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 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
23,434 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.

2009 Toyota 4Runner electrical problems

electrical problem

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2009 Toyota 4Runner Owner Comments

problem #4

Aug 212013

4Runner 6-cyl

  • 67,237 miles


When my wife stepped on the gas to pull into a parking spot, the 4runner just lurched forward into a fence. Luckily no one was in front of the 4runner. The bumper and fence was damaged. She is now very scared to drive the 4runner.

- Pueblo West, CO, USA

problem #3

Sep 012009

4Runner 6-cyl

  • 1 miles
I purchased my 2009 4runner new last year. From the minute I drove it off the lot I noticed a problem with the transmission. Any time the vehicle slows below 15mph and then the accelerator is depressed, the engine revs to a high RPM as if searching for a gear and does not accelerate as commanded. This is very prevalent in slow traffic, slowing for a yield sign or turning corners. The biggest safety concern is in slippery road conditions. When the vehicle finally does find a gear to shift into, it lurches forward. The shifting into gear from a high RPM on slick surfaces could cause the wheels to spin out. I almost experienced a loss of control of the vehicle because of this. I've brought it in to get repaired at the dealership twice. All they do is flash the ECM and the problem persists. Most importantly, Toyota has acknowledged this exact same problem on the 2010 model by issuing a tsb. (tsb-0166-10) from reading several Toyota 4runner forums, this tsb fixes the problem. Please put pressure on Toyota to issue a fix for the 2009 model before someone gets injured or killed.

- Newnan, GA, USA

problem #2

Sep 152010


  • 3,500 miles
I am filing this, my second, complaint about my 2009 Toyota 4runner. My first complaint was filed in February 2010. I complained to my dealership about the problem since right after purchasing the 4runner which we bought brand new in May 2009. The problem occurred when slowing down to turn corners to about 15 mph, and then stepping on the accelerator to speed up, the car revs, sometimes 2500-3000 rpms before the transmission engages and we lurch forward. Now, 17 months later and many trips and E-mails to my dealership, who can't get a response from Toyota that makes sense, and my 4runner still exhibits the same problem. My husband had a kidney transplant in August 2009, which requires travel to a big city about 90 miles from home several times a month, that has heavy traffic flow. Last week, I had to make a quick acceleration to merge into oncoming traffic, and for the first time, the 4runner actually did the same think it does on turns. When I stepped on the gas to merge into oncoming traffic, the 4runner just revved for a few seconds and then lurched forward into traffic. Luckily no accident resulted, but we were very scared. I participate in forums on different car sites and there are many, many of us having the exact problems and yet Toyota has no answer or puts us off with some lame explanations or worse, tells us that is just the was the 4runner is because of the computer. My dealership has reset the computer and did not remedy the problem. I am reporting this newest incident for documentation in case this problem actually causes an accident, my complaint will be on file. Thank you

- Beaumont, TX, USA

problem #1

Jun 182010


  • 23,000 miles
My granddaughter was driving a 2009 that I bought her for graduation in May 2010. In June 2010 she and some friends were driving and a fire started in the console area. There were flames and smoke. They stopped the car, went up to someone's house and got water to pour into the car and put out the fire out. If they hadn't been quick thinking, the car would be toast. Also, if they had wrecked and could not get out of the car, they would have had severe burns or death. We want the car fixed under warranty rather than our insurance. It was several weeks before Toyota finally hired an independent engineering firm to determine the cause and we still don't have a solution. The car has been at the dealer almost 2 months.

- Owensboro, KY, USA

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