It’s a testament to the Hilux’s hard-wearing nature that even the most abused examples manage to steer well clear of the scrapheap. This isn’t the cheapest load lugger you can buy, but for the frugality, dependability and all-round usability a Hilux offers, it’s really not bad value. Just make sure the previous owners haven’t ‘had their money’s worth out of it’, as it were.
How to get one in your garage
An expert’s view
Clive Worswick, Bucklow Garage: “The first thing to do is check out the place you’re buying it from. That’s 90% of it, before you start wasting your time looking at the truck. They’re pretty strong old lumps, but it’s down to where they’ve been, what they’ve been used for and who’s used them. The problem is utility companies don’t release histories due to data protection, but it’s like everything you buy: get it checked over properly or buy from a well-established dealer.”
■ Engine: Diesel motors, particularly the 3.0-litre ones, are sensitive to poor-quality fuel. If there’s smoke on start-up or a tapping noise at idle, set aside £1000 for new injectors. Fuel injector seals on the 2.5 have been known to leak, letting oil drip into the cylinders. This could lead to a blocked oil sump pick-up, starving the engine of oil. Toyota issued a recall for this, so make sure the work has been done and the oil pick-up is clear.
■ Body: A well-maintained Hilux will stand out in a crowd. It’s a rugged, capable load lugger, and in practice it’s used very much as intended. The body is constructed from thinner metal than in previous generations, so check for dents and bodged repairs all round, especially underneath. Pay particular attention to the sill on the driver’s side; it’s known to rot after the paint wears away.
■ Electrics: The Hilux is mostly resilient in this area but can still develop niggles. Electric window mechanisms are a known weak point, and early models were recalled after it was found that the steering wheel could damage wiring in the column, deactivating the airbag. Check this has been fixed.