How To Get Your 4Runner To 200,000 Miles

When you first bought your 4Runner, it was probably a pretty proud day. Over the years of driving it, you may have wondered how long it can actually run without major repairs.

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Gray Toyota 4Runner

While Toyotas are built to last, you can do your part to help your 4Runner make it to some pretty high mileage on the original powertrain/drivetrain/etc. Here are some obvious and less obvious things you can do to squeeze durability out of your 4Runner for many miles to come. 

Be A Good Driver

Let’s go ahead and get the ‘obvious’ one out of the way – your 4Runner is practically set for a couple of hundred miles from the factory – your biggest part is not wrecking it. This not only means driving safely on public roads, but watch it when it comes to curbs, brush that can scratch the paint pulling out of your driveway, tapping the side of the garage door, and so on. Little damages can ruin shocks, suspension bushings, paint, etc. — plus, we all get a little more careless when there’s already a big dent in the quarter panel from tapping the mailbox, so treat it like new and repair little damages right away.

Don’t Skimp During Service

OEM Toyota filters

You know the routine: Change the oil and filter, air filter, spark plugs, plug wires, etc. Don’t skip these important services, and don’t use cheap aftermarket fluids and parts — what you’ll save upfront, you’ll lose in performance, fuel economy, and longevity of the system. Always use genuine 4Runner parts if you want them to last.

Don’t Ignore Trouble Codes/Warning Messages

Check engine indicator light

Those annoying little lights on the dashboard aren’t there to provide better nighttime lighting, they’re trying to communicate something to you, so pay attention. Scan the ECM or PCM as soon as any messages or lights come up. Most of the time, when the code first appears, the problem is easily identifiable, that’s not necessarily true when that problem has affected other systems. What might start as a code that is warning lean conditions, could lead to a burnt valve, and a snowball of problems from there. Check out what some of the most common Toyota trouble codes mean in this post.

Drive With The Radio Off Once A Week

This might seem a little silly, but think about it, when’s the last time you had silence in your 4Runner to listen for noises? Little ticks, squeaks, and grinds can go completely unnoticed until they become loud noises, and that’s when something has already gone horribly wrong.

Service Your Cooling System

Engine coolant jug

The cooling system plays a much bigger part in a long-lasting engine than you’d think. If you neglect the cooling system, you’re asking for troubles with overheating, failing water pumps, and blown-head gaskets. Make sure you have the proper coolant mixture, it doesn’t become contaminated (or you flush the system if it does), and keep the system well topped off.

Know The Service Intervals Of All Parts

OEM Toyota timing belt

Service isn’t limited to changing the oil filter, it goes beyond that. Consult your owner’s manual for regular intervals on parts, but in general, people tend to forget that the timing chain isn’t made to last forever and ever, same goes for fluid that’s in the power steering system, transmission, brake system, and differential.

Outfit Your 4Runner For The Purpose

Toyota skid plate

How do you use your 4Runner? Unless it’s just a weekend leisure vehicle you take to brunch (which is highly unlikely considering the model), outfitting it for its purpose will help you maintain and protect it. Say you frequent off-road trails, even if you’re not hardcore about it, a nice skid plate setup could prevent major damages from running over something as innocent as a tree stump.

All of these tricks are simple, they’ll hardly take any time out of your schedule. Use them to get the absolute most out of your Toyota 4Runner — maybe you’ll be able to send your kids off to college in the 4Runner you’re driving now, someday.