2003 Toyota Rav 4
1-10 of 35 reviews
Test drive review

Love my RAV4 except bad ECM

by from Raleigh, NC on August 5, 2010

I love my RAV4, except the bad ECM. I had wonderful trips in my RAV4, used it to move (put the seats down and can be used to move many items), and was great on gas. Everything was great until the car ...
I love my RAV4, except the bad ECM. I had wonderful trips in my RAV4, used it to move (put the seats down and can be used to move many items), and was great on gas. Everything was great until the car was slow to change gears starting in 10/07. In 1/08, my car would jerk while trying to drive and became progressively worst. To the point that it was impossible to drive. Bad ECM, created transmission problems. Problem for many, can see at RAV4 World website.The TSB excerpt: Technical Service Bulletin is: TC002-06, Revised March 3, 2006. Do a search for the words TC002-06 RAV4, and you will find out about it and many complaints blogged.the ECM/ECU and possibly the transmission. Total cost is currently around $4800.00.
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Purchased a used car

Uses car for Just getting around

Does not recommend this car

19 out of 19 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Test drive review

ECM Advice

by from Smyrna, SC on November 15, 2014

I bought my 2003 Rav4 in 2005 with 25K on it (automatic transmission). I now have 180K on it. About a month ago, it started intermittently acting weird when shifting through the lower gears. Last week...
I bought my 2003 Rav4 in 2005 with 25K on it (automatic transmission). I now have 180K on it. About a month ago, it started intermittently acting weird when shifting through the lower gears. Last week the check engine light came on. Did some research, found out about the ECM problem, called a local Toyota dealership, and was quoted a price of $1650. Did some more research and decided to send the ECM to a circuit board repair service in South Carolina. I had my car towed to my mechanic, who removed the ECM for me. I overnighted it on Tuesday evening. By Friday afternoon, it was back in TN in my car. My car is working fine now! It seems to have escaped transmission damage -- probably because I drove it less than one mile after the check engine light came on. The charge for the repair was $225, with a 1 year warranty! My total cost including overnight shipping, the towing of my car, a rental for a week, and my mechanic's labor charges: @ $575. I highly recommend that you research this approach to the ECM problem. (I would give the name of the company but it is apparently against the rules on this site. But if you google South Carolina circuit board ECM you'll find them).
Comfort
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Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Commuting

Does recommend this car!!

11 out of 11 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Test drive review

Love it, only one problem though

by from Timnath, CO on October 19, 2016

There was a recall on this year, on the transmission. It would act like it couldn't go into gears and be very jerky. Took it into many auto mechanics but they could not figure it out but charged us fo...
There was a recall on this year, on the transmission. It would act like it couldn't go into gears and be very jerky. Took it into many auto mechanics but they could not figure it out but charged us for all the work and they didn't fix the problem. We googled it and it turned out the computer was malfunctioning. We ordered a new one online for like $300. And it like good as new! Been enjoying my rav ever since. It was frustrating trying to figure it out but glad we finally did. hope this review help you incase your having this issue, hate for someone to get rid of this great car over an issue that can be resolved so easily.
Comfort
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Performance
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Transporting family

Does recommend this car!!

10 out of 10 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Test drive review

2001-2003 RAV4 ECM trouble

by from Cold Spring, NY on July 3, 2014

After I bought my 2003 RAV4 for from a Connecticut dealer "as is," I THEN found out about the notorious ECM problems for 2001-2003 RAV4s. Luckily this does not seem to be a transmission problem - thou...
After I bought my 2003 RAV4 for from a Connecticut dealer "as is," I THEN found out about the notorious ECM problems for 2001-2003 RAV4s. Luckily this does not seem to be a transmission problem - though at first it sure felt like it, with a horrible "clunking" in reverse as soon as I got home - but even the ECM repair is not 100%. I still have some occasional hesitating or bumping in reverse. Cars.com probably won't print this review, but I'll never buy another 2001-2003 RAV4; they're more trouble than they're worth.
Comfort
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Value for the Money
Performance
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Transporting family

Does not recommend this car

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Test drive review

Best car I ever owned

by from TX on November 20, 2010

This is my second RAV4. My first was a 1997 and was totaled at 115K but ran beautiful. The only slight con is that I wish it had a little more power uphill when the A/C is on. I can hear the engine st...
This is my second RAV4. My first was a 1997 and was totaled at 115K but ran beautiful. The only slight con is that I wish it had a little more power uphill when the A/C is on. I can hear the engine straining to keep up. But I live in TX were hills are rare anyway.
Comfort
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Performance
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Just getting around

Does recommend this car!!

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Test drive review

watch out! 96K & 5 years old and worthless

by from dallas on September 21, 2009

There is a structual defect where the threads in the aluminum block become stripped and this has resulted in the head bolts being unable to stay in, spread the word... i just paid this car off, 5 year...
There is a structual defect where the threads in the aluminum block become stripped and this has resulted in the head bolts being unable to stay in, spread the word... i just paid this car off, 5 years old, and it is now worthless! Toyota will not act on this, as of yet.
Comfort
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Performance
Reliability

Purchased a new car

Uses car for Commuting

Does not recommend this car

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Test drive review

Reliable and fun!!!

by from on May 28, 2010

My wife owned this vehicle for 2 years till someone hit her. It was totaled but she didn't have a scratch on her. The other persons insurance gave us more than what we paid for it brand new. She misse...
My wife owned this vehicle for 2 years till someone hit her. It was totaled but she didn't have a scratch on her. The other persons insurance gave us more than what we paid for it brand new. She misses it though. It was a blast to drive and super reliable. Never had a problem with it. This will be one of the best vehicles Toyota has ever built. Highly recommend.
Comfort
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Interior Design
Value for the Money
Performance
Reliability

Purchased a new car

Uses car for Commuting

Does recommend this car!!

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Test drive review

Great valve for the money

by from Nashua, NH on May 1, 2015

I traded a 2002 Ford Escape trod my RAV4 and got good money for a used Ford with 221k on it , Butt the rav4 had 77098 miles on it , I have drove it 1000 miles as of now, It is great on gas 32 city and...
I traded a 2002 Ford Escape trod my RAV4 and got good money for a used Ford with 221k on it , Butt the rav4 had 77098 miles on it , I have drove it 1000 miles as of now, It is great on gas 32 city and 35 hwy the said 22/28 but great so far!
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Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Having fun

Does recommend this car!!

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Test drive review

So Solid !!!

by from Westchester ,NY on January 24, 2010

Had a 1996 2-door Toyota Rav4 that i bought used 4 years ago and loved that one . I always liked the second generation Model so i traded in the 96 for a Used 2003 Rav4 5 speed . Let me tell you when i...
Had a 1996 2-door Toyota Rav4 that i bought used 4 years ago and loved that one . I always liked the second generation Model so i traded in the 96 for a Used 2003 Rav4 5 speed . Let me tell you when i drove it home from the dealership all i was saying in my head was "what a Solid car!" it drove beautifully and handles excellent for a SUV . no rattles or creaks its hard to believe its an 8 year old car with 70 ,000 miles (Built Jan 2003) ..it drives like new . Plus its the perfect size to haul stuff and people around. The 5 speed shifts are so smooth and was surprised how quick the Rav4 gets up to speed . A drawback to some people but not for me is the sound of the exhaust ... its loud when accelerating but in a sporty way . Either way ..very happy with the purchase ..its nice to be back to a Toyota car
Comfort
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Performance
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Just getting around

Does recommend this car!!

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Test drive review

Most Reliable Car I've Had So Far

by from New Hampshire on May 22, 2007

Well, I purchased this car new back in 2003 and I now have 42,500 miles on it. The only problems I've had so far are as follows: 1) sunroof started leaking about two months after purchase - took it in...
Well, I purchased this car new back in 2003 and I now have 42,500 miles on it. The only problems I've had so far are as follows: 1) sunroof started leaking about two months after purchase - took it into Toyota and they gave me a brand new sunroof at no cost and have not had a problem again 2) my remote starter that Toyota installed for me has been giving me continuous problems, for some reason it stops and simply needs to be reset. Toyota refuses to reset it for me saying I must have did something to it. So I go to my local car audio workshop and they reset it for free and it takes 10 minutes. Personally, I think Toyota should just give me a new remote starter, but oh well. Besides that, I have had simply no other problems at all. The car is easy to drive, easy to park, and rides beautifully. With 4wd, it also easily plows through all the New England snow we get very nicely. Of course, now that my hubby and I are thinking about starting a family, I'm looking for a bigger car, as the RAV4, just with just us and our big 90 pound black lab is getting tight by the time we pack to go away on vacations. I have my eye on the Traiblazer!!!!!! :) But I do hate to trade in my Rav4, knowing how much warranty I have left (7 years, 70,000 miles) and knowing that there is simply nothing wrong with it, just that it's getting too small for us. Also want to mention, it's is GREAT on gas!!!!!! $22 bucks fills it for a week and a half for me (gas here is $2.97 right now). So all in all, I highly recommend this car for couples/singles with pets and maybe just one child. If you have more htan one child/one dog, I think the Rav4 is going to get too small for you, as it is for me.
Comfort
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Performance
Reliability

Purchased a new car

Does recommend this car!!

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Did you?
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