Autoline Daily on Hybrid Battery Replacement

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by bwilson4web, Sep 27, 2014.

  1. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    Every now and then I run across an article of merit about hybrids and this is one:

    Source: AD #1466 – Ram Ups Production, Korean Nissan Rogues Shipped to U.S., Free Parking for EV Owners – Autoline Daily

    Having studied Prius battery modules pretty much since the first year, this is one of the best summaries of the risks and rewards of buying a used Prius and traction battery replacement. I hope others who have direct experience will join in the comments and add your point of view.

    Thanks,
    Bob Wilson
     
  2. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    I wonder if that is true.

    In any case, I did not find the article helpful. While it may be interesting for a casual reader to know that rebalancing and selective module replacement are alternatives to a completely new pack purchase, there is not enough information available to make a sound money decision. "up to 80% successful" is sales malarkey. "longer warranty" is almost as bad, since the association between warranty length and longevity is wobbly at best, and the value of a warranty from a small business is difficult to appraise and costs money (return shipping) to use.

    Between not knowing what the different options cost, and also not having reasonable statistics how each approach is going to play out, a person faced with the choice to pay someone else to keep the Prius running is still in the dark. I think the most rationale approach was ignored: buy a new pack at a cheap outlet and install oneself*. Fiddling around inside a pack takes expertise; replacing a pack only requires ability to follow instructions.

    *An intriguing alternative for Gen2 is a rebuilt pack with a complete exchange of old modules for lightly used Gen3 modules or new generic modules. To my knowledge no one offers this choice yet.
     
    #2 SageBrush, Sep 27, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2014
  3. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    What impressed me was the forum. IMHO, "80%" of the malarky I read about hybrids comes from Autoline Daily. A touch to truth 'Foxed' into something misleading. So it was good to see someone go against the 'party line' in this case, directly at the most common bug-a-boo, the traction battery. For example, look at comment #5:
    Here is the fear, the terror, that keeps many from considering the hybrid. Their ignorance of traction battery reality has been natured and coddled so much that is all but impossible to break through the fear. What Sean did is point out traction battery replacement is not a terror. He actually defanged "#5" who now considers being the 'first owner' to be practical. <grins>

    It might help to point out the price of a used Prius would more than cover a traction battery repair. Heck, I have always treated the tires on any used car as something that will be replaced within a year because they never come with good rubber. I also change the lubricants and everything other wear item as quickly as practical. <wink>

    Bob Wilson
     
  4. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    I hear you, Bob.
    I added a comment after yours that I think a casual reader might reasonably parse as "buying a used Prius may lead to a $2000 battery repair, good for another 5 - 10 years." If they don't grasp that as a deal worth considering, I'm not going to waste any more of my time trying to convince them otherwise. Hell, I'm willing to wager that the overwhelming fraction of people 'afraid' of hybrids have no idea how much the cost/mile is of their recent and current cars.
    Yours is the optimistic POV. Being more cynical, I view #5 as simply rationalizing a preference not to buy a hybrid. I'm more concerned about the increasing number of people who buy a used Prius, and then show up frantic, penniless and completely clueless on PC with car alarms ringing. Is 'informed used car buyer' an oxymoron ? I might ask Danny to open a sub-forum for new owners of used Prius that has a banner splashed across the front page that says "USED/OLDER PRIUS ARE MORE LIKELY TO HAVE REPAIRS THAN A NEW CAR. BUDGET ACCORDINGLY."

    Your comment about tyre replacement is spot on. I recently sold our '04 Prius to my daughter. After I itemized all the maintenance (and new tyres!) I put into the car before transferring ownership, she decided that she got a good deal. And of course both of us know who is getting to get a telephone call if and when the traction battery requires attention.
     
    #4 SageBrush, Sep 27, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2014
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  5. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    I am sympathetic to the goal:
    So I wrote this sticky in the Gen I forum:
    Who should and should NOT buy a 2001-03 Prius | PriusChat
    But how do we get the newbie, used car buyer to read it first?

    Part of the problem are those who buy a used car without consideration of warranty, wear and tear. For example, there are car lots with $2,000 beaters selling to those who can least afford to keep them running when something breaks. Buying a used Prius is no different other than having additional failure modes. So early on we had mechanics who buy beaters at auction and try to get them running enough to resell . . . then they buy a Prius and we meet them once in the Gen I forum. More recently we get newbies in the Gen I forum and too late they have a chance to read the sticky. About 1/3d get a clue and do a successful repair but stung by the repair price. Another 1/3d get a clue and go for something more modern than the Gen I or an ordinary gasser. And the rest post once or twice and never show up again.

    When our 11 year old, 2003 Prius fails, I'm in a position to make a price-performance tradeoff BUT I am fully prepared to send it to a salvage yard and never look back. I'm one of those who keep a used car until the wheels fall off and remember the old Laurel and Hardy silent film where the car literally falls apart:

    Hardy,"Did you make that last car payment I told you not to??" and Laurel begins weeping.

    Bob Wilson
     
  6. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    ...points out too that hybrids make a little more sense in CARB states due to the extended warranty.
    I would like to see the 150k warranty expanded to all states.

    Keep in mind Gen3- I don't think we've heard here on Prius Chat of a single Gen3 HV batt failure yet in USA, anyways I keep saying that until someone corrects me. Gen3 may have reduced HV batt failures by fixing some issues (prevention of discharge during empty gaso tank, etc).
     
    #6 wjtracy, Sep 28, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2014
  7. mikefocke

    mikefocke Prius v Three 2012, Avalon 2011

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    Some Prius are 12 plus years old. Car parts wear and age out. This is news?

    The last time I bought a used car I put $3k into it the first month by design to bring its maintenance and wear parts up to my standards. Next 5 years were a delight.

    You guys ought to get over to one of the Porsche forums I frequent where the battery-replacement equivalent is a junk yard motor at $6k or a factory rebuilt one at $16k...for a 14 year old car that sells for less than $10k.
     
  8. DeadPhish

    DeadPhish Senior Member

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    I replaced my original hybrid battery on my 2005 at 238,500 miles. My sotp guess is that this is a median number. I've seen plenty of Gen 2's over 250K and even over 300K miles as well as some under 200K.

    The total cost installed was just under $2500 by my original Toyota dealer with a battery from Toyota. I investigated buying a rebuilt battery here on the E Coast and having it shipped to my installer. It would have been cheaper but it would have been more complex in that I'd have to pay the freight to ship it and then ship the old battery back to the vendor.

    After 238,500 worry-free miles I did not feel that the cost was excessive.

    Then 12 months later with an additional 20,000 miles on the clock I sold my '05 on Craig's List for $4000 'as is' ( Cat converter needed to be replaced ). In 3 days I had 6 'hot' buyers, two who offered $4500 if I cancelled my original acceptance.

    In my actual experience it would seem that replacing the traction battery actually helped me sell my '05 so quickly. I then looked to buy a USED Gen 3 with 50K - 100K miles, but the asking prices were too rich in relation to a new 2014.
     
  9. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    Good report...but are you not driving a Prius anymore?
    I understand Prius drivers generally score closer to par and they get more straight flushes...
     
  10. DeadPhish

    DeadPhish Senior Member

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    :D Yes I do now have a new 2014 Gen 3. Not to worry I'll be driving Prii for a long long time in the future. I can't imagine any other vehicle that has the combination of being so worry-free, defect-free, useful and of course economical.

    The new 2014 has helped my golf game too. ;)
     
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