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:
51,933 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2004 Toyota 4Runner Owner Comments

problem #6

Oct 292010


  • 83,600 miles


I have a 2004 Toyota 4runner sports edition. I always hear rattling noise when I am driving 40 mph. Recently, I took my car to Toyota to have this issue serviced. They said it was the transfer case. I was going drive it out of state with my wife for our anniversary, but they recommended I not to drive it. They replaced the transfer case. It was going to cost me over $1300, but luckily I had purchased an extended warranty.I have heard about power train problems with this model of Toyota that led to it being recalled. Another problem is when I come to a stop I hear a clunking noise. When I mentioned this issue, Toyota said its the 4wheel drive, but I wasn't using the 4W drive when this issue occurred for me. Even now its still a problem. Please advise on what I should do before something goes wrong.

- Fishers, IN, USA

problem #5

May 292010


  • 107,000 miles
I was driving on the freeway at 60 mph and tapped on the gas pedal and it became stuck and rapidly accelerated the car. I had to shift the car to neutral and tap the brakes in order to get the gas pedal unstuck. The car had been on cruise control earlier but at the time that the gas pedal was stuck cruise control was off. Hitting the brake did not immediately disengage the gas pedal as would be expected if it was on cruise control.

- Tacoma, WA, USA

problem #4

Feb 162007


  • 28,000 miles
When coming to a stop my 4runner will make a clunk noise as if I was rear ended. It has done this since I have owned the trunk. Taking it to dealer, they said that it is normal, just the transmission is downshifting.

- Houston , TX, USA

problem #3

Nov 012009


  • 45,000 miles


While driving in cruise control, and foot completely off of the gas pedal. The car will suddenly surge ahead in what feels like going into passing gear. It does this at various times. And without any warning. Slamming on the brake seems to stop it.

- Winthrop Harbor, IL, USA

problem #2

Sep 102006


  • 35,000 miles
I have a 2004 toy 4-runner, V-8 all wheel drive that I am generally satisfied with, but there is one issue that is frightening. When I come to an abrupt stop there is a forward lunge that feels like I have been hit from behind. The vehicle lunges forward the brakes do not always contain this forward motion. I have narrowly adverted hitting the car in front of me several times. This is obviously a safety issue that frankly scares the !@#$% out of me.

- Johnsburg, IL, USA

problem #1

Oct 072006

4Runner 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 13,000 miles
I have a 2004 limited 4runner Toyota, all wheel drive, with V8. After about 20 thousand miles, my vehicle began making a very loud noise when coming to a stop, while simultaneously surging forward like I was rear ended. This noise also has a distinct metallic sound and jarring vibration each and every time. If the brake is not presses firmly, the car will lounge forward. This noise and "clanking" also occurs when lifting my foot off of the brake when the car was stopped and not in neutral. I first reported this problem to Toyota about a year ago and they said that it was a lubrication and maintenance issue. The tried to charge me 500 dollars for a four-wheel drive service. When I protested that this was not in the manual, they admitted that they lubricated the propeller shaft and that they wouldn't charge this time. Toyota invoice # W55722. Well, that eliminated about 90 percent of the problem, but the "clank" came back in about a month. I have recently read that all limited edition 4runners from 03-06 have this clanking problem, in addition to the Lexus gx-470, that shares the same driveshaft. However, Lexus is fixing the problem while Toyota is playing stupid and saying that it is normal. Can you please force Toyota to fix my vehicle in the same manner that Lexus is? please see this internet link to understand that this is a serious problem:

- Mclean, VA, USA

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