Print this page Notes: Although the 2003 model year is the "worst" model year for the 4Runner, it's not really bad at all -- mainly it's just that the other 4Runner model years are even better. Howver the 2003 model year has no major problems & no unexpected problems for a 17-year old vehicle. We award the 2003 4Runner our Seal of Awesome, since overall versus other comparable models of the same age, it's very reliable.

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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
90,200 miles
Total Complaints:
23 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. need toyota to take care of it!!! (8 reports)
  2. not sure (6 reports)
  3. dash replacement (5 reports)
  4. replace the dash (2 reports)
  5. report to NHTSA (2 reports)
2003 Toyota 4Runner accessories - interior problems

accessories - interior problem

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2003 Toyota 4Runner Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #23

Dec 242019

4Runner SR5 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 265,000 miles


I am concerned about the integrity of the passenger airbag since there are cracks all over the dashboard on both sides. Toyota is aware. I called three different dealers in my area, and I am out of the extended warranty they offered, supposedly. I never got any notice.

- sbc1722, Magnolia, US

problem #22

Jan 012005


  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

cracked, melting dash

I have been contacted by Toyota about the recall on my 4Runner's dashboard over a year ago and have never been contacted on when they would fix the problem. This is crazy, how long does it take to get this done? Are they waiting until I no longer have the automobile or what?

- berlinger, Orange, TX, US

problem #21

Jul 012017

4Runner Sports 3.8L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

Toyota said that the claim period for Toyota 4Runner Dashboard meltdown/Crack issue is already ended and there's no way to reclaim the issue. But this is Toyota's quality assurance problem and service should be provided without the deadline to claim.

My 4Runner dashboard is on really bad shape with lots of cracks and I'm so frustrated with this cracks. If it cause any problems or airbag issues, definitely I'll lawsuit Toyota and they should be responsible for any kind of loss..

Hope Toyota continues the free dashboard replacement program.

- Jung Jae L., Jacksonville, FL, US

problem #20

Jul 162014

4Runner V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 98,000 miles


I have had to have several sections of the interior replaced back in 2005 because of bubbling and sticky. Now the recall and no one seems to want to do anything at Courtesy Toyota of Brandon. I have been waiting for almost a year to have it repaired and they keep saying they will call when the part comes in. Always a different story.

- hightchew, Tampa, FL, US

problem #19

Jan 012007

4Runner Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

Love the car, been very dependable. now have 150000 mi. in 2016. But around 2008 I noticed a crack on dash on drivers side about a foot long. as the years went on so did the crack, all the way across the dash! got the voluntary recall notice a year ago and took it in to local dealer. They checked it out and authorized repairs and ordered a dash. (that was almost a year ago) and still haven't heard back. Guess I'll have to give them another call. don't have pics but can get them.

Update from Mar 16, 2016: Went back to dealer today to followup. I was told some dashes are coming available, the 4runners are still not sent out yet, and they will contact me when its in. So far its been 6 months from date I took it in.

Update from Nov 23, 2016: Finally , Toyota called and the new dash came in . this was back in June. they installed in one day.

- mr.dramsey, St. Louis, US

problem #18

May 012008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles

I read about the "recall" or extended service for the dashboard problems of Toyota brand cars. My car has the same problem also and after reading this I called my local Toyota dealer, and guess, they did not know about anything regarding this. They said that this SSC is for US market (US spec cars) by TMS (Toyota Motor Sales USA) not by TMC of TTC with our general spec cars.

I really don't know but is there somebody who can help me out with the info, is this for US market only or general? Toyota Ask give me the advice to contact my local dealer..that did not worked.

My car is bought here on Aruba at the Toyota dealer.


- M H., St Cruz, Aruba

problem #17

Jan 012011

4Runner SR5 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,000 miles


I live on a tropical island and I have owned other vehicles, but I have never encountered a cracked dashboard. I have had medium tint installed since I got it and it still cracked! This crack is just awful looking. It started at one end and just went all the way across. I'm very upset about this. I have a friend who has a 2001 Highlander and her dashboard is just fine. I hope there's a recall soon. I purchased a dashboard cover to hide the ugliness.

- Virginia K., Barrigada, Guam, Guam

problem #16

Apr 012013

4Runner SR5 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 90,000 miles

My dash on my Toyota 4Runner, after a few years of me owning it has cracked, not just in one place but a few different places. It happened one day when I had it locked up in the heat, even with the windows down a little to allow ventilation. It's a pain in my A**, having to look at it every day. I contacted Toyota directly after I going round and round with the dealer. Toyota told me they wold replace it if I were to pay for the part. I said I don't think so, cause if I remember, it was at least a $1000. I'm a Toyota lover, that's all I buy, but after having these issue's with my 4Runner and other things with our Camry, I'm hard pressed to buy another one.

- Ron B., Fredericksburg, VA, US

problem #15

Oct 142004

4Runner Limited Sport 4.7L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

I purchased my 4runner as a second vehicle non daily driver and dumped about $15,000 into it after purchase price in the form of lift, engine mods, exhaust, header, stereo system, rims, tires, gearing, Xreas delete, etc.... I am very satisfied with the overall performance of my SUV but I can't get over the fact that once in the vehicle I cannot for the life of me not notice the fact that the entire dash looks like it has cancer. Toyota will do nothing to address the issue which is total bullshit but not shocking. Major dinero my friends or a cheap not matching dash cap. I think the dash engineers at Toyota had a meth problem in 2003 and they are still struggling to get over that so no help there.

I have done some research and there are 3 companies that make dash caps that are of decent quality that should outlast the factory turd. Anyway, that's all I have. Shame on you Toyota for releasing a vehicle that falls apart from the inside out. Dickheads.

- rolexmd, Clearwater, FL, US

problem #14

Jan 012009

4Runner SR5 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,000 miles

I have been a loyal Toyota owner since I was 16 years old and I am now 42 years old, my entire family, extended family, my children, etc. all drive Toyota's. My oldest daughter is driving a one owner 1997 Toyota Camry and just this week she is purchasing a Yaris. I purchased my 2003 Toyota 4Runner with the intentions of driving it until my youngest reached age 16 at which time I would then buy me a new 4Runner because I loved my 4Runner!!

In 2009 I noticed a crack in my dash and immediately started seeking help, talked to dealers, upholster shops, vinyl shops, searching on-line, called Southeast Toyota, Facebooked Southeast Toyota, all the while, my dash was cracking more and more and more, it's horrible and scary!! I am afraid the passenger side airbag could deploy on it's own because the dash is cracked so much over the airbag, which is where the biggest problem lies in trying to find a fix!! You can't cover the airbag with a dash cap, you can't replace the dash without replacing the air bag which is a huge expense, more than I can afford as a single mother trying to make ends meet. I just can't believe Toyota would allow something like this to jeopardize their reputation. It makes me sad and angry.

I will keep researching, hoping Toyota will step-up to the plate before someone is injured or killed because unfortunately, there is no other affordable option for me. :(

- marylee, Morehead City, NC, US

problem #13

Jun 282014

4Runner SE V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 185,000 miles


I just noticed today that my dashboard shows the first signs of cracking.

It's starting above the receiver. Very small, but noticeable.

I read about the multiple complaints on dashboard cracking before but always considered myself lucky to not be affected... well, until now. I thought keeping it in the garage most of the time day/night would have helped preventing it, but obviously not. I also have an older Mercedes (25 years now!) and there's no cracking on the dashboard - and the car is parked outside!

There's a long list of complaints also in this site:

Since there are so many owners complaining about this, Toyota should really step up and offer a solution.

- steh-fan, San Diego, CA, US

problem #12

Oct 292012

4Runner Sports Edition

  • Automatic transmission
  • 128,000 miles

I just purchased the vehicle and though it was a seam in the dash until I came across a Forum ( that had a number of complaints of the same issue. I have not come across any fix other than getting a replacement through the dealer which is going to cost $$$$$$$

- Russell S., Tampa, FL, US

problem #11

Jul 142012

4Runner Sports Edition V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

The dashboard craked all along the lip of the dash, no reason for it to do so, garage kept, and never used any armoural on it. Want it fixed, I have an extended warranty that covers vehicle up to 100K miles, does this fall under the warranty? Dealership wont call back

- Lynn H., Lakeland, FL, US

problem #10

Jan 042013

4Runner Sport V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles

I park my car in a garage at work and at home. I got in my 4Runner in January (not even hot in the garage) and noticed multiple large cracks all over my dashboard. They are on the drivers side and the passenger side, all over the place. It is really bad. Toyota needs to rectify this situation. This is definitely a defect. I've never seen a dash crack this bad; I've owned 3 $Runners and 2 different Land Cruisers and this never happened.

- Lisa O., APOLLO BEACH, FL - Florida, US

problem #9

Oct 012005

4Runner AWD V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 28,000 miles

Toyota really need to address this issue. This is a really defective product.

- thednwl87, Houston, TX, US

problem #8

Aug 012011

4Runner V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

Last year my dash cracked in my 4runner. I was driving down the road and it just cracked. It started on the passenger side. Now it it is spreading across the whole dash. I have gone to the Toyota dealership and it is going to cost more than $2000 to fix. Toyota will not cover it, and neither does insurance. I paid a lot of money for this vehicle, and I feel like it should be fixed. Not only is is ugly and a constant eyesore, it is dangerous. What if the air bag goes off at will? It can cause serious injury or death to me or anyone in my vehicle if I wreck because an air bag deploys while driving down the road. Toyota should recall all these vehicles and fix them. Toyota has always been number 1 on sales, but they will lose a lot of customers because of their recent actions and cheap made dashes.

- noseguera, Hot Springs, AR, US

problem #7

May 012011

4Runner V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 62,000 miles

My 2003 4Runner recently started developing cracks in the dash board on the passenger side. The cracks started slowly but seem to be increasing in number at an alarming rate. I believe this to be a weakness/defect in the materials used so that the air bag can inflate. My vehicle has always been parked under cover and I have not used Armoral on the interior. My concern is that the cracking will allow the air bag to inflate without there being an impact accident. This could cause injury to a passenger or cause me to have an accident. I have not taken the vehicle to a dealer yet but plan to do so very soon. I wanted to do some research first and see if other owners were having this same problem. It appears this is not a problem unique to my vehicle but a common problem with the 4Runner.

- Gwen T., Winters, TX, US

problem #6

Apr 102012

4Runner SR-5 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles

This is my 4th 4-Runner very upset that the dash panel is cracked on this one, may never buy another Toyota. Have been buying Toyota's for pass 30 yrs...

- genf, Okeechobee, FL, US

problem #5

Aug 202011

4Runner SE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 94,000 miles

On August 20, 2011 we took our 2003 Toyoya 4Runner to David Maus Toyota in Sanford, FL for the 90,000 service work. While it was there we had it detailed. The total cost was $850. This vehicle is our extra car and is not driven on a daily basis, only on the weekends. The following Saturday morning we got into the 4Runner and noticed a new hairline crack that ran approximately 2" from the driver's side window across the line of the dash behind the steering wheel to the middle of the dashboard. We called the dealer and immediately drove it to Sanford so they could look at it. Initially they told us it was from the "Armorall" we had been using. We had not. They were the ones to use product on our vehicle. After many daily phone calls to every manager, then a phone call each day left on David Maus's voice mail this week a rude manager called us today to tell us too bad, it's the age of the vehicle. We did not have a crack in our dash prior to August 20th, David Maus Toyota serviced our 4Runner now we have a cracked dash. Not only do they not accept responsibility, we were told we could take our business elsewhere by their service manager. We were not rude. We were merely persistent. Other than that it has been kept in a garage and looks like new.

- wkndgoddess, Oviedo, FL, US

problem #4

Mar 012011

4Runner Sport Edition 4wd 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 45,526 miles

The crack in my dash board appears to be the same as others who have the 2003 Toyota 4 Runner. The crack runs the entire length of the dash board and spiders over the passenger airbag. I bought this car new and it was very expensive. I am very disappointed. This cracking problem is not and should not be acceptable.

- foradamo, Christiansted, US Virgin Islands, Virgin Islands (US)

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