really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
152,350 miles
Total Complaints:
25 complaints

Most common solutions:

  1. not sure (12 reports)
  2. recall/replace frame (11 reports)
  3. need sandblasting and strips of steel welded over holes (1 reports)
  4. recall (1 reports)
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problem #25

Sep 152019

4Runner SR5 4.7L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 95,691 miles

I went to my local mechanic for a yearly inspection. Frame is over rusted and falling apart at multiple places and cracked. My vehicle is unsafe and needs repairs and does not pass inspection. The damage are worth over $2000.

- Maxime D., Saint-François, NB, Canada

problem #24

Aug 202018

4Runner Limited 4.7L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 235,000 miles

Frame is rusted to where its unsafe to drive. Toyota denies knowing about it despite recalling similar models. Only way we will get recall is if you file your complaint on NHTSA.com

There is an investigation under way! The more complaints, info, and pics the better we will all come out. Report your complaints now! Dont wait hopefully they will speed up and conclude their investigation making toyota recall the 4runner frames. Act Now! It's up to us to make it happen!

- mcguyver , Kindred, US

problem #23

Jul 012015

4Runner Limited 4.7p

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

I am so disappointed! I considered Toyota a quality product, this is our third Toyota, was going to buy two more. Took my 2003 4Runner in for new exhaust, they refused to put it on a lift due to sever frame rust passenger side. I bought a Chevy this time around, not sure what to replace my wife’s 4Runner yet.

- Gerald K., Bethel, MN, US

problem #22

Jan 012019

4Runner LX V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles

We have 5 Toyota vehicles. Most have been okay. The frame and undercarriage on this vehicle is rusted beyond belief. It is really scary. The motor would run forever, that is why we bought it, but the rust may take down this vehicle, or cause loss in an accident. So disappointed.

- Cynthia W., Stillwater, MN, US

problem #21

Dec 192016

4Runner V8 5L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 179,957 miles

Back hatch wouldn't open. Dealership said I had to take it to a body shop. It was rusted shut. Now I have a rusted rear frame and my 4runner is unsafe to drive. Dealership said I have to have it towed from lot. CANNOT DRIVE IT.

- Kimberly D., Sugar Grove, US

problem #20

Apr 012016

4Runner Limited 4.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 114,954 miles

My 2003 4Runner has significant corrosion on the frame and under the truck, including steering components and front end parts. Also, about 4 months ago while driving on the highway, my gas tank fell out causing the vehicle to stall out obviously and putting me in a dangerous situation. The gas tank straps and skid plate rotted out and broke while driving. I oil spray this vehicle every year before the winter and it is still rotting way!

- tonysrotties, Hamilton, ON, Canada

problem #19

Apr 082019

4Runner Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 255,089 miles

My 2003 Toyota 4Runner Failed State Inspection today for the first time ever due to Extreme Frame Rust. The vehicle is totally unsafe to drive because of rusted out holes in the metal frame. Yes, if I drove over large pothole or involve in a collision, this vehicle would separate in pieces and not to mention what level of bodily harm you would sustain. Even though my odometer reads 255,000+ miles, the engine seems to be able to run another 200,000 plus miles with no electrical or mechanical issues and body looks fantastic for the year. On-the-hand vehicle frame below is in horrible condition, with holes rusted through the metal and no signs of any under coat paint protection (hate to lose such a wonderful vehicle). Please add my vehicle and safety concerns to the list of other 4th Generation Toyota 4Runners owners facing the same frame rust issue.


problem #18

Mar 102019

4Runner SR5 4L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 92,000 miles

I really wish the 4 Runner class action suit included the 2003 year. The rust was very significant even 15,000 miles ago. Now my mechanic has deemed it unsafe to drive with only 92,000 miles on it.

- Glenn T., Jacksonville, US

problem #17

Aug 102018

4Runner Limited 4.0L V6 4wd

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

Frame rot is really bad. If they ever want to make a movie about a truck, make sure Tom Hanks plays me. We can call it the Money Pit - Truck Edition.

- Larry S., West Babylon, NY, US

problem #16

Oct 262018

4Runner Limited 4.7L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 197,000 miles

Toyota knows about this problem. Why is there no recall for the frame of the 4runners? Other Toyota frames have been recalled/replaced. Why not for the 4runners? I believe that Toyota is using the same steel on the 4runner frames as on the frames that have been recalled already. This makes no sense whatsoever! Someone please help!!!!!!

- Bill V., Pottstown, PA, US

problem #15

Jun 082016

4Runner Sport V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 115,000 miles

Car frame is now getting scary to look at and not safe to drive.. Fear of life..

- Noel S., Rockaway, US

problem #14

Jan 012014

4Runner Limited V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

Toyota needs to address this as it did the Tacoma and other vehicles. Needs a recall.

This is a serious problem which could result in catastrophic results.

- Michael R., Vienna, US

problem #13

Jan 012019

4Runner SR5 4.0L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 167,000 miles

Frame rusted with holes. Will never own another Toyota

- Chuck B., Doylestown, OH, US

problem #12

Feb 092018

4Runner Sport V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 237,450 miles

I purchased my 2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport brand new and it has NEVER given me an issue mechanically. Judging by the mileage I have put on the vehicle, clearly I have driven it. The body also remains MINT, courtesy of good care and a garage. The only service I have had to do on the SUV is routine maintenance: brakes, oil changes, tires, wipers.

Upon taking my SUV to my local Toyota dealership for an oil change in February 2018, I was informed by one of the head managers who had my SUV on a lift that the "vehicle is unsafe to drive. Frame is rotted out from body and suspension mounts." (I have the service invoice and will upload it along with some pictures if I can ever get the SUV on a lift again.) Needless to say, I was shocked given this was never mentioned to me during past service visits. In fact, it wasn't even mentioned as a possible future risk, which is more disappointing in light of past recalls on other Toyota models -- namely the Tundra and Tacoma -- that also had extensive rot on the frames and suspension. Why wasn't the 4Runner recalled as well,since it was manufactured with the same frame as the Tundra?? Who makes these decisions and who decided to pass on a 4Runner recall?? This is clearly a SAFETY ISSUE.

Nevertheless, I decided to continue driving my SUV because, once again, it has never given me an issue mechanically, it runs like a TOP, and quite frankly I can't well afford to purchase a new vehicle right now. Plus, I guess I didn't want to believe that the rust was so bad that I actually had to refrain from driving the vehicle. I have never had such news before and was not aware that something like this could even HAPPEN to a vehicle. But if the manufacturers were aware, then it should have been their duty and responsibility to do something about it for their customers.

Well, in hindsight, continuing to drive the SUV probably wasn't a great decision. Clearly, I survived what happened given I am typing this letter, so that is a true blessing from above. However, I was almost in a fatal accident on none other than the day of my son's birthday party when I was transferring him and a couple of his friends to an amusement park for a celebration. There was construction on the highway and I began to slow down (thankfully) as we were approaching a sign that read "bump" where the construction team was working to widen and pave the highway. I took the bump at what I thought was a slow enough speed only to have the entire back end of my SUV swerve as if it going in a totally different direction from the front end and then back again and just missing one car and a tractor trailer on either side. The kids even all exclaimed "WHOA!!!"

Long story short, I was very cautious on the drive home, sensing damage given the back end felt out of line with the front, particularly around turns and when switching lanes on the highway. Two days later, as I was driving to my local train station to get to work, I heard something snap as I drove over an uneven road. The back end of my SUV felt even more out of line now. The next day I took the day off from work -- which is not easy to do as a single mom -- and brought the truck to a local Midas dealer because I was fearful to travel the distance to my usual Toyota dealer. The mechanics put my SUV on a "ride on" lift instead of a regular lift after I explained my recent experiences with the vehicle and because they were fearful of causing more damage to it. They looked at me and said "you're lucky you're alive." The frame is SPLIT APART in front of my rear driver-side tire and is hanging on by a thread in at least two other areas of the frame on the OPPOSITE, or passenger side. The corrosion continues all along the entire frame -- and I don't mean simply surface rust. The entire frame is about to break apart and the SUV is completely unusable now. One more bump and I wouldn't have been able to type this letter.

I think it's time for a recall. NOW. This has been years in the making and Toyota has conveniently ignored it. There are LIVES at stake here and many of them are likely children. Everyone knows that most people who own SUVs do so BECAUSE they have children and BECAUSE they feel safer driving a bigger vehicle when they are chaperoning children. Do people have to die before Toyota realizes the severity of this?? I couldn't sell my SUV to anyone with good conscience knowing what I know of it right now. Toyota should take the same approach, own this serious defect, and make good on it. It's like knowing of a bad intersection and not putting up a traffic light to avoid accidents. Let's not wait until somebody dies before putting up the traffic light. FIX THIS NOW.

- Theresa S., Ridgefield, US

problem #11

Dec 162017

4Runner SR5 4 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 131,404 miles

I'm a Toyota Certified Master Technician and have been working on Toyotas for 40+ years. I bought my 4-Runner new in 2003. It has excessive rust on the frame. In places it has rusted through. It would not pass the frame inspection used for the Tacoma. Also, the rear axle housing is badly rusted. It's not dangerous yet, but will be soon. The 4-Runner should be recalled for these problems and the frames replaced.

Update from Aug 28, 2018: I'm a Toyota Certified Master Technician and have worked on Toyotas for 40+ years. I bought my 4-Runner new in 2003. It has excessive rust on the frame. In places, it has rusted through. It would not pass the frame inspection used for the Tacoma truck. Also, the rear axle housing is badly rusted. It is not dangerous yet, but will be soon. The 4-Runner should be recalled for these problems. The frames should be replaced to fix the problems.

- Debbie R., Columbia, MO, US

problem #10

Aug 012018

4Runner Sport 4.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

First off I want to say I love this car, it’s very reliable until I found out that my frame is rusted through. The section of the frame where the AC drain hose drips has holes through it from rust and corrosion. This could be a design flaw. My front tow hooks fell off, the whole section is rusted out. I discovered this while changing my oil, and I don’t think the vehicle is safe to drive because the section of the frame is rusted through. Toyota needs to honor the frame replacement recall on the 4Runners because this is a safety concern and it was addressed in the Tacoma and Sequoia. If the 4Runner uses the same chassis, why was it left out of the recall Toyota?

- Mahesh R., Queens, US

problem #9

Aug 212018

4Runner LS V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 134,000 miles

My 2003 4Runner has excessive frame rust near the rear wheel axle area. It also has excessive rust on the radiator support.

- Larry P., Chillicothe, OH, US

problem #8

May 212018

4Runner Limited 4.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 220,065 miles

click to see larger images

excessive rust/corrosion excessive rust/corrosion excessive rust/corrosion

2003 4Runner and frame is all rusted. I don't feel safe having this vehicle!

- bananacooler, Virginia Beach, US

problem #7

Aug 252016

4Runner Limited V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 144,580 miles

This is a well documented problem: severe body rust on 2003 4 Runners, even if well cared for. The Toyota dealer told me the car is unsafe to drive. The 4 Runner should be included in the settlement that Toyota is making for the Tacoma and Tundra frames that have had the same condition. My understanding is that the Tacoma has the same frame with the same issues, so the 4 Runner should certainly be included in the 2016 settlement.

- nnoyes, Concord, MA, US

problem #6

Jan 012012

4Runner V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

Had to have frame welded in many areas. In addition my spare tire fell from its hoist when the winch gave way, exhaust hanger gave out, brake lines needed replacing. Frame is totally rusted and I believe is a danger. I believe the engine mounts will give out soon.

- Eric S., Tenants Harbor, ME, US

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