IN 10 months Used 2011 Prius Four - HUGE EXPENSES IN 1st Year!

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by Tyler Patches, Jul 8, 2019.

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  1. Tyler Patches

    Tyler Patches New Member

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    Hello,

    Vehicle:
    2011 Prius Four with deluxe solar moonroof pckage (paid 10k total and had 101k miles)

    I live in Irvine Orange County, CA and wanted to reach out for:
    -Advice/ Feedback why this happened and what I can/should do to avoid in the future?
    - Any recommended resources or websites with good info and/ or cheap prices (whole sale pricing for parts, repairs, mechanics, (private or franchise dealerships or online) etc....

    (2) Any advice on how to get better mpg at the very least!

    (3) My budget is 10k which limits me to used cars around 100k miles! I learned that Toyota improved a lot in 2012 - so far this is the only change I really know I should consider user making .... what else??

    My Situation:

    I took one year to finally Buy a used car (I have a very low income and needed to be as economical and reliable as possible)! I was a little nervous about buying a car with 100k miles but everyone I asked told me not to worry about it - even mechanics at private shops that I called!

    I bought the car at a private dealership and it was in excellent condition! ... Now I literally find myself crying in tears 1-2 times a week and I just CANNOT understand why but everything is breaking down and costing me so much money -almost $3,000 now and this is with me buying parts/supplies then just paying labor to save money! This isn’t related to servcices a dealer might use to make money and there is is really no one to blame for cause— DUE TO COMPLETE BREAKDOWN and/or FAILURE:

    1) DRIVER SIDE SEATBELT
    (After getting gas. I was fastening my seatbelt with normal force/pressure when it just malfunctioned and wouldn’t click. Took it to the dealer to see if they could just help me do a quick fix but they confirmed to me that a crucial part snapped off!)
    Cost: $123 with parts/labor

    2) HEADLIGHTS FAILURE
    (This was awful! In the middle of a long road trip, my headlights starting blinking and then just completely shut off! Cut my trip short and I am lucky I didn’t crash or get hit!)
    Cost: $165 was best price for labor/parts.

    3) 100 k mile services
    (This did include some Maintence services and also some replacement of parts, etc... I am so sad I didn’t think to ask about this from any dealer/salesperson but I made sure to only pursue the crucial items and I shopped around for best pricing)
    Cost: $304

    4) ELECTRIC STEERING FAILURE
    (Has to take it to a dealer to have it “re-calibrated”)
    Cost: $104 (I asked for a discount)!

    5) AUXILIARY BATTERY FAILURE
    (Not hybrid battery. Car wouldn’t start one morning when I was leaving for work! Ruined my day and had to replace the whole thing!
    Cost: $364

    6) FAILURE: POWER CHARGING OUTLET IN CENTER CONSOLE
    Cost: $95

    7) RIGHT FRONT AND RIGT YEAR WHEEL BEARINGS AMD HUBS ASSEMBLY
    Cost: $850
    - best price I could find! Dealer was asking $1,489 with a 20% off coupon I printed)!

    8) FRONT BRAKE PADS WORN OUT
    (I read so many peoples stories say they didn’t have to do this until 200k+ miles!!)
    Cost: $199

    9) STRUTS RUBBING AND BROKEN DOWN
    Cost: $475

    10) TIRES ON FRONT WHEEL (at 5 months) and TIRES FOR REAR WHEELS (7 months)
    (I learned that PRIUS needs low rolling resistance rubber compound tires to get appropriate mpg)
    Cost: $399

    11) ALIGNMENT
    Cost: $95

    12) SPARK PLUGS
    Cost: $230

    13) INVERTER SERVICE
    Cost: $160

    ** Also, I am only getting between 29 and 35 mpg! And I am driving a prius?? This also makes me break down and cry sometimes while I am paying for gas!
    (If you know of any way to get my nots higher, please share)!

    ——> I just can’t understand why all this happened to me because it goes against every expert and consumer review I read!! I am so desperate just to get out of this car but I am upside down and I can’t pay any money down to compensate so I am kind of stuck for now!

    Even mechanic at dealership said : “Yes you got a lemon!” FRUSTRATED BECAUSE I JUST CANNOT THINK OF ANY OTHER CAR I WANT BESIDES THE PRIUS!

    I do want a 2012 OR NEWER ONLY Because Toyota made some many improvements after 2011!

    BUT I also need to do everything I can do avoid this in the future. My mind just won’t rest because I can’t really see what I could have done better!
     
  2. Tyler Patches

    Tyler Patches New Member

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    I would also appreciate any resources for auto purchasing and financing with low credit (611) and upside down and unable to come up with money down??
    Everyone has turned me down! Any recommended like in house financing, franchise dealers, private dealers, purchasing online, best online listing of used cars searching listings on multiple websites all from just one search engine, Car Finders or Auto Brokers, Car consignment, taking over a lease or lease to own AND where to get wholesale pricing if you can’t attend a auction like loan companies, credit unions, etc...
     
  3. Pluggo

    Pluggo Active Member

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    It's a heartbreaking story, but welcome to PriusChat. Let's hope the worst of this is behind you now.
     
  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    welcome!

    sorry for your troubles. it sounds like you are seeing some common problems, but also getting ripped off by unscrupulous dealers for items that don't need work.

    call avi at hybrid fix and tell him the story. i think he can help you in the long run. a 2012 isn't going to be any better.
    he's a member here. great guy, honest, easy to talk to, worth the drive
     
    #4 bisco, Jul 8, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
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  5. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    This sounds like a flood vehicle that came to life
     
  6. Grit

    Grit Senior Member

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    Low income shouldn’t be driving 100,000 mi + Prius unless you or a friend who can DlY because your inheriting major maintenance to be done. Have someone car literate to inspect the next vehicle you want to buy, I believe half of the repairs/damages could have been spotted before buying.

    If $10000 is my budget, I’d get a corolla or Camry for $5,000 to $8,000 and save the rest for car rainy day fund.
     
    #6 Grit, Jul 8, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
  7. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    What's your usage pattern for the car? 29-35 is low compared to popular average, but normal for certain types of usage.
     
  8. James Powers

    James Powers Active Member

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    Not to add to your stress but also could potentially ease some of your stress.. I would suggest getting someone to clean out your EGR circuit. Cleaning this, will greatly improve your MPGs. But your mileage also goes with what @Leadfoot J. McCoalroller is pointing out. Your mileage is based on your driving habits.
     
  9. The Critic

    The Critic Resident Critic

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    As the others mentioned, this is simply the wrong car for your financial situation. At the end of the day, hybrids have the potential for higher operating costs for numerous reasons - and you are starting to see some of them.

    But since you already have the car, I would stick with it and find a way to make this manageable.

    Let's run thru this list together:

    1) This is not a known failure and is likely due to the prior owner of the car. The price you paid does not seem unreasonable.
    2) This one is a bit outrageous - are you not able to replace the bulbs yourself? It is not a difficult job on this car. There is also a warranty extension out for this issue.
    3) Seems reasonable for a dealer. You probably received an oil change, rotate, inspection, engine coolant and inverter coolant. All cars need scheduled maintenance.
    4) Zero point calibration probably wasn't performed after the last alignment (probably one where someone made some significant adjustments).
    5) Normal dealership price - 8 years is not a bad run for a 12V battery. Stop being so dramatic?
    6) Blown fuse or bad outlet? It is what it is if you have to pay someone to work on your car.
    7) This seems to be isolated. I still have all 4 original wheel bearings at 193K but there are plenty of other people who have had to replace their's. It is one of those things that can happen, but isn't a huge surprise; this is largely dependent on the condition of the roads in your area.
    8) My first set of front pads were replaced at 94K - this is dependent on driving conditions. $199 is a low-to-average price for new pads and machining the rotors....probably done outside of the dealer?
    9) Struts wear out. But what probably happened is that the dust boots disintegrated and someone pointed this out to your attention. I have seen these struts last for years with broken boots. Not an unreasonable repair recommendation, but not a critical one either (if failed boots is the only reason)
    10) All cars need tires. $400 for 4 tires is very average, if not a bit low.
    11) Normal, all cars need periodic alignments depending on the condition of your local roads. Also, I have a suspicion that #4 is related to this in some way. Was the alignment performed after the struts were replaced?
    12) Normal maintenance at 120K.
    13) Normal maintenance at 100K - guess this wasn't included in your 100K service pkg?

    Is this your first time owning a car?

    What you've experienced is normal upkeep and wear/tear items for a 100k+ mile car. Since it is clear that you are not interested (or are not able to) in maintaining the car yourself, you have to pay someone to do the work for you. That has a cost.

    I can't speak to your fuel economy issues but having spent a significant amount of time in your area, the mileage you are seeing is not unheard of if you have an extremely heavy foot or inefficient driving habits. Without a ride along, it is hard to say if the mileage issue is related to the driver or due to the vehicle.

    If this is too much for you to handle, perhaps you need to either start doing some of this work yourself....or maybe car ownership is not the right answer for your financial situation.
     
  10. bobzchemist

    bobzchemist Active Member

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    I feel for you, and I've been there. I'll try to give some advice. First, as @The Critic points out, you didn't get stuck with a lemon - but you did get hammered by a fair amount of deferred maintenance that the previous owner didn't do, and paid a premium for not doing the work yourself. There's a very strong possibility that you've already fixed anything that's going to go wrong for the next few years at this point. Also, you've protected the cars resale value - you would have gotten much less for the car when you go to sell it if you hadn't spent this money. And it sounds like the Prius is the best car you have access to at this point, given your low credit score.

    But he makes another good point - all cars, not just the Prius, need a decent amount of maintenance every year if they're going to last and perform properly. If you can't afford to set aside about $500/yr for maintenance, maybe you are going about owning a car the wrong way.

    The other way of owning a car on a minimal income is to use the beater method. Buy the cheapest little car you can find. Do nothing for repairs but change the oil. Drive it until it dies. Sell the car, possibly for scrap, and buy another one. Repeat as needed.
     
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  11. The Critic

    The Critic Resident Critic

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    If you want to see an example of a true money pit at low mileage, read my thread over on BITOG about replacing cam adjusters on a 2012 MB C250:

    2012 Mercedes-Benz C250 1.8L TGDI - P034062 - Cam Adjuster Repair - Bob Is The Oil Guy

    The dealer quoted the cam adjuster repair at $5500. Shortly after the cam adjuster repair, the high pressure fuel pump died which is a ~$1500 repair. Carmax offered $7k for the car on trade-in.

    In CA, you cannot sell a car that does not pass smog. Both of those issues were triggering a check engine light; if the check engine light is on, the car will automatically fail smog.

    From a financial perspective, my buddy would have been better off scraping the car instead of paying someone to repair it.

    The OP’s issues are minimal in comparison.
     
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  12. bobzchemist

    bobzchemist Active Member

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    True, but I feel for her. Reading between the lines a bit, she went out on a limb, took out a large loan, and paid more than the Prius she bought was truly worth, expecting that a $10,000 car would have nothing major go wrong for at least several years. My guess is that she didn't get an independent inspection, either.

    She was then blindsided by a number of repair charges, most of which she had no choice but to pay.

    Now, she's terrified that she's bought a lemon, which will mean that the car will need huge (to her) constant repair bills forever. What's worse is that she's now stuck with the Prius, since she owes more on the car than she can realistically expect to sell it for, and she can't get a car loan that would fold in the amount she's upside-down on the Prius, etc. I can see the panic in her posts. Fortunately for her, the people who told her she had a lemon were lying. My guess is that she'll need to hold on to the Prius for 5 years or so before she could get out from under that loan, though.

    If she'd asked on here, I think most of us would have discouraged her from buying a Prius - but she didn't, and I hope that we can help her make the best of the situation. I think we've given her enough information to show her that she didn't buy a lemon. There are two things that remain to be done on that car that will help it last longer. First is an EGR circuit/intake manifold cleaning, and the second is a transmission fluid change.

    Once those are done, recurring costs should be limited to oil changes, recommended service milestones, and a yearly or every-other-year alignment. I'd strongly recommend learning how to change the oil, as well.
     
  13. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i'm starting to get a funny feeling about this...
     
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  14. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    tyler?:whistle:
     
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  15. Siward

    Siward Member

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    Is OP a new used car buyer? Since the car is used, it is important to ask what maintenance/repairs was previously done on the car? Depending on the answer, the buyer has to expect to pay for it himself/herself and factor it in the purchase price.

    High mileage maintenance (I would expect to pay for these at 100k unless the seller has already done them):
    ENGINE COOLANT
    INVERTER COOLANT
    SPARK PLUGS

    I would have also asked the seller when was the last time wear and tear items were replaced prior to buying:
    BRAKES
    TIRES (the buyer should have inspected these as it is clearly visible)
    12V BATTERY
    WIPER BLADES

    The other repairs are harder to predict prior to purchase unless you can physically see damage (e.g. oil coming out of the strut or rips in strut boot or grinding noise due to wheel bearing). However, these repairs are somewhat expected when the car reaches high mileage:
    STRUTS
    WHEEL BEARING

    Another recommendation is to get a neutral inspection prior to buying to avoid surprises. I paid another Toyota dealership $150 to inspect my car when I bought it in 2014 which told me that my front pads were about 6-8mm thick. Those who can't tolerate any risk should consider extended warranty.

    OP did have some unexpected repairs though.
     
  16. Siward

    Siward Member

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    And the Prius doesn't need LRR tires unless you want 3-5% more mpg or so.
     
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  17. NewHybridOwner

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    Some of those items seem overpriced:

    12V battery ~$250 + 15 min. labor + disposal charge = $300 ?

    Spark plugs ~$50 + 30 min. labor = $100 ?

    ======

    To the OP: Stay away from the stealership and find yourself a good independent mechanic; ask a car-owner friend or colleague for a recommendation.

    Just this morning there was a story in my news feed (which I hid after I had read it and can no longer find) about an attempted major ripoff by a Subaru dealer concerning "necessary" maintenance on a fairly new car (including at least one item which, according to the maintenance schedule, never needs replacing).

    AND, as I have read in various places (perhaps including on PriusChat), the stealership's "service advisor" is a salesperson, whose job it is to get you to spend as much as possible.
     
    #17 NewHybridOwner, Jul 9, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
  18. tallprius

    tallprius Junior Member

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  19. tallprius

    tallprius Junior Member

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    I have the exact same type of Prius with 195,000 and am dealing with about 1/2 of your breakdowns. I have been fixing most things myself from you-tube videos. But I am also concerned about the future repairs - because my Prius has almost 200K ! I calm myself down by remembering my 200K prius looks new and is a safe, quiet car with comfort, nice audio, nav system and solar roof.

    Your front bearing failure is odd at 100k but can happen with any car. Those front the struts failed after 10 years and 100k miles which also normal for any auto. Those (Prius) struts, bearing and brakes cost about the same with any small Toyota.

    Your next dependable comfortable car with good safety and some electronic features maybe a new small car on a lease deal.
    OR you maybe a used and small economy car with 2-3 years of full factory warrantee
     
  20. CR94

    CR94 Senior Member

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    What kind of "inverter service" is normal at 100k?
     
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