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:
Average Mileage:
112,700 miles
Total Complaints:
3 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (3 reports)
2003 Toyota 4Runner brakes problems

brakes problem

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2003 Toyota 4Runner Owner Comments

problem #3

Feb 012019

4Runner 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 160,000 miles


17 year daughter driving by herself from school. About 3 months after getting her license.

VSC TRAC ABS - lights came on, low tone noise and the brake pedal was hard as a

rock when depressing. She was able to downshift, use the parking brake and push like

crazy to do a hard stop against a parking cement block. Really scared her. Any ideas?

All the research says 3500.00 to 4000.00 to fix. No recall? I also have a 1997 4-runner

with 291,000 miles on it and "knock on wood" it runs GREAT!.

- William F., San Diego, ca, US

problem #2

Jul 052016


  • 55,000 miles

I vented on my last post. From what I have read Toyota should recall this part. I felt is was best to just take it into the dealership and pay the $3800 to have it repaired. This problem sucks.

- Mike A., Princeville, HI, US

problem #1

Aug 222009

4Runner 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 123,000 miles

We had an auto accident and was hit in the front end. Took to the body shop.. when we left the shop heading down the highway the front end locked up on the left side for about 10ft. And then broke free again. Another mile down the road the right side locked up. I never knew when it was going to lock up. Took it to Toyota they said it could be a number of sensors going out. I asked who would make a vehicle when driving down the road one side or the other would lock up and shoot you from one side to the other. They had no answers.

- Sharon G., Nampa, ID, US

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