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How this man got a new Tundra for free from Toyota

A man from Houma, Louisiana, has just traded a 2007 Toyota Tundra with over a million miles on the clock for a brand new 2016 example. And while that might sound like a Craigslist deal gone wrong, the swap was initiated by Toyota’s North American division.

Victor Sheppard’s Tundra is one of the very first examples built by Toyota in San Antonio, Texas. His job takes him from his home in Louisiana’s Bayou Country to places like Wyoming, North Dakota, and Virginia, so he wound up putting about 125,000 miles on his beloved Tundra annually over the past few years. Surprisingly, the truck is equipped with its original engine and its original transmission, and it’s still wearing its original paint job.

The key to the truck’s reason-defying longevity is regular maintenance, explains Sheppard. He’s visited a Toyota dealer no less than 117 times over the past nine years for routine check-ups and oil changes, and to replace key wear-and-tear parts like the timing belt. Toyota points out that finding a truck that has clocked that many miles, that’s entirely original, and that’s been well maintained all of its life is rare. That’s why it offered to buy the million-mile Tundra and replace it with a brand new 2016 model.

Toyota Million-Mile Tundra

Mike Sweers, the chief truck engineer at Toyota’s Technical Center, said that his team is going to tear down the truck bumper to bumper and top to bottom to find out how various parts have fared after a million miles. The team will look at mechanical components like the engine, the transmission, and the axles, but it’s also interested in seeing how other parts — including the seats and the door hinges — hold up over time.

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Taking the truck apart and studying every component individually is a process that’s expected to take months, according to Sweers. The data gathered over the course of the tear-down will come in handy as Toyota designs its next-generation models.