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Buying Advice: 2001 Toyota Tundra SR5

Hi friends,

I’m looking to buy a used truck to replace my 1991 Chevy 1500. I want a nicer truck with more power, more cab room, and reliability. I’m all but settled on a 2001 Toyota Tundra 4.7L V8 with 88,000 miles. It’s 4x4 access cab SR5 with a 4-speed automatic transmission. It looks to be in pretty cherry condition.

I’m no mechanic, but I know a few things to look for, including leaks, torn boots, worn bushings, rust, slipping transmission, etc. This truck looks to be in pretty damn fine shape. No major dents or dings. Good glass. No rust. Interior looks like new. The Carfax checks out: two owners, no reported collisions, no major repairs other than regular maintenance. It’s too old to be certified, but the dealer told me the truck had gone through a rigorous inspection and that they turned the front rotors, replaced the rear rotors, replaced the flare molding on the front wheel wells, and did all the usual inspections and fluid changes.

They’re asking about $13k for it.

That’s a little higher than Kelly Blue Book for that truck in this region (and higher than I was hoping to pay), but it also comes with a very nice fiberglass topper with duel locking handles, spray on bed liner, and they said they “put some money into it” (i.e. flare molding, brakes, etc.).

I took her for a spin and fell in love. Very comfortable, very quiet ride. No noticeable squeals, squeaks, rattles or hums. She accelerated fine and didn’t break a sweat getting up to 80 on the Interstate. Brakes felt solid and no shimmy. Didn’t notice any oddities at all other than a slight drift to the right, but I couldn’t tell if that was from the crown in the road. Mostly it felt like driving a big car rather than a pickup.

Now, I feel like the price is a little high, but I haven’t found anything comparable within 500 miles of here. I’ve seen older model Tundras with twice the miles for only a couple thousand less! It’s a low-mileage Toyota, and those seem to be worth their weight in gold. This seems like a pretty good deal, and given my bad luck with domestic trucks and vans I’m at the point where I’m willing to pay more for a Toyota if I don’t have to deal with the transmission problems, transfer case problems, and other problems I’ve had to put up with in the past.

I’ve never bought a used car from a dealership before so I don’t know what negotiating room I have on a rig like this, or whether the price is right, or whether I should keep looking. I don’t want to jump the gun but this truck is EXACTLY what I’m looking for in a rig, and the low milage is really attractive to me.

Anyway, I could use some advice from smart folks like yourselves. Know any known-issues with this particular model I should be wary of? Are there issues I should ask the dealership to address? Am I getting taken to the cleaners if I pay $13k for a 10 year old Tundra?

Any advice is greatly appreciated. I have a feeling this rig won’t be around very long…

According to Edmunds, dealer asking price for this truck with a few options is $8700, including a $1000 increase for low mileage. Check on line at other dealers near you for similar trucks to see if the price is in family. The dealer can be within 200 miles if you are in a rural area. If you live near a big city, check everywhere in the metro area.

Offer $9000 and see what they say

I bought a five year old GMC Sierra 4WD extended cab Auto, AC, with 49,000 miles on it for $16,000 in 2006. At 100,000 miles you will pay about $275 for a new set of spark plugs to be installed. My truck is still newer than the Tundra and isn’t worth $13,000. Not even close. Their asking price isn’t out of this world, but it’s kind of high.

Personally, I like the size of the older Tundra better but feel like “bscar”. It’s time to negotiate.

The timing belt is overdue for replacement on time and it is due for a change at 90K miles. This is an interference motor so if the belt breaks the motor is shot; valves and pistons collide and bend and break. This is a $600-700 job including a new water pump, and other parts. It is also due for new plugs and lots of new filters and fluid changes (trans, 2 differentials, transfer case, coolant, and brake fluids) at 90K miles. Likely this major service was part of the reason the truck is for sale now.

I have an '01 Sequoia which shares the same motor and drive train. It is an awesome truck. The Tundra of the same year had some frame rusting issues especially in areas of the US where roads are salted in the winter. Check out the frame carefully for signs of rust, some of these trucks got unsafe due to rusted frames and the rest of the body looked fine.

If the timing belt has not been changed yet, the price is definately too high. If the frame is OK and you can negotiate the price down these are good trucks IMO.

Well, I missed the boat. The salesman said they replaced the rear rotors and turned the front rotors after taking it in. After talking the dealership into an alignment and replacing the timing belt/water pump (a $700 discount), I waited too long to decide and they sold it. The car arrived at the dealership on Monday, I walked in on Tuesday, drove it Wednesday, and by Thursday afternoon they sold it to someone else. These trucks just don’t come around with that low of mileage here in Montana, so I think I screwed up. According to the Carfax it was sold in Indiana and moved to Montana in 2002, so rust wasn’t an issue at all.

Thanks for the advice folks. If I could have gotten the price down closer to 10k I would have bought it for sure, but I just didn’t want to rush into buying it at their asking price…darnit. One of the bummers of living in Montana, smaller market, fewer options, higher prices…