How Long Do Toyota 4Runners Last – Let’s Find Out

How Long Do Toyota 4Runners Last – Let’s Find Out

If there is one thing that Toyota cars are known for, it’s their reliability, and the Toyota 4Runner is true to its brand. But how long do Toyota 4Runners last? Many Toyota 4Runners are able to see the 300,000-mile mark under good driving and maintenance.

In one study which looked at the vehicles that were longest lasting and frequently crossed the 200,000-mile mark by iSeeCars, the 4Runner came out number 5 out of 16 cars.

According to owners who have driven the Toyota 4Runner for many years as well as popular rating sites and automotive sites, the 4Runner is one of those vehicles that are likely to reach the 200,000-mile mark. And if well maintained they can even reach the 300,000-mile mark.

But one thing we should emphasize is this doesn’t mean that all 4Runners will cross the 300,000-mile mark. For this to happen you will need to ensure proper maintenance. But the great part is that the annual maintenance costs of the 4Runner are relatively low compared to other models in its class.

Let’s discover more about the Toyota 4Runner. For easier navigation throughout this post, feel free to use our table of contents below.

4th Generation 4Runner

Toyota is one of those brands that does not disappoint when it comes to vehicles that are durable and reliable. This is especially true with the 4Runner model. Having said that, there are plenty of 4Runner model years to choose from and it’s crucial that you learn which model is the best for you.

An interesting thing is that the newest model 4Runner may not be the best. This title goes to the much earlier fourth-generation 4Runner. This one seems to tick all the boxes including the styling, performance, and power all while coming at an affordable price.

Speaking of which…

Power And Reliability

There are plenty of reasons why you want to choose the fourth generation 4Runner with models years that range from 2003 to 2009. Before we can even talk about how long do Toyota 4Runners last, one of the features that stand out with these models is that they are highly reliable.

But that isn’t even the most striking thing about them. With good driving and maintenance, these vehicles can last over 500,000 miles, in some cases.

That said, the largest difference between the 4th generation 4Runner and other 4Runner generations can be found under the hood. First off, it is only the 4th generation 4 runner where you can get a 4.7 liter V8 which was also designed for the luxury Lexus brand the GX470.

Of course, the specifications which came with the 4.7-liter engine are dependent on which model year you are talking about. The 2005 to 2009 models featured a V8 engine that could produce 270hp and 330-lb feet of torque. The earlier 2003 and 2004 models had a 4.7-liter engine that gave out 235hp and 320 pound-feet of torque.

4th Generation 4Runner

That said, the standard 4th generation 4Runner came equipped with a 4-liter V6 engine which was also pretty decent. It can produce 245hp and 283 pound-feet of torque. Not Bad! This is also the type of engine that is available in the Land Cruiser, the Tacoma, FJ Cruiser, and the Tundra.

Granted the V6 engine isn’t as powerful as the V8 but it is more fuel efficient and more reliable.

Fuel Efficiency

The 4 liter V6 of the Toyota 4Runner can do 17 miles per gallon in the city and 21 miles per gallon on the highway. The V8 on the other hand is capable of doing 15 miles per gallon on the highway and 19 miles per gallon on the highway.

By now many people would think that this isn’t very fuel efficient. Sure, but there are plenty of other great features with the 4Runner that make it worth every penny.

For a midsized SUV, the towing capacity of the 4Runner is up there with the best of them. While you can pull up to 5000 pounds with the standard V6, switch over to the V8 and you can tow anywhere from 7000 pounds to 7300 pounds.

One thing to note is that of all the 4Runner generations, the 4th generation came with the largest towing capacity.

Another great thing about the 4th generation 4 runner that is worth noting is that it sits on a similar platform to the Toyota Hilux Surf, The Prado, Land Cruiser, the FJ cruiser as well as the 5th generation Toyota 4Runner. The result is parts that are super easy to fund.

This explains why the costs of maintenance are low.

The Features

You do not expect the Toyota 4Runner 4th generation to come with plenty of modern features considering the models are quite old. Nevertheless, this generation 4Runner is quite comfortable to sit and drive in.

The base model of the 4Runner was the most affordable but also the least impressive. Then there was the Sport Edition which featured 17-inch smoke rims, a smoke chrome grill, as well as X-REAS suspension. There were also plenty of other cool features.

With the top of the line trim named the Limited, you would get features such as heated leather seats, a JBL sound system, and dual climate control. With the V8 you would also get the rear air suspension and some even came with 18-inch wheels.

Some of the more highly prized 4Runners are those that came towards the end of the 4th generation namely the Trail Edition and the Urban Runner. If you’ve always wondered how long do Toyota 4Runners last, well, these models are known to exceed 300,000 miles.

The Trail Edition 4Runner was only available in a four-wheel drive system and came with a V6 engine.

One of the features that really stands out with the 4th generation of the 4Runner is the simple styling. Even after so many years, the 4Runner still looks the part.

Simply put, it’s a reliable, highly powerful, and highly capable SUV. If what you are looking for is a reliable Toyota 4Runner, the 4th generation is a good choice.

3rd Generation 4Runner

There has been a breakout in the value of the 3rd generation 4Runners. While some people attribute this to the market conditions, others claim it is due to Toyota’s legacy of reliability and durability. For some, however, the jump in price is not surprising.

The rise in prices of the FJ Cruiser as well as the Land Cruiser was a good indication to some that the value of the 3rd generation 4 runner would also go up. The latest 3rd generation 4Runner is now over 20 years old yet there is no shortage of these cars on the roads.

One thing’s for sure, it is not because they are rare that their values are going up, it’s because they are durable and reliable cars.

Just a couple of years ago, you could get the 3rd generation 4Runner for about $5,000. Right now it’s difficult to get a car that has over 200,000 miles on it for that price. More and more people are becoming aware of the durable body on frame build as well as the excellent powertrain and these cars are getting even more popular.

The 5VZ-FE

Speaking of the powertrain, the 3rd generation 4Runner features a 3.4 liter V6 engine better called the 5VZ-FE which has proven to be highly reliable over the years.

Sure, you could get a 3rd generation 4Runner with a V6 four-cylinder engine, but the 5VZ-FE was often thought of as the better option. The powertrain can produce 183 horsepower as well as 217 pound-feet of torque.

Even more surprising is that this engine was belt driven and didn’t have interference. What this means is that in case the belt broke, the engine immediately shut down. This helped to prevent damage to other engine components.

Apart from the coolant sometimes mixing with the transmission fluid the 3.4 liter V6 seemed flawless.

The Construction

3rd Generation 4Runner

Newer models of SUVs now come as a unibody. However, the 3rd generation 4Runner had a body-on-frame construction. This is similar to what you would find on a pickup truck. This generation 4Runner was the pioneer of the usability and the comfort that you get with modern 4Runners.

Since Toyota understood that the body-on-frame construction made the 4Runner more durable, they continued to employ this build on other models. That said, the majority of modern car models have a unibody construction because this contributes to ride quality.

This is not the case with the 4Runner which is willing to sacrifice ride quality for durability.


You can get the 3rd generation 4Runner in either a 2WD or 4WD. Sure you can still see many 2WD 4Runners on the roads but to be honest, very few people actually want a 4Runner that is 2WD. With the 4WD option, you could get both a high and low gear setting.

The 2001 model of the 4Runner was available in 2WD with an all-wheel drive option.

One of the main reasons why people are opting for the 3rd generation 4Runner is that it is quite the performer when it comes to off-road driving. This is all thanks to the powerful engine and the lightweight construction.

When it comes to the best 3rd generation 4Runners for off-road driving, it all came down to models between 1996 and 2000. This is because the models featured a rear locking differential. The 2001 model, however, came with a center rear locking differential. It also featured traction control and vehicle stability.

Moreover, there were plenty of options when it came to the styling of the 3rd generation 4Runner including leather seats, a hood scoop, and even chrome bumpers.

There is no denying that the 3rd generation 4Runner is highly capable off-road. Drivers want to know that the vehicle isn’t going to fail when they are in the middle of nowhere. Furthermore, drivers also want to know that the vehicle will perform at its optimum even after receiving a beating off-road.

While there are some great off-road capable vehicles on the market, very few match the capabilities of the 4Runner.

Even after twenty years, drivers can still rely on the 3rd generation 4 runner to offer excellent performance.

A Rise In Value

There has been an increase in the value of SUVs recently. This is mainly due to the economic factors of supply and demand.  Part of the reason for the high demand is due to a shortage of inventory and a change in customer preferences in favor of SUVs.

This is also the case with the 4Runners.

Even while the Toyota 4Runner 3rd generation is over 2 decades old, they are still highly sought-after used cars. They are not just popular with off-road drivers, but also with people who just want an affordable and highly reliable SUV.

Recent data has shown a rise in popularity of 3rd generation 4Runners. Buyers are causing the prices to rise to a premium, especially for the 4Runners that are free of rust and are in top condition.

The majority of the 4Runners that became rusty were exposed to areas that had wet and humid climates. That said the 3rd generation 4Runners that were driven in warmer climates were able to remain relatively rust-free.

Now you can expect to part with around $16,000 for a 3rd generation 4Runner with over 130,000 miles on it. The great thing is that if you are wondering how long do Toyota 4Runners last, then you’ll be pleased to know that they last much longer than this under good maintenance.

Go for a low mileage 4Runner, and you can pay over $40,000. This has come as quite the surprise considering that just a few years ago, you could have bought a 3rd generation 4Runner for less than $5,000.

Whatever the reasons behind the surge in prices, one this is for sure, the 3rd generation 4Runner is now considered a collectible.

Toyota 4Runner Problems

The Toyota 4Runner is without a doubt a highly reliable and durable car. But regardless of this, it still comes with its fair share of issues and problems. Let’s take a look at some common problems that you can expect with the Toyota 4Runner.

How Long Do Toyota 4Runners Last, Common Problems #1 – Brake Problems

Braking problems are common, especially with the 2017 model of the 4Runner. There have been reports of the brakes failing temporarily as well as the brakes locking up on one side. This has also been an issue with the 2004 model and the 2015 models.

There have also been reports of issues with the brakes with both the 4th generation as well as the 5th generation 4Runners. This is especially so with the models from 2003 to 2005. These brake issues tend to occur on the front brakes.

Other problems include the brake warping as well as the premature wearing out of the front brake master cylinder and the front brake rotor. This could cause damage to other suspension components including the tires.

That said, if you are wondering how long Toyota 4Runners last with such issues, well not as long as they would last under regular servicing of the brakes.

How Long Do Toyota 4Runners Last, Common Problems #2 – Problems With The Automatic Transmission

The Toyota 4Runners that were most prone to experience automatic transmission problems included the models years from 1990 – 2011 as well as the 2016 model. These included difficulty shifting to overdrive and a failure to shift to drive. Drivers often had to revert to manual driving.

The majority of these issues resulted in the 4Runner losing power.

As a result of a faulty shift solenoid when the 4Runner reaches between 25,000 and 150,000 miles, there could be difficulty in the transmission shifting. A damaged throttle position sensor could also cause this issue.

How Long Do Toyota 4Runners Last, Common Problems #3 – Issues With The Airbags

In 2019 there were over 200,000 Toyota 4Runner recalls that involved faulty airbags. One of the modes years that also received a lot of recalls is the 2015 4Runner. This 4Runner, in particular, had faulty front airbags which if deployed would either explode or fail to launch during an accident.

This increased the odds of a serious injury. It is important therefore to ensure that the issue has been solved if you are planning on getting a 2015 Toyota 4Runner.

How Long Do Toyota 4Runners Last, Common Problems #4 – Issues With The Starter

There were issues with the starter. This involved corrosion in the solenoid often with the 3rd generation and the 4th generation Toyota 4Runners. This could cause the SUV to suddenly stop or even have a hard time starting.

According to many owners, there have been issues with the ignition key. This causes the starter to make strange noises whenever you try to start the vehicle. This issue was often fixed by replacing the starter.

Including labor costs, you can expect to pay between $50 and $300 to fix the starter solenoid.

How Long Do Toyota 4Runners Last, Common Problems #5 – Faulty Charcoal Canister

Another common issue with the 4Runner is a failure of the purge control solenoid of the charcoal canister. This would cause problems with the emissions that could in turn cause the check engine light to turn on.

Furthermore, debris would enter the EVAP system and it’s an issue that came up often with the Toyota 4Runner 4th generation, especially the 2004, 2005, and 2009 models. To fix this problem, car owners needed to replace the canister.

Including labor costs, replacing the canister could cost anywhere from $250 to $450. Just replacing the solenoid alone would cost between $60 to $100 plus labor costs.

How Long Do Toyota 4Runners Last, Common Problems #6 – Corrosion And Body Paint Issues

For the majority of the Toyota 4Runners, there were issues with rust and body paint. This is especially with the 4th generation. This problem is most apparent when the 4Runner crosses the 150,000-mile mark.

According to RepairPal many 3rd generation 4Runners, even while working perfectly got an inspection by a mechanic shop that revealed there was rust in the suspension as well as in the vehicle’s frame. So to answer the question how long do Toyota 4Runners last, well, long enough to develop rust and still keep going.

With the 2005 version of the 4Runner, there is a high chance of undercarriage corrosion. Moreover, many owners have been advised to stop driving the SUV due to safety concerns caused by a heavily corroded underside. To fix the body paint, it would cost you around $1800.

How Long Do Toyota 4Runners Last, Common Problems #7 – Cracked Dashboard

The 2004 model of the 4Runner often was prone to dashboard cracking or even a dashboard that had melted. Many car websites point out the cause as the sun’s heat that damaged the dashboard. This resulted in a sticky substance on the dashboard.

Toyota 4Runner Problems

If this issue occurred, it would affect the deployment of the airbags. This significantly heightened the chances of things ending up badly in case of an accident. The shiny surface as a result of the dashboard meeting would also reflect light into the driver’s eyes and impair their vision.

How Long Do Toyota 4Runners Last, Common Problems #8 – Damaged Air Flow Sensor

This is an issue that was very common with the Toyota 4Runners from 1996 to 2002. There has also been an issue with the 2012 model. This issue resulted in misfiring, delayed acceleration, stalling, bucking, as well as hesitation.

When car owners took their cars to the mechanic, the issue was identified as a faulty air sensor. The issue wasn’t all that hard to fix, however, as all that is needed to be to either replace the sensor or clean it.

The cost of fixing the problem can be anywhere from $20 to $50 including the labor costs.

By being aware of the issues that come with the Toyota 4Runner it gets fairly easy to fix the problem.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Do Toyotas Last

Toyota vehicles have an average lifespan of 10 -15 years. This can translate to between 150,000 to 200,000 miles. That said, there are some models such as the Land Cruiser and the 4Runner that have been known to exceed this mileage.

Where Are Toyota 4Runners Made

There are two main plants in Japan where the Toyota 4Runner is built. These include the Tahara Aichi Plant and the HINO motor plant in Hamura.

Why Are 4Runners So Expensive

Many people often wonder why the price of a Toyota 4Runner has gone up. This is because of the 4Runners durability and reliability. This is a machine that is quite impressive with its off-road capabilities. Also surprising is that even 4Runners with high mileage are quite excessive.

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