for a replacement.

- Blackshear, GA, USA

problem #1

May 102013

RAV4 6-cyl

  • 530 miles
While driving on highway at 55mph, my new 2013 Toyota Rav4 limited suddenly slowed down and would not shift into gear properly when I accelerated. I pulled off the road asap and had vehicle towed to dealership. They have diagnosed transmission failure. There is less than 600 miles on the odometer.

- Lucasville, OH, USA

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