Does this used Prius raise any red flags?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by angerybacon, Nov 13, 2016.

  1. angerybacon

    angerybacon New Member

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    Hi all, first time car buyer here.

    I'm looking for a used Prius and I've been scouring Craigslist for weeks. I'm having a hard time gauging which ones are "good deals". Barely missed a 2006 with 103k going for $4800. I'm now looking at a 2008 with 142k that's going for $4995. Haven't gotten a Carfax quite yet, since the dealer was closed today and I'm planning on asking them to purchase it.

    My question is, it seems like it's a little too cheap for a 2008, especially with all the fancy stuff it comes with (backup camera, Bluetooth, etc). I haven't been able to call the shop because they're closed on weekends. Is it too good to be true? Possibly have a hidden accident? What's your gut?

    Also, is 142k too many miles to buy a used Prius? It's definitely on the higher end for any other car, but I'm seeing a lot of optimism on here about how what matters for a Prius is how old the car is, rather than how many miles it's gone.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    Buy the best car you can afford, don't buy the absolute cheapest. These cars can be money pits.

    If you don't want to have many issues, lower the mileage, the better. The car is only designed to go 180k miles
     
  3. angerybacon

    angerybacon New Member

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    My budget is around 4.5k (though I could go for more -- I just don't want to! ;)) so maybe that's just too low in general to be looking for a decent Prius? Seems like these cars really either save you a lot of money or drain your wallet. The same thing can probably be said for many other cars, though.

    I didn't know that bit about being built to last only 180k -- that's really interesting! Do you have a source so I can read more about it?
     
  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    welcome! odds are, a prius will last a long time. but we have no scientific studies, just what we read here and a few places that track quality like consumer reports.
    no one can tell you what will happen to an individual car. if you're a serious diy'er, you can do most things from a salvage yard on the cheap. if you need a dealer to replace your a/c compressor for instance, you're looking at a few thousand dollars. that hurts when you've only invested $4,500.
    all the best!(y)
     
  5. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    If a car can go 180k miles reliably, it's already considered a very good car. That's not a small number of miles.

    Many have prius cars that are way beyond that mileage, however it does not mean it's been smooth sailing for that car beyond that point. When a manufacture designs a car, it has a certain reliability goal, and on a prius, it's suppose to be reliable up to 180k.

    Parts that normally require replacement could be any of the following expensive repairs.

    Engine
    Transaxle
    Ac compressor
    Hv battery
    Electronic inverter
    Electronic braking errors
    Any ecu failure
    Struts/shocks
    Mfd or combination meter failure
    And the list goes on....
     
  6. bikes4u

    bikes4u Member

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    no red flags. I would get the newest Prius as it seems that age has more to do with the cause with problems on these cars than miles.

    You may want to punch in the VIN numbers on Toyota's website to get a history of maintenance on the car done at Toyota or just take it in and have them do a check on it and have them give you a readout of the problem code history and maintenance history.
     
  7. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    Your WA warranty on the hybrid batt is 8-yr 100k miles so you're over. So you might want to know where this car is from, as heat tends to be hard on the batts.
     
  8. JimN

    JimN Let the games begin!

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    Read through http://www.carbuyingtips.com and download the sales brochures for every car of interest so you can see what was or wasn't available. Many vehicles are not accurately described. It's up to you to be knowledgeable.

    Are you using cars.com as a reference?

    The backup camera was standard through 2009.

    I believe as owners we are a loyal lot. Why would the owner sell the car just because it is 10 years old and the last of the warranty has expired? The older the car and the higher the miles the greater the probability of needing an expensive repair.
     
    fotomoto likes this.
  9. angerybacon

    angerybacon New Member

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    From the Toyota Owners service history, it looks like the car was in Montana before arriving in WA. Regular visits for lube/oil/filter/"courtesy visual inspection" every 3 months for around 2 years, until 2010. A visit is recorded only once every 2 years thereafter, and no info at all on the last 80,000 miles. Must have gotten their maintenance done (if at all) elsewhere. Still waiting for a Carfax, which is probably the most crucial piece of info to take into consideration at this point...

    Thanks for all the info. If anyone else has any input, would love to hear.
     
  10. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    Red flags all over, best to stick with in state cars
     
  11. bikes4u

    bikes4u Member

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    We would drive to Montana from Washington all the time when I lived in WA they are really close and people are known to move from one to the other quite a bit so that isn't too big a deal but yah going 80k without any check ins to Toyota does sound odd but that may not be too bad to me it indicates low probability of a failed HV battery since most would take it to a dealer to be checked if the battery goes bad.

    Check with the owner for any maint. records and check the Carfax
     
  12. perry470

    perry470 Junior Member

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    I strongly urge you to test drive it and do NOT make the decision on the same day. This is crucial. Go home and then draw up the pros and cons of the test drive experience. Go back the next day or couple days later and test drive it again. If your gut feeling still tells you to buy it, then go ahead.
     
  13. Kenrico

    Kenrico Member

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    You are doing the right thing , pick your preferences (mine are aux in and back up camera - leather or softex is bonus ) .

    BUT judge each car on its merit - car fax to see history , and such .

    For me I will look at almost any Prius - but if it is OUT of hybrid batt warranty (carb state car gets bonus) I cost $2500 for a dealer batt in my offer ... needless to say I learned that the hard way.

    Even with $2.50 ish gas the prices in the west on these is still 'above market' .

    Kenny
     
  14. JimN

    JimN Let the games begin!

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    My dealer sends email notices every so often "Prius is past due for maintenance". As I don't bother to update my service history on the owners website they have no idea when my oil was changed or by who.

    Going to a dealer for an oil change doesn't guarantee the correct oil was used or that it was even changed. All it proves is that the car visited the dealer and someone created a record in the database.

    Is the engine compartment too clean or too dirty? Does the oil look thick and black or thin and yellowish? Are there any crusty red leaks around or on the hoses? Are the fluids topped off?

    As I live on a border, crossing a state line wouldn't be much of a concern unless the border is between a CARB state and a non-CARB state. The remaining balance of the CARB warranty has some value.
     
  15. 05PreeUs

    05PreeUs Senior Member

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    Mileage sets the top price that can be expected, condition and records determine how close to that the car sells for.

    Top of the market locally, based on the information provided, would be $4500 from a dealer (NO sedans are selling for anything over high trade around here): 2008 Toyota Prius Liftback 5D Prices, Values & Prius Liftback 5D Price Specs | NADAguides

    So if it has rear cam, Bluetooth and in EXCELLANT condition, they are being reasonable.
     
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