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.


definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
37,314 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.

2008 Toyota 4Runner drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2008 Toyota 4Runner Owner Comments

problem #7

Jan 032014

4Runner 6-cyl

  • 65,000 miles


Won't engage in four wheel drive 4 wheel drive.the 4 wheel drive indicator light kept flashing along with the wheel stabilizer indicator. Driving in snow, steering became very unstable. Vehicle has extended warranty which dealer seems to refuse to honor. Staten island Toyota service claims someone emptied fluid from transfer one has done work on car and no oil leakage ever evident in my was in driveway for several days before moving that evening. Rarely driven in 4H position for gas purposes, and 99.9% of the time the car is driven on paved roadways. Seems the dealer isn't willing to honor the extended warranty on the vehicle and has managed to right up the service call to cover Toyota's butt. They now want an additional $500. To drop transfer case. I am not feeling very trusting of the service center since. I have paid $200 already to diagnosis the problem. I would think they dropped the case already to diagnose the problem. Now staten island Toyota service center wants $500 from me to drop the transfer case for Toyota headquarters so maybe they can what ?? possibly null and void warranty. They are requesting $4,000 to do the job. I have taken it to a private independent mechanic I trust. This vehicle isn't abused im a 62 year old women who bought the car because I have a dog and needed cargo space.

- Staten Island, NY, USA

problem #6

Aug 122013

4Runner 8-cyl

  • 104,000 miles
After having timing belt replaced by Toyota dealer bob tyler of pensacola, Florida; while driving belt came apart leading to loss of power, control, and making emergency stop. Toyota feels that failure is normal in less than 6 months.

- Mobile, AL, USA

problem #5

May 012013

4Runner 6-cyl

  • miles
2008 Toyota 4 runner. Consumer writes in regards to transmission repairs and seeks reimbursement. According to the invoice, the thrust bearing behind the front planetary failed and damaged the front planetary gear. The damage from the planetary contaminated the unit with metal, causing the need for the torque converter and electronics to be replaced.

- Montrose, CO, USA

problem #4

Oct 012012


  • 18,000 miles


There is corrosion in the frame and drive-train components. There is pitting, rusting throughout the frame undercarriage and the suspension and differential components. This barely 4yr old vehicle is a southern vehicle. Regardless, this corrosion is a safety issue in any vehicle let alone in a 4runner with a service inception date of 11/30/2008 with 19K miles. This is totally irresponsible of the manufacturer and they claim it is not covered by warranty. Yes, it (should be) covered by warranty and more importantly it is manufacturer's liability to correct safety/quality issue.

- Jackson, TN, USA

problem #3

Mar 092012

4Runner 6-cyl

  • 59,000 miles
When engaging drive from reverse there is a delay of 3-5 seconds and a thump when it finally engages drive. This happens frequently and has caused some scares were my wife thought the car engaged drive, pressed on the accelerator, car did not move and then suddenly car jumping forward since she had applied gas thinking the vehicle had engaged drive. Took to dealer explained issue and what I have read online with similar issues with other peoples vehicles, they wanted to charge $119.99 to simply diagnose the issue, even after showing them the numerous complaints I printed from the internet.

- Mt Laurel, NJ, USA

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problem #2

Apr 032009


  • 3,200 miles
I own a 2008 Toyota 4runner SR5. I purchased it new from my local Toyota dealer in November, 2008. By the spring of 2009 I noticed a sporadically occurring delay in the automatic transmission while switching from reverse to drive, lasting approximately 5 to 8 seconds. This would happen right after switching from R(reverse) to D (drive). My car is still under warranty, I have taken the car back to the dealership several times. They are unable to determine the cause. This problem occurs quite frequently. The dealership service department acknowledged that they would/could not do anything under warranty without getting the car to repeat the problem. I left my car for overnight with the dealership several times but they were unable to resolve this problem. I am frustrated by my experience and would like to have the problem resolved so I can drive with the peace of mind knowing that my car is safe. To date, no repairs or parts replacements of any kind have been made by Toyota to correct the problem. I also discovered an online Toyota 4runner forum ( in which other Toyota 4runner owners shared the same experience.

- Irvine, CA, USA

problem #1

Jul 172009


  • 12,000 miles
While stopped in traffic, when you remove the foot from the brake pedal and before you step on the gas, at times the car makes a thumping sound which you can feel. Possibly transmission. Dealer says no problem and cant recreate the thumping. It continues to this day.

- Gaithersburg, MD, USA

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