My RAV4 Automatic reverse gear is not working

Thursday June 13 2019


By Paul Kaganzi

Hello Paul, I have a problem with my 1995 first generation Toyota RAV4. When I engage the reverse gear, it is weak. But all the forward gears in Drive are okay. I have been advised to replace the filter. I have never serviced the gearbox. What is your opinion? Peter

Hello Peter, I agree with the suggestion to replace the gearbox (automatic transmission) filter. In addition, use the recommended Toyota T IV or any DEXRON III Automatic transmission fluid (ATF). However, before the ATF service is done, I recommend a computer diagnosis to interrogate the transmission computer in case there are faulty gear shift solenoids such as the reverse shift solenoid.

Whilst this solenoid can be replaced if found faulty, its failure can cause damage of the mechanical gear clutch bands causing the gears to slip, such as the faulty reverse gear is doing. This usually happens when you do not carry out periodical transmission oil service. If the above faults are ruled out or rectified, you can proceed with the ATF service. It is common to find automatic gearbox failure due to low level or dirty condition of ATF.

The mechanic who does the gearbox service should ensure that the gearbox oil pan is sealed properly to avoid a leakage of ATF after.