2012 Toyota RAV4-Whines

I have a 20121 Toyota RAV4 automatic transmission with 100,000 miles that just developed a whining noise in the transmission. It was about 1/2 qt low on fluid, so I topped it off and test drove it. The whine is more subdued and is worse when it’s cold. The whine is much less when warmed up and at higher speeds. Any thoughts on what’s going on would be greatly apprediated. Thanks, Tom

Have the transmission fluid changed, you might get lucky and that will take care of it. Regardless of what your maintenance schedule calls for, transmissions should be serviced every 30-50,000 miles.


It was quiet last week and Whines today? You are positive it’s not a tire noise? Maybe 1 tire cord separated and is causing new noise? Try rotating tires. Or having them inspected.

How many quarts of transmission fluid does it hold when full?

What??? Why does that matter, the OP said it was about a half a quart low…

As far as the total amount, is that from a dry build, a pan drop, a pan drop over a week while the converter slowly drains back and into the drain pan or even dropping the valve body for repairs or mods???
The only time that will matter is when filling up a new transmission/torque converter so you don’t over fill it, cause you will have to add some then run it through all the gears to fill all the voids and converter, then recheck as well as get it up to operating temp on a conventional automatic transmission/transaxle… Some trans are different from others, I filled mine to fast and it leaked part of it back out on the floor… oops, but I used to fill a turbo 350 (IIRC) till it leaked out the vent tube/hole and it was just about perfect… lol
Anything hydraulic has to be able to vent, (even your brakes, vented cap) and a trans is no different, if you over fill it, most will or used to anyway, spit what it doesn’t want out… Now don’t go and over fill your transmission cause I said that cause it can/will find a weak seal and it will start leaking, so not recommended… lol

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I believe that gen RAV 4 along with the Camrys’ have torque converter issues. The symptom is usually a whine at around 35-40 MPH, google it, read about it and see if that is your symptom. Toyota extended the warranty but might be up to 100K miles for all I recall.

Thanks. I’ll check out the warranty with Toyota. Just turned over 100,000 miles.

Thanks. I ask my mechanic about the torque converter.

Thanks. I’m pretty sure it’s the transmission though.

8.6 qts. Expensive tranny fluid change. The filter is much less expensive.

Then I doubt driving the car only 1/2 quart low is what damaged the transmission. There must be something on the fritz though to cause the whine sound. My guess, the front wheel drive part of transmission’s final drive is faulty & is the source of this sound.

Suggest to ask your mechanic if it is possible/advisable – given the RAV 4’s drivetrain configuration – to put the RAV 4 on the lift and run it in gear at 30-40 mph. If that’s possible, the mechanic may be able to narrow down where the sound is coming from just by listening underneath the lift.

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