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.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
98,200 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.

2003 Toyota 4Runner brakes problems

brakes problem

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2003 Toyota 4Runner Owner Comments

problem #5

Aug 202016


  • 167,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Toyota 4runner. While driving 65 mph, the vsc and traction control warning indicators illuminated. The anti-lock braking system engaged and locked the front brakes. The vehicle violently pulled to the left lane and the steering and brakes failed. The dealer was unable to duplicate the failure and repair the vehicle. The manufacturer stated that they were unaware of the failure previously occurring. The failure mileage was approximately 167,000.

- East Hartford, CT, USA

problem #4

Jul 052016


  • 54,000 miles
I've been doing research online for the non stop vcs trac, vcs off, ABS and brake warning lights and buzzers going off. It has been described as a common issue with Toyota and can lead to complete loss of brakes, but no recall. The dealership wants $3200 for the part and $600 to install. I guess Toyota needs fatalities to back their product. Shame on Toyota.

- Princeville, HI, USA

problem #3

Nov 212014


  • 170,000 miles
Lost all traction control causing spin off freeway

- Long Beach, CA, USA

problem #2

Jan 102010


  • 50,000 miles
While driving uphill in the snow, the automatic stability control on my Toyota engaged with a beeping sound and a dashboard indicator light. Once this happened, several other lights illuminated on the dashboard and the vehicle began to accelerate up the hill. I attempted to brake, but the vehicle continued to gain speed and struck the back of a parked pickup truck on the side of the road. No airbag deployment occurred. The front end damage was significant, making the vehicle a total loss.

- Hoboken, NJ, USA

problem #1

Mar 302009


  • 50,000 miles
Failure of automatic braking control and anti-skid control. Service light activated but no recall or notice to consumers. See technical service bulletin br 005-03 (Dec. 4, 2003). Toyota refuses to recognize safety risk or obligation to replace outside of warranty period.

- Washington, DC, USA

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