At Toyota, the fan mailbox often receives a letter from a proud Toyota Hilux owner who writes how his or her Toyota Hilux has reached a new distance-milestone or how it still serves the family well into the next generation.
These owners, along with millions of other Toyota Hilux owners across the world, know that if you care for your Toyota Hilux as it grows older, it will continue to serve you well and maintain its value. This means you will get the best possible return should you one day decide to trade it in or replace it with another used Toyota or a brand new one.
To best look after your used Toyota Hilux or any other second-hand car for that matter, consider these five tips on keeping your used Toyota in perfect shape.
Touch it up!
You may recall your Granny saying that a stitch in time saves nine. This is equally true when it comes to keeping your used car in the best possible shape.
Small dents and scratches are inevitable on any used car and they are perhaps even more likely to appear on a workhorse pick-up. Someone may open a door on to yours in the shopping mall or you may find that an odd-shaped load has scratched the tailgate as you transported it.
If this happens, inspect the scratch or dent to determine if it has reached below the colour coat and perhaps even exposed the metal below. While Toyota coats the metal body with several primers during the manufacturing process, any exposed metal can create a weak spot where rust can form over time.
Fixing deep scratches on your used car before the rust forms – with something as simple as a dab of touch-up paint – will save you endless trouble in the long run.
Keep it clean
Giving your Toyota Hilux a regular all-round wash is a great way to keep it in the best possible shape and inspect the bodywork and interior for any wear-and-tear that you can attend to before it becomes a big concern.
A dealer will tell you that cleaning your used vehicle will prevent any stains from forming on your bodywork or wheels. On the body, the regular overfilling of the fuel tank may lead to diesel or petrol spills just below the fuel filler cap. You may have seen this slightly off-colour stain on second hand cars on the road and it is something that you can easily address by regularly cleaning your car.
Similarly, if you allow brake-dust and road grime to accumulate on your used car’s alloy wheels, it will, over time, leave dark spots or make your used car’s rims appear dull.
It is very important to remember that you should never wash your used Toyota, or any other used car for that matter, with standard dish washing liquid or other household cleaning detergent. While it may leave your car shiny and spotless when you wash it, it can also strip the paint’s protective layer, leaving it far more prone to fade and crack over time.
Mind those services
If keeping your Toyota Hilux clean and fixing small scratches and dents keep the outside in the best shape possible, then a regular service at an approved Toyota Service Centre will do the same for the engine and other drivetrain components.
Toyota Dealers are trained exclusively on servicing Toyota Hilux and other Toyota models and they guarantee both their workmanship and the quality of the parts and components they use. What’s more, they keep a strict track record of anything that was done on your Toyota on a national system, allowing any Toyota Dealer to service your Toyota perfectly.
Think about it: If your Toyota Hilux is regularly equipped with clean filters, oil and other lubricants, its engine will operate without any undue strain. This will lead to better fuel consumption and better engine performance in the short term and greater durability in the long term. You will also find that selling or trading in your used Toyota Hilux or other used Toyota with a full service history, will greatly increase its value.
Keep an eye on your tyres
Make it a habit to regularly check your tyre tread and the tyre pressure of your Toyota Hilux.
Inspecting the tyre tread helps you to quickly identify irregular wear patterns, such as wear on the outside of the tyre. If you spot this early enough, you can address it and extend the life of your tyres.
If you see an irregular tread pattern, you may need to check each wheel’s balancing or the alignment between the wheels at an approved tyre fitment centre. Some centres may even suggest that you rotate the front and the rear wheels to extend the life of the tyres.
Checking your tyre pressure is equally important. An under-inflated tyre will cause more wear and tear and will increase your vehicle’s fuel consumption. An over-inflated tyre will, in turn, cause uneven wear on the tyre and may negatively influence your vehicle’s steering and wet-weather performance.
If you own a Toyota Hilux or are considering buying a used Toyota Hilux, also keep the suggested tyre pressures for different applications in mind. A fully loaded Toyota Hilux requires a higher tyre pressure than an empty one, so remember to quickly check tyre pressures depending on the work you are doing with your Toyota Hilux.
Monitor your fuel economy
Keeping an eye on your fuel economy is a great way of tracking the mechanical integrity of any used vehicle.
Often, if a used vehicle is not maintained properly or has more mechanical wear and tear than is usual for its age, it will show up in the fuel economy figures. You can test the fuel economy of a vehicle over a period and then check that against the published fuel economy figures for that vehicle when it was brand new. A big difference may signal that something is wrong, so it will be a good idea to have your used vehicle tested by an approved dealer.
If you drive a Toyota Hilux, a rapid change in your fuel economy figures may indicate that it needs a mechanical service. Before you start worrying however, consider what you have used your Toyota Hilux for. A lot of in-city stop-and-go driving or heavy loads may increase fuel consumption during these trips only and your engine may still be in perfect shape.
By keeping an eye on your tyres, bodywork, fuel economy and by regularly servicing your Toyota Hilux, you can be sure that it will maintain its value very well as a used vehicle and it will give you many years of trouble-free service.