looking to buy a 10 year old Prius

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by darren west, Oct 20, 2019.

  1. darren west

    darren west New Member

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    I used to be a mechanic by trade and the mechanical parts im ok with

    But I can't find anywhere that gives me any advice about the batteries , is there any test I can do to see if they are decent , or is it just a guessing game

    thanks for any tips
     
  2. ericbecky

    ericbecky Hybrid Battery Hero

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    The best you can do is tell how they are today.
    But it won't give you any guarantee of it's future health.
     
  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    welcome!
    you're not going to find a ten year old prius with a good battery, just a ten year old battery, unless it has been replaced.

    hope for the best, and plan on a new one at some point, or learn how to rebuild yourself.
     
  4. vvillovv

    vvillovv Active Member

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    Hybrids are way different than ICE cars. First ask yourself "what do I know about batteries"?
    It doesn't even matter what kind of battery, flashlight, power tool battery, hobby battery packs, etc...
    Older hybrid cars are usually kept running close to normally by using a grid charger.
    Because hybrid cars will adjust performance to a degree to the primary drivers style of driving
    there can be many differences in each hybrids behavior depending on the way they were / are driven and the way they were serviced.
    An old saying amongst computer programmers and hypermilers. "your mileage may vary"
     
  5. ETC(SS)

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

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    There are scarier things in life than kicking over $1500-2500 for a traction battery.

    If you buy a ten year old Prius and you give it a forever home then you KNOW you’re going to be replacing the traction battery sooner or later. That’s reflected more or less in the street price of the car.
    Review the vehicle’s service history and look at the car’s current condition and makes your choice.

    Remember....there are also other hybrid components like the inverter and the misnamed transaxle (power splitter) that might give you trouble as well....although they have proven to be very reliable, real world and an experienced mechanic shouldn’t have any problem replacing these components with used ones.

    Good Luck!
     
  6. vvillovv

    vvillovv Active Member

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    Finding good and especially honest mechanics gets harder by the day. The only thing I'd add to the sentence above is Hybrid mechanic.
    Because, Toyota Dealers often share one hybrid certified mechanic for several dealerships, dealerships that don't sell hybrids in sufficient numbers to pay a hybrid certified mechanic on site.
     
  7. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    In my opinion, it's pretty much just a guessing game, supported by knowledge of reality.
    That is, the older the battery, the more obvious risk that it is nearing the end of its useful life or could become problematic.

    A 10 year old Prius and by default you're in that range.

    Could have years, months, weeks, hours or minutes.
     
  8. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    I generally agree with previous posters… when you’re shopping for an older one, the game isn’t about finding the one with the good battery- It probably doesn’t exist.

    Find the one with the good price and put a new battery in it yourself.
     
  9. darren west

    darren west New Member

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    I understand there is no way of knowing what's round the corner , as a diesel mechanic there are often tell tale signs that issues are on the way , but with batteries I understand this is not obvious , but is there a way to tell its current condition , ie how many miles it will do to a charge ? thanks
     
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  10. ericbecky

    ericbecky Hybrid Battery Hero

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    A battery only does 1.5 - 2.0 miles when new.

    You can use app like Prius Dr to get a general idea of current health.
    But that does not guarantee against future failure.
     
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  11. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    often, the first sign is erratic charging behavior on the battery icon
     
  12. dubit

    dubit Active Member

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    Just curious.

    Is this a local thing? I've never heard of such a thing in all the years I've spent in a Toyota dealership. I can't imagine any Toyota dealer around here "sharing" a certified hybrid tech. We compete with each other for sales & service. We most definitely don't share our tech's.
     
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  13. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    I would be surprised if my local dealer has a hybrid mechanic with up to date training. When I took my Prius in for the first inspection and tire rotation in January 2017 the mechanic did not even know that the 12 volt battery moved to under the hood over a year previous. They also put in writing they set thdd Ed tires at slow 32psi. No Prius I know of uses pressures that low.
    Of course I change my own oil and drive 150 miles to a good dealer for recall service.
     
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  14. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    In some regions, all of the dealerships are owned by the same person or family- an “auto group.” When that happens, sharing and competition tend to lose meaning.
     
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  15. vvillovv

    vvillovv Active Member

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    It's so subjective, it's hard to give a blanket statement that covers all the variables, I've never driven an older prius and as Ericbecky mentioned above, typically 1.5 - 2.0 miles of electric only.

    But, that also depends on how fast you drive in electric, what the ambient temp when you start driving. There are other variables that effect electric range, going uphill is a big one, and many times is hard see if you are on an incline or a decline. If on a decline an experienced hybrid driver and get much more electric driving from a pack.

    All hypermiler tricks can extend the electric driving range. Most of these tricks are completely unknown to new hybrid drivers / owners
    and many new owners are not very interested in learning any of them.

    The first thing I noticed when getting back into a regular car (rental) was how far a gas engine car will roll without slowing down significantly (very little engine braking).
    There is also no way in a gas / diesel car / truck to easily tell if one is going up hill or down hill other than by eye and that can be deceiving at times. In a hybrid on the other hand, if you want to get all the electric range possible you can easily see from the gauges provided if the car is going uphill or downhill.

    It's very subjective to make blanket statements about battery and performance without including at least some of the variables to take into account with each specific stat.

    Battery Pack health is very similarly subjective. If you have specifics and ask about them here, I'm pretty sure you will find out just how subjective the subject is.
    But, there are usually one or two responses that make sense to you and agree with your specific situation and set of variables.
     
    #15 vvillovv, Oct 22, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2019
  16. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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  17. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Really just picking a nit… Familiarity plays a big part. I have a hard time knowing if I’m going up or down a slight grade for the first day or two that I’m in a rental car. After a while it becomes apparent.

    When I’m in our own gas cars it’s intuitive, though I do still peek at the tach or instant mpg for confirmation occasionally.

    I still say the best pre-purchase health gauge for a hybrid battery is a calendar.
     
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