Help decide what to do fixing 2 battery cells + head gasket? sell? keep?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by vanesa, May 19, 2022.

  1. vanesa

    vanesa Junior Member

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    2012 Prius
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    Two
    I bought my 2012 Toyota Prius back in August of 2021 right when I moved to LA. I bought it 190,210 miles for about $6800. Now in May of 2022, it's sitting at 203,510 miles. It's my daily and I also put ALOT of mileage for work. Keep in mind this is my first own car that I bought on my own. I go out of town sometimes and this is probably the 3rd time that once I turn it on after sitting in my garage for 1 week/2, it starts making noise. But this time, I got all the yellow dashboard lights on with "check hybrid system" message on it. I went to Auto zone and got the replace spark plugs solution as well as P0303 cylinder misfires detected (which the shop mechanic confirmed I have 3 of them that have misfires), and the codes C1259/C1310 HV malfunctions.

    Basically, my car's head gasket needs to be rebuilt completely due to the coolant leaking on the engine or something and the hybrid battery has 2 bad cells from what I am told. I was literally in shock because I went in March to get an oil change and got told I have a oil leak in the timing cover area, with low coolant and oil, nothing near to this degree. I went 3 weeks later to another shop to see about this oil leak and the severity since I had a mechanic guy from the dealer that I bought the car from who basically was gonna charge me $340 to fix this timing cover oil leak and then flaked. This other shop inspected and it basically told me there’s nothing to fix urgently rn cus it’s barely leaking and it’s be $1995 to fix with the right labor/parts but it’s not needed at all with the amount of oil leaking. With that being said, I went to the local shop near me in LA who gave me the quotes for the following.

    - Head gasket (rebuild heads): price: $3500 + tax

    - HYB Battery (2 year warranty, 1 yr warranty on labor): Price: $2284+tax

    - A/C Filter (very dirty, was told that there were rodents under here probably when it was sitting in my garage, this alone is making me want to sell the car): Price: $39 + tax

    - Sway bar end links: price: $236.56 + tax

    - Rear shocks (blown) : price: $525.60 + tax

    - Wipers

    - Transmission service (fluid dirty): price: $139.95 tax

    Now luckily, the shop mechanic who checked all of it gave me the number of his friend who is able to fix the head gasket completely for $2100 and can fix the 2 bad cells in my battery (the rest are completely fine from what he showed me on his reading) for $450. This totals it out to $2550 for repair on the two most important things. The guys at the shop said they can fix the other things for a lower costs if I decide to go ahead and fix the gasket/battery but it'd be stupid of me to fix it which I lowkey agree with them when I first got their quote. The mechanic friend was saying that the battery will be fixed, not completely replaced, and it could last 2 or 3 more years or 6 or 8 months who knows, he says from experience it can be either/or and from reading on reddit, it sounds like the risk is truly unknown.

    Looking at my options, my dad said we could sell it after probably (the mechanic though was like why would u sell it if we just repair it) lol , the guy sounds like the head gasket getting completely fixed is the most important part which I do believe so, since I have 1 bad cell sitting at 14.03 or something and another cell he mentioned too but the rest are up to par at 16. To summarize, there's a $1400 difference in getting the head gasket fixed with the price $3500 from the shop (which the mechanic friend said will be fixed good as new, but from what he can tell it looks like mine has never been touched so idk if it will need all the other things like spark plugs, water pump etc). But with all the other things like the rear shocks etc, I'm looking to see how I can finesse selling the car after the battery/head gasket are repaired. Or what even is the best way to approach this honestly.

    Any thoughts on replacing 2 bad cells vs getting a whole new battery? With my car at 200k miles, it's already having multiple issues after only owning it for 9 months. I'm thinking of selling the car and going for a Honda Civic that is much more reliable, I couldn't really get past the fact the Prius would have issues if I don't drive it for 2~ weeks. Keep in mind also, if I get these things repaired in next weekend. I will have to get all these other things fixed and I will be away in Europe for 17 days in June. I'm scared it will act up again only having fixed the battery cells and not the whole thing itself. Any advice on what to do would be greatly appreciated. My parents don't own hybrids and I dont know shit about cars except just reading on reddit about my situations.

    Tldr: repair 2 hybrid battery cells and replace head gasket and sell it with minor exterior issue or sell it as is to avoid time wasting and throwing more money at it. Thank you!
     
    #1 vanesa, May 19, 2022
    Last edited: May 19, 2022
  2. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Underfoot

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    Vehicle:
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    If you keep the car and do the head gasket replacement, follow up with a complete Exhaust Gas Recirculation cleaning. This entails several EGR specific components, between the exhaust header and the intake manifold, AND the intake manifold EGR itself, paying particular attention to the small EGR passages (one at each port. Also clean out the intake ports while the intake manifold is off. There's a "purported" corellation between clogged EGR and head gasket failures. More info in first link and second link in my signature.

    For the head gasket replacement: Toyota makes a gasket "kit" which includes head gasket and virtually all the other o-rings, gaskets and seals in the engine. Also, it's good to replace the head bolts: they can be reused if within specs, but new is better. There's a couple of relevant links in my signature, saying "cylinder head". The attachment has the gasket kit and head bolt part no's.

    For the battery, I believe dealerships are selling them for between $1600 and $2000 USD. Installed by them is more expensive, but worth considering: no finger-pointing if there's problems, and I believe it then has 3 year warranty.

    An alternative is New Prius Batteries, $1600 USD, shipped anywhere in the contiguous States I believe. Thread says gen 2, but they have gen 3 as well:

    Prius Battery Replacement (GenII) Like you've never seen - NEW Cylindrical Cells | PriusChat
     

    Attached Files:

  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    if you have the money, sell and buy a corolla or similar
     
    Mendel Leisk likes this.
  4. CR94

    CR94 Senior Member

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    Assuming you trust the mechanic to do a good job, that looks like your best option to me. Most of the other stuff can be postponed or fixed for much lower prices than you listed. Can you buy any reliable used car that meets your needs and isn't needing repairs for $2600?
     
  5. Mr. F

    Mr. F Member

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    Location:
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    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
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    There are a few common issues with an ageing Gen 3 Prius, with the associated cost of parts in parentheses right after:
    1. failed head gasket ($260)
    2. failing accumulator ($700), ABS actuator ($710)
    3. failing HV battery modules ($40/module, or $1600-2100 for new battery)
    You already have two of these, and should expect the third sometime soon as well. The reason I mention it is so you can factor in the cost of fixing all these issues when deciding whether to keep or sell. For someone who is mechanically inclined, and has the time and perseverance (and tools), all of these and more could be fixed at home without ever having to visit a repair shop. This way you know the job is done right, and pay nothing for labor (which is usually a major cost of repairs). For instance, the head gasket and 2 battery modules cost only ~$340 in parts, and ~$2210 in labor.

    But if DIY is not an option, going with a trusted mechanic as CR94 suggested is a good bet. Once the faulty parts have been replaced, the car is extremely reliable again for 120,000 miles, or even more if regular maintenance is carried out.
     
  6. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Plan A: Sell as-is, you can probably get $5k from the right sucker.

    Plan B:

    Do the head gasket (you are likely to find several qualified shops willing to do it for close to the $2100 you've heard already)
    Do the EGR cleaning that Mendel suggests
    Do the shocks & links
    skip all that noise about battery repair and get a genuine new one from Toyota. Yes you can patch up battery packs with individual cell replacement and it helps for a while but... it's kind of like making a replacement window out of the broken shards of the original. Kinda works but lame.

    Then the car will be worth closer to $9k (in this insane market of the moment) whether sold or kept...
     
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