Toyota Buys Back Million-Mile Tundra
Owner averaged 125,000 miles annually on his 2007 Tundraby Mark McNabb, on
Victor Sheppard isn’t the typical pickup owner. His job required long hours on the road at the pace of 125,000 miles a year. Even though his Tundra was only nine years old, the truckx racked up miles at an exponential rate, ultimately having more than a million miles on the clock. Sheppard, however, was diligent with maintenance – always keeping up with oil changes, tire rotations, and the like. He averaged 13 dealer visits per year.
On one of those more recent visits, the dealership snapped a photo of the odometer showing 999,999 miles. The photo, taken by Leblanc Toyota in Sheppard’s hometown of Houma, Louisiana, made it to the dealer’s Facebook page where it caught the attention of Toyota’s chief truck engineer, Mike Sweers. Sweers and his engineering team jumped on the opportunity to examine Sheppard’s Tundra. In fact, Toyota simply swapped Sheppard with a brand new 2016 Tundra for his 2007 model.
“Having a million-mile truck in as pristine condition as this one with original parts is a truly rare find,” said Sweers. “Our team plans to tear down the entire truck, bumper-to-bumper, top-to-bottom to evaluate how the quality and safety we designed, engineered, and built into the Tundra has held up to over one-million miles of real-world driving and help us continue providing ever-better vehicles for our customers.”
Sheppard’s Tundra was one of the first trucks to roll the Toyota Motor Manufacturing plant in San Antonio, Texas. The 2007 model year was also the debut of the second-generation Tundra, which ran through 2013. Sweers and his team plan to spend several months meticulously evaluating each part that comes off the truck, checking it for wear and longevity.
Despite the mile, the truck still has its original engine (presumably the 4.7-liter iForce V-8), transmission, and paint. Besides the average maintenance issues, including several timing belts, the truck is still as it was in 2007. “My truck looks great, and, except for a few little dents, it’s almost like new,” said Sheppard. “Even the seats look just as they were when I bought it. They’re not as clean, of course, but they’re not busted or worn out.”
Continue reading for the full story.
Why it matters
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard stories of automakers buying back high-mileage vehicles for evaluation purposes. Toyota is wise to pick apart this truck and check how things have held up. Hopefully Toyota doesn’t pull a Mercedes-Benz a-la 1990s and pull back on engineering quality because parts are lasting too long. Thankfully we expect the opposite to happen. Toyota will hopefully find ways to improve quality of parts that did fail or where about to, making its vehicles last even longer and retain value even better.
While we certainly don’t envy Sheppard’s long-haul job, we have great appreciation for his dedication to regular maintenance and dedication to his truck. Hopefully his new 2016 Tundra will make news in another decade as having past the million-mile mark. If that happens, we’ll be here to cover it.
Read our full review on the Toyota Tundra here.