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:
91,742 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 steering problems

steering 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 #9

Dec 132015


  • 195,435 miles


When vehicle is driven over a rough road there is a rattle sound coming from steering rattle on smooth roads like highways.......its been doing this for a long time, yrs....seems like something is loose in steering column

- Citronelle, AL, USA

problem #8

Jan 302015


  • 152,000 miles
Bought 4th generation 4runner in 1-15 from dealer after owning 4 prior 3rd generation ones and this one is plagued with excessive rust beyond normal wear in frame (some holes), suspension, steering rack and shaft, brake components, virtually everything steel under the body has rusted excessively while body remains rust free. I know 95-03 Tacoma and Tundra were under frame and brake line recall due to same issue but from the huge number of postings on internet of problem being just as bad if not worse in 3rd and 4th generation 4runner. Yes the frames were a different style but the frames in these 4runners are even worse as problems with rust due to design are eating their way from inside out making it more of a silent killer as it goes unnoticed until rust breaches all the way thru frame and by that point it is not only unsafe to drive, it has been unsafe to drive for a long time before getting to that point. This is major problem as noted in 1000's if not more noted cases on internet forums and Toyota refuses to take responsibility leaving all these people stuck with them and their families and kids that they put in these potential death traps at risk of frame, brake, steering, suspension failures that could result in loss of vehicle control, accidents, and deaths. I've cleaned, sprayed rust preventative oils and paints on areas of concern and rust makes its way back thru in weeks time. The many of owners with this issue are stuck without resources to buy another daily driver and have no choice but to take chance with the uncertainty of potential failure at anytime. Toyota is aware and obviously knew they had rust issue with other model years but they know they have same issues with newer models not included on original frame rust recall and its time they are forced to step up and take responsibility for the faulty frames and underbody steel components.

- Granville, OH, USA

problem #7

Oct 272011


  • 98,007 miles
SUV is unsafe to drive due to excessive rusting of frame and all other undercarriage metal parts. Frame integrity is seriously compromised. Rust is exponentiating over time. Rust leaching to other majors parts like the exhaust. Transmission, radiator, ac, wheels, brakes, exhaust, steering, etc all are compromised and failing due to rust. This has been going on for years. Radiator replaced. Ac leaking. Oct 2011 heat shield rust noted by Toyota. Feb. 2014 heat shields were removed by Toyota. They claimed that the truck doesn't need the heat shields. They did not mention the frame rusting or the lifetime exhaust rusting. They did not mention that this is a common issue with 4runners. I have always had issues with that service dept. But the only other Toyota is worse. This issue needs serious recall asap. I think these trucks will start failing and causing deaths soon. Numerous issues with this truck over the years all may be due to rust. Brakes don't seem to last and the truck is hardly used. I believe rust is interfering with the brakes.

- Mahopac, NY, USA

problem #6

Nov 102011


  • 86,000 miles


2004 Toyota 4runner limited, has excessive chassis rust and rotted out at some point on the sub frame, contacted the dealer and there is no recall available also called Toyota and recall is not available.I am afraid that the chassis will break and cause an accident.

- Bayonne , NJ, USA

problem #5

Nov 012012


  • 84,000 miles
Front caliper seize up L/F and R/F 3 incidents 11/2012 02/2015 06/2015

- Holbrook, NY, USA

problem #4

Dec 312009

4Runner 8-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Major rust on frame and other mechanical parts. Not exposed to salt does not occur with my other vehicles.

- Burke, VA, USA

problem #3

Jun 102011


  • 65,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Toyota 4 runner. The contact was driving 20 mph when the steering wheel failed and became stiff without warning. The contact mentioned that the driver was able to regain control of the vehicle and bring it to a stop. The vehicle was towed to a local repair shop where it was diagnosed that the linkage to the steering knuckle was fractured and as a result, the steering knuckle, stabilizer bar, steering linkage, upper and lower control arms, wheel and bearings, and the rotors would need replacing. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure but did not offer any assistance. The vehicle was repaired. The failure mileage was 65,000 and the current mileage was 66,000.

- Creedmoor, NC, USA

problem #2

Feb 012011

4Runner 6-cyl

  • miles
2004 Toyota 4runner. Consumer states there was a clicking noise coming from the steering wheel while turning right or left the noise was a faint clicking, increasing only slightly in volume over time. The vehicle was taken to the dealer and an inspection revealed the inner shaft showed grooves where the bearing race had cut into the steering shaft to the extent where it could have caused complete steering lock-up at any time. The consumer was informed that the entire steering column needed to be replaced.

- Flagstaff, AZ, USA

problem #1

Oct 182009


  • 65,237 miles
I have a 2004 4 runner I recently have had a steering vibration that is making me crazy it flutters around 55 to 65 I have gone to different dealers and independent shops plus I have done lots of testing with no luck on a permanent fix I have researched the internet for 6 months since the problem really started the only thing I can find is this tsb st001R-05 050908 steering that relates to my problem I have had 9 new sets of tires and a set of new wheels and all new suspension no matter what I do I can not get rid of the flutter it some times perfectly smooth even over bumps sometimes it is wobbling all over I have already encountered a collision due to this issue it was just a fender bender no major damage but the only thing left for me to do is find out more on this tsb I discovered I really like my 4 runner but I cant have this death trap putting people in jeopardy please help with any info thanks.

- Santa Clarita, CA, USA

Not what you are looking for?