Driving on the freeway in 3rd gear in an automatic transmission vehicle

I recently purchased a new Toyota RAV4 with a V4 engine and automatic transmission. I’m embarrassed to say, I drove 200 miles without realizing I was in 3rd gear instead of drive. I drove on the highway and in town, with a maximum speed of 75 or 80. I was not paying attention to the RPM, so I don’t know if it got close to red lining. Could this have done damage to my vehicle?

No damage. Rev limiters will keep the engine from red lining and engine damage. As for the transmission, No damage either. Rest easy…


Except for using a lot more gas, and adding a bit to the wear and tear on the engine, no damage has been done. In the long run, this will make no real difference in the life of your engine, but just in case this resulted in some extra oil consumption during the early break-in process for the engine, I strongly suggest that you take the time today to check the dipstick.

If the oil level has dropped, be sure to replenish the oil with the correct spec oil. I believe that your engine takes 5W-20 oil, but the oil filler cap will give you the correct information.

The most important thing that a car owner can do for his vehicle on an ongoing basis is to personally do an under-hood check of all fluids every few weeks, and maintain it at least as well as Toyota specifies. Try to become as familiar with the car as possible by reading the Owner’s Manual.

Part of becoming familiar with the vehicle includes actually knowing what type of engine you have under the hood. Unless you have the only Rav-4 in the entire world with this engine, it is NOT at V-4. There may be a V-6 engine under the hood, or it may be an I-4, but you most definitely do not have a V-4!

No damage was done. You just burned more gas than you would have in DRIVE.

Your vehicle doesn’t have a V4, it has an inline 4.

No damage done & you’ll probably be pleased by the increase in MPG! :slight_smile:

You’re fine. The computers in modern cars are designed to cut the fuel off as the engine approaches red line.

The owner’s manual usually says how long one should avoid running high rpms during the first 600 miles or so. You should look through it if you haven’t already.
I dunno about Toyota, but Mazda has it where I can download a copy of the owner’s manual from their website and keep it on my computer for reference or even printing out should I desire. This might make it easier for you if you have a Kindle or iPad type e-reader that can read PDF files

You did a little wear and tear on your engine. How could you not? Nothing fatal but you shortened the life of your engine. Your engine will last longer if you run it at the lowest possible RPM’s most of the time. The reverse is also true.