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In the mid-2000’s, my parents were looking for a new car and they did something I don’t think they’d ever done before: they went out and purchased a brand new car. For as long as I could remember, our family has always purchased used cars, so this was unexpected. However, there were two things that were consistent with the other two vehicles our family owned at the time: it was gold-colored, and it was a Toyota.

When my parents bought this 2004 Toyota Tacoma, I didn’t think much of it. Looking back now, I can appreciate that this is one of the better equipped Tacomas of the first generation. It’s the last year of the 1st gen Tacoma(’95-’04), has the 3.4L V6 5VZ-FE engine, and has the PreRunner trim package. Probably the only thing missing that I would want on this truck would be 4WD. If I were to get a midsize pickup truck, I would love to have one of these (believe me, I tried buying it off my parents but they still drive it).

Fast forward and my parents still own this truck to this day. The truck has never been in an accident and is in amazing condition. Perhaps a full detail would bring this truck back to almost mint condition. Looking at the truck, I think it still looks pretty darn good. I appreciate the truck much more now rather than when I was young where I focused more on more superficial aspects like paint color.

Inside, it’s in as good condition as it is outside. Again, a full interior detail could really rejuvenate the cabin space, but nonetheless its kept up really well. My parents even still use The Club to protect the car. I don’t think I’ve even seen anyone use The Club on their car for the past decade. But man this brings back a lot of nostalgia… and I’m sure it’s done its job at deterring thieves over the years.

1st gen toyota tacoma with the club on steering wheel

Probably the most amazing thing about this truck is the low mileage. At this time, it sits at just over 31,000 miles. For a vehicle that was made in 2004, that means that my parents averaged about 2,000 miles per year over the past 16-17 years. Contrast that with the typical average of about 12k-13k miles a year. With that said, most 1st gen Tacomas that I see these days are over the 200k mile mark!

I remember attending a wedding about a year ago with my parents and drove this truck. When we got the truck back after the wedding, the valet came up to me and said, “is your truck REALLY 31,000 miles?” Yep, it really is.

1st gen toyota tacoma low mileage

I normally live quite a ways away from my parents, but during the Covid-19 Pandemic, my wife and I had the fortunate opportunity to work remotely. As a result, we got to spend more time with our parents during a short term move down to Southern California. I propositioned my dad if I could feature their truck as a project and I’d take care off some of the pending maintenance items on the truck.

So for the next several weekends, I spent the early mornings (before the kids woke up) to work on this truck along with my dad. I cherish the time spent working on the car with my dad as I was able to show him how to do some of the work that he hasn’t done before. It was very reminiscent of the times when I was a child where he would teach me how to work on cars.

1st gen toyota tacoma under hood 3.4l v6 5vzfe

After those days of working on this truck, I was able to detail and write up a bunch of tutorials for my parents’ 1st gen Toyota Tacoma. For the coming months, I will be posting about this new project and detailing how I performed these maintenance items.

I liked working on this truck as it has a slightly higher ride height and didn’t require me to jack up the truck. The exception was with rotating the tires and performing the brake work. Some work did involved removal and reinstallation of the wheel well guards, which is a bit of a pain to do especially when you’re doing routine work such as an oil change (especially difficult on this truck.)


Hi there! I'm Scott and I run The Track Ahead. My goal is to provide helpful articles and tutorials based on my experience and research related to car maintenance and automotive detailing. When I'm not writing and not working my day job, you can find me spending time with my family and working on home and car projects.

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