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:
60,167 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 engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Toyota 4Runner Owner Comments

problem #3

Apr 062011


  • 131,000 miles


While driving, the cel (check engine light) came on and the vsc trac and vsc off lights came on as well. Apparently Toyota disables vsc when the cel is triggered. In my case, the 2 times it has occurred has been due to emissions related failures (1st time the cat failed, 2nd time one of the O2 sensors failed). In the 1st case, I immediately took the vehicle to the dealership as I was approaching the end of the emissions warranty. They made the repairs and cleared all the codes so wasn't aware that the vsc system was actually disabled. The 2nd time (O2 failure) I replaced the failed O2 sensor, the cel has cleared, however the vsc lights are still on and vsc is disabled. I have serious concerns that Toyota disables key safety systems due to emissions related failures especially given the inherent stability problems with SUV's. if I'm on a trip with my family and an O2 sensor fails, or a catalytic converter fails, or the gas cap fails, key safety systems that help keep my family and I safe should not be disabled! I think this deserves an investigation.

- Pasadena, MD, USA

problem #2

Dec 092009


  • 48,000 miles
This incident was 1st noticed 12/9/2009. I started my car in the morning and let it warm up, when I went to get in it a few minutes later, the heater fan would not work. Since then, I find that the heater fan will work off and on, seems to be after vehicle has warmed up a bit -maybe (not sure of the rhythm or reason). I do not feel safe driving this vehicle in cold weather especially since I have small children and fear getting stuck or stranded with no heat! I purchased this vehicle in December of 2008 and drove it all last winter with no problems-therefore I am concerned as to when and where it will malfunction again.

- Panora, IA, USA

problem #1

Jan 292008

4Runner 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,500 miles
Vibration is felt in steering wheel at highway speeds (55 mph or higher). This is especially present when steering wheel is turned slightly to the right. Have had tires rebalanced with no change in vibration. Problem has been with vehicle since purchase. Tire replacement and rotation does not correct vibration.

- Columbia, MD, USA

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