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The Toyota 4Runner can be considered a dinosaur in the SUV landscape, but that does little to harm its popularity. The 4Runner’s rough-and-tumble reputation and utilitarian approach has made it a favorite among SUV buyers for decades. But those shopping for a used model should note a consistent safety complaint among buyers of several 4Runner model years, namely, a steering wheel shake or vibration at highway speeds.

Dozens of owners have lodged their 4Runner’s steering wheel vibrates or shakes, sometimes “violently,” to the NHTSA. Many owners note the vibration occurs around 50-70 mph, or otherwise at “highway speeds.” Several such complaints have been filed for this issue beginning with the 2018 4Runner model.

To note, the NHTA issued a recall for the 2018-19 Toyota 4Runner. It notes that “certain” steering and suspension components may not have been properly tightened on 2018-19 model year 4Runners with TRD accessories installed by Southeast Toyota Distributors. The recall impacted 4Runner owners in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina. Of note, the recall only included 34 potentially impacted models.

However, the issue appears to be a consistent complaint for other model years of the 4Runner. And those sold in other parts of the country. One driver said their 4Runner shakes at speed as low as 48 mph, though it is most pervasive at 50-60 mph. The owner said their 2020 4Runner has undergone three wheel rebalances, two alignment checks and a tire inspection.

“My 4Runner still shakes disturbingly,” the owner wrote in 2023.

A red 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off Road
2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off Road | Toyota

A 2018 4Runner owner shared a long list of potential repairs to fix their model’s steering shake “between 60-65 mph.”

“After 4 different sets of tires in 3 weeks, multiple road force balances, tire rotations, an alignment, an alignment checks [sic], brakes checked, a ‘visual inspection’ of suspension components from two Toyota dealerships, the vehicle continues to vibrate at highways speeds,” the owner writes.

Another owner of a 2022 4Runner complained there is an “Aggressive steering wheel vibration from 55-70 mph from the day I drove the vehicle off the lot.”

A 2019 4Runner owner said “anytime” their car goes above 60 mph “the car and steering wheel shake pretty violently.

“If you take your foot off the gas it goes away temporarily,” the owner writes. “The same happens at times when braking, the car and steering wheel will shake. Tires have been balanced, rotated, and replaced with no improvement. This seems to be a well-known and widespread problem with Toyota offering no real solution.”