Advice on Prius needing frequent repairs?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by nopbj4u, Sep 8, 2020.

  1. nopbj4u

    nopbj4u New Member

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    Hello! I have a 2005 Toyota Prius with 136,600 miles that keeps needing more and more costly repairs despite careful maintenance. I can't tell if I have a lemon or if this is normal—would really appreciate your insights and advice! It has a clean CARFAX and clean title and a meticulous service history except for a gap between when the first owner sold it (35,000 miles) and I bought it at 61,000 miles.

    The first owner bought it new in Florida and kept it meticulously maintained at the dealer—I have dealer records verifiable through Toyota’s owners portal up to 35,000 miles. Carfax shows the second owner gave it regular oil changes from 35,000–44,000 miles. The third owner (second owner’s daughter) claimed her husband changed the oil regularly from 44,000–61,000 miles himself. I have kept it carefully and regularly maintained at the dealer since I bought it.

    However, in the 3.5 years I’ve owned it, the hybrid battery, wheel bearing, water pump, and hybrid inverter coolant pump have failed. Yesterday my ABS brake actuator failed, destroying front brake pads and rotors in the process. I’ve been quoted a $3,600 plus tax repair on a vehicle worth $4,100, as it's out of the extended warranty. My car is a lovely paperweight right now.

    I feel like I'm going crazy as I've taken very good care of the car and seem to be having the opposite experience most Prius owners tout. I’m wondering if I’ve had terrible luck with a lemon car, or if these issues are normal with the Prius? My last Toyota (2001 Celica) lasted much longer and was cheaper to maintain despite having more initial mileage and a wreck history.

    I think the way things are going I'm going to need to buy a new car sooner rather than later and am wondering. ....Is 2005 just a bad Prius year? Would I have better luck with a newer model? Is this a normal amount of big-ticket repairs (on top of routine maintenance)? Any insight would be appreciated!
     
  2. valde3

    valde3 Senior Member

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    All those are relatively common issues with a gen 2 Prius that are not related to bad maintenance. Normally they just wouldn't have happened at this low of a mileage and not all together like this. Changing brake fluid might have helped with the brake actuator. I think you have now fixed almost all common non maintenance related problems. Maybe just a coolant diverter valve is left if it's not changed already.

    So to this point you have just had a bad luck. So after fixing this you might just be able to drive it for long time without needing any repairs. Or you might have problems related to bad maintenance. Or just some unlikely problems.

    That price for repair seems high. Maybe someone here would know a good place near you to do the repair.
     
  3. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    It takes a while for word-of-mouth to get around about reliability matters.

    A young Prius is incredibly reliable, and people have been telling the truth talking about that for 20 years.

    But think about it- it's only recently that there was any real volume of 15-year-old Priuseses to provide a counterexample.

    Good luck!
     
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  4. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    I've heard of that actuator failing, but a failure mode that destroys pads and rotors in a day (or at all) is new to me.
     
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  5. nopbj4u

    nopbj4u New Member

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    The dealer said that on the first call, and then on the second call he said the pads and rotors were already due for repair and not affected by the ABS failure, so I'm not sure. I did have to limp it a fair distance from the time the ABS failed, so it seemed possible but again I'm not sure which of his statements were correct.

    That is a good point, and I will keep it in mind while looking. Thank you!
     
    #5 nopbj4u, Sep 9, 2020
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  6. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    That raises a warning flag of the car having been abused by the previous owners, something that would not show up on any records.

    The generation of Prius you have uses a bladder in the gas tank to reduce evaporative emissions. That made the non-linear gauge inaccurate when at the low end. Owners who liked to squeeze out maximum distance would tend to run out of gas as a result... which means they ended up driving short distances using nothing but electricity. That type of power demand grossly exceeded what the was designed to handle. As a result, the car will experience accelerated aging on the battery and related components.

    Do you know why the previous owners sold the car? Frustration from running out of gas would be a good reason.
     
  7. nopbj4u

    nopbj4u New Member

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    Thank you so much for your thoughts and advice. I will look at the coolant diverter valve. To my knowledge it has not been replaced.

    I was told the second owner bought the car when the first (a Florida retiree) passed away. The third owner was the second owner's daughter, and she said she was selling it to get a larger vehicle for her family. The third owner did say she saved a lot of gas money with the car, but at the time it seemed like a general reference to the model's fuel economy. When I had bought the car she'd left only 2 pips on the gas tank, which just seemed like a minor annoyance though.
     
    #7 nopbj4u, Sep 9, 2020
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  8. ETC(SS)

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

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    I'm a little suspicious about a $3,600 quote for a brake job.
    I'd strongly encourage you to take your car to a brake specialist, and then find an independent mechanic in your area to "maintain" your car.

    Failing that, I'd think about starting to see other car manufacturers.
    Are you REALLY saving enough in gas to warrant these kind of repairs?

    Remember....you live in Indiana...not California.

    Good Luck!
     
  9. valde3

    valde3 Senior Member

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    Didn't really meant it like that. Just that almost all commonly failing non maintenance related parts have been replaced. So it's a bad luck that they all have failed already.
     
  10. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Welcome to the organized crime racket known as auto repair... Fortunately Prius Chat will walk you throgh any repair you need done. If you or a friend or a family member likes to work on cars than all the normal repairs cost very little. Specifically, there's no reason to spend ten times the money for an expensive brand new part for a 15 years old car when used ones are plentiful at 10% of the cost. And when brand new is affordable, yes definitely. For example if you do your own labor here's how much you pay:

    --After marker invert pump $30 + $15 for coolant

    --Water pump $70 +$15 for coolant

    --Brake actuator $100-$200 used + Brake fluid

    --Wheel Bearing $60 + Alignment job

    --Front pads & Rotors = #1 rip-off from mechanics who don't realize how little physical brakes are used in vehicle with regenerative brakes

    In other words to the extent you or friend or family member are willing to use the available resources to do your own repairs is the extent you won't get robbed by stealerships or unethical local mechanics.
     
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  11. valde3

    valde3 Senior Member

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    Yes I thought about the same thing about the price of the brake actuator repair.

    But why look for a different car manufacturer? Why would repair costs be lower with different manufacturer?
     
  12. ETC(SS)

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

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    They have been with mine, but then again I "might" be making a lot of my own luck.

    YMMV
     
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