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
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
152,500 miles
Total Complaints:
2 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace ABS system (2 reports)
2004 Toyota 4Runner brakes problems

brakes problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2004 Toyota 4Runner:

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

2004 Toyota 4Runner Owner Comments

problem #2

Jul 202016


  • Automatic transmission
  • 184,000 miles


I have 2004 4Runner. I bought it new in 2004 and is now approaching 200,000 miles. It has been a great car overall, handles great in the mountains of Colorado all year round and has reliably driven me from coast to coast on several occasions with no major/expensive issues. Until the other day. I had just gotten a rear brake job about 6-8 weeks prior and the car had been running great with no signs of trouble.

I hop in after work to drive home. Turn on the engine (no problem, seems like a normal day), pull forward a few feet (everything still perfectly normal), do a U-turn to head home and the intense alarm sounds and my ABS, Brake, VSC and Trac lights all come on. I'm no mechanic but I know enough to realize the car is warning me that there is an issue with the brakes (there is no possible way to ignore that alarm, it is not joking around). I turn the car off, wait 5 minutes and then turn it back on and the alarm and lights come back on. Car still seems to be running fine and the brakes still seems to be working fine so I decide to try to get it home. I'm hoping at this point that it is just a computer problem/error. I turn on my hazards and start driving very slowly home (which is about 2.5 miles away).

After about 2 miles, I feel my brakes go out while I'm at a stoplight. The car starts to roll forward and I steer it off the road and have it towed to my mechanic. He calls the next day and it is a "complete hydraulic failure of the ABS assembly." Parts from Toyota + Labor = $2,777 which is not cheap for most people (myself included). It really sucks a fat one.

I figured I would share my experience because I'm reading about many others who have experienced the exact same failure. My take away from this is, when those lights and warning alarm comes on, take it seriously and pull over. Most likely your brakes are about to fail. I'm sure this has caused injuries/fatalities if this problem is as prevalent as it seems to be on this board. Stay safe people...

- , Fort Collins, CO, USA

problem #1

Aug 112015

4Runner Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 121,000 miles


My wife was driving our 2004 Toyota 4Runer with about 121k miles when all of a sudden the VSC/TRAC, ABS, & Brake lights came on with a loud alarm or buzzing sound. Immediately after, she attempted to pull over and found she had no brakes with the pedal all the way to the floor. Miraculously, she was able to get the vehicle off of the road without crashing and killing herself or others.

We had the vehicle towed to a service facility and they determined that the ABS module (which is sold as a single unit and includes the master cylinder, and all other brake system control components) would have to be replaced for about $3,800. I have been reading up on this and found MANY complaints about the same exact issue with several different Toyota models.

I have always been a Toyota lover due to their perceived quality & safety reputation but now have serious concerns about driving or even riding in a Toyota. There was absolutely NO ADVANCED WARNING OF A PROBLEM UNTIL THE BRAKES JUST COMPLETELY FAILED WHILE DRIVING DOWN THE ROAD. This is not just an issue of poor quality but it is a life and death issue!

Toyota needs to step up to the plate and recall all vehicles with this faulty braking system.

- , Atlanta, GA, USA

Not what you are looking for?