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2001 Prius battery dies at 70K, Toyota won't pay for repair

Discussion in 'Generation 1 Prius Discussion' started by Otis, Jan 18, 2010.

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  1. Otis

    Otis New Member

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    Your Vehicle Year:
    2001 Prius
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    The battery died on my 2001 Prius today at a bit over 70K miles, and I was surprised to learn that Toyota considers the $3700 repair to be 100% my responsibility.

    Back in 2001 when we bought the car, we were on the front page of our local paper as poster children for green technology. I didn't think the battery would last forever, but the conventional wisdom was it would certainly last the life of the car. Am I wrong to feel duped and betrayed?
  2. adric22

    adric22 Ev and Hybrid Enthusiast

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    As long as you weren't told the battery would be warranted for 10 years or something to that effect, no, you shouldn't feel that way. I mean, the car is 9 years old now. I see no reason why Toyota should continue to offer some kind of warranty.
  3. 2Txns

    2Txns New Member

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    Maybe it's me, but if you would have driven the car more your battery might have lasted longer. I think that it sat too long and just got weak from not being cycled very often.

    Why buy a hybrid if you aren't going to drive it? It's like being a diesel engined vehicle and putting over 100,000 miles on it. Kind of a waste of money.:confused:
  4. strasma

    strasma Junior Member

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    The warranty on the hybrid components when we bought our 2002 Prius was 8 years or 100,000 miles, whichever came first. Sadly, yours has exceeded the 8 years part of the warranty. Ours is just about to go out of that warranty, so I just had it checked (at 88.5K miles.) Still OK so far.
  5. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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  6. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human - Animal Hybrid

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    If you are technically/hacker minded, I believe that some people have used two Gen 2 batteries (salvage) to build a Gen 1 voltage battery. The Gen 2 cell design is better than the Gen 1 design and the batteries are more plentiful.
  7. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    It is true that the expectation set by Toyota was that the hybrid battery would last the life of the car. Usually "life of the car" means 10 years/150K miles. Unfortunately your battery fell short of that expectation.

    Maybe feeling "duped and betrayed" might be too strong of an emotional response, but I understand your feelings of disappointment. I've had two battery failures out of three Toyota hybrids, replaced under warranty.

    In the past Toyota was fairly generous in approving post-warranty help for Prius owners. However that has dried up recently, probably partly due to the tough economic conditions faced by the auto companies and partly because Prius is now part of the mainstream, so it doesn't get the special treatment that it earlier did.
  8. GreenGuy33

    GreenGuy33 Active Member

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    How long is the warranty? I thought it was 8 years, 100,000/150,000 miles.
    It is now 9 years, if my math is correct.
  9. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    The hybrid system warranty on Classic Prius was 8 years/100K miles.
  10. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    This is no different than a failed transmission on a normal car. It's expensive, and no one want to pay for it, but it does happen to some percentage of owners.

    Tom
  11. Silver bullit

    Silver bullit Right Lane Cruiser

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    I don't understand this post. The owner says they drove the car 70,000 miles. Is there some kind of minimum milage to drive? I didn't see where the owner didn't drive the car for a long time. Is there a minimum miles to drive or the car breaks down?
  12. bestmapman

    bestmapman 2010 Prius waiting on 2015

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    First time poster making a controversial claim. Nuff said.
  13. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Nadir of Wrongness

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  14. Bobsprius

    Bobsprius BobPrius

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    I don't think there is a "requirement" to drive a certain number of miles on the Prius. As one earlier poster mentioned the shorter life could be due to not driving it and charging the battery as much or as often.

    We will never know why, but it could play a role somehow??

    I think when they mentioned the owner didn't drive it as much, I would just do the logical math and see that with 70K miles over a 9 year period equates to about approx 7500 miles per year. The considered "norm", if there is such thing, would be 12000 per year.

    But at almost 10 years old, maybe the total ownership cost need's to be considered as well. The Prius is typically a lower cost car to maintain, and if you divide the approximate cost of $3K over 9 years....$300/Yr.

    It's all a numbers game and how you play it. As QBEE42 stated, no different than a transmission going out, the cost is quite expensive...so..sometimes there is failure at a given point.

    It's mechanics and it's a car, and things do go. But maybe if the OP would contact and complain with Toyota they may come to some reduced replacement cost....not free I am sure, but reduced when faced with this replacement is "good"! Worth a shot at least..

    ;)
  15. adric22

    adric22 Ev and Hybrid Enthusiast

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    Well, from what I'm seeing, pretty much all of the Gen-1 priuses still out there are either already needing a new battery or will be needing one shortly. The good news is, the replacement battery packs are supposed to be much better quality than the original and should last the remainder of the vehicle's life. As long as the car has been maintained properly, the only other possible "expensive" problems to worry about from that point on would be the transaxle, power steering system, or the ABS actuators leaking. Any of those would be over $1,000 to fix.

    However, as other posters have mentioned, any vehicle can experience similar problems at this age and mileage and is to be expected.

    I, for one, think the Gen-1 Prius makes a great fixer-upper that can be bought cheaply and repaired. The battery may be expensive at up to $2,300 for a new one, but it is much easier to install yourself for a non mechanic type than, say, an engine or transaxle.

    I expect to see more and more of these Gen-1' showing up on craigslist and the like for very cheap and they will make great hybrids for people who can't afford a brand-new hybrid.

    I've only been driving mine for a week now, after buying it off of craigslist for $2,800 and fixing it up with a new battery and a few other things. but I'm getting 45 miles-per-gallon and have a great-looking car that I expect to get years of service out of now.
    4 people like this.
  16. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    I think the thread was called "What Toyota Doesn't Want You To Know" somebody was in a similar situation. Ultimately got Toyota to pay for half the cost of battery replacement.

    Unfortunately I felt the same about that as I do this. Sorry your battery has died, but 9 years and past the warranty and too bad.

    Conventional Wisdom? How wise is it to believe a battery will last forever? 9 years was a good run.

    Toyota offers the coverage and warranty they offer, once your past it, your past it. Life of the car? Well that depends on factors way out of Toyota's control. Luck-Never lost in a wreck, Care and use of owner, and how long the owner want's to keep the car. There is no date stamped on any car with a finite defined "life of the car" So how is Toyota suppose to know?

    It is a big expense and I would not be happy about paying it. BUT roughly $3,000 to reset the battery clock and perhaps go another 9 years? Hey, that's not so bad.

    To me, if you don't plan to trade in, upgrade and you want to keep a Prius beyond the 8 year period inwhich the battery is warrantied you just have to expect that battery replacement is an eventual, unpredictable reality.

    But why do people think Toyota should pay for something that is past warranty that nobody should expect will last forever?

    Toyota is proud of their battery reliabilty and overall the stats are very good. But they can't warranty them forever and/or promise everyone the battery will last as long as they own the car, those are unpredictable factors on both sides. Toyota also IMO shouldn't be expected to pay for everyones new battery or even give discounts.
  17. kenoarto

    kenoarto Member

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    DRIVE MORE?!? What a stupid comment. We should all strive to drive less, not more.

    We plan to keep out car for at least 10 years. Our last car lasted 13 with only 100,000 miles. We expect the Prius to last longer. Period. The battery damned well better be much cheaper if we ever need to replace it.



    1 person likes this.
  18. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Nadir of Wrongness

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    May I ask WHY you would expect this?

    I do question why anyone would pay a premium for a hybrid car if they did not drive so much they needed one, but that is not the same as urging folks to drive more. I am always striving to use less gas, not get more MPG.
  19. adric22

    adric22 Ev and Hybrid Enthusiast

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    I see some of the same mentality here as I get with my refurbished computer business. i have people bring me computers as much as a year after I sold it with some kind of problem. I look at the problem and quote them a repair cost. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "What? I bought this computer from YOU, why should I have to pay for repairs?" Then I have to remind them that it had a 30 day warranty, and they are like 335 days beyond that. Then they storm out, mad, mumbling something about never doing business with me again. I guess some people just expect lifetime warranty on anything they buy.
  20. 13Plug

    13Plug Active Member

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    9 years, that's not so bad. I had to drop just over $3,000 to put a new transmission in my 4-year old Ford with 50K miles. I was so pissed off that I sold the truck and now in fact don't even own a Ford.

    Have you asked if Toyota would cover half? If you had Toyota dealers do the maintenance and have the receipts they may be willing to help you out some. It doesn't hurt to ask, the worst is they say no.
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