2nd gen Prius a safe reliable buy?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by blargity, Jan 21, 2019.

  1. Skibob

    Skibob Senior Member

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    Carfax is only useful if anyplace that did any work logged it. A lot of work including body repair never gets logged. In California the only thing you can be sure will be on a Carfax is the smog.
     
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  2. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    My brother has a $2000 deductible on his policy, he pays out of pocket any damage that's less than $2000 and it's never on carfax
     
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  3. oldtechaa

    oldtechaa Member

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    The Insight actually is a hybrid. It was the first production hybrid sold in the United States, I believe. While the Prius was the first production hybrid, it was only sold in Japan for, I think, 1998-2000 model years. The Insight was sold here starting in the 2000 model year. Great mileage, but sorely lacking capacity for 4 and the features of a Prius, the first of which I need, the second of which I want.
     
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  4. blargity

    blargity New Member

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    Good to know on CARFAX.

    He mentioned it having the same mileage with or without the hybrid battery.
     
  5. oldtechaa

    oldtechaa Member

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    I'm not sure how that's possible, but I have never driven an Insight while they have, so I cannot weigh in on it. The Insight is also very light with a tiny engine and trimmed features, so that may have something to do with it.
     
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  6. mpg_numbers_guy

    mpg_numbers_guy Junior Member

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    The Insight was originally rated at over 60 MPG by the EPA. While that has since been revised to similar to the 4th gen Prius' ratings, the Insight responds much better to driving style adjustments, so getting stellar fuel economy is fairly easy. The Insight owes it's fuel economy to a tiny 1.0L lean burn engine, light weight, aerodynamic design, and general overengineering. The hybrid battery mainly helps only with acceleration (electric power = less gas used to accelerate) and reducing losses from braking (regen). Without the hybrid battery it gets slightly worse fuel economy in the city and slightly better on the highway. There's a lot of information on insightcentral.net on the car. I do have some mods on the car, although nothing too extreme yet.

    Considering that the Prius weighs over half a ton more, has a larger engine, more storage space, more frontal area, more passenger space, etc., it's really quite a fuel efficient car. I've been averaging 49-50 MPG in it on winter driving and new winter tires -- both things that would easily cost you -5 mpg or so each.

    Not everyone can live with an Insight - which is why I drive an Insight and my mom drives a Prius. :)

    You could probably do some of the repairs and sell it to recover most of the expense if you wanted to, but since you already have the car why not keep it? It's a very fuel efficient car and not going to fall apart like a Chevy or Ford might do at that age and mileage. It's actually quite a fun car to drive with all the instrumentation. I remember the first time I drove it was a 7-8 hour trip at night, and it was me nerding out over the instrumentation that kept me awake. :D

    Yes, my Civic was modded, although again it didn't have anything extreme. 55 mpg highway was just setting the cruise at 55-60 mph as much as traffic and safety permitted. Before mods and hypermiling I got about 35 mpg city, 40-45 mpg highway, or about $0.06/mi instead of a Prius' ~$0.05/mi if gas is $2.50/gal.

    Not really trying to go off topic here, just mentioning how some non-hybrids can still get close to the Pruis' numbers without the hybrid drive train -- because not everyone wants a hybrid. Both the Insight and first generation Honda Civic Hybrid are stellar examples of ultra reliable cars with excellent fuel efficiency, that don't have to be hampered by a hybrid battery.

    Regarding your last statement there in the quote, the Ecomodder site has a boatload of information on hypermiling if you're interested.

    My guess is that, as long as it was a reputable mechanical shop, that if they didn't see a need for it that you shouldn't need to do it. IMO with the other $ you'd be putting into the car I wouldn't do it, but if it gives you peace of mind I see no reason not to.

    I do my own transmission fluid changes, so I can't say what a dealer would charge; think I remember hearing $100, but could be different based on dealer and the specific car.

    Most dealerships have an account where they can run free Carfaxes on any car that they service; not sure if they'd be willing to show it to you or not for reference. Couldn't hurt to ask.
     
    #126 mpg_numbers_guy, Feb 6, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2019
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  7. Paul Schenck

    Paul Schenck Active Member

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    My 2005 Has over 550,000 miles now and hasn't seen the dealer since it got to 30,000 miles. My Mothers 2005 has 77,000 miles and visits Lexology an independent Toyota Prius certified repair center, saving about 50% from dealer costs while maintaining excellent quality control. I recommend that you do the same.
    I just bought a 2009 for my wife with 50,000 miles for $12,000 using Car-Max. I'm pretty committed to the Pri from 2005 thru 2009, the second generation, I think if you check out the posts on the Gen 3 you'll see a considerable difference in repair costs. I also bought a 2006 with 80,000 miles, Front end damage for parts $1000.
     
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  8. blargity

    blargity New Member

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    Ok, update time...

    Think we're gonna keep the car. Looks like I can get a 4-pack of well reviewed struts on ebay for under $300 and install them with a jack, 10 and 12 mm socket wrenches, and a pry bar for the plastic tabs... already got all that. I've seen a few mechanics bagging on preassembled struts but they should be fine as long as they've got the same spring diameter and sealed bearings, right? And if not, it looks fairly doable to take them apart and swap in the OEM spring and bearings... or is that more difficult than it looks?

    Pretty sure I can also do spark plugs myself, then will be looking into brakes. I'm saving around $1000 just on doing my own struts so... still ticked at the sales dude but think we are in learning experience territory rather than court territory.

    Got the oil change done; they only charged me $40 including labor for full synth oil so can't complain about that.

    I've discovered a few other minor fixits, new weather stripping for front doors and a dead lighter port, but nothing scary. Mileage is not up to expectations though, I'm getting about 38.5 on the screen with fairly careful driving and mild acceleration; haven't driven far enough to measure from the pump. I know the fuel gauge is pretty sketchy in the gen2, maybe that's it?

    Agreed. People gripe about the acceleration but I'm pretty happy with it. Faster than my 95 Civic manual (of course, so's a wheelbarrow), not far behind the 2013 Rio. Backup cam is nice but I'll probably replace it with something a bit more modern. Instrument panel has lots of info but I will say I'm not a big fan of the interface. Took me a while putzing around to get Bluetooth working and there's still no BT option in the audio panel to actually play music from my phone. I'm sure it's there somewhere but man, not an intuitive UI. The power distribution display kicks nice person though.

    Thanks! We're likely moving to Irvine in the next 6 months or so, looks like Lexology will be a pretty reasonable drive. :)
     
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  9. mpg_numbers_guy

    mpg_numbers_guy Junior Member

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    I haven't changed struts yet, so I can't comment, but it doesn't look too complicated. Youtube is a big help.

    Go through a tank and calculate your actual fuel economy first before diagnosing it. Sometimes a weak hybrid battery will cause the engine to run more, and thus get lower fuel economy. Shorter trips, AC use, etc. also contribute.

    Low tire pressure also reduces fuel economy - most people recommend 35 PSI; I recommend running them at sidewall max (usually 44 PSI) for best treadwear and fuel economy. Enthusiasts run 50-60 PSI, but I can't recommend that, unless you're just crazy like me. :)

    Once your maintenance has been done -- oil change, spark plug change, fluid changes, etc. your mileage should go up.
     
  10. oil_burner

    oil_burner Active Member

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    I have always found that running tires at max sidewall pressure shortens their lifespan significantly, causing the centre of the tire tread to wear out way quicker.
     
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  11. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    Have to say, I too have found that.
     
  12. Skibob

    Skibob Senior Member

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    What brand struts are they selling on eBay? You can get the OEM KYB loaded front struts for 120 each on rock auto (plus shipping). I can’t vouch the springs are OEM but it’s the same brand shock Toyota uses. They only have loaded Monroe,s for the rear at 83 each.

    @oil_burner bought some of those bargain shocks and return them as they were junk. Stick with known brands.
     
    #132 Skibob, Feb 8, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
  13. oil_burner

    oil_burner Active Member

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    the eBay struts I originally bought were Sensen brand, some Chinese stuff. Be careful, if you are going to use them make sure you inspect them. The rear struts I was sent were defective, one would not compress all the way in and the shaft locked up. The other was half filled with oil so that once it halfway through the stroke there was no resistance and the shaft just collapsed the rest of the way in. I would trust off brand springs but not shocks/struts at the very least go with Monroe. Springs are easy to swap if you have a spring compressor, go slowly and watch some videos on how to do it safely.
     
  14. George W

    George W Active Member

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    Once you have your suspension finalized, a wheel alignment should help get your economy to above 40 mpg.

    The acceleration on my 08 is better than my 2011 Ford Fiesta, just for comparison

    As you get accustomed to the Prius' way of switching between modes, the Feather Touch will start to come naturally (without upsetting the traffic behind you).

    The Gen 2 would have only had BT ver. 2.0. Low latency didn't really get supported until ver.3. My 08 Touring has the upgraded JBL audio, but I've only been successful in connecting BT for phone calls. As a last resort, there's the Aux connection in the center console.

    Good luck.
     
  15. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    That is the way you do it, BT for handsfree phone and music is via the aux input. It was pretty flash, back in the day.
     
  16. blargity

    blargity New Member

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    So KYB and Monroe are good brands? Good to know. I just looked for stuff with good reviews for a quick price check; gonna see about brakes and spark plugs and such first... and double check here, make sure I'm not about to buy crap. Will definitely avoid the Chinese/generic stuff.

    Tires - I like good mpg but tire wear kills the value pretty fast. I run my Civic at 40 psi, is that a fair compromise between mpg and wear and tear?

    Spark plugs - looks like a 4pack is $10-30ish on Amazon. I assume midrange is best value? Does stuff like iridium actually matter or is it the equivalent of filling your computer with LEDs? These look good?


    The awkward teenage years of the connected world. Good thing I can fix it with a $20 BT adapter lol
     
  17. VFerdman

    VFerdman Senior Member

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    For spark plugs, go with Denso Irridium, which is what the car came with from the factory. They are a bit north $30 for the set, but you only need to change them once every 100K (or even less frequently). It's just not a place to pinch pennies. Ditto for suspension and brake components. Get the best you are comfortable with. I tend to go with OEM or Genuine Toyota brands for those. It's safety equipment and you will be saving way more by DIY that the parts cost is really not that big a deal, considering the benefit of a quality part.
     
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  18. blargity

    blargity New Member

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    Done and done, 26 bucks on Amazon :)

    Happy to spend a bit extra on quality parts, just don't wanna fall into the audiophile trap and buy fancy stuff without concrete value.
     
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  19. blargity

    blargity New Member

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    Any value in those pricey K&N cabin/engine air filters? My understanding is that they're mostly for hot rodders but figured I'd ask... about to snag some EPAuto ones... 4.8 star reviews for like $9/ea lol
     
  20. VFerdman

    VFerdman Senior Member

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    For me as a DIYer it is totally worth paying a bit more for parts for the following reasons:

    1. If I know the part is going to fit with minimum fuss and time spent. Genuine parts usually guarantee this.
    2. The part is going to last longer (iridium plugs mainly last longer, not necessarily perform better).

    If I spend more time doing the job or I need to do the job again because of parts I got then my DIY savings are not realized. It's not at all like gold plated oxygen-free copper speaker wires.
     
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