Inspecting a used prius for purchase

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Technical Discussion' started by tgotr, Feb 1, 2020.

  1. tgotr

    tgotr New Member

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    I found a Prius locally, and I am interested in it due to the gas mileage as my commute is likely to get very long and expensive. Kind of an exotic car in my neck of the woods, being in the state that banned Teslas from being sold, only now lifted the ban with a ton of hoops to jump through to get one.

    Anyway, I know the lifespan of the Hybrid battery is 10-15 years, seeing that the car is now 12 years old...if it has the original battery, it's on borrowed time. The place that has it claims the battery was replaced a couple of years ago at the dealer. I am asking for the carfax and should have it monday since they have been closed due to a family emergency. Short of going to the place, recording the VIN and getting one myself, I have little access to information about this car's history, which would confirm or deny the claim the battery was changed.

    I do intend to test drive the car either way, but I want my worries eased. Can I get such information through the OBDII port? Like a weak battery code or something that lets you know the battery is dying, and you gotta replace it soon?
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    welcome!
    you can find out if the battery was replaced at a dealership by inputting the vin at toyota owners .com

    how many miles on her?

    one thing shysters do is disconnect the 12v to clear the codes. if you don't test drive the car long enough, they won't come back until you're on your way home with it.
     
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  3. tgotr

    tgotr New Member

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    Miles, 170K according to them. Found it on FB Marketplace. 170K isn't bad for a car that's 12 years old. Remember there is a 1996 Lexus out there with 1 million miles on it. A testament to Toyota engineering.

    I think it depends on the car and company, but a few cars I've driven have a trouble code if the code has been recently cleared improperly, like if they pull the battery to reset the computer, generally a P1000.
     
  4. oldtechaa

    oldtechaa Active Member

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    The Hybrid Assistant app with a Bluetooth code reader can show you battery module voltages and the delta between them, and someone more knowledgeable might be able to tell you the point at which the battery code triggers. Then try it again after a spirited drive and see how much the module voltages have spread.
     
  5. tgotr

    tgotr New Member

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    That is interesting, that is the information I was needing. On the Hybrid Assistant Website, it says I need a bluetooth adapter I don't have, so time to collect another one, haha. I swear, I must be trading my 10mm sockets for bluetooth obd2 bluetooth adapters.

    Just have to learn how to read the graphs it generates.
     
  6. ydpplqbd

    ydpplqbd Member

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    Take it to Toyota for used car inspection and pay them the $99 (or $129 - whatever your local Toyota dealer charges for such inspections). Toyota techs have been working on the various Prius models now for decades. Ask if Toyota will provide you with a printout of the difference in battery voltages during inspection/testing.

    Alternatively, you could do the two miles at 60mph on a flat road test of the HV battery.
     
  7. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Most OBD-II tools can tell you whether the car's "monitor status" is "ready" or "incomplete". That tells you whether it has been driven enough since the last time the codes were cleared for the OBD information to be meaningful. That feature was invented for official inspections (apparently people have also thought of clearing their codes just before driving in for an inspection), but it's useful for car shopping too.

    There wouldn't be too many good explanations for a car coming up "monitor incomplete" when someone is wanting to sell it to you.
     
  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    we need a 'how to do prius pre purchase inspection' sticky
     
  9. royrose

    royrose Senior Member

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    I like the Dr Prius App combined with an OBDII bluetooth enabled adapter. It does two different tests, one to determine if the battery is functioning properly and the other to give an estimate of battery capacity.

    The important thing is to determine whether the replacement battery was a new Toyota OEM battery or a "re-manufactured" used one which wouldn't last nearly as long.
     
  10. tgotr

    tgotr New Member

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    The closest Toyota dealer is more than an hour away, one reason why they are "exotic" around here. Mostly domestics around here unless someone moved in.

    It seems Dr. Prius looks easier to work than Hybrid Assistant. I can see the use of graphs, but I just want a clear cut estimate.
     
  11. tgotr

    tgotr New Member

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    Got the VIN, ToyotaOwners and carfax don't show that the battery has been replaced. Kind of looking for a car that will last a while. I like keeping my cars for years so I may walk away from this if the battery seems bad.
     
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  12. tgotr

    tgotr New Member

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    I test drove it, tested the battery, got a 60% on Dr. Prius. They just got in a 2010, test drove that and it's in better shape overall. Plus it has disc brakes all around which is a big plus for me. The battery also tested closer to 85% on the 2010 model. Only thing that's wrong with it is that the radio is dead.
     
  13. royrose

    royrose Senior Member

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    60% is definitely iffy. A replacement battery with that result is probably a "re-manufactured" one with used cells. My 2010 Prius was 83% on the original battery when I tested it last year and runs perfectly. I'll test again this Spring.

    How many miles on the 2010?
     
  14. tgotr

    tgotr New Member

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  15. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    @tgotr And don't forget that 2010 was the epicenter of piston ring problems leading to oil burning, implicated in EGR fouling often subsequently leading to head gasket failure with coolant buildup allowing hydrolock and connecting rod folding. Yes, it's a whole grand staircase of problems if allowed to progress all the way through.

    Totally preventable; totally on you to discover how far along this one is and if it can be turned back.
     
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  16. tgotr

    tgotr New Member

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    Wasn't there a recall for that?
     
  17. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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  18. tgotr

    tgotr New Member

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    Can I just put in an oil catch can to mitigate oil burning?
     
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  19. Dxta

    Dxta Senior Member

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    Yes, as a precautionary measure. Do the EGR cleaning of a thing too, to avoid having top gasket problems too
     
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  20. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Yes, that mostly takes care of the problem going forward, but how much already made it through to cause a restriction in the EGR cooler? It's a used car you're talking about, so you have to assume that the EGR is already restricted somewhat, and hopefully hasn't been that bad for that long.
     
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