The 4Runner is among the best off-road-ready SUVs in this price range. Despite retaining a body-on-frame construction, the 4Runner rides better than some car-based SUVs. While its cabin is very roomy and quiet, the 4Runner doesn't provide the nimble, carlike handling of car-based models. Still, it is sound and secure. Side- and curtain-airbags are standard.
Alerts
There are 3 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Reliability

Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how used vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system.

Overall Reliability
Most Common Trouble Spots
Common Trouble Spot
Common Trouble Spot
The 2003 Toyota 4Runner has been recalled 3 times by NHTSA. View Recalls
Research Years * Redesign year
Worse Better
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01
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10*
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Overall Reliability Verdict
NA
POTENTIAL TROUBLE SPOTS
Engine Major
NA
Engine Minor
NA
Engine Cooling
NA
Transmission Major
NA
Transmission Minor
NA
Drive System
NA
Fuel System
NA
Electric System
NA
Climate System
NA
Suspension
NA
Brakes
NA
Exhaust
NA
Paint/Trim
NA
Body Integrity
NA
Body Hardware
NA
Power Equipment
NA
In-car Electronics
NA
Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey for about 329,000 vehicles, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how 2000 through 2020 vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system. NA indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.

Learn more about car Reliability.

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2003 Toyota 4Runner owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Antilock system (ABS)

"4Runner has unique ABS system which combines in one set several units. You must replace the whole assembly if only one small part is fail. In my case the attenuator had failed. Other brands will charge $200 for this repair. TOYOTA charges $2500!!! Ri"

Serguei D., TN (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"Problem with brake system that disabled ABS and VSC. Misdiagnosed at dealer as ABS ECU needing replacement ($2,000 part + labor). Actual root cause was the failure of a mechanical part in the brake system that cost ~$500 in parts and labor"

Anonymous, KY (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.7-L V8)
Calipers

"3rd set of replacement calipers - they freeze up, it's a known problem"

Lucy H., AZ (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

"rust and they locked up"

Kristina G., OH (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.0-L V6)

"more than 8 years of use for calipers which is about normal"

Anonymous, ON (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"May have been due to previous repair having been done improperly"

Jeff F., OH (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.0-L V6)

"Both calipers were frozen and not working (only the rear breaks were stopping the vehicle). I am now on my 3rd set of calipers on this vehicle"

Anonymous, HI (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

"One side on each of the front calipers had frozen up"

Anonymous, MN (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.7-L V8)

"front calipers froze up at 100000 miles or more"

Edward K., VA (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

"Calipers seize after 48000km. regularly. Brake service does not seem to mitigate the seizing of the front calipers. I bought the truck with 86K and I have replaced the front brakes Caliper/disk/pads 3 times"

Anonymous, ON (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.0-L V6)

"One set of calipers did not release completely"

Anonymous, WI (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.0-L V6)

"Spent $4000 on breaks on the vehicle - not sure why that should be"

Anonymous, SK (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.7-L V8)

"Only had 30000km on Calipers and was told after that the brand was not suitable and they would use a different brand at no charge apart from labour"

Wm P., BC (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

"one front caliper failed after 240k miles. I replaced both front calipers"

Anonymous, NC (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

"Calipers were hanging and wore out the brakes"

Mark F., FL (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.0-L V6)

"Calipers occasionally freeze and need to be serviced or replaced"

Anonymous, NH (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

"Calipers froze due to rust or corrosion"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.0-L V6)

"Replaced break calipers twice in 5 years due to calibers jamming during simple pad replacement job. Heavy duty break system was expensive to replace. Cost was approx. $1000 each time."

Anonymous, GA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.0-L V6)
Master cylinder

"Started in 2019. Had brakes replaced along with rotors and brakes still do not grab properly."

Anonymous, (2003 Toyota 4Runner Unsure 4.0-L V6)
Normal routine brake wear

"normal wear"

Anonymous, ON (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"june 2019. june 2019"

Anonymous, MD (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

"It squealed. So time to replace the brakes"

Anonymous, OH (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.0-L V6)

"Factory brakes are the Achilles heel of this 4Runner. I feel bigger discs, and bigger pads all around would improve things. In slippery conditions one must be conscious of the size & weight of this vehicle and drive very defensively"

Anonymous, ON (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"This truck has always seemed to wear out the front brakes quicky. About every 20k miles"

Daniel B., ME (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.7-L V8)
Parking brake

"Spring and holding mechanism broke"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.0-L V6)
Premature brake wear

"Brakes almost completely replaced after only about 50K miles"

Anonymous, CT (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.7-L V8)

"using vehicle with limited mileage, the brakes would not pass inspection"

Anonymous, NH (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.0-L V6)

"Had to replace brakes continually"

Anonymous, NJ (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.0-L V6)

"cheap noname breaks from a brake company"

Richard M., CO (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)
Rotors

"same"

Jeff F., OH (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.0-L V6)

"premature break wear and caused damage (warping) to the Rotors"

Richard M., CO (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

"Spent over $4000 on brakes on this vehicle - not sure why"

Anonymous, SK (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.7-L V8)

"Probably just need to resurface or replace the rotors"

Anonymous, AZ (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

"rotors warped, made pedal pulse"

Larry S., TX (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)
Squeaking

"Brakes would squeak when I backed out of my driveway in the morning. That was usually the only time, but I was starting to notice that the brakes were not as good as they should have been. Brakes would squea"

Judy S., FL (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Alignment

"Every day wear over years this was time service required"

Rosalie M., MB (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.7-L V8)
Ball joints

"Car in for Oil Change and dealer noted problem....gave permission. to repace ball joints"

Anonymous, MD (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"CV boots failed. Upon replacement the seal connecting to the transmission failed 3 times before it was fixed properly"

Anonymous, AB (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.7-L V8)
Bushings

"On routine check up at dealer, issue was discovered"

Felix B., MD (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)
Electronic or air suspension

"Compressor broken and had to be replaced"

Anonymous, BC (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"Had to replace the system"

Anonymous, AZ (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.0-L V6)

"rusted/holes in x-reas system led to very poor ride; repair scrapped that xreas system, installed std sr5 shocks and struts, ride bck to normal now"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.0-L V6)

"simply needs replacing after so many miles. normal wear and tear"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.7-L V8)
Power steering leaks

"Power steering fluid was leaking so I used Lucas Power Steering Stop Leak. However, the lines were rusted and I lost the fluid at one point."

Anonymous, ON (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.7-L V8)

"The power steering fluid is leaking and has been doing so for the past couple of years. I top it up every week and it works well."

Anonymous, ON (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.7-L V8)

"replaced the power steering rack with an aftermarket rebuilt unit at Toyota."

Anonymous, ON (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"Corroded line leaked and all fluid went out. Very hard to steer"

Terry B., ON (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"had to replace both power steering lines"

Anonymous, NE (2003 Toyota 4Runner 4.0-L V6)
Power steering pumps and hoses

"Lost power steering fluid on one occasion and the pump went on another occasion."

Anonymous, ON (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.7-L V8)

"Had to replace all power steering lines,"

Anonymous, NE (2003 Toyota 4Runner 4.0-L V6)
Shocks or struts

"The front struts needed replacement. Dealer did the installation. One strut seemed to be leaking."

Anonymous, IN (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

"My Sport Edition has shocks that are balanced between left front / right rear and right front / left rear. They are over 16 years old and are starting to leak. It would be expensive to repair. It is my backup vehicle I use for hauling large items and tow trailers, etc., so chose not to fix. It is still totally driveable, but I probably wouldn't take on a long trip out of town. It started to occur in about 2018. For having over 200K miles the 4Runner is still a great vehicle."

Anonymous, (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.0-L V6)

"One of the rear shocks needed replacing this past year."

Anonymous, ON (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.7-L V8)

"Shock or strut leaked had to replace the whole system. Shocks, struts, & Electronic system"

Anonymous, AZ (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.0-L V6)

"Xreas suspension system fluid leakage caused shock failure(s), resulting in steering shimmy when hitting any bump"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.0-L V6)

"Failure of XREAS system; replaced with conventional system"

Anonymous, AL (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.7-L V8)

"One of the struts leaks and needs to be replaced, but they are all inter-connected and all must be changed if one goes bad. The cost of over $4000 is prohibitive for such an old vehicle"

James R., CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.7-L V8)

"Original shocks leaked badly and had to be replaced"

Kenneth M., CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"shocks are worn and need replacement"

Anonymous, VT (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

"Shocks wore out"

Anonymous, MA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"The front strut was leaking but at the mileage and age of our car, it was maintenance and not really a defect."

Anonymous, CO (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.7-L V8)

"The original struts were part of a closed loop system that Toyota called X-REAS. The system works very well, but when one component within the system fails the entire loop must be replaced at a cost of about $4300. The cost is prohibitive in my case because of the vehicle age and value, so I cut out the system and replaced it with standard shocks. It's not an authorized fix but it cost a fraction of the original system. The X-REAS system, however, lasted well beyond 120,000 miles."

James R., CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.7-L V8)
Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

"Vehicle became hard to steer. Rack and pinion were replaced"

Anonymous, WI (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.7-L V8)
Steering wheel vibration

"Caused by the Xreas suspension system failure"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.0-L V6)
Tie rods

"the tie rods where bad"

Anonymous, MD (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)
Wheel bearings

"Pep boys indicated bearing was bad. Replaced. Had to take back 6 months later to have replaced again"

Paul M., NC (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"It's a wear item and I guess around 150000 is when they start to go bad. Since they're sealed, there's nothing to do except wait until they get really loud and then pay to have it fixed."

J S., MO (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Loose exterior trim or moldings

"A bracket holding a door panel broke and the panels partially came off. I fixed it with duct tape and had it repaired for $93.00."

John J., CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner 4.7-L V8)
Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"I live in sunny Southern California and do not garage my car. The paint on the hood, roof and some of the quarter panels has peeled, faded and looks terrible. Doesn't seem to be worth the effort to have a 16 year old car repainted at this point, but have been disappointed in how the finish has lasted."

Thomas N., CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.0-L V6)

"Paint on plastic areas fading and peeling."

Anonymous, CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

"The paint is fading and cracking."

Anonymous, TN (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.7-L V8)

"Items such as, hood scoop and side view mirrors are made of plastic. On the hood scoop, the clear coat is bubbling. On the side view mirrors the paint is peeling."

Anonymous, CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.0-L V6)

"clear coat lost on top 3 years ago. repainted. hood paint faded, oxidized very bad. retreated"

Michael B., UT (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

"clear coat failure in patches with peeling & fading"

Anonymous, NC (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

"Fenders faded and had to be repainted. area in the front intake area need to be painted due to fading. Hood needs painting because of cracks"

Brian C., CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

"The clear coat on all plastic body parts (all fender trim parts and front & rear bumpers)"

Bill A., CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.0-L V6)

"In the past 12 months the clear coat has started bubbling pretty badly and is now cracking and peeling off. This is happening on bumpers only. Also the paint surrounding the air intake on the hood is getting dull/chalky. It looks very different from the rest of the paint on the hood making it very obvious"

Becky S., AZ (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited)

"On the wheel well fender flares the paint has faded significantly as opposed to body paint"

Gayle D., NC (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

"Paint fading on plastic body parts."

Anonymous, CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"The paint on the flared wheel well cover has faded dramatically."

Gayle H., NC (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)
Rust

"Rust on bumpers and body excessive"

Anonymous, NE (2003 Toyota 4Runner Unsure 4.0-L V6)

"Rust blisters on rear tailgate"

Richard F., VA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.0-L V6)

"Rust spots appearing on tailgate"

Nancy P., WV (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"I am a second owner; original owner lived in New England; the chassis and frame had significant surface rust in some areas. I spent about 20 hours wire brushing and coating the underside with a rust converter product"

Anonymous, KS (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.7-L V8)

"transmission lines rusted, exhaust system rusted,"

Edward K., VA (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

"toyota acknowledges the rust issues with tacomas of the same period but won't for 4 runners, same frames"

Anonymous, AB (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.7-L V8)

"Tiny spots of rust on roof"

Warren L., CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.0-L V6)

"The underside of my toyota 4runner which I bought new and still looks great is unacceptably rusted. I only drive it in winter. I bought it new. Before picking it up I asked if I should get undercoating because I intend to drive it only in winter and was told it was a waste of money because the new vehicles dont rust. Just my luck, in Connecticut and New England they now treat the roads in winter with some new mixture which is cheaper for municipalities but completely corrodes vehicles. SO"

Peter P., CT (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.0-L V6)

"Area under rubber around back tailgate window is rusting and needs to be repaired."

Anonymous, WI (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.7-L V8)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Alarm or security system (excluding aftermarket systems)

"Intermittent engine immobilizer failure caused engine to crank, but not start"

Anonymous, VA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.0-L V6)
Body control module

"The lift gate multiplex control module needs to be replaced. The lift gate will not stay closed. Had it wired so that it cannot be opened, but yet the rear window can still lower."

Anonymous, KS (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)
Clock

"The clock , temp setting, mpg screen backlight bulb burns out. They think it is an issue in the board. If it happens again (happened twice so far) they recommend a $2000 board"

Kristina G., OH (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.7-L V8)

"The backlight for the LCD display failed."

Anonymous, CO (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)
Exterior lights (other than headlights)

"Turn signal light bulb out"

Michael A., CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.0-L V6)

"Right front turn signal socket went bad. Search on line shows people having trouble with these shorting out. Replacing socket and bulb"

Anonymous, MD (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

"Turn signal module has failed twice"

Nancy P., WV (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)
Gauges

"The gasoline gauge does not give an accurate indication of actual fuel remaining below 1/4 tank resulting in our running out of gas several times when the gauge still shows 1/4 tank remaining"

Donald S., IN (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.0-L V6)
Interior lights

"Dash lights burn out and are difficult to replace"

Sam D., KS (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.0-L V6)

"Some dash lights are out $1500 if fixed"

Anonymous, UT (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"Couple of internal lights died on the dashboard which makes it unUSble at night. Dealership has failed to provide repair/replace/replacement"

Serguei D., TN (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"All the lights on climate controls blew. Replaced"

Paul M., NC (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"Instrument light out"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)
Warning lights

"lights came on after a smog check and remained on for over a year until service person discovered they could be turned off by using a paper clip touched to the electrical panel"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.0-L V6)
Wiper motor or washer

"Electronic control unit in rear door went bad. Toyota had issued technical service bulletin but my car was out of warranty."

Anonymous, NM (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"Often does not settle correctly after use. Hard to start again after this happens. Have to turn on and off several times to get it to work"

Anonymous, NM (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

A/C compressor

"Minimal repair cost . . . not bad for a vehicle that is 15 years old"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.0-L V6)

"Had to replace raditorand got them to check a/c and they had no lusk tracing the problem and needed more time"

Wm P., BC (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

"The A/C control button does not remain engaged when depressed. It blinks an orange light but does not produce cold air. Dealer mechanic cannot diagnose problem without ripping into entire dashboard"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.7-L V8)
Automatic climate control

"The backlight failed on the left half of the display"

Douglas P., IL (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"Needed a new fuse/relay Easy fix for $20"

Anonymous, CO (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.7-L V8)

"the air that was coming out of the vents wasn't cold - even when it was supposed to be 72 degrees. If I put it all the way to low, then it would start being cold. More refrigerant was put in the vehicle, but they said there were no leaks at that ti"

Anonymous, MI (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"Dual Climate is faulty. Warm weather: A/C is on, Driver side blows hot air/Passenger side blows A/C air. Cold weather: when Heat is on, Driver side blows cold air/Passenger side blows heated air. (Possible door-flap malfunction?)"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)
Blower (fan) motor

"design flaw causing water to leak into the blower motor from the wiper shaft. dealer replaced the blower motor but would not replace the design flawed part which caused the problem"

Anonymous, ME (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)
Electrical failure

"air conditioning turned off, indicator light blinking. Shop recharged and it worked for a while, but again stopped. Later diagnosed as electrical relay was bad"

Michael B., UT (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

"AC relay quit functioning, replaced myself after diagnosing via internet and buying part online"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)
Evaporator

"This has had a slow leak for years, but then finally blew a large leak that requires removal of the entire dash to repair. Ridiculous engineering that requires dismantling of the vehicles interior to replace a common failure item."

Mark B., VA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"One hot summer day while the car was parked in an open parking lot the evaporator sprang a serious leak. The repair requires removal of the dash and many interior parts."

Anonymous, (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)
Refrigerant leaks

"required additional coolant. Could not find leak"

Kenneth M., CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"Hole in line which cost $600 to replace! I do not go to that dealership (Honda) any more"

Anonymous, BC (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Air or water leaks

"Leaks water either through the windshield or sunroof"

Anonymous, (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.0-L V6)
Seals and/or weather-stripping

"Window seal or sunroof leaks in heavy rains"

Anonymous, (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.0-L V6)

"Wind noise"

Kim G., CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"Water collects in rear door and drains when the door is raised -- directly onto whatever is being loaded or unloaded"

Anonymous, GA (2003 Toyota 4Runner 4.7-L V8)

"The exterior window "wipes" have degraded and come apart"

Anonymous, FL (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.0-L V6)
Squeaks or rattles

"Overall rattles when driving it"

Arlin S., KS (2003 Toyota 4Runner 4.0-L V6)

"Some minor rattles in the rear of the vehicle"

Paul C., MA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"interior rattles someplace in headliner quite annoying"

Anonymous, OH (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.7-L V8)

"Heat shield on exhaust rusted through and fell off. Needed to be remounted. Right after that the muffler mounts rusted through and were replaced"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.0-L V6)

"HAs a squeak I cannot find in one of the doors"

Jim R., TX (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

"The moon roof has rattles and I was told it needs to be fixed before it starts to leak"

Anonymous, VA (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

"Real hatch squeaks a lot now. This is new - it was always a very solid and quiet vehicle before"

Anonymous, FL (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.0-L V6)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Locks and latches

"Drivers electric door lock/latch failed. Replaced by owner. 30 min job after obtaining replacement part"

Anonymous, OR (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.7-L V8)

"automatic latches quit working...when car was put into park, the locks would not unlock."

Brian C., NV (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)
Seat belts

"The seat belts do not retract properly"

Douglas P., IL (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)
Sunroof

"the sliding glass would not close after opening,"

Kris V., TN (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.7-L V8)

"Sunroof lost its will to live - stopped moving and stayed in a semi-open position. Required taking the entire header (ceiling) out, the door & window posts and everything tangentially attached to the header or any attached components. Required a replacement belt assembly be installed. Things have been loose, or not fitting well since the replacement operation, even though the tech did a great job."

Thomas N., CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.0-L V6)

"The sunroof sticks when opened and refuses to close. The Toyota dealer charged me $2000.00 to fix it but the problem still exists."

Anonymous, TN (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.7-L V8)
Tailgate, hatch or trunk

"Electric tailgate latch system failed, requiring total replacement $700 to $800"

Thomas M., BC (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

"There was electrical feedback through trailer wiring harness that caused lights to short out and that cost almost $400 to repair"

Gayle D., NC (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)
Windows

"Rear passenger window failed to function."

Kris V., TN (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.7-L V8)

"The rear window on the tailgate came off the track inside the body and when I took all the molding apart to have a look the entire assembly was rusted and one of the two arms had completely disintegrated so that the window was only being held up by one arm instead of two. A family member helped press theup ? down button and I held the window up on the side that had disintegrated so we were able to get it back up but its only being held up by one arm as of now. I need to get it repaired but hav"

Peter P., CT (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.0-L V6)

"rubber seal around the rear power window started to pull loose when the window was put down."

Brian C., NV (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

4WD/AWD components

"Needed 4 wheel drive replaced just after warranty period"

Anonymous, NJ (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.0-L V6)
CV joint

"broken boot & bad bearing"

Anonymous, NC (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

"replaced L CV boots and axle shaft seal"

Anonymous, AB (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)
Differential

"Oil leak. New oil seal was installed. Cost was minimal."

Anonymous, IN (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

"At around 120,000 miles the rear differential developed a grinding noise when turning. The dealer found failed gears and metal shavings in the rear differential housing. The repair was made by replacing the entire rear axle with a new unit. Cost was around $2400, mostly labor. Toyota Motor Corp sent a survey about my service experience and I commented about the very un-Toyota like reliability of my 4-Runner. I was contacted by a representative who wrote up a report. A few weeks later I received a letter from Toyota and a check reimbursing me for all of the labor. Kudos to Toyota for that!!!!"

Anonymous, AZ (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"worn bearings causing vibration"

Anonymous, NV (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.7-L V8)
Driveshaft or axle

"I have had to replace both front axles due to leaks"

Anonymous, MI (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.7-L V8)

""thump /clunk" feeling when braking and occasional when I let go of the brake just before stepping on the accelerator. Requires lubing the slip-yoke on the rear drive shaft at regular intervals, every 5,000KM"

Anonymous, AB (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)
Electrical failure

"Relay cost $25 to fix"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.0-L V6)
Transfer case

"Worn seal between actuator and transfer case. Seal cost $3.00 but the labor to get to it was $1050.00 plus tax"

Laird M., NM (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

CD player

"multi cd player jammed. replaced it with a crappy pioneer unit"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"failed to operate. CD stuck in drive"

Anonymous, TN (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.0-L V6)

"Intermittent problems: CD won't eject. Songs won't play or skip to next one"

Mark O., VA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.0-L V6)

"The CDs will not eject and I tried using YouTube to find a solution. It's perplexing, but nothing to lose sleep over."

Colleen E., TX (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.0-L V6)

"The CD's don't play properly. Skips. Had the dust blown out and still does not work. Was told I would have to replace it and that this is a common with CD players. Not worth it to me."

Anonymous, KS (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)
In-dash navigation system (GPS)

"Interface is difficult and cumbersome to use. The graphics are low resolution and very poor looking. The DVD player that runs the navigation is failing to read the disk. Cost of replacement or troubleshooting through the dealership is too expensive and doesn't make sense to replace OEM when there are better systems out there through aftermarket channels."

James W., CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"Is never accurate, often times showing you are at a location hundreds of miles from you actual location. GPS module ap[apparently not functioning"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)
Radio

"Radio would just turn off - no more sound. Stopping and restarting the car seems to resolve the problem. This seems to happen during higher humidity levels outside but unsure. it happens once every 2 months. has been doing this since i bought it in 2006."

Anonymous, MB (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.7-L V8)
Steering wheel controls

"Music volume increases on its own. Have to push Steering Wheel button to stop."

Anonymous, TX (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Emission control devices (includes EGR)

"THE CATALYTIC CONVERTORS FAILED"

Michael M., CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.7-L V8)

"Emission lines leaking at the fuel tank"

Anonymous, MI (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.7-L V8)

"One of the Catalytic converters went out at 175,000 miles. This is the only real expense I have had on this vehicle since buying it new. Cost was $1,200 so can't complain given it's a 2003. About to by new vehicle and it will definitely be a Toyota or Lexus due to the outstanding reliability of this vehicle"

Anonymous, GA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.0-L V6)
Sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor)

"both sensor have failed"

Anonymous, NE (2003 Toyota 4Runner 4.0-L V6)

"both sensors have failed a few years back; been out ever since."

Anonymous, NE (2003 Toyota 4Runner Unsure 4.0-L V6)

"Both the O2 and A/F were replaced "5" times on both the left and right banks during an 18 month period ending in the spring of 2014 Toyota had a service bulletin issued on this problem around 2008, but it was never resolved. The dealership replaced"

R D., TX (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.0-L V6)

"There is a light that comes on the dash, "VSC." It has something to do with a vacuum control. We've had it to the dealer 7 times, including one visit with a factory rep & they can't solve it. Another mechanic told us it was a $500 canister part t"

Elizabeth R., FL (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"Had to replace the same sensor twice in one year"

Harold J., NC (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

Catalytic converter

"Engine Light comes on and Safety Systems like Stability Control and Traction Control Stop working because of this unrelated problem - ie: When the Catalytic Converter failed. This is a very poor design feature. My safety is less important for Toy"

Anonymous, NY (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)
Exhaust manifold

"Didn't pass inspection. Had to be repaired"

Anonymous, VA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.0-L V6)

"Cracked exhaust manifold is a common and known problem, and costly to replace as it is attached to catalytic converter and requires 10 hours labor per side"

Anonymous, AB (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)
Loose/rattling heat shield

"I have to have two heat shields removed due to coming loose and causing noise or completely coming off in the road"

Anonymous, NH (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.0-L V6)
Pipes

"Pipes became loose and rattled....drove to repair and all pipes were replaced"

Anonymous, MD (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"pipes and muffler were beginning to decay but this is after 16 years of driving. Expensive to replace but original was amazing."

Anonymous, (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

"areas involved are accumulating excess amounts of rust that are causing deterioration and interfering with proper function"

Anonymous, VT (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Coolers and lines

"Trans cooling lines rusted through causing loss of fluid"

Anonymous, IL (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)
Gear selector or linkage

"Shift cable broke. Fixed by dealer in 4 days. One time event."

Anonymous, (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.0-L V6)

"The shifter solenoid was failed and consequently broke. Only the Overdrive gear could be selected manually. Could not downshift manually to 3rd gear and the entire assembly needed to be replaced"

Anonymous, ON (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.0-L V6)
Transmission leaks

"Leak was from the little box behind the transmission. For the need of a 35 cent o-ring it cost $750. to repair"

Larry C., CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"Trans pan rusted through causing loss of fluid"

Anonymous, IL (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"Crack in the casing. It was wekded, No problems since"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.7-L V8)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

Alternator

"Alternator began to fail and was only putting out 3 Amps. Battery couldn't maintain charge and at one occasion did not have enough charge to start the car."

Anonymous, NM (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)
Electronic ignition

"Intermittent failure to start"

Anonymous, VA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.0-L V6)
Starter

"Starter failed in such a way, we could get it started eventually. Mechanic had a hard time finding the problem until it finally failed on him."

Anonymous, GA (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

"The starter teeth jammed into and broke teeth on the flywheel, causing the need to replace both starter and flywheel. Battery replaced same time, all for about twelve hundred dollars. Month later replaced the belt tensioner and serpentine belt, for"

Donald K., IN (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)

"Intermittent failure to start"

Anonymous, VA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.0-L V6)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Accessory belts or pulleys

"tensioner pulley froze up, causing the belt to break in the middle of a busy highway trip, had to leave with mechanic and took three days to get part to fix"

Anonymous, GA (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.0-L V6)

"Since I was having the timing belt replaced, I also instructed the mechanic to replace the water pump, serpentine belt, and hoses"

Anonymous, LA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)
Oil leaks

"Reseal oil pan gasket"

Anonymous, GA (2003 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4.7-L V8)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Head gasket

"Engine developed a rough idle. The next day the check engine light came on. Blown head gasket. I took it to the dealer for repair. Still had a rough idle, but they assure me it's ok. We'll see"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.0-L V6)
Timing belt or chain

"The dealer service rep recommended replacing the timing belt and water pump due to the age of the vehicle. After reviewing comments from other owners online we opted to replace both as a preventative measure"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.7-L V8)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

What Owners Say

Antifreeze leaks

"I brought the car to a mechanic to have the timing belt replaced (scheduled maintenance). Since the radiator needed to come off for this work, I asked them to check the radiator and hoses for a small leak. A leak in the radiator was found, and I re"

Anonymous, LA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4.7-L V8)
Radiator

"Radiator leaked and was corroded to the point of needing replacement"

Anonymous, PA (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.0-L V6)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Transmission rebuild or replacement

"The vehicle was bought used and always had a bit of a transmission slip. It finally started to slip a lot. It was not always so it was drivable."

Kristina G., OH (2003 Toyota 4Runner Sport 4.0-L V6)

Compare 2003 Models

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Toyota 4Runner
This score shows whether the model had more or fewer problems overall than the average model of that year, calculated from the total number of problems reported by subscribers in all 17 trouble spots.
Recalls
PROVIDED BY
VEHICLE SPEED CONTROL
Feb 24, 2011
A STUCK OPEN ACCELERATOR PEDAL MAY RESULT IN VERY HIGH VEHICLE SPEEDS AND MAKE IT DIFFICULT TO STOP THE VEHICLE, WHICH COULD CAUSE A CRASH, SERIOUS INJURY OR DEATH.
Summary:
TOYOTA IS RECALLING CERTAIN MODEL YEAR 2008 THROUGH 2011 LEXUS LX570, 2003 THROUGH 2009 TOYOTA 4RUNNER, AND 2006 THROUGH 2010 RAV4 VEHICLES. THE ACCELERATOR PEDAL CAN GET STUCK IN THE WIDE OPEN POSITION DUE TO ITS BEING TRAPPED BY AN UNSECURED OR INCOMPATIBLE DRIVER'S FLOOR MAT.
What should you do:
THE REMEDY IS NOW AVAILABLE. THE SAFETY RECALL BEGAN EARLY APRIL 2011. THE REMEDY WILL INVOLVE MODIFICATION OR REPLACEMENT OF THE ACCELERATOR PEDAL AND REPLACEMENT OF ANY TOYOTA ALL-WEATHER FLOOR MAT. OWNERS MAY CONTACT TOYOTA AT 1-800-331-4331 OR LEXUS AT 1-800-255-3987.
For more information:
TOYOTA'S RECALL CAMPAIGN NUMBERS ARE 90L (TOYOTA) AND 90LG (LEXUS).CUSTOMERS MAY CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY: 1-800-424-9153); OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV.THIS RECALL IS AN EXPANSION OF SAFETY RECALLS 09V-388 AND 10V-023.
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 11V113000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 1363244
FUEL SYSTEM, GASOLINE
Apr 14, 2003
THIS COULD RESULT IN AN ENGINE COMPARTMENT FIRE IF A HEAT SOURCE OR AN IGNITION SOURCE IS PRESENT.
Summary:
ON CERTAIN SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH V6 ENGINES, THE FUEL PULSATION DAMPER, LOCATED ON THE FUEL RAIL, MAY HAVE BEEN IMPROPERLY ASSEMBLED, CAUSING A DIAPHRAGM IN THE PULSATION DAMPER TO BE DAMAGED. IF THE DIAPHRAGM FAILS, FUEL MAY LEAK.
What should you do:
DEALERS WILL REPLACE THE PULSATION DAMPER. OWNER NOTIFICATION BEGAN MAY 5, 2003. OWNERS WHO TAKE THEIR VEHICLES TO AN AUTHORIZED DEALER ON AN AGREED UPON SERVICE DATE AND DO NOT RECEIVE THE FREE REMEDY WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME SHOULD CONTACT TOYOTA AT 1-800-331-4331.
For more information:
TOYOTA RECALL NO. SSC 30C.CUSTOMERS CAN ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S AUTO SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 03V146000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 29482
WHEELS
Dec 17, 2002
IF THE SPARE TIRE/WHEEL IS INSTALLED ON THE VEHICLE USING THE WHEEL NUTS PROVIDED FOR THE UPGRADE ALLOY WHEEL, DAMAGE TO THE WHEEL COULD RESULT AND COULD EVENTUALLY LEAD TO A LOOSE WHEEL.
Summary:
ON CERTAIN SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH FIVE FACTORY ALLOY WHEELS (MODEL 6934 AND 6936), WITH FACTORY LLAT, AND WITH PORT INSTALLED WR4, FOUR ALLOY WHEEL UPGRADE PROCESSED AT THE JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA PORT AND DISTRIBUTED BY SOUTHEAST TOYOTA DISTRIBUTORS IN THE STATES OF ALABAMA, FLORIDA, GEORGIA, NORTH AND SOUTH CAROLINA, WHEN THE VEHICLES WERE PROCESSED AT THE PORT, AN ALLOY TIRE/WHEEL UPGRADE WAS INSTALLED. THE UPGRADE INCLUDED 4 ALLOY WHEELS. THE ORIGINAL SPARE TIRE/ALLOY WHEEL WAS NOT CHANGED. THE SPARE TIRE REQUIRES THE USE OF A DIFFERENT STYLE OF WHEEL NUT TO ATTACH IT TO THE VEHICLE.
What should you do:
OWNERS WILL BE PROVIDED WITH DIFFERENT STYLE LUG NUTS, A WARNING LABEL FOR THE SPARE RE/ALLOY WHEEL, AND AN OWNER'S MANUAL ADDENDUM.
For more information:
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 02V339000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 176
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