My First Post: Looking for advice when purchasing 2008 Toyota Prius

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by fazio767, Aug 9, 2020.

  1. fazio767

    fazio767 New Member

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    Hi everyone,

    First and foremost, this is my first time posting on this forum, so thank you for taking the time to read my inquiry. My girlfriend has been looking for affordable and reliable transportation, and it just so happens that a family member of mine may be selling their 2008 Toyota Prius. While my family swears by the build quality of Toyota, the Prius is a model that I am not very familiar with. For that reason, I was hoping that I could ask a few questions to (hopefully) help her decide if this might be the right car for her.

    1. What is the appropriate price range for a Toyota Prius of this age? I've been doing my research on Kelley Blue Book, and it appears that most of these models sell for under $5,000 at this age. Either way, I would like some information about what you (as a Prius owner) would consider a fair price on a 2008. When I find out more information from this relative about what the actual milage is, how well it's been maintained, or how much they want for it, I will be happy to update this thread with the specifics. For my purposes, I have estimated higher milage and "fair to good" condition at best (considering that it has been in an accident).

    2. How much of a concern is the hybrid battery replacement? I understand that replacement will cost somewhere around the neighborhood of $2,500. If the car is cheap enough, does it make sense to pick an older Prius regardless of whether or not the battery has been replaced? At the same time, I have heard that many people have experienced no issues at all with the battery (yet).

    3. What other issues would be important to look out for when considering an older Prius? I will certainly do my best to look the car over, but I think it would be best to take it to a mechanic for a once over just to be safe.

    4. She has a pretty limited budget for a car, and wisely, doesn't want to end up financing anything. Would a Prius (whether it be this one, or another used one in the future) be a good starter vehicle for someone with a very tight budget? Her other option right now is a 2010 Hyundai Elantra, and I personally think that she's better off with any Toyota product before she spends $3,000 on an older Hyundai.

    Anyway, I wanted to thank you for taking the time to read my long post. I appreciate any guidance that you could give in helping her pick the best possible vehicle.
     
  2. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Let me know if I can help? I'm based in Olympia and have been helping friends and family with hybrid battery and other repairs on old hybrid cars for a couple years now. We have a group of hybrid & electric car nerds in town and we share our project progress online daily, as well as share tools and resources.

    As for acquiring a Prius, in general, buying from a private owner and not a dealership an '08 Prius goes for barely under $5K but that's because the west coast market is priced much higher for old Prius compared to the mid-west or the south where they are less popular.

    As for buying from a family member, that's probably wise, as they may be willing to help out if things with the car go bad, but Gen2 Prius are incredibly reliable.

    If the battery pack is original and hasn't gone bad (aka: no warning lights ever) I'd recommend having all the corroded parts in the pack cleaned/replaced, have the pack reconditioned and a spreadsheet made of modules for future diagnostic efforts, which is in the $300-$500 range depending on how much work the rest of the car needs.

    As for replacing the battery pack with brand new, you can get a new pack from the dealer for as low as $1760 and 2 hours of install labor which ensures you have a decade or so of worry free use. Also these packs are compatible with Gen3 Prius (2010-2015) so the pack could be used in her next Prius year down the road too.

    The biggest gotcha in all this is that if you don't have a friend, family member or local mechanic who works on cars for the purposes of saving people money rather than stealing people's money you'll very likely end up at the Toyota stealership being charged as much as you paid for the car for sometimes even trivial repairs, because stealerships only fix hybrids by replacing the most expensive components with brand new. It's so bad I've even seen people with a corroded cooling fan wire that takes 5 minutes to clean to fix it get told they have to spend more than the value of the car to fix it and that they should just finance with them for a brand new Prius. If we had better consumer protection laws these stealerships would lose their license to run a business.

    I've regularly turned stealership repair estimates of over $5K into work that cost less than $500 simply because PriusChat has been such a great resource to teach myself and others how to fix stuff and as the years go by we all get better and better at knowing the easiest fix.

    There's lots more to it than that, but until you enter the VIN# into Toyota Owner's website to view service history, as well as getting more info and photos of the vehicle ya'll might buy we can't really get into any of that yet.
     
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  3. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    People selling there g2 Prius is because it needs a hybrid battery or is
    A oil eating monster.

    Do yourself and your relationship with your girlfriend a big favor do not buy a g2 Prius.

    There all money pits there all 200k miles plus and the last people in the world that should own a 13 year old Prius buy them.

    Buy a nice Elantra, no hybrid battery any mechanic can fix it.
     
  4. SFO

    SFO Senior Member

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    Welcome to PriusChat!!

    How many miles per year will she be driving, as it may not be worth the headache of owning a hybrid. Doubtful if someone with a limited budget would be better off purchasing an older hybrid, she might do better with an older civic or corolla instead.

    As mentioned above, you can check the vehicle maintenance history for free by running the VIN at : Welcome to Toyota Owners
     
  5. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    You have no idea what you're talking about... I've never owned a vehicle that's given me 1/4 million miles and required zero repairs just maintenance and being responsible about its needs. That's what my Prius has done for me! Add to that 50mpg means I can drive the whole coast on less than $100 in gas. And if I ever have to replace it, I can do it with one nicer than mine for less than $5K. It's a game changer in every way! But yes, I do know your history with Prius and understand your less responsible Florida-style car care ethic would make you think that they are unreliable and ready to break down on you....
     
  6. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    corolla, civic, any gasser in this environment of low gas prices. no need to drive a complex, expensive to repair car like prius.

    how many miles on her?
     
  7. davecook89t

    davecook89t Senior Member

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    That's pretty harsh and, in my opinion, not true. Anyone who maintains his HV battery with a Prolong system cannot be considered a less responsible owner. I do think climate is a big factor in the longevity of a HV battery. I would not buy a used hybrid in Florida, but I would (and did) in Washington state (well actually BC, but still in the PNW).
     
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  8. ColoradoCrow

    ColoradoCrow Junior Member

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    I have two 2008 Prii. Bought with 53K and 55k miles on them about 9 months ago.
    well worth it. Super reliable. Replace the combo meter when it fails at Texas hybrid batteries.com. Great service and a great product. Get an oil change, new PCV valve and spark plugs and clean out the hybrid battery fan really well. I did all this service myself as I am a good DIY guy. You tube is loaded with info. You can find a friend an DIY yourself if you have the skills and can follow directions. Both cars average 48-51mpg and we love them. Well worth it. Lots of airbags and room for people. Better than our Corolla space wise.
     
  9. TampaPrius.com

    TampaPrius.com Active Member

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    I would have to totally disagree here. A new hybrid battery can be installed very affordably whereas you cannot remove 12 years of rust from a northern car. A second generation Florida (southern) Prius with a new/newer hybrid battery and a good working ABS actuator can go another 200k miles with minimal repairs.
     
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  10. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    true, but for someone with no skils and no money, that can be a costly equation
     
  11. davecook89t

    davecook89t Senior Member

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    I don't disagree with that, however, most cars that have spent their life west of the Cascades do not have rust. It doesn't snow often enough and when it does, it doesn't stick around long enough to need much salt on the roads.
     
  12. Isaac Zachary

    Isaac Zachary Member

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    Can you replace the hybrid battery yourself? That's about $1,800 for a new one. If that can be figured into the price then it should be a good deal IMO. But I like working on cars.
     
  13. fazio767

    fazio767 New Member

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    Hello again!

    I wanted to thank everyone for the replies. Your advice has been extremely useful in helping us decide if this is the right car or not. I finally have an update on milage and price. The car has 202,000 miles, and the owners are asking about $3,500. I think that they might be willing to come down to $3,000, but I still a little weary about wether or not this would be the best route for us to take. If I can find any confirmation about when the battery has been replaced, should we make an offer?
     
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  14. Isaac Zachary

    Isaac Zachary Member

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    This is just my 2 cents. If the battery was replaced and everything else is to your liking, I'd say go for it. But if the HV battery was never replaced this is going to be an issue sometime in the next couple of years, maybe even this year. So in my mind, not having a recently replaced HV battery changes the price of the car by as much as $2,000 (or the price of a new HV battery). If the car is only worth $3,000 to you with a recently replaced battery, you should pay much more than $1,000 for it. If the car is worth $5,000 to you, then sure, pay $3,000 for it now and later on pay whatever it takes to fix the battery.

    You could also go with a "refurbished" battery or learn to refurbish it yourself which would be cheaper. I guess it also depends on how long you plan on keeping the car. A new battery will last you another 10 years or better. Refurbished batteries of course won't last that long, although some companies have "lifelong" warrenties. I guess what I'm saying is that unless it's got a new (not refurbished) HV battery in there already, you'll need a plan for the HV battery.

    Another thing too is around that mileage Toyotas tend start burning oil. It's normally not a major problem, just the oil control rings get clogged and pump oil up into the combustion chamber. Frequent oil changes (every 3,000 miles, for an example) with the right oil can help reduce that problem. Some also use high detergent oil or "oil flush" products too.

    Also the oil burning issue can affect an already very old catalytic converter. A new cat from Toyota is also around $2,000 for just the part. So if you get smog checks where you live, especially if your state mandates you need an OEM catalytic converter, you may want to just keep this in mind.

    And hey! If you like the car use this info to bring the price down. Tell him or her that you will probably need to replace the HV battery and the catalyitc converter sometime soon due to the car's age, something that could be well over $5,000 altogether when done by a mechanic.

    Personally I don't usually pay much more than $1,000 for a car with over 200,000 miles on it. I got mine (admittedly with front end damage) for only $300.
     
  15. fazio767

    fazio767 New Member

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    Thank you for your reply. $3,500 felt a little high to me with that milage as well. Since it is a Toyota, I felt like $3,000 wouldn't be completely out of the question, but I don't think we will be purchasing this car without having some confirmation that the battery has been replaced.
     
  16. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Less responsible Florida style car care ethic?

    What are you talking about? My history with Prius? My car has been hyper maintained.
     
  17. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

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    Here's what I can say about my gen 2: I've never owned a vehicle that only covered 30k miles yet had the most repairs of any vehicle I've ever owned; especially in terms of costs.

    As they say, YMMV.

    I don't recommend a 10+ year old Prius for those (especially newbies) who don't have a large repair fund available after purchase. High miles Gen 2's are moving into the money-pit category as seen over and over in PC threads where repair costs outweigh the "value" of the vehicle especially for owners with little financial or DIY means.
     
  18. fazio767

    fazio767 New Member

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    Thank you for your reply. I agree, I am really not convinced that a 200,000 mile Prius would be the best car for someone with a limited budget. I actually was under the impression that the car had around 120,000 miles when I first heard it was for sale. 200,000 is a bit of a game changer. I haven't heard from the owners about the battery yet, but I imagine that it probably is still running on the original battery. If that is the case, I think we will explore other options.
     
  19. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Because of this website and because of the massive number of Gen2 Prius manufactured this car is going to have an unprecedented supply of used parts, as well as an unprecedented supply of high quality vehicles for re-sale in the sub $5K price range... And granted, if you don't have mechanical skill or don't have a friend or family member or honest mechanic to help you, the stealership and the other usual auto repair crooks will make repair costs too high to be feasible, but that issue is relatively easy for most of us to avoid.
     
  20. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

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    You're projecting your feelings and philosophy onto others. BTDT Most folks fall under at least one of the following: don't have the time, money, desire to get their hands dirty, acquire the necessary tools, have the workspace or be without a reliable vehicle. We DIY'ers are the exception(s).
     
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