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:
Average Mileage:
164,100 miles
Total Complaints:
4 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. replace head gasket (4 reports)
2004 Toyota 4Runner engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Toyota 4Runner Owner Comments

problem #4

Jul 162017

4Runner SR5 4.0L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 152,000 miles


Apparently this is not an uncommon issue with early 4th gen 4Runners.

- , Austin, US

problem #3

Aug 282015

4Runner 3.2L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 183,398 miles

My check engine light has been on and off for months. I keep getting misdiagnosis's so I decided to go to a local Toyota Dealership thinking they have the diagnostic equipment to test it and figure out what is wrong once and for all. I've had the spark plugs replaced three times and one ignition coil replaced, the dealership replaced the other five ignition coils and the check engine light came on the next day!! I took it right back and they ran a block test and a compression test, this is where they came up with the head gasket problem.

I demanded my money back because they didn't fix anything! Did I mention they also happened to have my old, original ignition coils laying around their shop for the week and decided to put them back in since they were giving me a refund....are you kidding me??!!! Who does this?!!! I demanded a full refund since they didn't fix anything!!!

I'm now working with an independent mechanic who informed me Toyota had a recall back in 2003-2004 about the head gasket and they were fixing them for free! Where is my free fix Toyota?!!!

Thanks for listening!!

- , Gilbert, AZ, USA

problem #2

Sep 242015

4Runner SR5 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 181,000 miles

My 4runner began shaking, from misfire, and the check engine light came on and the vsc trak off lights came on with it. The trouble code indicated #6 cylinder misfire. After checking all the sensors it became obvious that there was a slight loss of coolant. Checked the engine and found that the head gasket for #6 had failed. Looking on line I see that there are hundreds of complaints about similar problems around the 120K miles mark. Isn't Toyota required to report these to NHTSA and should there be a recall on this? this problem seems very similar to an earlier Toyota issue that resulted in a recall. A head gasket should not fail during normal use of a vehicle especially one that is used very lightly and not off road.

I've owned this less than a year. I recently changed the coolant and noticed residue in the coolant reservoir. Apparently, the previous owner had use some sealant to fix the problem... and of coarse they did not tell me that when I bought the truck. I check the spark plugs and found that #6 plug had been changed as it was different(iridium) from the other 5(standard)

I talked to one mechanic about this but he wouldn't quote me a price not knowing the condition of the engine block ect..

- , Cedar Grove, TN, USA

problem #1

Sep 082015

(reported on)

4Runner SR5 V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles

My 4Runner check engine light came on and the vsc trak lights as well. The code indicated several cylinders misfiring. After a leak test at dealer, they recommended that the head gasket be replaced at a cost of about $3500. Should a head gasket fail at 140k? I think not. Is it odd that the techs at the dealer don't ask if it got hot?? I think their response that the gaskets sometimes have issues goes to the fact that Toyota knows there is a problem.

- , Anderson, SC, USA

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