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 1 of 2)

problem #36

Sep 082016


  • 199,000 miles


I took my vehicle to freedom Toyota in hamburg, pa to get serviced and they told me my frame was rusted that bad that it would not pass inspection, and could not be repaired. This is very upsetting, because it's only 12 years old. I have a 1998 Toyota 4runner previously and that was 14 years old before I got rid of it with 324,000 miles. The bumpers were known to rust out on those, and the frame was rusted on that one also, but not aware of the extent. I can only hope that Toyota will replace my frame, otherwise I will never buy another Toyota again. The service guy, nicky at freedom Toyota said that he didn't know if there would be a recall on the 04 Toyota 4runners or not. I have two young children and I only hope that nothing happens to me or my children due to driving it with a rusted frame until I can get a new vehicle or get my frame replaced by Toyota.

- Orwigsburg, PA, USA

problem #35

Sep 072016


  • 80,000 miles
We have just discovered the underside and frame of the vehicle is completely rusting out, with only 80,000 miles on it. We live year-round in nc where we get very few snowfalls with subsequent salt used on the highway. However, the rust is prevalent and comprehensive. We are taking it to determine the extend of the damage and what it will take to repair.

- Tuckasegee, NC, USA

problem #34

Aug 172016


  • 117,000 miles
Va state safety inspector today pointed out excessive rust on frame, particularly passenger side rail with most serious safety concern right in front of rear passenger side wheel. Rust is far beyond what should be normal given life of the truck and mileage only at 117K. Researching and this appears to be a systemic Toyota manufacturing problem with 4runner (and other Toyota models) of this age. Toyota should repair these frames as they will start presenting serious safety problems.

- Centreville, VA, USA

problem #33

Jul 232016


  • miles


Cross member under radiator that the tow hitches connect to are completely rusting out and falling apart as well as the skid plate noticed this hooking up ropes to secure my kayaks. The paint on the tire rims are pealing and corroding

- Laurel, MD, USA

problem #32

Jun 072016


  • 119,000 miles
Rust rot on frame of body, will probably not pass next in inspection noted by thompson dealership. Toyota fixed other models, but am ignoring my model.

- New Hope, PA, USA

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problem #31

Feb 272016


  • 120,000 miles
Frame rust - frame rear upper control arm has fully rusted through, creating a very dangerous condition where vehicle control can be lost and cause an accident or fatality. Toyota dealer would not replace or repair frame due to vehicle out of warranty. Found out rust after replacing shocks. Welded extra material and painted as an interim action.

- Auburn Hills, MI, USA

problem #30

May 272016


  • 118,500 miles


The entire front frame on my 2004 Toyota 4runner rotted within the last year. It was deemed unsafe to drive after going in for a routine inspection. Shameful since the body was in good condition and the car ran great. Toyota should be held responsible for fixing these frames. I had no choice but to get rid of it.

- South Burlington, VT, USA

problem #29

Oct 312015


  • 149,000 miles
I have already received information on the interim G1C. This is also about the frame on my vehicle which is rusted very bad. The rear passenger arm mount has already broken. There are also holes in the trave and the long pieces of metal on the frame. The skid plates are also rusted. Also the tow ring on the passenger side is getting ready to snap. I have been learning more information about this problem with some Toyota vehicles. I am afraid that I am riding in a very dangerous vehicle. I was just wondering if anything can be done about this, since Toyota is aware there is a problem with rust. When the arm mount broke I was driving with my children in the car, the rear end of the vehicle was bouncing all over the place. It scared us all becase we did not know what was going on. I w

- Winston Salem, NC, USA

problem #28

May 162016


  • 98,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota 4runner. The contact stated that the vehicle was taken to the dealer to get an inspection sticker. The mechanic observed rust and holes on the frame of the vehicle. The vehicle failed inspection. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 98,000.

- Daniels, WV, USA

problem #27

Oct 142013


  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota 4runner. The contact stated that the dashboard was fractured near the passenger side air bag. There were no warning indicators illuminated. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the dashboard needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The VIN was unknown. The approximate failure mileage was 75,000.

- Valciro, FL, USA

problem #26

Apr 012016


  • 140,000 miles


Have seen extreme rust on my frame, so bad I can pick off chunks with my hand. I know Toyota is in denial but what is really being done over this issue.

- Holland, MI, USA

problem #25

Feb 012016


  • 125,000 miles
The frame of the vehicle is completely rusted to the point where it will not pass inspection.

- Frankfort, NY, USA

problem #24

Apr 102016


  • 220,000 miles
Rust eat my frame into

- Rockwood, TN, USA

problem #23

Jan 302015


  • 152,000 miles
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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 197,000 miles
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


  • 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

problem #18

Oct 272011


  • 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


  • 144,000 miles
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

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