Crossover & Midsize

The 2005 Toyota 4Runner Didn’t Fix the Previous Model’s Worst Problem

Even the most reliable SUV models can have moments their engineers and manufacturers would like to forget. The fourth generation of Toyota 4Runners (2003 to 2009) experienced plenty of troublesome issues with the model’s V6 editions. Since its debut in 1984, the 4Runner has provided a high rate of owner satisfaction for nearly 40 years, but a class-action lawsuit against Toyota in December of 2018 has marred its stellar reputation. However, the issues addressed in the 2018 legal action are not the only complaints against the 2005 4Runner. According to some owners, Toyota did not fix the model’s worst problem.

What is wrong with the 2005 4Runner?

In 2005, a V8 option with 268 hp and 297 lb-ft torque became available on 4Runner, making it a major attraction for used car buyers. In spite of the extra power for serious off-roading and towing, owners have pointed to a serious issue related to dashboard cracking on the 2005 model 4Runners.

Per Car Complaints, a recall notice of the issue went out to 4Runner owners advising them of the problem and providing a special extension of the vehicle’s warranty to accommodate repairs. Where dashboard cracking typically occurs on unprotected autos exposed to extreme UV radiation and heat, many of the complaints come from owners who park their cars under cover, revealing an issue that reaches beyond common exposure damage.

Why did the Toyota 4Runner’s cracked dashboard problem continue?

A major part of the complaints against the 2005 Toyota 4Runner’s dashboard problem is the way Toyota has handled the complaints and the recall. Many owners who attempted to take advantage of the recall were unable to have their SUV repaired because the parts were not available when they took it to the shop.

Several owners were advised that they would receive notice when the parts became available but never received that notice. The availability of parts to repair the dashboards has become a major issue for Toyota in fulfilling their recall commitment.

In one particular case, an owner called to ask if new parts had become available, he learned that his warranty was no longer valid. It appears that Toyota’s strategy is to wait out the complaints until owners trade for new vehicles and pass on the issue to new owners.

How owners have felt about these problems

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Frustration is the major consensus between 2005 Toyota 4Runner owners when it comes to dealing with these issues. Because many of them invested a significant amount of money (approximately $35,000) to purchase the vehicle new, they feel that Toyota needs to make things right.

The promise issued in the 2015 recall notice appears to be an empty one as many owners are still waiting for the automaker to produce the replacement parts. Consequently, owners feel abandoned by the automaker, especially as they look at the grim prospect of trying to sell a car with a cracked dashboard or to receive adequate trade-in compensation as they look to upgrade. For some owners, Toyota’s failure to make good on its promise to repair the issue represents a breach of trust.

“Buyer beware” when considering a 2005 Toyota 4Runner

It is likely that anyone interested in purchasing a 2005 Toyota 4Runner will see the dashboard cracks and question the value provided by the owner, even with the “recall promise.” Due to Toyota’s lackadaisical attitude about producing replacement parts and fixing the problem, there is really no reason to trust that the recall notice or warranty extension is any better than the paper used to print it.

Unless Toyota makes a more concerted effort to address the 2005 4Runner dashboard issue, potential buyers should beware when considering this fourth-generation model of an otherwise reliable SUV.