Looking to buy early Generation 3 in Australia. Need advice on mechanical problems, safety features

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by jocogi, Nov 20, 2020.

  1. jocogi

    jocogi New Member

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    Hey guys, I'm looking to buy an early and/or best value Generation 3 Prius that I can find in Australia.

    I have heard that the first year or so of the Generation 3 had problems with its rings and burning oil. Is this true, and if so what are the exact dates or other identifiers that I need to look for in Australia?

    Are there any other known problems with specific years or manufacturing that I should avoid in Australia? If so, what would be the signs of these?

    Are there any other known problems that develop with time on specific years of used Prius approaching ~100,000km (~60,000 miles because I know this is international).

    Related, are there any known mileage ranges where particularly expensive problems start to develop that I should 'jump over' or check have been fixed at the correct mileage? As above, what would be the signs of these?

    Am I also correct in assuming that all of the in-cabin safety features like number of airbags, pre-tensioners and load limiters are the same across all years and trims of the Generation 3? I am not referring to advanced crash prevention features, which I know have improved with almost every year. I am only talking about systems like airbags, pre-tensioners, and load limiters which trigger in the event of a crash.

    Having said that, I am also very interested in getting a Prius with some form of crash prevention/automatic emergency braking, or what I believe Toyota was calling their "pre-collision system" in the years before Safety Sense was introduced. Unfortunately, I believe I have read of there being a class action with this system severely under performing? I believe the IIHS found it did not pass their standards and was effectively vapourware/false advertising? Was there a recall that fixed this? Depending on these answers, is it actually worth getting a higher trim that has these crash prevention systems? In Australia we only have two trims and I believe these systems may only be found on the 'iTech' variant, at least in the early Gen 3s.

    Sorry if this is all too specific to Australia. If so, are there any Prius Australia forums that you can recommend?

    Thank you very much in advance for your help everyone! I hope to be joining all of you in Prius ownership very soon. From everything I've read so far, I adore these cars!
     
  2. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Hello and welcome to PriusChat!

    Yes, if you browse the care, maintenance and troubleshooting section, you will find issues arising from the seals that cause the engine to burn oil in early Gen 3s (2010-2011s. Though I think they theoretically can apply to 2012 and 2013 years too). They typically surface after 160,000km. Unfortunately, I sold mine (2010 MY, Jul 2009 build) at 161,000km so I can’t speak from personal experience.

    I’ll leave more specific questions to @AussieOwner or @alanclarkeau.

    The number of airbags remained the same across the years. I can’t remember if Australia got the driver’s side knee airbags (for a total of 7 airbags) or whether it was omitted. Driver and front passenger airbags, front seat side airbags and side curtain airbags were standard around the world.

    Yes the I-Tech would have the Pre-Collision System. I’m unaware of a class action lawsuit. The PCS is an earlier version (like the ones found in mid 2000 LS430s for example) so they only reduce the impact speed rather than stop the car completely like more modern versions. Perhaps it’s this misunderstanding of the system’s operation? The I-Tech versions also come with LED low beam headlights which may be useful if you regularly drive on unlit roads.
     
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  3. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    Hi - Gen 3, I'm not all that sure of. I took one for a run back at the time - and bought a FOCUS Diesel instead, as it drove much better. Then when Gen 4 came, I tried it, and it was so much better than Gen 3 that I bought one.

    I don't have a lot of information on Gen 3 apart from what I've read here - but as far as I can recall, all Gen 3 had 7 Airbags. And sorry, I have no idea about reliability - except that PRIUS is reputed as one of the most reliable cars, and has been for many years. The brakes are likely to last a lot longer due to regenerative braking doing a lot of the work, and the transmission is probably the most reliable of any car on the road.

    The i-Tech had a few extra gadgets - wider wheels I think, and had an old type of RADAR Cruise, which only worked at higher speeds (30km/hr??) - just dropped out below that. It had a SOLAR roof which ventilated the car when parked. It was a lot dearer than the standard model new - hence not many are out there. That said - a lot of the standard version were sold as TAXIs, and i-TECH were more likely to be private buyers.
     
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  4. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    Pistons and rings were revised (with the aim of reducing oil consumption), somewhere through model year 2014. The "first year or so" is urban myth.

    Other big issue is EGR/intake clogging, and subsequent head gasket failure, and if ignored long enough: bent piston arm.

    Also the brake booster components have been problematic, and that can be very expensive.

    Oh and inverter failures. There was a software fix, knock on wood it's effective.
     
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  5. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    Did some versions of Gen 3 have HID headlight bulbs?

    I guess like any car purchase which isn't new - it's a matter of getting a good check over. Either by a good mechanic, PRIUS expert, or a Motoring Club like RACQ or NRMA.
     
  6. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    No. Halogens or LEDs only.
     
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  7. alanclarkeau

    alanclarkeau Senior Member

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    I wonder what it was I was thinking about - maybe the PRIUS v I was looking at? They're still selling "v"s here - 7 seat. $49,468 driveaway for i-Tech, $41,522 for base.
     
  8. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Maybe but here, the Prius v had halogens and optional LEDs as well. (Bi-LED for 2015-2018).

    That's expensive!
     
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  9. Tim Jones

    Tim Jones Active Member

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    No...........................
     
  10. Grit

    Grit Senior Member

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    There are people who posted in here that their car rear ended another car because the pre collision system never kicked in or engaged. On paper, it will work.

    If you did enough reading, you should have also red inverter failures and car goes into limp mode in the middle of freeways (y)
     
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  11. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    You mean it wasn't because they weren't paying attention to there driving????? (n)(n)(n):eek::eek:

     
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