Advice on buying a 2010 Prius - 68k miles, $9500

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by Sarah D, Aug 10, 2020.

  1. Sarah D

    Sarah D New Member

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    Model:
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    Hi everyone

    I'm looking at buying a second hand reliable Prius but am only looking to spend around $10k.

    Primary use is for grocery runs, weekend trips around the PNW, I expect we will drive it less than 700 miles per month (we have lived without a car for the last 10 years). The plan is to use the car for 1-2 years and then sell before we move overseas.

    In Seattle, it seems like the best I can get is a 2010 or 2011 model for that price (if I'm looking for no accidents, clean title and carfax).

    Do you think the following deal sounds reasonable?
    Pruis 2010 II (unsure if the trim number is correct given some of the inclusions)
    Private sale, asking price $9500
    68,000 miles
    Clean carfax and autocheck
    White paint, beige interior
    Leather seats, heated front seats, reversing camera, JBL speakers
    Exterior has a few paint scrapes on the rear bumper
    Interior excellent, although a few scratches on the plastic above the dashboard on the passenger side
    One owner, non smoker

    Test drive went well, everything felt pretty good.

    The only possible issue was that the hybrid battery light was on 2 bars when we first got in the car (it was parked in the sun with the air con on when we arrived), and during the drive the indicator recharged to maybe 6 bars. From what I've read this might be normal for a car of this age, I'm not sure if it means much re the health of the battery.

    Note that we are not mechanically practical people and will not be looking at fixing any potential issues ourselves.

    Thanks for your time!
    Sarah
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    welcome!

    1) check kbb.com for the local value

    2) with that kind of driving, a gasser would be a lot less expensive to buy and maintain.

    3) 2010 has a few expensive issues that have to be attended to before 100k

    4) find a reliable hybrid mechanic before buying a hybrid. the other way around can be painful

    5) battery sounds normal, but at 10 years old, you could need one at any time. call around to dealers for price quotes so you'll be prepared ahead of time in the event the worst happens on your watch
     
  3. Sarah D

    Sarah D New Member

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    Thanks so much @bisco for your speedy response.

    Have checked KBB.

    What are the issues that usually need attending to prior to 100k? I had read that a lot of issues happen around the 100k mark (eg. excessive oil consumption, EGR system problems, battery degredation/possible battery replacement) but not much before. We expect to have sold the car prior to 100k miles.

    I guess we like the idea of hybrid for the eco reasons, which is part of the reason we haven't had a car for the last 10 yrs. Also it looks like the Prius might have a better resale value in 2 years compared with other cars in this price range.

    No idea how to find a reliable hybrid mechanic besides googling. Throughout my life I have always felt uncomfortable with any dealings with car dealers / auto repair places, and never had a good relationship with a mechanic.
     
  4. royrose

    royrose Senior Member

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    What is your motivation for getting a Prius? Driving 700 miles per month you might not save enough in fuel to make up the higher cost of a Prius over a less complicated non hybrid, for example, a Corolla. Of course saving money is not the only reason to buy a Prius.

    I'd offer them less.
     
  5. Tekken

    Tekken Member

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    I'm driving less than 600 miles / mo and i do save some $$ on gas vs to my Honda Accord v6 22gal/mile. In my Honda, I filled up $60 per mo while I only fill up $30 per mo. Gas price in California $3/gal vs other state less than $2/ gal.

    $9600 for a 2010 prius is little price. When you get it home, you need to do complete ERG system clear really soon. $300 to for laber and hope you don't have replace ERG cooler.
     
  6. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

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    Have you considered a used plug-in vehicle in the same price range?
     
  7. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

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    Since you typed it twice I'll point out it's EGR (exhaust gas recirculation).
     
  8. royrose

    royrose Senior Member

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    I disagree. They are looking to buy a vehicle with 68,000 miles and put on about 16,000 more, then sell it. The next owner may have to worry about EGR problems, not Sarah and her companion. For comparison I have a 2010 Prius with 100,000 miles that runs perfectly. I have not touched the EGR system. I plan to sell it next year privately, suggest several preventative measures to the new owner including EGR cleaning when spark plugs are due at 120,000 miles.
     
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  9. Sarah D

    Sarah D New Member

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    Thanks everyone for your comments! It's all so helpful.

    I guess my main concern is the big expense of battery replacement - does anyone have a sense of how likely it might be that the battery would require replacement in our 2 years of ownership? If the garage doing the buyer's inspection of the vehicle checks the hybrid battery and cell levels and everything looks normal - would this usually indicate that things should be ok for the next 12 months / 16,000 miles?

    @royrose I guess our interest in the Prius is partly an environmental thing, plus I like hatchbacks and am also taken with the idea of Prius camping. Thanks also for your comment re your experience with the 2010 Prius. I am hoping we would have a similar experience to you.

    @Tekken Thanks for your info on driving the Prius around 600 miles/month. And also your thoughts re the EGR.

    @fotomoto I have considered an electric vehicle. However, we live in an apartment complex where it isn't easy to plug-in. We are also worried about mileage and charging opportunities on weekend roadtrips, particularly around the Olympic peninsula.
     
  10. MelonPrius

    MelonPrius Active Member

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    The 2 bars on the battery probably just means that the previous drive ended with the battery at 2 bars. No big deal, based on just that.

    Generally speaking, your biggest potential problem with a 10 year old Prius would be replacing the hybrid (traction) battery, which can run $3,000+. Fortunately, you are in a CARB state which offers you a longer warranty than I have in Nevada. Unless I'm mistaken, your warranty will be 10 years and 150k miles. Therefore, make sure you purchase a Prius that will be under both the years and miles when you're projected to leave the country. (Note: the Prius must be originally a Washington vehicle and with a clean title. Prius C are not included.)

    So, if you're leaving in 2 years, then you should look at 2012's or newer. Before you say it's not possible, put in your specs at kbb.com and you are within your budget. I have included a link that shows the kbb book value for a 2012 Prius III in very good condition with 110k miles. Fair market value is $8.7k from a private party sale and $9.8k from a dealer. Be patient.
    Used 2012 Toyota Prius Three Hatchback 4D Prices | Kelley Blue Book
     
  11. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    I'd eagerly take a 2012-2013 with 120k miles before a 2010 with 68k. These cars wear more gracefully than they age.

    Though if I may? To solve the specific problem of obtaining a safe, sub-$10k vehicle to serve relatively few miles over two years with zero drama I would avoid hybrids altogether.

    Getting an older hybrid (to keep the price low) is not going to do you any favors in the risk-of-drama department. A simple, low-tech car wins there.
     
  12. Sarah D

    Sarah D New Member

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    Thanks @MelonPrius for your advice. You're right, we probably shouldn't rush into it. I will look more to see if there are any more recent models available in our price range.

    Thanks @Leadfoot J. McCoalroller - we are considering non-hybrid cars too. The Prius just seems to have such a long life and a good resale value around here compared to many other small cars.
     
  13. royrose

    royrose Senior Member

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    Let us know what you end up choosing.
     
  14. DTKim

    DTKim Member

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    Do consider the following that would change the value significantly:
    Tires: Are they fairly new (greater than 8/32nd (75% remaining), a good brand/model (you don't want to have to replace them due to noise or low mpg), and wearing evenly? Otherwise, you're looking at $500 installed (unless you catch a good rebate program).
    Brakes: Check to see how much life is left. If the pad is at least the thickness of a #2 pencil, you're good. If less, consider you may need to replace the pads in the 2 years you own it (or someone will negotiate you down accordingly), depending on how well you use regen braking vs. normal brakes. This would be $100-200 per front/rear set at an independent garage, depending if you need new rotors as well.
    Navigation/Bluetooth: You listed items that would be more like a IV or V model than a II, but anything can be optioned. If it has the NAV and/or bluetooth, I think the price is about right. If not, maybe drop it $500 or so. Either way, it never hurts to negotiate the price down to where you feel comfortable.

    I do agree with others that you likely don't need to worry about the battery or the EGR system issues if you're selling well before hitting 100k miles. Personally, I'm going to be doing the cleaning and already purchased an oil catch can for my recently purchased Prius w/ 62k miles because I plan on making this a lifetime vehicle for the family.

    I don't want to assume your grocery runs are short like mine (3 options all under a mile from me), because I have friends that drive 5-10 miles to go to Costco or Whole Foods and consider that normal for a grocery run. That said, I also drive under 10k miles a year and found with my previous Prius (Gen2 and Gen3), we were able to get 40+ mpg lifetime with a significant number of "short" trips in NJ weather.

    As for the battery level, IIRC, when the gas engine runs to charge up the battery without driving, it'll only charge up to 6 bars because it leaves room on top for downhill regeneration. Question would be why it went down to 2 bars, which the AC running while waiting is a reasonable explanation.

    I would recommend investing in an inexpensive bluetooth OBD scanner and smartphone app to read the ECU statistics, specifically the following:
    Miles, minutes, and/or starts driven since codes cleared. Starts may be limited to 255 (code limitation), but miles/minutes should be in the thousands unless there's recently documented repairs that would've required the battery to be disconnected and/or ECU codes to be reset. If it's more like a couple hundred miles or less, or a couple dozen starts or less, without legitimate explanation, I would be very wary. Just seeing no check engine light isn't enough.

    This is not something that requires a mechanic. I use GoPoint with an older interface (non-bluetooth), but they have a bluetooth version now that does read those settings. There's other brands out there as well, but just be sure (ask around) if those readings are displayed in their apps. If you were local to me, I'd be willing to swing by to help with that. Maybe there's a kind soul on this forum near you willing to do the same?
     
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