Used car buying guide: Toyota Land Cruiser

How to get one in your garage

An expert’s view

Julian Voelcker, Overland Cruisers: “You don’t buy an Amazon for its economy. It’s a comfortable, powerful and reliable workhorse. If it’s been serviced properly, the engines take high mileages in their stride, but the transmission and suspension get tired. It’s not immune to rust, especially at the back along the sills, but if it’s not terminal, you shouldn’t be put off. You could buy a mechanically sound one for £6000, spend £2000 getting the rust fixed and you’d have an £8000 4×4 that’s good for another 10 years. Facelift cars are usefully improved and corrosion should be less advanced.”

Buyer beware…

■ Engine: Beware shonky V8 LPG conversions. A smoky diesel will fail its MOT; check its EGR valve hasn’t been blanked off. Inspect injector pump for leaks. Petrol and diesel timing belts need changing every 100,000 miles or six years, with the water pump. Oil changes are every 6000. Diesels are noisy from cold but should quieten once warm.

■ Transmission: Pre-facelift auto can suffer torque converter failure. Noises from the front axles as you pull away could be front outer CV joints wearing.

■ Air conditioning: Rumbling or squealing could be the air-con pulley. Check drain pipe isn’t dripping, rusting the droplink mount.

■ Suspension, steering wheels and brakes: Cycle through the Automatic Height Control (AHC) settings. A hard, bouncy ride spells trouble, as does a drooping front end. Check the handbrake isn’t seized. Wheel bearings need tightening and repacking with grease every 20,000 miles. Look for fluid leaks on underside of power steering pump.

■ Body and chassis: Inspect rear sills and wheel arches, upper tailgate surround and inside edge, and lower tailgate lock surround for rust. If it has towed a boat, the rear chassis may be rotten. Look underneath for off-road grounding.

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