[email protected],800miles: Add-On Extended Warranties?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by mr88cet, Feb 15, 2014.

  1. mr88cet

    mr88cet Senior Member

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    Short summary: Does anybody know of any after-market extended warranties that have any actual value?

    Longer version:

    I have a 2009 Touring with ~76.8Kmiles on it. At 75K, I had to blow $900 on the 12V battery and a new water pump. A bit earlier, I had to replace one of the two headlight assemblies ($600ish) for what turned out to be a slight manufacturing-defect water leak (but too late to change it on warranty). I also had the problem with the bad wire running the inverter coolant pump, which they did fix on warranty, and then caught again on recall.

    Anyway, point being... I'm starting to see the repair bills going up, and perhaps that's not surprising at nearly 77Kmiles. On the other hand, I'm starting to wonder if an extended warranty ... maybe ... might be of value.

    From my limited experience with them, Extended Warranties are masterfully crafted to make certain that they do not cover anything that has any realistic chance of actually breaking. But again, my experience with them is limited, and maybe some of you out there do know of an extended warranty that actually does have some value to it.

    By the way, I did see some discussions of extended warranties here, and I'm digesting that information now. But if any of you have any ideas, I'm all ears.

    Thanks, everybody!
     
  2. mr88cet

    mr88cet Senior Member

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    Oh, more importantly, only a couple weeks after the $900 battery/water-pump repair, the "check-engine" light just turned on. The Owner's Manual says that that could be a problem in the electronic throttle, transmission (presumably meaning, the PSD/inverter/etc.), or one or two other things.
     
  3. vskid3

    vskid3 Active Member

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    Autozone or another parts store can scan for codes to find the cause of the check engine light.
    The main goal of an extended warranty is to make the warranty provider money, which means on average, the consumer ends up losing money on it. Just something to think about.

    Where are you getting your repairs done? If its the dealer, you might be able to find another shop that'll be cheaper, at least for the non-hybrid parts.
     
  4. dorunron

    dorunron Senior Member

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    I would suggest you try to get the codes read first at a auto parts house. If nothing on their scanner, ask your local mechanic if he has a scanner that is Prius aware. If you have no luck there, consider asking Toyota to pull the codes for you and then post the codes here on Prius Chat.

    Bottom line, CEL could be any number of things. Until you get the code read, you are guessing.

    I also think $900 is a little bit too much for a water pump and a 12 volt battery. I have heard prices ranging in the area of $450 for the pump at the dealers. The 12 volt you can do yourself for $200.00 and about an hours work.

    I too agree an extended warranty is a way for the seller to make money. Better off making the repairs as they come along and also DIY when you can. It is also hard to buy one that is any good once the car has been sold and is out of warranty. You can get a decent one from Toyota when they are new or still under the factory warranty (3/36), but after that they are pretty much hit and miss on the coverage, mostly miss.

    FWIW, water pumps are one of those things that do wear out. Not just on the Prius, all vehicles suffer from this. Same with the 12 volt battery. With the modern cars of today and the technology being used, it is difficult for the average guy to do everything. It is not impossible, just not as simple as it was fourty or fifty years ago.

    Best of luck to you!
     
  5. Rich12

    Rich12 Member

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    Welcome to the island of lost souls Prius family, Austin! Enjoy your stay; in the future be prepared for a brake actuator failure to the tune of $3000. And the hybrid batt. at another $4000. Steer clear of hybrids in the future, my friend!
     
  6. jhinsc

    jhinsc Senior Member

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    I'd pocket the money for the extended and keep it for future repairs. Extended warranties rarely pay off but they do give you peace of mind. The only one I had was for a 2000 Mercedes ML320 that actually paid off. I knew I was going to need the warranty when I bought it. The engine/drivetrain ran beautifully, but the rest of the car starting falling apart around it even when under the manufacturer warranty. Over the 8 years of ownership, just repairing/replacing trim parts that fell off or went bad would have cost me an arm and leg if I didn't have the warranty. OTH, I also bought a new 2000 Acura RL that same year and also bought the extended warranty - that was a stupid waste of money.
     
  7. mr88cet

    mr88cet Senior Member

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    OK, thanks for the thoughts, everybody!

    Yeah, it sounds like, all in all, your impressions match my own: Extended warranties virtually never save you money in the big picture.

    If there were an extended warranty package that had, say, a 30-50% chance of saving money then ... oh, maybe I might think about it. I think the numbers are a lot closer to 3-5% chance than 30-50%!
     
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  8. mr88cet

    mr88cet Senior Member

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    [quote="... I also think $900 is a little bit too much for a water pump and a 12 volt battery. I have heard prices ranging in the area of $450 for the pump at the dealers. The 12 volt you can do yourself for $200.00 and about an hours work. ... Best of luck to you![/quote]

    Thanks for the luck wish!

    Actually, thinking back, saying that it cost $900 for the battery and water pump is a little misleading. First, it was closer to $850, and that also included the 75K check-up/routine maintenance, with a synthetic upgrade on the oil change. IIRC, they also changed out a few filters too.

    But yes, I have no doubt that there are cheaper repair means out there. Admittedly though, I'm a Computer-Electronics Design Engineer (in the Automotive market in fact). That then means that I have some money (far from "rolling in it," mind you, but doing OK), and that I enjoy understanding what's happening under the hood more than actually fixing it! :whistle: :whistle:
     
  9. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    All the things you listed can be done much more cheaply by any competent indy.
    Taking your car to the dealer and throwing them the keys is foolish. They will rape you.

    The headlight for instance can be had brand new on eBay for $75. The water pump is $50 brand new.

    The 75K or whatever "routine" check up-maintenance is a joke. I much rather spend my time actually maintaining the car like getting the trans fluid changed.

    And synthetic upgrade is just using synthetic oil which you should have been doing all along instead of the crap vat oil they have been using on your car. That and you car has been routinely overfilled by the dealer since they use a vat pump. Your in the car market and know what that is .
    Go out and check the oil right now. Bet its overfilled.

    Takes 15 seconds to replace any air filter on this car. And require no tools. Buy the filters online or eBay.

    Stay away from the dealer.
     
  10. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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  11. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    Many of the problems I read on here are usually on a Prius with over 100,000 miles. I'm not sure how expensive it is to buy a warranty that extends past the 100k mile mark but as I understand it, most warranties would only cover up to the point and not beyond.

    If there is a way to get a warranty at a reasonable price to cover your car for 150k miles, I believe that would be a good insurance on getting expensive future surprises. Most anything on this car can be DIY for under $2000. However if you don't have the skills/tools/facility to do the DIY, you would then depend on mechanics to do the work at a much higher rate than DIY.

    Many on this forum enjoy the DIY work and like to gain extra knowledge of their cars by doing the work themselves.....and especially like saving the $$$ from not going to a mechanic. However if you can't DIY, an extended warranty on a Prius is not a bad idea. The car normally cost more to fix than other cars and some of the components can run into the thousands, making the price of a warranty well worth the money.

    Just my 2 cents
     
  12. uart

    uart Senior Member

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    Agree with all of the above. :)

    Another thing to remember is that dealers will sometimes like to sting you for things that don't necessarily need doing, well not need doing immediately anyway. I remember that quite a number of members here reported that their dealers informed them they needed their main water pump replaced when they got their auxiliary electric pump replaced under recall.

    Many of these users reported that they had not been experiencing any loss of coolant, so perhaps not all of these water pump replacements are 100% necessary. I think that very gradual seepage of the pump seal, like a few drops a month or something, will cause a some amount of pink crusting from the dried coolant, and when the dealers see that it's bam you need a new water pump.
     
  13. mr88cet

    mr88cet Senior Member

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  14. mr88cet

    mr88cet Senior Member

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    Yeah, that's what's ... a little troubling to me. I chatted with a Gen-1 Prius owner, I think 2003, who said that he replaced his 12V battery a few years ago. Clearly, his lasted a lot longer than mine did.

    However, from what I can recall of my previous cars, 77K isn't way off for a water pump, but then again, one of those previous cars was a VW rather than a Toyota.

    The only reason why I'd even think of an extended warranty (rather unlikely, but figured I'd ask you folks' thoughts) is that the frequency of repairs is going up considerably. I'm kinda on the fence as to whether this is higher than I should expect at 77K.
     
  15. uart

    uart Senior Member

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    Can I ask, what was the failure mode for the water pump, and did you notice any problems yourself before the dealer pointed out that it needed changing?
     
  16. mr88cet

    mr88cet Senior Member

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    It certainly wasn't exactly "leaking like a sieve," so to speak, but definitely leaking.
     
  17. mr88cet

    mr88cet Senior Member

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    Well now, that's interesting: The check-engine line turns out to be due to a failure of the 3-way coolant-control value. I saw a few reports that it was a recall item at one point (probably well before 2009 though), but even more interestingly, reports to the effect that it failed shortly after replacing the water pump. Hmmm...
     
  18. mr88cet

    mr88cet Senior Member

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    (Sorry, make that "check-engine light," not "check-engine line" - 5:33AM, what can I say...)
     
  19. mr88cet

    mr88cet Senior Member

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    Oooo... Two of those reports said something about the traction battery then going out!

    As I recall, the NiMH battery is not liquid-cooled, right?
     
  20. Joe 26

    Joe 26 Member

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    One of the reasons you hear of that code shortly after a water pump replacement is that the code can be triggered by low coolant level. It is worth rechecking the coolant level in the overflow container and in the radiator, and clearing the codes to see if the code returns.
     
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