If you haven’t been following the travels of Roosh this last year, you should hit his YouTube channel and watch them. I’ve enjoyed the series tremendously.
So, done with his travel, he appears to be gearing up to migrate into the wilderness by buying a truck, and put out a video of what he looked for in a used vehicle. I love these sorts of videos for as much as they get wrong as they instruct.
So lets get one thing straight; He’s not buying a truck, he’s buying a beater. A high mileage, old, worn, cheap vehicle. There’s a difference in how you go about doing this. For instance, I have a friend in the used car business, and I’ve had great luck buying cars from his company. You just have to do some research first and know how to inspect a car. He doesn’t sell beaters. Roosh shuns dealers in this video, which is correct – for a beater. They’ll want too much money, and you can bet the low end dealers have duct taped whatever they could to get it rolling out the door. When I lived in Virginia, the bargain basement dealers were the worst of the worst to score a car.
Although he admits he really doesn’t know what he was doing, he did a reasonably good job evaluating the truck. He started out looking at probably the best choice for a used truck – a Toyota. I’ve had pickups and one 4Runner. They are built like tanks, and parts are ubiquitous and inexpensive. You almost can’t go wrong.
I grew up not to far from him, and as he said first (for that area) look for rust. It doesn’t snow a ton in the DC area, but it does, and when it does they lay down copious amounts of salt. That will destroy a car if not rinsed off. You can also bet that if there is structural rust you can see, there’s most likely rust happening where you can’t. If it’s not structural damage, you can patch it though. Better off avoiding rusty beaters if you aren’t equipped to deal with them
Check under the hood. He pointed at the oil and ATF dipsticks – pull them out. Oil should be clear, brown. Not black, not tarry, and should be at an appropriate level. ATF should be red. Not brown, not smelling burnt. He glossed over the radiator – don’t just eyeball the level in the overflow, pop the radiator cap and look at the fluid – should be bright green (or pink sometimes). Not brown, not olive. Both colors show that it probably wasn’t maintained. Also take a sniff when you pop the hood – Smell a sweet smell? Start looking at hose connections. Antifreeze has a distinct sweet smell. You’ll see stains where there’s a pinhole leak or bad clamp.
Speaking of leaks, check everywhere. What he thought was the power steering, was the brake master cylinder – nearly always driver side top. Look for leaks. Look in the perimeter of under the hood for an ABS (brake) manifold (if it has ABS). It’s a block with metal brake lines running in it. Look/Feel under it for leaks. I missed that on one of my cars, and the part alone is over $900.
None of the Japanese cars I’ve owned have ever dribbled on the pavement. Doesn’t mean they won’t leak. After 15 years or so the gaskets get hard and can fail. Look at the engine for any black oil stains. Look under, front of motor and at driveshafts – grease will gather and there’ll be sticky gunk all over. His transfer case had that. Probably has a seal going. It’s expected at high mileage for this to happen. If the car is FWD, look at the driveshafts -You can’t miss them. Visible grease could be a CV boot tear.
Here’s some more esoteric stuff I look at; first, the keys. For over the last 20 years, Toyotas have had transponder keys. Each car has two black, and one grey courtesy key (to hand the parking guy). Back in the day, you needed the black ones to make duplicates. If you only have the grey one, you can forget using the glove box locks. And, these keys are $85 a piece or so. I just dropped $300 on a spare for my Rav4, and neither key is mechanically cut – so I have to pay to have that done eventually. Make sure you have keys – more than one.
How about the tires? First thing; driver door sill there’ll be a sticker with tire size and pressure – Make sure the size matches what’s on the car. I bought a car once that handled sort of funky. Turned out to be all four tires were wrong. I also check – do they all match? Same brand? Same size, Same model? I get you have a flat from time to time, but unless the tires were new, I replace two at a time. Three different make tires on the car? I’m gone. Tires, especially in an area that gets snow are super important. Weirdness tells me they skimped on maintenance as important as tires, they probably skimped elsewhere.
Here’s one that he missed that is super important – the Timing Belt. The 4Runner I had was the first year that they had no timing belt. It had gears, I believe. Hence, it had very, very long maintenance intervals. Typical timing belt replacement intervals on a Toyota V6 is every 90K miles. This is super important. Why? Because when a timing belt goes, it can ruin your motor. A timing chain may slip a tooth – that’s what? 1-2 degrees out on timing? When a belt goes, it’s done- the cam doesn’t move. So what happens is the valves are stuck open on a compression stroke, the piston hits them, and your motor is toast. If you are out in the hinterlands when this happens, you are well and truly screwed. The tow alone will be wallet busting.
From what he said, it had 261K on it. That’s 8K from the 3rd interval. Timing belts can be pricey to replace, but not anywhere near as expensive as a new motor. Typically, you’ll replace the water pump at the same time, since it’s exposed. What I look for is first – does it have a timing belt (the cover is very apparent – large plastic cover, rounded, on the edge of the motor- in his case, the front. The second thing I look for in that case is a sticker – nearly any reputable garage will put a sticker with the date and mileage that the belt was replaced. His had stickers, but he didn’t zoom in on them.
All in all, he got a great deal from what I can see. A running, non rusty Toyota truck for under $3K is a good deal. 30 years ago, when I was a field tech, Our Toyotas would run to 400K miles or so. And even then, worn out and leaking, we’d sell them for $1K. That’s nearly $2K in today’s dollars. So, he did well.
Next steps on a beater odyssey for me would be total fluid replacement, replace belts, any hoses or vacuum lines that have hardened, plugs, wires, distributor cap (if it has one), and all filters. Seems extreme, but for a few hundred bucks, I’ve driven my beater cars until I was tired of them, selling them for nearly what I paid.