Hybrid battery replacement - refurb or new?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by ARPrius, Dec 22, 2014.

  1. ARPrius

    ARPrius New Member

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    My 2008 Prius has some hybrid battery issues. According to the Toyota place, cell 2 has gone bad. A new battery will cost around $3100 out-the-door.

    I can get a refurb from Mile High Hybrid for around $1800 out-the-door.

    Both options give me a one year warranty.

    I drive from Arvada to Idaho Springs, CO every workday so the battery gets a full discharge on the drive up and a full charge on the way back down. Mile High Hybrid said that that kind of driving is tough on the hybrid batteries and can lead to unbalanced cells.

    The original battery has given me around 120,000 miles, of which only around 32,000 miles have been to and from the mountains each day.

    My dilemma is whether the cash savings of a refurb over new will save me money in the long term? How likely is a refurb battery failure given my driving habits over a new battery?

    I'd appreciate any opinions.

    Charlie
     
  2. nh7o

    nh7o Off grid since 1980

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    The new vs. refurb question is something for which we would all like a definitive answer. So far the results for the refurbed batteries seems to be mixed, with some failing too soon, others OK. The Prius refurb battery business is still rather new.

    The Toyota battery is new, so the one year warranty is not a concern. It should last as long as the original. The one year warranty on the refurb is more salient. If cash is tight, you would be forced to go that way, and see how it turns out. If your battery needs attention after 13 months, how will you feel? If you don't want to do any of the work yourself, then I would say go with the new battery. If you want to try an experiment, get the hybrid battery charger (sold in PC store Hybrid Battery Preventative Maintenance Grid Charger for 2004-2009 Toyota Prius - PriusChat Shop) and try equalizing the cells.
     
  3. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    I suppose the simple answer is "new" is better.
    But since the warranty is the same as with a refurbished-One Year, you are still rolling the dice with a new battery. You can hopefully expect similar durability and life , but unfortunately Toyota doesn't give you the "New Prius" Hybrid Battery warranty with purchase of a new battery, only a minimal 1 year coverage.

    I would personally base my decision on a few things.

    #1. The reputation of the place you are purchasing the refurbished battery from. Have you found any reviews or information about the place you intend to buy the refurbished battery from? Any reputable place, that has done any significant amount of business should have online reviews posted somewhere. I'd want to be confident that I'm buying a properly refurbished battery from an outfit with experience that does back their product.

    #2. How much longer do you wish or intend to keep your Prius? If you're looking to trade it in in 3 years or less? Then I think I'd definitely go with the more economic option. If you aren't looking to put another 132,000 miles on your Prius and get another additional 7 years or more life? Then the "potential" longer life of a new battery doesn't seem worth the expenditure to me.

    #3. What condition would you rank the rest of the vehicle? Has it been well maintained? Is it otherwise in good/great condition? How much you want to continue to invest, would be tied to how much more you project you might have to invest in other maintenance issues over the next X number of years. If you are looking at needing suspension work, tires, maybe even engine repair? Then again, I don't know if I'd invest the extra money into the only "maybe" better long term option of new.

    Off Topic #4.

    Your profile says you are driving a 2008. Your hybrid battery failure at only 7 model years old isn't typical of most Prius. You are only 20,000 miles past the warranty. Some people have contacted Toyota directly and been lucky enough to have Toyota assist them in a pro-rated cost of replacement. You might try this with the attitude that it doesn't hurt to ask. You don't have much of a case if they simply say Too Bad....but you also have nothing to lose.
     
  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i would go with new on an '08, if i were going to hang onto it. the rebuilds have been iffy, although there is no official data. if you do go rebuilt, check out the company thoroughly, there are some iffy rebuilders as well.

    the problem is, there are many ways to skin a cat, and they don't all equal the same outcome. all the best!(y)
     
  5. goldfinger

    goldfinger Active Member

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    As a third option you could get a used battery from a yard. Just make they have a return policy.
     
  6. scotty80

    scotty80 Junior Member

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    My hybrid battery needed replacement and I considered a lot of options, but ended up getting a brand new replacement battery from the dealer. They gave me a good deal at $2070 plus tax, and I replaced it myself. When I looked at all the refurb options I didn't like the fact that there wasn't anything preventing another failure in a year, and I'd be messing with it again. This way I should be good for another 9 years or so. The car has 168,000 miles.
     
  7. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    good move and a great price!(y)
     
  8. scotty80

    scotty80 Junior Member

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    Thanks bisco. They also didn't charge me for the core ($1350) because he said the paperwork to do that is a pain. The parts guy trusted me to bring it back and that helped enhance my experience with this dealer. I was also pleased that everything worked perfectly right from the get-go after I made the change. Other stories here explained problems with throwing codes, etc.
     
  9. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    The guy trusted you to bring back $1350? Good thing it wasn't his money
     
  10. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    The dealer core price was $1,350, but the actual cost to the dealer was $200 which is the credit the dealer would get by returning the failed battery to Toyota.

    So by taking a risk on $200, the dealer gains a highly-satisfied parts customer. Not to mention the profit made on the new traction battery parts sale which probably was close to $1K.
     
  11. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    Are you saying the price of the hv battery can be purchased by the dealer for close to $1100? He only paid $2070.

    The motivation didn't seem to be satisfying the customer, it is more to avoid the paperwork on the core, which is a pain. This inadvertently lead to the customer being happy with their experience of not forking over the $1350.
     
  12. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    MSRP of the battery has now increased to $3,236 according to the AutoNation Toyota Gulf Freeway parts website, and their price is $2,427:
    2004 Toyota Prius Parts - AutoNation Toyota Gulf Freeway Parts

    The OP got a great price at $2,070. My guess is that the dealer cost of the battery ranges from $1,100 to $1,600 given the MSRP. It wouldn't surprise me that the retail markup would be 2x - 3x over wholesale.
     
  13. ericbecky

    ericbecky Hybrid Battery Hero

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    Getting a new or quality rebuilt battery is really up to you.

    Depends on the cost differential as well as whether you'll be keeping the car, too.
    Most dealers, if they will sell a pack at all, are going to have a cost more near $2,500, plus the refundable $1,350 core fee.
    Unfortunately, there are some dealers who will not sell them to customers. I just ran into this in Kentucky the other day.

    Through my shop I have sold both new and quality rebuilds. Each customer's situation is different. Feel free to give me a call if you want some personal advice. If nothing else, I can at least help steer you away from the not-so-good rebuilders. (Like the guy who sells Spicy Sausage and horror movies as well as rebuilt batteries. True story!)
     
  14. kinglew

    kinglew Member

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    Dorman battery 1307 3 year warranty unlimted miles.shipping included both ways solid warranty from solid company.installed mine in oct over 3000 miles ago happy
     
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  15. Yakoma

    Yakoma Active Member

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    Good news, Lew...looking forward to hearing updates about your Dorman battery and its longevity. This price seems unbeatable.
     
  16. kinglew

    kinglew Member

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    3400 miles 3 months now works great just like new
     
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