So I’m looking into purchasing a 2001 Toyota 4 runner with around 60,000 miles on it, its relatively expensive and there is claimed to be no visible rust, Is there anything other than rust I should be concerned about when buying a low mileage 20+ year old car? timing belt, oil filters, etc? and how much work and money should I expect? Is this a dumb buy or can I actually get a good 5-10 years out of this thing? I really am in love with this car and Im trying not to get tunnel vision but want to be safe since im very much shooting for reliability.
It’s your money, spend it how ever you are comfortable.
Personally I’d pass but that’s me.
Check the condition of rubber parts. CV axels and suspension components. With age things like bearings on belt driven accessories can dry up and lose lubrication. The A/C may have developed leaks. The brake fluid may need to be flushed. The low brake fluid warning sensor may have gotten stuck due to age. A lot of little stuff starts to go wrong at 20+ years, like the CD player won’t read discs anymore or the blower motor for the heater needs replacing due to bad bearings.
How rusty are the brake and fuel lines?
20 years, 60K miles, that’s 3k miles/year right? Not optimum, cars do better if driven regularly and at freeway speeds most of the time, which is probably not the case for this vehicle. Still may be ok though, esp if the no-rust claim is true, but suggest asking your own inde shop do a pre-purchase inspection, focusing on problems that commonly occur w/low mileage older cars, rubber parts (including tires), oil sludge, cooling system leaks, exhaust system internal rust, etc. In particular tires should be less than 10 years old to be safe on the road, so check tire date code. Inspection should include querying the drivetrain computer diagnostic codes, making sure there’s no problem lying in wait, and that all the emission component tests are in the completed state. Some problems are easily fixed, like worn brake pads, suspension bushings, so don’t let an easy to repair problem prevent you from purchasing.
Thank You for your feedback! Unfortunately, I finally received the underbody pictures and there was frame rot. I’ve found that between 100,000 and 150,000 miles is a good, sweet spot. Any things I should look out for when it comes to that mileage, what should I expect cost of maintenance to be? Should I hope to get 5-10 years more out of at truck with this mileage without any huge problems coming up?
Assuming the body is in good condition^^
No you should not expect that . You might but at that mileage transmission , air conditioner and who nows what else will need replaced.
You can put 100k miles on something that you got with 150k miles. I don’t know what anything major coming up means to you exactly. If all of that 150k was highway miles on smooth roads you could do it. IF not you can expect the vehicle to be off the road here and there for replacement suspension work, engine mounts, exhaust, fuel pump, etc. If it’s garaged and washed off underneath frequently it will last a lot longer if corrosion is an issue. Many engines and transmissions last to 300k if they are maintained properly. Do some research to see how long an engine or transmission lasts on a particual model.
100-150 k is reasonable provided the maintenance was always done on the manufacturer’s schedule. Ask for proof, receipts etc. The sort of expected problems at that mileage: replacing wearing parts like the alternator, battery, water pump, wheel bearings, cv joint boots, suspension parts like shocks/struts, bushings, ball joints, cam-belt, tires, brakes, etc. Engine/transmission problems likely limited to a few niggles, provided the car was driven gently and maintenance done. For a well maintained gently driven vehicle, I 'd expect 200 - 250 k miles before needing major repairs. Both of my current vehicles have 200K miles, still going strong. Well, one is off the road due to California Covid complications, mechanically good, but that’s a whole 'nother story … lol …
Me, I’ve never purchased a vehicle w/that sort of mileage. My three vehicles were purchased new, or in the case of my truck, one year old. I think the sweet spot is the 1-3 years old mark for used cars myself. Big discount compared to new, with few problems likely. However in this Covid era, that sort of car is near impossible to find, except perhaps from a rental car sales lot. Good idea to try one of those btw, provided you don’t mind an auto transmission. Mileage as high as 75,000 miles for a 3 year old car would be fine by me. I’d much prefer 75,000 to 750 miles for a 3 year old car. Best of luck.
That was the demise of my 1979 Toyota 4X4 and the problem has plagued Toyota trucks long after that one was built. Have they ever gotten it right?
A frame treatment that would cost only a few hundred dollars would have prevented all this. Modern high quality paints can stop this kind of thing! When the paint on a Ford frame starts showing rust spots after 7 years it’s because they chose a paint that is only meant to hold up that long. The stuff they use on the exterior is much better. Frames can even be hot dip galvanized! They do it on some larger commercial vehicles.
SAY WHAT NOW? 7-year paint, Really? Hmmm, never had any paint on my ford frames.
Nothing is better than a 4Runner.
Having said that, dealing with an older low mileage vehicle has its advantages and disadvantages.
The former is obvious: no significant wear to mechanical components, for a Toyota, 60K is just a break-in period. The former is not obvious - seals, gaskets, bushings tend to age, dry out, and crack from lack of use so I suggest you pay close attention to leaks and suspension (control arm, trailer arm, etc.) bushings, and if you see visible cracks, you are looking at major repairs unless you have necessary tools and can replace them yourself.
I recently was looking for an older diesel truck for heavy duty household chores - firewood, gravel, etc. delivery. One of the options was a 1999 dodge with just 34K miles. EVERY SINGLE rubber part virtually disintegrated even though mechanically it was solid. The guy wanted whopping $35K for it. I passed. Granted, it was a dodge - not Toyota - but tendency is the same. I ended up buying a 2004 Duramax chevy with $129K for $25K that had a couple of chevy-specific issues but none of those dodge had. Bottom line is: a vehicle needs to be reasonably driven to stay in shape.
One other recommendation: I believe in 2001, Toyota used two engines - 3.4V6 and 2.7L4. There is nothing explicitly wrong with the 3.4 but it’s harder to work on and it has timing belt which is a PITA to replace, If that’s your case, check if it has been replaced, and if not - account for it. Based on tech’s claims on these boards, these days they charge over $200/hr(!!!). I wouldn’t know because I do everything myself. I wouldn’t be surprised - as ridiculous as it sounds - if they charged over a grand for the timing belt.
2.7L, on the other hand, is a masterpiece, a re-incarnation of a legendary 22RE. It has timing chain and technically should last indefinitely.