Toyota — My RAV4 Transmission Problem, Help Please!

It’s a long story, so bear with me.  For those who may be having the same issue, you can skip to Section Three.  Maybe we can help each other out.  I’m writing this for you more than for Toyota.

 

Section One:  The Toyota RAV4 Transmission problem

The best thing I can do here is provide some links to the history of this problem.  Check out these articles from the New York Times Wheels blog.

Start with the initial article about Toyota RAV4 complaints from February 18, 2010.  Then read the follow-up piece from July 13, 2010 about Toyota extending warranties on 2001-2003 RAV4s.

Also, look at the warranty policy document for these model years which indicates:
This warranty enhancement is being offered for 10 years or 150,000 miles from the vehicle’s date-of-first-use for a MIL (check engine light) “ON” condition with diagnostic codes P0750, P0753, P0755, P0758, and /or P1760 stored and/or a harsh shift of the automatic transaxle.

 

Section Two:  My Story

I bought my 2001 Toyota RAV4 in a private party transaction around May 28th, 2010.  I come from a “Toyota family” and was excited about this car.  I had just become unemployed, and found what I thought was a good car, at a good price.

 

A couple days later, I left the San Francisco Bay Area and started my 2-month cross-country drive, which was why I bought the car in the first place.  Sometime about a week later, in the first week of June, my check engine light went on.  I was in Moab, Utah and as far as I knew there was no Toyota service station in the area.  I went to a mechanic that my hotel concierge recommended.  The mechanic hooked up the computer, and pulled no codes.  The check engine light turns off and he said it could be something to do with the heat (I think it was 95+ degrees at the time).  Not knowing any better, and since the car seemed to be performing fine, I moved on.

 

A week or two later, I was leaving Denver and had the same experience:  check engine light on, no Toyota service station in the area, computer hooked up by local mechanic, no codes pulled, check engine light goes off without any intervention.  I moved on.  Later, I think it came on a third time, then went off again within 24 hours or so.

 

Here’s where it gets really questionable…

 

Cut to August 2010 and about 6000 miles later:  I am now back in California and the check engine light goes on.  At this time, I am also starting to feel some shifting problems between 2nd and 3rd gear.  I bring it to the Toyota dealership & service center in San Francisco.  My service record from this visit states that “CSR reports harsh shifting.  Diagnose and advise.”   They hook up the computer, do a diagnostic and tell me it’s a bad catalytic converter.  I have it replaced later in Reno, Nevada (closer to where I live) for about $1100.  Even after describing the “mystery check engine” light experience from a few months earlier, they do not document or make any recommendations regarding the transmission issues and warranty extension which had just been announced by Toyota 10 weeks earlier for exactly my year, make and model.

 

A few weeks ago, around May 20, 2011, I’m driving through Death Valley on a vacation with my girlfriend.  The car suddenly loses power and revs high before it shifts to 3rd gear.  It also loses a significant amount of accelerating power.  Even a rookie like me can sense it.  This happens a couple times. No check engine light.  The next day, after we leave Death Valley, it seems to get better.  I thought that it could be the heat (as proposed by the mechanic in Moab the previous year), the very low elevation or some bad gas that I got at a local gas station.  In any case, no further problems…until a couple days ago.

 

On June 27, 2011, the weird shifting between 2nd and 3rd gear happens again, this time a little more severe and frequent.  Also, the car demonstrates a clear lack of accelerating power.  To be safe, I didn’t want to drive it too much.  Instead of making the one-hour trip to Reno, I have a local mechanic who I trust take a look at it.  The check engine light is not on.  He hooks up the computer, finds nothing, and recommends a fluid and filter change, which he does for a couple hundred dollars.

 

The next day, the check engine light goes on and the car continues to perform very poorly in 2nd and 3rd gears.  I call my mechanic, he hooks up the computer and pulls the “755″ code, which I learn later is the code associated with the warranty extension.  He tells me that the best thing to do is take it to Toyota in Reno.  I call them to make an appointment, and that’s when I learn about the warranty extension.  They advise me to call the Toyota National Service line, which I do.

 

They tell me the details about the warranty extension — extended to 150,000 miles or 10 years, whichever comes first.  My car has 106,000 miles, or approximately 66% of the miles covered under warranty.  However,  my date-based warranty expired in March, about 90 days ago.  They offer no additional help or options.

 

Later that same day, the check engine light magically goes off again.

 

Today (June 29), I drove it to Toyota in Reno.  The check engine light is still not on, but they pull the “755″ code.  They also tell me that to fix the ECM module (the computer which controls the transmission and the first repair required) and, potentially, to replace the transmission could cost me $5,000.

 

After a couple calls to the Toyota National  Service Line, I’m getting no help.  So, I’m writing this to plead my case.  If you are reading this, Toyota, please consider the following:

  • In my family, there are seven driving adults.  Four of us own Toyotas, and this is my second;
  • Despite explaining the mysterious “check engine” light behavior to them several months ago, and the experience of harsh shifting reported by San Francisco Toyota,  I was not advised to on the transmission warranty when I brought it to be serviced;
  • I am currently un-/under-employed, so a $5000 repair would be quite painful;
  • Given the recent reliability and safety issues Toyota is experiencing, the company might consider taking a “whichever comes last” approach to this warranty extension.  This would clearly be in the best interest of your consumers.  In my case, the 10-year warranty is invalid by 90 days.  But, in miles driven, which is clearly the best indication of vehicle reliability, I am well under the maximum miles stated in the warranty, and would like to be covered;
  • The check engine light is/was clearly performing erratically.

 

Section Three:   Let’s Do Something

Maybe I’m just a dreamer, but I have to think that this is something I cannot be responsible for.  If you…

  • …had a similar issue with the check engine light acting inconsistently;
  • …had a similar experience with a Toyota service center that failed to inform or advise you on the warranty change;
  • …feel that, under the circumstances, Toyota should take a “whichever comes last instead” of a “whichever comes first” position on this warranty extension…

…please add a comment below, or follow me on Twitter @ rickwhitney.  One can only try.

 

123 Responses to “Toyota — My RAV4 Transmission Problem, Help Please!”

  1. Francois Yameny says:

    I am having the same issue, but don’t know where to find help,add on the fact that there is no money.

    • rickwhitney says:

      I hear you Francois…I’ll let you know what happens on my end. Check back here for an update in a couple days. Also, feel free to Tweet this page, or post to Facebook. The more people who know the better!

    • Angela says:

      I have had the same issues, but I looked it up about my Rav4 on the internet,that some guy..said it was a misdiagnoses of the transmission tearing up,i had my rav put in the shop, they also told me it was the transmission,i told them about what the guy said on internet,so I told the guy at the shop about it,come to find out it wasn’t the transmission,i told him to put a new module box on it and if that didn’t correct it then we would go else where,but bye the grace of God that’s what it was,and my rav is running so much better…the module is located behind the glove box..Hope this helps and good luck!!:-)

  2. sandra flores says:

    OMG the same thing started last week on June 22. Thank God I researched the P0755 code and found out that there is a extended warranty
    so I took my 2003 Rav4 with 92,000 miles into a Toyota dealer here in Houston. Ok so they have replaced the ECM on my Rav4 but the manager
    told me once I drive off with it and the Transmission goes out Im out of Luck.

    • rickwhitney says:

      Thanks for the info Sandra…especially about then covering the transmission after the ECM replacement! I was worried they might do something like that. I’m still waiting to hear back from them on what kind of help they can/will offer. My experience w/ Reno Toyota has been great so far. I’m trying to remain optimistic! FYI…if you post this to your Facebook or Tweet this page, maybe we’ll get some more visibility ;-)

    • I am having the same problem and am about to take it to Toyota , however i know it’s past the 10 year mark , 2003 , bought in 2002 ? Anyway ive been reading the forum and was wondering if there were ANY good stories ? Has ANYONE got Toyota to fix it for free , Even if it was past the 10 year or 150000 ? C mon there has got to be some good news on this topic ?

  3. Jonathan says:

    I’m having the same problem. I haven’t gotten an answer back from Toyota yet…but I’m waiting. Not a great experience so far I have to say. I’ll let you know what happens!

  4. jennifer says:

    Can’t believe there are SO many of us they refuse to help- mine just started in june- random non-acceleration from start or even while going 55mph- nearly been rear-ended numerous times. the codes i called in to toyota are in the recall, but they say it’s 6 mos. out of warranty- the local dealership claimed there after he “looked in to it” there were no bulletins, recalls, etc., but he Did say they would diagnose it for free- next week- might have to take them up on the offer and BEG them to fix it somehow. TOYOTA in Ca, despite my telling them my husband has owned 2 prior toyotas in the last 25 years and i myself have owned 2 prior toyotas in the last 20, this being our 6th toyota, WILL NOT HELP US. we bought it used at STEVEN TOYOTA in Harrisonburg, VA w/ 74k miles on it- now, it has 102k- i told them i feel like we got a lemon- i just want to cry- the transmission shop says $2200 plus- we don’t even have $500 to fix it now- and we still owe 2 more years on it- NO MORE TOYOTAS EVER AGAIN- and tell everyone you know that despite their reputation going down the drain w/ the floor mat/accelerator issue, they have no desire to improve it by doing the right thing and covering those of us w/ this obviously dangerous malfunction they have known about since early 2006……sob sob sob…….

  5. Jennifer says:

    Rick,
    I am having the very same problem in Memphis, TN. My husband and I bought our 2001 Rav 4 in Costa Mesa, CA in June 2003. We moved out of state in August 2006. I had a problem with a faulty check engine light a few years ago, and when I received a recall notice for it, I immediately took my car into my local dealership and supposedly had it repaired. I didn’t have any other problems until late June of this year. My car wouldn’t accelerate when I pushed on the gas pedal, sometimes for 10-15 seconds, and then would slam into third gear, causing us to fly forward much too quickly. This put my family in danger on more than one occasion that day, as I didn’t realize that I suddenly had a very serious problem with my transmission.

    I took my car to the local Toyota dealership as soon as I could, and they called me later that day and told me I needed a new ECM and transmission, which would cost approximately $4,300.00. I was shocked, and after getting a bit more information from the repair rep. about the specifics of the problem, I started surfing the web for more info. I soon found hit after hit about the ECM/transmission issue, as well as the NY Times articles. Toyota never bothered to contact me, either, as I had conveniently (for them) moved out of CA five years earlier. My 10 year/150,000 mile warrenty extension expired in February of this year (my car turned 10, but I only have 105,000 miles on the car), so when I called the national customer service line, I was politely but repeatedly told that my warrenty had expired, and that since I hadn’t previously brought my car in for a transmission complaint previously, there was nothing Toyota could do for me.

    We are now in the process of discussing the issue with our local dealership and having the car fixed, as we cannot currently afford to purchase another car. I am truly shocked with Toyota’s behavior, as naive as that may sound. I have been a Toyota owner ever since I was able to buy my own cars, and I love my RAV-4. It seems obvious to me that Toyota knew about the problem, but didn’t want to pay for it. They held out until the CA Air Resources Board threatened them in some meaningful way, but then made a deal to only inform owners currently living in CA. If they had informed me in July 2010, when they supposedly informed CA owners (and they obviously didn’t inform you), I would have had Toyota fix their mistake, period. Instead, I found out about it after my warrenty expired, and Toyota basically said, “Sorry, Charlie.” I feel that they played a waiting game devoid of integrity or honor with me by not admiting the problem, then hoping my new extended warrenty would expire before I discovered the problem.

    I hope you have better luck with Toyota than I have had so far, but I will never feel the same about them again, as they have shown absolutely no honor in this situation. I will never buy another Toyota again, and that will cost Toyota well over $100,000 over the course of my life. I hope it was a fair trade for $4,300 and the opportunity to do the right thing.

  6. Tony says:

    I have the same problem. My 2001 Rav4 have only 110,000 miles but is out of the 10 year range by 5 months. The deal told me I have to pay $5000 to fix it. I also have a emission test due on August. With the engine light on, it will not pass the test. I filed a complain to the safercar.gov because this transmission problem almost caused an accident when I tried to merge to the highway from a entrance. I tried to speed up but the car didn’t go to 3rd gear. If the car behind me didn’t brake hard enough, it will crash into my car.

  7. rickwhitney says:

    Hi all,
    Update on my end…
    Toyota has noted that I reported the harsh shifting problem prior to my warranty expiring. After calling the national help, and working with the Toyota service center in Reno, they replaced my engine control module (ECM) for free. I paid a couple hundred dollars for labor. The car seems to be working just fine now. It was kind of a long process, buy my local service center was great, and very helpful. I hope that helps!

    • rickwhitney says:

      I guess it’s been about 6 or 8 weeks since I got my ECM replaced by Reno Toyota. The car seemed to be working fine, but now there does seem to be a little hesitation or pause between second or third gear. Nothing major, but it does seem a bit unnatural. I think I’ll call Reno Toyota again, or take it to SF Toyota when I’m there soon.

  8. Darlene says:

    Hi All,
    I have just read all your letters. I, too, have been having the transmission/ECM problems with my 2002 Toyota Rav 4 with 125,000 miles. I had to take my car to the dealers last October, 2011 three times before they would even look at it. The trans was banging up against the bottom of the car. When they finally decided to take a look at it, they came back with me needing the ECM and if that didn’t work a new trans. The ECM stopped the banging. However in the cold, the car has a hard time shifting from second to third gear. There still remains the hesitation between motor reving and trans catching. I am waiting until the cold again so I can bring it back and have the trans replaced (hopefully). I WILL NEVER EVER BUY ANOTHER TOYOTA AS LONG AS I LIVE. To all of you that have paid out of your own pockets, there are replies in this section about a class action suit. Please find out and go for it. You deserve it.
    Good Luck

  9. Charmayne says:

    I am in Australia and am having the same problem with my 2002 model. I have only owned the vehicle for a year and I am sure this is why the owners sold it. I wish you all the luck and good will for your mission. I will keep an eye on how you go . For now I’m collecting evidence to take to Toyota in Sydney.

  10. Jennifer Nunn says:

    Hello everyone,

    I wanted to update my previous post about my 2001 RAV 4 transmission/ECM problem. After having been rebuffed by both Toyota USA and the local dealership, I read something online about trying to get help from the regional office, so I called mine (Cincinnati), and spoke with someone who…got me some help! He told me he couldn’t promise anything, but he took down my name and contact info and said that someone would be in touch with me the next day. The next morning, the service supervisor from the dealership called me and told me that since we were good customers, Toyota was willing to cut the price of the repair from $4,837.00 to $1000.00. Since we couldn’t afford to buy another car, we agreed, since it was a significant cut in the price (we still felt that Toyota should pay for the entire repair, and the service manager said he felt the same way.)
    However, it was still going to take several weeks for the transmission to come in, so I had to get a rental car, and Toyota didn’t offer to help out with that. About three weeks later, after the transmission still hadn’t arrived and we were over $600.00 on the rental bill, so the Parts Supervisor and I had a talk, and he agreed to credit us another $300.00 towards the cost of the rental, and also pay our tow fee the get the car to the dealership when the parts came in. I ended up paying $700.00 for the entire repair. Although this problem originated with Toyota and and an assembly-line defect that we weren’t responsible for, I do feel that my dealership, Performance Toyota, went above and beyond to help us get our transmission and make the repair more affordable. Sometimes victory requires compromise, and I feel that Toyota extended a good faith offer based on our history with them…and the fact that any rational person could see that we were being treated poorly and unfairly.

    My car is running great, and we hope to have it for many more years. I wish all of you the very best with your dealings with Toyota. Don’t give up, and call everyone you can. I had almost given up, but I decided to take one more chance and just explain my situation person to person, and it worked. Thank you Mr. Bond, Mr. Adams, Mr. Joyner, and all the service techs/mechanics at Performance Toyota/Toyota USA for listening and being men/women of your word.

    • rickwhitney says:

      Great Jennifer! Glad to hear it worked out pretty well. FYI…there is a class-action suit against Toyota regarding this matter. You may be able to get reimbursed for your expenses. Go to the RAV4ECMSettlement.com website for more info.

  11. steve weiss says:

    Had a 2010 rav4 v6 5 speed auto.Took it to dealer with a whine in the transmission between 5 to 60 mph,was told it was ok.Called Toyota customer service was told to take it back to dealer.Toyota customer never said anything about a memo to dealers.Took it back to dealer and had the transmission man ride with me,he heard the whine.Went back to dealership,he pluged a laptop in and said there is nothing wrong.Whine got worse and not getting any where with Toyota I traded it in,for a tacoma double cab.While on vacation two weeks ago I stopped a t a Toyota dealer upstate New York.Asked the service man if he knew of any complaints on 2010 Rav4s.Showed me piece on computer (Transaxle Whine Noise) Memo # T-SB-0192-10 REV1 July 15,2010.covering 2006-2010 Rav4s.Tells the dealer what to replace for a whine from the final drive assembly,such as R&R engine mounting insulations LH,Rear and left front drive shaft damper part #43474-0r0#0,R&R transaxle assembly Part #30500-42##0,plus 9 other things to replace.If that didn’t do the repair,replace with REMAN Transaxle Assembly.This is a 20 page memo Neither Toyota or the dealer ever advised me about it.I was lied to by the dealer when I was told there was nothing wrong.Pluging in a laptop will not pick up a whine,tried to pull the wool over my eyes.My trany should have been fixed or replaced.I never should have had to trade in my rav4 if it had been fixed as the dealer was told by Toyota.Toyota hides these things from customers so they don’t have to fix them.Toyota is a bad company and deserves to get bad publicity for not advising owners of 2006-2010 Rav4s.

  12. steve says:

    Had a 2010 rav4 v6 5 speed auto.Took it to dealer with a whine in the transmission between 5 to 60 mph,was told it was ok.Called Toyota customer service was told to take it back to dealer.Toyota customer never said anything about a memo to dealers.Took it back to dealer and had the transmission man ride with me,he heard the whine.Went back to dealership,he pluged a laptop in and said there is nothing wrong.Whine got worse and not getting any where with Toyota I traded it in,for a tacoma double cab.While on vacation two weeks ago I stopped a t a Toyota dealer upstate New York.Asked the service man if he knew of any complaints on 2010 Rav4s.Showed me piece on computer (Transaxle Whine Noise) Memo # T-SB-0192-10 REV1 July 15,2010.covering 2006-2010 Rav4s.Tells the dealer what to replace for a whine from the final drive assembly,such as R&R engine mounting insulations LH,Rear and left front drive shaft damper part #43474-0r0#0,R&R transaxle assembly Part #30500-42##0,plus 9 other things to replace.If that didn’t do the repair,replace with REMAN Transaxle Assembly.This is a 20 page memo Neither Toyota or the dealer ever advised me about it.I was lied to by the dealer when I was told there was nothing wrong.Pluging in a laptop will not pick up a whine,tried to pull the wool over my eyes.My trany should have been fixed or replaced.I never should have had to trade in my rav4 if it had been fixed as the dealer was told by Toyota.Toyota hides these things from customers so they don’t have to fix them.Toyota is a bad company and deserves to get bad publicity for not advising owners of 2006-2010 Rav4s.Dealer was in north central Florida south of Ocala

  13. I also have the exact problem as everyone else. I’ve been trying to research this every place I can tthink of….unfortunatly I didn’t record my searches. I read some where on 2001 models, since they where considered ten old in 2000, then it reverted back to the 150,000 miles. Does anyone else know any thing about this? I would appreciate any help. Thank you, Donna

  14. rickwhitney says:

    Hi all,
    Just an update. I had the ECM replaced. Toyota payed for the part, I paid for labor…about $380 I think. After the repair, I’ve still been getting harsh shifting under some conditions. Nothing major, but enough to re-connect with San Francisco Toyota about it. I’ve left them at least 3 messages and they have not gotten back to me.
    Thanks for your continued interest.

  15. kell boyle says:

    I have a 2002 Toyota rav4 and experiencing the same issues. Check engine light on.off.harsh shifting. Made spot at Toyota of Warren.Ohio.do you see any out of pocket expenses for me.

  16. Rockey says:

    Two years ago I had the ECM/ECU repaired. It ran good until two weeks ago when transmission started making sounds. I called the Toyota dealer where I purchased the car new in 2002. Asked them if I was covered under the extended warranty. They refused to answer me. Called a second dealer. They refused to answer me. Both wanted me to pay $350 for nonrefundable diagnostics. I told both that diagnosis was not necessary because all that I wanted was to know was if I was covered in relation to extension of the warranty. I found out from an independent source that I am not covered because I am over the extended warranty by 60 days. What is unsettling is that the dealers knew this as they could see this information on their computers but still insisted that I come in for a non-refundable $350 diagnostic. Then they said that they will refund me only IF I WAS COVERD BY YHE WARRENTY. But they already know that I was not covered and refused to give me that answer.

    The estimate that I received from the independent transmission repair shop was $5,000. I am confident the dealer wants up to $6,000. This seems to be the average price.

    I called Toyota headquarters. They would not help in anyway. They said “you are over by 60 days” and asked if I “had any other issues that I would like to talk about today”. I asked if they would help with just $100 or $200 since I was only 60 days over. Nope! Nothing!
    What is the worst thing is that over the last 5 years, Toyota was hiding this problem by re-flashing my ECM. I believe they wanted to cover the problem and push the mileage out on these cars to avoided fixing them. Now they offer a toothless warranty knowing that most of the cars are past the warranty date as soon as we got letters in the mail.

    Brought the car to AAMCO and paid $3,700 for repair. Car had bad shifting afterward where it had none before. Brought it back. Bought a brand new ECM/ECU. Same shifting problems. I am into it for $4,500 and still have a car that will not work. They don’t know why it will not run. Re-built transmission and two functioning ECM’s and still does not operate correctly. They got rid of the bad sounds by rebuilding but now it has new shifting problems even with two perfectly good EMS’s. My ECM worked before the repair and the brand new one won’t solve anything either. I did not have the shifting problems before the repair. So perhaps it is a problem with the repair….just don’t know. The shop gives a 12 month warrantee so at some point if they cannot fix this I will have to try to get my money back and sell the car for parts.

    • rickwhitney says:

      Hi Rockey,
      That’s a nightmare. Sorry to hear that….and sorry it took so long to get this post up. Any updates???

  17. Sheri says:

    I have a 2001 RAV 4 as well and it seemed to be a reoccuring problem paying $$ to keep getting it diagnosed and “fixed”. Apparently there was an internal computer system problem and a recall was out for that year, make, and model. They finally fixed it for free and it has never turned on again unless there was an actual problem but that was after spending tons of money out of pocket.

  18. rickwhitney says:

    Hey everyone. Thanks for all your comments. As I commented before, I had the ECM replaced in my 2001 RAV4, but not the transmission seems to be slipping. This has been a pain. The Reno Toyota guys were great last year, but I’ve called San Francisco Toyota a few times and no one wants to call me back. Looks like I’m just going to have to take time out of my day to drive on down there and get them to pay attention to me.

  19. Bele' says:

    I am also in the same page with 2001 rav4 out of warranty. I read there are places where you send the ECU and it comes back repaired for $250.
    Here is one of the sites I found … http://circuitboardmedics.com/customer-testimonials/
    I am nervous to send it in the mail. Any one know a place in Ohio that repairs the ECU unit?

    Thanks.

    • rickwhitney says:

      Hi Bele….I don’t know of anyone in Ohio who might do this. Did you contact Toyota? I bugged them until they agreed to cover the cost of the ECM and I paid the local Toyota service center for the labor (about $350 I think).

  20. Danielle says:

    We bought our 2002 Toyota RAV4 last April…..I received the notice in the mail last year of the class action lawsuit, but my car was working fine at the time. Well, not so much now…it started slipping and performing badly about 5 weeks ago. We spent about $300 to replace filters and transmission fluid and the ECU was not throwing any codes. It did better for a few days, but then the problem came back and then some. Our “in-service date” was Nov 1, 2001, so the warranty expired last November. The estimate for a new computer and transmission is $3200. I called the dealer, they gave me Toyota’s number. I am mildly hopeful because the woman I spoke to was very sympathetic and made a case number for me, and gave me her direct contact info. She is going to talk to the service manager at the dealer I’ve gone to, and then the regional manager. My garage (local, not dealer) told me the regional person has the ability to at least get me parts if they want to help. Fingers crossed……I’ll find out more next week.

    • rickwhitney says:

      Hi Danielle,
      That stinks. A classic example of how a low mileage driver gets hosed by this warranty and the faulty car. Keep pushing on it. Have your local Toyota service guys contact the national team, and you should contact them to do get a file started. Your local guys can then work with the national team to get the part for free (maybe…that’s what happened to me) and you may have to pay for installation/labor.
      Good Luck!

      • Danielle says:

        Well, the Corporate representative called me today as promised….but didn’t have info good or bad yet. But I’m happy that she is obviously not blowing me off and trying to help. Will keep you posted if I get anywhere….

      • Danielle says:

        Well, my optimism was all for nothing. Because it is so far outside the warranty, and they have no records on how the vehicle was maintain (code for I didn’t use a dealership for service), they are unwilling to help me in any way. The woman at corporate was very nice, but I’m thinking Toyota will never get my business.

  21. jeff says:

    This sounds like a problem with the ecm. Its easy to misdiagnose this as a bad transmission. If you have a hard shift between 2nd and 3rd gear then I guarantee its the rav4 ecm part number 89661-42822. Years 2001, 2002 and 2003 rav4 have problems. If the ecm is not replaced soon enough then the transmission will eventually fail. Hook a scanner up to the obd port and check the fault codes. Here is a site with more information http://www.ecmoutlet.com/rav4-ecm.html about how the process works for replacing the engine computer

  22. Robert says:

    I have the same problem as everyone else. My rav4 reached 87,000 miles then started to display the rough shifting pattern. The car was serviced by Toyota all its life. Interestingly I complained about the gear changing on rav4 within 1 week of the life of the car, but the dealer disagreed with my findings. And despite me logging a fault, no record of the fault was recorded.

    My rav has no shown any fault codes relating to p0755. It did have the fault code p0420 which occasionally would kick in then switch off.

    So far I sent the ecu back for repair and they found numerous faults with the ecu. I refitted the ECU and the gear changing fault still exists. :(

    The fault only occurs between 20 and 35 mph and only when light throttle is used on the accelerator pedal. The car will then shift between 2 and 3rd cycle and eventually slip into neutral then back into 2nd. However if you take your foot of the accelerator the fault stops and the car drives normally.

    If you accelerate hard ie full throttle the fault does not occur.

    I have no clue how to resolve this fault. I contacted Toyota uk and they didn’t want to know. they denied that there was a problem. I then told them about the service bulletin advising toyota mechanics about the fault, and they said its not a recall so we don’t have to do anything.

    I told them what really annoyed me is that in 2004 a year after i purchased the car Toyota discovered the faulty design. They corrected the fault for 2004 cars and never informed owners of this problem. they never gave them the chance to replace the ecu and avoid a huge bill in the future. That is a real sign of guilt!

    The annoying thing is the fault in its original form could have been eliminated by Toyota before it caused damage to the gearbox. But Toyota decided to save a few pennies and let the owner have a massive bill. Great business when you think about it; why sell a small repair to an ecu when you can get the ecu repair bill plus a gearbox and all that lovely labour. What a conn Toyota.

    I will never buy a Toyota again. This fault is a hazard worse still a hazard that Toyota knew about in 2004. I don’t intend being the test subject for a car crash for someone to decide that this was a serious problem that could risk life.

    We all bought into the reliability and responsibility of Toyota, and this is not what they are. Shame on you Toyota!

  23. Ingrid says:

    I am almost buying a 2003 Toyota rav4, The price is $8,200.00 and nothing less.. looks and runs perfectly, but after I read all these letters I am concerned to buy it.. I am unsure if I should do it. Please help me to make this decision, because in these difficult times paying that amount of money for a car that will probably give me problems is not worth it . Thank you for your help.

    • rickwhitney says:

      Hi Ingrid,
      I love my 2001 RAV4. It’s great. Check the ECM and transmission warranty terms on the link in this thread. If the RAV4 you want to buy is covered by the extended warranty, then great. No brainer to buy. If it isn’t, ask the seller for a discount maybe, or ask if they had this work done? Thanks for your post.

  24. beauf70 says:

    Just bought a Rav4 2010 V6 5 speed auto.Took it to dealer with a whine in the transmission between 40 to 80 km/h. test it, and they put on paper whine sound at 68 km/h. wait to see waht they will propose to fix the issues. I passed over 1 week on the net to see what is really the problem with all 2006 – 2010 Rav4 V6 with 5 speed auto and I found the answer. the transmission need to be replace by a new parts number 30510-4H202-84 specified into the TSB.

    here the most important posts that I found:
    ……………..
    Pickup my Rav Monday evening. The tranny was replaced and now after 3 years I’m driving a Whine free vehicle. I now have 140+ miles on the replacement transmission and so far every thing seem’s fine. I Keep listening for the Whine but it’s not there anymore. Total cost plus a loaner car for 5 day’s was close to 5K billed back to Toyota. Also the transmission part # on my invoice is 30510-4H202-84.

    2008 V6 Ltd 4WD
    ……………..
    Thank you very much for the speedy reply !
    In the mean time i did call the Mother Ship (Toyo Canada) and opened a file with a reference number… someone will contact me within 4-16 business days….

    I agree that the numbers I gave you don’t match with the one on TSB… But I’am puzzled on those numbers as some pointed out in different posts here…
    I’ll try to sum it as best as I can…

    arnoldc noted on march 18th post:
    Quote:
    30510-42200-84 (That’s the default tranny without gear honed, some folks were installing this wrong one.)
    30510-4H202-84 (That’s the correct one published on TSB)
    30510-42202-84 (That’s the one installed by my dealer)
    when the double check occured with the service manager in March he confirmed that the 30510-4H202-84 was on order and NOT the 30510-42200-84….

    he told me after step 2 was done and was asking about the numbers that the 30510-42202-84 is the new part# replacement for the transmission and part# 30510-4H202-84 was not used anymore ……. Could he be right ?
    ________________________________________
    Last edited by joeward; 06-29-2011 at 02:19 PM.
    …………………….

    Revised TSB 3415 Oct 15 2010 still shows the “H” in the part number. I don’t know if it has been revised since then. The dealer should be able to give you a date on their revision.

    http://www.autos.ca/rav4-TSB.pdf

    They’ll contact you in 4-16 business days? What? They have one person on the planet calling people back? Hard to believe since their new mantra is customer first, eh?

    • rickwhitney says:

      It’s hard to believe that a great brand like Toyota won’t stand by it’s products, especially the RAV4 which has such a great (and popular) history.

  25. Matthew Starrett-Bigg says:

    I’ve had a similar experience with diagnostic code P0755 (shifting problem) on my 2002 RAV, that had just gone past the 10 year extended warranty period, but with only 65,000 miles on the odometer. I tried to appeal to Toyota directly and they finally offered me a ‘customer retention gift’ of $750 off a new or Toyota Certified used car. I was not interested so I tried to find a compromise of 50/50 on the cost of the ECM ($1,037 total) but they, finally after two months, refused to help.

    Last Tuesday I sent the ECM out for repair to a business in Brooklyn called Check Engine, Etc. My ECM was repaired for $220 and I received the unit back one day express USPS from New York. So far, I have driven the RAV for over an hour continuously without any problem.

    If you have a similar problem with your RAV, I would suggest you contact Sergei Danilen, chkengine@yahoo.com 718 449 1734 at Check Engine,Etc. or check out http://myworld.ebay.com/chkengine?_trksid=p2047675.l2559

    • rickwhitney says:

      Great solution Matt. Good thing you are handy! Sounds like you did it yourself…

      • Matthew Starrett-Bigg says:

        Thanks Rick. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but the idea of saving $900 was appealing and at most I would lose $220!

        Seems to be working very well now although I know the un-repaired ECM actually did do damage to the transmission the moment I drove the brand new RAV4 from the dealership in November 2001. Since the ECM repair the transmission runs so much better, and it has much more power.

        When I first started to experience the transmission slippage in August, and the Check Engine Light’ came on, I took it to my local AAMCO transmission shop who quoted me a new ECM ($1200) and a transmission rebuild amounting to $4,500. They said there was burnt transmission fluid. They were not telling the truth!

        Here is a video for taking out the ECM: http://rav4faq.kerkerinck.de/xa2/tsb/files/TC002-06.pdf

        Take it out and send it to Sergei at Check Engine, Etc. in New York. I think he takes international orders too!

  26. UKRav4Owner says:

    I bought my wife a 2003 Rav4 VVTi VX Auto just 3 months ago (private sale) …… Initially it was fine & more importantly, She loved it ! …. until last week it started pulling off in 2nd, hunting for gears & harsh changes.
    Quick search on google & I was amazed by the amount of complaints in your country (USA) & just as many here in the UK. – 95% stating faults with the ECM !!!

    As ours was 1 former keeper, 70K miles & had full toyota service history – I called our local Toyota dealer who denied any knowledge of problems with ECM, quoted £75.00 to diagnose the fault & if it was the ECM, he estimated repairs @ between £500 – £1000 !!!
    So I called head office Toyota UK, after being passed from pillar to post for half an hour they eventually stated they had no knowledge of any ECM problems relating to the control of the autobox. I suggested they spoke to Toyota USA or did a google search !!! & they hung up !!! … Top marks for customer service Toyota !!!!

    On a UK toyota forum there is a link to a ECU/ECM testing/repair company. So I called them up & apparently they repair atleast 5 per week !!! stating its an inherent weakness with the unit. Its not even a mileage or time issue – Its just happens !!!

    They quoted £250.00 to repair (inc vat & shipping) & you get a Lifetime Warranty.

    Cutting a long story short, I removed the ECM ( bit fiddly, takes about 20 mins) sent it off. Received back in 4 days, refitted, followed the ‘Initial start up & running in instructions’ & now its perfect :-)

    I know I’m probably repeating alot of whats been stated in previous posts on here … but how do these big multi-national companies get away with it ???
    As I understand it , Toyota US have extended the warranty & are well aware of the issue … Toyota UK dont give a s**t … enough said !!!

    • rickwhitney says:

      I had a similar problem when I complained of “harsh shifting” and the guys at San Francisco Toyota did nothing, even after being educated about the warranty issue. I’d love to see the link you mention. I didn’t know that Toyota in Europe didn’t even acknowledge the problem. That’s just weird. Like Matt (above) sounds like you were able to take it into your own hands and find a solution. I hope other readers benefit from that.

      • Matthew Starrett-Bigg says:

        Rick, I did not use my RAV for over two months while I complained to Toyota Customer Experience (I wrote to the VP Customer Retention). After a few weeks of implying they would help, they finally said they couldn’t because it would go against the rules of the California lawsuit that brought about the Extended Warranty. They said they would give me a $750 gift off a new Toyota.

        I then went to my dealership (Beaverton Toyota) and asked them to help. After a long time they finally got back to me to say no, despite the knowledge my wife was in the process of buying a new car.

        Here is the text of the final email they received from me (I will not be buying Toyota again):

        —————————————————

        Hi Cathy,

        Thanks for your email. Just to let you know that Carla is still considering a Camry as one of her options. I’m sure if she decides on a Toyota she will be in touch with you directly or with Ron, the Sales Rep who helped us with a test drive.

        Also, I took the ECM out of my 2002 RAV, sent it to New York for a $220 repair, received it back overnight, and re-installed it. So far (I’m being guarded, of course mainly out of disbelief!) the RAV’s transmission is running so much better than when I bought the RAV new from Beaverton Toyota on November 28, 2001. This was clearly a known factory fault (2006 bulletin) that Toyota could have handled relatively painlessly had they taken the repair route instead of allowing the faulty ECM to fail sometime in the future. The lawsuit and extended warranty that came out of it did not protect those RAV owners, like me, with low mileage. Had Toyota extended a repair warranty to people falling out of the basic, or subsequently the ten year extended warranty, they would have saved themselves millions in lost revenue and probably would not have faced a legal complaint.

        The people in New York (they are on EBay and they guarantee for one year) have been repairing 2001-2003 Toyota RAV4 ECM’s now for over five years with 100% success. The repair apparently takes about twenty minutes!

        Toyota could have sub-contracted this service themselves and insured they did not lose the goodwill and trust of so many Toyota owners, and they have by all accounts according to the internet forums. It’s a pity that obfuscating irresponsibility and the greed and legal fear that drives it, appears to many as Toyota being too big to care about their loyal customers even when it’s Toyota’s fault!

        Although I failed to reach an accommodation with Toyota (and I do appreciate the potential $750 gift on a new car) over the nearly three months I tried, I do want to thank you for your efforts and goodwill.

        Kind regards,

        Matt
        ——————————————————-

  27. pete erbe says:

    We started having the same types of problems on our 2002 Toyota Rav4. Sometimes it shifts smoothly, sometimes it does not. Toyota will not help at all with it because even though I am well under the 150,000 miles at 143,338, our 2002 Rav4 has been “in service” for over 10 years. They should have had a recall, not just an extended warranty. I agree that they should go with “which ever comes LAST” instead which ever comes first on the extended warranty. If they had recalled the vehicles in 2006 when they became aware of the problem, my regular warranty would have covered it. I have bought my last toyota and will warn people for years to come about the poor way they handled the known computer problems on our Rav4.

    • Matthew Starrett-Bigg says:

      Unless you have the ECM replaced or repaired, I’m told if you drive the RAV more than 500 miles you are likely to damage the transmission. The Check Engine light does not need to light up for this to happen. If the Check Engine light is on, it will go off if the car is not used for a day or two because the ECM deletes its history and resets. Don’t be fooled by this. You will find lack of power, slippage, and grinding without the light coming on. It will eventually come on. Toyota’s bulletin of 2006 states that the car needs thirty minutes of continuous driving to be sure the ECM is working properly, exactly when my un-repaired ECM started causing problems. I’m told this is because transmission shift solenoid overheats because it is receiving instructions from the ECM that are not timed correctly to road speed. The ECM shift circuit (diagnosis P0755) on half a million ECM boards was passed by Toyota quality control by mistake. Human error but Toyota’s responsibility which they tried to shirk!

      I was lucky enough to have the use of another car, as I tried to persuade Toyota to seek the the moral high ground, before finally sending the ECM to Check Engine, Etc. in Brooklyn. They are on EBay.

  28. pete erbe says:

    I agree that they should go with “which ever comes last” between the 10 service years or 150,000 miles. If they do not, I have bought my last toyota and will let others know for years about the poor way they handled this problem.

  29. john swiers says:

    In November 2012 I took my 2001 Toyota Rav4 to a transmission shop because I was having scary problems going between gears (especially 2nd and 3rd) . They told me they did a “pan drop” and that I need a new transmission-between 3 and 4,000 dollars. I happened to look online and found info that Toyota has known about this problem for years! They extended the warranty on the ecm/transmission to 150,000 miles and/or 10 years. I bought the car off my sister in 2008 and she was the sole owner. Toyota never sent out a RECALL notice on this. A few days ago I took the vehicle to the Toyota dealer in Saratoga, NY and was told by the head of the service dept that the extended warranty was expired because it ended in December 2000 (even though I only had 131,000 miles on it. The very next day I was online and saw that a $1 BILLION dollar lawsuit was just won finding against Toyota for this very issue.
    I don’t know where to go from here. The vehicle is on death’s door. This is the first EMAIL that I’ve ever sent. Could you reply to me?-THANKS ALOT

  30. Chad Rich says:

    We are having the same prob 2002 with 63000 miles on it . This is my 7th Toyota and is the first Toyota we have had prob with. We have had the same response from Toyota. I am a Toyota employee and we do build quality vehicles. I am just VERY disappointed with this rav 4 and the problems that we have had. What can a person do about this problem?

  31. Matthew Starrett-Bigg says:

    John and Chad,

    Remove your ECM (very easy) and send it to Sergei Danilen of Check Engine, Etc. I had the same problem: Out of warranty and low mileage. He has five years experience fixing this problem. Worth paying $220 rather than $1500 for a new ECM or $5,000 for a transmission rebuild. So far I’ve had no problems and have driven my 2002 RAV now over 400 miles since November 17, 2012. Still can’t believe it!

    Check Engine, Etc. are on EBay and have a good reputation. They give you a one year warranty on the repair, and EBay covers the Buyers’ Guarantee. For most people, as Toyota stated in their bulletin of 2006, the ECM only requires replacement for the known factory QA problem to be fixed. Driving the RAV with a faulty ECM however will eventually destroy the transmission!

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Engine-computer-2001-2003-Toyota-Rav4-ECM-Engine-Computer-Repair-/110997047402?_trksid=p5197.m1992&_trkparms=aid%3D111000%26algo%3DREC.CURRENT%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D14%26meid%3D4689645928492549750%26pid%3D100015%26prg%3D1006%26rk%3D1%26sd%3D110997047402%26

  32. photoJames says:

    Well it seems like this is a very common issue. My wife’s 2002 Rav4 started to make some transmission noise when it was cold and it would go away after it warmed up. This went on for a few days before she took it to have it looked at (not at the dealership) and nothing could be found. A couple of days later the check engine light came on and we had it checked at pep boys. It was P0770, not one of the common codes, but in the number range. I ended up taking it to the dealer because the transmission started slipping while driving to pep boys. They said it needed a new ecm and possibly a new transmission.

    Found Circuit Board Medics and for $225 they rebuilt it and sent it back overnight from South Carolina. Got it back and followed instructions on reinstall and it worked for a day. Now the transmission will not engage. CBM has sent another ECM to replace. But after R&R and following their instructions it still won’t go into gear.

    Anybody have a fix for this?

    Oh, ya, did the whole run-around with Toyota. Car rolled on November 11, 2001 so we were outside of the 10 years, but only 122k miles.

  33. nancy says:

    I will never buy a Toyota again! Same problem with a 2001 rav4. Anyone a lawyer that wants to start a new lawsuit against them? I have 145,000 miles but they won’t do anything for me.

    • Joyce says:

      I bought a 2001 RAV4 a year and a half ago and the engine light went on and now the mechanic just told me to get a car ASAP the motor is going to go. It has only 120,000 on it!!!!

  34. Jan says:

    I have a 2004 Toyota RAV4 with the exact same problem as the 2000-2003 models. Transmission slippage, check engine light on, P0770 code, etc. The 2004 was not covered under the class action lawsuit, the 2 ECM repair places in NY will not touch it because it is not a 2000-2003 model. I have had the transmission replaced, and the vehicle is still having issues. I will have to replace the ECM as well, for an additional $900. I have not seen any complaints about the 2004 models and was curious as to whether anyone else with a 2004 RAV4 has experienced any issues.

    • JoAnn says:

      I have the same problem with my 2004 RAV4 and wondered the same thing – how many people have the same problem, why isn’t it covered in the 2001-2003 extended warranty, etc.

      I went up the chain at Toyota, but to no avail. I’m trying to decide next steps … maybe sending the ECM to one of the shops mentioned above. My mechanic is also worried that it’s the wiring harness and he’s recommending that we fix that too.

      Oh well, live and learn. Bye Toyota!

  35. MJB says:

    After purchasing 2 brand new Toyota’s and 1 pre-owned in a 10 year time span, we purchased a 2003 RAV4 with 91,000 miles in November 2010. We’ve had a couple of minor maintenance type repairs typical of age/mileage – water pump, 02 sensor – but otherwise it’s been running perfectly. When searching the history for the maintenance items though, we came across the ECM/ transmission problem and made sure to bookmark. This week, out of the blue, the transmission started slipping and jerking, and seemed at times to be stuck in low gear. We immediately took it to the dealer and just learned that they will replace the ECM and if that doesn’t cure the problem, they will replace the transmission. I know that God is watching out for us as we could not have afforded this repair.

  36. Anthony says:

    I am pretty sure it’s the solenoid to transmission problem from what I gather.. after reading all the comments and looking into it myself it sounds like it’s neither the transmission or the computer it’s the solenoids to the transmission

  37. Anthony says:

    From reading everyone comments and researching the problem I would have to do you say that it’s it’s not the transmission self or the computer itself but the solenoids that relate the computer to the transmission heating up… I am now looking into how to replace the solenoids and then reset the computer.

  38. Kevin watson says:

    Just read your article. I have. 2002 Rav4 that is having the same problems. Have decided to replace it. The repair costs are more than the cars value.

  39. Dennis says:

    My wife’s 2003 RAV4 with only 70,000 miles the check engine light turned plus intermittent and we brought it to Toyota of Santa Monica last January 2013. We showed the letter from TOYOTA to the Service Manager and after few hours they called up and they told us they found a different code not related to the ECM. (liars) I paid $125 for the Diagnostic and left. After few minutes the engine lights turned off… Before they told us when they did the MAintenance SErvice that we need a new oil pan and a new battery ($1200 parts and labor) …I told him that we just replaced the battery less than 2 years ago and we got it from Toyota of Santa Monica…(trying to sell) but I took it to a private mechanic to check if I really need replace an oil pan..he said no there’s nothing wrong with oil pan.
    Right now, the RAV4 is still having ntermittent harsh shifting. I don’t know if Toyota will repair this problem.
    Very disapointed with TOYOTA QUALITY.

  40. Balakrishnan says:

    My 2001 RAV4 is having the same problem/symptoms as you all mentioned. Toyota dealership where I give my car for service told me that this is a transmission problem and would require $4800 to fix it. I was extremely disappointed and started searching the web and found about this “known problem” saga on 2001/2003 models. Called Toyota Corporate but they told the same answer like “recorder”, telling me that my car is past 10 years and so the warranty is not covered. This is absolutely a BS, because I have always done all my services only at Toyota. Mine is 110K with no accidents at all and my car does not look like 12 years. I maintained it very nicely. I am totally disappointed with Toyota’s service because they knew that 2001 RAV4 has this problem yet they did not check or offered this fix while I Was servicing with Toyota in the last so many years. Now I am totally confused with the next step. I have other commitments and so I Cannot really buy a new car or certified car and spend another $10K+. Any one have any other suggestions to fix this issue ?

    Thanks,
    Balakrishnan

  41. Linda says:

    I have a 2002 rav4 with 211,000 Km’s on it. My transmission is slipping as per everyone else. Should I be happy with the use I got?
    I’m thinking maybe its not worth checking out.
    I’m in Canada by the way.

    • Linda says:

      UPDATE!
      I actually sent my ecu to circuit medics and paid the $225. Can you believe it worked!!!
      Upon receiving it back and installing it, I immediately took it to a dealer for evaluation, got a good quote ($4200 for a 2002 with 211500 Kms), and used it as a trade in for a new car (not toyota of course).
      I don’t know how long it will work, but thankfully that’s not my problem now.
      All to say… Try circuit medics, for $225 it’s worth it, if only to have a decent trade in.
      Thank you to all those that wrote in with suggestions, information, and links.
      And thank you circuit medics!!!

  42. Ben Arpke says:

    Ok…add me to the list of “Never Buy Another Toyota.” I just poured $1027 into my car (tires, tune up) last week – and one of the diagnostic codes is still on. The service station referred me to a Toyota dealership as they are not equipped to repair “P0758 – solenoid B – electric’ problem. I just left the Toyota dealership – they got the same code and advised they would be able to replace ‘the computer’ tomorrow for $1,000 – and HOPEFULLY that will spare me from an additional $4,000+ transmission replacement! My brother-in-law has been telling me for years that Toyota will not be around in another 20 years. I’ve laughed at him – but guess what? I think he’s onto something. No More Toyota for this family…:(

  43. Susan says:

    My 2003 Rav4 was purchased on Nov. 15, 2002. Two years ago my check engine light kept going on. Mechanic said it was the catalytic converter, 1200,00 to replace with a Toyota part. Two weeks ago, the car stalled on a highway in the left lane. Thank God I was next to the service lane or I would have been killed. Brought it to my mechanic, who said its the transmission and ECM. Researched my car, and found out about the class action lawsuit regarding 2001-2003 models. Brought the car to Toyota and they confirmed ECM issue. However, because the car was purchased in nov. 2002, it was over the 10 year period. Had I been notified that this was an issue when it first came to light by Toyota, I would have had the ECM checked by them. After reading posts here, the catalytic converter wasn’t the issue, it was the ECM all along. Now, Toyota is telling me there is nothing they can do and I have to choose between paying 1300.00 for a new ECM and pray to God my transmission wasn’t destroyed or face another 4000.00 price tag for a new transmission. This is the worst customer service ever, and I will never buy a Toyota again. 127,000 miles and the car is trashed. Their customer service is horrible, and this is how they make their money. They tell you ” replace the ECM ” and there is no way to determine the transmission is ok until the new one is installed. This is a faulty product, and through no fault of my own, I am going to have to give the car up because I can’t see throwing money I don’t have to save a car that is potentially going to cost a lot more. I will never again in my life buy another Toyota and will discourage anyone else from doing so as well. I plan to take this to our union, who has been offered deals from Toyota because of city contract to report this. I am disgusted at this point. I see I am not the only one suffering from this. To those of you who were lucky enough to have it fixed under the extended warrantee, hooray for you. There are many more of us that won’t be helped.

  44. Joanna/Tom says:

    My 2003 Rav 4 was bought on June 9 2003 so my 10 years will be up in a week or so. I need to act fast. I have 65,400K I have just started noticing this problem in the last 2 days. I am going to take my car to my local mechanic & get his opinion on the situation It has been helpful reading all your comments because I will make sure my mechanic really checks it out good to RULE OUT the it’s the catalytic converter. So far NO CHECK ENGINE light. I wish you & myself all luck. I was going to bring my daughter car shopping Sat for a Toyota..well I guess we’ll reconsider!!!

  45. Chris Beals says:

    i bought a 2002 Rav4 on Friday May 24th from a wholesale dealer with 93500 miles. The dealer is of friend of the family and had his mechanic check the vehicle for anything wrong with it. He said it was perfect, minus outside scratches and normal 11 year wear. We picked it up from out of state in Fl. and my wife followed me from behind in our new Rav. About 60 miles down the road, she called and said the check engine light came on the Rav4. I asked her “how it was driving”, and she said “perfect”. We continued our 4 hour drive home and after dropping my other car off at home we continued together to Autozone in the Rav. An employee checked the pending codes (P0420, and P0430). I returned home and did some research on the computer and found all this lovely stuff about the 2001-2003 Rav4 family. My god what did I get myself into? I brought the vehicle to the local Toyota dealership and explained the pending codes, the Rav ECM problems and Transmissions defects. He looked in the computer and said it was factory recalled and they would reflash the ECM and it would correct the P0420, and P0430 codes. The vehicle was never brought in previously so it was FREE! I had their team do another extensive diagnosis on the Rav and it came back with a clean bill of health. Of course they tried to get me to change filters, ac lines and refill my horn fluid and junk, but I was not there for that mess. My question to all is, now that my ECM was reprogrammed, will i have these transmission problems like everyone else it seems? Also, i looked at the warranty section on the begining of this thread and my vin number was not indicated. JTEHH20V720164959. The Rav4 was only $7000 at auction so should i sell it or hope for the best? Sorry if i rambled, I am just so worried. We are expecting our first baby and i spent a good chunk of money if not all on this vehicle.

  46. Alicia says:

    After the four years it took for me to pay off the 2001 Toyota Rav4, I bought in 2009, it started acting up a few months ago. Now I realized it is the same problem the many people have described above. This is infuriating. I have contacted the dealership I bought it from and now I have to wait and see if they will own up to it. I wrote them something like this:
    Who do I talk to address the issue that you sold me a defective car? You knew about the problems with the ECM and transmission and failed to notify me. Recently the check engine light came on and reads PO755. I need help I want this issue addressed. I don’t think its right that after four years it took me to pay off the car now its going to cost thousands of dollars to fix. This is my only unit of transportation. That is just bad customer service. I was a fan of Toyota, but if this issue does not get resolved I am never buying a Toyota ever again. I am only 27, so that is going to end up costing Toyota hundreds of thousands of dollars. I am warning everyone I know. After all how could I trust the faulty manufacturing of your vehicles.

  47. Julie says:

    We bought a 2001 RAV4Toyota 3 years ago from an individual who had to know that there was a recall. Lesson learned. Do your own research before buying a vehicle. Now we are being told it is out of warranty. Any recourse with the previous owner or the dealership?

  48. Donna Stephens says:

    I’m having the same issues. Never by another Toyota again.!!!

  49. Kathy P. says:

    I have to say that I am totally disappointed in Toyota and the way they are handling the transmission problem. This problem was never recalled. What Toyota did was extend the warranty on the Rav4 2001-2003 but they did not let their customers know about this. I only found out AFTER I began having a problem with my transmission. I have a 2003 Rav 4 with only 87,000 miles on it. I contacted Toyota and was informed that I was 18 DAYS past the extended warranty and they could not help me out. I think the way Toyota is handling this issue is unprofessional and disrespectful to those of us who have purchased their vehicle. Does anyone know how we can file a class action suit so that we can hold Toyota responsible and get our repair money back. My car is currently in an Aamco shop, will be for another week, and will probably cost me $3,000 to repair. I will NEVER buy another Toyota again!!!

  50. cora hernandez says:

    Same thing as as everyone else. Very bummed. Told it would cist at least 1000 by toyota dealrt in spokane wa. The battery died while its been sitting and now its not running as badly??????? Any ideas.

  51. Selene says:

    Hi I just purchased a 2001 Toyota rav4 with 55,095 miles in it form a small dealer and now 4 1/2 months later I’ve already spent about close to $1,000 on it for fixing, I’ve read stories above and most seem to have the same problem it would be hard for meto push in the gas pedal and it would push itself after its so annoying, I just wanted to know if anyone knows what Toyota warranty is because I don’t know think dealer gave me any Toyota warranty I’m only 20 and I have no idea what to do, my dad said it was something with the transmission I just don’t want to spend so much money or get a new at I love my rav4 it’s been my dream to have a Toyota brand car and now it’s getting me mad! My dad said that we can sue or have the dealer people fix it for free because if they knew it was a messed up car they still sold it to be and I still have 4 years to pay it off. I’m so frustrated and stressed out can anyone HELP PLEASE!

  52. Selene says:

    I’m going to talk to the dealer guy tomorrow if I find out my 2001 Toyota rav 4 with 55,095 now 55,800 was recalled can I file a claim or sue that guy for selling me that car I’m still paying off or at least get ally money back ? I need a car ASAP to commute its ruining my life not driving mine any help can work :/ I got the car for $11,000 or so I just need something I’m so irritated !

  53. Kris says:

    I experienced the very same issue with the faulty ECM in my 2003 RAV4. My first experience with the ECM going out was making a left turn in a busy intersection. The car suddenly stopped without warning. I put my foot on the gas but the car refused to go into gear. I was stuck in the middle of the intersection and almost was hit by an oncoming semi-truck that was only barely able to avoid colliding with me. At best, it would have totaled my car. At worst, I could have been killed by the impact and possibly contributed to the injury of others.

    After doing some internet research, I discovered this blog (thank you) and various other resources regarding the issue with the 01-03 Rav4 ECM’s. (Including the Multiple Class Action Lawsuits and the mandated Warranty Extension Bulletin)

    My experience trying to get Toyota to address the issue, however, was abysmal. The dealership quoted me a price of over $1000 for the replacement of the faulty ECM. (Even though Toyota was aware of the defect several years prior). My vehicle has 96K miles on it, but was 9 months outside of their extended warranty period of 10 years. After over 2 hours on hold, and speaking to multiple people, I was informed that the Toyota Warranty department could not determine whether the repair would be covered or if they could offer any assistance without a 24-48 hour “review period”. I asked multiple times for verbal confirmation that the repair would be covered and reimbursed prior to having the vehicle repaired as I was not inclined to pay for a costly repair at the dealership rather than going with a less expensive option. I was told that in order to be considered for any warranty assistance, I would need to fax them an invoice for the repair from the dealership and after completing their “review” they would give me an answer. I faxed them all the requested documentation twice, including the extended warranty bulletin and my invoice for the repair. I wasted almost 3 whole days and countless hours on hold trying to get an answer. Finally, after their “review period” they informed me that they would not cover ANY OF THE REPAIR, but would offer me $500 toward a future repair. I was then told that only if I had waited for the repair to be done, until after their review, could I have applied this credit to the faulty ECM repair. Which would have been impossible because they asked for the repair invoice as part of their review. Basically, this whole “review” process was a TOTAL SCAM.

    I am normally a very logical and reasonable person, but after this exchange I was so upset that I was shaking. I was told that if I was “unhappy with their process” that I could contact another 800 number and leave my comments there. (Which I will do, despite knowing that it will make zero difference in my case.) I have been a loyal Toyota customer for years and have owned multiple Toyotas. After Toyota’s handling of this issue and the way I was treated, I will never buy a Toyota again. The reason I bought my RAV4 in the first place was that Toyota had a reputation for reliability and good customer service. I say “had” because it is obvious in recent years with the number of safety recalls and numerous complaints that this reputation is falling drastically. If Toyota truly stood behind their product, they would have issued a recall when the issue came to light back in 2006 and replaced the faulty ECM’s in the affected vehicles. Instead, they did not inform customers and they only issued this extended warranty after 2 class action lawsuits were filed against them. For the majority of RAV4 owners, this extended warranty will do nothing for them as the failure generally only becomes evident after the 10 year period has expired.

    I will be making an effort to inform everyone I know of this issue as I would not wish my experience on anyone.

  54. Diane says:

    Well good for all of you who caught this in time, and got your new ECM and Toyota covered it under their warranty. I however am not the lucky one. My new dream car turned into a nightmare. I spent $11,300… every penny I ever saved on buying my beautiful 2003 Toyota RAV4 with just 71,000 miles on it, and nothing wrong, so I thought, just 8 weeks ago. Then the bad shifting started and the check engine light came on and off. I called Toyota. They informed me of the warranty they have on this issue, but I missed the warranty coverage by 10 weeks. Yes, 10 weeks. And, not only do I need a new ECM, Toyota also diagnoses that the malfunctioning ECM board has ruined my transmission as well. Price quote for repairs: $4500. Toyota will cover: $0. I have :$0 for repairs. Priceless.

  55. Maria says:

    I have a 2009 RAV4 with 115,000 miles on it. Bought new and totally dealer maintained. I do not drive roughly and take good care of car. I usually get 250,000+ miles out of a car (including all my previous Toyotas). Check engine light and “skid” light came on. Took it to dealer. They said needed new transmission (?). They replaced transmission ($4500.00) and lights came back on the next day. Now they are saying the codes indicate it needs an oxygen sensor and catalytic converter. The transmission replacement wiped out my savings. If they don’t make this right it will be my last Toyota.

  56. Ray says:

    My RAV4 recently turned 223000 miles and wham, it hit me, too. Went to http://circuitboardmedics.com/toyota-rav4-ecm-ecu/?gclid=CKSusNmLlrkCFWZk7AodnwkAxQ and found out -just like others posting- how to remove it easily, ship it off, and get it back in 2 business days for $225. One youtube video explained that there are 6 tiny resistors that are changed without reprogramming needed. That’s it. No grease or grim. The unit is behind the glove box, inside. Just a 10mm socket wrench and a phillips head screw driver. Got to love youtube.

  57. Barbara P. says:

    So sorry to hear everyone’s woes. I also have a 2003 Rav4 with a faulty ECM and now I have been told I need a new transmission. I had no warning about this, no check engine lights, no problems with the car. And, it broke down when I was hundreds of miles from home so getting back to where it needed to be was costly. Toyota will not assist me in any service as the date of first use was in Dec. 2002 and so I am past the warranty. I am beyond infuriated. This is the 5th Toyota vehicle I have owned in my life, I’ve only every purchased Toyota and have always been very happy with their vehicles, they were dependable. I would have had the ECM replaced prior to the cut off date if I had known that there even “might” be an issue in the future; I only have 80K miles on the car. It is truly unbelieveable, with all the bad press about Toyota right now, that they would leave so many devoted comsumers up a creek. I would love to know if anyone has gotten past this road block and been able to receive any help from Toyota once past the warranty date. Has anyone been in touch with the class action folks? Or, if there is anything we can do as a collective unit to fight this. Any lawyers out there???

  58. Jim G says:

    This is the only problem we’ve had with what has otherwise been the best car we’ve ever owned and it still was driving just like it did when it was brand new until we were heading to the grocery store day before yesterday and the car felt like I was putting on the brakes hard as I gently slowed to a stop at a stop sign. Upon taking off from the sign, the car was very sluggish & then again felt like the parking brake was on for a second or two when it shifted. I immediately drove it home & parked it.

    At home I googled the problem & discovered all the horror stories about 2001-2003 RAV4′s Engine Control Modules and how they malfunction, ruining the car’s transmissions.

    After several hours research I decided, since I’m handy, to replace the Control Module in my RAV4 with a rebuilt module, since I could get one for $100, rather than risk driving the car to my nearest dealer, which is 25 miles away and risk more transmission damage than I might already have. The stories I found of folks being charged thousands of dollars by dealers also helped my decision, as my dealer certainly likes to charge!!

    If this wThis is the only problem we’ve had with what has otherwise been the best car we’ve ever owned and it still was driving just like it did when it was brand new until we were heading to the grocery store day before yesterday and the car felt like I was putting on the brakes hard as I gently slowed to a stop at a stop sign. Upon taking off from the sign, the car was very sluggish & then again felt like the parking brake was on for a second or two when it shifted. I immediately drove it home & parked it.

    At home I googled the problem & discovered all the horror stories about 2001-2003 RAV4′s Engine Control Modules and how they malfunction, ruining the car’s transmissions.

    After several hours research I decided, since I’m handy, to replace the Control Module in my RAV4 with a rebuilt module, since I could get one for $100, rather than risk driving the car to my nearest dealer, which is 25 miles away and risk more transmission damage than I might already have. The stories I found of folks being charged thousands of dollars by dealers also helped my decision, as my dealer certainly likes to charge!!

    I installed the module from Auto Module Source, about a 20 minute process, after watching the video that shows you how on YouTube.

    It has now been about six weeks & 1,500 miles later and the car is running great and shifts better than I ever remember it shifting since it was new.

    Apparently the trick is to park the car soon as it starts shifting strangely and replace the module with a rebuilt one. Thank goodness for the internet! It sure saved me a bundle this time!

    There are several places that rebuild the modules, and I used Auto Module Source in Davie, Florida, as they only charged $99 including all shipping and are two days away with ground shipping.

  59. Jim G says:

    Oops! I copied & pasted my comments from another page made July 13 and added the last 4 paragraphs…. Looks like things got a little garbled, but you can get the gist of it.

  60. Pat says:

    I am in the same boat as everyone else….my 10 year warranty on my 2003 was up by less than 60 days when my Toyota dealer told me the “good news and the bad news”…. Good news-yep it has the proper code to meet the extended warranty criteria…bad news Toyota wasn’t going to pay for the repairs. The service manager told me it was not because of being outside the 10 year extended warranty period but because the Rav (which I bought from a 3rd party in 2009) had not been serviced by Toyota since 2007. Sounds like blackmail to me….either do all of your overpriced servicing at a Toyota dealer or you are screwed! Called their 800 number (what a joke) and was told Toyota would not do anything to help because of the expired time and there was nothing I could do about it.

    Maybe someone could file another class action suit to get Toyota to do the right thing and fix these problems at no cost to us? I have no idea how that kind of thing gets started-maybe the attorneys who got the first class action award will read this and see the merits of going after them again? However, it will probably be too late for me…..I need a reliable vehicle that won’t cost thousands to repair. I will NEVER buy a Toyota again…..they just want our money-not our loyalty!

    PS. I believe that those of you who did have your Rav repaired and incurred the expenses during the enhanced warranty period have until 12/31/2014 to submit a request to be reimbursed. Here is a link that might help you with this…. http://www.topclassactions.com/open/2302-toyota-rav-4-transmission-class-action-lawsuit

    Good luck all

    • Daniella says:

      Dear Pat,

      I am facing the same issue with my Toyota RAV 4, 2003 FOR THE LAST FEW DAYS. My car is still at the mechanics so I do not have the final price for fixing Transmission and ECM ( this is the major problem), till Monday.

      Dealer gave me the price of $4.700 no tax included, I left the place immediately. My car is exactly 10 years old and I only have 89.000 miles, so I will go over the links you posted, which I found it very helpful and send some paper work with law action on this major issue that we all have.

      Many thanks again and please keep in touch in the future.

  61. sitheary says:

    I am the sole owner of 2002 Toyota Rav4 bought in February 2002 paid very expensive after Quebec sale taxes and Canadian dollars was at the lowest $0.62/$US . loved it despite the price, low kilometers 125 000km live in Québec City, Canada. In October 2012 engine light was on took to the garage, change it. The end of May 2013 my car started to make this strange acceleration 2nd shiift while driving, the check engine came on, brought it to the garage nearby they check with their computer and told me it is transmission problem cost me $over $150. send me to the transmission garage, they told me need to change the transmission , it would cost about $3 500 to $4 500 because it is defecting, he called Toyota if there is any recall on that car’s transmission ? Toyota said no, there is no recall. I am in my mid fifties not rich do not have money to fix nor to buy a new car. I stop driving it since June, now have a friend who know car mechanic, tried to fix it, but others things came up there is no lights on the board the windows do not go up or down. He checked the fuse and changed some of them,
    Please help!!!!

  62. Amy says:

    I just bought a 2002 Rav4 from a private owner. We ended up with a “great deal” until I experienced the slipping between 2nd and 3rd gear. I was lucky enoough to obtain all of the service records for this car dating back to 2002. The trans and ECM were replaced in 2009. It looks like the slipping started again last July and it only happens when the car is cold. Once it warms up, all is well.
    To be safe, I removed the ECM and sent it to Circuit Board Medics. I received it back on Saturday and I still notice the problem but it is not as bad as it was. However, it is definitely still there. I have notified Circuit Board Medics of the issue and am waiting for them to contact me. What are the chances that this trans is truly messed up if the car drives like a dream once it’s warmed up? I love this car and was really excited to buy my first Toyota but I am really freaking out about this whole mess.! Has anyone had issues after having your original ECM repaired?

  63. unhappy says:

    Same problem, 8 months out of extended warrantee, same story from Toyota. Car is currently at dealer having the ECM replaced, find out tomorrow if any transmission damage. Not happy.

  64. rickwhitney says:

    Lots of interest here…and a lot of similar stories. Seems terrible for all involved, and really says a lot about Toyota.

  65. unhappy says:

    Update: ECM replaced at Toyota, around $1,000 (they gave us a 10% discount.). They said no transmission damage. We called another local mechanic, he could have replaced the ECM for around $200. His cost if the transmission needed to be replaced was about $2,000 less than Toyota. Instead of Toyota’s $6,000 it would have been around $3,800 if everything needed to be replaced. The transmission better not go while we are on the road as I am disabled.

    If you find yourself in a similar situation, DO NOT GO TO TOYOTA. They are no help. Find yourself an independent mechanic to do the work. You can call Toyota and register a complaint but you will not be able to do anything else but that.

    WE WILL NEVER BUY A TOYOTA AGAIN!!!! This 2003 car only has 127,000 miles on it, it has had very good care. It was purchased in January so it is 8 months past the extended program. Guess this car is being traded in for a different make which is disappointing because it is loaded and we love it.

  66. ymz says:

    I am having the same problem with my 2003 Rav4. 90 days after the extended warranty. Toyota would not do anything. No Toyota any more!!!

  67. Pat says:

    FiXED IT OURSELVES ….to all who are experiencing these problems with their 2001-2003 Rav 4 and can’t get Toyota to do the repairs at no cost…..you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars- we fixed it ourselves (and believe me we are not (auto) mechanically inclined. Our 2003 Rav 4 had diagnosis codes P0750; P0755 and P0758, it was less than 60 days past the enhanced warranty period and Toyota refused to cover the cost of repair. Estimates given were well over $2000….we went to Circuit Board Medics http://circuitboardmedics.com/rav4-ecm-ecu-removal-video/ removed the ECM/ECU and shipped it to Circuit Board Medics. They repaired it and returned it to us the day after they received it. We reinstalled it and it runs great! TOTAL COST was $235 plus our UPS cost of $15 to send it to them. They responses quickly to a few emails I sent to them about the process. I was hesitant to try this but it worked out great and really was not that difficult, it is really frustrating that this is all that Toyota would have had to do for all of us experiencing this problem…it seems like a small price to pay to keep their once loyal customers! Check out the link above to see about doing this yourself. Don’t pat Toyota or anyone else thousands of dollars if your Rav has the same diagnosis codes! I hope this helps same others some money. Thank you to others above who brought Circuit Board Medics to our attention.

  68. Gary Wiebe says:

    2013 rav4 limited with 1450 miles. Transmission being replaced due to erratic
    Shifting, wow not even 2000 miles on this vehicle!!!
    This is kind of scary reading all of these failures!

  69. Kay Bryant says:

    TRANSMISSION FAILURE
    I replaced my 2003 RAV4 transmission just three weeks ago at 96,000 miles — nearly one year after the extended warranty expired. My transmission seemed “sub-standard” compared to my husband’s Honda, but I did not know about the “harsh-shift” RECALL?!? having NOT received a notice from Toyota. I am bummed…

  70. 4dm3r says:

    Wow read all your sad and bad experienced with toyota rav4.. Im planning to buy my co-worker rav4 2007 with 42000 mileage.. Recent entry 2013 rav4 1450 miles got problem in transmission.. I saw my o worker rav4 and ask my friend mechanic. He said its a prestine condition.. Need to come out my decission on wednesday if Im going to buy it or not.. Just wondering if anyone had a bad experienced in 2007 rav4.. Pls post… If I buy this car its my second toyota car.. Pls help
    to make it a decission.. Thanks for posting with bad experienced in toyota product..

  71. Cat says:

    I have a 2001 Rava4 and having a shifting problem. My daughter mostly drives the vehicle to school and around town. I’m a single Mom, out of work. I have been told by the dealer that my car engine light was the Shift B thing too! They gave me an estimate of $5k to replace. We have been driving the car with this problem soo long. I feel bad for having my daughter drive such a problem car…. But what can we do… I noticed by using Premium gas Octain 91 helps A LITTLE…

  72. heather says:

    Happening to my RAV4 now. It is a 2003 with 155,000 miles on it. i have a question to the person that shipped their computer out. did you have problems with the car performance along with the check engine light? ive had performance problems for a week now and the light just came on the other day. it is at the shop now (saturday) they are going to call the dealer monday.

  73. unhappy says:

    This was just in the paper about Toyota settling a suit for unintended acceleration causing death, not the problem we are having with the Rav 4s but for the first time they have been found at fault. It states that “No recalls have been issued related to problems with onboard electronics.”

    http://www.app.com/viewart/20131213/NJBIZ/312130117/Toyota-enter-settlement-negotiations-over-sudden-acceleration-claims

    Yet it looks like the computer system may have been the problem. I hope that Toyota will now recall cars that have problems and not just extend warrantees for everyone’s safety.

    BTW my check engine light is on again.

  74. Evey says:

    So I’m in the same boat mates, and I’m sharing here what I shared in an email to my local dealer….

    Two days ago I dropped $1600 on a new Cat and 2 O2 sensors because they ECM was throwing P0430 P0420 codes…and had been off and on…for about 3-4 years.

    Current problem: when driving, the speedometer, cruise control and tachometer act erratically and engine attempts to shift into lower gears while travelling above 65 mph…I told the Toyota dealership here I thought it was an ECM issue. They diagnosed and found the cat codes and a VVTI actuator code (both replaced this month).

    our service records (and these are ALL official dealership visits) show the following:

    14261 miles/Nov 2002 – took the vehicle in for a check engine light staying on – at that time the Catalyst codes were diagnosed and you had the Cat, gaskets, air fuel sensors and Exhst. Manifold assembly replaced under warranty.

    35852 miles/May 2005 – took the vehicle in for a check engine light staying on, at that time the transaxle assembly was replaced…under warranty…..

    (at some point around this time wealso had that giant transmission replacement under warrant due to the towing problem)

    67317 miles/Sept 2007 – I took the vehicle in for a check engine light staying on – cause was ECM needing to be reprogrammed for this reason: http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/26/toyotas-reaction-to-transmission-woes-draws-customers-ire/?_r=0
    There was no cost this time because it was a recall/reprogram issue.

    Here is where it gets interesting – the next few records actually show the tech comments as to what I described the problems were…

    88073 miles/Nov 2008 – “customer states check engine light is on, tach and fuel gauges acted abnormally, vehicle sputtered and shifted erractically…checked code and found a speed sensory malfunction”…
    so at this time I had the speed sensor fixed AND got a transmission flush.

    109690 miles/ December 2009 – “customer states check engine light is on and transmission shifts poorly…above 65 odometer is erratic, has had previous speed sensor issue…”
    Phil Bachman Toyota suggested at this time I actually get the ECM replaced and that “IF ECM DOES NOT FIX PROBLEM, TRANSAXLE WOULD NEED TO BE REPLACED”…
    So I paid $900 for a new ECM

    This week/161,000 miles: finally replaced Cat, two days and 150 miles later the check engine light comes on, tach and speedometers kill and the trans shifts unexpectedly while driving down interstate.

    so what are the chances that a mere 3-4 years later it would need yet ANOTHER ecm?

    It’s having the SAME problems as was reported on almost all our visits to the dealership.

    On my newest reciept for when I initially went in to the dealership here and had the VVTI Actuator replaced, it says the following:
    “customer reports check engine light is on, cruise control dropped off and tachometer and speedometers went to zero and came back…diagnosed and found VVTI actuator issue, needs Cat Converter also”

    Folks reading this…dump the vehicle or make sure that ECM is replaced while you are still under the extended warranty.

  75. Carla says:

    It’s uncanny how similar our stories are. I have a 2001 RAV4 with 112,000 miles. I have the exact same check engine light history, catalytic converter (NOT!) codes coming up numerous times. Last night suddenly out of the blue, for the first time, the car wouldn’t accelerate and jumped into 2nd gear. and continued to lurch and fade. No check engine light. I went straight to my mechanic and left the car with him. Today he told me the bad news and suggested I get online and see how many people have been through this. I “limped” my car to Toyota today and they told me they only covered costs on cars 10 years old or younger. Then they told me I was lucky (Seriously?!?) that I had no major repairs for so many years. I said don’t dare bother suggesting this is “normal wear and tear” when there is case after case of this exact issue happening to RAVs of all ages. Then I took my car back to my mechanic who said it will cost $3000 to repair and if the flawed computer won’t reset, which is a widely known problem, that would be another $1500. He is hopeful that my computer will reset since this just happened and the check engine light is STILL not on. Yesterday I had this stable little work horse car, and today I am the duped owner of a lemon. Thanks Toyota.

  76. Yonggang Liu says:

    Same thing happening here. For 3 years, my 2002 RAV4 was just acting a little “harsh” when shifting gears up, I didn’t notice it as a severe problem until this week the car lost a significant amount of accelerating power after a stop, and has very harsh shifting when transmit from P to R or during gear 2 and 3. I think we need to do something. If RAV4 doesn’t say anything, we got to say something to make others know about it.

    • denise says:

      My sister in law bought a 2001 RAV4 from a private party 3 months ago, the engine light came on yesterday, she took it to a transmission place she knows and was told that she needed a new ECU and transmission. She is unemployed and put every cent she had into this TOYOTA…….she is heart broken that she may have to use a credit card to get her RAV4 into running shape…..3,000-4,000 is not a lot of money to TOYOTA….but it IS to those of us that have been unemployed for over a year. My husband and I have personally owned 5 Toyotas……we only have a 1999 Solara SLE…..now, I will only purchase older Toyotas even if they have higher miles……Nothing newer from them. We encouraged her to purchase this vehicle because she had a Camry and her daughter has a Avalon and have/had been sound cars……WHY wasn’t this issue made public? I would think the deceleration issue would definitely be a HUGE issue…..not to mention the death of computers and transmissions by the thousands…………..

  77. I took the ECM out opened it up and re-soldered the ground points on the corners. It appears that the board vibrates in the housing and wears the solder down till it no longer makes a good connection. So far it appears that problem is solved. Fix was free and took about 30 min.

  78. David Jenkins says:

    I had the same problem where the transmission would not shift to 3rd gear in my wife’s 2003 Rav4. I called Toyota but they refused to pay for the ecm because I’m over 150,000 miles. I bought a replacement ecm off of Amazon and its been working good so far. I ordered form a company in Rochester Hills Michigan ECU Technologies http://www.amazon.com/Toyota-04009-39642-computer-rav4/dp/B00ARQSNKG/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1392695133&sr=8-5&keywords=rav4+ecm hopefully this helps out.

  79. Allie says:

    Mine as far as I know is a 2000 4wd manual could this be the same reason? I have spent over $3000 grand and two tows so far and here it sits. If so I will research further. It was great until this last year!

  80. gary says:

    Hi, Iv,e had the same problem with my 2002 rav 4 The overdrive selonoid went out at 93 thousand cost me 750 dollars. two weeks ago it started the shifting problem, Took it to a Toyota dealership and they said it could be the computer or thr tranny Computer 1000 dollars tranny 5000 dollars. I left very upset. Received a survey from dealer if I was happy with their sevvice, and I gave them a bad rating, I received a call from their General Manager asking why I was not happy, I told him about the recall notices on the rav 4 tranny and how the service people treat everyone like we are all stupid. I,ve worked on cars all my life. I,min my 60s. Anywyas ther is a place in South Carolina that repairs the computer for 225 dollars. I tokk out computer and sent it too them. They have a video on how too remove, very simple. Circuit Board Medicsd is their name . Reinstalled computer, so far so good. The manager was pretty upset that I fixed it myself. I blame Corporate Toyota for all the problems and their Dealers who also hid it also. Now the midship bearing on the driveshaft is going out. Glad I can fix that and have too pay 100 hour labor, What a rip off

  81. Judy says:

    Another story, same thing. I just purchased a Toyota Rav 4 for my daughter for a very good price…so I thought. It is a 2001 and only had 41,000 miles on it as it was used by an older lady only for short distances. Now we are getting the bad news. Fortunately, my daughter, who is interning in AZ, has a bike to ride to work. In a couple weeks we will be flying in to AZ to drive the car home to Minnesota. I am worried sick and hope we can resolve the issue before we are on the road on this trip. Boy did we get a bad deal. I have never had a Toyota. So sad they are not showing the integrity of taking car of their clients.

  82. Michelle says:

    I am having the same problem as all of you. Have had my 2003 Rav4 since 2005. Am 90 days past warranty and it has 153,000 miles… Toyota will not cover the ECM… Transmission is fine but I stopped driving it about 2 weeks after symptons.. Is sending it to be fixed the best wAy??

  83. manny says:

    Hi all. I bought my 2010 rav4 limited over three years ago. A couple months after the warranty expired I get the check engine,4wd, and the slip assist lights on. Took it to the dealer and of course I have to pay out of pocket. $115 for diagnosis. Total job is $650. Toyota said that i have 2 speed sensors not responding and that they are inside the transmission. I still have power train warranty on it but they do not consider it to be an issue with the transmission.

  84. manny says:

    That’s toyota. Strong recommendation regardless of what vehicle is bought. I believe it would be a good idea to get the extended warranty. I had it but canceled it two months into the purchase

  85. Ken says:

    Rav4 2003 120,000KM had it since day 1, having transmission prob. Having trouble going from gear 2 to 3. Then started to have idle problem, I fix it by boosting up the idle… now check engine light are one. Hope there is a ez fix. really love the car but not worth throwing in few K for a fix…

  86. eamonn says:

    My wife bought rave 2001 about 6 months ago. Noticed shifting problems which got worse. When i looked into problem i was shocked at the amount information regarding this issue. I sent ecu for repair, lots of fault were found and apparently repaired. Problem still persists though and i am led to believe that i will need a new transmission. Car cost £3000 with 75000 on clock. new transmission will cost around £3000. What the hell am I suppose to do. I am furious with Toyota and furious that they are able to get away with this. I now have a very nice looking rav 4 which is in very good condition, but is un drivable due to this cock up by Toyota. I cant afford £3000 to repair, so effectively my wifes car is now worth £120 for scrap.
    im so angry

  87. marth says:

    oh Lord same thing happen to me t with my Toyota RV4 2001 the need to do something about I will never ever by Toyota .

  88. Jenn says:

    Had these issues with my 02 rav4. Whining transmission Slipping gears no acceleration hard shifting etc l. Replaced the transmission filter and fluid and it went back to running normal. No clue if this might help anyone but helped us!

  89. Angie says:

    My 2003 Rav 4 is experiencing harsh shifting too. Its past the warranty of course. Ugh, I just paid off my loan too. I hope to get the ECU repaired affordably.

  90. Elana says:

    Purchased my 2001 RAV4 in August 2011 for $9630 cash with 123,301 miles on it. Am now beginning the long saga for reimbursement for the $5000 I just paid for a new electrical system and transmission at Charles Maund Toyota in Austin, Texas.

    Planning to cc the Better Business Bureau, Toyota Corporate, my own local dealership who sold me the vehicle in San Marcos, Texas and who’s manager did not respond to either of my two attempts to contact him last month, the California Air Resources Board, the Center for Auto Safety, Consumer Reports, the NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration), and Christopher Jensen at the New York Times who has covered this specific iissue–as well as the settlement of the class action lawsuit in previous years–for starters. I strongly advise all of you to do the same.

    This should be a public issue and reimbursements should be issued for this problem, whether it occurs within the original warranty, within the extended warranty, or outside of both. It is the same issue, the same hazard hazard,is preposterously costly and immoral. Will return to this board with news when I have it. I do not back down easily and am ready for this fight.

  91. Elana says:

    Update: As a first step I just registered this complaint we all have at bigclassaction.com: http://www.bigclassaction.com/
    I urge you all to log in and do the same.

  92. Randall Harris says:

    Another Victim! 2002 Rav 4 with 180,000 mi. Looks great and ran great till today. Slippage in 3 gear with a pulsation after about 30 minutes of driving. This is my 6th Toy and I was under the impression that they didn’t die easily but I guess the Party is over and from the looks and sound of things…mine could be headed for the shredder. They haven’t gotten back to me with numbers yet but it doesn’t sound good. I really never expected Toyota to shirk responsibility…the reason I drive one was based on the past history but that won’t be the case if they are ducking issues. Sad situation and poor business if they don’t step up to the plate.

  93. Gerard says:

    2013 Rav4, 79000 miles, 11 1/2 months past ext warranty. Toyota dealer checked car referred us to Toyota Cares (they don’t).

  94. Holly says:

    I am in Australia and apparently the extended warranty doesn’t apply here, although my car is 11 years old now. I have a 2003 Rav4, 148,000 kms, I have owned it from new and always looked after it. I had the same problems with my car jerking and going crazy between 2nd & 3rd gear. Took it to a transmission place, where the guy has fixed so many Rav4′s with the same problem. Got a new ECM and the transmission & clutch plates repaired, cost me $1800. My car still doesn’t feel right, but will see how it goes. If anyone is interested in taking this further with Toyota Australia, I am willing to. I f I get enough peoples complaints I am going direct to Toyota National and then to Today Tonight or A Current Affair. Please send me an email, with your name, year of Rav4, the problem you experienced and the cost to repair. My email is hollykins83@hotmail.com. If Toyota knew of this problem, they should be liable. Yes, my car is over the 10 year mark, but has only just hit 148000kms and I look after it. I will NEVER buy a Toyota again.

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