Are Toyota 4Runners Reliable? Find Out

By Derrick •  Updated: 09/15/22 •  6 min read

If you’re a vehicle owner, you’re probably always on the lookout for a car that is both reliable and affordable. And if you’re in the market for a new SUV, the Toyota 4Runner might be a good option to consider. Toyota has a reputation for making reliable cars, and the 4Runner is no exception. But what are actual owners saying about this vehicle? Is it as reliable as people think? Let’s take a look at some real-life examples to find out.

Are Toyota 4Runners Reliable? Yes, Toyota 4Runners are considered to be very reliable cars. In fact, they’re often lauded for their dependability and durability. However, like any car, they’re not perfect and can have some issues.

What Determines A Vehicle’s Reliability?

A vehicle’s reliability is determined by several factors, including its design, manufacturing quality, and maintenance requirements.

In terms of design, a reliable vehicle is typically one that is simple and has few moving parts. This helps to reduce the chances of something going wrong. Manufacturing quality is also important, as poor-quality components are more likely to fail.

Finally, vehicles that require frequent or complex maintenance are often less reliable than those that are simpler to keep in good condition. By taking these factors into account, it is possible to get a better sense of which vehicles are likely to be more reliable.

What Are The Pros and Cons Of Owning A Toyota 4Runner?

There are many pros to owning a Toyota 4Runner.

First, as we mentioned, they are generally very reliable cars. This means that you can expect them to last for many years with proper care.

They’re also quite rugged and can handle off-road driving better than most other SUVs on the market.

Another great thing about 4Runners is that they hold their value well. This is great if/when you do go to trade it in or sell it, you tend to get a good amount of money back to put towards your next vehicle.

However, there are also some cons to consider before buying a 4Runner.

They can be expensive, both in terms of the initial purchase price and fuel consumption costs.

They don’t get great fuel economy, so you can expect to spend more on gas than you would with a smaller vehicle, which in today’s fuel market can be concerning with the highest fuel prices we have experienced in a long time.

Are They Reliable Cars or Do They Tend To Have Problems

Toyota 4Runners are generally really reliable cars that tend to cost less to maintain than other comparable vehicles.

The biggest issue older 4Runners experience is rust.  The frame on 4Runners are known to be a problem area, especially for vehicles from northern states that use a lot of salt and other chemicals on the roads in the winter.

Another common issue is with the suspension.  4Runners are known to have issues with the front coil springs breaking. Toyota did extend the warranty on this problem for certain models and years but if you’re outside of that you may be on the hook for repairs which can be costly.

Lastly, and mostly for lifted 4Runners, is the CV boots ripping.  Since the boots are located on the bottom of the vehicle, they are more susceptible to being ripped and torn and this can be magnified when a vehicle is lifted as it changes the angles.

How Can You Ensure Your 4Runner Is As Reliable As Possible?

The first thing to maximize the reliability of your vehicle is to keep up with all regularly scheduled maintenance. This means oil changes, tire rotations, and other items that are typically included in your vehicle’s service manual.

Following the service manual is important as it has the recommendations directly from the manufacturer and the time thresholds on when they should be done.

Additionally, be sure to inspect your 4Runner regularly for any signs of wear or tear. If you catch something early on, it’s often much easier and cheaper to fix than if you wait until it becomes a bigger problem.

Finally, drive carefully and avoid putting your 4Runner in situations where it could be damaged. This includes off-roading experiences that are too extreme for your build-out or driving in areas where you do not yet have the skill or experience to handle.

By following these tips, you can help to ensure that your Toyota 4Runner is as reliable as possible and around for many years to come.

Should You Buy A Used or New 4Runner?

As we discussed earlier 4Runners really do hold their value, therefore if you’re looking at purchasing one that is only a few years old it may make more sense to buy a new model since lightly used 4Runners aren’t much less.

You can save money with a used 4Runner if you buy one that is more than 3-4 years old and you have the time to shop around finding the best value between price, mileage, overall condition, and preferably one from a southern state that does not use road salt.

If you do decide to go the used route, be sure to have the vehicle thoroughly inspected by a qualified mechanic before making your purchase.  This will help to ensure that you’re not inheriting someone else’s problems and that the 4Runner is in good working order.

You may want to lean towards a new one if you aren’t mechanically inclined where you can do a brief inspection yourself or if you prefer the vehicle to have a factory warranty.

If you have the budget for it and would like the newest features, go ahead and get a new one as you’re likely to get years of enjoyment out of your 4Runner.

Maintenance Costs

While the 4Runner is a reliable SUV, it will at some point need to have maintenance and repairs done.

The good news is that the 4Runner is typically less expensive to maintain than other comparable vehicles on the market.

According to RepairPal, the average total annual cost for repairs and maintenance on a Toyota 4Runner is also lower than its peers.

When looking at the frequency and severity of repairs, the 4Runner does well in that category too, with frequency being noted as lower than average and severity being listed as less severe.

Final Thoughts On Toyota 4Runner Reliability

4Runners are very reliable vehicles that are produced in Toyota’s Japanese factories which are known for quality and also produce many of Toyota’s premium brand Lexus vehicles. In my opinion, seeing comments online as well as numerous reliability ratings, I would rate the 4Runner as an above-average reliability score.


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