Does one buy a Prius if they keep cars 14+ years ?

Discussion in 'Prius v Main Forum' started by B_Sebastian, Jan 1, 2012.

  1. B_Sebastian

    B_Sebastian New Member

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    Hello,

    I've owned two Toyoto Celicas for an average of 14 years each. I'm very interested in the Prius v Series III but I wonder if it makes (financial/mechanical) sense to own one for the same period of years.

    Can you help me out with the following:

    1). How long would a Prius v battery last ?

    2). Would the electronics and dual cooling systems be reliable for 14+ years ?

    3). Does mileage degrade as a Prius battery ages?

    Thanks B
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    how much mileage are we talking?
     
  3. B_Sebastian

    B_Sebastian New Member

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    Hello,

    8,000 - 9,500 miles a year.

    Thanks B
     
  4. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Friend to those who want no friends

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    The Prius was introduced in North America in 2001, so no Prius is over 11 years old. Taxi's seem to go about 250,000 miles but they are not seeing as many winters, as they are driven all day and night. My last Toyota is still on the read, I bought it in 1989, I have every expectation this one will do as well.

    I would worry more about moving parts than electronics, but if you want the electronics to last forever, never jumpstart your Prius. I would expect new water pumps in any car with 14 years on it.

    Mileage degrades when the car is impaired. If you do not replace the 12 volt battery when needed, if you do not clean the MAF sensor, etc. Every winter, or when you get new tires, mileage goes down. It will come back up in spring or as the tires wear in. Our 'problem' is that the Prius reports mileage so accurately that we notice what other car owners don't.
     
  5. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    a) typically 2-300,000 miles but can be less.

    b) probably not, but you might get lucky.

    c) very little, but some.
     
  6. WolfButtByte

    WolfButtByte New Member

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    Yo S/B.........

    When I went to LA's Union Station to meet the Prius sales-kid, there were mega-amounts of yellow Prius cabs.

    The Prius sales-kid said since his Company only deals in Prius cars, the Prius cabs buy parts from them and ....MANY OF THE PRIUS CABS HAVE OVER 300,000 MILES ON THEM !

    Jim
     
  7. B_Sebastian

    B_Sebastian New Member

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    Hi Guys,

    Thanks for the Prius Cab insights. I understand the value as a cab but...

    If I do 140,000 miles in 14 years will I get better value owning a Prius v, or for example a Hyundai Elantra that gets 29/40 EPA mileage.

    Does the potential Prius buyer need to factor in a new battery, electro/mechanical issues and reduced efficiencies as a Prius battery ages or nears End-of-Life.

    Thanks B.
     
  8. telmo744

    telmo744 HSD fanatic

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    Any other car, like the Elantra, in the same 14+ years time will need some replacements that may never happen in Prius.
    Tranny parts (auto or manual) like clutch...
    Belts, water pumps, alternator, starter motor, etc.
    Also consider that battery replacement costs will go down...
    And both cars have a lower resale price at that age, better for Toyota because fuel prices will go up in between.
     
  9. caffeinekid

    caffeinekid Duct Tape Extraordinaire

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    Your questions thus far are dependent on too many factors to expect any solid answers. But the same rules apply to a Prius as other cars with regards to increased number of components being proportional to increased potential for failure as the vehicle ages with time as opposed to mileage. As for the traction battery, most Prii exceed well over 100K miles with normal usage, but that is with the NiMH technology, not the Li-ion or whatever chemistry the new V uses. However, this is expected to be even better. Also, lack of duty time is BAD for batteries in general. If your 8K miles is only during 6 months of the year, you are going to have a problem. If you drive the car almost everyday, then not so much.

    I would claim with relative certainty that the Prius would be a better bet for 14 years than the Hyundai- all things considered.
     
  10. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    Long vehicle life is certainly my intent.
    We normally keep a car 10+ year to 200K miles or so.
    On the the 06 Prius we are half-way there now. No probs yet.
     
  11. jdenenberg

    jdenenberg EE Professor

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    We have 3 cars in our family:

    1. 1997 Subaru - almost 15 years and 240,000 miles. It is recently costing about $1,000 in mechanical repairs each year due to age,
    2. 2001 VW Jetta - almost 11 years, but only 83,000 miles. It is youthful, but higher maintenance costs than our main car.
    3. 2004 Prius - 7.5 years and 213,000 miles. It has been virtually maintenance free with only three expensive repairs to date.
      1. Steering column - was the subject of an early recall, but failed again out of warranty at 150,000 miles. ~$1000
      2. Struts - a normal maintenance item, but expensive in a all cars. 4 KY struts installed at 150,000 miles (many suggest doing it earlier). ~$1500
      3. HV (Traction Battery) which should be considered a normal long-term maintenance item. Mine failed at 195,000 miles an was replaced with a refurbished battery from ReInVolt for ~$2000.
    There are also the standard cost Items:

    1. Oil/oil filters/air filters - same in all cars
    2. 12v battery - a Prius uses a premium battery, mine lasted 7.5 years, but it can fail earlier as it is under sized and is sensitive to storage at low charge. I suggest an Optima Yellow-top when one is needed ~$200 plus a small installation cost.
    3. Tires - same in all cars, but I stick to Low rolling resistance tires (LRR, Nokian WRg2) which adds a bit of a premium.
    4. Brakes - every 50-75k miles, but my Prius is still on the original brakes! This is a significant savings (~$500 every 50k miles, it pays for my tires) due to regenerative braking.
    5. Plugs/PCV every 100k miles - basically the same as other cars, but the PCV valve is hard to get at.
    6. Coolant Pumps - plan on replacing the two main pumps each 100k to 150k miles at about twice the cost of a normal car (since there are two)
    7. Accessory and Timing Belts - There are none in a Prius so a cost savings! Many cars require a new timing belt each 60k to 80k miles and it costs about $400.
    8. Transmission fluid every 60k miles at ~$100. Strongly suggested by me in a Prius, but usually recommended in other cars as well.
    9. Coolant - Here a Prius has a bit higher cost as you should stick to Toyota Super Long Life Coolant and there are two independent coolant loops (Engine and Electronics). It is a bit trickier to do than in a standard car and needs to be done at 100k miles and again every 50k miles thereafter.
    10. Fuel - The Big One! I drive my Prius enough to burn 600 gallons each year, but in an equivalent normal car I would burn 1200 gallons a year. This is a savings of almost $2000 per year for my Prius! With your lower use (about 1/3 of mine you would see a savings of $600 to $700 per year at current gasoline prices (it will go higher).
    Answers to your specific questions:

    1. HV battery life - in my case about 200k miles and 7.5 years (about $0.01 to $0.02 per mile). Both are factors, as is heat (higher average temperature means shorter life).
    2. Electronics and cooling system life - usually not a problem with good maintenance, but things can happen. Salvaged electronics can safely (from reliable sources) be used to control costs if problems occur.
    3. MPG with age - My experience is that the MPG rises a bit with age on average with a short dip when either the HV or 12v battery gets weak.
    Your call, but the Prius has been a great car in my long term use.



    JeffD

     
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  12. seilerts

    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

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    Since your annual mileage is low, buy a Leaf, Volt, or Prius PHV. The Prius really shines as a 20,000+ mile/year car. For short trips, gas mileage in a Prius is poor due to the warm-up cycle, except for the PHV version of course.

    In terms of personal utility that excludes concerns about the environment but places a high value in getting something brand new, a Matrix is likely the best bang for the buck, due to a cost of entry that is several thousand less.

    There are excellent values in some used Toyotas as well. The '04 RAV that I have with 160K miles still gets 25-27 mpg and has a very short list of repairs: water pump and accessory belt (at 145K), front brakes/rotors (at 132K), and plugs+pcv. '04-'05 RAVs are exceptionally reliable. Only the '08-'09 Prius would have a level of reliability to match.
     
  13. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator
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    Hi, S_B and welcome to Priuschat! :welcome:
    I've had my '04 since new, have 95,000 miles and would have no qualms keeping it for another seven years. (except that I'm getting a plug-in in a couple years)
    Here's what I've seen here on Priuschat
    - there are a lot of "older" Prii still on the road.
    - the natural life of the battery is not a concern.
    - long-term owners love their Prius as much now as when they got it (me included).
    - regular maintanence is minor.
    - mileage does not degrade over time.

    Keep in mind that nothing is perfect and your mileage may vary. Toyota strives for fewer than three in a million defects as part of their manufacturing processes. I'm not guaranteeing that you won't get one of those three; after all, people manage to win lotteries and get struck by lightning. Also, you can find multiple posts here on Priuschat of people experiencing problems, so nothing is guaranteed.

    In the end, it's my opinion that the Prius v is a 14-year vehicle.
     
  14. cycledrum

    cycledrum PSOCSOASP

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    If you do a financial comparison of Prius v to Elantra, puhlease, compare it to the Elantra Touring pricewise. The Elantra sedan not only doesn't compare to v, it really shouldn't be compared to even the regular Prius.

    Elantra Touring GLS w/ automatic gets 23/30/ 26 combined MPGs.
     
  15. cycledrum

    cycledrum PSOCSOASP

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    Hyundai Elantra Touring GLS w/ preferred package - $19,330 MSRP
    26 MPG avg.

    note - no nav, no backup camera, only 4-way adjust driver's seat

    Toyota Prius v 3 - $27,925
    42 MPG avg.

    cost diff assuming even discount = $8,595
    ------------------------

    assuming each car get its combined avg over 10 years and you clocked 88k mi,

    @ avg gas cost of $3.75/gal = 5.5 cents/mile saved on gas in Prius v, make up $4,840 on gas

    @ 4.25 / gal = 6.23 c/mi saved on gas, make up $5,482 on gas

    -------------------------------

    So, you haven't made up the cost difference on gas savings, but you may resell the car in 14 years and the Prius v should resell for more. However, you're at 10 years and wondering how long the hybrid battery may last. If you call Toyota today and ask their parts and labor price for traction battery replacement, it should be about $3,500.

    What we don't know is how long the battery will last past the 10 year point. We know some things about aftermarket battery replacement which can lower the cost closer to about $2k (not expert on this, but it's close).

    So, which appears to be cheaper car to own? To me it sure looks like the Elantra Touring. In some cases, the concensus on Prius is you have to want to save on gas. For others, they came from 24 MPG cars to liftback Prius, they drive 15k mi/year and they're way ahead on total ownership costs.
     
  16. cycledrum

    cycledrum PSOCSOASP

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    I've found most good auto trans can last one heck of a long time in conventional cars. I don't consider them a guaranteed replacement item. I'd wager the hybrid battery is much more guaranteed replacement than an Toyota auto transmission.
     
  17. cycledrum

    cycledrum PSOCSOASP

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    Prius v and c have NimH battery. Only the plug-in Prius gets the Li-Ion battery.

    ---------------------------

    btw, great info Jeff D
     
  18. telmo744

    telmo744 HSD fanatic

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    Old auto trans were much simpler than current best Gboxes.
    Actual auto trans hold several valves, sensores, and other actuators, and at the same time there is no schedule for fluid replacement (at least in Europe) in Toyota/Lexus Aisin boxes.

    Auto trans will fail someday, that's for sure (bearings, gaskets, pins, mesh, seals), as any rotating equipment.
    Batteries may last forever, as seen in many NimH industrial aplications, and they have over 25 years estimate life. Agree that with car applications (vibration, temperature) may reducet that, but we cannot say it has a wear that leads to failure.
     
  19. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Senior Member

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    I doubt but I did not run the numbers. You do not drive enough. When we ran numbers back in 09 with gas $4/gal it took 180,000mi to get regular Prius even with Honda Fit. For us it is ~5-6 years, for you 18 years.

    go to Fuel Economy and Edmund's car calculator to figure out your costs good luck
     
  20. cyclopathic

    cyclopathic Senior Member

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    true unless it is a Chrysler minivan.