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    bearybop New Member

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    Hello everyone, I am needing some advice on a possible purchase. I found an 07 base model with 48k miles that I can pick up for $11,000 ( the maximum of my budget) from a private seller. The only catch is the car has been involved in what i gather to be a quite severe frontal collision with the rear end of another vehicle.

    The title is clean not salvage at all. Carfax states frame was not bent and airbags were not deployed. The seller is a private party and has been completely above board and did disclose the accident to me which happened prior to his purchase. The party he purchased from did not disclose the accident he only found out when he took it to it to the Toyota dealer for routine maintenance and new tires. Afterwords He to he took it to a specialist who rebuilds insurance salvaged prius . He had a complete inspection done and all repairs needed. One which did involve the radiator support.

    The seller and I have a scheduled time on Thursday to have my mechanic inspect the vehicle but I am wondering is it a bad idea to even consider purchasing this vehicle? If it all checks out ok does $11000 sound like a reasonable price?
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    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Unless your mechanic is Prius-trained, his inspection will be of limited value as there are several hybrid-specific issues to look for after collision damage. Some of these issues will only become apparent after the car is driven on a long trip in hot summer weather (i.e., they may not appear after driving the car only 30 minutes in cool weather. For example, a failed inverter coolant pump or reversed radiator fans.)

    I take it that the car has been owned by at least two parties. I'm having trouble with the story that you provided above:

    1) How could the second party be unaware of the front-end accident prior to purchase, if the accident was significant enough to require sheet metal repair?

    2) Exactly what repairs were performed?

    3) What is the motivation of the second party to sell the car, after paying for these repairs? That makes little sense unless problems remain that cannot be economically repaired.

    Unless you can obtain satisfactory answers to these questions, I'd look elsewhere.

    KBB.com and edmunds.com provide used car valuations and I suggest you consult those websites to assess the fairness of a proposed price.
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    firepa63 Former Prius Owner

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    I'd stay away from this car, but that's just my opinion.
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    New_Yorker New Member

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    This may answer your question . . . .

    I had a front end crash in my 2007 Prius. See the repaired car in the Photo Album section page 11 or 12, under my name.

    The car was repaired by a Toyota Dealer owned body shop, it should have been totalled based on the cost of the finished repairs. A deer ran across the NYS Thruway one rainy night and hit the left front, causing the windshield to be impacted by the hood. As in your accident the airbags did not deploy. The insurance costs exceeded 15,000 dollars to fix the Prius, a Touring Edition. Everything forward of the front door edges was replaced, fenders, hood, lights, grill, radiator, AC condensor, and the hybrid drive.

    That car runs flawlessly, I know because my sister purchased it with 27K on it for 11 grand, the buy-out residual from a 3 year lease. If the car is as perfectly repaired as mine was the 11 grand sounds correct. Mine was a better equipped model, and had half the miles, but 47 K is not unusually hard if the car has been properly repaired.

    Ask if there is any warranty on the collision repairs made to the car that would be transferable to you.

    Good Luck !:)
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    jelloslug It buffed right out!

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    I personally would not buy a salvage car that had been repaired without pics of what the damage was before it was fixed. If I were to sell my salvage '08 I could easily downplay the severity of the accident it was involved in an nobody would be the wiser.
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    bearybop New Member

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    I am not clear what you mean by sheet metal repair. All i can say is I would not have known the car was in a collision had the seller not told me. The vehicle looks to be in very good condition. It drives and runs quite nicely.

    The carfax is very non specific as it states the car was in a collision with the rear end of another vehicle. It also says the airbags DID NOT deploy and the title IS NOT salvage.

    Seller states when he purchased vehicle he had a set price range as he paid cash for vehicle ($11,500) and thought it was road worthy. He thought was getting a very good deal.

    After finding out about the accident and paying for repairs ( radiator support had to be welded to the frame..and a new water valve.) as well as new tires seller said he over spent and needs the money more than the car. He does have records of the repairs done.

    Seller also stated he has taken the car on two major road trips totaling 6000k miles with out any trouble what so ever and feels very confident the vehicle has no issues. Thus far I believe the seller has been 100% forthright with me about this vehicle

    I do not know if it is relevant but he recently took the car to carmax who offered him $8000 for the car. ( He showed me the paper work from car max as well) and I know from experience what low ballers they can be.

    I am torn because i really want a prius but 11k is about all I can afford.
  7. Offline

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    kbb.com shows that the trade-in value for a 2007 w/48K miles is $12K. Carmax probably discounted that by $4K because of 1) the seller not buying a replacement car where Carmax can make more profit, and 2) the accident history.

    kbb.com also shows that the private party value for that car is $14K. It sounds like you really want this car. Here are my suggestions to you:

    1) Does the Carfax history support the seller's claim regarding the number of prior owners and the number of miles that the seller has put on the car? If yes,

    2) Don't offer more than $10,000 for the car, due to the accident history, and contingent on the car passing inspection. If the seller agrees,

    3) Have the car inspected by your local Toyota dealer (not your Joe Mechanic friend, unless Joe is Prius-trained.)

    Good luck.
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    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    I would be very cautious and extremely concerned. Carfax is not 100% accurate and titles can be "washed" clean. Have you checked KBB.com and edmunds.com as Patrick suggested and also your local car dealers? Request a 3 hour long high speed test drive on a hot day and offer to pay for the gas. Find a Prius certified mechanic to do a thorough check. It seems that you have your eyes fixated on this particular car which is not a good sign in itself. If you can be patient and look around you may find other Prius that's better than this. Good luck! :)
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    Prowler Newbie

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    I would keep looking. You might be able to find one from a toyota dealer for a $1000 more and it would be toyota certified. Try to buy one at the end of month, they need to sell to meet some quota. If you can get one for less than the nada average trade in then u got a good deal. A toyota certified warranties the car for 3k miles or 3 months. This way you know u getting good car.
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    sktn77a Member

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    CarMax usually don't buy cars that have any frame damage (and they are just another used car dealership - out to make a buck - they lowball everyone these days). The seller's reason for selling the car isn't ringing true to me but that may not be relevant. Have the car inspected by a Toyota dealer. If they think its OK and the car drives nicely, then pay the seller whatever you think the car is worth. Most cars have been in small fender-benders, these days. The only people who really care about that is car dealers (because they can use this as an excuse to lowball you) and CarFax (who play on everyone's fears of getting a wreck).
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    Politburo Active Member

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    Seller's rationale makes no sense, I'd walk.
  12. Offline

    uart Senior Member

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    I'm tending to agree.

    This might be code for "seller discovered that the car is a money pit and wants to cut his losses"
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    nerfer A young senior member

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    I would think this is worth the risk. People who would walk away from this probably have the finances to get a newer car. If you don't have those finances, then you sometimes take a gamble, but this seems like a pretty good one to me. The only problem you could run into, assuming it rides okay, would be difficulty getting it aligned if anything is slightly bent.

    If there were engine problems, they'd be apparent by now. You'd want to check the coolant and make sure there's no discoloration, nothing floating on top (from oil or exhaust leaking thru a seal someplace). Make sure there's no unusual smoke when starting the car up (wait the seven seconds for the engine to turn on).

    That's my two cents.
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    SW03ES Senior Member

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    There's one additional reason that scares me that nobody else has mentioned, if the current owner had to do a bunch of repairs including welding the radiator support back on and additional things...how good could the original repair possibly have been?

    And the seller...he paid $11,500 cash and then did these repairs that maybe cost $1,500 including the tires so he's $13,000 into it...and he "overspent"? He "needs the cash"...so he's going to take a loss on the vehicle? Why? Doesn't add up I agree.

    I'd pass. I know it can be attractive to get something so cheap...but I'd almost rather buy a salvage myself and repair it...what about if you get into another wreck in this car...is it going to protect you?

    In the very least have a Prius master tech look it over...and have a real good bodyshop look at it too...
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    JimN Let the games begin!

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    Check the VIN here: http://www.toyotaownersonline.com/index.html
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    nerfer A young senior member

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    Cars depreciate. You always take a loss on a vehicle, especially one that is now known to have been in an accident.
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    SW03ES Senior Member

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    Of course you always take a loss on a vehicle, the question is why is this seller taking this loss now?

    If you had a perfectly safe and well performing vehicle you personally had just sunk some money into...wouldn't you keep it and spread that loss out over time?

    Is your response to feeling like you paid too much for something to immediately sell it for a loss?
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    uart Senior Member

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    That's the way I feel about it too. It's possible that the owner has had a number of small but expensive problems and is finding out that once the reliability of a Prius has been compromised that it can get expensive to maintain.

    Several members here have reported having ongoing reliability issues after having a repaired accident. Others have had no problems but it remains a risk.
  19. Offline

    SW03ES Senior Member

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    Absolutely, and the quality of the original repair has a lot to do with whether or not you'll have these troubling reliability issues. If they failed to weld in the radiator support (which is part of the frame by the way) then how good could the quality of the original repair have been? If this guy had done the repair after an accident he had I might be less concerned but you're two folks removed from the issue here.

    I would much rather see you buy a cheaper other car or an older Prius that is definitely going to be safe for you than to see you spend your money on this and have a lot of problems or even worse, have another accident and find that the structural rigidity in the front is compromised and wind up paralyzed or dead.

    Safety has got to be the overriding concern here, and I could just never be satisfied that I and my loved ones would be safe in this vehicle, thats the bottom line for me.
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    spitinuri Member

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    Have the car checked out by a Toyota Certified Mechanic and one who specializes in the Prius. There are a large number of these cars that have been in accidents, repaired and are now back on the road. It really doesn't take too much to mess up a fenders, bumber, and hood on these cars.

    As for a Toyota Certified Vehicle.... the only benefit is a warrany. The dealer pays Toyota approximately $500 to be able to call the vehicle certified.

    When I purchased my Prius it was certified. It had also been in an accident. The fenders and bumber cover were replaced. The drivers side doors were reskinned.

    That being said I purchased it with 70K miles and now have 140K miles and have only done required maintenance and replaced the tires.

    Best of luck!

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