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
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
18,500 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 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2003 Toyota 4Runner Owner Comments

problem #2

Jun 012003

4Runner 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Toyota 4runner. While driving 2 mph with the brakes applied, the vehicle would surge and make a thumping sound. The dealer lubricated the U joint, but the failure recurred a month later. The failure mileage was 2,000 and current mileage was 70,000. Updated 03/04/08. The consumer stated a propeller assembly/driveshaft was needed to correct the problem. Updated

- Denver , CO, USA

problem #1

Dec 082007

4Runner 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,000 miles
Continuing problem on my 2003 V8 4runner with the drive shaft. When I come to a stop or when I accelerate after a stop there is a momentary lag that feels like a "clunk" or that someone has just run into your back bumper. Toyota dealer "fixes" the problem with grease to the slip yoke but after 2,000 miles it comes back and is only getting worse. I've complained to the dealer continually and Lexus 470 (same vehicle) has a tsb on the same occurrence. It has become increasingly annoying and can only be classifies as a dangerous defect.

- Denver, CO, USA

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