Toyota RAV4 CVT Transmission Problems: Class Action Insights

Toyota RAV4, a popular compact SUV, has recently been in the spotlight due to reported CVT transmission problems. Specifically, model years 2019-2021 have been scrutinized, leading to increasing dissatisfaction among owners and a class-action lawsuit in the United States.

Customers have reported erratic shifting, jerking motion during acceleration, and hesitation when changing gears. The class action lawsuit alleges these defects originate from the vehicle’s Direct Shift-CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), which combines the efficiency advantages of a CVT with the performance characteristics of a traditional geared system.

As the case progresses, Toyota RAV4 owners must know the situation. This article will delve into the reported transmission problems and discuss the implications of the ongoing class-action lawsuit for drivers and the automotive industry.

Toyota RAV4 CVT Transmission Problems

Toyota RAV4 is well known for its reliability, but it’s not without issues. One area where RAV4 owners have encountered problems is the vehicle’s transmission. This section will provide an overview of the transmission problems experienced by RAV4 owners and the associated class action lawsuit.

Common RAV4 Transmission Issues

Several transmission issues have been reported by RAV4 owners, which can cause significant frustration and may result in costly repairs. Some of the common issues include:

  • Delayed or harsh shifting, particularly during acceleration
  • Transmission failure with little to no warning
  • Whining or grinding noises coming from the transmission
  • Jarring shifts or “jerking” sensations while driving
  • A decrease in fuel efficiency

These transmission problems hinder the driving experience and pose a safety risk when they occur unexpectedly. RAV4 owners must know these potential issues and take appropriate steps to address them.

Affected Toyota RAV4 Models

While not all models and years of Toyota RAV4 are affected, the primary focus of the transmission problems and the corresponding class-action lawsuit involves the 2013 to 2018 RAV4 models. The affected RAV4s are equipped with specific automatic transmissions reported to experience the issues above.

In response to the transmission problems, a class-action lawsuit has been filed against Toyota, alleging that the automaker knowingly sold vehicles with defective transmissions. The lawsuit seeks compensation for the affected RAV4 owners, who have incurred expenses related to transmission repairs or replacements and other damages resulting from the issues.

Class Action Lawsuit Details

The Toyota RAV4 transmission problems have led to a class action lawsuit, which primarily focuses on issues experienced by several vehicle owners. This section delves into the details of the lawsuit, including filed complaints, demands, and settlements.

Filed Complaints

Several plaintiffs have come forward with similar complaints about their Toyota RAV4 vehicles. These complaints revolve around issues with the transmission, such as:

  • Unexplained noises, like whining or grinding;
  • Delayed or harsh shifting of gears;
  • Sudden or forceful lunges while attempting to accelerate;
  • Reduced performance and fuel efficiency;
  • Consequential damage to the transmission requires costly repairs.

These complaints formed the basis of the class action lawsuit filed against Toyota, alleging a defective transmission system in certain RAV4 models.


The plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit have made several demands from Toyota, which primarily focus on:

  1. Compensation for the damages incurred due to the defective transmission system;
  2. Extension of warranty coverage for affected vehicles to ensure future repairs are covered at no additional cost to the vehicle owners;
  3. Provision of a suitable fix to the transmission problem resolves the issues without further detriment to the vehicle’s performance.

They argue that Toyota should take responsibility for the defects experienced by RAV4 owners and provide a remedy that ensures the safety and satisfaction of its customers.


The class action lawsuit is still pending in court, and a settlement has not been reached. Both parties are awaiting the court’s decision on the matter. It is important to note that the outcome of the lawsuit may significantly impact affected RAV4 owners and Toyota’s brand reputation.

Recalls and Technical Service Bulletins

The Toyota RAV4 has experienced several recalls and technical service bulletins (TSBs) relating to various issues, including transmission problems. This section will examine some of the most significant, focusing on how they have impacted RAV4 owners and what has been done to address these concerns.

Transmission-related recalls and TSBs have affected several model years of the RAV4. To make this information more accessible, we will group them by the respective model years:

Model YearRecall/TSB NumberDescription
2001-2003TSB TC015-07Harsh shifting and slipping, caused by malfunctioning Engine Control Module (ECM). A reprogram or replacement of ECM was recommended.
2006-2008TSB TC007-09Torque converter shudder due to transmission fluid contamination. An updated transmission valve body or replacement of the torque converter was advised.
2019Recall 19V339000An incorrect label on the transmission may cause operators to overfill the transmission fluid, leading to transmission malfunction or damage. Toyota replaced the inaccurate labels.

In addition to these formal recalls and TSBs, there have been numerous cases in which RAV4 owners reported transmission-related problems outside of these designated model years. While not every instance led to a recall or TSB, these reports indicate that transmission issues have been an ongoing concern for the RAV4.

The class action lawsuit filed against Toyota in 2018 is a significant development in addressing these transmission issues. The lawsuit alleges that the automaker failed to disclose known defects in RAV4 models, leading to premature transmission failure and costly repairs for owners. As a response, Toyota is working to resolve these matters, with the potential for financial compensation or repair assistance for affected owners.

Consumer Tips for Toyota Owners

Preventive Measures

Toyota RAV4 owners need to take preventive measures to avoid transmission problems. Some ways to maintain a healthy transmission include:

  • Regularly checking the transmission fluid level
  • Changing the transmission fluid according to the manufacturer’s recommendations
  • Using appropriate transmission fluid to avoid any damage
  • Inspecting the transmission system for any signs of wear, leaks, or problems

Seeking Repairs or Replacements

When experiencing any issues with the Toyota RAV4 transmission, consumers should:

  1. Contact a Toyota dealership or an authorized service center for diagnostic and potential repair or replacement
  2. Document any repair and maintenance history, as it could be helpful in case of a class action lawsuit
  3. Keep receipts and records of all repairs, maintenance, and replacements to present as evidence in case of legal action

By following these tips, Toyota RAV4 owners can minimize potential transmission problems and stay informed about their rights regarding the class action lawsuit.

RAV4 Transmission Problems FAQ

Many Toyota RAV4 owners have questions regarding transmission issues and the related class-action lawsuit. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions on this topic:

What are the CVT transmission problems in the Toyota RAV4?

Some common issues include delayed shifting, transmission fluid leaks, and sudden jerking during gear changes. These problems can lead to decreased fuel efficiency, poor performance, and in extreme cases, complete transmission failure.

Which Toyota RAV4 models are affected by these CVT transmission problems?

Although reports vary, many complaints focus on 2013-2018 Toyota RAV4 models, specifically the ones equipped with automatic transmissions.

Has a class-action lawsuit been filed over Toyota RAV4 transmission issues?

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Toyota in the United States, alleging that certain RAV4 models suffer from transmission defects that pose a significant safety risk. The lawsuit claims that Toyota has failed to inform consumers of the issue and provided inadequate remedies when issues arise.

What should I do if I think my Toyota RAV4 has transmission problems?

If you suspect your vehicle may be affected, it’s essential to contact an authorized Toyota dealer as soon as possible. They can inspect your RAV4 and take any necessary actions to address the issue. Additionally, you must report your experiences to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to help them track and document these concerns.

How can I stay informed about the class-action lawsuit and potential outcomes?

Keep an eye on news outlets and legal resources for updates on the lawsuit’s progress. You can also consult with an attorney if you’re considering joining or initiating any legal action related to Toyota RAV4 transmission problems.


The Toyota RAV4 has faced CVT transmission issues in specific models, leading to frustration for vehicle owners. These problems have resulted in delayed and harsh shifting, which can negatively impact the overall driving experience. A class action lawsuit was filed against Toyota due to these transmission problems, aiming to hold the company accountable and compensate affected owners.

Toyota has issued software updates for specific RAV4 models to address these issues. Additionally, some owners have pursued individual repairs or replacements to maintain the performance of their vehicles. Potential buyers of the Toyota RAV4 should be aware of these issues and research specific models and years to understand the risks and benefits better.

For those who already own a RAV4 and are experiencing these problems, it is essential to consult with a trusted mechanic and keep an eye on the progress of the class action lawsuit. By staying informed and taking appropriate action when necessary, RAV4 owners can mitigate the impacts of any potential transmission problems.

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