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3 Most Common Toyota 4Runner Problems Reported by Hundreds of Real Owners

MotorBiscuit01/25/2023

The Toyota 4Runner SUV has a long history of reliability behind it. Some of the most common Toyota 4Runner problems are related to the transmission and starter, but it isn’t all bad news. This Toyota might check all the boxes for those interested in a durable sport utility vehicle with plenty of resources to keep it running.

One of the most common Toyota 4Runner problems, as reported by owners

Browsing the RepairPal website for the most common Toyota 4Runner problems reveals that the transmission is a significant source of headache for owners. Issues with the automatic transmission not shifting correctly at high mileage have 263 reports at the time of publication, more than any other common 4Runner problem.

The problem is further described as an issue with the automatic transmission at higher mileage, between 125,000 and 150,000 miles. One reason for these transmission issues could be the throttle position sensor needing adjustments or the shift solenoid could need replacement. This issue doesn’t usually require a complete transmission replacement, thankfully.

This most common Toyota 4Runner problem impacts 23 different model years, and the average mileage is around 206,347 miles. However, owners have reported that it can happen anywhere from 75,000 miles or more.

Is the Toyota 4Runner a good SUV?

All vehicles have issues at some point, and the Toyota 4Runner is still a good SUV. The next most common Toyota 4Runner problem, as reported by owners, is related to a check engine light. Owners claim that when the charcoal canister fails, it causes a Check Engine Light (CEL).

The 4Runner’s evaporative emission (EVAP) system might turn on the CEL if it notices a problem with the “charcoal canister purge control solenoid valve or canister failure,” RepairPal says. Failure of the charcoal canister could cause debris to circulate, which could cause further problems. Around 78 people reported this issue over nine model years. The average mileage was 154,785, but owners reported problems anywhere from 48,900 to 290,000 miles.

Since the 4Runner has been around for many years, there are plenty of people to report problems. One issue that this used Toyota SUV suffers from is related to a worn or corroded solenoid contact on the starter. The 4Runner will not start, but you might be able to replace the solenoid contacts, not the starter replacement. Eighteen years of 4Runners have had such an issue, from 1990 onward. The average mileage where this issue pops up is between 47,000 and 350,000. If you have to replace the starter, it can cost between $442 and $604.

The 4Runner has the potential to run for 200,000 miles or more

The most common Toyota 4Runner problems impact this white SUV
A 2019 Toyota Motor 4Runner TRD Pro | Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Keep an eye out for the front brake rotors wearing out prematurely and the master cylinder on the brakes needing replacement. Some others reported that the power steering pump could leak at higher mileage.

While these are some of the most common Toyota 4Runner problems, there is some good news. The Toyota 4Runner can last 244,665 miles or more and is known for its long potential lifespan. iSeeCars looked at cars, trucks, and SUVs sold for at least 10 years out of the last 20 years. Over the previous two decades, one percent of vehicles on the road had between 230,000 and 297,000 miles on the odometer.

Around 4.1% of all Toyota 4Runners on the road have 200,000 miles or more, compared to an average of 0.9% for the midsize SUV category. Even if the 4Runner has some problems, it seems owners can repair the issue and continue on. The RepairPal website can help find a repair shop and help diagnose other issues, or if your 4Runner has a problem, submit it for other drivers’ help. Consumer Reports has tips on finding a high-quality repair shop if all else fails.