Which Years Of Used Toyota 4Runners Are Most Reliable? (2023)

Source: Pixabay

The Toyota 4Runner is easily one of the most popular models from Toyota. It’s a quality SUV, made to withstand driving on pavement and dirt for those who want the best of both worlds. If you’re interested in a used version, you might wonder - what is the most reliable Toyota 4Runner year?

If you’re going to invest in a used version of the Toyota 4Runner, it’s critical to get the maximum bang for your buck. To do that, it’s necessary to find the most reliable Toyota 4Runner year on the market. Let’s look at the most reliable years, the reliability of the brand overall, and anything else you should know.


Like with all vehicles in production for many generations, there will always be a few model years that have their share of problems. Here are the Toyota 4Runner years to avoid.

Most Reliable Years For The 4Runner

The 4Runner has been on the market for a long time with a lifespan dating back to 1984. With so many used options to choose from, it’s tricky to determine the most reliable years for this vehicle. We’ve done the work and narrowed down the most reliable selections.

Here are the most reliable years for the Toyota 4Runner:

  • 2017-Present Fifth Generation 4Runner
  • 2008-2009 Fourth Generation 4Runner
  • 1999-2000 Third Generation 4Runner
  • 1994-1995 Second-Generation 4Runner with a 2.4-liter I4
  • 1984-1985 First-Generation 4Runner with a 2.4-liter I4

The best years date back to the initial models and push into the most recent creations.

There are some vital gaps in reliability. The first few years were the best, followed by the late nineties models. Reliability again occurs right before 2010, then skips to 2017 and beyond. These Toyota 4Runner options will be the most reliable on the road.

Although there are many reliable years of the Toyota 4Runner, their success doesn’t determine the reliability of the car as a whole. Let’s see how the 4Runner stacks up against similar vehicles.


The CoPilot app isn’t just for buying a car - our new CoPilot for Owning tool will help you keep track of recalls and gives you advice on which scheduled maintenance tasks are most important.

Are Toyota 4Runners Generally Reliable?

Toyota 4Runners aren’t just reliable - they are considered above average. According towithclutch.com, the Toyota 4Runner scores 84.05 in reliability, marking it as very reliable. It is higher than other quality Toyota vehicles like the Prius, Corolla, and Avalon.

A second opinion is also a good idea when examining the reliability of a vehicle. According torepairpal.com, the Toyota 4Runner comes in at ⅘ in reliability, making it above average. It ranks 9th out of 26 when compared to other midsize SUVs.

The annual repair cost of a Toyota 4Runner is $514, lower than average for an owner. If unexpected issues arise with the vehicle, there is a 13% chance they will be severe and require time and more money to handle.

Owners of Toyota 4Runners report taking them to the shop for unexpected repairs an average of .4 times a year, which is right on par with other midsize SUVs. The Toyota 4Runner performs well on average across all years.

Which 4Runner Years Are The Least Reliable?

When you invest in a Toyota 4Runner, you want to make the most out of your expense. For most people, that means buying a used version. It’s ideal to stay away from the least reliable years to avoid expensive repairs that choose to go used worthless for your bank account.

Here are the least reliable years for the Toyota 4Runner:

  • 2003-2005 fourth generation 4Runner
  • 2001-2002 third generation 4Runner
  • 1990-1995 second-generation 4Runner with a 3.0-liter V6
  • 1988-1989 first-generation 4Runner with a 3.0-liter V6

If you’re searching for the most reliable Toyota 4Runner year, stay away from these years at all costs.

Stay away from anything in the early 90s and 2000s, as well as the models from the late 80s. They have the most customer complaints.

Although it might be possible to find these options for less money, it isn’t worth it. They will break down and cost you more money in time.

Of course, every year is not without its issues. Some troubles appear more than others in the Toyota 4Runner.


We looked into price, reliability, features, and more to create this list of the best used SUVs under $10k on the market today. Take a look - some of the best used SUVs have gone mostly overlooked or forgotten.

What Are The Most Common Issues With A Toyota 4Runner?

Although the Toyota 4Runner is a reliable option, every year can experience trouble. Some issues are more common than others, especially when looking at customer complaints about each year online.

According tocarparts.com, here are the most common issues with the Toyota 4Runner:

  • Brake system faults
  • Automatic transmission troubles
  • Airbag failure
  • Corroded solenoid contacts in the starter

These may delay your driving and call for expensive repairs.

Any year of the Toyota 4Runner can experience these issues as they were the most reported by customers. However, the years with the worst reliability are more likely to break down than the ones with the best.

We’ve covered everything you need to know about reliability, from the best years to the most common issues. Now - is the Toyota 4Runner worth it?


Buying a used or CPO luxury car is one of the smartest buys you can make - you can get a lot of car for not much money. You can pick up a three-year-old luxury car for about half of what you’d pay new. Check out this list of the best used luxury cars on the market to find the best deals.

Is The Toyota 4Runner Worth It?

Overall, the Toyota 4Runner is worth it if you are looking for a reliable vehicle from the Toyota brand. It offers plenty of ability on pavement and dirt, built to withstand years of wear and tear.

Quality used SUVs are tricky to find, but the 4Runner proves it’s worth time and time again. As long as you stick with the most reliable years for your used vehicle, you will be good to go with minimal repair trips and expenses.

Toyota is one of the most reliable brands on the market, and the 4Runner proves that statement. It’s an excellent machine.

Final Thoughts

The Toyota 4Runner is a quality vehicle. There are many options for reliable years, outweighing the less-than-ideal used choices on the market. Although some issues often appear in 4Runners, they have an excellent reputation and some of the best lifespans Toyota offers.

We hope this information was helpful! It’s tricky to select the ideal year for reliability when choosing a 4Runner, but the above years are some of the best. Reliability should be a factor you consider when buying a used vehicle. It will drastically change how much you pay for your car and the time you can spend on the road. The Toyota 4Runner is a reliable option.

Get a Curated List of the Best Used Cars Near You

TheCoPilot car shopping appis the easiest way to buy a car. Tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll search the inventories of every dealership in your area to make you a personalized list of the best car listings in your area.

Only looking for newer models?CoPilot Compare is the search engine for nearly-new cars. Only see cars five years or newer with low mileage — CoPilot Compare is the best way to find off-lease, early trade-in, and CPO cars.

The best part? CoPilot is built using the same technology that dealerships use to buy and sell their inventories, so we have more info on each vehicle than competitors. CoPilot doesn’t work with dealerships, so there are no sponsored posts or other shady practices — just the most info on the best cars. Check out ourAbout Uspage to see how CoPilot works.


Which Years Of Used Toyota 4Runners Are Most Reliable? ›

Here are the most reliable years for the Toyota 4Runner: 2017-Present Fifth Generation 4Runner. 2008-2009 Fourth Generation 4Runner. 1999-2000 Third Generation 4Runner.

What year is the best 4Runner for off road? ›

The most desirable of the third-gen 4Runners were made between 1996 and 2000, and came with a rear electronic differential locker. Toyota ensured that their 4Runner was a beastly off-roader, and for that, 2001-onwards models got a center differential locker, along with Traction Control.

How many miles is too many for a used 4Runner? ›

A Toyota 4Runner can reach 300,000 miles with meticulous maintenance but expect closer to 200,000 miles. The 4Runner is susceptible to Toyota's rust issues. Owners say rust and corrosion are common, and noticeable after only a few years on the road.

What makes Toyota 4Runner so reliable? ›

According to Tuning Pro, the 2.7-liter inline-four 3RZ-FE engine made the 4Runner particularly reliable because the engine produced very little power compared to the robustness of the components — in short, the engine and drivetrain were overbuilt, and Toyota didn't try to eke out every last drop of power.

What year 4Runners are made in Japan? ›

All 4Runners have been built in Japan at Toyota's plant in Tahara, Aichi, or at the Hino Motors (a Toyota subsidiary) plant in Hamura.
First generation (N60; 1983)
First generation (N60)
Also calledToyota Hilux Surf (Japan) Toyota Hilux 4Runner
ProductionOctober 1983 – August 1989
17 more rows

Which 4Runner is best for everyday driving? ›

For such a hardcore, offroad adventure vehicle, the TRD Pro 4Runner sure makes a great daily driver. It tracks super straight, is easy to drive and park, and is extremely versatile and practical in its applications. It's one of the best all-around vehicles I've ever been in and kind of makes you feel invincible.

What year 3rd gen 4Runner is best? ›

Beyond that, which 4Runner you buy should be based primarily on its condition and how you plan to use it. If you're looking for the most capable off-roader, you'll want to stick with the pre-2001 years, which offer an e-locking rear differential as well a manual gearbox.

What SUV lasts longest? ›

The iconic Toyota Land Cruiser earns the top spot on the list of longest-lasting vehicles by a wide margin. This classic off-road SUV debuted in the 1950s, and while it isn't sold in high volumes, Toyota's oldest nameplate has amassed a following of loyal enthusiasts who enjoy racking up miles on their Land Cruisers.

Is the Toyota 4Runner the most reliable SUV? ›

According to repairpal.com, the Toyota 4Runner comes in at ⅘ in reliability, making it above average. It ranks 9th out of 26 when compared to other midsize SUVs. The annual repair cost of a Toyota 4Runner is $514, lower than average for an owner.

How long do Toyota 4Runner engines last? ›

Your Toyota 4Runner just might last you 300,000-miles

Then you've got some pretty high standards. But in this case? That's actually ok. Because, as it turns out, the 4Runner is made to last for more than 200,000-miles.

Which year is the best 4Runner? ›

  • 2017 4Runner. This is the most recent model year of the 4Runner to be named as most dependable in its category. ...
  • 2008 4Runner. The 2008 4Runner was named the most dependable midsize SUV in 2011. ...
  • 2000, 2001, and 2002 4Runner. ...
  • The Best Model Year 4Runner.
Nov 1, 2022

Do 4runners waste a lot of gas? ›

The Toyota 4runner is bad on gas because of poor aerodynamics, outdated gearing, disregard for fuel efficiency during the design process, and the additional weight from heavy 4×4 components. Some models and engine configurations are better than others, but in general, 4runners are not fuel efficient.

What competes against a 4Runner? ›

Some of the main competitors to the Toyota 4Runner include the Jeep Wrangler, Ford Bronco, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Chevrolet Tahoe.

What year did the head gasket problem occur in the 4Runner? ›

But above all else, the most severe problems that plague the 2003-2005 4Runner models are head gasket problems. This affects how a vehicle runs, and it is expensive to have them changed. In total, the 2003-2007 model years received over 400 complaints per model year, according to NHTSA.

What does the SR5 stand for on the 4Runner? ›

With this vehicle, you get both off-road prowess and a vehicle that can handle heavy-city traffic in one vehicle. One of the most popular 4Runner trims is the Toyota 4Runner SR5, but not many of our Washington customers know what SR5 means. It stands for Sport Rally 5.

How do you tell if Toyota is Japan built or US built? ›

Toyota VINs starting with "1", "4", or "5" represent vehicles assembled in the United States, VINs beginning with "2" indicate vehicles assembled in Canada, and vehicles with VINs beginning with "3" were assembled in Mexico. Vehicles with VINs that start with "J" were produced in Japan.

What is the most capable 4Runner? ›

The 4Runner is a body-on-frame SUV that has proven itself time and again with its capability and dependability. It's available in a host of trims for 2023, with the top TRD Pro offering the most capability — as long as you're willing to pay the price.

Which 4Runner has full time AWD? ›

The 4th generation 4runner was the first to introduce full-time 4 wheel drive. This was found in every model that was equipped with a V8 engine. V6 models kept the same part-time Multi-Mode system that was found in later 3rd gens.

Are used 4runners in high demand? ›

The 4Runner has an excellent reputation for durability, reliability and longevity. It's a solid machine with impressive off-road chops. As such, even high-mileage models are in high demand, which pushes the price up.

How reliable is a 3rd gen 4Runner? ›

The third-gen Toyota 4Runner is a very reliable vehicle; however, the model is now upwards of 20 years old, and parts are starting to wear out. If you end up looking to buy a 4Runner check the suspension bushings and ball joints. Even a low mileage example can have issues as the rubber is now old.

Why is the 3rd gen 4Runner the best? ›

Thanks to its off-road capability and its proven reliability, the third-gen 4Runner earned many fans, including lots of serious off-roaders who used the third-gen as base for some heavily modified rock crawlers and desert warriors.

What to look out for when buying a 3rd gen 4Runner? ›

Take a good look at all of the engine fluids such as engine oil, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and clutch fluid if you're buying a manual.
No big deal.
  • Interior Problems. Mold. ...
  • Transmission Problems. ...
  • Suspension, Brakes, Wheel Bearings and Steering.
Apr 19, 2021

What Toyota SUV lasts longest? ›

Topping that list is the Toyota Sequoia, which has a potential lifespan of 296,509 miles, according to a new study from iSeeCars.com.

Can a car last 500000 miles? ›

Depending on how well you treat your car, you could potentially reach over 500,000 miles. In fact, there's a driver whose car reached even more than that.

What is the longest lasting car of all time? ›

The highest mileage car on record is Irv Gordon's 1966 Volvo P1800S, with over 3 million miles. There were even two electric cars in the study. The Tesla Model S has a potential lifespan of 133,998 miles and the Nissan Leaf 98,081.

What SUV is equal to the 4Runner? ›

The Toyota 4Runner is a midsize SUV, so the SUVs that are similar would include the Jeep Wrangler, Ford Bronco, and Kia Telluride.

Is Toyota 4Runner better than Land Cruiser? ›

Toyota Land Cruiser Quality Rating. The iSeeCars Overall Quality rating for the Toyota 4Runner is 8.6 out of 10 while the Toyota Land Cruiser's quality rating is 9.2 out of 10.

Which Toyota is most reliable SUV? ›

The most reliable Toyota SUV is the Toyota Rav4. The 2022 Rav4 received a reliability rating of 4.0 out of 5.0 from RepairPal and *81 out of 100** from J.D. Power. These are both very good ratings and mean that the Rav4 requires fewer trips to the shop than the average SUV.

What year 4runner has a timing chain? ›

In 2008 the 4.0 V6 used timing chains. The v6 has used a chain since 2003 when the v6 4.0 came out, replacing the old 3.4 v6 which did use a timing belt. Now the 4.7 V8 in the 4runners uses a timing BELT since 2003 when a v8 was an option in a 4runner.

When should a timing belt be replaced on a Toyota 4runner? ›

When to replace the timing belt? Every 60k-90k miles. If an engine is equipped with a timing belt, the timing belt must be replaced at the service interval specified by the vehicle manufacturer regardless of whether or not any problem is visible, typically in the range of 60,000 to 90,000 miles.

How far can a 4runner go on a tank of gas? ›

The 4Runner has more than an estimated 500 miles of maximum range with one full tank of fuel.

Are 4runners expensive to maintain? ›

A Toyota 4Runner will cost about $5,825 for maintenance and repairs during its first 10 years of service. This beats the industry average for popular SUV models by $3,308.
Toyota 4Runner Maintenance Costs.
YearMajor Repair ProbabilityAnnual Costs
8 more rows

Are 4runners that bad? ›

Overall Reliability Ratings: Is The Toyota 4runner Reliable? Overall the Toyota 4runner reliability is 84.05 and that makes it very reliable. The chart below illustrates exactly how this ranks compared to some other cars, but the average overall rating is 57 as some comparison.

What gas is best for 4Runner? ›

The best gas to run in your 4runner is whatever your owner's manual recommends. If your specific model calls for premium, that will be the best performing fuel for it. Most 4runners can safely run 87 octane though – they just won't make as much power or be as fuel-efficient.

How do I make my 4Runner last longer? ›

Oil changes (engine, transmission, differential, transfer case) One of the easiest and most obvious ways to prolong the life of your 4runner is to stay up to date on oil changes. In general, conventional oil should be replaced every 3,000 – 5,000 miles and synthetic can be pushed to 7,500 – 10,000 miles.

Do 4runners flip easily? ›

Toyota 4-Runner Rollover Accidents

Toyota has even admitted that the 4Runner is prone to rollovers on dry flat surfaces. The 4Runner has been known to rollover at speeds of less than 40 miles per hour during evasive maneuvers.

Why is there a shortage of Toyota 4runners? ›

With supplies low and demand extremely high, time is running out for people to get the 2021 they ordered. Those people who have not had luck finding their 2021 4Runner will more than likely be offered a 2022 4Runner instead. Most dealerships have begun receiving shipments of 2022 models, including 4Runner.

Can all 4runners go off road? ›

The Toyota 4Runner 2022 blends the comfort and agility of an SUV with the utility and towing capacity of a full-size truck. Even the entry-level trims are capable off-roaders, with features like a part-time 4WD drivetrain and a locking rear differential as standard.

Are V6 4runners reliable? ›

At least that's what it seems like if you've spent any time on the 4runner forums online. The reality is that both the 4.0 V6 and 4.7 V8 are great performing and reliable engines. The V6 is more fuel-efficient and requires slightly less maintenance while the V8 is smoother and offers better performance.

How much does it cost to replace a head gasket on a 4 runner? ›

The average cost for a Toyota 4Runner Head Gasket Replacement is between $2,419 and $2,835. Labor costs are estimated between $1,378 and $1,738 while parts are priced between $1,041 and $1,096.

How often do you change the coolant in a 4Runner? ›

Typically, you should have your Toyota 4Runner coolant flush completed every 30,000 miles or every two years.

Which is better TRD or SR5? ›

The TRD Sport boasts more towing power—6,800 pounds compared to 3,500 on the SR5—but the SR5 is capable of carrying more payload, at 1,685 pounds compared to 1,525 pounds on the TRD Sport.

Can you offroad in a SR5 4Runner? ›

The SR5 however, features only the ATRAC system which is plenty capable off-road. For perspective, the most hard-core builds I have seen in the off-road/overland community have been SR5s! Despite being the base model, SR5 4Runners are still highly capable off-roaders.

Is SR5 better than SR? ›

What's the difference between SR and SR5? The SR5 takes an SR and simply adds more options and has a starting MSRP of $28,940. You can order it in an access can, or a double cab with a five-foot or six-foot long bed. It comes with either the 159-horsepower four cylinder or the 278-horsepower V6.

What does a VIN starting with 4 mean? ›

A VIN beginning with a 1, 4, or 5 indicates that the vehicle was assembled in the United States; a VIN beginning with a 2 indicates it was assembled in Canada; a VIN beginning with a 3 indicates the vehicle was made in Mexico.

What Toyota models are made in China? ›

  • FAW Toyota. Tianjin – Allion, Alphard, Avalon, Corolla, Corolla Cross, IZOA, Vios XP150, Harrier. Sichuan – Coaster, Land Cruiser Prado. Changchun – RAV4.
  • GAC Toyota, Guangzhou – Camry, C-HR, Frontlander, Highlander, Levin, Levin GT, Sienna, Venza, Wildlander, Yaris XP150.

What does a Toyota VIN number tell you? ›

Enter your 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) below to learn more about your vehicle. Your unique VIN will give you information like the year it was built, color, technical specifications, optional equipment installed, and more.

Can all 4runners go off-road? ›

The Toyota 4Runner 2022 blends the comfort and agility of an SUV with the utility and towing capacity of a full-size truck. Even the entry-level trims are capable off-roaders, with features like a part-time 4WD drivetrain and a locking rear differential as standard.

Which 4runners have full time 4WD? ›

The 2023 Toyota 4Runner comes standard with the full-time 4WD that provides optimal traction for every drive. When the road conditions become challenging, this system automatically sends power to the wheels that need it most.

Can you off-road in a 4Runner SR5? ›

With the SR5 being significantly cheaper compared to other trims, that leaves money left over for additional modifications. Upgraded wheels, tires, suspension, and perhaps an air locker, are all that's needed to make an SR5 unstoppable off-road.

Can you put 4Runner in 4WD while driving? ›

If you purchased a new Toyota 4Runner, there is a good chance that you will want to take it in off-road conditions and use the four wheel drive system. To engage this system, locate the knob next to the shifter. You can engage High 4WD while going under 50 miles per hour.

Can I leave my 4Runner in 4WD? ›

You should always drive around in 2WD unless you need more traction. For 4runners with Multi-Mode 4WD, that setting is also safe to drive around in although it can cause more wear and tear on the system. 4hi unlocked (Multi-Mode) is great for snow, ice, and loose gravel.

Can I drive my 4Runner in 4 high on the freeway? ›

5 Answers. Typically you can shift into 4WD at any time but optimum speeds seem to be less than 35mph. As far as driving in 4WD, highway speeds of 55-65mph typically aren't excessive, unless conditions prohibit safe driving at that speed. 12 people found this helpful.

Is 4Runner good in snow? ›

The Toyota 4Runner has no trouble driving through the snow in four-wheel drive. An unshoveled driveway, an unplowed street, and even a sheet of ice are no match for the well-equipped Toyota SUV.

Why is 4x4 better than AWD? ›

When is Four-Wheel Drive Better? Four-wheel drive shines in deep snow, mud, rough or rocky terrain as well as sharp inclines or declines. Since 4WD systems tend to be more robust than AWD systems, they can handle more abuse and power.

Does a Toyota 4Runner have good gas mileage? ›

2022 4Runner Driving Range

The EPA estimates the Toyota 4Runner can get 16 miles per gallon in the city and 19 miles per gallon highway, creating an estimated 17mpg combined driving range on all trims.

What does SR5 mean on Toyota 4Runner? ›

With this vehicle, you get both off-road prowess and a vehicle that can handle heavy-city traffic in one vehicle. One of the most popular 4Runner trims is the Toyota 4Runner SR5, but not many of our Washington customers know what SR5 means. It stands for Sport Rally 5.

Does a 4Runner drive like a truck? ›

The 4runner is still very truck-like because of its body on frame design. Most crossovers that are marketed as adventure vehicles nowadays are unibody designs. The 4runner's frame might make it ride rougher and have less headroom, but it also allows it to tow a decent amount of weight quite well.

What is the difference between SR5 4wd and TRD? ›

The TRD Sport boasts more towing power—6,800 pounds compared to 3,500 on the SR5—but the SR5 is capable of carrying more payload, at 1,685 pounds compared to 1,525 pounds on the TRD Sport.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rev. Porsche Oberbrunner

Last Updated: 01/30/2024

Views: 6662

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (53 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rev. Porsche Oberbrunner

Birthday: 1994-06-25

Address: Suite 153 582 Lubowitz Walks, Port Alfredoborough, IN 72879-2838

Phone: +128413562823324

Job: IT Strategist

Hobby: Video gaming, Basketball, Web surfing, Book restoration, Jogging, Shooting, Fishing

Introduction: My name is Rev. Porsche Oberbrunner, I am a zany, graceful, talented, witty, determined, shiny, enchanting person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.