Buying a 2007 Prius, need advice

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by Ccc01, Apr 16, 2014.

  1. Ccc01

    Ccc01 New Member

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    I am an aspiring Prius newbie (my folks have an '09 Gen II which they love), looking at buying a 2007 Gen II Prius from a used Toyota dealer in Arlington, VA. The car has 95k miles and was traded in by the original owner who was upgrading to the Prius V.

    The Carfax report shows no accidents or issues of note. I have an eight page service history from the dealer which shows the car was serviced regularly and well maintained by the same dealer, including three recall services under warranty. After scanning a few threads here, it seems with noting that the water pump was updated at $49k (warranty.service), the brake pads and rotors were replaced at 65k,and the 12V battery failed at 83K with no dealer record of replacement (I am assuming it was replaced or fixed at another shop.

    The car looks to be in good to great condition with just a few scratches and a broken drivers side rear view mirror which the dealer is offering to fix for "free". The engine is very clean and seems to be in great shape to an untrained eye. The interior is spotless and looks nearly brand new. I took it for a test drive and it runs well in local traffic. Smooth ride, brakes fine, etc. It seemed to labor a bit on the highway when accelerating up to 60+ but the salesman on the ride along said that was normal. Seemed a potential red flag to me but again, I don't have a trained eye for this sort of thing.

    The car is listed for $9,800 and comes to $10,811 after taxes, registration and dealer fee. Add in the $280 cost of a second key ($162 for the key, $130 to program it) and the total is about $11,100.

    Given all the particulars noted above, does this sound like a good deal?

    Thanks in advance for any advice, thoughts!
     
  2. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    You surely can negotiate the key into the deal. Online these keys can be purchased for around $100. Surely the dealer won't let that be a deal breaker.

    I think if the car has been maintained regularly and the interior looks new, it's a good sign it's been cared for. Since the car has 95k miles and VA is not a CARB state, I believe that probably is the reason it was traded in (nearing the end of hybrid warranty at 100k miles).
     
  3. Epiphany2000

    Epiphany2000 Member

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    Welcome to Priuschat!

    I am a bit wary of the breaks being replaced at 65k and the battery failing at 83k. I'm closing in on 70k and still have the original brakes. This indicates to me that the original owner was rough on the brakes.

    The battery failure is perplexing. It's rare for a gen II battery to fail so quickly. Also, with no record of how the battery issue was resolved, there's no indication of how much reliability the battery may have. Many businesses will claim to sell reconditioned batteries without properly testing and balancing them. It would be quite a drag to have the battery fail shortly after your purchase.

    The pricetag seems a bit high, but probably no so much when you consider the fact that it is being resold by a dealer. I paid just under $10k for a 2005 with 66k miles, but that was from a private party.

    Carfax is somewhat of a joke - they only have the information that is reported to them. Dealers report to carfax, but many private auto shops do not. Hence, even if a carfax report indicates no accidents, such is not necessarily the case.

    I would recommend getting the car inspected by a dealer other than the one you're looking to purchase the car from. If the selling dealership is not ok with you doing this, I'd be suspicious.
     
  4. tanglefoot

    tanglefoot Whee!

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    You might also include how the car is equipped (touring/non-touring, which option package), as those factors affect pricing quite a bit.

    Have you driven your parents' '09 much? It's definitely a help if you have another gen II you can compare the driving characteristics with.

    Do a visual check of the engine water pump for leaks (it's a common trouble spot). The pulley is the large black one near the bottom of the passenger side of the engine. Leaks show up as pink crusty buildup or streaks. around the pump/pulley. Even though it's been replaced, it's an easy thing to check for.

    That is a little strange that the brakes were replaced so early. It may have been for a factor other than wear, such as noise, etc.

    Changing the 12v battery is a simple, DIY job. The owner may have just taken it on themselves.

    Epiphany--the OP seems to be talking about the 12v aux battery, not the HV pack.
     
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  5. vskid3

    vskid3 Active Member

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    Just because the brakes were replaced doesn't necessarily mean they were toast, just that the shop convinced the previous owner to have them replaced. Maybe check how they look now, if they look about half gone, then maybe the previous owner was hard on the brakes. If they look ok, then they may have just been replaced early.

    I would have them fix the mirror first. They're probably going to have to fix it before selling it to someone else anyway. It might not even pass inspection without being fixed.
     
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  6. Ccc01

    Ccc01 New Member

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    Thanks to all for the reply posts! I hope the sale goes through and I can join the club of Prius owners online here.

    The car has a trim #2 package (meant to include that in the initial post.) I am having another Toyota dealership check out the car tomorrow. The seller dealership was fine with me taking the car for 2-3 hours to have this done, so I view that as a good sign. We'll see what they have to say.

    The car is priced $1,500 below blue book so it seems like there is something the dealer isn't telling me or else why sell it so low? I asked the question directly to the sales manager and he gave a generic answer about wanting to offer the best deal to customers. I know they gave the owner $5700 on the trade in (it showed up on the vehicle history report I got from the service department at the new car dealership up the street from the used car operation), so they are clearing $4100+ on the sale. That should give me some negotiating room, at least for the cost of the key if not any undisclosed conditions I find out from the third party evaluation.
     
  7. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Did you agree to pay the dealer's asking price if no issues are found during the inspection? I think you should reach an agreement about the price now, subject to a satisfactory inspection.

    From the dealer's point of view, the fact that you are willing to pay $150 or whatever for the inspection is a strong buying signal. If you don't have agreement on the price now, you may find that the dealer is slow to negotiate a price decrease. Also, as you pointed out, the asking price is already below KBB valuation.
     
  8. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    Since you seem to already be happy with the dealer's price and they are also clearing a healthy $4100 in the deal, I would suggest you pay the asking price (below blue book) and get whatever additional benefits you can from the dealership. You already know there is a lot of room to deal.

    Ask for:

    Additional 2nd key (tell them all cars come with 2 keys)
    car detailed and buffed (maybe some light scratches can buff out)
    new tires if needed
    ask for the 100k miles maintenance be done
    maybe a 30 days warranty as well

    All the above items are just labor, very little cost in parts (except for tires). If you pay the full asking price and ask for those things, they may throw it in because of the healthy profit they already have on the car.

    Also I would not tell the dealer how low the car is priced and ask why it's priced that way. Insist it is more than what you intend to spend.
     
  9. dorunron

    dorunron Senior Member

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    One thing that has not been brought up in this string. What is the OP's location and climate like. Also same thing on the used Prius. Where was it sold originally and where was it operated.

    95K on the clock could be Ok in a cooler part of the country where there are not a lot of hills. But if this car was in a warmer climate and had steep hills and or mountains it could be a whole different story.

    On the other hand, something just doesn't sound right.

    Prius hold it's value better than what the OP is disclosing. I can't see any dealer only allowing only something like 5.7K on a 2007 with 95K for trade in unless the seller was not a very good negotiator. Even then the dealer is guilty of "low balling" the trade in value. KBB lists a 07 Package #2 with no additional options on "trade in value" at $6,488 to $7,703 with a median value of $7,096. This is for a car in good condition. Discount the broken mirror maybe $300.00 Source:
    Kelley Blue Book


    Looking at what KBB says this same car should sell for at a dealer it comes in at these figures. $10,328 to $11,573 with a median price of $10,951

    I think the dealer screwed the seller and is trying something weird with the prospective buyer. Not many dealers will discount a used car lower than average unless something is really wrong. Like other's have said, this Prius is underpriced which means they want to get it off their lot quick. The question is "why" do they want to move it so fast?
    Source:
    Kelley Blue Book


    Ron
     
  10. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    Well if the dealer can make $4000 on a used car, there's no reason not to move it. The faster they move it, the faster it's off the lot so the original "owners" don't come and see how badly screwed they got on their deal.

    I read a few months back this happening to someone here. They went back to the dealership to complain about the low price they got on their trade and the dealer had to give them $1000 extra. So the faster it's gone, the better.
     
  11. vskid3

    vskid3 Active Member

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    If you do this, make sure they put good LRR tires on, as crap tires can cost you around 5mpg.
     
  12. ETC(SS)

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

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    Actually?
    Other than the insane price for the new key I think that this is a promising deal.
    I'd make a flat offer, roll the dice and skip the inspection, and buy the car insisting on the second key.

    Gas is on the way back up, and there are a bazillion commuters in the DC area looking for a cheaper way to work.
    My guess is that the car won't last long, even at the current ask price.

    The brakes were worked on at 65K because the OP's location is Arlington, VA.
    A lot of stop and go getting to work and back. The car appears to have been well maintained and the former owner probably just got tired of it or wanted to upgrade.
    Other than that I see a locally traded commuter car with a credible pedigree in a moderately benign climate at a little less than KBB's retail price.

    If you do buy this car?
    Learn how to swing wrenched on a G2 and avoid this dealership.

    Good Luck!
    Let us know what happens.
     
  13. Ccc01

    Ccc01 New Member

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    Lots of good advice here. Thanks to everyone for your thoughts. I took the Prius to another toyota service center for an eval. They found the following issues (the first three I saw on my own inspection but forgot to mention in my original post):
    1. Driver side mirror is broken
    2. Driver side tail light assembly is broken
    3. Radio antenna housing is broken and need new antenna pole (the radio seems to work fine regardless and played all the stations I usually listen to)
    4. Front brake rotors are rusty, need replacing
    5. Right side mark light bulb is out, needs replacing
    6. Battery on the keyless remote needs replacing
    7. 12V battery needs replacing

    I went over the results with the dealer and they are offering to fix issues 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 as part of the sale, no charge. They said the measurements on the brake rotors are fine and they just need resurfacing rather than replacement.

    The dealer disputes that the 12V battery needs replacing and gave me a printout from a test of the battery stating it has 60% charge remaining and isn't an issue. I called the service center that did the eval for an explanation of why they cited the battery as an issue and was told their software pulled a fail code during the eval. This corroborates the vehicle history report I got from the service center where the car was serviced which indicated that the 12V battery failed inspection at 81K miles but the owner decided not to replace it. The owner drove 13K miles in 6 months before trading in the car to the dealer without changing the battery which makes me wonder if it actually is fine or if it's liable to fail any day.

    If the dealer is willing to address all the items besides the antenna and the 12V battery, should I take the deal and not press on the battery? Would anyone take the deal and pay out of pocket to replace the battery out of pocket as a precaution or drive the car until the battery fails (the salesman claimed a Prius is easy to jump if you know how to do it)? I am leaning towards the latter but could easily be talked out if it by a wiser person.

    Thanks for any advice. I am close to making a decision and value everyone's input!
     
  14. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    I don't believe the 12v battery would be the deal breaker, push comes to shove, they'll give you a new one because you have proof that it's no good.

    What about 2nd key?

    SM-N900P ?
     
  15. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    3. The antenna base is pretty easy to replace, it broke on my 2004 because I went backwards in a carwash and the antenna snapped off. It is necessary to access the antenna base by freeing up the edge of the ceiling liner at the rear of the car. I bought a used antenna base at autobeyours.com for a very reasonable price, don't remember the price now but it was in the low two-digits.
    7. Budget ~$200 to replace the 12V battery if you DIY install. There are many posts about how to do that, what your choices are, etc. The battery is probably in marginal condition, where if you drive it daily and cover the distance that the prior owner did, then the battery will remain in "good enough" condition. However if you park the car at the airport for two weeks, you'll probably come back to a dead battery. Or if you drive the car less frequently than the prior owner you may experience a no-start incident. It would be best for you to replace the battery sooner vs. later.

    I would not let either item prevent the transaction, if you were satisfied with the test drive and price, and the dealer corrects the other items. OK with resurfacing the front rotors, that is a common service practice.

    I suggest you require the agreed-to items to be repaired, prior to taking vehicle delivery. That will ensure a high priority for the repairs to be performed. Good luck with your purchase.
     
  16. Ccc01

    Ccc01 New Member

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    Sounds like there is consensus on the battery issue and we are ok to go forward as is. The salesman said he would talk to this manager about programming the 2nd key for free if I bought the part. So it would be $150 + tax for the key and I would save $130 on the programming, which seems to be a reasonable compromise provided the manager approves it.
     
  17. ETC(SS)

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

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    Your sales person and the manager are crooks
    You'll want to avoid this dealership for service with extreme prejudice if/when you buy the car.
    I'd bet my CPO coin that the fob doesn't cost the dealership $150, and the idea of him having to ask permission from the manager is a crock.
    I agree with them about resurfacing the front pads vice replacing them. It sounds like this car was parked for a while. I'm a little curious about the left mirror AND lamp assy. being broken, not to mention the antenna.
    It smells like an unreported incident like a sideswipe that was fixed without an accident report or insurance claim., but that's not a deal killer.
    There's a reason that they do not appear to be running the usual CPO scam on this car and that might be it.
    The aux (12v) battery, unlike the fob is a less trivial issue.
    As stated above, I'd budget a $200 Optima unit and replace it myself, and tell them that the car comes with 2 fobs....period.
    Be prepared to walk if they keep stringing you along...or at least be prepared to not call them for a week.
    Just drop off the net for a few days and I promise they'll come around.

    It sounds like the CAR is mechanically sound with some minor, mostly cosmetic issues.
    It sounds like the dealership is trying to slow roll you into a deal that will still profit them well enough.
    Speaking of which....how much are they shanking you for the admin fees?
    Some dealers can go well over a hundred bucks for these fees, and they're VERY negotiable despite what the sales team will almost certainly tell you,
    Sometimes....even on the used side of the house, you will get an opportunity to fill out a lengthy customer satisfaction survey.
    Ask them if they do this and tell them that you're taking a creative writing class. :)
     
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  18. skruse

    skruse Senior Member

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    I own/drive a 2007 Touring Prius. At 150,000 mi, it consistently earns 50 mpg. I preventively just replaced the 12V battery - not because it failed, just to be prudent. I recently had dog fur removed from the rear hatch catch (our two Australian Shepherds ride in the rear w/ dog seat belts). I change the oil every 5,000 mi (synthetic Mobile 1 oil, an extra capacity Mobile oil filter).
     
  19. cliffmark1

    cliffmark1 Junior Member

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    I'd run an autocheck too.
     
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