How to best extract value from '04 with failing traction battery?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by QuantumMechanic, May 28, 2019.

  1. QuantumMechanic

    QuantumMechanic New Member

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    (Mods: if this is considered too close to a "for sale" post and needs to be deleted, I understand.)

    I have a 2004 Prius with around 166,000 miles. Up until now it has run fine the entire time. However, the exterior has seen quite a bit of wear, shall we say, and according to various used car sites I could probably only expect to get $1000 or so for it.

    We've been noticing a bit of potential traction battery wonkiness for a week (seemed to be charging and discharging a bit too fast). But yesterday All The Warnings started coming on. Red triangle on dash, check engine light, red car silhouette icon on the touchscreen, etc. and the battery is charging/discharging even faster. Stopped by an independent mechanic quickly to check codes and they said it was a hybrid system code (they told me the code but I forgot it :( ) and said I'd need to take it to a dealer for further investigation.

    The timing of this is actually good -- we just signed a contract for a 2019 Prius XLE AWD-e which should be delivered in a week or two.

    But that means we're not interested in getting a new battery -- what's the point of spending $1500+ for the battery and labor beyond that when the car is only worth about $1000 even when it's fixed? Likewise, I doubt many/any "regular" people would be interested in buying the car in its current state for the same reason.

    So I was wondering if there are people out there looking for Gen 2 Priuses to either do the battery work themselves or to harvest the car for parts? I live in the Boston area, so if anyone knows about Prius clubs or individuals who might be interested in something like that I'd love to hear about it.

    I'd really hate to just junk or donate the car because I think it has a bunch more miles left in it if the battery were replaced.
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i think your best bet is to put a new battery in and sell it. you'll likely find more buyers who want a good running car than those looking for a project.

    and when the car is throwing codes, you can tell people it needs a battery, but they have no way to be sure.

    a 2004 in good condition with a new battery is a great vehicle for someone. the rest of it is built like a tank.
     
  3. QuantumMechanic

    QuantumMechanic New Member

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    I hear what you’re saying, but here’s the thing...

    If I just junk it/donate it I get $0 from the car.
    If I spend $2000 (or more?) to purchase and install a battery it still looks like I’d only be able to get about $1500 at best selling it (there’s a lot of exterior wear on it)— so I’d get *negative* $500 from the car which is a worse outcome than just giving it away.
     
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  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    yeah, it sounds like your best bet is taking the best offer as is, parts car or otherwise. it's a shame really, could be a nice car for someone.
     
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  5. egg_salad

    egg_salad Active Member

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    I would say it depends on your ethics. We here at PC all know what a bad idea it is to replace one or two battery modules to get the lights to go away, but there are certainly shops that will be more than happy to do that for you for a few hundred dollars.

    Your car is effectively worth close to zero as it sits. If you put $500 into it and sell it for $1500, you're a grand ahead.

    If you can sleep at night.
     
  6. ETC(SS)

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

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    Why not sell it as is/where is in the sales section of this forum?

    Somebody somewhere would kick over 1,000 for the car....or maybe even a little more.
    ME for example if I were closer....

    If you have a lot of time on your hands, a place to part it out and an eBay account (or, again, this forum's sales section) then you could potentially get much more than $1000 for the car, but then your time, like mine and everybody else's is not worth $0.

    You could also repair the battery pack yourself for much less than the price of a new unit and keep the car as a spare - (not dump it on some unsuspecting buyer without advising them about the battery) but then you would have insurance and tags to pay for.
    VERY cheap here.
    Maybe not so much there.

    In the end, there's not much residual value left in your car, which means that you have already squeezed much of the juice out of this orange.

    Time perhaps.....to use the rind for some orange zest or just get rid of it.

    Your call.


    My advice:
    Try to sell it in the forum.



    Good Luck!
    Let us know how it shakes out!
     
    #6 ETC(SS), May 28, 2019
    Last edited: May 28, 2019
  7. psymon100

    psymon100 Junior Member

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    Yes, it's a dilemma.
    If the gen 2 was going to be your daily driver moving forward for the next couple of years, then I think replacing the battery is the way to go. New battery will extend the cars lifespan plenty.
    But you have a new car on the way, even if your gen 2 were running once you get your new car will this gen 2 sit around most of the time? If yes, a new battery in a gen 2 just sat around will be abysmal. However, if you have a family member who needs an economical car ... well because they're family you might be prepared to let the car go a little bit cheaper, and because of that cheapness they can afford to replace the battery, so they end up with a super reliable economical car. I guess what I'm saying is replacing the battery is one thing but to keep that battery good the car really should be driven fairly often.

    Tricky one that. If I had the problem I don't know anyone to sell it to, and I don't need two cars - I'd get rid of it. I think my strategy would be to try to find out if replacing the main battery really will fix everything, like if you can plug in another battery to test then take a photo to prove that a new battery will resurrect the beast. Or even if a Mechanic or Hybrid specialist will let you quote them that the Hybrid battery is all it needs - that might be enough. If you have service records proving everything else gets maintained I think that would help a lot. Then, I'd no-reserve auction the car, stating that the battery is the only fault, and indicating the cost to get it fixed. It's not gonna make you rich, but it could mean that someone out there buys it, fixes it, and drives the car for 10 years.

    Maybe these numbers will help, I bought my gen 2 with a currently working (~58% health) battery sight unseen on a no-reserve auction for $2131NZD - cheapest one I've ever seen in NZ. Just recently, a gen 2 with a knackered traction battery sold on a no-reserve auction for $750NZD. So in the NZ market the vehicle's worth ~35% of the full running costs when the main battery is dead. Maybe that will help to gauge what you'd get to the car selling it as is.
     
  8. Skibob

    Skibob Senior Member

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    So how bad is the body? Huge dents everywhere? Rust up to the door handles? Perhaps a few pictures are in order.
     
  9. MilkyWay

    MilkyWay Active Member

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    It's worth $1000 to $2000 with a bad hybrid battery (prob closer to 1k).

    It's worth $3000 to $3500 fixed.

    If you go on boston craigslist auto parts section and search different terms: "hybrid repair", "battery pack", "prius", etc. you'll find people that rebuild.

    Not from anywhere Boston but here are a few links I just came up with:
    Toyota Prius, Camry Hybrid Battery - auto parts - by owner - vehicle automotive sale

    2004-2009 Toyota Prius hybrid battery - auto parts - by owner - vehicle automotive sale

    2004-2005,2006-2009. Toyota prius hybrid battery - auto parts - by owner - vehicle automotive sale

    Moral of the story is you can dump your prius as-is for $1000 to $1500.

    Or you can put $700 into it (very cheap repair) and then sell it for $3000-$3500.

    My guy does it for $400 but maybe there is a premium "cost-of-living" inflation in Boston lol. Maybe they'll do it for 6?
     
  10. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    I've got two rebuilt loaner packs all charged up and ready to go... If I lived near you I'd so love to show up with a spare pack, pay a low, low price and less than an hour after swapping packs out drive your car away. Of course I don't live near you, but I'm sure if you listed it as a bad battery someone like myself will jump on it right away if the price is right. Other option would be a craigslist person who offers rebuilt packs with a warranty so you could resell the car with that warranty. As for replacing with a new pack, that's going to be the least cost effective strategy if your existing resale value is already low.
     
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  11. Samuel Williams Jr

    Samuel Williams Jr New Member

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    Don't give it to a "thrift story!!" They pretty much check nothing! And they will happy screw over someone that can least afford it! I don't know if you have "Pick and Pull's" where you are but if a car runs at all or well doesn't they will usually pay about $450 bucks for pretty much anything. :)

    If you don't have a second or maybe even a third car?? It's always good to have a "back up" because you know "Crap Happens!" It's always good If you have the space and can afford to do it right?? Keep the car and replace the "battery" at your leisure. If it turns out that you don't really think you need it all ... well then you can sale it, or you know give it to charity and you'd not be screwing someone over. Or sale it, the cost of the battery replacement or maybe slightly more??

    Or sale it as is, as a "parts car" with full disclosure! Not everyone does that ... but I would. If I ever actually sold ... anything. But I never sell uh anything! But my wife however ... often calls "Pick and Pull" for my uh ... "project cars." Now I gotta "buy" another PT Cruiser, because she sold the one we had with the engine and tyranny, I uh destroyed, my bad. :(

    But when I drive or uh have another one towed home ... that will show her! :)
     
    #11 Samuel Williams Jr, Jun 6, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2019
  12. frodoz737

    frodoz737 Top Wrench

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    Donate it to the local high school auto shop. The body guys learn, the mechanics learn, you get a tax deduction and problem solved. Hell...you might even feel good about doing it.
     
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