2012 Prius engine blown at 179.000 miles!

Discussion in 'Prius v Technical Discussion' started by Steve Burns, Feb 9, 2020.

  1. Steve Burns

    Steve Burns New Member

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    Hey there, this the first time posting for me. My story is so disappointing as a BIG Prius fan and owner that I felt compelled to share it and warn others. Toyota has done nothing in response except rip us off on the purchase of a new 2020 Prime.

    We loved our 2012 Prius and followed all the manufacturers maintenance including having purchased the extended warranty on the vehicle and getting the regular service at the dealership while it was covered under Toyota new car service. The recommended oil change interval was every 10k Miles which I thought was a big plus for this car when we bought it. Somewhere about 80-100k miles I was driving to Denver, about 400 miles of highway driving and my check engine light came on for the first time. I stopped the car immediately and realized there was no oil registering on the dip stick. When I added 2 quarts it was fine. After that for several years I had problems with it burning inordinate amounts of oil. The dealer assured me it was within the normal range. Other same year and model owners I talked to said their's didn't burn a drop of oil. For the last several years I began changing the oil every 3k miles and in 2019 began adding fuel additives and researching this problem with the Prius including this forum.

    Finally last November I drove to CA for Thanksgiving, a distance of 800 miles, and topped off the oil. The day after arriving at my destination when I went to start the car it started to rattle and make loud noises so I immediately turned off the car and checked the oil. It was bone dry! I added 2 quarts and started it again and it ran quite and smooth again but the check engine light stayed on. Given the shaking and noise which it had never done before and because I had to drive back home, I drove it to the nearest dealer (about 35 miles) which was Gosh Toyota in Hemet. They kept it overnight to run tests and then told me the engine was gone and I needed a new engine that would cost $6k to $7k and they couldn't guarantee it wouldn't have the same issues. The car was in great condition otherwise and had 179k miles on it. In hindsight I should have demanded it be repaired while it was still under the extended warranty we paid extra for but Toyota assured me the oil was within the normal range. If I had tried to change the oil at the recommended 10k miles the engine would have been destroyed at 80k miles. Apparently Toyota knows about this problem with some of the Prius during this and several model years having to do with soft piston rings and where the car was manufactured. We had a lemon! Unfortunately our horror story got worse with the purchase of the 2020 Prime from Gosh Toyota in Hemet. They said we shouldn't consider driving our 2012 Prius home and gave us $1000 trade in. We had only paid it off less than 2 years ago and I was expecting our Prius would give us easily 400k miles like all our other Toyota cars we've only owned.

    Gosh Toyota was the worst dealership and most horrific new car buying experience ever. That's a whole other story but to summarize every single thing one can imagine about what bad can happen when buying a new car was what we got including screwing up sending us plates and registration for the wrong state, exhausting to the point of making bad purchase decisions then not following up with numerous mistakes they made. We've always been loyal to Toyota including owning 2 Tacomas, 2 Corollas, and now 2 Prius. But my faith in Toyota has been severely shaken and I don't know if I'll ever buy another Toyota. Does anyone have any thoughts on a 2012 Prius lasting so few miles and the complete lack of accountability from Toyota?
     
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  2. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    Its not an unusual story according to one of my more honest dealers who will let you talk to the mechanics. In 2016 the hatchbacks got a redesigned 1.8 (but not the Prius v). Gen3 head gasket failures and high oil consumption along with brake actuators and clogged egr coolers take the shine off good mpg. A car pushing 200k will need a hv battery soon making it hard to justify a new engine. The car would barely sell for more than $7k with the new motor. There are good used 50k mile 1.8s from Japan for ~$1000 plus labor that would make better sense in gen3s. You executed the best advice, trading it for a new, much improved hybrid. Consider selling it around 150k which is also the 2020 hybrid battery warranty.
     
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  3. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    Check your oil frequently on your new ride, which pretty much guarantees you'll never have a problem. It has essentially the same engine, but pistons and rings that are supposedly less prone to resulting in oil consumption*. Wouldn't hurt to go back to 5k oil change interval too.

    * 2010 through 2013 Prius model year, plus partway thru 2014, have pistons and rings tailored for mpg, but pushed too far, more prone to end up with excessive oil consumption problems.

    Was is Prius or Prius v btw, I'm not clear. Same engine anyway.
     
    #3 Mendel Leisk, Feb 10, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2020
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  4. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    How often were you pulling the dipstick prior to the Denver incident?

    Even when a car is under warranty, most carmakers don't care/won't react to a 1qt per 3,000 mile burn or loss rate. If you aren't pulling the dipstick at least every 3k that's bad.

    Now, once a low-oil situation has happened, it's a whole new ballgame. That engine is going to need even more frequent level checks to keep up with it.

    It outlasted the warranty, indeed it did 179,000 miles across 8 years. This really isn't a terrible result. Not long ago those stats would have gone out with a cheer!

    I would have wished for more too, but I can't say you didn't get your moneys' worth.

    EDIT: thought of a better summary

    Your faith was apparently not shaken; you say already bought another Prius.

    If there's a real complaint here, it's your experience buying that replacement car. I'm actually quite sympathetic to that, I really did not enjoy the experience of buying our 2018 c.
     
    #4 Leadfoot J. McCoalroller, Feb 10, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2020
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  5. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    idk how what year your other cars were, but toyota's likely don't go 400k anymore
     
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  6. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    Second gen had a relatively rudimentary EGR, did it's job, didn't iimpose. Third gen, to achieve cleaner and more fuel efficient standards, introduced a more elaborate (and in hindsight, very clog-prone) EGR, and lower friction pistons/rings (in hindsight etcetera, etcetera...). Both those intro's were rushed to market with insufficient testing, and are killing the engines.
     
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  7. ETC(SS)

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

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    I bought a couple of Toyotas in the 80's but I got shanked by 2 different dealerships, and haven't owned one since.....so I HAVE no loyalty to defend here, but I think that Yota held up their end of the bargain.
    I am not aware of a car manufacturer that guarantees their product to last more than 8 years or 180,000 miles - even if it were being properly maintained by it's owner - which yours was not.
    The warranty and maintenance guide specifically states that you should check your oil every 30 days/1k which obviously was not happening otherwise you would not have run the car out of oil.......twice.
    Those two events didn't damage your engine nearly as much as the days and days and days that you drove the car BEFORE the 'change owner' light came on.

    You may want to get a second opinion on your car's diagnosis.
    No....you're not going get another 220,000 miles out of that engine but I've always been amazed that people DRIVE cars to a repair facility and then accept it as an article of faith that they can not, or at least shouldn't drive them back home.
    You have a 2012 with 180,000 miles and a knackered engine, but it's still worth more than $1,000.
    The dealership was trying (lying) to sell you another car WHILE cheating you out of the much of the remaining value of the car that you DROVE there.

    If you've done ANY passing research in this forum for G3's (2010-2015) you cannot help but to have noted that they have 1 significant design flaw - which is the EGR cooler, and one medium-significant design issue which is the aforementioned piston rings.
    Curiously...people who do not maintain a closed-hood maintenance programme manage to get 200-400k out of these 'defective' Priuses and even the abused and neglected cars (like those in our fleet) are managing to hold together for upwards of 200,000 miles.

    You didn't get a lemon.
    You turned lemonade into a lemon.

    The GOOD news is that your Prime has the G4 engine which has the newer pistons and a rejiggered EGR circuit.
    4 years in....this power plant has proven to be pretty reliable, and I'm not hearing of very many problems with this car.
    The other good news is that even with its very humble EV range, the Prime will place fewer demands on this engine.
    HOWEVER (comma!!!)
    Filters and fluids are still going to be just as important for seeing a Prime go from 399,999 to 400,000 miles as they were for the G3s.

    Good Luck!
     
    #7 ETC(SS), Feb 10, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2020
  8. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    After getting our 2010 we went to an New Owner's night, shepherded around by the Service Manager. At one point he proclaimed "our goal is to make it so you never need to pop the hood", or words to that effect. I felt like a mole...
     
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  9. ETC(SS)

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

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    If you're a car SELLER....that's a lofty goal.
    Teaching people how to properly maintain their cars means that in some cases they KEEP them a lot longer.
     
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  10. dig4dirt

    dig4dirt MoonGlow

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    :LOL::LOL::LOL::LOL:

    nice one!

    Shankadelic, baby!

    awesome post btw
     
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  11. Steve Burns

    Steve Burns New Member

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    Thanks so much for the great advice. I had almost 500k on my first Toyota Tacoma and 200k on our Corolla before the Prius that we sold for almost $4k, so I was not prepared for so few miles on this vehicle. I suspect for all the tens of thousand of dollars these 2 Prius have cost us we paid ten times the fuel we saved. That wasn't the plan. I presumed later model vehicles get better but when I see much older Prius still on the road and ours toast, it's unsettling. I had a collegue who 2 years ago was still driving a first gen Prius with no reported issues on an original battery with some recall service early on. So far, the new 2020 Prime is an amazing vehicle. I hope it last a lot longer than the 2012 did or plan for a Tesla at 150k?

    Thanks for the perspective and insight! In hindsight, I depended too much on the warning light for maintenance needed soon to change the oil. I had it reset to 4K then 3k miles to change the oil much more often than the recommended 10k by Toyota which seems like a completely fraudulent oil change interval. I didn't know of the 1k recommendation to check the oil and I guess by the time I realized it was too late. On our fatal trip of 800 miles it had burned 2 quarts and was bone dry. Last summer, knowing I was going to be putting a lot of highway miles on the car I took it in to our mechanic who only services Toyotas and had him do a complete check up on the car which he found to have no issues at all. Nice to know that the Prime seems to be a better vehicle at least. Thanks again.

    I relied too much on the reminder light that came on to change the oil and had it reset first to 5k miles then 4 then 3. I've learned the hard way now to check with each gas fill up as a rule of thumb. I had been eying the Prime since it came out but the 2 person only back seat was a deal killer. Fortunately the 2020 fixed that. Yes your right the dealer experience was beyond awful and compared to the great experience we had from our local dealer at home I felt ripped off and have been dealing with all the numerous aggravating screw ups they made after more than 2 months since we bought the car.

    Had almost 500k on an 86 pick up. After that we had 2 corollas, my wife totaled one so that didn't last as long but the second one was a 2004 Corolla that we sold with almost 200k miles for close to $4,000.

    Was a Prius
     
    #11 Steve Burns, Feb 10, 2020
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 10, 2020
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  12. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    A Prius is really only effective against fuel costs when fuel is expensive or travel needs (in miles) are extreme. 179k / 8 years = 22k miles per year. That's only what, 50% above nat'l average? Yeah, a hybrid won't really pay for itself until you're driving a good bit more.

    That Prime plug-in changes the game a bit, or at least creates potential for deeper savings if your electrical rates are low enough and individual trips short enough.

    Good luck with the new one!
     
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  13. Tim Jones

    Tim Jones Active Member

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    250,000... 10 w 40 T6 close to 1 quart every 6,000.... Mobile 1 Synthetic oil filter
    I check the stick 2 or 3 times a week..... ad a bit every week.... keep it topped off. 2 or 3 minutes a week time spent. Car does have a Oil Catch Can. I have 5 vehicles and this car is the biggest oil user..... and the lowest miles of my 4 wheeled vehicles. It's possible that it wouldn't use any oil if I was the original owner....
     
    #13 Tim Jones, Feb 16, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2020
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  14. Tim Jones

    Tim Jones Active Member

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    That's why I tell people don't buy a used Gen 3. Russian Roulette, I have never bought a new car.... get a ICE if your buying a used car unless it has pretty low miles. If any repairs pop up it will much cheaper and a lot simpler.
     
  15. KevininFl

    KevininFl Junior Member

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    I use 5W30 Castrol Titanium Extended Performance,and I change my own Oil Every 3K Miles Regardless Of Anyone's Opinions.I Also Recommend Wix XP Oil Filter Over the Other Brands.Motorkote Has Also Been A Great Oil Additive For Me. Good Luck With Opinions On Oil Changes And Oil.
     
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