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2001 Rav4; Automatic

Power steering, accelerator (and headlights) lock while driving. Happened to me yesterday on the highway, luckily in heavy traffic so i was only going about 60-80km/hr. Had to shift to park, turn off the engine, and restart (ALL WHILE DRIVING AT THAT SPEED). Second time to happen to me.

Happened for the first time 3 weeks ago turning left at an intersection (from a full stop).

I suspect it is something related to the transmission? Also seeing the following symptoms:


  • Hard shifting; goes up to 4000rpm sometimes before shifting gears

  • When coming to a full stop, it rattles as if it were about to stall, but then doesn't and releases the clutch right on time. Should be a seamless transmission normally.
Please help, if this happens on the highway again I may not be as lucky.

Thanks!
 

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Where are you located? - if in the U.S. the problem should be reported to the NHTSA, or if in Canada it should be reported to the appropriate provincial or national agency. How were you able to shift into Park while driving at highway speed, and if the trans actually shifted into Park without destroying it? It might be a problem with the transmission, perhaps with the switch which permits starting the engine only while the shifter is in the correct position. Obviously it's dangerous to drive your RAV without the problem being solved. Suggest taking it to a dealer or a mechanic who is trustworthy. Unfortunately it's intermittent occurrence means that it may be difficult to solve. Good luck!
 

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2001 Rav4; Automatic

Power steering, accelerator (and headlights) lock while driving. Happened to me yesterday on the highway, luckily in heavy traffic so i was only going about 60-80km/hr. Had to shift to park, turn off the engine, and restart (ALL WHILE DRIVING AT THAT SPEED).
Does the steering wheel actually lock or does it just require more than the normal effort to turn?.

When the accelerator locks, do you mean that it won't move up or down when you press on it, or do you mean the engine remains at a constant speed even though you are pressing and releasing the pedal.

Do both the high and low beam headlights lock up? Do they lock up in the off or on position?

When you put the transmission into "park" when driving on the highway, did you notice any unusual noises that sounded like squealing tires or loud metallic banging sounds.?
 

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Your description doesn't make sense. No idea what it means for a headlight to "lock." But, it sounds like the engine is dying. Do you have a tachometer? What did it do when this happened?

If that's the case, you lose power steering (it doesn't "lock" like when you turn the key off, it just becomes very hard to turn), and the accelerator would obviously not do anything to an engine which isn't running. There are lots of things which can cause that, but I'd suspect electronics first. Have you had a fault code scan done?

I'll guess the automatic transmissions must have something to keep the parking pawl from engaging at speed, otherwise forcing one into park at speed would be catastrophic. To restart while rolling, shifting to neutral would be the proper thing to do.
 
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