2012 bought with 157k miles

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by AW82, Mar 25, 2021.

  1. AW82

    AW82 Member

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    I've posted some details in a few other threads about this but figured I'd start my own since I've learned some new info about my car. I recently bought a 2012 Prius Two with 157k miles on it. I literally haven't even received the title or plates in the mail and have fallen into the Priuschat rabbit hole and am planning an EGR pipe and intake manifold cleaning this weekend.

    Anyway, my intent had been to buy a second gen for around $5k as an around-town second car since we're at the point where having only one car in our family is not viable. I test drove 4-5 second gens and used Dr Prius and couldn't find one that seemed decent enough. I then test drove this 2012 and it seemed like a nearly-new car. It did NOT have a carfax but basic/free VIN checks showed clean title and no crashes. I was able to talk the seller (a small used car dealer that's been around for decades with lots of positive reviews on Google) down to $7400. Car came with new brakes, like-new Michelin tires, and just generally very clean inside and out. Engine bay is clean but not too clean.

    I didn't buy a carfax at the time but had a local hybrid specialist who also services/replaces HV batteries inspect it and test the HV battery. No red flags, HV battery in good shape for its age, and generally a pretty positive report, so I bought it. The oil was a bit high, and smelled a bit like gasoline, but the car ran well so my mechanic wasn't too worried about that*. Likely due to the car not being driven much for a while. My mechanic told me to drive it for a month or so to get a feel for it then bring it back for fluids, etc. and maybe EGR cooler replacement.

    THEN I found Priuschat and developed all sorts of anxiety about the ticking timebomb sitting in my driveway. Anyway, this anxiety led me to go ahead and buy a carfax to see what other history I could learn. The results are a bit surprising. I know Carfax doesn't capture everything, but wow what a gap. Here's a selection of the history:

    This is all one owner registered here in Wisconsin:
    8/2012 - 15 miles (sold)
    (oil and filter changes every 10k miles from 2012 to 2015, averaging 25k miles per year driven)
    2/2015 - 65k miles (oil and filter)
    2016 - ???? (nothing reported other than registration renewal)
    12/2017 - 134k miles (oil and filter)
    6/2018 - 135k miles (oil and filter)
    10/2018 - 139k miles (oil and filter)
    4/2019 - 146k miles (oil and filter)
    9/2019 - 150k miles (oil and filter)
    2/2020 - 155k miles (oil and filter)
    6/2020 - 157k miles (brakes replaced, traded in)
    6/2020 - 157k miles (sold at auction)
    3/2021 - 157k miles (I bought it)


    So it was driven ~25k miles/year for the first 5 years, then 5k in 2018, then 10k in 2019, 7k in 2020 and then was on a dealer lot for 9 months before I bought it. So...I don't know what to speculate about all of this. Did I get a unicorn or a lemon? Or is this meaningless? I would be worried about the HV battery sitting for so long through a Wisconsin winter, but as I said, it tested well when I bought it.

    And yes, intake manifold, EGR, PCV, OCC, fluids, etc. are all on my near-term to-do list.

    *I have taken it on the highway long enough to burn off the gasoline smell from the oil, but after a few days of less-than-5-mile trips, the smell is maybe back a bit. There are several threads here and elsewhere that make me think this is normal for cars that make lots of short trips in cold weather, like I've done.
     
    #1 AW82, Mar 25, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2021
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    seems like a nice car to me. why not change the oil, drive it for 5k, and send the used oil to blackstone for analysis
     
  3. ETC(SS)

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

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    Yes.....
    Any car that is 2/3 of the way through its life cycle (this would make it mid 50's in people years) is going to be a little lemony, but I see that the previous owner(s) at least got the oil changed every 5,000 miles, so that puts them ahead of the pack in terms of maintenance.
    5,000 mile oil change intervals do not mean that they checked the oil level as often as they were supposed to but at least the car wasn't run a quart low for an additional 5,000 miles....

    The gap may be a kid going to college, family separation, or any of a number of other things.....like the owner getting torqued off at the dealer and taking the car to an independent mechanic for the oil changes.



    You SHOULD be able to access the dealer records with the VIN.(for free) although I'm not sure that you will learn anything new.
    I've never done it myself, but I'm told that it's possible.
    For now I would just drive the car - making the EGR cleaning one of the first things on my to-do list.

    Good Luck!
     
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  4. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    The v's hold up nicely from a body, interior and suspension standpoint. The transaxle and most accessories are solid. Now that you have it, drive it daily if possible.

    The hv battery may get weaker as time goes on. Avoid long waits in Ready especially with the AC on. Your cooler environment is a plus for hv battery life. Check the battery fan and its air intake under the rear passenger seat. Heat kills. If you have to replace it someday, use new cells or a new battery.

    You have until August 2022 to get Toyota to replace the Master Cylinder/Pump and or the Inverter should they fail. Both are well over $2k repairs. The brake by wire system is a weak point.

    Stay with frequent 5k mile oil changes which already seem to be the pattern since 2017. Stop immediately if you get a temperature alert. Consider keeping high speed driving over 70 to a minimum. If you start having occasional cold start rattles, do something about it early. Your engine and wallet depend on it.
     
    #4 rjparker, Mar 25, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2021
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  5. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    “Gaps” in the maintenance could mean squat. If you were to look up our 2010 using your criteria, you’d find it’s NEVER had maintenance, any. It’s a miracle car lol.
     
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  6. AW82

    AW82 Member

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    Good idea. The Blackstone analysis recommendation...is that for the fuel dilution potential issue or just a general recommendation based on mileage?

    Yep. I did that. It had about 1/3 of the records shown in Carfax. For some reason, one of the Toyota dealerships that the previous owner used for oil changes for much of their ownership didn't show up in Toyota's portal, only in Carfax.

    I presume the brake and inverter failures are pretty instantaneous? No way to check for symptoms at this point?

    Yes, I will do 5k changes or two a year since that's just my current schedule anyway. Likely won't make a lot of freeway trips (once a month maybe, with perhaps one road trip per year). I usually drive 74. Is that close enough for the occasional trips, or does 4mph really make a big difference?
     
  7. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    The brake failures announce their presence well in advance, with odd sounds when braking, and increasingly frequent/protracted whirring sounds (the system pressurizing).

    With the inverter, make sure it’s had all the software updates.
     
  8. AW82

    AW82 Member

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    Good to know. Of course, I don't think I've even used the brakes on this car yet. I always brake early and I'm guessing regen has done most of the work for me so far. Is it advisable to do some hard braking occasionally? I guess if nothing else to keep the rotors clean.

    Car has had recall J0V and E0E. No open recalls per Toyota's website.
     
  9. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    easier to just brake while in reverse, or put it in neutrl around 20-30 mph and brake gently.

    you only need to do that if you hear a scraping sound, which is the rust build up.

    i only get it after parking overnight in a moist environment.

    also, the car does use a bit of friction brake, even with regen. the harder you brake, the more friction.

    as far as the oil analysis, yes, the gas dilution.
     
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  10. Grit

    Grit Senior Member

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    a rare only one gen 3 in the world Toyota unicorn electric prius that doesn’t need any maintenance! That’s why there’s no need to take it in. I solved it!!! :ROFLMAO:
     
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  11. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    The brake problem is with the master cylinder and the hydraulic pressure pump. Hard braking does not help and may hurt if anything. Listen for the pump during your initial approach to the car and at stop lights. Usually it cycles off in ten seconds and stays off until the next brake activation. More frequent and longer cycling is a warning but it takes close to a total fail to get codes and coverage. Inverters will fail instantly and without warning. Either they are totally dead or sometimes you get a limp home mode.

    This car has oil consumption and head gasket problems. They have become chronic and are recognized by Toyota mechanics as such. They have bad piston and rings. When you are driving at high speeds you are loading the relatively low power Atkinson cycle engine. Higher heat loads and rpm result. Keeping it at or below the speed limit or 70 is just a good idea. More preventative than anything but a blown head gasket is expensive and often requires a replacement engine.

    Frequent oil changes may keep the rings clear. The egr theory is combustion gases routed to the intake by the egr under load conditions cool the combustion chamber and result in lower emissions and better mpg. Some believe clogged egr coolers can contribute to head gasket failures due to higher loaded temps in the cylinder. Egrs are closed at startup and low loads to ensure smooth operation.

    Some engines develop pinging due to carbon buildup which is bad as well. Always use a "top tier" gas with an adequate additive package. Basically brand name gas like Exxon, Chevron or Shell.
     
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  12. Grit

    Grit Senior Member

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    mine gets driven 100 miles a day 5 days a week. My oil analysis from black stone says little to no trace of fuel dilution :eek:
     
  13. Grit

    Grit Senior Member

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    That’s insanity!!!
     
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  14. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    Some have Blind Faith it does.
     
  15. AW82

    AW82 Member

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    Great info, thanks. Especially the time for pump cycling.

    (EDIT: IGNORE THE FOLLOWING BECAUSE I AM WRONG): This is my first GDI vehicle and am nervous to see what the valves and intake ports look like. Is there a procedure for cleaning those when the intake manifold is off, other than just a little brush scrubbing? I'm sure this is dumb, but I wonder if putting some techron or something in an OCC would be a way to clean them, sort of like how some engines have both GDI and port injection.
     
    #15 AW82, Mar 25, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2021
  16. privilege

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    people have Carfax waaaaaaaaay too much credit.

    Carfax only shows what was reported. lots of stuff can happen without it being reported.

    I'm the old days, you checked the body for Bondo, listened to the engine, and hoped the odometer wasn't rolled back.

    after a few thousand miles you could trust it.

    nowadays people think Carfax has all the answers. but it doesn't .
     
  17. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    The engine is port injection, not direct injection. Direct injection is the bad boy that causes valve buildup. Its particularly bad with a turbo. Toyota does use dual injection in some newer cars with a port and a direct injector per cylinder. This keeps the valves lean while allowing the advantages of direct injection. See pic. Honda is having oil dilution trouble with their turbo direct injection engine. Ask me how I know.

    Dual injection.JPG
     
  18. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    I was hoping I could say something that would put me into the Grit Signature Hall of Shame...
     
  19. AW82

    AW82 Member

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    Oh wow. Thanks for setting me straight and thank goodness it's port injection. I don't know why I thought it was GDI.
     
  20. AW82

    AW82 Member

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    That's fine, but with these cars having histories of oil consumption and EGR clogging, it gives me some peace of mind to know that the oil had been changed every 5k as opposed to 10k. I'm happy to have paid $40 for that knowledge.
     
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