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:
100,117 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.

2004 Toyota 4Runner body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2004 Toyota 4Runner Owner Comments (Page 1 of 3)

problem #48

May 302016


  • miles


Premature heavy rusting on frame rails and crossmembers

- Penfield, NY, USA

problem #47

Dec 232016


  • miles
My 2004 4runner, with less than 80,000 miles, has significant and overwhelming under carriage rust. There is a frame rot hole. One of the trailing arm brackets on the axle has rusted to the point where the trailing arm was no longer connected. This is one of the points where the axel is connected to the vehicle and keeps the axel from rotating. There are front suspension parts completely rusted to the point my vehicle can no longer receive a successful front end alignment. These are the biggest problems, there are several other issues due to unbelievable rust.

- Murray, UT, USA

problem #46

Jan 052017


  • 65,000 miles
Heavy frame rust and corrosion occurring in a garaged 4runner with only 65,000 miles to date. Very advanced for mileage, and soon to be a structural and safety concern. Crossmembers, frame, and suspension attachments. Two exhaust shields have had to be reattached. Also, my dashboard is cracking despite being garaged, and my second set of factory aluminum wheels have had the clearcoat and finish crack off and are very unsightly.

- Belle Vernon, PA, USA

problem #45

Nov 102012


  • miles


The Toyota dealership does not want to repair the safety recall they did on 2004 4runners Toyota. I called over a year ago and no action has taken place. The recall was over the gas pedal and dashboard, I also have a case number and have called many times and they only tell me to wait. They didn't even bother to check the car and I also went in personally so they could order the parts and they told me they would call when the parts came in, the guy told me to give it six months and now it's been over a year and still have not received any call. I know this recall warranty ends this year 2017 and it seems like the Toyota don mcgill in houston dealership is waiting for the year to end so one can pay for the changes to be made, which is unfair because this is a Toyota recall. I hope you can help because this has taken over a year to fix now and the Toyota don mc gill in houston has been no help what so ever. This is a safety recall and they need to fix it I already did my part I have called, I have a case number and I have gone personally to talk to them and order the parts.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #44

Oct 012016


  • 160,000 miles
Frame has way too much rust for a vehicle of this age. Exhaust manifold ticking noise. Both are well documented issues with this model year....

- Monroe, NC, USA

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problem #43

Nov 212016


  • 150,000 miles
The rear sway bar has rusted completely away from the frame. While I was driving and on the freeway. Rusted heavy on frame and underbelly

- Salt Lake City, UT, USA

problem #42

Nov 182014


  • 50,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Toyota 4runner. While the vehicle was parked, the contact noticed multiple fractures across the dashboard. In addition, the contact stated that the dashboard appeared to be melting, which caused a glare that hindered the contact's visibility. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the dashboard needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired due to part unavailability. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and confirmed that the VIN was included in a voluntary recall for the dashboard replacement. The failure mileage was 50,000.

- Palmetto, FL, USA

problem #41

Sep 042014


  • 95,000 miles
There is lot of rust on frame, under carriage and its also in the suspension. Its also causing fluids to leak and I had to replace the muffler assembly due to rust. I purchased this car as certified used from prestige Toyota of NJ with only 5000 miles in August of 2005, I purchased this Toyota because of their stellar reputation in the auto industry but I am extremely disappointed with this car. I have less than 109,000 miles and at the way this rust is progressing, I will have to junk the car very soon. I cant risk being on the road with my family and have this rust bucket fall apart on the middle of the road. I have been waiting to see if there is a recall but haven't seen anything come through yet. Please include my car in any vehicle safety recalls, or class action suits against Toyota. Thank you

- New City, NY, USA

problem #40

Oct 012016


  • 160,000 miles
Frame badly rusted, during tire change lifted car with Toyota jack and it went inside frame, front tow hooks rusted off and fell off, half of bar supporting oil hoses rusted off.

- Acton, MA, USA

problem #39

Aug 012016


  • miles
The entire frame and underneath the vehicle is rusted from front to back.

- Banner, KY, USA

problem #38

Sep 222016


  • 180,000 miles


Frame very badly rusted. Seems to be a common complaint. Why is nothing being done?

- Elizabeth, CO, USA

problem #37

Sep 212016


  • 209,000 miles
Rust erosion of the frame resulting in danger in driving the vehicle. Vehicle has been garaged kept for it's entire life and maintained on a regular basis. Frame is now near deterioration.

- Phoenix, MD, USA

problem #36

Sep 082016


  • 199,000 miles
I took my vehicle to freedom Toyota in hamburg, pa to get serviced and they told me my frame was rusted that bad that it would not pass inspection, and could not be repaired. This is very upsetting, because it's only 12 years old. I have a 1998 Toyota 4runner previously and that was 14 years old before I got rid of it with 324,000 miles. The bumpers were known to rust out on those, and the frame was rusted on that one also, but not aware of the extent. I can only hope that Toyota will replace my frame, otherwise I will never buy another Toyota again. The service guy, nicky at freedom Toyota said that he didn't know if there would be a recall on the 04 Toyota 4runners or not. I have two young children and I only hope that nothing happens to me or my children due to driving it with a rusted frame until I can get a new vehicle or get my frame replaced by Toyota.

- Orwigsburg, PA, USA

problem #35

Sep 072016


  • 80,000 miles
We have just discovered the underside and frame of the vehicle is completely rusting out, with only 80,000 miles on it. We live year-round in nc where we get very few snowfalls with subsequent salt used on the highway. However, the rust is prevalent and comprehensive. We are taking it to determine the extend of the damage and what it will take to repair.

- Tuckasegee, NC, USA

problem #34

Aug 172016


  • 117,000 miles
Va state safety inspector today pointed out excessive rust on frame, particularly passenger side rail with most serious safety concern right in front of rear passenger side wheel. Rust is far beyond what should be normal given life of the truck and mileage only at 117K. Researching and this appears to be a systemic Toyota manufacturing problem with 4runner (and other Toyota models) of this age. Toyota should repair these frames as they will start presenting serious safety problems.

- Centreville, VA, USA

problem #33

Jul 232016


  • miles
Cross member under radiator that the tow hitches connect to are completely rusting out and falling apart as well as the skid plate noticed this hooking up ropes to secure my kayaks. The paint on the tire rims are pealing and corroding

- Laurel, MD, USA

problem #32

Jun 072016


  • 119,000 miles
Rust rot on frame of body, will probably not pass next in inspection noted by thompson dealership. Toyota fixed other models, but am ignoring my model.

- New Hope, PA, USA

problem #31

Feb 272016


  • 120,000 miles
Frame rust - frame rear upper control arm has fully rusted through, creating a very dangerous condition where vehicle control can be lost and cause an accident or fatality. Toyota dealer would not replace or repair frame due to vehicle out of warranty. Found out rust after replacing shocks. Welded extra material and painted as an interim action.

- Auburn Hills, MI, USA

problem #30

May 272016


  • 118,500 miles
The entire front frame on my 2004 Toyota 4runner rotted within the last year. It was deemed unsafe to drive after going in for a routine inspection. Shameful since the body was in good condition and the car ran great. Toyota should be held responsible for fixing these frames. I had no choice but to get rid of it.

- South Burlington, VT, USA

problem #29

Oct 312015


  • 149,000 miles
I have already received information on the interim G1C. This is also about the frame on my vehicle which is rusted very bad. The rear passenger arm mount has already broken. There are also holes in the trave and the long pieces of metal on the frame. The skid plates are also rusted. Also the tow ring on the passenger side is getting ready to snap. I have been learning more information about this problem with some Toyota vehicles. I am afraid that I am riding in a very dangerous vehicle. I was just wondering if anything can be done about this, since Toyota is aware there is a problem with rust. When the arm mount broke I was driving with my children in the car, the rear end of the vehicle was bouncing all over the place. It scared us all becase we did not know what was going on. I w

- Winston Salem, NC, USA

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