Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety. Notes: Although it has a stellar record in terms of vehicle problems, initially the 4th generation (2003 - 2009) 4Runner didn't earn our top "Seal of Awesome" rating because it received poor crash test ratings for rear impacts. However it's proven to have one of the lowest driver death rates out of all vehicles (not just SUVs), so we've bumped it back up to our top award.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
103,795 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2004 Toyota 4Runner body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2004 Toyota 4Runner Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #16

Sep 082015


  • 127,640 miles


The frame of my 2004 Toyota 4runner has considerable rust that exceeds normal wear and age. Considering the recall associated with the Tacoma of the same year it seems prudent and responsible for Toyota to stand by their reliability slogan and remedy this situation, as there are many others in the same condition as mine.

- Damariscotta, ME, USA

problem #15

Jul 132015


  • 140,000 miles
Frame has started rusting near welds and holes. Very poor prevention of rust by Toyota. Skid plates totally rusted out and fuzed bolts. Rear diff housing is also rusty. Car will probably fall apart in a year or two.

- Madison, WI, USA

problem #14

Jul 032015


  • 148,000 miles
Took my 2004 Toyota 4runner SR5 to local Toyota dealer for inpsection and maintenance. Left dealer thinking truck was in great shape. When changing brakes, noticed an cv joint boot was torn so took the truck to a mechanic to have the axle replaced (since they don't just replace the boot anymore). The mechanic called me as soon as he put the truck up on a lift and informed me that there was serious rust issues down the passenger side of the frame that could be a safety issue. The weld along the whole passenger side of the frame seems to have rusted out and there is a hole the whole length of the frame. There are also additional holes toward the front that are rather large in size. Called Toyota, not the Toyota dealer, and they gave me a case number and suggested I take the vehicle to my local dealer for an inspection and diagnosis. When I asked what would happen upon a bad diagnosis, they stated nothing because there are currently no recalls or campaigns for the Toyota 4runners only the Tacoma, Tundra and sequoia's. I believe that this is a serious safety issue and Toyota should be responsible for correcting this isssue before causing people serious injury or even death. I am terrified with my daughter driving this vehicle and would think Toyota should step up to ensure the safety of their vehicle owners.

- Lake Hopatcong, NJ, USA

problem #13

Jan 012014


  • miles


Extensive frame rust. Unsafe body structure. Multiple holes in the frame due to rust issue.

- Feasterville, PA, USA

problem #12

Sep 022013

4Runner 8-cyl

  • 125,000 miles
Dashboard cover developed hairline surface cracks. Dashboard cover was still soft to touch and retained a sponge type feel. The thin skin of over the sponge-like core is what cracked. Other complaints for this same issue are reported on Toyota owners forum web pages. The dashboard cover is defective.

- Austin, TX, USA

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problem #11

Feb 112015

4Runner 8-cyl

  • 140,000 miles
The dash board of the vehicle has cracked from one side to the other with multiple cracks in the cover over the passenger air bag. I am concerned whether this will affect the performance of the passenger air bag if it should need to deploy.

- Katy, TX, USA

problem #10

Oct 062014


  • 85,400 miles


Front support frame under radiator rusted through. The local Toyota dealer told me this is a common problem and there is no fix. The vehicle is unsafe to drive and the question is how would this hold up in a frontal crash. The vehicle has a little over 85,000 miles and this happens. It is in a area where salt is used. Many of these vehicles are on the road, many like me would not have known of a broken frame unless the skid plate was removed.there was also an issue with the transmission lines running along the frame listed in another complaint.

- Greensburg, PA, USA

problem #9

Apr 022014

4Runner 6-cyl

  • miles
Vehicle frame is rotted and unsafe had it looked at, my auto shop said it is unsafe cannot sell the car in the condition of the frame I have owned it for 4 years and it has always been in a heated garage through the winters, have taken good care of the vehicle the only way I found out the frame was rusted was I had new brakes installed and they told me the frame on the vehicle was rotted out. Very unsafe to drive but it is my only vehicle so I have no choice but to drive it, have tried to sell it to dealers and no one will buy it with the condition of the frame Toyota needs to do something about this matter.

- Chehsire, MA, USA

problem #8

Aug 012013

4Runner 6-cyl

  • 95,153 miles
The frame has rusted thru making holes and if not repaired will be unsafe to drive. Toyota has not offered a recall which is criminal because there are so many that have this problem. All of their other similar vehicles of all ages have "recalls" but they refuse to do so as "yet" on the 04. Dealers and body shops and internet searches site thousands of these 4runners are affected.

- Brattleboro, VT, USA

problem #7

Sep 022014


  • 73,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota 4 runner. The contact stated the entire frame was corroded. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The technician verified the failure and stated that it could not be repaired. The manufacturer was unaware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 73,000.

- Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #6

Mar 282014

4Runner 6-cyl

  • 93,475 miles


Inspection of underside of vehicle revealed extensive frame rust and perforation through the sides of the frame. Lower radiator support rusted through, control arm support rusted through. Dealer inspected and verified, no program available for repair. Dealer stated common problem in northeast vehicles.

- Weymouth, MA, USA

problem #5

Apr 222013

4Runner 8-cyl

  • 93,077 miles
Drivers door latch mechanism would not permit driver to exit the vehicle. Door would not unlock, though all electric and manual actions to unlock the door appear to work, latch handle would not move. This condition was normal for the vehicle when new if the door was locked. All other doors in the vehicle would open from the inside if locked. Drivers door latch failed prohibiting driver from exiting the car and was replaced. Replacement latch would permit emergency exit from the vehicle if the lock was activated.

- Richardson, TX, USA

problem #4

Aug 252012

4Runner 6-cyl

  • 40,000 miles
Vehicle was being parked alongside the curb when it suddenly jumped the curb, the sidewalk onto the uphill grassy landscape, hit and severed a tree, and almost crashed the house inches away, then bounced back to the street- all in about 3 seconds. The tires spun violently and left a thick residue of rubber and thick smoke throughout. The brake was hard and stuck, as I managed to put the stick to neutral and then to park. I was truly shocked and shaken that I could have hurt or killed myself or others. This is the second time this happened- the first in July 22, 2009 when the same acceleration happened when I was moving the vehicle into the garage, surged in about 2 secs. Crashing into the storage and the garage walls. Reference: Toyota claim no.[xxx] (2009) and no.[xxx] (2012). In both cases Toyota disowned any responsibility. While Toyota assures me of the safety of the vehicle, I cannot in my right mind continue to drive this vehicle nor pass it on to somebody else except to return it to Toyota. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Los Angeles, CA, USA

problem #3

Nov 082011


  • 97,377 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota 4runner. The contact noticed that the entire length of the dashboard exhibited cracks which originated from the driver's side air bag housing. The vehicle had not been repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 97,377.

- Saint Petersburg, FL, USA

problem #2

May 282012


  • 45,000 miles
Linear cracks appeared seemingly overnight across the entire dash (Toyota calls it the safety pad). Car is in pristine condition, and a sunshade was used daily. This must be a defect in materials.

- Gainesville, FL, USA

problem #1

Nov 112009

4Runner 6-cyl

  • 39,000 miles
Around the end of 2010, I noticed a crack on the dashboard over the passenger side airbag and took the vehicle to my local dealer to see if the factory representative could look at it at his next visit. Instead of the rep looking at it at a later date the service manager had me bring the vehicle back so he could take a picture of it. I got no help from the dealer/manufacturer. Mid 2011 the one crack has developed into 2 cracks with one being approx 15 inches long and the other approx 4-5 inches long. December 2011 I called the dealer back again to set up an appointment with the factory rep and I was told to call the manufacturer customer service phone number and they told me I had to call my local dealer. I called back to my local dealer and the service manager told me he would call me when he knew when the rep would be at the dealership. One month later, after not receiving a phone call I called the service manager back and was told he still did not know the reps schedule yet. My concern is that if I am involved in an accident and the airbags deploy, how will these cracks affect the deployment of the passenger side airbag?? will the dashboard break into pieces when the airbag deploys and hurl plastic pieces of the dashboard towards the occupant of the passenger side at great speeds instead of cleanly coming out of the dash.

- Auburn, AL, USA

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