Toyota 4Runner Years to Avoid – Toyota 4Runner is a popular and reliable SUV that has been around since the early 1980s. While it has built a reputation for being a sturdy and dependable vehicle, not all 4Runner models are created equal.
Some 4Runner models have had issues that may make them less desirable, while others are highly sought after. In this article, we will discuss the Toyota 4Runner years to avoid and the best years.
Overview of a Toyota 4Runner
The Toyota 4Runner is a midsize SUV that has been in production since 1984. It is known for its off-road capabilities and spacious interior.
It is offered in both two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations and is equipped with a range of engines, including a V6 and a V8. The 4Runner has undergone several redesigns over the years.
Which Toyota 4Runner Years to Avoid
While the Toyota 4Runner is generally a reliable vehicle, there are certain model years that have had more issues than others. Here are the Toyota 4Runner years to avoid:
1988-1989 Toyota 4Runner
These early 4Runner models had issues with head gasket failures, which could cause engine overheating and damage.
1990-1995 Toyota 4Runner
These 4Runner models were plagued by frame rust issues, which could lead to serious safety problems. They also had problems with the head gasket and timing belt.
2001-2002 Toyota 4Runner
These models had issues with the transmission, which could cause it to fail prematurely.
2003-2005 Toyota 4Runner
These 4Runner models had issues with the airbag system, which could cause the airbags to deploy unexpectedly.
2010-2013 Toyota 4Runner
These models had issues with the water pump, which could cause the engine to overheat and fail.
2014-2016 Toyota 4Runner
These models had issues with the body paint, which could peel and flake off.
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What is the Best Year for Toyota 4Runner?
If you are looking for a Toyota 4Runner that is reliable and doesn’t have many issues, here are the best years to consider:
2017-Present Fifth-Generation 4Runner
This 4Runner model is known for its off-road capabilities, spacious interior, and advanced safety features.
2008-2009 Fourth-Generation 4Runner
These models are highly sought after due to their reliability, spacious interior, and off-road capabilities.
1999-2000 Third-Generation 4Runner
These models are known for their reliability and off-road capabilities, and they are also more affordable than newer models.
1994-1995 Second-Generation 4Runner With a 2.4-liter I4
These models are reliable, fuel-efficient, and affordable.
1984-1985 First-Generation 4Runner With a 2.4-liter I4
These models are highly sought after by collectors and off-road enthusiasts due to their simplicity, reliability, and off-road capabilities.
What Problems Do Toyota 4Runner Have
As with any vehicle, Toyota 4Runners have some common problems that owners should be aware of. Here are some of the most common issues reported by 4Runner owners:
1. Transmission Failure
This is a common problem with the third-generation Toyota 4Runner. The automatic transmission tends to fail at around 150,000 miles.
If you are looking to purchase a used 4Runner, make sure to have the transmission inspected before making a purchase.
2. Defective Airbags
The fourth-generation Toyota 4Runner has been known to have issues with its airbags. In 2016, Toyota issued a recall for 482,000 vehicles, including the 4Runner, due to defective airbags that could fail to deploy in a crash.
3. Cracked Dashboard
Many third-generation 4Runners have issues with cracked dashboards. This is mainly a cosmetic issue but can be an eyesore for many owners.
4. Body Rust and Corrosion
4Runners, especially older models, are prone to body rust and corrosion. This is due to the vehicle’s body-on-frame construction, which can trap moisture and lead to rust.
5. Door Problems
Many 4Runner owners have reported issues with the door handles and locks. In some cases, the door locks may stop working altogether, making it difficult to enter or exit the vehicle.
While these issues can be concerning, they are not necessarily deal-breakers.
Toyota 4Runners are known for their reliability and durability, and many owners have reported driving their vehicles for over 200,000 miles without any major issues.
What to Look For When Shopping for A Used Toyota 4Runner?
If you are looking to purchase a used Toyota 4Runner, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
1. Check for Rust
As mentioned earlier, 4Runners are prone to body rust and corrosion. Be sure to inspect the vehicle thoroughly, paying close attention to areas such as the frame, wheel wells, and undercarriage.
2. Check the Transmission
If you are looking at a third-generation 4Runner, be sure to have the transmission inspected. These vehicles are known to have transmission issues, and repairs can be expensive.
3. Check the Maintenance History
Look for a 4Runner that has been well-maintained. Ask the seller for maintenance records and look for signs of regular oil changes and other routine maintenance.
4. Check for Accidents
Be sure to check the vehicle’s accident history using a service such as Carfax. Look for signs of major damage, such as frame damage or airbag deployment.
5. Take a Test Drive
Before making a purchase, take the 4Runner for a test drive. Pay close attention to how it handles and listen for any strange noises or vibrations.
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Are 4Runners expensive to maintain?
While Toyota 4Runners are known for their reliability, maintenance costs can vary depending on the age and condition of the vehicle. As with any vehicle, regular maintenance is key to keeping your 4Runner running smoothly.
Is 4Runner comfortable for a long road trip?
Many 4Runner owners report that their vehicles are comfortable for long road trips. However, comfort can vary depending on the vehicle’s age and condition, as well as personal preferences.
Is an old 4Runner worth it?
This depends on the vehicle’s condition and how well it has been maintained. While older 4Runners can be reliable and durable, they may require more maintenance and repairs than newer models.
Why are 3rd gen 4runners so expensive?
The third-generation 4Runner, which was produced from 1996 to 2002, is highly sought after by off-road enthusiasts and outdoor enthusiasts due to its ruggedness, reliability, and capability. These vehicles were built to last and have proven to be highly reliable over time, which has resulted in high demand for them on the used car market.
The third-generation 4Runner has a timeless design that many people find appealing, which has helped to maintain its value over time.
Is a 4Runner a good daily driver?
While the 4Runner is often considered a rugged off-road vehicle, it is also a highly capable daily driver. The 4Runner is comfortable, spacious, and has excellent visibility, making it a great choice for those who need a vehicle for daily commuting, running errands, or driving around town.
The 4Runner’s reliability and durability make it a great long-term investment, as it is likely to last for many years with proper maintenance.
Are 4Runners good on gas?
4Runners are not known for being fuel-efficient vehicles due to their size, weight, and ruggedness. The average fuel economy for a 4Runner is around 17-20 miles per gallon, depending on the year and model.
Newer models, such as the fifth-generation 4Runner, have slightly better fuel economy thanks to advancements in technology and engineering.
Does a 4Runner drive like a truck?
The 4Runner is built on a truck platform, so it does have some truck-like characteristics when it comes to driving. The 4Runner has a relatively smooth and comfortable ride, thanks to its long wheelbase and independent front suspension.
Newer models of the 4Runner have advanced features such as a multi-terrain select system, which helps to improve handling and stability in challenging driving conditions.
Are Toyota 4runners good in snow?
4Runners are highly capable vehicles when it comes to driving in snowy or icy conditions. The 4Runner’s four-wheel drive system provides excellent traction and stability on slippery roads, while the vehicle’s ground clearance and large tires help to navigate through deep snow or other obstacles.
Newer models of the 4Runner have advanced features such as a locking rear differential, which helps to improve traction and stability in challenging driving conditions.
What years of 4Runner are the most reliable?
Overall, Toyota 4Runners are known for their reliability and durability, and many years and models have proven to be highly dependable over time. Some of the most reliable years of the 4Runner include the 2017-present fifth-generation model, the 2008-2009 fourth-generation model, and the 1999-2000 third-generation model.
These models are known for their ruggedness, reliability, and longevity, and have been popular choices among off-road enthusiasts and outdoor enthusiasts.
What year 4Runners have frame problems?
Some older Toyota 4Runners, particularly those produced in the late 1990s and early 2000s, have been known to experience frame rust and corrosion issues. This is particularly true for models that were used in areas with heavy salt or moisture, which can cause the frame to corrode over time.
Toyota issued a recall for certain models of the 4Runner, Tacoma, and Tundra in 2016 to address frame rust issues, and has taken steps to improve the durability and corrosion resistance of its vehicles in recent years.
In conclusion, while the Toyota 4Runner is generally a reliable and capable SUV, there are certain years that should be avoided due to various issues and problems.
The 1988-1989, 1990-1995, 2001-2002, 2003-2005, 2010-2013, and 2014-2016 model years are known to have problems with transmission failure, defective airbags, cracked dashboards, body rust and corrosion, and door issues, among others.
It’s best to avoid these years unless you find a well-maintained and documented vehicle.
On the other hand, there are several years and generations of the Toyota 4Runner that are highly regarded for their reliability and performance.
The 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, and 1984-1985 first-generation 4Runner with a 2.4-liter I4 are all great options to consider when shopping for a used Toyota 4Runner.
When buying a used 4Runner, it’s important to do your due diligence and carefully inspect the vehicle for any signs of wear and tear or potential issues.
Look for a well-maintained vehicle with a documented service history and try to buy from a reputable dealer or private seller.
The Toyota 4Runner is a highly capable and versatile SUV that is well-regarded for its reliability and off-road capabilities.
By being aware of the years to avoid and choosing a well-maintained and documented vehicle, you can enjoy many years of trouble-free driving with your Toyota 4Runner.