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What do you get when you cross a truck with a midsize SUV? You get the Isuzu Rodeo— one of the best-selling sports utility vehicles to come out of Japan. The Rodeo’s large grille, big alloy wheels, and thick bumpers look right at home next to a fleet of light trucks. It also has the performance chops to match its rugged styling. The 2004 Rodeo has a towing capacity of 4,500 kg and an optional 4WD for off-road travel. Its cabin, while not the most elegant in its class, provides comfortable seating for up to five passengers.

If you’re looking for a family-friendly commuter that you can use for your outdoor trips and activities, you’ll find it in the Isuzu Rodeo. The pricing for a used Rodeo depends on its mileage, condition, and options. 

The 2004 Isuzu Rodeo has significantly depreciated from its original price of around $20,000. But now the Rodeo has a positive depreciation rate of 0%, according to AutoPadre. The low upfront costs and stable depreciation makes the Isuzu Rodeo an affordable all-arounder.

isuzu rodeo frontview
The Isuzu Rodeo is a family-friendly commuter that you can use for your outdoor trips and activities. Image source: Mj-bird | Wikimedia Commons

How Reliable Is the Isuzu Rodeo?

Early models received poor crash test scores and offered minimal safety equipment. The second generation of the Isuzu Rodeo fared much better. The 2004 model scored an above-average 4.2 out of 5.0 on reliability in, with an even more impressive 5-star rating on side crash tests from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). According to RepairPal, the annual repair and maintenance cost for the Isuzu Rodeo is $374. With regular maintenance, you can put 100,000 miles on your Rodeo with little to no problems. 

On RepairPal, the Rodeo’s most commonly replaced parts are battery cables, heater cores, throttle position sensors, parking brake components, and windshield washer fluid.

The fuel economy rating for the 2004 Isuzu Rodeo depends on the engine and drivetrain option, but with its 3.2-liter engine and 4-speed automatic transmission, the 2004 Rodeo 2WD  generally consumes less gas. It has a combined 18 MPG city/highway driving.

Top Isuzu Rodeo Problems

The Isuzu Rodeo isn’t without flaws. Some models have their share of problems. We’ve compiled a list of the Rodeo’s most commonly reported issues.

Engine Failure 

Engine failure is the most common problem reported on CarComplaints, affecting nearly every Isuzu Rodeo model year. The 2002 model in particular has received the most complaints from users. The Rodeo’s 3.2-liter V6 engine is known to consume large amounts of motor oil. A lack of oil lubrication can lead to permanent engine damage. One CarComplaints user has reported hearing knocking sounds while the engine was running. When their SUV was brought in for repairs, the mechanic discovered a hole in the engine caused by an unlubricated piston. 

A lack of motor oil can also lead to overheating. The engine may shut down from the intense heat, disabling important safety features such as air bags, power steering, and power braking. According to the NHTSA, mechanical failure is responsible for a great deal of direct and indirect traffic accidents. 

Despite the high frequency of this issue, Isuzu hasn’t issued any recalls for engine failure in the Rodeo. That means you’ll have to shoulder the cost of potential repairs. Make sure to ask your seller about the vehicle’s engine’s history to avoid costly repairs down the line.

Rear Suspension Components Are Prone to Corrosion

The rear lower suspension link bracket on certain Rodeo models from 1998 to 2002 can become corroded after prolonged exposure to road de-icing agents. Excessive corrosion can cause the right or left lower suspension link bracket to detach from your SUV’s frame. This can impair your vehicle’s handling and lead to a crash.

Rear lower corrosion is the second most reported problem for Isuzu Rodeos on CarComplaints. Users have reported steering problems while driving at low and medium speeds because of corroded suspension components. If left untreated, suspension link corrosion can spread to your Rodeo’s suspension system and frame.

This problem prompted Isuzu to recall affected Rodeo models in 2010. Dealers were instructed to inspect the rear lower suspension link bracket area for signs of corrosion and apply the appropriate fixes. Mild cases were treated with an anti-corrosion compound. If the connection between the rear lower suspension link bracket and the vehicle’s frame was damaged due to corrosion, a reinforcement bracket would be installed. If the corrosion couldn’t be remedied by the first two solutions, a repurchase offer would be extended to the owner.

Isuzu offered to cover all inspection and repair fees for affected models that were less than ten years old. Older models would have to be brought to an Isuzu service facility or Honda dealer within 12 months of the owner’s notification. 

The 2010 recall has unfortunately expired. If you’re interested in buying a used Isuzu Rodeo, you may want to consider the possible costs of repairing its rear lower suspension link bracket and frame due to rust damage. The labor cost for repairing rusted parts ranges from around $60 to $2,000, depending on the severity of the damage.

2000 isuzu rodeo
The rear lower suspension link bracket on certain Rodeo models from 1998 to 2002 can become corroded after prolonged exposure to road de-icing agents. Image source: harry_nl | Flickr

2000 Isuzu Rodeo Air Bag Problems

The Japanese automaker has issued a recall for certain 2000 Isuzu Rodeo models due to faulty air bag modules. According to the recall, the passenger-side air bag modules on certain sports utility vehicles were manufactured and shipped without check valve pins. Air bag modules without check valve pins will not sufficiently inflate in the event of a crash, increasing the rate of injury or death to occupants seated on the passenger side. 

There are only a total of 15 vehicles affected by this recall, but that’s no reason to neglect maintenance for your used 2000 Isuzu Rodeo. If you suspect problems with your Rodeo’s air bag module, you should bring it to an authorized dealer for an inspection. Once the problem has been identified, they will replace your air bag module for free.

Overall, the Isuzu Rodeo remains an impressive sports utility vehicle because of  its high durability and passenger/cargo utility. If you’re buying a used Isuzu Rodeo, remember to ask your seller about the SUV’s maintenance and repair history to avoid the unexpected breakdown of parts.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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