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Should I buy a Prius?

Discussion in 'Gen III 2010+ Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubles' started by Ruth79, Nov 9, 2010.

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  1. Ruth79

    Ruth79 New Member

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    My husband and I are considering buying a used Prius for the great gas mileage they get. He has a small commute daily to work but we need a new car and the Prius is at the top of our list. We have heard that they are a nightmare to maintain. If the battery goes out, a new one is $5000, stuff like that. We would greatly appreciate any comments about upkeep, maintenance, overall experiences, good and bad. Thank you.
  2. jayrider

    jayrider Member

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    The battery is warranteed for 100k miles. Maintenance means $60 every 10k miles. Nothing is cheaper --plus the car is great.
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  3. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North Staff Member

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    Maintenance is no different from any other 2WD Toyota passenger car. You'll also save on alternators (there's none to replace) and brake pads (they can last up to 200,000 miles before replacing depending on your commute). Our 2005 with 143,000km is still on original pads with at least 50% left (our dealer goes in multiples of 25% so I don't know the exact number but it dropped from 75 to 50 recently so I'm guessing it's in the 60s somewhere).

    A battery is US$2,200 the last time we checked two years ago. Just add labour and taxes to that. There are plenty of taxis around and they do 100,000 miles a year without any issue (hybrid or non-hybrid parts).
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  4. adamace1

    adamace1 Senior Member

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    If he is not going to drive very far with the car, you will not get the best mpg. how far will the car be needed to go daily?
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  5. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Nadir of Wrongness

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    Unless you drive a long distance, it may never make financial sense. (A Hummer is cheap if it never leaves your neighborhood) The Prius also pollutes way less than other cars. In some locales it can ease your commute: access to HOV lanes, Congestion Tax, etc.

    The Nissan Leaf, or Chevy Volt would excell at short commutes as they may never use any gas. Neither will be available 'used' any time soon.

    Bleeding the brakes is not a 'shade tree' repair, few drivers will have expertice at diagosing a dying 12 volt battery ($120 to $200 USD) in a car with no 12 volt starter, (you never want to let it get so old you need to jump start your Prius, nor should you ever jump start anything else) some fender benders will damage parts a typical Body Shop may not be familiar with.

    The HV battery draws most of the paranoia, but they tend to last 200,000 miles and are 100% warrantied for 100,000 miles at least. (More in CARB states)
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  6. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    if you're like 99% of us, you will have very low maintenance and repair bills. but if you are one of the unlucky ones, and have a major repair out of warranty, you could be out some serious green.
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  7. 2k1Toaster

    2k1Toaster HID Guru

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    I suggest you read over the Prius myth thread as it seems you are very uninformed. May not be your fault as there is a lot of misinformation out there.
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  8. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The other One Percenter.....

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    This is a question you're going to have to ask YOU. There's a lot of data to look at in this forum---and some of it might nudge you in one way or the other. Most of the people who join a forum that represent a particular vehicle are rather fanatical supporters of said vehicle, and this seems especially true of Priuses...they seen to be polarizing little cars. I'm a statistical anomaly since "my" Prius is a company provided car, and I have more of an outsider-looking-in view.

    It's a $25,000+ car, that does everything a 4-door subcompact economy car does, with a little better build quality than most $15-20K units and gives you the advantages of having really really good fuel economy, and (if you're into that kind of thing) "saving the planet."

    Whether or not your fuel savings will justify the "hybrid premium" is something you're going to have to cypher out for yourself. 55+ MPG is quite achievable if you drive a “certain†way. 48-50MPG if you drive like most adult non-hybrid drivers seems to be our (AT&T) fleet average. The car drives mostly like any other 5-door subcompact, but there are some goofy features that you'll either learn to love, or barely tolerate. GET THE REVERSE BEEPER DISABLED BEFORE YOU SIGN PAPERS!!! The cargo area is somewhat smaller than most hatchbacks due to the battery. The acceleration (in power mode) isn't as poor as I was afraid it would be, but it still takes fully 10-seconds to blast your way from 0-60. The "X-Box 360" steering takes a little getting used to, which gives the car a bit of a twitchy feel at first, but this is not much worse than other subcompacts, and you get used to it rapidly. The rearward visibility is somewhat diminished by the rear spoiler, but that's probably not a deal buster either. 2010 (and 11) represents the third generation of Priuses, and there seem to be no major mechanical issues with this build. Any rumors about unintended acceleration, or high EMF in the rear compartment are just that....rumors.
    The battery is a non-issue. The brakes are as well. Getting into what would normally be a minor accident could be reeeeally expensive in a Pruis, but that's what insurance is for. Get a quote before you buy one.

    Like I said....you're going to have to decide for yourself. My opinion of this car is based ONLY on 1300 miles of using it as a company-provided car. I don't have a $25,000 reason to love this car, but it has been a good car for me to drive, and I've grown to enjoy trying to get to know it.

    GOOD LUCK!!!!
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  9. Troyroy

    Troyroy Member

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    I see that your in Utah.....the Prius is a great car. If you must drive during a snow storm of 10" or more, buy another car...the Prius has a low profile....not made to plow through snow.

    Other then that......if your used vehicle is in great shape...buy it !!!
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  10. Ruth79

    Ruth79 New Member

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    Thank you so much everyone. Sorry I was not more specific: My husband's commute is about 50 miles one way, 90% freeway. We actually live in southern utah = no snow. I especially appreciate your comments ETC(SS). I will definitely have a look at the Myth buster thread as well. Thank you again and when we come up with anymore questions/concerns I'll be sure to post them here.
  11. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    That's definitely not my idea of a "small commute". 24 miles one way was enough for me.

    If you're looking to buy a used 3rd gen (2010), Most fuel-efficient cars shows what CR got on their mileage tests. For a used 2nd gen (04-09), see ConsumerReports.org - Most fuel-efficient cars.

    Prius Battery Change is No Big Deal - Newsroom : Our Point of View Post / Toyota lists the HV battery replacement cost. Yes, the original one in the car is warranted for 8 year/100K miles. Many would argue if you're out of warranty that it might be better to buy a used battery from a wrecked Prius for much less.
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  12. Agape

    Agape Member

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    Hi Ruth, these are my 2 cents here. First on summer ~2007 myself and my wife went to holiday to Spain, at the airport through some sort of language misunderstanding we were given silver Prius. We had booked accommodation in Spain, since we drove off the airport (Malaga) and it was 38Celcius degree at least or more, so we decided that car like that is a must have... A/c worked perfectly too.. Soon we also decided to change plans and to take trip around the Southern Spain and Portugal with this rented Prius-abandoning idea of sleeping in a room, we cancelled accommodation and we just folded back seats in order to enjoy warm Spanish nights by sleeping on the beach in our rented Prius (somehow we got 1 pillow) (we just paid for camping’s during the trip to take the showers in the mornings). We drove through southern Spain/Portugal about 2000 kilometers at the time visited plenty of nice places.
    Since then, I fall in love with this car. Currently is Oct/November 2010 we got our s/hand silver 2005 Prius. I commute about 40 kms one way to work 80% highway +20% city (sometimes highway get messy so it's like a city traffic drive) So far on my first Full tank 40ltrs I drove 690 kilometers and on my second tank 42 liters I drove 730 kilometers. From my perspective I was looking to relax during my 1 hour drive each way. I had Japanese standard car and French standard car (both manual gears), when driving Prius I am relaxing at least 40% more comparing to manual gear vehicle, due to not changing gears manually as oppose to previous cars. Somehow as driver, you are sitting higher than popular here cars such as Audi A3, A4 or VW -Passat, visibility is very good (in my opinion). Brakes are very responsive and to me are effective. Multifunctional steering wheel allows me to use A/c, temperature, Sound and (this should be No1) front window heating-hope this is named correct here-in case it get foggy. Yesterday I discovered EV - to me it mean (Electric Vehicle-in my own head/language) EV is a ''mode'' that allows stay in Electric mode (im not sure if this is available in US with older Prius models,possibly 2010 have it)- I love it. If you are looking for your husband to relax during commute to/from work and then help you at home, then in my opinion Prius is a good option. Plus you are + on petrol bills. It’s not a very cheap car to get, but to me gives a lot of happy time while I am in it. Good luck with your choice. Agape
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  13. coach81

    coach81 Active Member

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    nice comments...
  14. Ruth79

    Ruth79 New Member

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    Agape, thank you very much for such a lovely narrative of your experiences with your Prius(es). I truly appreciate everyone's feedback on this topic. If any of you owners can bring out any of the negatives to owning a Prius I would appreciate it. I still have this feeling that the Prius won't be a simple maintenance vehicle? Thanks in advance!
  15. Ruth79

    Ruth79 New Member

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    Thanks for this it is very helpful. I originally thought his commute was only 30 mins/miles, add in the bit of city driving and it's about 45 mins.
  16. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    Why "won't be a simple maintenance vehicle?"

    It has no starter, it has no altnerator. The transmission (power split device is very simple) in design compared to an automatic (no clutches, no torque converter, only 1 planetary gearset). The brakes last a long time due regenerative braking. It also has no timing belt, but rather a timing chain. Since you're buying used, I'm assuming you're probably considering 2nd gen Priuses which have excellent reliability records. If you don't get CR, you can see Best & worst used cars.

    You can look at the PDFs of maintenance histories on the Priuses at Advanced Vehicle Testing Activity - Hybrid Electric Vehicles. You'd want to look at the 2010 and 2004. Both 2nd gens were taken to 160K miles. I wouldn't buy a used gen 1 (pre-04) at this point.

    There are some items that are expensive to replace like the inverter, but it generally doesn't fail but can be blown if someone reverses polarity when jumping the car. 04-05 Priuses might have dodgy MFDs and can be fixed w/some soldering skills or via a refurbished unit for ~$500.

    2010 Priuses has no belts. The water pump became electric. The power steering and AC compressor were already electric.
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  17. marzprius

    marzprius Junior Member

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    I love when people like ETC, who should know better, compare the Prius to sub compacts, when it is in fact classified as midsize by the EPA.

    Interior dimensions compare with Fusion / Mazda6, same head/leg room, & 4 cu. ft. more trunk, slightly less hip/shoulder room - it's a little narrower. Don't forget how much more versatile it is with the hatch/ folding seats. It's a car that's about 15" shorter with 2ft. shorter turning radius, incredibley easy to park & maneuver.

    The Hybrid pack longevity is the most worrysome for newbies, when statistically from '04 - '10 one of the most reliable automotive components. All this, at about the same price compareably equipped to the Fusion/Mazda6, & about !/2 the fuel & maintenece cost!
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  18. bagwell

    bagwell Active Member

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    good advice has been given...

    since his commute is 90% freeway, you might consider the Jetta TDI, but maintenance costs will be more and reliability will be less.
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  19. Ruth79

    Ruth79 New Member

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    Thank you cwerdna, I always appreciate referenced info and sources.
    Bagwell, can you expound on why the Jetta may be a better choice? We have actually also been considering that one though not as seriously as the Prius. We are a family of 3, and will be using the new vehicle on many future long-distance travels I am sure. It seems to be a sound choice for more reasons than just my husband's commute. Keep the comments coming--I appreciate them all!
  20. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Nadir of Wrongness

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    Prius negatives:

    Some (rare) maintenance routines are more complex than in 'normal' cars:
    Changing the HID headlights (optional in 2004 to 2009)
    Bleeding the brake fluid, in fact most fluids have some idiosyncrasy.
    changing the 12 volt battery is not that hard, but the battery is unique.

    You should not jump start other cars, you risk quite a lot getting a jump start from other cars.

    Try never to run electrical accessories with the car not READY.

    The car does not charge in Neutral.

    It is rated to tow 0 lbs

    It is not 'Macho' it sounds like a really powerful sewing machine when accelerating uphill at freeway speeds.

    Some dealers seem to be hoping to make their annual salary every time you come through the door. (My dealer is quite reasonable, I have yet to have any service over $47)
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