Looking to purchase a 2009 Prius with 400,000 km on it

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by ProspectivePriusPeruser, Jun 3, 2019.

  1. ProspectivePriusPeruser

    ProspectivePriusPeruser Junior Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Australia
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Hi all. This is my first post on here and potentially my introduction to the Prius world. As the title says I found a Prius with 400,000km on it for a very reasonable price(for where I live) and I have a few questions.

    What should I be looking for when I test drive it in terms of issues that they have at that high mileage? They’ve said they replaced the hybrid battery a year ago and that it’s all been regularly serviced but I know that doesn’t mean that it’s 100% great condition

    Secondly, what maintenance will I be looking at doing once (if) I own the vehicle?intervals and types of servicing are what I’m interested in knowing about.

    Thanks so much in advance, really hoping to be able to make the switch from my fuel guzzler to this!

    Also if it makes any difference, I live in Australia. Not sure if that affects anything.
     
  2. noonm

    noonm Senior Member

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    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius Prime
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    Prime Plus
    My 2cents:

    Take it to a mechanic or find an used vehicle inspection service you trust. Even if there are people on this forum who have/know what kind of issues you might run into, it might not be representative of that vehicle. A good vehicle inspection should be able to identify all the potential weak spots that you may have to replace over time.

    If the car is too cheap to justify an inspection or the owner won't let you get it inspected, you can always just roll the dice. You can try looking out for these items that apply to any used car during a test drive: How to Test-Drive a New Car - Consumer Reports
     
    bisco likes this.
  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    welcome!

    how many km a year do you drive?
    reset the trip meter and take it for a good long drive over varied conditions. see what she returns for average mpg or l/km.

    is the battery oem or rebuilt? that makes a huge difference.

    listen for rattles and feel the ride over bumpy surfaces to check suspension.

    do a compression test for oil burning.

    tbh, at 400km, anything that hasn't been replaced will need to be replaced, sooner or later.

    all the best!(y)
     
  4. Trunks

    Trunks Junior Member

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    Location:
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    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    II
    Hello and welcome aboard!

    I have a 2008 2nd Generation Prius with 431,800km on it, and I wouldn't be afraid to take it anywhere here in Tasmania. My car is a retired Taxi that I have been working to restore since I got it about 4 months ago.

    When looking at an older Prius, don't be put off by the high km. Toyota are very resilient, so 400k isn't something that should scare you away from a potential purchase. That being said, here are some things I would suggest looking at when you go to look at the car:

    - Visually inspect the car, especially the engine bay. Look for signs of grime, oil leaks, etc. and be sure to check the fluid levels. The oil should be fairly clear if it has been changed recently. If not, dark is normal if it hasn't been changed in awhile. You can rub the oil from the stick between your fingers to feel for particulates. If you notice that it is grey in colour, or you see black spots when inspecting the radiator, it is signs of a blown head gasket or cracked head.
    - On the display panel, flip to the battery view when you first start the car and see where the level is sitting. Typical operating range is 3 bars from the top (blue) to 1 bar down (green). If there are only 2 blue bars lit, you probably have a weak battery pack. They say that the battery was replaced, so that's just a quick way to visually check the state. If you have an ODBII scanner with ELM327, you can use a free app like Dr. Prius to check the state of the batteries and the hybrid drive system just by connecting it and using your phone.
    - Look at the dash when you start the car and look for the "Check Engine" light (red engine icon) on the dash. If this is on and you have the ODBII scanner, you can look at the code(s) and find out why the light has been triggered. Depending on the reason for the engine light, this would not be a reason to disregard it as a potential purchase. Minor issues like a P0420 (catalytic converter/oxygen sensor) are typical when they get high kms or some age on them.
    - Listen to the engine when it starts. Give it a few revs so you can hear how the engine sounds. Tappet noise, exhaust leaks, timing chain slap - these are a few of the things you want to listen for. Tappet noise is typically a "ticking" sound you can hear, even at low RPM. Exhaust leaks can usually be heard at any RPM as well. Timing chain noise can be heard under acceleration and will have a "chain dragged across metal" sound to it. This would be indicative of needing to replace the timing chain and would be a reason to look elsewhere for a car. The cost to replace it is prohibitive. The other issues could be more easily addressed.

    The Prius is equipped with a CVT, so there are no "gears" like what you have with a traditional petrol engine vehicle. The car will start and stop the petrol engine as needed, so don't panic if the engine shuts off while you're driving.

    - While driving, listen for a clicking sound when you turn the car in either direction. That would be a CV Axle Half-Shaft. If you catch them early enough, you're usually out the cost of the repair boot and the time to replace it, along with some grease. If it's already making noise, the shaft(s) should be replaced. Somewhat expensive, but not a deal breaker.
    - Note how well the car goes down the road and listen for noises. Suspension noises, engine noises, etc. See how well the car accelerates and how well it brakes. Note the condition of the batteries and make sure you see energy flowing back into the batteries when coasting or braking.

    That's about all the major things I can think of. Others here might have ideas for things I may have missed, but that should cover the basics. Let us know how you come out with it and good luck!
     
    GrGramps, noonm and bisco like this.
  5. psymon100

    psymon100 Junior Member

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    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    press all the controls on the steering wheel to make sure they work, and check the cruise control works. see if the doors will be held open or if they succumb to gravity? and won't stay open by themselves. try the power windows.
    for australia ... definitely check the climate control / air con blows cold!
     
  6. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Ask for provenance on the hybrid battery replacement. If they can show that a genuine new Toyota battery was installed, then you can be confident. If it came from anywhere else? That would substantially dampen my enthusiasm for the car at any price.

    Most of the other parts of the car are easy enough to judge the same as you would any other car.
     
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