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.

CarComplaints.com 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.

10.0

really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
106,526 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 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #23

Jan 302015

4Runner

  • 152,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Bought 4th generation 4runner in 1-15 from dealer after owning 4 prior 3rd generation ones and this one is plagued with excessive rust beyond normal wear in frame (some holes), suspension, steering rack and shaft, brake components, virtually everything steel under the body has rusted excessively while body remains rust free. I know 95-03 Tacoma and Tundra were under frame and brake line recall due to same issue but from the huge number of postings on internet of problem being just as bad if not worse in 3rd and 4th generation 4runner. Yes the frames were a different style but the frames in these 4runners are even worse as problems with rust due to design are eating their way from inside out making it more of a silent killer as it goes unnoticed until rust breaches all the way thru frame and by that point it is not only unsafe to drive, it has been unsafe to drive for a long time before getting to that point. This is major problem as noted in 1000's if not more noted cases on internet forums and Toyota refuses to take responsibility leaving all these people stuck with them and their families and kids that they put in these potential death traps at risk of frame, brake, steering, suspension failures that could result in loss of vehicle control, accidents, and deaths. I've cleaned, sprayed rust preventative oils and paints on areas of concern and rust makes its way back thru in weeks time. The many of owners with this issue are stuck without resources to buy another daily driver and have no choice but to take chance with the uncertainty of potential failure at anytime. Toyota is aware and obviously knew they had rust issue with other model years but they know they have same issues with newer models not included on original frame rust recall and its time they are forced to step up and take responsibility for the faulty frames and underbody steel components.

- Granville, OH, USA

problem #22

Feb 012016

4Runner

  • 173,000 miles
These vehicles are plagued by rust on the frame and components attached to the frames. There is the potential that this can cause a hazard due to failure of critical components of the vehicle. This issue effects multiple vehicles and is not an isolated incident. Frames degrade just like the ones on the Tacoma yet no action is being taken to ensure the safety of 4runner owners.

- East Earl, PA, USA

problem #21

Jan 162016

4Runner

  • 70,000 miles
There is excessive rust/corrosion on the frame of the truck. The skid plates completely rusted off the truck in 2010. The transmission lines have corroded to the point they have to be replaced. The engine oil cooler and radiator supports have rusted through. The exhaust rusted off the truck in 2010 as well. Currently there is extensive corrosion on the frame of the truck and the suspension components. These issues appeared in 2010 and I have been fighting them ever since. Mechanically the truck runs great, never a problem, however the vehicle's frame is disintegrating due to corrosion.

- Stafford, VA, USA

problem #20

Oct 202015

4Runner

  • 197,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Frame has rust holes in front cross member that runs under radiator. Tow hook is unusable. Professional inspection of entire frame indicated that frame has numerous rust spots that are unsafe. All frame attached undercarriage components are so rusted that removal of parts is is impossible. Cannot find any welding shops that are willing to weld the frame to keep it from total failure in the future. The body panels are rust free. I believe the vehicle's frame should have lasted a lot longer than 11 years. Dealership will not replace or warranty the excessive rust problem. I believe this problem is a safety issue that should be addressed by Toyota.

- Superior, WI, USA

problem #19

Sep 012011

4Runner

  • miles
Excessive rust and corrosion to the point where my skid plate came off and transmission fluid lines broke apart, leading to major leak and fix - luckily it came off in driveway and not on highway where someone could have been significantly injured. Shocks have holes in them from rust and corrosion, as do support bars and frame. Can break off pieces of the frame in my hand without effort. Concerned that frame could crack, support components could fail while driving because of corrosion. Other Toyota models have been recalled for rust, using the same components but assembled in different factories than the 4runner and land cruiser models, to my understanding. This is a safety issue that Toyota must address before anyone is seriously injured.

- Nolensville, TN, USA

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problem #18

Oct 272011

4Runner

  • 98,007 miles
SUV is unsafe to drive due to excessive rusting of frame and all other undercarriage metal parts. Frame integrity is seriously compromised. Rust is exponentiating over time. Rust leaching to other majors parts like the exhaust. Transmission, radiator, ac, wheels, brakes, exhaust, steering, etc all are compromised and failing due to rust. This has been going on for years. Radiator replaced. Ac leaking. Oct 2011 heat shield rust noted by Toyota. Feb. 2014 heat shields were removed by Toyota. They claimed that the truck doesn't need the heat shields. They did not mention the frame rusting or the lifetime exhaust rusting. They did not mention that this is a common issue with 4runners. I have always had issues with that service dept. But the only other Toyota is worse. This issue needs serious recall asap. I think these trucks will start failing and causing deaths soon. Numerous issues with this truck over the years all may be due to rust. Brakes don't seem to last and the truck is hardly used. I believe rust is interfering with the brakes.

- Mahopac, NY, USA

problem #17

Sep 012015

4Runner

  • 144,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

My 2004 4runner with $144K miles was recently discovered to have a six inch hole in the frame due to rust, and based on md safety inspection requirements, this vehicle presents a significant safety hazard and can not be registered. The dealership informed me the repair would be a complete frame replaced at a cost of $18-20K. I have maintained my vehicle meticulously throughout it's life with mostly dealership maintenance and at no time did any mechanic or service department mention excessive rust or holes in the frame. I spoke to Toyota customer service and although they have recall programs for Tacoma and sequoia vehicles due to similar frame rusting problems, they are unwilling to acknowledge that any flaw exists with excessive corrosion in the 4runner models. It appears to me that Toyota has a serious safety problem related to this generation of 4runners, and since they are unwilling to even acknowledge the problem exists, it appears this is an issue that requires governmental/NHTSA intervention. I can't imagine how many other 4runners are on the road with similar compromised frames, and I would hate to see an accident due to frame failure at high speed or during tight cornering. Please look into this issue to prevent any inadvertent injury or death.

- Monkton, MD, USA

problem #16

Sep 082015

4Runner

  • 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

4Runner

  • 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

4Runner

  • 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

4Runner

  • miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

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

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

4Runner

  • 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

4Runner

  • 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

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