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buying a write-off cat D 2007 prius?

Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Main Forum' started by Hasan, Jan 29, 2011.

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  1. Hasan

    Hasan Junior Member

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    I was on the forums about 2/3 weeks ago about purchasing a used prius which in the end I didn't!

    Anyway, I'm back again and have found a prius t-spirit on autotrader:

    2007 (56 reg)
    40,000 Miles
    Full Dealer SH
    Cat D - now fully repaired
    Asking price: £5300
    Normal price for prius in this range: £6500-7500


    My only worry obviously is the insurance write off.

    Not sure if American system is the same as the UK so I've included a description of the write-off categories in the UK :)


    • Category A - Vehicle must be crushed.
    • Category B - Vehicle may not be returned to road. Parts may be sold.
    • Category C - Repairable. Possibly structural damage. Cost of damage (at main dealer prices and labour rates) is more than book value of vehicle.
    • Category D - Repairable. Probably non-structural damage. May have been economic to repair, but insurer doesn't want to.
    As far as i'm aware, Cat D write-offs are either very good deals or very big long-term hassle.

    Does the toyota warranty remain intact? I have called my local dealer but none of the sales advisors knew.
  2. seilerts

    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

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    Accident rebuilt Prius can have intermittent computer/wiring/connector problems. These may not show up unless the car get really wet, like a major rainstorm, or going through a car wash. Solving them can be extremely difficult and expensive. Don't buy it unless you get a warranty from the seller that will allow you to return it for a full refund within 30 days, longer if possible. It will go one of two ways for you, either a great purchase, or the car from hell.
  3. JimN

    JimN Let the games begin!

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    The manufacturers warranty doesn't cover anything damaged in a collision. I'm not sure the entire warranty is void as it sounds like your Cat C is our "totalled" which would void all the warranties.
  4. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Fully repaired? Find out where it was hit and spend $100 and take it to an good independant shop to have that area inspected. If it looks good then come back and low ball the hell out of them. THey want that mutt off there books.
  5. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    IMO a vehicle with a salvage title should have a much greater discount than £1200. Think about when it's time for you to sell that car, who will want to buy it, and the low-ball price you will have to offer to get rid of the car... Also check on the UK warranty with the Toyota corporate office there.
  6. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    You need to know what the damage was! Was it just too many panals bent that the insurers just wrote it off or was it hit hard in the rear and was uneconomic because of that?

    Without knowing the full details of the damage PRIOR to the repair and not knowing how well the repair was carried out (presumably not repaired by Toyota), you could be buying a whole lot of trouble!

    One other thing - because the car is already registered as a total loss your insurer might not want to cover it and if they do you will find that they value it significantly less than you might want!

    Oh and did I mention that there have been a lot of cars damaged by flood over here lately too. Perhaps that could be the reason why it was written off by the insurers? If the Prius had flood damage it is only good to be scrapped.
  7. Hasan

    Hasan Junior Member

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    I've spoken to the seller who said the damage was to 'the door and wing' last October. Hoping to call later today or tomorrow and arrange an appointment for wednesday - its a private seller so I don't think he'd be willing to offer a 30 day refund but i'm sure it won't hurt to ask.

    Found the number for Toyota PLC and will call them once their offices open tomorrow. (thanks Mr Wong!)

    Also spoken to my current insurers who have said they will insure cat D write-offs and there won't be any difference in the price.

    I'm not too phased about reselling price as I'm hoping (if this does turn out to be a good purchase) to keep it for a good while, hopefully till the end of its life. My 15 year old VW sharan just went to its grave a few days after Christmas:p

    Thanks for all the input guys, I really do appreciate it. Will let you know how I get on.
    1 person likes this.
  8. Bodgerx

    Bodgerx Junior Member

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    Wouldn't you be better off with something like this?

    2007 Toyota Prius Hatchback 1497 cc 1.5 VVTi T4 Hybrid 5dr CVT Auto
  9. Hasan

    Hasan Junior Member

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    We wanted the T-spirit with the back up camera and navigation. I may take the car in for an inspection at my local dealer though for extra piece of mind.
  10. Bodgerx

    Bodgerx Junior Member

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    You might want to check the Nav DVD is still with it as well then - they are pricey to replace.
  11. jelloslug

    jelloslug It buffed right out!

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    I would not buy a repaired salvage car without pics of the actual damage beforehand.
  12. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    It's a relatively minor damage category (see one of previous posts on the 4 categories) so the car should be structurally sound. It wouldn't be allowed back on the road without passing certain requirements either, but whether it lasts the long term is a chance you take - will the wiring go dodgy? will the damaged panels rust earlier etc.

    I would have to think long and hard about buying any category D car but buying a cat D Prius could either be a real bargain or the beginning of a nightmare. How long has the car been stood would be a major concern - will the HV battery be ok? It is still rather cheap for a hybrid and might pay off ok.
  13. Hasan

    Hasan Junior Member

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    I am officially part of the prius family!!!:cheer2: Just bought a prius today against all odds.

    Did not go for the cat D mentioned in this thread as the seller was being very evasive and seemed rather dodgy to be honest. I had completely given up the idea of a prius and went to purchase a Honda Jazz for my wife this morning. Upon viewing the jazz however, I wasn't overly impressed and so had a look around at the other cars the guy had for sale in the showroom and......there it was, the one prius exactly tailored to my specs with the satnav and camera just staring at me in the face!
    So £7K lighter I am now a happy prius owner, finally.:D
  14. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    Hey well done. Looking forward to seeing a pic or two :) Come on, what colour is it etc?
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  15. Hasan

    Hasan Junior Member

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    Thanks! Will hopefully take some pics tomorrow, though I probably should have done it today considering our weather forecast for tomorrow is most certainly British ;) - today was remarkably sunny down here in London.
  16. Hasan

    Hasan Junior Member

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    Not sure what I'm doing wrong but it only lets me upload one photo..

    Attached Files:

  17. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    Ah looking good - nice n shiny.
  18. Hasan

    Hasan Junior Member

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    I was getting only around an average of 39 mpg :(, decided to check the tyre pressures, rear driver's side was only 30 Psi! Have since pumped up to 44 front and 43in the rear this has literally jumped up mpg to 48 which I hope is not too bad in this type of weather though I may be wrong.

    Mr Cabbie, seeing as you are a fellow UK citizen, do you take your prius for servicing at a Toyota dealer? If so how much do the interim 10,000 mile and the full 20,000 mile services cost?

    I've been advised not to service at the dealer as they charge too much but I can't think of any reliable independent brands that do servicing. Would it be too hard to service the prius myself?
  19. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    You've learnt the first important lesson with a Prius - tyre pressures! lol. They make a big difference, as does the use of low rolling resistance tyres such as Bridgestone Ecopia's etc. Personally I'd be very careful running your tyres over the recommended psi's as this can cause grip issues in the wet (and we get plenty of that over here). Also, if you have an accident and Plod finds your tyres that far over you could have problems. Maybe run them 1 or 2 psi over the recommended levels but do it at your own risk.

    Regarding servicing, I use the main dealers. Mainly this is because I'm still within warranty but also because the Prius is just a wee bit different and even good independent garages haven't come across them yet. There is a 'taxi' garage in town which a lot of my colleagues use as they're bloody good and reliable. They showed an interest in the Prius but I don't think I'll let them service it until maybe after 100k miles. The Prius doesn't cost much more (if anything) than say an Avensis to service at a main dealers, as the hybrid side is pretty much non serviceable. The service is mainly the oils, filters, brakes as in a normal car, but Toyota do have the diagnostic equiptment to keep an eye on the hybrid system. Maybe you'd get Toyota to do the main 20k mile service and do the 10k oil change yourself? One thing to be aware of - ALWAYS switch the car off before you drain the oil. There are many warnings on this forum where owners have taken their car in for an oil change and a garage unfamiliar with the Prius (or hybrid) have drained the oil with the car in 'Ready' mode. The car senses the drop in engine temperature and starts up the engine which by now has no oil in it - bang!

    Another way of looking at it - the money you would have spent on road tax could be used to get a Toyota dealer service each year? That's before the fuel cost savings.

    Also check the 12volt battery as they are known to fail at about 4 years old. They cost about £100 fitted by a main dealer. They're a rare thing so probably best to get from Toyota.

    Hope this helps.
  20. Hasan

    Hasan Junior Member

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    Thanks for your very informative reply :).

    I've checked the battery voltage, I think it was 12.4 before starting and 14 after - so that seems okay, will keep an eye on it and replace it as soon as I see anything. I've called my local dealer to book a service (current mileage 80.8 K) but they are still to get back to me.

    Just for the fun of it I decided to open the cabin air filter, It was gross lol - there were leaves and all sorts, could it have become that dirty already?, the last service was at 69K or maybe they hadn't changed it then :(
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