hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
113,598 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.

2002 Toyota 4Runner drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2002 Toyota 4Runner:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2002 Toyota 4Runner Owner Comments

problem #20

Mar 012016


  • 172,568 miles


Rear differential rusted through

- Batesville, IN, USA

problem #19

Dec 142015


  • 138,000 miles
I took my vehicle in for a routine oil change recently and the technician said that I have some major rust issues on my rear axle and drivetrain. He should me when it was on the lift. He explained to me that the bolt and clip than holds the brake line down on the rear differential had rusted and broken off of the differential cover. The rear differential is now leaking gear oil. The technician advised me that it is too risky to attempt to repair as it may cause the entire differential to be damaged and the whole rear axle would need to be replaced. The technician also said that it is a risk to drive the vehicle and is possibly unsafe to keep driving. He stated that it is unknown how much longer I would be able to drive it until the rear axle ceases.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #18

Sep 272015


  • 136,000 miles
My frame is rotting out. I just had to replace my rear axle because it had almost rotted through. It was actually weaping gear oil out of small holes through the rot. Some of the frame had to be welded to pass inspection.

- Raymond, NH, USA

problem #17

Mar 242015

4Runner 4WD 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles


The frame is rusting almost in two. Looks like it could break any time. Rear axel is also very rusted with pieces falling off.

- Charleston, WV, USA

problem #16

Dec 172014


  • 158,000 miles
Frame and rear differential rusting out.

- Pound Ridge, NY, USA

Search CarComplaints.com for these popular complaint phrases...

problem #15

Nov 122014


  • miles
The contact owns a 2002 Toyota 4runner. The contact stated that fluid was leaking under the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic. The technician diagnosed that the rear differential housing was rusted, leaked fluid intermittently and there were multiple holes to the point that the component may fracture. The rear differential needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was not available.

- Chesterfield, MA, USA

problem #14

Nov 032014

4Runner 4WD 6-cyl

  • 112,000 miles


Rear differential has rusted through, the whole thing has to be replaced because there is no separate cover the repair cost may be high.

- N Muskegon, MI, USA

problem #13

Aug 282014

4Runner 4WD 6-cyl

  • 142,986 miles
4 wheel drive would not work. Vcs lites and check engine lites on. Car engine filled with black smoke and was towed to repair shop. Details: Drove on freeway and lost traction and than on shoulder with above problem. Differential repaired. Two days later lites on again and oil leak.

- Los Gatos, CA, USA

problem #12

Mar 132014

4Runner 6-cyl

  • 112,109 miles
I filed a NHTSA complaint (ODI number 10569206 was assigned) on 13 March 2014 about this vehicle. On 14 March 2014, I took my 4runner to my local Toyota dealership after contacting Toyota customer service and logging a complaint ( case number [xxx] ) with them on the 14th of March 2014 at their office in California and the customer service rep telling me documentation of the issue at my dealership would help me. This vehicle was bought in NY and remained up North for 10 years and according to emerson Toyota auburn, me records at 85,199 miles on 07/11/2012. Service adviser, [xxx] condition1 at 85,199 miles. Used car prep. Vehicle being wholesaled per rich. Needs engine light on, A/C inop, rear axle housing very rusted and cracked, hood latch inop, radiator leaking, frame is soft. It had 85,404 miles when it came to Florida on 07 September 2012 my 2002 Toyota 4runner SR5 with only 112109 miles at coggin Toyota at the avenues dealership on philips hwy in jacksonville, Florida at 12:20pm on 14 March 2014 my complaint at the dealership on 14 March 20014 at 12:20.........customer states rear subframe is rusted. Check and advise. Their findings at 12:55pm on 14 March 2014... case number [xxx], found severe frame rust, holes in frame on right side, holes rusted through frame by gas tank on left side.holes rusted through gas tank and leaking fuel. Upper rear track bar bracket rusted off of rear end housing, rear shocks rusted off. Front brake rotor backing plates rusted through. The vehicle is unsafe to drive due to fuel leak and extreme rust through of frame. I want this vehicle frame and axle fixed or bought back by Toyota. A Toyota dealership in auburn, me knew of this problem almost 2 years ago and sent it out the door. Totally unsatisfactory. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #11

Jan 032011

4Runner 6-cyl Diesel

  • 138,000 miles
Vehicle frame, front & rear bumpers and undercarriage have excessive / unsafe rust corrosion.

- Bellvale , NY, USA

problem #10

Nov 012013

4Runner 6-cyl

  • 190,000 miles


Rear axle assembly rot! now leaking on rear non replaceable yoke cover. 1800-2000 dollar fix. To make things worse axle assembly has no tags!!!! told by dealer door tags are often wrong so ordering recycled (if you can find one in better shape) is a gamble!!!! has been a dependable truck other wise but now it seems as though they are profiting from there design flaws.

- Leicester , MA, USA

problem #9

Sep 262013

4Runner 6-cyl

  • 113,000 miles
(there was no category offered for frame). During a recent automotive service for brakes on 9-26-13 for my 2002 Toyota 4runner, I was notified of a rust perforation in the frame body near a rear support mount for the axle making it unsafe for operation. This is a situation where rust forms in the interior of the frame and works its way out destroying the structural integrity of the vehicle. It seems the service technician used to work at a Toyota dealership and knew exactly where to look from his prior experience with other 4runner failures. The Toyota dealer informed that this would not be covered. My ?02 4runner is from the same generation (3rd) and of similar design to the Tacoma that was recalled for this the dealer instructed me to contact the torrance, ca Toyota customer service as his dealership would be unable to assist in anyway. It was clear they had encountered this before. Through discussion with Toyota ca they have no intention of providing any means of relief for a known and well documented safety problem. One rep did comment that the Tundra and sequoia had been recently added to the recall but the 4runner was "not yet? on the recall list. It seems Toyota views the products to be different due to the body style differences or us vs Japanese built products. They also clearly have no intention to escalate internally. I was instructed to file a complaint with NHTSA and ntsb. Research on line shows that there is a very widespread issue that Toyota is clearly choosing to ignore. Web information suggests that cold climate and the axle bracket in close proximity to the exhaust, are primary factors. How can you recall one model for a rusted frame due to safety but not another" personal photos available. Huge numbers of photos and reports available online - search " rusted frame 4runner" or similar.

- West Lebanon, NH, USA

problem #8

Feb 012013


  • miles
2002 Toyota 4 runner. Consumer writes in regards to vehicle gas pedal malfunction. The consumer stated after stopping at a stop sign, he attempted to move forward, but the vehicle would not move. After several trips to the dealer, the problem was fixed. However, the consumer did state what the problem was.

- Lancaster, NY, USA

problem #7

May 172013

4Runner 6-cyl

  • 132,000 miles
The differential housing is rusting out and is seeping fluid. In addition, the frame is dangerously rusted, especially from the rear axle back. I have been told by a very reputable body shop in the area, that the frame needs to be replaced, but due to the severity of the rust, this is not practical. Toyota is replacing frames on their Tundra pickups due to rust, but refuses to cover 4runners, though they share the same frame. If I did not have the vehicle serviced by the dealer regularly, I would be unaware of the dangerous condition of the frame.

- West Falmouth, MA, USA

problem #6

May 202013

4Runner 6-cyl

  • 132,000 miles
Recently purchased this vehicle and started cleaning it, after I drove it home and pressure washed undercarriage, pieces of the rear differential started flying off and gear oil started running out of holes. I have a 1971 Dodge challenger with original rear end that has never been in garage and have never seen a rearend rust like this. I'm really worried about how strong the axle housing structure is and if it could possible break in half while driving vehicle.

- Bluefield, WV, USA

problem #5

Oct 172012


  • 72,000 miles
My 4runner has 72000 miles on it, and I just realized the rear differential housing has rusted through. The metal is so thin that the fluid is leaking out through the pours of the metal. I took it to the dealer and they said it would cost 3000$+ to replace the entire rear end. There is no other rust under the vehicle except for the pumpkin housing. After looking around on the internet I found this is a common problem, of the housing not only being too thin of metal for the application, but low quality steel that's prone to corrosion.

- Oakland, CA, USA

problem #4

Aug 062012


  • 203,000 miles
After noticing a strong gear oil odor and seeing the actual gear oil on the back the of the vehicle I was alarmed to find out that the rear axle housing had rust perforating the rear of the housing. Once the housing was checked by a certified mechanic and turned away due to fear of destroying the housing, I removed the vehicle from the road.

- Charleston, WV, USA

problem #3

Apr 042012

4Runner 6-cyl

  • 44,700 miles
Rear differential rust through.

- Norwalk, CT, USA

problem #2

Jul 082011

4Runner 4WD 6-cyl

  • 141,000 miles
2002 4runner SR5 4WD, 141K miles, completely rusted through rear differential, both rear axle seals busted out, differential housing has several pin hole leaks and is thinned out, the only fix is a completely new rear end, which is very costly, I am the 2nd owner, I've owned a 99 4runner that had these same rear differential rust issues, the rust is ridiculous and has deteriorated the whole undercarriage and my 4runner is garage kept and I wash it all the time. I can't believe Toyota has not been held accountable for the rusting out of rear differentials and rear axle issues.

- Latrobe, PA, USA

problem #1

Nov 172009


  • 74,600 miles
I am the original owner of a 2002 Toyota 4runner-SR5, sport edition with 74,600K miles. In November 2009, I experienced the same problem that's being reported by other Toyota owners whose vehicles are being recalled. The accelerator pedal stuck in a partially depressed position on its own and quite suddenly. This occurrence only happened once. The engine was racing at a very high RPM and my rear tires were squealing loud enough to draw attention from passersby. Luckily for me I was slowly pulling into a parking slot. My reaction to this situation was to put the gear in neutral and applied the brakes. My main concern is if the ongoing investigation by the NHTSA and Toyota will include a look-back at earlier models for these known problems" and, if so, what is the manufacturer's recommendation to owners┐ with earlier models"

- Aiken, SC, USA

Search CarComplaints.com for these popular complaint phrases...

Not what you are looking for?