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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
111,696 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Toyota 4Runner Owner Comments

problem #12

Nov 092016


  • 155,000 miles


Blown head gasket at 150K miles. Potential to overheat to overheat while in operation leaving the passengers stranded or start an engine fire. Every local mechanic shop I received estimates from in knoxville was very familiar with this issue for this model year and the internet forum searches have hundreds of complaints for this same issue. No recall has been issued for this problem.

- Knoxville, TN, USA

problem #11

Mar 102016


  • 130,000 miles
Blown head gasket with 130,000 miles. Blown near the number 6 cylinder (like everyone else). Cost $3700 for repairs.

- Bishopville, MD, USA

problem #10

Nov 262015


  • miles
Loss of coolant with no visible signs of leaking. Replaced so many things and keep getting misfires and vsc lights on constantly. Rough start up for about 30 seconds every time started. Slight over heating if idling... all points now lead to blown head gasket in which I read more and more and common with 04 V6S.

- Charlotte, NC, USA

problem #9

Aug 282015


  • 145,000 miles


This 2004 Toyota 4runner had 145000 miles on it when the check engine light came on, along with vsc and vsc trac lights. Engine ran rough/rumbled for few seconds after each start, then the rumbling would stop. At autozone they diagnosed a P0306 error code. Took it to the dealer who scanned code # 0306 #6 cylinder misfire. Further testing showed coolant seeping under headgasket, and dealer recommended replacing cylinder headgasket. Researching the issue, it looks like it's not an uncommon problem with this particular car at this mileage. What made me file this complaint is that each single one of the owners who posted online mentioned this particular diagnosis code of cylinder #6 mifire. I found itinteresting that everybody has the same exact problem, and not even once it was any other cylinder misfire but # 6. I had the dealer replace the headgasket, which took care of the problem, but since it's a recurring problem, I think Toyota should take of this issue.

- Chesterfield, MO, USA

problem #8

Oct 112015


  • 210,350 miles
Event occurred at start up. Warning lights >>> check engine, vsc trac, and trac off. Per Toyota dealership >>> found head gasket allowing antifreeze to leak into cylinder 6 causing P0306 replaced both head gaskets cost $2644.91

- Loganville, GA, USA

problem #7

Sep 072015


  • 135,000 miles
Vehicle engine light and other lights came on, took to dealer and told me code was PO306 code was diagnosed stating there is a misfire in cylinder #6 resulting in a head gasket problem of coolant entering the cylinder & it would cost me 3000 to 5000 dollars to fix. Every time I start car in morning the car has a rough shacking start until warmed up, my car has 135000 miles & reviewing online this is a common problem with this engine around or after 120000 miles and that their are hundreds of complaints with the exact same issue I am having. Please can one get help in getting Toyota accountable for a problem they surely know about as well as because I am not the first and probably not the last on complaining about this issue & that this is not a normal problem for this engine it is a manufactures defect

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #6

Oct 272011


  • 98,007 miles


Rotten egg smell from rear of truck. Worse with rear window open.

- Mahopac, NY, USA

problem #5

May 142015


  • 125,000 miles
My 4runner check engine light came on and the vsc trak off lights came on with it. The trouble code indicated #6 cylinder misfire. After checking all the sensors it became obvious that there was a slight loss of coolant. Checked the engine and found that the head gasket for #6 had failed. Looking on line I see that there are hundreds of complaints about similar problems around the 120K miles mark. Isn't Toyota required to report these to NHTSA and should there be a recall on this? this problem seems very similar to an earlier Toyota issue that resulted in a recall. A head gasket should not fail during normal use of a vehicle especially one that is used very lightly and not off road.

- Staffors, VA, USA

problem #4

Dec 082014


  • miles
Cylinder 6 misfires caused by oil leaking into cylinder 6 combustion chamber around spark plug. The issue is traced back to a head gasket failure on the 2004 4runner V6 engine. Cylinder 6 is the weak point where such failures occur especially at start up and when the engine is cold. There is clearly a design flaw in the 2004 V6 4runner's head gasket which requires many hours of labor to repair and should be covered by Toyota.

- Campbell, CA, USA

problem #3

Oct 222013


  • 148,000 miles
After reading online there are hundreds of reports of cylinder #6 failing with a head gasket issue which results in a 2500-4000 $$ repair bill. Toyota had a major recall for the 2nd generation 4runner because of head gasket issues. They really need to address this issue B/C there is obviously a major problem with the 2004 4runner V6 engine.

- Greenwood, SC, USA

problem #2

Feb 142013

4Runner 6-cyl

  • 89,000 miles
Rough idle at morning start up. Vsc, trac off indicators illuminate. Obd II code of P0306, misfire cylinder #6. having to refill engine coolant on a weekly basis. Premature head gasket failure. Toyota super long life engine coolant is slowly leaking into cylinder #6. rough idle noticeable at morning start up because the fluid builds up to a considerable amount overnight. Estimated cost to fix is $3000.

- Cranston, RI, USA

problem #1

Sep 212012

4Runner 6-cyl

  • 105,000 miles
Engine is leaking coolant into the #6 cylinder causing misfire, rough idle, and check engine light to illuminate - apparently a very common problem with this V6, 4.0L engine leaking at the #6 cylinder - obviously a manufacturing defect to have head gaskets failing at the same location.

- Nashville, TN, USA

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