2019 Toyota RAV4 Transmission Jerk: Resolved

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 is a popular SUV model because of its capability and style, but it hasn’t been immune to issues. Owners have reported a 2019 RAV4 transmission jerk that can be a pain. What causes these 2019 RAV4 transmission problems, and how do you resolve them?

In this guide, I reveal the issue and show you how to minimize the discomfort. I also illustrate how to fix the problem so you no longer need to worry about it. 

2019 rav4 adventure

What Is the Transmission Jerk Issue on the 2019 Toyota RAV4?

2019 rav4 adventure in mud

The term “transmission jerk” can mean many things, so it’s essential to determine how it appears with the 2019 RAV4.

A few customer complaints left with the NHTSA helps to reveal more.

One complaint out of Pennsylvania says, “Car hesitates when pulling out from a stop. The natural reaction is to depress the accelerator more, causing a shift that feels like a lower gear, and the car pulls out abruptly. This happens very often, and I contribute it to lower gas mileage than the car is rated at, along with accelerated tire wear.”

Another one from Tennessee says, “As the transmission shifts down to first gear, without coming to a complete stop as one accelerates, the vehicle makes an abrupt forward movement. Strong enough to move a passenger backwards.”

These 2019 RAV4 transmission problems can be identified by a hesitation followed by a sudden jerk forward. This jerking motion occurs at rolling stops and when accelerating after braking at low speeds.

Toyota says these problems occur under the following conditions:

  • Driving 6 mph or lower
  • Immediately after a 3rd to 1st gear downshift
  • When applying less than 40% pressure on the accelerator pedal

Personally, I’ve experienced this issue when driving a family member’s 2019 RAV4. When the RAV4 makes a sudden jerk, it is intense and catches you off guard. Another observation I’ve made is that there are clicking sounds as the car downshifts when approaching a stop. 

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How to Minimize the Transmission Jerk

In a minute, I’ll touch on how to permanently repair the 2019 RAV4 transmission jerk. After you schedule for repair, the dealer may need you to wait a few weeks, depending on availability. While you wait for repairs, you can take a few steps to make driving more comfortable.

Here are a few temporary solutions to minimize the transmission jerk:

  1. Make a complete stop. Avoid rolling stops.
  2. At take-off from low speeds, press on the accelerator slowly.
  3. Put the RAV4 in Sport mode and leave it there. The RAV4 may use more fuel in this mode, but it seems to help.
  4. If you have many stops and plan to drive at low speeds, use the sequential shifting mode instead. 

While these steps can nearly eliminate the jerking feeling, they are not a replacement for repair. It’s important to have the transmission problem fixed once and for all.

How to Permanently Fix the Transmission Jerk on a 2019 RAV4

You don’t need to live with this annoying jerking issue. Toyota has determined the appropriate repair and issued a technical service bulletin (TSB).

A TSB refers to communication from the automaker to the dealership. Many of these service bulletins are public so that owners can understand the problems. Parts and labor may be covered if your vehicle is still under the factory warranty. However, a TSB doesn’t automatically guarantee that the repair will be paid for.

The TSB number for this problem is TSB-0107-19. Here are the details of the repair.

  • A technician must perform an electronic control unit (ECU) update
  • After the update, a reprogramming and relearning procedure must be performed to learn the shift strategy
  • A test drive follows to ensure the jerking situation is resolved

To have this repair performed, contact your local Toyota dealership. It’s best to trust certified Toyota technicians with the update and relearn process. 

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Are Newer RAV4s Affected by This Problem?

Thankfully, the 2019 Toyota RAV4 appears to be the only one dealing with this issue. However, it doesn’t matter what 2019 RAV4 model you drive. They all seem to suffer from this issue.

Both 2WD and 4WD models and every trim level can suffer from this problem. 

On the bright side, the RAV4 transmission problem was repaired in time for the 2020 Toyota models. You shouldn’t have the same issues if you purchase a 2020 RAV4 or newer. 

(Source)

Take Charge of Your RAV4 Transmission

Whether you drive a 2019 RAV4 or considering buying a used model, these transmission complaints are important. As a Toyota owner, you can have the problems fixed at a local dealership. On the other hand, if you plan to buy one, ensure it’s been repaired first. A good test drive reveals if there are any issues.

Once the transmission operates as it should, the drive will be everything you dreamed of.

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2 Comments

  1. Nicholas Patounas says:

    Is this problem on the 2019 Toyota RAV4 hybrid also?

    1. RAV4 Resource says:

      That’s a good question. I don’t believe so, but as of now, I’m not 100% sure.