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Toyota RAV4 Transmissions: Overview, Problems, Fluids

Toyota launched the first generation of the Toyota RAV4 in 1994. It was the first-ever vehicle to incorporate the look and feel of a sport utility vehicle on a unibody platform. Today, however, we will discuss different transmissions Toyota has used throughout the evolution of its RAV4. So, let us get started.

Toyota has used 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic transmissions in the first and second generations of the RAV4. The third-generation includes 5- or 6-speed manual and 4-,5-,6-, or 7-speed automatic transmissions. However, the fourth generation incorporates 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic transmissions, along with CVT. Finally, the fifth generation includes 6-speed manual and 8-speed automatic transmissions, along with CVT.

We begin to accept that the above description only provides a short overview. Therefore, it is not enough to understand transmissions that went inside the Toyota RAV4. For this reason, we will see transmissions with different aspects to understand several models that go inside it throughout its evolution. We will take a look at the durability and the cost of the replacement of these transmissions. Moreover, we will find out the problems that pop up during the lifetime of those transmissions. So, here we begin.

Also read: The Types Of Gas A Toyota RAV4 Uses (Explained)

What Transmissions Has The Toyota RAV4 Used?

First Generation (1994–2000)

  • 5-speed manual
  • 4-speed automatic

Second Generation (2000–2005)

  • 5-speed manual
  • 4-speed automatic

Third Generation (2005–2012)

  • 6-speed manual
  • 5-speed manual
  • 4-speed automatic
  • 5-speed automatic
  • 6-speed automatic
  • 7-speed automatic (CVT-i)
  • CVT

Fourth Generation (2012–2018)

  • 6-speed manual
  • 6-speed U760E automatic
  • eCVT (hybrid)

Fifth Generation (2018–Present)

  • 6-speed manual
  • 8-speed AWF8F35/UA80E “Direct Shift” automatic
  • K120 CVT with physical first gear
  • Aisin Seiki T110 eCVT (hybrid)

How Long Does A Toyota RAV4 Transmission Last?

For starters, it depends on the transmission that goes inside the vehicle. However, on average, the transmission of the Toyota RAV4 can last 120,000 miles. Experts recommend fixing problems right away and ensuring the fluid levels to the top for the seamless running of the transmission.

Also read: The Expected Mileage Of A Toyota RAV4

How Much Does A Toyota RAV4 Transmission Cost?

Do you want to replace your transmission? In that case, it is a good idea to know the costs of different transmissions. For your ease, we provide you below with the prices to help you make up your mind.

  • 6-speed U760E automatic: $3,432.40 (GoPowerTrain)
  • 8-speed AWF8F35 automatic: $280.00 (eBay)
  • 8-speed UA80E automatic: $162.80 (shenghaiautoparts)
  • K120 CVT: $1,487.99 (eBay)

Common Toyota RAV4 Transmission Problems


  • A driver with the U760E transmission may experience a shudder sensation between 25mph to 50mph.
  • With time, it may also develop rough coasting downshift complaints.
  • Ensuring the correct fluid is crucial when it comes to the U760E transmission. Incompatible or inappropriate fluid usage may create harsh shifts, or torque converter clutch produces shudder.
  • Another concern is the wearing of the valve body. Thankfully, you can get various aftermarket solutions for issues regarding valve body wear.


  • The AWF8F35 automatic transmission can develop an issue that pops up growling noise or grinding sound coming from the transmission.
  • The transmission may throw lockup problems.
  • Another concerning issue regarding the transmission is related to acceleration.
  • Sometimes, the problem that begins with shaking or hesitation leads to oil leaks, busted seals, and eventual failure.
  • Aggressive driving style with cold oil can precipitate clutch burnout, trouble with bearings, wear of brake bands, and problems with steel discs.


  • The UA80E transmission may cause harsh or delayed shifting, hesitation, jerking, delayed acceleration, unintended acceleration, and lurching. Before upshifting, it can also do excessive revving.
  • Furthermore, a driver can experience surging and hesitation when driving at low speeds or accelerating to meet a traffic flow.
  • According to one anecdotal account, a vehicle with the UA80E automatic transmission showed erratic throttle responses at low speeds. When slowly applying the throttle at parking lot speed, it hesitated and exhibited a surge.
  • It can also cause a vehicle to experience a lack of power from a stall. A driver may feel hesitation in lower gears. Additionally, it can hold gear too long, and a car may have high RPM shift points at the second to third shift.

K120 CVT

  • The sound of the K120 CVT is different from other transmissions. So, you might hear a clunking or whirring noise. For most CVTs, these sounds are completely normal.
  • There is also a possibility that the torque converter could fail. In that event, the vehicle will not accelerate forward.
  • Like other CVTs, it is also prone to leaks at the seals and gaskets because of overheating, overuse, lack of use, and even normal wear and tear.
  • Compared to other CVTs, it is an advanced CVT, and thus it has improved efficiency in the lower gear ratios.

Also read: 7 Common Problems Of A Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Differences Between Transmissions

The U760E is a 6-speed automatic transmission. You can consider it a slightly lighter version of the U660E transmission. Nevertheless, both models share several common parts.

The AWF8F35 is an 8-speed automatic transmission. Aisin has designed it for the installation in transverse engine applications. Although it gets packaged in the same space as the previous 6-speed design, it has increased total gear spread and diminished gear spacing.

The UA80E has an 8-speed automatic transmission. The transaxle incorporates a compact gear train that gains eight speeds with the help of a single axis, paving the way for input torque up to 430Nm. You can consider the UA80E an optimized version of the U880 transmission structure with new features for upgraded performance and efficiency.

The K120 is a continuously variable transmission. It incorporates a physical first gear, along with nine additional simulated gears. When a car takes off from a stall, the first gear, also called the launch gear, is engaged. It also has increasing shift speeds compared to other traditional CVTs. As a result, it offers a 6% improvement in fuel efficiency.

Transmission Fluids And The Toyota RAV4

According to car manufacturers, it is good to change transmission fluid every 45,000 miles. Simultaneously, it is essential to note that different transmissions require different types of transmission fluid. For your ease, we provide you with the source of the transmission fluids. It will help you find the transmission fluid suitable for your transmission.