Second Toyota Tundra Pickup Hits a Million Miles, Serviced at Same Dealer as the First
Better advertising than a good Yelp review.
The phone rings. Contract driver Aaron Morvant answers and hears the familiar voice of a client. Ten minutes later, he's firing up his 2007 Toyota Tundra, tossing his travel bag in the rear, and heading north 1,300 miles to New York—and his next paycheck. Likewise, his pickup is on a dual journey, trucking towards the title of the world’s second Million-Mile Tundra.
We journeyed to Morvant's home 45 miles southwest of New Orleans a few weeks ago to hang out for a bit and talk about the truck when the call came in, cutting our visit short. Work never stops for both man and machine; at that point, the odometer read just under 996,000 miles. A week and a few long drives later, we got a text with unedited video evidence from Morvant confirming the truck's odometer rolled over to 999,999, where it will stay frozen for as long as the pickup keeps ticking. It's official—we have a second million-mile Toyota Tundra roaming the American south. And crazily enough, it's been serviced at the very same Toyota dealership as the first seven-digit truck.
That's a pretty incredible streak for Greg LeBlanc Toyota in Houma, Louisiana, and Assistant Service Manager Jackie Cutrer knows how lucky she is to have watched them pile on the miles.
“As fast as they are putting the miles on, it is as fast as we are getting excited,” Cutrer said. “We figured out about this time last year, we would be between March and April at a million miles just based on their driving habits.”
Southern Louisiana's waterways are filled with oil refineries operated by companies like Shell, Exxon and dozens of other major and minor firms. When a refinery needs a part quickly, Morvant is one of the guys they lean on to retrieve it as fast as he can. These hotshot drivers are a critical link in the massive oil supply chain—refineries lose tens of thousands, even millions of dollars every day they're offline. They don’t have time to wait, and neither does Morvant.
More than a decade ago, Morvant was working for a paper mill, daydreaming of hitting the open road. He learned about hotshot drivers and thought getting paid to drive sounded far better than working in a mill. When the facility closed unexpectedly, Morvant found himself with a chance to jump into the life. But he needed a truck, and knowing the job doesn’t allow for much downtime, he made reliability his number one priority.
“I heard on the radio that 80% of Toyota’s purchased in the last 20 years were still on the road,” Morvant said. “I needed a truck that was dependable to run as a hotshot, so this was one of those no-brainers.”
He also knew Toyota’s reputation for high-mileage vehicles from people like his friend Vic Sheppard, the first million-mile Tundra owner and fellow hotshot driver.
With his mind made up, he purchased a 2007 Toyota Tundra SR double cab with the 4.7 L V8 UZ engine (the model prior to the 4.6L V8 UR engine) built in Huntsville, Alabama, the same engine plant that produced Sheppard’s engine as well. Over the years, Morvant drove from one side of the country to the other and, on the advice of Sheppard, switched to the same dealership he used for maintenance after the first 100,000 miles.
During our brief visit, we got a closer look at his truck. Like Sheppard’s Tundra, it's simply amazing how great it looks considering the mileage. Sure, there are dents and dings: A tear in the seat bottom, and a long dent along the driver’s side near the gas tank cover thanks to a valet driver hugging a street lamp. But really, we expected a completely worn vehicle. That's simply not the case. The only real damage is inside the bed, which is to be expected considering the machine parts he's transporting are generally very heavy.
"I think this pickup’s payload rating is about 1,300 pounds," Morvant said. "I’ve exceeded that many times by quite a bit and never have had any problems."
Even with all the wear and tear, the pickup and its engine have held up quite well. He says he's on his 20th set of tires, second alternator and had his transmission rebuilt, although, he now regrets repairing it.
"I took it in to get the transmission rebuilt because it wasn’t shifting right," he explains. "Looking back at it, I probably just needed it flushed."