How much work is a used Toyota truck?
August 23, 2009 8:56 PM Subscribe
Never owned an old car, thinking of buying a 1988 Toyota 4x4 truck. Stupid?
posted by ChrisHartley to travel & transportation (17 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
My partner wants us to buy a pickup and spend a few months/years driving around the country visiting friends and camping. This question is about the pickup part, there may be another question about the larger proposal.
I consider myself mechanically included. I'm a very adept bicycle mechanic and I can get an old lawn mower running without a whole lot of fuss -- BUT with the exception of a one year period I've lived without a car for most of the last decade.
When I had a car it was a newish used Toyota Echo. I changed the oil and fan belts myself but I don't know a whole lot about car mechanics. I've never owned a car more than a few years old. Am I setting myself up for failure if I buy a 20+ year old Toyota 4x4 pickup for $2,000, put a camper shell on top and spend a few months driving around the country?
What is owning an old vehicle like? By most accounts old Toyota trucks are quite reliable and the 22re engine seems to last forever. Does that mean that they don't break as often as say, a 1980s Ford but still break/need tweaking a lot more frequently than a 4 year old car? Is every mile the answer to a small prayer?
Assuming I find a truck that is in average or above average condition (little rust), what can I expect? Will something need tweaking every few hundred miles and something else need replacing every few thousand? Will I spend a lot of time worrying about what will go wrong next and a lot of money fixing it when it does? Am I more likely than not going to end up stranded on the side of the road, hitchhiking several hundred miles in search of some obscure part only available at a premium price from Japan?
What about safety features? Obviously there won't be airbags or ESC, but what about crumple zones and the more basic things that save lives?
How do emissions compare to a more modern vehicle? Obviously much worse, but are there hard numbers to compare?
It just doesn't seem like these trucks would cost as little as they do if the reliability with regular maintenance was as good as a three year old car or truck -- things just don't work that way. Right?
I know having a lot of questions doesn't make for a good AskMefi post so I'll summarize my two key questions:
If I buy a 20 year old Toyota 4x4 in average or above average condition (150-200k miles), how much extra worry, cost and pain will there be in driving it a substantial distance versus a 2-4 year old truck?
Am I going to be able to do a lot/all of the maintenance and repair myself, as a mechanically inclined car/truck newbie?
To tell the truth the most interesting part of this proposal is getting to learn car mechanics but I don't want to set myself up for failure and/or getting eaten by rabid vultures somewhere in the Canadian wilderness.