2004 Toyota 4runner Guide

A Complete 2004 Toyota 4runner Guide

Toyota 4Runner shifted from the compact SUV segment to the mid-size SUV segment in 1995. From then onwards, several improvements were made to make it look more like its elder cousin Land Cruiser. In 2003, the size was further increased a few inches and thus the 4Runner’s stance became more intimidating than ever. 

The 2004 Toyota 4Runner belongs to the 4th Generation 4Runners and has been given high regard in the 4×4 segment. Models of the early 2000s are now selling like hotcakes, as they have depreciated over time – as all 4×4 vehicles do. But their demand as a budget offroader has skyrocketed during the Covid.  

In this 2004 Toyota 4Runner guide, we will analyze all the trim levels available and then you can decide which one suits you the best. We will be looking at some aspects to make sure that you can get a clear picture of what you will get after spending your hard-earned money. 

2004 Toyota 4Runner Specs 

2004 Toyota 4Runner Variants/Trim Levels 

There are 3 main variants of the 2004 Toyota 4Runner as follows:

  • SR5
  • Sport Edition
  • Limited

All the variants have 2 engine options viz the standard 4.0L V6 and the optional 4.7L V8. There are 2 transmission options as well; namely, the 4 speed automatic and 5 speed automatic. In 2004, Toyota made the 5 speed automatic as a standard option in all 4Runner variants. 

All the trim levels can be optioned with either a rear-wheel drive or 4 wheel drive option. The 4-speed automatic option is not available in the 4.7L V8 engine variant. 

2004 Toyota 4Runner MPG

2004 Toyota 4Runner trim levels MPG City/Highway
4.0L V6 RWD 4-Speed Automatic  16/20
4.0L V6 4WD 4-Speed Automatic  15/19
4.7L V8 RWD 5-Speed Automatic  15/18
4.7 L V8 4WD 5-Speed Automatic 14/17

2004 Toyota 4Runner Prices

The 2004 Toyota 4Runner stands above its competitors regarding the price tag. It is one of the most expensive old 4x4s on the market. The minimum price seen on the online market is around $5k while the competitors can go as low as $1k. It clearly shows that the Toyota 4Runner is retaining its value quite well. 

The maximum price coated for a Toyota 4Runner is about $19k which is way more than any other competitors of the same class. According to Kelly’s Blue Book, the reasonable price is somewhere between $6000-$10000. 

2004 Toyota 4Runner Accessories

People have been modifying their Toyota 4Runner for a very long time now, thus the aftermarket is full of accessories specially made for the Toyota 4Runner. 

2004 Toyota 4Runner Rear Bumper

Most of the aftermarket rear bumpers offer a hitch receiver as well, but the best option is to go for the one that can also carry your spare tire – because chances are, you are going to lift your SUV and put bigger tires. Now the problem with bigger tires is that the spare will be bigger too, and to be able to mount that huge spare tire, you will need some extra mount that can withstand all that weight. 

Luckily the aftermarket rear bumper addresses all of your concerns. You should prefer the ones that have the spare tire mount as well. We have linked an aftermarket rear bumper with a spare tire mount for Toyota 4Runner here. It’s the Wilco rear bumper, and the reviews are nothing but good. 

2004 Toyota 4Runner Camping

People have been modifying their Toyota 4Runners to be trailblazing monsters, no path is too steep for these trucks disguised as SUVs. The camping industry has a lot to offer to make your weekend in the wilds wild. 

The best ones are the ones that are not too cheap and not too expensive, so make sure that you go for the reasonably priced products as the most expensive often aren’t able to justify the cost. When you have the roof rack and other mods installed, you can go to Amazon and browse through all the options that are available to enhance your camping experience. 

For a good camping experience, you shouldn’t be looking at too much luxury as it defeats the purpose of camping. But if you want to have leisure time, the camping products are never-ending. You can have a solar-powered generator, stove, lights, fishing gear, a tent which you can mount on top, a propane tank for lighting up the stove, etc.  

2004 Toyota 4Runner Roof Racks

You can put a roof rack on top to get more utility out of your Toyota 4Runner. You can put a roof rack on top. Not only will it give you more room for putting your camping gear, but it will also provide you with a place to mount a tent or a mountain bike. You can never go wrong with a roof rack. This is the type of investment that will always come in handy. Here’s a site where you would be able to find the one you are looking for. 

Best 2004 Toyota 4Runner Replacement Parts

Being a Toyota gives an edge over all the others in terms of price and availability of parts. Since it has been manufactured for such a long time and millions of units have been sold – finding replacements is not that hard. The junkyards can be the go-to choice if you are looking for genuine stuff at a very low cost. 

2004 Toyota 4Runner Tires

There are plenty of options to choose from. The best option depends on your regional climate and the ride height. You can find the one suitable for your needs on Tire Rack, they have hundreds of options – And with the fitment tool, you will always find the right ones for your Toyota 4Runner. 

2004 Toyota 4Runner Air Filters

There are some different types of air filters available in the market, the best option however should be the OEM air filter. Here’s a link where you can find OEM ones for your 4th Gen Toyota 4Runner on Amazon.

If you are looking for increased power output, then you can also go for the cold air intake as well. K&Ns cold air intakes are supposed to increase horsepower numbers just a few notches. If you are chasing down horsepower numbers then the K&N cold air intake would be the best option. Here’s a link to the K&N cold air intake that fits a 2004 Toyota 4Runner on Amazon. 

2004 Toyota 4Runner Headlights

For 2003, 2004, and 2005 models, the headlights housings won’t be able to withstand higher luminance HIR bulbs – The glare would be illegally bright. To be able to have a reasonable glare, you would have to replace the headlight housing with one of the 2006-2009 model 4Runners. 

The replacement would require some modification as well. The total cost won’t be cheap, so the best option is to either go for the OEM ones or the aftermarket ones made for the 4th gen model, which includes the 2004 Toyota 4Runner. 

2004 Toyota 4Runner Brake Pads

One of the most important things in a vehicle is the brakes. Brakes inspection should be carried out regularly – at each oil change. The inspection should make sure that all the brake lines are intact, there is no brake fluid leakage, the rotors are working, the brake pads are not worn – in short, make sure that the brakes don’t have a problem. 

You can find all the brake-related stuff on Amazon. Ideally, you should go with the OEM ones, but if you are looking for improved performance that compliments your personalized setup, then you prefer the high-end aftermarket brakes. You should not go for the cheapest option available in the market – the reasonably priced ones are always worth the money.  

2004 Toyota 4Runner Mods

There is a sea of options when we dive into the modification zone. The best mods are the budget-friendly ones. There are plenty of deals on the internet that looks promising but are a complete rip-off. Overpriced stuff is not always good, so make sure that you choose those mods that fall under the average price bracket. 

2004 Toyota 4Runner Lift Kits

The first mod that would make a day and night difference is increasing the ride height. All those overlanders out there are having some kind of lifted ride. You can increase your 2004 Toyota 4Runner ride height by using lift kits. There are plenty of lift kits in the market, we have sorted out the best option which we have linked here

When looking for a lift kit, you need to consider several factors. The above-mentioned list kit is a 3-inch lift kit. The more the inched the more changes you would have to make. With the 3 inch option, your stock tires wouldn’t look ugly in any way. But with a bigger lift kit, you would also have to change the tires to a bigger option.

When you are looking to put bigger tires, you would inevitably have to use lift kits coupled with bigger suspension components. Fox and Bilstein shocks are some of the best in the industry. They are engineered with the Baja Racing background – Thus they are the best in the industry. 

Check out our full guide on how to find the best 4Runner Lift Kits.

2004 Toyota 4Runner Maintenance Schedule

To ensure that your 2004 Toyota 4Runner stays in great shape with minimum problems, you need to carry out dedicated regular maintenance. The engine can last hundreds of thousands of miles if proper maintenance isn’t neglected. On the other hand, if maintenance is not carried out, then the engine will not remain healthy and you will experience problems. 

There are plenty of other things to take care of apart from the engine. Let’s take a deep breath and go through all the parts that need maintenance and at what time they need it. 

Miles Maintenance Schedule
After every:

  • 3,000 miles
  • 9,000 miles
  • 15,000 miles
  • 27,000 miles
  • Examine the brake pipes and lines.
  • Examine the air cleaner
  • Examine the chassis body nuts and bolts.
  • Examine the cooling system, hoses, and clamps. Inspect exhaust system
  • Change engine oil
  • Change engine oil filter
  • Rotate tires
After every

  • 6,000 miles
  • Examine the brake pipes and lines.
  • Examine the chassis body nuts and bolts.
  • Examine the cooling system, hoses, and clamps.
  • Examine the exhaust system
  • Keep ball joints lubricated.
  • Change the engine oil
  • Change the engine oil filter.
  • Rotate the tires
After every:

  • 30000 miles
  • Inspect and replace the spark plugs if required
  • Inspect the whole electronics system and see if all the sensors are working right
  • Examine the exhaust system.
  • Lubricate ball joints
  • Change the engine oil.
  • Replace the engine oil filter.
  • Rotate tires
  • Inspect the PCV valve
  • Replace the spark plugs
  • Drain and replace the transmission oil
After every:

  • 36000 miles
  • Drain and refill front and rear axle oil                   

The required maintenance can vary depending on how you drive and in which region you drive your 2004 Toyota 4Runner. If you are always hauling loads of stuff on the trailer, then you would be needing to change the engine oil much earlier than expected. On the other hand, if you are not towing anything, then you can delay the oil change for a little longer. 

2004 Toyota 4Runner Recalls

2004 Toyota 4Runner has 2 known recalls, which we have elaborated as follows:

2004 Toyota 4Runner Side Airbags Deploy Inadvertently 

Toyota recalled a number of its lineups including the 4Runner for reprogramming the airbag control module. The old programming could cause the side curtain shield airbag failure causing it to work improperly – leading to a devastating crash, which could have been avoided had it not been for the faulty airbag. 

The recall began in 2016, so make sure that the Toyota 4Runner that you are looking at has had its recall attended. The revised programming will rectify the issue and the airbags will work perfectly. 

2004 Toyota 4Runner Accelerator Gets Stuck

It’s one of those design faults that arose due to the Toyota all-weather floor mats. The design didn’t complement the accelerator position, causing the accelerator pedal to get stuck at wide-open throttle. The recall began in 2011, so make sure that the one you are looking at has had this recall attended. 

The recall included replacing the accelerator pedal and the replacement of the Toyota all-weather floor mats. 

2004 Toyota 4Runner Common Problems

2004 Toyota 4Runner Automatic Transmission Not Shifting 

This is a common problem that has been reported against Toyota 4Runner. This problem mainly occurs after 125k miles and mostly happens due to improper maintenance. The culprit, in this case, is the throttle position sensor not properly adjusted. Otherwise, it might be the shift solenoid that is causing the shifting problem. 

But before you jump to a conclusion, make sure that the transmission oil has been replaced on time. On several different occasions, it has been noted that changing the transmission fluid and mixing a “transmission fix” solves the shifting problem. 

2004 Toyota 4Runner Check Engine Light

Check engine light can illuminate for a lot of different problems, the most common problem, however, is the failure of the charcoal canister. The evaporative emission system (EVAP) will start collecting debris – causing emission problems. 

This problem can cause the 2004 Toyota 4Runner to fail the emissions test, so make sure that the check engine light is not illuminating. 

2004 Toyota 4Runner Won’t Start/Crank 

It is a commonly occurring problem that happens due to worn-out solenoid contacts of the starter motor. The faulty parts are normally replaced instead of replacing the whole starter. Other problems may also cause starting problems such as worn-out spark plugs, ignition coils, PCV valves, etc. The common one in the case of the Toyota 4Runner is the solenoid. 

2004 Toyota 4Runner Brake Problem 

This is a common issue whose culprit is the brake master cylinder. These master cylinders would require replacement after about 125k miles. These components wore out depending on the type of usage. If huge loads are regularly towed then the brake would inevitably require early replacement. 

This particular master cylinder problem can be avoided by adjusting the brake pedal per the master cylinder’s pushrod clearance or otherwise, the brakes will continue dragging – which will ultimately result in brake failure. To avoid any mishap, make sure to inspect the brakes at every oil change.

2004 Toyota 4Runner Resale Value

Toyota 4Runner is the option where you can’t go wrong. It has maintained its value over time and fought the battle of depreciation which gives the mightiest blow to every other vehicle on the planet. With the rise in popularity of offroading – thanks to the lockdown in Covid, road trips have never been so popular. This new era of offroading is widely coined as Overlanding, because of which the landscape of offroading is no longer the same. 

The lowest price available for the 2004 Toyota 4Runner on Autotrader is around $5000, and people are asking as much as $19000 for a 2004 Toyota 4Runner which is a lot more than any other vehicle in this category. This clearly shows that the 2004 Toyota 4Runner is going to retain its value. 

If you are looking for a return of investment after you have had all the offroading experience, then you should go for the one at a little less than $10k. Make sure that you go for the one that has a clean title and lower miles on the gauge cluster. You should also dig into the history of the vehicle you are looking at. If you can get the maintenance records then that’s a plus. 

There are plenty of 4Runners available that have had plenty of aftermarket mods already installed. If the seller is trustworthy, you can go for the loaded one and save both time and money.    

2004 Toyota 4Runner Competitors

2004 Toyota 4Runner belongs to the midsize SUV segment and when we look into the early 2000s era, some SUVs put up a good fight against the Toyota 4Runner mainly because the competitors go for a lower price tag compared to the 4Runner.

We have compiled a list of competitors that compete with the 4Runner given below:

  • Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • GMC Yukon
  • Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 
  • Nissan Patrol 
  • Land Rover Discovery 
  • Dodge Durango
  • Chevrolet Tahoe 

These above-mentioned competitors have their pros and cons. The biggest plus of the Toyota 4Runner is its value. They tend to retain their value quite well and thus they are not depreciating like others.

Jeep Grand Cherokee comes the closest when we are looking for something similar to the Toyota 4Runner – then comes the Nissan Patrol and Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Dodge Durango is not a bad option either but the aftermarket support isn’t that much. Land Rover is a good option as well, but again, not much aftermarket support. 

Chevrolets and GMCs tend to have a very high maintenance cost, and on top of that, they have tons of common problems, especially with the transmissions.  


Question: How Much A Toyota 4Runner Is Worth

Answer: Toyota Runner is one of those SUVs that have maintained its value over time. All the competitors have depreciated a lot in terms of their value, but the Toyota 4Runner is standing tall. 

They are being sold for somewhere between $5000-$20000. The prices vary depending on the condition and trim level. It might also vary depending on the number of after-market mods that have been put on it. 

Question: Which Toyota 4Runner Engine Is The Best One

Answer: The best engine is no doubt the V8 offered in the 4th gen model – the only model that had a V8. It is one of the most capable towing engines that never ceases to amaze the community even today. Given how old these engines are, the prices are also not that high like the 5th gen models. 

Question: Are Toyota 4Runners Expensive

Answer: Yes, Toyota 4Runners are expensive – much more expensive than the competitors. The reason is the demand for vehicles. People are still paying up to $20k for a 4th gen Toyota 4Runner, which in turn makes their prices skyrocket. Another reason for this high price is the strength and durability of this SUV which is second to none. 

Final Thoughts 

Although there are plenty of options available in the market that are very promising, the 4Runner, however, is the best option in terms of reliability and retaining value as it’s one of the least depreciating offroaders of the market. 

If we were to talk about its offroad worthiness then it’s no doubt one of the best options to consider. The 4Runner community has nothing but praise for this masterpiece – especially the 4th gen. 

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