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.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
No data
Average Mileage:
123,151 miles
Total Complaints:
5 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. recall frame and replace (3 reports)
  2. not sure (2 reports)
2004 Toyota 4Runner body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2004 Toyota 4Runner Owner Comments

problem #5

Feb 032017

4Runner Sport Utility 6 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles


The car all of a sudden shows too much rust in the frame area between the front two tires . The upper body doesn't show any rust and it looks like new car but at the bottom it is a different story. I believe Toyota need to take responsibility and take a remedy before it create a big damage. I am not sure if this is a life safety issue but the way the rust expand quickly make me to believe that one day the car will fell apart as someone drive it.

- , Alexandria, VA, US

problem #4

Jan 262017

4Runner Limited 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 159,600 miles

My 2004 4Runner is extremely rusted underneath. Whatever parts of the suspension, chassis, skid plates that are made of steel are seriously rusted. The front skid plate is rusted through in several places. My mechanic advised if the rust continues, the vehicle will no longer pass Pa's annual safety inspection due to the severe rust.

Toyota should be required to either fix the rust problem or recall the vehicles experiencing this problem. Somewhere around 2012, Toyota recalled their I believe model year 2000 pick-up trucks for the same problem, why don't they take responsibility for the on-going rust problems?

- , New Freedom, PA, USA

problem #3

Aug 012016

4Runner Sport 4.6L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 144,000 miles

Toyota is well aware of this frame rot problem as it is a common problem not only in the 4-Runner, but also in their Tundra, Tacoma, and Sequoia vehicles. To the best of my knowledge, they have all been recalled except the 4-Runner. Apparently there have not been enough complaints from 4-Runner owners. It seems that they have a real problem trying to design and build a vehicle frame as most vehicles today are frameless. I bought my Toyota based on their reputation for reliability, and this vehicle has not disappointed until this problem, which can only be fixed by Toyota themselves. Come on Toyota step up, maintain your reputation and customer loyalty!

- , West Chester, PA, US

problem #2

Aug 012014

4Runner ES V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,153 miles

Brought 4runner to original dealer because of BST brake warning light would not go off during previous dealer phone instructions. During mechanic investigation he informed us that the FRAME (HE KNEW JUST WHERE TO LOOK AND SAID THIS IS A VERY COMMON PROBLEM) was seriously rusted with holes thru the metal near the right rear section forward of the rear axle. Mechanic thought it would be OK to drive carefully while we would try to get TOYOTA to make the repairs. The dealer could not do the work because the frame needed to be replaced.

Dealer looked up info for RECALLS but "none for 2004 4runner yet". Service manager tried to get help from Toyota Rep but was turned down. We were told about thousands of these models having this rust problem but Toyota hopes to DOWNPLAY THIS PROBLEM. Searching the internet & inquiring from other Toyota dealers made us aware that this has been a major problem for thousands of 4Runner owners. We learned that most owners who have this rust problem were not allowed to leave the dealership with their 4Runners because they were not SAFE to drive. We went to a body shop that same day inquiring as to what could be done to fix the FRAME and at that time there was another 4Runner coming off the lift with the diagnosis that the car could NOT be driven because the FRAME was totally wasted and TOTALLY UNSAFE to drive and needed to be TOWED!

Let me say here that this 4Runner has had a good life, having always done all the RECOMMENDED MAINTENANCE ON TIME PLUS MUCH TLC including consistent power washing underneath at the car wash ESPECIALLY during WINTERS. WE ARE DISGUSTED WITH TOYOTA acting CRIMINAL in these matters!

- , Brattleboro, VT, USA

problem #1

Apr 022014

4Runner SR5 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

Always have bought Toyota for the last 20 years. This will be my last one. Toyota does not back up their product ,their supposed to be the best but they have gone downhill in their products, have even spoke with Toyota on the frame problem they told me to ''just get rid of it '' WELL NO ONE WILL BUY IT WITH A FRAME THAT IS UNSAFE. I think Toyota should stand behind their product and have a recall on these frames like they did with there Tacoma trucks, so now I'm stuck with this hunk of rotted metal. never again Toyota!!!

- , Cheshire, MA, USA

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