Welcome to PriusChat

We'd love to have you join our community and participate in the conversation! Sign up for FREE today.

Sign Up

Lifespan of Prius? $10-12k for 100k-150k Used Prius: Good or bad idea?

Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Main Forum' started by monsieurpooh, Mar 7, 2012.

Social Buttons

  1. monsieurpooh

    monsieurpooh New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    ca
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2005 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Hello all.

    I've been searching for used cars and I found many dealers offering some 2004-2008 Prius's $10-12k range and in the 100-150k miles odometer range.

    I think this is a good idea but my parents disagree because 100-150k miles is when cars start to have problems.

    I have SCOURED google to find what the average life span of a prius is, but the only information I have found is that the "batteries should last very long, as long as the vehicle's lifespan" with no information about how long that lifespan is! I already know the batteries won't fail, and I already know that many Prius's have been driven over 300,000 miles; I still need to know what the AVERAGE lifespan of the car is and how much I can expect to spend on repairs, and how much trouble it will be.

    I read an article that a 200,000 miles Prius performed just as well as a new one. But if someone took bad care of their car, would it cost me more than $5,000 to repair? But I should add that all of the listings do have Carfax reports, and I am mainly interested in buying the ones that had regular service and no accidents reported.

    For example if I buy it for $11k and it has a whole slew of problems that takes $5k and 20 hours to fix, it is a bad deal; however, if it only costs $500 to fix all the problems in one maintenance stop, it would be a good deal.

    What are the chances it performs adequately in test driving but soon becomes so run-down that it requires more than $3,000 to fix? I heard the battery is supposedly the most expensive part, and since that has a failure rate of nearly 0 I am wondering, what other parts would need to fail (spark plugs, power steering) in order to make me pay more than $3,000 on repairs.

    Thanks in advance
  2. seilerts

    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    Messages:
    3,326
    Likes Received:
    1,438
    Location:
    Santa Fe, NM
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2005 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Mr. Pooh,

    If you are in California, and the car has been a CA car all its life, then the battery is warranted for 150,000 miles. Therefore, look for a car with somewhat less than that, like 130-140,000 miles. A bad battery can be masked for a short period of time but won't go more than a few thousand miles without triggering another fault code. Same rule applies to the catalytic converter, which is a $1500 replacement in CA outside of the 150K warranty.

    There are slight chances of transaxle failure, but it fails at a comparatively lower rate than conventional transmissions. That would be your $3000 repair, maybe a 5% chance of that within the first year.

    An older Prius with 200,000 miles, the battery and/or transaxle is on borrowed time and the owner should have a plan for replacing either one with no notice.

    There are almost no problems that can be fixed for as little as $500, other than the 12V battery. Just about everything else is more expensive, but single-digit probability in any given year.
    3 people like this.
  3. monsieurpooh

    monsieurpooh New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    ca
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2005 Prius
    Model:
    N/A


    Thanks. Say the used car was a lemon that didn't show its bad side during test driving, and a few years down the road some of these worst-case-scenario parts break (the ones that cost upwards of $2,000+). Would it be easy to procure the used version of these parts as replacements (instead of new) without having to replace it myself? i.e. I still have maintenance fix it for me but using a used part. Might this bring the worst-case scenario cost of the bad parts down to less than $1,000 per part?
  4. cnschult

    cnschult Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Messages:
    769
    Likes Received:
    78
    Location:
    Michigan
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2005 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    the most reliable cars are made in Japan.
    the second most reliable cars are japanese cars made in usa
    the third most reliable cars are ford or gm

    so consider the prius to be a very reliable cars, just be aware that repairs can be expensive, so if you like to live paycheck to paycheck and don't have a rainy day fund maybe a non hybrid like corolla will be a better fit for you.
    1 person likes this.
  5. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Nadir of Wrongness

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Messages:
    7,831
    Likes Received:
    2,345
    Location:
    Greenwood MS USA
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Three
    Transaxle failure is a $3000 to $5000 repair Change the transaxle fluid every 60,000 miles (and when you buy the car $90 to $150)

    High Voltage Battery failure is a $1000 to $5000 repair. It appears that the more it is on, the better they last, A Prius that is unused is not pampering the HV Battery.

    Inverter repair is a $2000 to $4000 and seems to be related to jump starting the car (incorrectly) Do not jump start any car with your Prius and do not jump start a Prius repeatedly. If the 12 volt battery is dead, replace it.

    12 v Battery is a $140 to $300 dollar repair and happens once you run the battery down. Optima and Toyota make the only 12v battery safe for use in a Prius. (AGM and externally vented)
  6. seilerts

    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    Messages:
    3,326
    Likes Received:
    1,438
    Location:
    Santa Fe, NM
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2005 Prius
    Model:
    N/A


    I strongly suggest that you test drive a few of these high mileage cars. For any used car, if it doesn't feel right, if something just feels off but you can't put your finger on it, then there probably is a problem. On the other hand, a car that really wants you to buy it will sing to you. By the way, a high mileage car that runs for a few years and then has a major breakdown, I wouldn't call that a lemon, I would call that reality. Have a plan.

    $1000 repair with a used part, that's probably true for the inverter.

    Used hybrid batteries are becoming difficult to find, even in CA where warranty is 150K. The going rate is about $1500 for a used battery that has been thoroughly vetted by an expert.

    Transaxle is a major job and labor alone is around $1000. That could run you $2000 when it is all said and done.

    Used catalytic converters cannot be installed due to federal law, and in California only, a factory level converter must be the replacement. The aftermarket does make Prius converters, but not yet any that are CARB compliant. Current MSRP from is $1600.
  7. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2008
    Messages:
    9,763
    Likes Received:
    1,897
    Location:
    Southwest Colorado
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Two
    One place to start: A base Prius 'c' starts at ~ $18k.

    Another place to start: A good rule of thumb that says that a car has depreciated 2/3rds of its initial value when half of its life is gone. If we start at 21k for a new Prius and 250k miles average lifetime, then a car at 125k miles is worth $7k.

    Waiting for fuel prices to spike to buy a Prius is a bitch.
  8. San_Carlos_Jeff

    San_Carlos_Jeff Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2005
    Messages:
    791
    Likes Received:
    91
    Location:
    Northern California
    Your Vehicle Year:
    Other Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A


    IMO longevity won't be an issue, like the other posters have already responded.

    The prices you're quoting sound really high to me. I'm going to be selling a 2005 with around 103,000 miles at the end of the month and am hoping to get $7,500, but won't be surprised if it goes for lower. Admittedly, I haven't done too much research on local worth of my car yet, but don't think it's too far off of $7,500.
  9. cnschult

    cnschult Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Messages:
    769
    Likes Received:
    78
    Location:
    Michigan
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2005 Prius
    Model:
    N/A


    Although I wouldn't pay that much I bet you could get more than that, especially on the west coast, especially with current gas prices.
    1 person likes this.
  10. 2k1Toaster

    2k1Toaster HID Guru

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2010
    Messages:
    3,985
    Likes Received:
    1,180
    Location:
    Rocky Mountains
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2006 Prius
    Model:
    Three


    Yeah but what is usable life? On average, a Chevy will be usable at 100k miles but after a few major replacements. Again on average, a Toyota will be usable at 100k miles with no replacements. Various Prii have gone 200K, 300K, 400K, 500K, 600K, and more and work just fine with minimal maintenance. $7K for a Prius at 125K miles is a steal, especially with gas prices where they are. If they go up at all, so will Prii prices. If gas drops to 2000 prices, Prii values will slump, but still be worth more than $7K in any populated part of the country.

    Checking recently sold cars on a few websites, they have sold for $8k to $12k for GenII's with high mileage within the past month.
  11. monsieurpooh

    monsieurpooh New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    ca
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2005 Prius
    Model:
    N/A


    I'm actually extremely angry at the world and my life right now. I've been planning to buy a Prius for months. About a month ago I decided that I would buy one soon because I want to move out. Unfortunately this magically coincided with a huge gas price spike which I just learned about a couple days ago which is why the Prius prices are so high. Now I have to be screwed over along with the dumb people who wait until gas prices to high to buy a Prius even though I had every intention of buying a Prius regardless.

    Because of this I am seriously considering purchasing a junk non-prius car with low MPG's for like <$1,000 because those might actually end up being cheaper in the long run.
  12. 2k1Toaster

    2k1Toaster HID Guru

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2010
    Messages:
    3,985
    Likes Received:
    1,180
    Location:
    Rocky Mountains
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2006 Prius
    Model:
    Three


    A $500 car will always be cheaper than a $12,000 car. If your only criteria is price, then it doesn't make sense to buy anything but the cheapest of the cheap. No car will pay you back. No car gets cheaper to own as time goes on. These are all logical fallacies that people try to convince themselves of.

    Now the Prius will be much more comfortable, enjoyable, safer, and reliable than a $500 car but if you are just concerned about money, then that doesn't make a difference.
  13. monsieurpooh

    monsieurpooh New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    ca
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2005 Prius
    Model:
    N/A


    I meant that if I were to own the car for 10 years, a Prius would save some money but have a higher up-front cost. A junk car eats more gas and might need repairs but has a low up-front cost and might be cheaper all things considered, though much more risky I admit
  14. monsieurpooh

    monsieurpooh New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    ca
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2005 Prius
    Model:
    N/A


    I sent you a private message regarding my interest in your car
  15. sktn77a

    sktn77a Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2007
    Messages:
    278
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    NC
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2005 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Unfortunately, now is not the best time to buy a prius. People's perceived values are directly tied to the price of gas. $10k for a 7 year old car with 100,000 miles on the clock is not a good deal unless it was absolutely loaded new (package 6 with leather seats). Also make sure the car was maintained by the book (oil changes ever 5000 miles). After that, it mostly depends on the PPI and how well the car drives.

    Bear in mind you can get a brand new Hyundai for just a little more, with a 10 year warranty, good gas mleage, and a good reliability record!
  16. SteamPowered

    SteamPowered Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2012
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Arizona
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2005 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    I just bought a 150k Prius for $7k, most of its life was in the desert.

    It seems pretty good no hidden problems and it has new tires. However the cat is bad, and I need to put in new suspension. I don't need to fix the cat for another 2 years, but I have to clear engine codes from it. Already changed spark plugs, oil, trans fluid, some parking lights, bulbs etc. It runs like a new car, which is the consensus of the dozen people who've driven and ridden in it.

    It basically runs fine now and I don't need to do anything else, but I will put in a nice receiver, probably HID lights and TRD/touring springs and other suspension compenents.

    It looks and drives like a car less than half its age. I guess some terrible thing could happen at any time and I get soaked with a huge bill but isn't that always true?
    1 person likes this.
  17. Fouramphs

    Fouramphs Junior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Orillia Ontario
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2005 Prius
    Model:
    II
    I'm new to the world of Hybirds, just bought mine yesterday, 10 taxes in. about 80 K on it.Is motor supose to run 95% of the time at low speeds with all elc. off etc.light on the trottle.Temp today in Snow country in the 60s
    only time its off is when slowing down and stopped.
  18. SteamPowered

    SteamPowered Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2012
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Arizona
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2005 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    Yes, the motor will probably run alot when you are driving and sometimes it hardly turns off for me. The only time I notice the motor is really off is parking or idling in traffic. I can still easily get 50-60 MPG warm (less on short trips when I'm moving from parking lot to parking lot)

    What would be more important is your MPG...do you see averages over 5-10 miles that are really low?
  19. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2008
    Messages:
    9,763
    Likes Received:
    1,897
    Location:
    Southwest Colorado
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Two


    No crystal ball here, but you can at least consider buying a used 25-30 mpg car for around $5k now (not a clunker) and then selling it when fuel prices dip. You have to buy and sell on the private market for this to make sense (cents).
    1 person likes this.
  20. seilerts

    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    Messages:
    3,326
    Likes Received:
    1,438
    Location:
    Santa Fe, NM
    Your Vehicle Year:
    2005 Prius
    Model:
    N/A


    Keep a close eye on your oil level. Consumption is one of the main causes of cat failure. Pulling the cat (front pipe) is fairly easy if you want to take a look at the honeycomb, just a matter of removing the downstream O2, the utterly pinche chassis "stiffener", and the four exhaust pipe bolts. Easterns sell 49 state replacement front pipe (2 cats and the resonator) for $300+/-
Similar Threads: Lifespan Prius
Forum Title Date
Gen II Prius Main Forum Prius Lifespan and warranty 86000 miles here Feb 7, 2006
Gen II Prius Main Forum GEN. II What is the average LIFESPAN of the HYBRiD battery before it dies? Oct 2, 2013
Toyota Prius Plug-in Tricks to Prolong Battery Lifespan May 22, 2013
Gen II Prius Fuel Economy Continental Eco Plus lifespan update/ review Oct 18, 2012
Gen III 2010+ Prius Fuel Economy Hybrid battery lifespan Jan 30, 2012