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Buying used cars is hard these days. However, it’s nothing compared to buying used trucks. The used market has been wild ever since inventory shortages, production issues, and increased demand began plaguing the automotive market in 2020. There once was a time when used Toyota pickup trucks were plentiful and cheap. Finding a decent one for under $10,000 was easy. But everything is different now. Can you buy a used Toyota truck for under $10,000? 

A used Toyota pickup truck parked on a dirt road
Toyota pickup truck | Getty Images

How much do you have to spend to get a good used Toyota truck? 

After a quick preliminary search of local car dealers in my area of Birmingham, AL, used Toyota trucks seem to range from the high $20,000 mark and up. However, if you widen your search by looking online (FB Marketplace, Craigslist, etc.), the prices can come down a bit. That said, it’s best not to assume these are good used trucks worth buying.

The reality is if you go for older models from the late-‘80s to mid-’90s, there are some sub-$10,000 trucks. However, you’ll not be seeing any in that price range without at least 250,000+ miles on the clock, rust holes or broken glass, or any combination of those issues plus some. 

How many miles will a Toyota pickup truck last? 

Ok, so you’ve found a 1998 Toyota Tacoma for $7,500 that looks clean-ish but it has 266,000 miles on it. What do you do? 

The thing that makes super-used Toyota trucks so tempting is that we know they can rack up some serious mileage before the main working bits die. According to iSeeCars, the Tacoma and Tundra are among the top 10 longest-lasting vehicle models. The Tundra ranked third, beaten only by the Toyota Land Cruiser and the Ford F-350 Super Duty. The Toyota Tacoma landed in 7th place. 

This list ranks the likelihood that each of these models will surpass 250,000 miles. The higher the chance, the higher the ranking. For our Toyota Tacoma example, the iSeeCars list has the Tacoma at a 41.7% chance of lasting 250,000 miles. That is 3.5x higher than the average car or truck. The Tundra has a 47.9% chance of making it to 250,000 miles. 

OK, OK. Back to the Tacoma. Seeing that a used Toyota truck has already passed that 250,000-mile threshold means it has already outperformed over half of its nameplate mates, at least statistically. To be clear, this isn’t saying that after 250,000 miles, the truck is done. It does, however, give us a sense of what can be expected. Trucks much over the 250,000-mile mark, still running well without serious issues, are pretty rare. Not impossible, but uncommon. 

What is the most important thing to consider when shopping for a used Toyota pickup truck?

A man cleaning the wheels of a 2009 Toyota Tundra
Toyota Tundra | Getty Images

We always talk about miles when shopping for used pickup trucks, but that can lead you astray. Yes, mileage is important, but how those miles were driven means almost as much. A truck with 100,000 miles of hard towing, hauling, and all other kinds of truck work will look and drive differently than a truck with 150,000 miles of highway commuting. 

While a Toyota pickup truck can hit 250,000+, it doesn’t mean you want to buy one. Consider what happens when you put that kind of mileage on a vehicle. Many other aspects of our vehicles get worn out when that kind of mileage is accrued. Even if the engine and transmission are good, do you want to drive a truck with busted AC, torn seats, blown speakers, and rust? It’s rare to find a mint condition used truck with mileage exceeding 100,000 miles – much less 250,000.

The reality is, at this point in the car market, you can buy a used Toyota pickup truck for less than $10,000. There are plenty of them out there. However, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. If you want a quality vehicle that will give you the most bang for your buck, the $15,000-$25,000 range will probably yield better results for most buyers. Of course, there are always exceptions. The patient shopper can find a diamond in the rough from time to time, but a seriously good used Toyota truck for under $10,000 is the exception nowadays. Not the rule.