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Potential 4Runner Buyer - Lookings for Advice From Veteran Owners

Discussion in '5th Gen 4Runners (2010+)' started by Dante Rising, Jul 1, 2019.

  1. Jul 1, 2019 at 9:40 PM
    #1
    Dante Rising

    Dante Rising [OP] New Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I am considering the purchase of a 2014 4Runner with 135,000 miles on it. $20,000. It's main purpose will be carting around my two 150lb Great Pyrenees to forest preserves, and being my winter daily driver during snow season.

    My concern is purchasing a vehicle with this many miles. The Carfax is meticulous, there is almost no underbody rust, and the engine compartment is likewise in near pristine shape. I LOVE the rear window roll down option for the dogs along with the interior space. But I'm struggling with...135,000 miles. I would, of course, have a mechanic perform an inspection. Yet a lingering part of me keeps thinking "Buy a NEW Kia/Hyundai for the same price, have the warranty protection, and call it a day." Yet surprisingly, most people I speak to, and two mechanics, said get the Toyota.

    My questions to the veterans:

    1) Since I don't plan on off roading, is this simply too much vehicle, or the wrong "tool" for the job. Would your honest assessment be to buy something new but less robust for 20K? (For example, one friend commented "Your're buying a @#$! 4Runner? Are you expecting the apocalypse? It will be cramped, but your dogs will fit in a Ford Escape.)

    2) From personal experience, are there components that you would expect to be going 'bad' soon at that mileage? (water pumps, timing belt, etc)

    3) Any 'warning signs' I should look for during a test drive regarding commonly known problems that gen 5 4Runners may have?

    Thank you for any and all honest feedback. I absolutely love this particular 4Runner, but impartial advice as a sounding board would be appreciated. My last two cars (Nissan and Jeep) barely made it to 120K despite regular maintenance, so I'm a little bit scared about pulling the trigger. If the 4Runner was sitting at 75K, I wouldn't even hesitate. But 4Runners at that price are beyond my budget.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2019
  2. Jul 1, 2019 at 11:51 PM
    #2
    rsimi72

    rsimi72 New Member

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    In response to your question about what to look for during your test drive...

    If I choose to buy another 4Runner when I’m done with mine, which I very well may, I will be sure to test drive on the freeway, looking for steering wheel wobble. 60mph+ for miles. Not just to the next exit. I’m only 2 years in and not close to 135,000 miles but that’s been my only challenge. Good luck.
     
    Strandskov likes this.
  3. Jul 2, 2019 at 5:26 AM
    #3
    Oey12

    Oey12 New Member

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    Eibach Pro Sport leveling shocks, Firestone airbags, and Baja Design fog lights...
    First and foremost 135k is a lot of miles and a lot of consumption. Yes the 4Runners are bomb proof but nothing will change the fact the truck was used much more than the average 4R. Secondly you really will never know the manner in which the truck was used in (towing/ teenage drivers/ stop and go traffic/race car driver/ etc etc). IMHO I would keep looking for a lower mileage one.

    1. I don’t off-road at all and I have no regrets buying mine. Driving a body on frame vehicle is much different than a unibody which is the mast majority of supposed “SUV”s on today’s market. Unibody’s are much more comfortable but comes at the cost of hauling and towing. Which is why I went with the 4R...check out any other suv with IRS rear suspension with tongue weight on it and you will notice how much stress is on the outter edge of the tire.

    2. Simply put the older and more mileage a vehicle has the more maintenance it requires. And that 150k mark is an important time to address many parts.

    3. That death wobble is extremely annoying. I have experienced this in my 1998/2003/2012 Tacoma’s and my 1989/1998 4Runners. I have found sticking to stock size tires and going to a reputable Toyota dealership for both the alignment and tire mounting/balancing has cured them all. I apologize if I am belittling anyone’s death wobble issues...not my intention.

    Side note...the 4.0 is a noisy as well and sounds like a diesel motor half the time because of the ticks so don’t let that worry you.
     
    captsolo and rsimi72 like this.
  4. Jul 2, 2019 at 6:28 AM
    #4
    Toffees

    Toffees Stuff and things

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    Going to give you brief comments.

    1) 135k is a lot of miles and many normal components will be at end of useful life; but 135k is not the same on all vehicles, and many 4Rs will make 300k with normal maintenance while many duds will be lucky to make 150k

    2) what is your expected use? 3 years or 10 years? These are different considerations, and if you buy a well used vehicle are you ready for the regular (but not necessarily overwhelming) care for its aging parts?

    3) trust a good mechanic over personal experience. Even if you get 20 good responses here, your sample size is 20. A good experienced mechanic will have worked on thousands or tens of thousands of cars. (Or not worked on them, which is more telling). If they say buy a Toyota and not a Kia or whatever, pay attention.

    4) many drivers can get a sense of the 4R from the seat of their pants on the test drive. It’s not a modern truck and has a unique ride, which I loved instantly. But don’t buy on reputation only. My friends wife may have a great reputation but I would go crazy if married to her.

    Good luck and happy hunting.
     
    GingerJosh, rsimi72 and Oey12 like this.
  5. Jul 2, 2019 at 12:42 PM
    #5
    WallyT4R

    WallyT4R New Member

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    Are your lug nuts torqued to 83 ft. lbs? Air pressure at 32 psi in each tire?
     
    rsimi72 likes this.
  6. Jul 2, 2019 at 12:44 PM
    #6
    WallyT4R

    WallyT4R New Member

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    In your situation I would buy a 2-3 year old Subaru Forester.
     
  7. Jul 2, 2019 at 3:50 PM
    #7
    rsimi72

    rsimi72 New Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions. Yes, I torqued to 83 lbs. Funny you mention this because I believe that not only the proper torque but also the proper sequence/process when rotating my tires makes a difference in the likelihood that I’ll feel wheel wobble. Star pattern, hand tighten in the air, lower and hand tighten again, then remove jack totally and torque. I’ve got mine pretty much wobble free at the moment. Only on certain roads do I get a hint of it. But it hasn’t always been that way. I feel for the guys who can’t find improvement.
     
    WallyT4R likes this.
  8. Jul 2, 2019 at 5:37 PM
    #8
    SR5 Limited

    SR5 Limited New Member

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    I’ve got my eye on a 2012 with that mileage for 15k. Hey it’s a Toyota you will be fine...
     
  9. Jul 2, 2019 at 5:55 PM
    #9
    PCRIDE4RUNNER

    PCRIDE4RUNNER New Member

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    At that mileage if the standard maintenance hasn’t been done, plan on spending a few more thousand and that’s doing it your self. Engine and Tranny might be good, but everything else needs replacing at that mileage. Tie rod ends, bushings, upper/lower knuckles, rotors, bearings, alignment, transfer case oil, tranny oil, oil, rear diff oil, front diff oil, steering pump and oil, brake oil... I spent $300 just in oils to do all the oil in my 2004 grand Cherokee at the 120k mark. Never been done before that. Then I spent $1500 on rotor, upper/lower ball joints, bearings and tie rod ends. Not to mention all the co2 sensors ($200) crank case sensor, front drive line etc...and all my shocks needed to be replaced, another $600 before you know it you’ve spent 20k for the vehicle, then another 4-5k in regular maintenance. And hope the tranny or engine stays good.

    25k later ? Hell you can buy a stock SR5 2018 for 35k.

    negotiate with the buyer based on the maintenance that needs to be done.
     
    Oey12, WallyT4R and rsimi72 like this.
  10. Jul 4, 2019 at 12:27 PM
    #10
    Dante Rising

    Dante Rising [OP] New Member

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    Wow. I'm surprised by the responses. I appreciate the opinions, and it has made my decision harder, as it doesn't seem like any of you are sold on the idea of this particular truck. I had it taken to a mechanic, and the report was favorable. Fluids are newer and clean. Suspension is in good shape, with newer TRD components, coils, dampers good, etc. Minimal rust. No codes when he did the diagnostic. No signs of accidents.

    There is one thing that makes me still feel uneasy, however. (Well, despite the 135K in mileage). The owner of this small mom-and-pop used car lot specifically said the vehicle was a trade in for a newer TRD Tacoma, but the Carfax shows it was most recently an auction vehicle. It has me wondering why a 4Runner in a condition that appears to be this good was not scooped up by a large dealership? Was it because of the mileage, and they assumed it would sit on their lot for awhile? Or did they know something I don't? Or at the auction was this particular lot owner told the vehicle was a trade in for a Tacoma, and he was passing along that info to me?
     
  11. Jul 4, 2019 at 3:54 PM
    #11
    Oey12

    Oey12 New Member

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    Was the truck traded into a Toyota dealership or was it traded into the mom and pop place? Cause if it was traded at the Toyota dealership, mostly likely they sent it right to auction as they do with most cars with that kind of mileage.

    I knew a few guys (privately owned used car lots) that would buy trade ins directly from the dealership. Therefore cutting out the middle man...the auctions. They told me one owner even with higher mileage were great for resale.
     
  12. Jul 4, 2019 at 7:27 PM
    #12
    WallyT4R

    WallyT4R New Member

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    I said Forester because IMO it's the best choice for your situation. You can buy a newer one with a lot less mileage on it for the same or probably less than that 4Runner which has a lot of miles on it. Will the 4 last 300K, probably, but I feel it will cost you more money over that time period than a newer vehicle like the Forester would. An the Forester will last that long also. Also the Forester is more efficient and will go through the snow with no issues.
     
  13. Jul 5, 2019 at 6:55 AM
    #13
    Dante Rising

    Dante Rising [OP] New Member

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    My dogs are huge and tall. Unfortunately, the Subaru is too small. I appreciate the suggestion, however. A friend sent me a link to a 2017 Toyota 4Runner SRT 4WD with 37,000 miles. $26,400. Pictures look very good, very reputable dealership, but the vehicle was a rental. Carfax shows no maintenance history. Red flag? Or worth a hard look? Information on rental vehicles is polarized. Some websites say they are very diligent on maintenance. Others say they are lackluster on it, as they know the vehicle will exit the fleet in about two years. 90 mile drive from my house.
     
    WallyT4R likes this.
  14. Jul 5, 2019 at 7:37 PM
    #14
    Tuco S.

    Tuco S. New Member

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    In my experience, a clean Carfax means absolutely nothing. I've seen a few cars with major front end damage that had a clean Carfax. If the damage wasn't reported to a state dmv or insurance company, it likely won't show on Carfax. Just an fyi.

    135k miles on a well maintained Toyota is really no big deal.

    If you're not going to go off road, you will likely enjoy driving a crossover a lot more than a 4Runner. You will get better fuel economy as well. The Forester suggestion was a good one. You might also check out an Outback if you like wagons.
     
    Toffees likes this.
  15. Jul 6, 2019 at 5:36 PM
    #15
    Dante Rising

    Dante Rising [OP] New Member

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    If it wasn't for my massive dogs, I would have gone with a standard SUV/crossover already. I'm surprised at how difficult it has been to find cabins with the proper clearance. Honda Pilot, Acadia, and one or two others that I've tested.

    This 4Runner situation is somewhat fatiguing, as I don't want to make the wrong choice. It has been given a clear bill of health by an independent mechanic. Any suggestions on:

    1) get a certified 2017 SR5 4Runner with 50K in mileage for 27K. The 100,000 mile power train is attractive
    2) grab the well maintained 2014 SR5 with 135K for 19.9K. Pocket the additional 7.5K as a failsafe if something breaks.

    I put on about 12,000 miles a year. Mostly highway.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2019
  16. Jul 6, 2019 at 6:13 PM
    #16
    ManBeast

    ManBeast New Member

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    Isnt SRT a dodge thing? SR5 is toyota
     
  17. Jul 6, 2019 at 9:45 PM
    #17
    Dante Rising

    Dante Rising [OP] New Member

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    Ha! You're right. I will probably get my membership to the forum taken away by messing up Dodge and Toyota. My friend has a Challenger. I must have been channeling him.

    Changing my previous post...now!
     
    Thatbassguy and ManBeast like this.
  18. Jul 6, 2019 at 10:21 PM
    #18
    4runningMan

    4runningMan New Member

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    $7k difference in price... and for that additional money for the 2017 you gain 85k miles, a 100k mile warranty, and 3 model years. That is sounding like a much better value to me.

    And if, by chance, you decide to sell it in a couple years... I don't think you'll lose as much on the 2017.
     
  19. Jul 7, 2019 at 3:56 PM
    #19
    Bgdv1

    Bgdv1 New Member

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    Thats high mileage, my '14 is at 64K. Id personally keep looking.
     
  20. Jul 7, 2019 at 6:21 PM
    #20
    2016Pro

    2016Pro Why all of the Pro hate?

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    If you dont offroad I'd reccomend a highlander or one of the other car based SUVs. They will ride like cars. 4runners are offroad trucks
     
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  21. Jul 7, 2019 at 7:35 PM
    #21
    4runningMan

    4runningMan New Member

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    I've actually been amazed by how comfortable the 4runner is on the highway. It rides like a Cadillac.
     
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  22. Jul 8, 2019 at 1:03 AM
    #22
    2016Pro

    2016Pro Why all of the Pro hate?

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    Try a highlander it's an even smoother ride.
     
    Oey12 likes this.
  23. Jul 8, 2019 at 5:51 AM
    #23
    Oey12

    Oey12 New Member

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    Agreed...for what it is, it rides pretty damn good. Especially after coming from a low mileage 2nd gen Tacoma which was only comfortable on smooth highways.

    I also agree with you about the Highlander being even more comfortable. Though I think the 4Runner handles the gaping potholes of NYC better than the Highlander. I couldn’t drive the Highlander as my primary vehicle. It great but it’s only real capabilities is passenger hauling, bad weather drivability, and comfort. It doesn’t handle weight in the rear very well or longer towing (around town it’s fine depending on tongue weight).
     
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  24. Jul 8, 2019 at 10:39 AM
    #24
    4runningMan

    4runningMan New Member

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    My buddy has one as the family vehicle. The sportier/stiffer feel isn't as comfortable to me as the 4runner is. But I've always liked a softer ride.
     
    Thatbassguy likes this.
  25. Jul 12, 2019 at 5:57 PM
    #25
    Dante Rising

    Dante Rising [OP] New Member

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    Just thought I would give everyone an update. I really appreciated everyone's feedback

    Although I really loved the silver 2014 4Runner with 135,000 miles for 20K, I ended up going with a 2015 Barcelona Red trail premium edition, certified, with 48K in miles for 27.5K. The Toyota dealership also threw in a year of free oil changes. This vehicle had one owner, and it was serviced every three months at the same dealership that sold me the vehicle. The silver vehicle started out as a rental, and had three owners, putting on over 30K a year on her. So I think my purchase has a better chance at longevity.

    I'll try doing a little research on the forum, but can anyone recommend a good website to purchase the black front grille with 'Toyota" written across it, along with a black lower panel valance? My vehicle has the silver lower lip. I would prefer to black out the grille, and add black rims.

    Thank you!
     
  26. Jul 22, 2019 at 7:50 PM
    #26
    freealfin

    freealfin New Member

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    I have a 4th gen 4Runner with 110000 miles on it. This one is my 3rd. I put well over 400,000 with them. Not a single problem to speak of. But...

    I have a 4th gen 07 6 cyl. 4x4 with 110000 miles. This is the 3rd. and have driven over 400000 miles total. Nothing significant has gone wrong. I'm planning to keep this one for a while so I'm spending $2000 in maintenance (Belts, fluids, shocks, boots, struts, etc.) like I have done with the previous ones at around the same mileage.. In general, a well cared for 4Runner (mine) will last for 200000 + miles without major problems but.....I think, for what you're saying, you don't need a 4Runner. I believe you'll be happier with a more modern alternative. Better gas mileage, more comfortable, better electronics, safer, etc. I have 2 dogs and always have (Vizslas) and the rear window is and was seldom used by them. If I was you I'll look to buy a Subaru or Mazda for your occasional snow, dirt and back country driving. Before you do, spend $35 and subscribe to CR.'s. They have valuable info. that can be used as back-up to your own judgement. Good Luck!
     
  27. Jul 23, 2019 at 10:58 AM
    #27
    freealfin

    freealfin New Member

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    I'll stay away from it! 4 Runners in good shape sell like hot cakes and need not be in an auction. Obviously you have tried just about every SUV. Have you considered a pick-up with a shell?
     

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