After how many miles will a Prius typically stay reliable?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by pessimisticpaperclip, Jun 1, 2017.

  1. pessimisticpaperclip

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    Why, hello there! First of all, I'm new to this forum so please forgive me If I'm posting this in the wrong place.

    I'm looking into buying a used Prius, and my budget is about 4.5k. My question is, at what point do these cars typically start having issues? One of the cars I'm looking at is a 2008 with 140,000 miles, for $4800. It seems like it could be a decent deal, but I can't find a general consensus about when prii start seeing hybrid battery failures, engine problems, etc.

    Obviously, I know that's not set in stone and every car is different, but in your experience how many miles can I expect to get out of it? The last car I owned was a Mini Clubman, and I did minimal research before purchasing it, 'soon as it hit 100k miles, I had one thing after another go out in the engine. After looking around on some Mini forums, turns out a lot of those cars start to crap out between 90-120 thousand miles. I just want to make sure I'm not about to make the same mistake I did then.

    Thanks for reading, and again sorry If I've posted this in the wrong place!
     
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  2. Shane Burns

    Shane Burns Member

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    #2 Shane Burns, Jun 1, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017
  3. Deogratias

    Deogratias Member

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    I think buying any car (even a car with a great reputation) with 140k miles is a risky exercise. Perhaps a small risk, or perhaps a large one, but it's never going to be risk-free with that much mileage. Either spend more to get a lower-mileage car, or put aside a few grand in an emergency fund for repairs if you want to be safe.

    A few decades ago, any car with even 100k miles was a worn out hunk of junk. Nowadays, cars are lasting longer and 200k miles isn't unusual. But even if you assume a 200k mile lifespan for an average car, this one is 70% worn out. Expecting it to be trouble free is optimistic. It might turn out to be a great deal, but there's no guarantee.
     
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  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    welcome!
    are you in a carb state? if not, the battery warranty is 8/100, instead of 10/150. regardless, 140k puts you close to out of it anyway.
    prius has a pretty good history up to 150-200k, but like any car, a major expense is always possible.
    and buying used, you never know how it's been treated, which can effect longevity.
    with your budget, i would look around to see if a corolla or something might be more cost effective.
    all the best!(y)
     
  5. andrewclaus

    andrewclaus Active Member

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    With the hybrid battery, a non-rotating chemical device, mileage may not be as telling as charge cycles and environment. Unfortunately, there are no convenient meters for those.
     
  6. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    My standard claim is that very few Prius will have trouble, but as very few mechanics can fix a Prius it gets really expensive to replace entire assemblies. Inverter is $4000, Transaxle is $5000, Battery is $3500, etc.

    You should never by a Prius when poor, as if you have to make a $5000 repair you may not be able to and lose 100% of the value of your car.

    If you can afford to fix it, the Prius rarely needs to be fixed.

    (To protect the transaxle, you can change the ATF routinely.
    To protect the inverter, never jump start your Prius from another car, and certainly never jump start other cars.
    To protect the battery, keep it cool, use the A/C, use B mode from the top of long downhills, park in the shade.)
     
  7. Kevin_Denver

    Kevin_Denver Active Member

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    The Prius isn't subject to a "magical" mileage point where most things start to fail. They usually fall to a more slow death, often with the hybrid battery sealing the deal. From what I've seen on these forums, with good maintenance the most common major failure is the hybrid battery, usually between 150-250k (age factors into this greatly - if you can put 300k on a Prius in 5 years, the battery will likely last, but a 2004 model with only 120k is still likely to fail).

    Some cars start to burn oil past the 150k mark; usually owners just switch to a slightly thicker oil to reduce use and keep driving until a more major failure occurs (usually it's the piston rings which get worn - can't be fixed without an engine rebuild). If the car burns too much oil it will clog up the catalytic converter which is a 1-1.5k repair.

    Failing inverters and transaxels are rarer than the above failures.

    The Prius is consistently rated as one of the most reliable cars. From what I understand, the Mini is the exact opposite! However that being said, a car with 140k and unknown maintenance and driving history is certainly a risk. If reliability is most important to you, I'd follow other's suggestion and get a different model car with lower mileage. If a Civic lasts to 200k and a Prius to 230k, the Civic is a better buy if it only has 100k versus a 140k Prius, if reliability is all that is important.

    However nothing beats the feeling of getting 50mpg driving across states. Not a lot of other cars that can deliver that.
     
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  8. MilkyWay

    MilkyWay Active Member

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    Hello! I am also in Michigan...And I am very biased so take with grain of salt....

    Short answer is:

    140k is a baby and even 240k is a baby! BUY IT!

    Long answer is:

    I was in a similar boat as you...I bought a 2008 with 140K for about $4000 only 1 year ago (this was clean as a whistle, but I got it at the dealer auction so got a little discount)...

    It had zero issues...Everything worked...Only problem is I went way over 3,000 miles to change oil and when I got to oil change shop they said it was really low! So oil will disappear....

    Flash forward to today and I just hit 187,000 miles (I drive a lot!).

    The only thing I have done in 50,000 miles is:

    1) After about a month or two the check engine light came on for P0101: Mass or Volume Air Flow Circuit....All I did, per priuschat.com advise, is spray the MAF with cleaner and clear the engine code, it is located near the front of the engine and held on by 1 phillips screw (from what I remember)....Has not come on since and took 10 minutes to fix.

    2) Tires in December can't remember miles but probably around 165k

    3) Oil changes and monitor oil ///// add half quart around 2,500 miles.

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    Now that I am at 187K I decided to do some preventative maintenance:

    4) I bought rear struts for about $120 and had mechanic install (2 hour job...shops charge ~$250 labor but my friend/mechanic charged $100).....It wasn't really necessary but seemed like you could feel the bumps more than you should if sitting in back seat.

    5) Trans flush (45 minute job --- dealer charges $150 parts/labor and my mechanic charged me $40 and I spent $50 on 4 quarts of fluid from dealer)....Never looked at the fluid but it is definitely a good thing to change if you want that beautiful bright red fluid back....Mine was reddish and not too bad but didn't look new...Prob good thing I changed it and seems to drive better actually!

    6) PCV valve...I was told this is the main culprit or at least has a lot to do with oil burning....this is a 30 minute job...You take off the whole windshield wiper assembly and tray off (you will also have to do this to access/change front struts so if you ever do front struts change PCV valve same time)....It's basically to the right of the back right ignition coil...Pretty easy to change.

    I did point 4, 5, and 6 within the last week and my Prius still runs like-new....It has never not started....It looks great....Never a check engine light....Never a problem.

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    Also ---- They are so amazing and economical that I came across a 2007 with 201K miles! It was definitely mint condition considering the miles....I have about $3,000 into it and this one drives better than my 2008 when it had 140K miles (and just to be completely honest --- I notice zero difference between the way my 2008 drives now at 187k miles and when I got it last year @ 140k miles).

    Only thing I did to the 2007 with 201k is change the 12V battery....I got the yellow optima for $200 installed...

    They are very easy to work on as long as you don't get unlucky and have some bizarre electrical hybrid problem...
     
  9. Scallywag

    Scallywag Member

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    My only comment would be to dodge Optimas when possible, as their reliability has suffered greatly since manufacturing moved to Mexico. If possible, there are Duracell AGMs (using part number SLI51PAGM, the P for Prius) at Batteries Plus Bulbs usually installed a bit over 200, and you can sometimes find an exact fit Exides here and there that are a little better quality, too.
     
  10. The Phoenix

    The Phoenix Member

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    I will just give you a little perspective from my experience. And I hope I don't jinxs myself in the process. I was driving a 08 Ford Escape with about 170,000 miles and it was killing me with the gas mileage and repairs. So I found a 08 prius at what is commonly called here a "stealership" for about $4,500, but it had 188,000 miles on it. I was very cautious but I had a feeling that even on gas mileage along I would be better off. So I bought it in Feb 2016. I now have 237,000 miles on it. I replaced the 12v but it still was showing a good charge. It was the original 12v. I have replaced the cabin filter and engine air filter, wiper blades and tires. Bought some rear brake shoes but don't need to replace them quite yet. I've done some non mechanical upgrades like new headlight assemblies, added fog lights and louder horn. All in all I believe it got a good deal. I do seem to consume some oil between oil changes but I attribute that a little to my driving. I hope all that helped. Message me if you have any questions.
     
  11. Rph74

    Rph74 Active Member

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    My experience has been the same as everyone else that has chimed in. I have owned over 25 cars in my lifetime and I have to say that this Prius is the most amazing car I have owned. Very comfortable and obviously economical on long trips-and it fits my family of 4 and our luggage every time!

    The build quality and reliability is amazing on these cars. I have driven this car from 92,500 miles to now 169,000 miles and it is still as tight and smooth as when I got it. However, as someone else said, you have to have money set aside for repairs and maintenance (as you should for any car) I spent 2400 to have a brand new HV battery put in preventatively in 2016-I want to be able to rely on this thing on long trips with my family, and now I know I'm likely good for 10 years. Most reports show the Prius to be among the most reliable cars on the road. In comparison to European cars, you would be amazed and pleased at how little you have to do to these things to keep them on the road. I had owned various Euro cars for 10 years, and I likely will never do it again.

    My repairs:
    Oil and transmission oil changes
    Front sway bar links
    Front struts
    Rear struts and coil springs (I didn't realize how much the rear end sagged until I replaced)
    Spark plugs
    Pcv valve
    HV battery (preventative)
    Inverter Coolant pump (preventative)
     
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  12. Ajourney101

    Ajourney101 Member

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    I bought my 2009 prius with 97,300 miles. In January 2014. I will be 3 times that by January 2018 1496899890740.jpg

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
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  13. Rph74

    Rph74 Active Member

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    Whoa where are you driving to put that many miles on so fast?

    What repairs have you had to do?
     
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  14. Ajourney101

    Ajourney101 Member

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    I deliver RX for a living. Drive 200 to 300 miles a day. My first larger repair Beyond oil change tires and spark plugs and transmission flush was doing the CCV valve. Lately I've been averaging 200 miles a day. I used to change my oil once every 3 weeks. But now I'm changing it once a month. Instead of changing my oil every 5000 miles I change it every 3000 miles I change my transmission fluid every 30000 miles. I flush my radiator cooling system about every 50,000 to 70000 miles.



    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
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  15. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    I think the best you can do is go on general reputation, because nobody can predict the specific future for any given machine.
    I would say, The Prius has an excellent reputation for reliability, as well as being a very well designed and engineered machine.
    Therefore, it is not uncommon to have 100,000, 150,000, 200,000 miles or more.

    I personally don't think I would consider buying nearly a 10 model year old Prius with 140,000 miles on it without also accepting the reality that the Hybrid Battery could fail. Not that it will fail,- that it could. This means I wouldn't purchase it, unless I had the financial resources to deal and desire to potentially deal with this reality.

    As big of fan as I continue to be of Prius, I would say that if your investment into the used Prius represents the maximum of your budget, and if any further repairs would leave you broke, unable to deal with them or stranded? Then it may not be the best investment.

    But as illustrated by owners above, it certainly isn't out of the realm of possibility that a Prius with 140,000 miles on it, could continue to be reliable for a significant period of time and additional mileage. But, I'd still want to make sure I have the financial means to deal with at least one major repair IF it became necessary.

    Otherwise, you can be "Maxed Out" in vehicle investment, and end up looking at trying to deal with a failing hybrid battery or other component.
     
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  16. Ajourney101

    Ajourney101 Member

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    Toyota handled all the big repairs under extended service warranties and recalls.


    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  17. Moving Right Along

    Moving Right Along Active Member

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    From a reliability standpoint, a Prius is very similar to a Corolla- very little ever goes wrong. The only difference is what was pointed out earlier: when major things do go wrong, some of them are a lot more expensive on a Prius. According to data at True Delta, overall repair cost percentages on Corollas & Prii are similar, but where you get to the most expensive repairs, a percentage of repairs that would cost over $1000 in a Corolla cost over $2500 in a Prius. In addition to the specific issues noted above, issues with headlight ballasts for high-intensity discharge lights can run over $1000 and a multi-function display failure is going to be $2500 or so.

    And while I disagree with the folks who say you need to have a money tree in your backyard just in case something huge goes wrong, older vehicles and higher miles do carry higher risks. The age and mileage of a car is determined by your budget as well. It's impossible to say exactly what (if anything) will go wrong at any given time, but I think you get the best odds if you have a reliable model (the Prius fits) with a history of regular maintenance and few needed repairs.
     
  18. Ajourney101

    Ajourney101 Member

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    I can buy ballasts for my prius online for 50.00 or less. HID lights for only 20.00 a pair. I can replace my engine with a reman for 1800.00 installed. My local shop fixes prius taxi cabs all the time and have a vast supply of anything I need at a great rate. They replaced my lower ball joint and inner tie-rod for only 200.00 out the door.

    I believe prius parts are super easy and cheap for the most part. Also I buy parts from LKQcorp.com, they own hundreds of junkyard across the country and shipping is free in most cases.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  19. Rph74

    Rph74 Active Member

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    Lol, I am a Pharmacist--I'm curious are you delivering to retail patients, or possibly Nuclear Medicine? I'm trying to figure out how you out so many miles on per day
     
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  20. Rph74

    Rph74 Active Member

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    Error
     
    #19 Rph74, Jun 9, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
  21. Rph74

    Rph74 Active Member

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    Error
     
    #19 Rph74, Jun 9, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
  22. Rph74

    Rph74 Active Member

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    Sorry for all of the duplicate posts, my iPad just went crazy.
     
    #20 Rph74, Jun 9, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
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