1996 Toyota Tacoma 2WD from North America - Comments

29th Oct 2010, 17:09

This is yet another update on my Tacoma. 3 years after my last update, I STILL have it. I drive it less because we use my wife's car, but since my last update, I've put another 25,000 miles on it, bringing the total to 241,000 miles total. The only problem I've had since 2007 was a faulty rubber mounting seal for the transmission gear shifter. It took 20 minutes to replace. Other than that, there is no noticeable additional wear or problems. The paint has started to fade a bit in places - which is to be expected at almost 15 years old. That, and some of the rubber trim is starting to dry rot a bit.

I also fixed the rust issue by pulling out the rubber gasket around the windshield and treating it with a rust converter. There are also a number of cracks in the windshield, but I've decided to just leave them.

Amazing that I bought this truck my senior year of high school, and still own it in my mid 30's. Its been an absolutely fantastic truck that I could probably keep for another 10-15 years no problem.

30th Oct 2012, 14:57

Well, it's been almost 3 years since my last update. Amazingly I still have this truck - almost a full 17 years after buying it new off the dealer lot back in 1996. In the last few years, I've had a few minor things that have needed fixing. The exhaust manifold cracked, and I replaced it with an aftermarket one. When I was younger, I used to hose off the engine when I was back from a trip. So I was basically pouring cold water on a hot engine - which can't be good for the exhaust. That might have been the cause for it cracking.

2 years ago I replaced both front brake calipers. The old ones were basically in need of new seals, and it was cheaper to simply get a full re-manufactured set. I also replaced the cracked windshield. At the same time, the installer took care of the rust under the windshield with a special rust-stopping coating.

The truck now has close to 270,000 miles. Even so, the truck still looks, runs, and drives much the same as it did when it was new. Some of the rubber and plastic parts on the body are starting to fade and deteriorate, which I'd expect on something almost 20 years old. The original paint has held up surprisingly well, and so far doesn't show any oxidation or fading, even though it sits outside. The engine doesn't leak or use any oil. I just change it every 3,000 miles.

At this point, given its age, mileage and value, I'll probably just continue driving it indefinitely. These really are superb trucks. They will practically go forever.

31st Oct 2012, 13:34

Sounds like my relative who bought his 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T in High School, through college, 2 marriages and still has it today. He bought it used in 1974, and has turned down 6 times what it cost new. If you like something, hang onto it. I got weak a few times and took the money.

2nd Nov 2012, 10:24

I wouldn't run any hose over a cold or hot engine. Just the exterior. Get any water into expensive computer components, and shorting anything out can be a very costly proposition. There are those that do and may have many times, but it's not worth the chance. I feel a pressure washer is even worse. Get water into a bad seal or bend the cooling fins under pressure from the washer on your radiator. Likely the cold water did damage to your exhaust, and can also crack your spark plugs. Although I own domestics, I would still not do that. I do it the harder, safer way. I use a diluted Simple Green solution, clean thoroughly, and then detail under the hood. I keep protectants off belts and the electronics.

3rd Jul 2013, 11:22

I wanted to comment again on my own post, because there was a previous post where a few non-Tacoma owning commentators were making rather baseless accusations against Tacomas and Toyota in general, and as the comments were turned off, I felt compelled to provide my own response, since I didn't get that chance.

First of all, most of the comments being made about Tacomas were again - from people who DO NOT actually own, or have ever owned a Tacoma. As such, you don't really have a foot to stand on when it comes to making claims about how bad Tacomas are, when you don't actually know what it's like to own one in the first place.

Second of all, the whole quality argument shouldn't even be a debate. As a seemingly ignored factoid, Toyota and its three brands are still ranked in the 1, 2, and 3 top spots reliability-wise. So if anyone wants to make a claim that Toyota makes bad products, then your opinion is contrary to fact. Let's be clear here: You are free to express your opinion. But opinions are not exactly fact when the numbers prove otherwise.

That also goes into the whole worn-out assertion that somehow, Toyota's quality has slipped. Again - if it has slipped, then why is the brand still ranked in the No.1 spot for reliability? Perhaps those making those statements need to re-evaluate that comment.

Toyota at this point makes the most compelling small and midsized truck in the US market with Nissan a close 2nd. Ford stopped making the Ranger (which makes sense as they sell WAY more F-150's), and the Chevy Colorado hasn't been updated in forever, and was not exactly a stellar truck to start with. So basically the other automakers either chose to drop their offerings, or basically made feeble attempts at their small and mid-sized truck offerings. If you want a good small or midsized truck these days, the Tacoma is basically your choice.

Lastly, it's really clear to me and others that there are those on here and other sites who have a sort of "anti-import" agenda. Doesn't matter what model or brand we're talking about, because I see the same comments made on various Honda, Toyota, Nissan, and other import brand reviews. Generic comments about "Oh - those imports are bad" or whatnot, without backing up the facts.

Anyway, as for my truck - the one in this review, well it's still going strong. It's close to being 20 years old and it's been with me that entire time. Even now I don't even worry about driving it anywhere. I'd be totally comfortable driving it across country. It's still very tight and solid. There are a few things that are starting to show wear from age and use. Some of the bushings for the control arms and suspension are showing signs of dry rot. There are a few areas of the paint that are starting to oxidize. The seats and parts of the floor areas are showing wear, and there's a few small tears. Then again, it's an almost 20 year old truck at this point.

I think about the fact that since I've kept the truck this long, it's probably saved me 10's of thousands of dollars in terms of fuel savings, reliability and lack of needing repairs, ease of maintenance, as well as the fact that most people would probably be on their 2, 3rd, or even 4th truck by now. At anywhere from 20k-40k a pop, that's a lot of money I haven't spent.

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