Whether you buy the latest model or an older model, the Toyota 4Runner’s excellent expected reliability makes it a worthwhile investment. Although it is a great vehicle you should know the common faults of the Toyota 4Runner .
This motor vehicle has excellent off-road capabilities and advanced features that make it a great everyday machine. You can count on a smooth drive with this reliable, high-performance SUV.
How good are Toyota 4Runners?
The Toyota 4Runner has scored highly in all major reliability ratings. In the renowned blogs and forums in the automotive sector, this vehicle scores 4.0 out of 5.0, ranking it 9th out of 26 in the mid-size SUV segment.
The 2020 Toyota 4Runner also received a reliability rating of 82 out of 100, earning it fourth place in its category. It also has high resale value , with a rating of 94 out of 100. With proper maintenance and careful use, a 4Runner can last well beyond its estimated useful life.
Common Toyota 4Runner Failures
Despite its reliability, the Toyota 4Runner has its share of problems. Listed below are the most commonly reported issues for different 4Runner models:
1- Problems with the brake system
The 2017 model has quite a few braking problems , in fact it is one of the common failures of the Toyota 4Runner. Many owners have reported temporary failures where the brakes lock up for a short period on one side of the SUV. Similar issues were reported on newer 4Runners such as the 2014 and 2015 model years.
Braking issues are also notorious on fourth-generation 4Runners, especially the 2003-2005 model years. Many owners have complained of front brake caliper and front brake problems, warping issues, and premature wear on the front brake rotor and brake master cylinder.
2- Faults in the automatic transmission
Automatic transmission problems are common on Toyota 4Runner models from 1990 to 2016. Many owners have reported that their SUV reverts to manual shifts, won’t shift into overdrive, or won’t shift into drive on initial start-up. Most of these problems lead to a loss of power and rough gear shifting .
The automatic transmission may not shift properly after 25,000 to 150,000 miles due to a shift solenoid that needs to be replaced or a faulty throttle position sensor. Most of the time, a full overhaul is not necessary to resolve the issue.
3- Failure in the Toyota 4Runner airbag
Toyota recalled more than 900,000 vehicles in 2019 to replace high-risk airbags, and the 2015 Toyota 4Runner was one of them. The model had potentially defective frontal airbag inflators, which can explode or fail to deploy during an accident.
Either way this type of failure can cause serious injury . So if you’re planning on getting a 2015 4Runner, make sure this problem has already been fixed.
4- Corroded solenoid contacts in the starter motor
This is a common problem on third and fourth generation Toyota 4Runners. Corroded solenoid contacts can cause the SUV to stop suddenly or refuse to start.
Many owners have reported that the ignition key and starter make unusual sounds when trying to start the vehicle. Most were able to resolve this problem by replacing the faulty starter. Starter solenoid replacement can cost anywhere from $50 to $200, plus labor costs.
5- Failure of the carbon cartridge
When the carbon canister purge control solenoid valve fails, it can cause emission control problems that will activate the check engine light. This could result in debris entering the evaporative emission (EVAP) system and cause emission control problems.
This issue is common on 4th generation 4runners i.e. model years 2004-2005 and 2009. 4Runner owners who experienced this issue had to replace their worn canister to fix it.
A steam canister replacement can cost around $250 to $450 plus labor costs. A steam canister purge solenoid can also be the reason behind this problem, and a replacement can cost around $60 to $100 plus labor costs.
6- Rust/Corrosion and Body/Paint Problems
Rust and corrosion have been a big problem for most fourth-generation Toyota 4Runners, and they typically get around 154,000 miles. Many owners have reported that although their 2003 Toyota 4Runner has performed well for years, a trip to the mechanic revealed that their vehicle had a severely corroded frame and suspension.
Meanwhile, severe rust on the chassis is one of the common failures of the 2005 Toyota 4Runner. Owners have been informed that their SUV was unsafe to drive because its underbody had been badly corroded. Due to the volume of complaints, Toyota has recalled and replaced the affected parts for this model. These body/paint issues can cost up to $1,800 to repair, plus labor costs.
7- Cracked or melted board
A sticky, melted, or cracked dashboard is another common 2004 Toyota 4Runner failure . This problem came up a lot for this specific model. Many homeowners have complained that their dashboards have melted in the hot sun, forming a sticky, shiny substance instead of the plastic.
Cosmetic concerns aside, a melted dashboard or dashboard could prevent airbag deployment in the event of an accident. Owners have also reported that the goo reflects an intense glare that could temporarily blind them and create dangerous driving situations. As a result, Toyota recalled the affected vehicles and reimbursed owners who had already paid to have their dashboard repaired.
8- Failure in the air flow sensor
Owners of 1996 to 2002 4Runners have reported this issue, although there have been similar complaints on 2012 models. Most complained of random misfires, hesitation, poor acceleration, buckling, stalling, and generally being rough. poor engine performance . When they took their SUV in for repair, the problem was caused by a faulty air mass sensor.
This problem is usually resolved by cleaning the sensor or replacing it with a new one. Replacement of the air mass sensor can cost between $20 and $250, plus labor costs.
As long as you’re aware of the potential problems with the particular Toyota 4Runner model you’re planning to buy, choosing this SUV should come with little risk. If you want to buy a used 4Runner, look up the most common problems for the model you’re interested in. Make sure the seller has taken care of any issues before closing the deal.