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.


fairly significant
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
173,333 miles
Total Complaints:
3 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace calipers (3 reports)
2003 Toyota 4Runner brakes problems

brakes problem

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2003 Toyota 4Runner Owner Comments

problem #3

May 022016

4Runner SR5 V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 205,000 miles


Same problem the calipers are frozen up again. I could tell the brakes were not real strong in the recent weeks. Had oil changed at the dealership today and the mechanic came out to speak with me. He said the brake pads are wearing unevenly. Which tells me that the 5 year old caliper is frozen, causing no wear to the pads. I replaced the f/r a few months back. If you own a 2003 Toyota 4Runner I would have the brakes checked regularly . I probably have brakes on 3 of the 4 wheels. My fix, I now have a 2016 4Runner in my garage. Just trying to milk all I can out of the 03.

- , Stallings, NC, USA

problem #2

Dec 092015

4Runner SR5 V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 195,000 miles

Bought new V8 SR5 in May 2003. Never had any problems. In 2011 I went in (dealer) for an oil change and brake pads. Service adviser came out after 2 hours and informed me "we have a problem". The front calipers were so rusted that they would not go back on. So a day later and $1100 lighter I drove off.

In Dec. 2015 the front right caliper did the same thing. My brother is a mechanic I took it by his house, popped the tire off and it was frozen again from rust. Went to Autozone bought a new caliper ($85) and he put it on. He thought it was a design flaw, somehow the calipers get over heated causing the metal to weaken causing the rust.

Now I'm at 205K miles and this and a minor cracked dash are the only problems I've ever had. Not bad too bad.

- , Stallings, NC, USA

problem #1

Jun 012012

4Runner V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Ive been through 3 frozen calipers on this vehicle. Got to be a bad design. They are fairly easy to replace yourself.

- , Kankakee, IL, USA

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