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.


hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
61,250 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 engine problems

engine problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Toyota 4Runner:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2003 Toyota 4Runner Owner Comments

problem #4

Nov 242016


  • 155,000 miles


I was driving down the highway after getting off the interstate when my vehicle began to overheat. I luckily noticed and pulled over before incurring more damage and warping the engine head. I have heard multiple times that these 4.0 V6's Toyota made have head gasket problems. After getting it towed back to the mechanic on thanksgiving, I was told I had a blown/leaking headgasket. I have never drove this vehicle over 3K rpms and find it ridiculous it would fail under such good condition.

- Joplin, MO, USA

problem #3

Aug 172016

4Runner 6-cyl

  • miles
This 2003 Toyota 4runner has 135,000 miles on the odometer and the frame and exhaust system including catalytic converter are completely rusted out and the vehicle is now unsafe to drive. Some frame components have completely rusted and broken off from the frame I.e. tow hooks, exhaust and engine mounts. The frame is only held on to the body by the shock absorbers. The vehicle can no longer be driven safely. The cost to repair this damage would be prohibitive and I believe that this issue needs to be addressed by Toyota. I purchased this vehicle in good faith and trusted that Toyota quality would last. Please advise any possible recourse. Thank you

- Plympton, MA, USA

problem #2

Jun 102011


  • 90,000 miles
The engine, vsc trac and vsc warning indicators illuminated continuously on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer. The engine 02 sensors were found to be defective. The manufacture will not replace or replace since there are no advisories on the part. There is a high risk the engine may under perform which may cause lack of control and a potential accident while driving. Leading to injury.

- Plantation, FL, USA

problem #1

Aug 112010


  • miles
TL-the contact owns a 2003 Toyota 4runner. The contact stated while driving various speeds the engine, vsc trac and vsc warning indicators illuminated continuously on the instrument panel. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer five times and twice to an independent mechanic. The engine 02 sensors had been replaced even times. The manufacturer was not notified of the problem. The failure mileage and VIN were unavailable.

- Temecula, CA, USA

Not what you are looking for?