The Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) is an office within the NHTSA which investigates serious safety problems in the design, construction or performance of vehicles. The NHTSA is authorized to order manufacturers to recall and repair vehicles, if the ODI finds a safety issue. NHTSA investigations for the 2003 Toyota 4Runner, both ongoing and closed, are listed below:

  1. INVESTIGATION: Unintended and Uncontrolled Acceleration

    NHTSA Defect Investigation #RQ10003

    Component(s): Electrical System: Software
    Vehicle Speed Control:Accelerator Pedal

    Summary: On February 16, 2010, NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened RQ10-003 to determine whether the scope of prior Toyota recalls relating to potential unintended acceleration were sufficiently broad, including, among others, Toyota recalls 07E-082, 09V-388, 10V-017, and 10V-023.NHTSA also requested information regarding potential electronic causes of unintended acceleration in Toyota and Lexus vehicles.I. Pedal Interference from Floor mats, Carpet Covers and Plastic Pads in Carpets.During the RQ10-003 investigation, ODI reviewed a large volume of documents to assess whether additional vehicles should be recalled.Following the agency's analysis, NHTSA requested that Toyota recall additional vehicles.Toyota complied with the agency's request.The details of these recalls are set forth more fully in Toyota's reports to NHTSA pursuant to 49 CFR Part 573.These recalls are as follows:Recall 11V-112: (1) model year (MY) 2004-2006 Toyota Highlander and Highlander Hybrid; and, (2) MY 2004-2007 Lexus RX330, RX350, and RX400h (hybrid model). The total estimated population under this recall is 769,379 vehicles.This recall remedies potential accelerator pedal entrapment caused by a loose floor carpet cover (trim panel). Recall 11V-113: (1) MY 2003-2009 through 2009 Toyota 4Runner; (2) MY 2006-2010 Toyota RAV4; and, (3) MY 2008-2011 Lexus LX570.The total estimated population under this recall is 1,381,000 vehicles.This recall supplements recall 09V-388 and remedies potential accelerator pedal entrapment by an unsecured floor mat.Recall 11V-115: (1) MY 2006-2007 Lexus GS300 (all wheel drive vehicles); and, (2) MY 2006-2007 Lexus GS350 (all wheel drive vehicles). The total estimated population under this recall is 19,647 vehicles.This recall remedies potential accelerator pedal entrapment caused by inadequate clearance between the pedal linkage and a plastic pad embedded in the vehicle's carpet.II. Potential Electronic Causes of Unintended Acceleration.After NHTSA opened RQ10-003, NHTSA launched a ten-month study of potential electronic causes of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles.NHTSA launched the study in the spring of 2010 in light of concerns aired in Congressional hearings.NHTSA enlisted engineers at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) with expertise in areas such as computer controlled electronic systems, electromagnetic interference and software integrity to assess whether electronic systems or electromagnetic interference played a role in incidents of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles.That study has concluded.Two reports are associated with the study and are available on NHTSA's website.NASA's report is entitled "Technical Support to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on the Reported Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) Unintended Acceleration (UA) Investigation, " NESC Assessment No. TI-10-00618 (Jan. 18, 2011).NHTSA's report is entitled "Technical Assessment of Toyota Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) Systems" (Feb. 2011).Both reports should be read in conjunction with each other. As stated in its report, NASA did not find an electronic cause of large throttle openings that can result in unintended acceleration incidents. NHTSA did not find a vehicle-based cause of unintended acceleration incidents other than the physical pedal interference causes that are being addressed by Toyota's recalls. This RQ is closed.

  2. INVESTIGATION: Frame Corrosion

    NHTSA Defect Investigation #DP18002

    • Status:
    • Date Opened: August 17, 2018
    • Date Closed: N/A
    • Recall: No recall yet

    Component(s): Structure:Frame And Members

    Summary: On August 13, 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) received a letter dated August 7, 2018, petitioning the Agency to investigate frame corrosion in model year (MY) 2002 through 2006 Toyota 4Runner vehicles. The Petitioner alleges that while he was traveling on a two-lane highway in his 2005 4Runner "without warning, the steering/suspension system separated from the frame due to excessive frame corrosion, " resulting in difficulty controlling the vehicle. The Petitioner initially reported the failure to NHTSA in a May 26, 2018 complaint (VOQ 11098055). The petition alleges that the incident he experienced resulted from excessive and premature corrosion and cites as evidence: 1) other complaints of "premature and excessive frame corrosion" in 2002 through 2006 4Runner vehicles that he identified in NHTSA's on-line complaint database; and 2) a recent class-action settlement involving "1.5 million Tacoma, Tundra and Sequoia trucks also built on a frame, " which he alleges did not include the 4Runner vehicles "simply because there were insufficient complaints known to the counsel representing the class at the time it was formed."The petition scope includes third (MY 1996-2002) and fourth (MY 2003-2009) generation Toyota 4Runner vehicles. A preliminary analysis of available complaints and field reports by NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has identified no crashes or injuries related to corroded frame or suspension components in these vehicles.ODI will evaluate the petition for a grant or deny decision.