really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
88,595 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

The NHTSA is the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints can be spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem. See the Back button — blue bar at the very top of the page — to explore more.

Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2003 Toyota 4Runner:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #55

Oct 182018


  • miles
The frame on my 2003 4runner is completely rusted beyond what is reasonable and safe. I purchased the 4runner new and now I have been told by several auto repair shops the frame is not safe to drive. Some shops refuse to put the 4runner on a lift in fear the frame will break. This is a serious issue and I fear for the safety of my family. I feel this rust issue is the fault of Toyota to not prep the frame to resist corrosion.

- Hudson, OH, USA

problem #54

Oct 182018


  • miles
The frame on my 2003 4runner is completely rusted beyond what is reasonable and safe. I purchased the 4runner new and now I have been told by several auto repair shops the frame is not safe to drive. Some shops refuse to put the 4runner on a lift in fear the frame will break. This is a serious issue and I fear for the safety of my family. I feel this rust issue is the fault of Toyota to not prep the frame to resist corrosion.

- Hudson, OH, USA

problem #53

Apr 292019


  • 165,000 miles
Had this vehicle for 4 months. Low owner count, and 160K miles with good maintenance history. Noticed a slight sway at times on the road, suspected tires and/or alignment. After replacing and servicing it, it was discovered the frame is rotted out extremely bad from front to back. The passenger side frame rail is completely open on the bottom from corrosion, causing stability issues and now the vehicle is unsafe to drive.

- Bastrop, LA, USA

problem #52

Apr 072019


  • 172,000 miles
The frame of my vehicle is extremely rusted for it's age. Every component attached to the frame is overly rusted as well. It is spreading like a virus throughout the under body. I am becoming increasingly concerned about hauling, towing, or even driving my vehicle due to this rust. With only 172,000 miles, this should not be occurring. I have been keeping it in a garage for the past 5 years but as the 2nd owner it's probably too little, too late. Toyota should recall these vehicles as they did some other models.

- Independence, KY, USA

problem #51

Mar 052017


  • miles
Excessive amount of frame rust for a car that has been garage stored in mild vancouver bc climate. Frame is exact same as Toyota Tacoma which have known frame rust and frame rot, but not covered under the frame recall from Toyota

- Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #50

Mar 252019


  • 160,200 miles
Structural rust to frame. Cracks and holes at welds and attachment points of suspension and steering. Frame is disintegrating under the truck, complete structural failure is imminent.

- Tuckerton, NJ, USA

problem #49

Oct 112018


  • miles
Excessive frame rust preventing it from passing inspection

- Providence, RI, USA

problem #48

Feb 112019


  • 125,000 miles
Frame is rusting through where "front clip" joins side rails. Found during normal vehicle service. Vehicle deemed "safe" to use at present, but the frame will fail in the future. Vehicle was purchased new, one owner, garaged, approximately 125,000 miles, all street miles, never off-roaded.

- Medfield, MA, USA

problem #47

Feb 162019


  • 185,000 miles
"takata recall". so I'm not understanding a problem with my Toyota 4runner. As of yesterday there was a great amount of smoke coming from the area of the oil stick from my assumption the oil was getting on the Cadillac converter. Or something that would hit something hot on the engine to cause it to smoke I'm trying to find out if there is a recall for that.

- Beaumont, TX, USA

problem #46

Jan 242019


  • 176,654 miles
Vehicle was maintained at a Toyota dealership for over a decade before being informed that vehicle is unsafe to drive due to holes forming throughout the entire frame assembly from corrosion. Further research showes the frame of this vehicle resembles that of the Toyota Tacoma and Tundra models which where recalled due to early and unsafe corrosion leading to components to detach from frame while vehicle is in motion which can lead to serious life hazard. Frame and vehicle were also manufactured in Ohio dana company which is the supplier of the recalled frames used in the Toyota Tundra and Tacoma's.

- Brookpark, OH, USA

problem #45

Dec 042018


  • miles
Frame is rotting apart. Several holes and cracks

- Niles, IL, USA

problem #44

Jan 222019


  • miles
The frame is rusted out and the rear suspension mounting brackets are starting to look like potato chips. Also noticed steering components are severally rusted.

- Cottage Grove, WI, USA

problem #43

Nov 012018


  • 79,000 miles
My 2003 Toyota 4runner only has 79,000 miles on it and the frame has prematurely rusted with large holes throughout. The coupling between the steering shaft and the rack and pinion is completely rotted. The steering shaft was almost completely rusted through causing faulty steering. My mechanic has deemed the car unsafe to drive.

- New Hyde Park, NY, USA

problem #42

Jan 052019


  • 194,000 miles
Frame is very rusted and I feel it may becoming unsafe to drive. I recently had a recall on my 2006 Toyota Tacoma due to rust and the frame was replaced. My 2003 Toyota 4runner has more rust than the Tacoma did and would expect that it should also be recalled as was the Tacoma for the extensive rust.

- Trempealeau, WI, USA

problem #41

Sep 022018


  • 210,000 miles
Frame rusted recall : I am the original owner of this 4runner and I am told that I cannot pass inspection because the frame is rusted out. There are a number of areas of the frame that has holes rusted out and I feel the saftey of the vehicle is very much jeopardised now and Toyota should recall the frame or give a credit towards a new Toyota 4 runner. I would be interested in that. I can upload pictures of my frame if necessary. I created a Toyota customer compliant record a few years ago and was told that Toyota rejected being responsible. Seems very unfair that Toyota is replacing frames from Tacoma, Tundra and sequioas around the same year as my 4runner and they say they are not responsible for my 4runner and anyone else's as well.. I can provide this Toyota compliant # if needed.

- Salem, NH, USA

problem #40

Nov 202018


  • 104,000 miles
Extreme rust/rot throughout my 2003 4runner frame. The body, interior, powertrain are 8.5 out of 10 the frame is a 0 I live in new england and recently purchased the 03 4runner SR5 based off it looks. I drove the 4runner of about a month before the incident happened. I was driving on a typical new england road, fairly smooth with pot holes here and there going approximately 45 M.P.H.. without any warning the 4runner sent the front of the truck hard left and the rear of the truck to the right. The tires were screeching and I was sent sideways into oncoming traffic narrowing missing cars and pedestrians in the area. I got the truck to "crab walk" back across the road into a parking out and called a tow truck. When we got the truck home the tow truck driver and I took a look under the truck to see what went wrong. The right rear control arm mount had completely separated from the frame. With the truck on ththe ground I was able to roll the rear right wheel forward and backwards about 5 inches without the vehicle moving at all. I then got under the truck and saw that the cross member under the transmission had rusted away and and what not in contact with the driver side of the truck. Also I could push holes in the the frame with my fingers around the driver/ front passenger doors. I have not driven the 4runner since and I dont have 8K+ to pay a shop to replace a frame. Toyota needs to step up and take care of its customers before someone gets killed

- West Haven, CT, USA

problem #39

Dec 202018


  • 100,000 miles
Car was running perfectly. Brakes were services 6 months ago. Traveled from nc to fl for holiday. Started car maintenance light went on showed air bag indicator light with ear piercing buzzer. Went to drive car to Toyota service department and had no brakes. They would work slightly but to dangerous to drive. Did not have brakes

- Wilmington, NC, USA

problem #38

Dec 152018


  • miles
I purchased my 2003 4runner brand new. The vehicle has 70,000 original miles. Never in an accident. The truck is garaged. Always maintained by Toyota. Not a scratch on the truck. Interior looks brand new. However the frame has excessive rust. Found a few spots that will eventually needs to be addressed. Toyota needs to step up and fix the rust problems

- West Babylon, NY, USA

problem #37

Dec 142018


  • 217 miles
I have had this vehicle for many years and I "know" it. I noticed that he steering wheel had a vibration albeit slight, this was something new as well as a noise I could hear under the car. I brought it home complained to my husband - he looked under the car & was appalled - the frame is so rusted he was able to stick his finger through the failing frame! I am afraid this vehicle will kill me! what if it decides to completely break at an axle or part of the undercarriage. Do I drive it and take the chance of getting hurt or killed before someone will order a recall. We can send photos if necessary as this will most certainly add validity to the concern.

- Georgetown, KY, USA

problem #36

Dec 022018


  • 161,790 miles
Frame rusting out

- Elkhart, IN, USA

Read the next 20 complaints »