2017 Prius V with R title, worth buying?

Discussion in 'Prius v Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by gromittoo, Apr 12, 2021.

  1. gromittoo

    gromittoo Junior Member

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    I have come across a used 2017 Prius V trim level 4 that appears to be in great shape with low miles. It has a price 30% below regular value. Problem is it is a private sale with a "Rebuilt/Reconstructed" PA title. I have not contacted the seller yet.

    'R' titles indicate that the vehicle was considered totaled (Salvage) at one point, but has been brought back to road-worthiness. PA has an "Enhanced Inspection" process to convert a Salvage title to a Rebuilt title, and is much more thorough, than the normal annual safety inspection.

    I am considering the purchase, because I love my 2013 Prius V, that now has 90k on it, and I need another car. I am well aware that 'R' titles involves some risks. Even though the 2017 has passed the "Enhanced Inspection", the car may give problems down the road.

    My insurance agent says that I may have an issue getting payment if the car gets stolen, or in an accident that is my fault that totals the vehicle. Any payout for a total loss by my insurance company would be questioned as to what the car was really worth, since it had an 'R' title.

    Additionally, resale would be difficult. I tend to drive cars into the ground, so this may be less important to me. However, a dealer will not accept an R title vehicle as a trade in (same reason as insurance payout).

    That said, I am looking for input on ways to protect myself. If I go for it, before actually buying it, I will at very least:
    1) Perform a paid title search (AutoCheck or Carfax) to verify the history of the VIN why it was totaled.
    2) Pay for my own "Enhanced Inspection" up to $500 from a different shop.​

    Here is a list of reasons I came up with the car might appear to be in such good condition, with an 'R' title (from best case to worst case):

    1) The car was stolen resulting in an insurance company payout. Later, the car was recovered, with little or no damage. The original owner or somebody else bought the car from the insurance company. [If I can Prove this to my satisfaction, this would be great news]

    2) The car was totaled in an accident probably resulting in an insurance company payout. Somebody purchased the salvage car, and was able to repair it close to flawlessly. Given that the car was probably worth $20k, this would be a lot of damage. [Depending on the results of the enhanced inspection that I paid for, this might be OK]

    3) The car wound up in a flood, and totaled. With some very thorough detailing, the car can be made to look spotless. [This would be a no-go for me, as the car would have intermittent electrical problems that would plague the car for the rest of its life]

    4) The car is stolen, and has never been recovered. Someone bought a salvage vehicle, and swapped the Computer, to give the stolen car a new VIN. They might also have swapped the VIN number plate on the dashboard to match. Then the car was taken to an "Enhanced Inspection" shop, and it passed. [Absolute no-go for me. I have the software to log into the computer, So I can verify the computer VIN and the VIN plate match]
    Any thoughts?
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    if the enhanced inspection process is foolproof, why do the ins co's balk?

    my biggest concern with salvage prius is wiring. it's unlike any other car, and a little corrosion can become a big problem.it's hit or miss with salvage, there's only so much you can inspect
     
  3. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    Carfax should have been run before you even posted this. Then we could speculate if its to be trusted. If it says wrecked (most likely) then its easier to judge future issues. Obviously a unibody with an extremely complex drivetrain and control mechanism is a poor candidate for a salvage title.

    If I had a known good 2013 with 90,000 miles, I would keep it and spend a few dollars on enhanced maintenance such as 5k oil changes and 75k egr system overhauls. As long as you keep it under 150k, the inverter and abs customer support programs are good until 10 years from original purchase, which should be two or more years.

    Otherwise I would spend a couple of dealer service dollars and have it completely checked including a dealer vin review.
     
  4. Rmay635703

    Rmay635703 Senior Member

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    Low miles means nothing on salvage
    Since warranty is cancelled we are talking a car worth no more than half similar to a 150,000 mile + car
     
  5. jzchen

    jzchen Senior Member

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    Sounds like you have a good plan on determining what you will go for. As with most purchase decisions, if the price is right then go for it....

    moto g(7) power ?
     
  6. gromittoo

    gromittoo Junior Member

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    I have not contacted the seller yet, so I don't have the VIN. Without the VIN, I can't run a Carfax report. I will contact the seller tomorrow, and get the Carfax.

    I have no plans to get rid of the 2013 Prius V. I want the 2017 Prius V for when I start driving Uber again in a few weeks. My two weeks after my second jab is coming up soon. About 60% of the 67k that we put on the 2013 Prius V were driving Uber or Lyft, and it is a great car for that.

    My wife recently started commuting 30 miles a day to work again, Our second vehicle is a 2001 Chrysler Voyager with 179K on it. The van has lots of problems that now make it too unreliable for a daily driver. She has been taking the 2013 Prius V every day to work. The plan is I would get the 2017 to drive Uber, and my wife would get the 2013.

    As for dealer inspection, I am leery of using a local dealer. There are companies that specialize in these "Enhanced Inspections". As long as they can check out the if the computer was tampered with, I am fine with that. If there is a dealer that has their own body shop, then maybe I would consider going Toyota dealer route.
     
  7. gromittoo

    gromittoo Junior Member

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    Thanks for the re-assurance. I admit that the idea of an 'R' title does worry me. However, if I do my due diligence, and the price is still worth it, I should go for it. I posted here just to make sure I wasn't missing anything.
     
  8. Georgina Rudkus

    Georgina Rudkus Senior Member

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    Run, don't walk away. Unless you are independently wealthy and can afford a total loss, it's not worth it. A phantom on-off issue in the ecu or electrical system might be almost impossible to troubleshoot.

    I'd definitely stay away, unless you are a true gambler.
     
  9. D_n_D

    D_n_D Junior Member

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    Also battery, airbags etc I have seen cause insurance to salvage.
    Ie got a minor in my eyes rear-ended & they may salvage it due to the hybrid system.

    Truly all depends on insurance company.

    Same goes with trouble shooting.

    Small accident & an airbag deploys some companies salvage vs repair.

    SM-G981U1 ?
     
  10. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    Only the dealer can properly inspect a hybrid system in most locations. I would not be too worried about body damage if it looks and drives good. Hybrid issues are the killers and gen3 Prii have some expensive areas.
     
  11. gromittoo

    gromittoo Junior Member

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    Check this website. Yes there is risk, but some due diligence can eliminate most of that risk. I have the time to do the due diligence. Unless the car was flooded, the scenario you describe is unlikely. I would walk away if there was any hint of flood in the car's past.

    8 Things You Need to Know About Rebuilt Cars | QuoteWizard.
     
  12. cnc97

    cnc97 Senior Member

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    - title cannot be salvaged, reconstructed, or rebuilt.
    - rental vehicles are not allowed on the Uber platform.
     
  13. gromittoo

    gromittoo Junior Member

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    I am in Philly. I would look for a shop that does "enhanced Inspections" and knows Hybrids. I'll check the PennDOT list again, but I don't recall any Toyota dealers that do enhanced inspections. There are a few non-dealer shops that only do hybrids in the greater Philly area. I could at least ask one of these shops for an unbiased recommendation. Ideally, I would find a shop that has enough experience to perform the enhanced inspection on a Hybrid.

    I will have to admit that I don't trust the dealership down the street from me to be competent to do the job. I may wind up settling for a Toyota dealership that is capable of performing the enhanced inspection, but is not registered to perform one by the state of PA.

    This may not matter, once I get the Carfax or Autocheck report in a few days.
     
  14. gromittoo

    gromittoo Junior Member

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    That could be a big issue. It makes sense.

    A few insurance companies won't write Liability policies for R titled vehicles. I spoke to my agent for my personal policy with Allstate, and they would write the policy. There was a caveat (see previous post).

    I believe Uber's current carrier (which is Farmers) may write Liability policies for 'R' titles, but I strongly suspect their previous carrier (James River) would not. By not allowing 'R' title vehicles on the platform, they are able to change carriers at will, at any time.
     
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