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.

5.5

fairly significant
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
16,194 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.

2008 Toyota 4Runner transmission problems

transmission problem

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2008 Toyota 4Runner Owner Comments

problem #10

Nov 302009

4Runner 4WD

  • 11,327 miles

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

I own a 2008 Toyota 4runner SR5 4WD. I purchased it new from my local Toyota dealership in November, 2008. By the fall of 2009 I noticed a sporadically occurring delay in the automatic transmission while switching from reverse to drive, lasting approximately 5 seconds. This would happen while backing out of a driveway or parking lot, or in the middle of a U-turn. Still under warranty, I first took the car into the local dealership in November of 2009. Unable to determine the cause, they reset the car's "cpu" and I returned home, only to have the problem continue. After three more visits to the dealership, the last in may, 2010, the dealerships service department stopped returning my phone calls and failed to resolve the problem. Since February 2010 I have documented over 45 occurrences of the problem, which have occurred as frequently as 4 times in one day and as infrequently as a month apart. The most disturbing incidence was in the middle of a busy urban street while making a 3-point U-turn. With the delay lasting a solid 5 seconds, it is an unsettling experience not knowing when and where this problem will occur. The dealership service department acknowledged that they would/could not do anything under warranty without getting the car to repeat the problem. I finally videotaped the experience while in the car, but when I shared it with the service people, it proved futile. I also discovered an online Toyota 4runner forum (T4R.org) in which other Toyota 4runner owners shared the same experience. The dealership failed to acknowledge this fact, and stopped making any attempt to resolve the problem as of last June. I am frustrated by my experience and would like to have the problem resolved so I can drive with the peace of mind knowing that my car is safe. To date, no repairs or parts replacements of any kind have been made by Toyota to correct the problem.

- Fremont, CA, USA

problem #9

Feb 232010

4Runner

  • 22,356 miles
I have a 2008 4runner. I have always been happy with the vehicle, however, when shifting from reverse to drive the transmission does not engage immediately. This morning I was backing out of the post office where there are always people walking in front a nd in back of your vehicle. I shifted into reverse back up then shifted into drive. When I pressed on the gas the car continued to go in reverse. This was very scary. I pressed on the brake and looked down to make sure I was in drive. The car was in drive, I then pressed the gas again, the car waited about 5 seconds and when forward with a burst of energy. I have had this happen before but not with this distinction. I feel this is a definite safety issue, especially in a parking lot where people are walking constantly.

- Lewisville, TX, USA

problem #8

Feb 062010

4Runner

  • 13,250 miles
2008 Toyota 4runner sport - when shifting from reverse to drive the transmission does not always engage. Estimate about 15-20% failure. For about 5 seconds the vehicle acts as if in neutral. If I do not realize what is happening and apply gas, when it finally engages, the car dangerously lurches forward. Fairly sure it is an electronic issue. Has occurred since purchase. Have taken to dealer 3 times. Responses 1) can't repeat and can't start changing parts because may trigger lemon law, 2) can't repeat and no one else has reported, 3) can't repeat, so we will look at it again when you bring in for next oil change. Despite my explaining repeatedly that this is a serious safety concern dealer has shown no real interest to resolve. My home's driveway is on a blind curve and I will not back into road because I can not be sure I can accelerate when needed. This has repeated regularly since purchasing the vehicle over a year ago. I have had a couple of close calls in parking lots and it is inevitable that I will be rear-ended if this is not resolved.

- Penfield, NY, USA

problem #7

Feb 012010

4Runner

  • miles

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

We have a 2008 Toyota 4runner sport. When going from reverse to drive the vehicle does not always go into drive. You press the gas and nothing happens. You then have to put the vehicle back into neutral and then into drive to be able to move the vehicle. Took to the dealer numerous times and they said it was "normal". this is a major safety issue as if we are backing up onto a road or anywhere by that means and we have to spend the extra time putting the vehicle back into neutral and then into drive it waste valuable time. This issue does not occur all the time, but approx 70% of the time. We do not know what else to do.

- Cheswick, PA, USA

problem #6

Feb 042010

4Runner

  • 18,500 miles
We have a 2008 Toyota 4runner sport. When going from reverse to drive the vehicle does not always go into drive. You press the gas and nothing happens. You then have to put the vehicle back into neutral and then into drive to be able to move the vehicle. Took to the dealer numerous times and they said it was "normal". this is a major safety issue as if we are backing up onto a road or anywhere by that means and we have to spend the extra time putting the vehicle back into neutral and then into drive it waste valuable time. This issue does not occur all the time, but approx 70% of the time. We do not know what else to do.

- Cheswick, PA, USA

problem #5

Jan 282010

4Runner

  • 18,500 miles
We have a 2008 Toyota 4runner sport. When going from reverse to drive the vehicle does not always go into drive. You press the gas and nothing happens. You then have to put the vehicle back into neutral and then into drive to be able to move the vehicle. Took to the dealer numerous times and they said it was "normal". this is a major safety issue as if we are backing up onto a road or anywhere by that means and we have to spend the extra time putting the vehicle back into neutral and then into drive it waste valuable time. This issue does not occur all the time, but approx 70% of the time. We do not know what else to do.

- Cheswick, PA, USA

problem #4

Nov 302009

4Runner

  • 17,871 miles

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

I have been complaining to my local Toyota dealership for several months that there is an issue with my 2008 Toyota 4runner changing gears. From time to time when I go from reverse to drive the vehicle does not engage gears. Just yesterday not only did the vehicle not engage, but when I went from reverse to drive (I checked to make sure that the vehicle was in drive) and I stepped on the gas the vehicle went into reverse, almost hitting the car behind me. This is a severe safety issue that my local Toyota dealership is not taking this seriously and could eventually lead to damage and/or death.

- Cumming, GA, USA

problem #3

Jul 072009

4Runner

  • 34,637 miles
My 2008 Toyota 4runner has a clunking sound as I am about to take off from a complete stop. I can tell when it will happen because when I am almost stopped, with my foot on the brake, my car feels like it surges forward. I have to push on the brake pretty hard to keep it from doing this. Then when I take my foot off the brake to proceed, there is a "clunk" from the back end. I took it to my totally dealership today because it is still under warranty (I've had it for a month and it has done it ever since I purchased it). The dealership called the Toyota technical assistance system. The answer they got...the condition is a normal operating condition and that no repair attempt should be made. They said it was the driveshaft slip yolk extending and retracting and is normal operating condition of the vehicle. Here is my case number - 091880146, repair order number - 13509, case date - 7/7/09, tas hotline number 1-800-233-3718.

- Kennewick, WA, USA

problem #2

Nov 282008

4Runner

  • 500 miles
We have a 2008 Toyota 4runner sport. When going from reverse to drive the vehicle does not always go into drive. You press the gas and nothing happens. You then have to put the vehicle back into neutral and then into drive to be able to move the vehicle. Took to the dealer numerous times and they said it was "normal". this is a major safety issue as if we are backing up onto a road or anywhere by that means and we have to spend the extra time putting the vehicle back into neutral and then into drive it waste valuable time. This issue does not occur all the time, but approx 70% of the time. We do not know what else to do.

- Cheswick, PA, USA

problem #1

Nov 242008

4Runner

  • 25,000 miles
New, from 15,000- 25, 000 miles, 2008 Toyota four runner, jerking when accelerated on the freeway. It is as if the shift gear or transmission is not properly working. This has occurred multiple times after the 15, 000 mile service. First dealership workers stated nothing wrong. Current dealership has not checked for cause nor have they offered a solution. Car remains at dealership. Second issue, most recent incident, same vehicle at 25, 000 miles when accelerated on the freeway, jerked uncontrollably, worst than before, accelerated to fast speed (floor mat was secured), would not brake. Driver attempted to move to exit. Engine remained revved up. Brakes slowed but did not stop vehicle. Able to move to exit...heavy traffic. I could have reared ended many vehicles. Smoke and burning odor from brake area. Dealership states floor mat was stuck which is not true, as witnessed by a passenger in the front seat. Vehicle has manufacturers warranty and extended warranty. Dealership refused to permit owner to retain loaner vehicle until problem is resolved. Dealer has no explanation for jerking or shifting/transmission issue nor burning odor/smoke issue. Refuses to provide owner with corporate contact or district manager information. Driver needs vehicle to Transport child to medical appts. One hour away from homesite on weekly basis.

- Temecula, CA, USA

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