Experienced Hybrid Driver - What to Look For? - Buying Prius

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by Artric, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. Artric

    Artric Junior Member

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    Howdy!

    I’ve owned two G1 Insights (used to hypermile up to 130MPG+), one Civic Hybrid ‘07 very briefly (totaled after one month) and I’m now driving an ‘07 Escape Hybrid with 230k+ miles on it. I also was one of the first to build and sell grid chargers almost a decade ago for the Insight.

    By no means bragging, ha!

    But I have the opportunity to buy a 2006 Prius in great shape with less than 80k miles, one owner, under $4k! The only thing is... I’ve never even driven a Prius.

    I’d appreciate any tips on what to look for when checking it out. I know Hondas will do positive/negative re-cals when the battery is weak. But they’ll run great with a crap battery. I even removed and ran an Insight without one for a bit! But the Prius is toast without it...

    I trust who I’m buying it from. He pics up cars at auctions and sells them quick vs sitting on them and milking them for top dollar. I’ve already bought a few from him. This car was 201 of 202 on the auction block and most people were done for the day, so he’s able to get his usual markup and still sell it dirt cheap.

    Please let me know what the first things you’d look for and anything that might throw up red flags for a Prius guru. Veeeerrrry much appreciate any help I can get! I’m a single dad of two every day and don’t have time to deal with a lemon. :)

    I’ll post some pics and other info shortly...
     
  2. Artric

    Artric Junior Member

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  3. Munpot42

    Munpot42 Senior Member

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    Spend a hundred bucks or so and get an evaluation of the mechanics of the car from a Toyota dealer.
     
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  4. Moving Right Along

    Moving Right Along Active Member

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    Common things that happen if a Prius battery is weak are battery charge cycling (sounds similar to how you described what Hondas do) so the display level goes from 1 bar (lowest) to 8 bars (highest) and back again every few minutes, the battery level will either be noticeably lower in the morning or will rapidly drop to 1 or 2 bars within a couple minutes of starting the car, and fuel economy will drop. Depending on cause for the weak or failing battery, you could also hear the battery fan behind the back seat running all the time.

    One good thing about the Prius in comparison to Honda models is it has lower overall battery failure rates. While Honda Civic Hybrid models had battery failure rates of 30% or more, Prii batteries very rarely fail at all until they're 10 years old or more, and then fail at rates of 3-15% (with the higher failure rates representing first gen Prii). You're much more likely to have issues with high-intensity discharge headlights if they're installed. Also, some Prii start burning oil around 100,000 miles, so it's worth it to check that out too. A common problem people have with a simple fix is a weak 12v battery. If the one in the car you're looking at is a 2006 original, it should probably be replaced.

    If you can, I'd agree with Munpot and get it inspected by a Toyota dealer. If everything looks okay and it doesn't have any of the problem signs described above, go for it!
     
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  5. Artric

    Artric Junior Member

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    Thanks for the response! I just got home with it a little earlier and I’m exhausted from driving all day. The battery doesn’t seem to have any obvious issues.

    I knew it wouldn’t be perfect, and at the price a lot could be forgiven. I pretty much committed to it before seeing it.

    It had been repainted, which is odd with the low miles. The whole thing. It looks good, but a bit of orange peel. Nobody would notice, but my longtime ex was a detailer and trained me to look for it.

    The interior could use a cleaning, mostly on the carpet. But the things that matter are good - the leather is good, with the exception of some kind of a transfer from a magazine or something on the passenger seat. I assume I should be able to fix it... hope so!!

    More thoughts later. Tired still ugh!
     
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  6. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    congrats! please update your info and keep us posted. all the best!(y)
     
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