If you are trying to say modern cars are simpler, you are mistaken. My family owns a repair facility. When I go over for dinner, I hear it all. Complexity, specialized equipment, and getting cars through inspection with emissions and all the sensors... They hate front wheel drives and how hard it is get to everything. It's hard work in a cold or very hot shop, and great for arthritis as they have gotten older. They do engine and trans work as well. Keeping up on so many models is tough. I chose a different career path.
You have to remove a fuel rail to do one of mine. Doing plugs on many new cars is very tough to get them all. I like new cars, but have no desire to work on them. I use the lifts at the shop for fluid and filters; other than that, I pay like anyone else and stay at my job. I'd rather work a couple hours overtime vs crawl under cars if I didn't have a lift.
The special tool you need to remove the brake drums on a Taurus is called a hammer.
Regardless if Toyota makes cars, houses, or whatever, their having the NO.1 best selling full size truck one day is just speculation.
I think the Toyota's in your family have reached high mileage due to proper maintenance. I have 150,000 miles on my GMC truck, and it performs as new, but I also meticulously maintain it.
Brand loyalty also can be present in families. Mopar or no car is on one side of mine. They will hear no different. My uncle would refuse to help or touch mine as I was not a Mopar owner. I recall a dealer offering student discounts on new cars with hopes they become branded for life. When people have a set mindset, they are not listening or open for favorable reviews. To take the pride level, boasting that Toyota builds houses is an illustration. My cousins over-maintain theirs and no wonder they are perfect. As a kid they made model kits of every great Mopar on many shelves. They are obsessed with them in real form today. They had one that had 160k on it that was taken in for trade, and the dealer was in disbelief at its perfect condition. He found it hard to believe even 60k was on it. Oil changes every 3000 miles etc. My cars are the same, regardless of mileage. But then there are some that drive a car into the ground; long intervals and misuse. That's the variable on here; same model, same year, and some love and some despise it. And taking time off for recalls fuels resentment as well.
Modern cars are just like old cars: Some are easy to work on, others aren't. For example I attend a local car show and drive my '55 Mercury, and setup and walk around. On one hand, my Merc is as simple as they come. I can reach in and get to everything. There is a total of ONE vacuum line. The spark plugs are all there, 1-8. Easy. Simple.
On the other hand, one of the guys there had a V12 1961 Jaguar (I forget the model), but if you want to look at a piece of machinery that could give a mechanic nightmares, take a look at the way those things are put together.
In some ways, modern ECUs in cars have removed some of the guesswork. I recall one time the engine light came on my Tacoma, and when I pulled the code, the indication was of a faulty TPS sensor. Sure enough, the sensor had no continuity. Bingo. A 5 minute fix.
As far as the Toyotas in my family, well actually the two that have so far gone the furthest were a '98 Avalon and now an 02 Tundra. The Avalon was seriously not taken what I'd call great care of. The coolant was finally changed at over 200,000 miles for example. Still it went for well over 300,000. The Tundra is getting pretty beat up these days, but I believe last time I talked to my Dad, it was somewhere around 310,000 or so. Not bad.
And yes - speculating that the Tundra could be No.1 is indeed speculation. Who knows? It would be very hard for Toyota to do this, because as seen in this thread, truck buyers are VERY loyal, and even to a point where those who buy a domestic brand will NEVER buy any other domestic brand. So they have their work cutout for them. Will it happen? Who knows.
Maybe staying out of the Toyota dealership and doing all your own work has kept you at a high contentment level.
I never had the desire, let alone the time, to lay under late model cars on my precious days off. I make as much if not more, so why not pay them? I rather be out on jet skis on the weekend vs that ordeal.
Not to pick too heavily with the British sports car club guys, but we joke will they make it home. They are cool looking, but I don't have the patience. I was at a show, and a XKE convertible guy was joking that don't I wish I had his car vs my Corvette. I said no, as I could point mine across country and back, and make it with the air and cruise on, running night and day. Synthetic oil changes, tires and brakes vs electrical and fuel system gremlins. My dad had a 60 MGA and lived under the hood; not me. I don't like working on cars any more. Take it to someone you trust and have fun on your time off is my recommendation. Life is short.
There's no question that working on your own car has become far less common over the last few decades. I have seen evidence of this at my workplace, with new guys in their 20's who can't even use a wrench properly. This would have been almost unheard of 30 or more years ago, when most guys (and some women) fixed their own cars. I'm sure most of these guys don't own a single tool, and would have a hard time changing an air filter. Typical to hear them complain about paying hundreds to have a sensor replaced at a shop.
It's not feasible to me that such persons with so little mechanical aptitude could just read a shop manual and be able to do repairs on a late model. As a previous commentator stated, even very experienced mechanics find them problematic.
I like doing upgrades on my cars and that's it. Fixing things that are broken or worn out has zero appeal. I like coming home, opening up an upgraded component and installing it. I show my cars, so maybe that's a big part of it.
The other issues are safety to yourself, the new car, and even other people on the road. Modern cars are far more complex and different than old ones. My cars have minimal (and that's being generous) access under the hoods. I needed a simple battery and then had to program it through my dash to use the remote fob, and restart the car afterwards. It would not start with the fresh battery until I reprogrammed it.
Jacking with light unibody vehicles is an issue. Even I had to use care on the correct lift points so as to not severely damage my car. I thought I had it right, sliding in my low profile race jack, and I hit the wrong spot and bent a cross member. You better put the jackstands in a safe spot. A simple oil change could be dangerous. Overtorque a drain plug on an aluminum block and see how much you saved. Do it yourself oil changes; what do you save, 10-15 bucks? Proper torque on rotating modern alloy wheels, you need a 1/2" drive torque wrench and recheck in a 100 miles. I have it done at oil changes; often it's included. Bring your own filter if you want vs theirs. I like NAPA Gold.
Cars are not cheap, and if you don't do it right, it's better to get a good mechanic. An example is my car has 4 sensors. I pulled a PO410 code; didn't know it ended up being 2 sensors and a defective circuit board. I paid $350 and was glad to not waste any more time and headache. To me it was a bargain, and I flew through re inspection. No wonder many don't buy tools or bother. Keep a charged cellphone and AAA Platinum Road Service with 200 mile towing, and you are all set.