Gas or Diesel

I am contemplating getting a new truck. I currently have a 16 year old Toyota Tacoma Quad Cab that is in excellent condition but planning a move to Alaska for a few years and feel I need to buy a newer more reliable car. Love my Tacoma but interested in a diesel engine. I know they cost more but I have been getting comments that they are a maintenance nightmare. I take very good care of vehicles but worried that maintenance when something goes wrong will be in the thousands. Seem like people either love diesel vehicles or hate them. Currently looking at the Ram 1500 with Ecodiesel. Really love that truck but wonder if I should just stick with a Tacoma since I have been so happy with the one I have.
Any unbiased advice is welcomed. Thank all!!

Alaska huh? That can be a very cold place. Cold enough to solidify diesel fuel. Solidify, as in no-start, no-run if that is allowed to happen. Big trucks just don’t turn the engines off. Not sure you want that.

A gas engine can be started dead cold. As in 30 below 0, dead cold. Block heaters can help make them easier to start. And the gasoline won’t solidify.

I’d suggest a gas engine. I’d suggest you keep your Tacoma. Alaska can trash a vehicle. You wouldn’t see much loss from a 16 y/o Tacoma.


There’s a reason big rigs never shut them off in places like Alaska. They’ll never get them started again.

Stick with gas engine.

1 Like

Thank you. Not moving there forever just a year or two. I appreciate your
advice. Saw a new Tacoma this past weekend while camping and started
thinking I should stick to one of those.


The expense of dealing with a diesel might be worth it if you were going to drive LOTS of miles. Unless you have an unusual job up there, it’s not the place you can drive that many miles annually. There just aren’t that many roads. And 4-5 months a year it’s winter, when you’ll drive even less. I lived in Anchorage 12 years, and go familiar with just about every mile of road in Alaska (except for the panhandle, have to take a ferry to those towns).

Buying a vehicle new to go to Alaska for 2 years or less does not seem like a good move to me.

1 Like

Keep the Tacoma and buy a new truck when you get back from Alaska.


Will a 16 year old truck survive on Alaska. I like the advice. I think it
makes sense.

Depends on how it was maintained and condition.

mint condition! looks new still. I’m worried about the hoses and other such
parts that are already 16 years old.

I am not a mechanic but I do take care of my vehicles and I’m a "boring"

Thanks again

I’d take it to a mechanic you trust, tell them your plans, have them do a detailed inspection and give you a list of things that might need attention.

When did you last replace the various fluids? Transmission, coolant, brake, axle, transfer case, power steering?

Been a while. I’ll look into that. I have a good mechanic. He can check
everything. I have a friend in Alaska now who knows my truck. I guess I’ll
get in touch with him to see if he thinks I should bring it up there.

I’m not planning to move for about a year but doing research so if I decide
to buy I can buy a new truck about 6 months before I go. I’m starting to
think keeping mine is a good deal. I know it’s a good truck and been taken
care of.

Thanks for all the advice. Very much appreciated.

This is the best advice. Sure, it’ll survive, OP, if it’s in as good a condition as you say. I’ve got several cars much older than that that I wouldn’t hesitate to take to Alaska (on paved roads only 'cause they’re not trucks like yours).

Alaska is not Mordor. Unless you’re planning on offroading or driving the Arctic Circle, normal cars do fine there as long as they’re properly cared for. I’ve a relative who drove an Aztek, which is a crappy glorified minivan.

Were I in your shoes, and not planning on doing anything crazy while there, I’d install a block heater if it didn’t already have one and call it good.

Thanks for the idea,

No I don’t do off roading and will find other ways of seeing the outback
areas without tearing up my truck. I think that’s my plan now.


Julie - Alaska Nurse 2017