Don't Buy a 3rd Gen Prius! - Blown headgasket at 233k

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by Absalom, Feb 13, 2019.

  1. Absalom

    Absalom Junior Member

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    Another statistic here. Driving the Prius on a cool winter day when I start getting bad vibrations from a stop. I pull the codes and it's a misfire in cylinder 2. Pop the hood and coolant is running low.

    This came not two weeks after dropping a boatload of cash on a new hybrid battery. I just came here to vent; it's a shame Toyota couldn't build this car to not blow HG's.
     
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  2. The Critic

    The Critic Resident Critic

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    The car has 233K. What do you expect? Cars do not last forever. Every car is built for a specific lifespan.
     
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  3. Absalom

    Absalom Junior Member

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    Headgaskets aren't a consumable item. I'd expect wear and tear items to break. 233k used to not be considered high for a Toyota, as evidenced by my 300k 4runner, 335k LX470, and 298k Sequoia. I suppose I should adjust (read: lower) my standards for the new breed of Toyota. Disappointed.
     
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  4. cnc97

    cnc97 Senior Member

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    I bought my Gen 3 right at 11 months ago, with 209k. At day 94, it hand grenaded due to a blown head gasket. So IF you are the DIY type, and have a free weekend, you can repair it yourself. If not the DIY type, it sucks.

    I get it that no one likes spending money on repairs, but at 233k, it’s inevitable that something would go wrong.
     
  5. The Critic

    The Critic Resident Critic

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    I think a some of the Toyota’s from the 90s and early 2000s were very overbuilt. But truck platforms are also a slightly different animal.

    From an industry standpoint, most cars are built for a lifespan of 150-200K. I tell folks on a regular basis that once you pass 200K, anything is fair game. You have to be very careful about sinking serious money into cars at high mileage; it is rarely economically feasible unless you are doing the work yourself.
     
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  6. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    agree, the times they are a changing
     
  7. The Critic

    The Critic Resident Critic

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    Headgasket DIY video:



    It isn’t a terrible job. But I would do a much better job of cleaning the mating surfaces and be more precise in your RTV application than the guy who made the video.
     
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  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    a lot of corolla's, camry's and avalons used to go hundreds of thousands of miles without needing major repairs.
    maybe toyota finally realized their mistake.
     
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  9. cnc97

    cnc97 Senior Member

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    Yes this is 100% accurate. I agree
     
  10. Absalom

    Absalom Junior Member

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    I'm the DIY type, but I don't trust rebuilt motors. Just going to pickup a wreck low mileage 2015 at auction and swap the entire drive train over - and then sell the thing. If I do the math on the cost of ownership for this car vs. a standard Corolla, I just don't see the value. Especially when you factor in HV batteries, EGR nonsense, and apparently the inevitable >250k blown HG.

    It's my fault, I should reel in my expectations of what post 2010- Toyota is capable of. It's sad, as it diminishes the once tremendous amount of respect I had for the brand.
     
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  11. The Critic

    The Critic Resident Critic

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    How many miles did you get out of the car before the battery failed?

    If you got 150k+ without issues, then the car was well-engineered.

    As a comparison, I have a 2012 Mercedes here with 83k that needs a $4k repair. Now that is a real problem...
     
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  12. Absalom

    Absalom Junior Member

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    A battery is a consumable item though. I guess I just lose confidence knowing that a non-consumable item could fail at a relatively low (by my standards) mileage. I couldn't care less if it were ball joints, alternator, shocks, plugs, coils, etc -- as though are all completely consumable items.
     
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  13. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    people are split on this subject, must be frame of reference
     
  14. Absalom

    Absalom Junior Member

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    Agreed, and I certainly don't wish to cause dissension among the ranks. I guess I've always put Toyota on a pedestal as the "INVINCIBLE Car Company" and my confidence just received a big slap in the face. That and I'm a little bummed, I really did enjoy driving the Prius, and am sad to have it sit on the side yard whilst the LS moves up to daily driver :/

    On an unrelated note, while I wait for my ideal donor to come along at auction, what precautions should I take with the HV battery? Should I disconnect the orange safety plug?
     
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  15. Grit

    Grit Senior Member

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    Did you buy this used or new? And what were the service maintenance record like oil change interval, engine oil brand used, etc.
     
  16. Lino

    Lino Member

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    There is definitely something not right with this engine, blowing head gaskets is not part of wear and tear.
    Head gaskets blow from over heating.
    I always maintained my prius, never overheated and my head gasket blew at 280k
     
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  17. Jimi1976

    Jimi1976 Active Member

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    No car company, or model, is “invincible”, as you say.

    233k miles is a good life for any car.....
    Sort of a waste of your hate if you ask me.

    How long had she been drinking coolant before the motor cooked?
     
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  18. Absalom

    Absalom Junior Member

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    Agreed completely. A blown HG should, IMO, only be a direct result of overheating which should only occur as a result of poor maintenance.

    Apologies for the using the superlative "invincible", when what I meant was head and shoulders above the competition in terms of avoiding catastrophic disasters like these.

    The car was never low on coolant (under my ownership) before the HG blew. From my understanding, that's typical failure mode for an interior gasket compromise. Coolant makes its way from the water jacket, through the gasket, and into the cylinder. It's this action that consumes the coolant.

    Now, I would be much less frustrated if the car had overheated as a result of a leak that I had failed to correct and then ultimately blown a HG.

    There's no hate coming from me. There is frustration and disappointment. And I respectfully disagree; I believe as consumers we should hold OEMs to higher standards, and we should be less tolerant of an OEM scaling back the level of "over-engineering" in an effort to move more cars. If this were a GM or Chrysler or (insert sub-par OEM here), then I would agree that 233k miles is a "good life". It's just that Toyota has set the bar so high in the past, that I've come to expect better.
     
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  19. orenji

    orenji Senior Member

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    Your disappointed because a head gasket went on a car with 230k plus miles?!
     
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  20. Absalom

    Absalom Junior Member

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    Yes
     
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