Need Prius Purchase Advice

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by bk2049, Jun 4, 2019.

  1. bk2049

    bk2049 New Member

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    I'm considering purchasing a used Prius b/c of gas mileage and reliability. To be in my price range, I'm going to have to purchase one with high mileage. I'm curious about whether you all think this is a good or bad idea. I know that the Prius is generally very reliable, but at 170,000 or 200,000+ miles is it still a fuel efficient & reliable vehicle?
    • Is the Gen 3 significantly better than the Gen 2 w/ gas & reliability?
    • What are common problems with Prius in this mileage range? Do batteries typically go at that point?
    Thank you for any help & suggestions!
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    welcome!

    prius like to be driven. so the newer the model year, the more it was driven/year at that mileage range.

    that being said, gen 2 is more reliable and similar mpg's.

    still, any car with that mileage is at the end of its useful life, so anything could go at anytime.

    the expensive hybrid items are battery, brake actuator, combo meter, a/c compressor.

    also the inverter and tranny, but they are the most reliable parts of the gen2.

    on the gen3, the inverter is an issue, the egr circuit tends to clog, causing oil burning and blowing the head gasket.

    diy with hybrid knowledge and tools saves a ton of money.

    all the best!(y)
     
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  3. MilkyWay

    MilkyWay Active Member

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    Gen 3 is typically a little better on gas but they are also more expensive. I'm thinking 4500 if you are very lucky. But, you can get a gen 2 for 3k-4k pretty easily in that 170k mile range.

    Common problems would be having original struts front and rear that would impact how smooth it rides. And oil burning which is very common but imo not that big of a deal.

    I don't think anybody knows, on average, at what mileage the battery goes bad most often. I can say at the dealers auction it is far, far, far more common for a 2007-2009 with 80k-120k miles to have a bad cell than it is for a 200k or 250k mile prius.

    I'd imagine you'll easily get to 250k without having to worry about the battery.

    They have their little quirks and things that go bad (wheel bearings, oil burning, headlights, display screen, odometer screen, struts, tires, battery, etc.) but overall, in my opinion, it is the most reliable car ever produced. Just don't see other vehicles going 300, 400k miles without issue like the Prius.

    My car was bought at 140k (now has 215k). I have a "very minor evap leak" that keeps check engine light on (had since about 145k). And just because I replaced front struts when I got it. Also needed front wheel bearings at 140k. Started burning oil around 180k but I think I have found a solution (Liqui Moly oil saver). Bought rear struts for $92 on eBay and put them on @ 210k miles (not completely necessary imo but helped smooth out the ride). Changed tires 2x (once when first bought and once again around 190k?). Also bought winter tires which I think is kinda overkill and a waste (and expensive to swap out the rims...tire shops want $80).

    Never ever had a problem with AC, display screen or odometer, starting up, either battery, headlights, warning lights (aside from the evap leak).

    I'd say the only absolutely necessary repair I needed to do was front wheel bearings in last 75k miles of ownership. By far best car for high mileage to get. Mine still runs like it is new. There is zero difference in the way a well maintained prius drives at 90k miles or 200k miles.
     
  4. Skibob

    Skibob Senior Member

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    Did you ever try replacing the gas cap to solve the minor evap leak? Worked for my Tacoma. Even looks like the same gas cap.
    I would never want to drive around with the check engine light on. What would happen if something bad actually did happen?
     
  5. MilkyWay

    MilkyWay Active Member

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    Looks like from Toyota website it was replaced before I got it at some point...And I replaced it once with Toyota brand. I could try again but I think it is something leaking somewhere else. Shop fake diagnosed it for fuel filler neck. Spent $360 last winter with the fake diagnosis.

    I'm certain all the idiots had to do was do their smoke test again while everything was accessible but they were obviously in a hurry. Don't want to throw another $400 at it and regret lighting $360 on fire last winter.
     
  6. oldtechaa

    oldtechaa Member

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    From my experience buying a 216k 2008 (now at 226k), it can be an excellent choice. I've had my combo meter go out once, but that's comparatively cheap to replace. I have one bad bearing and a possible catalytic converter noise on acceleration, which in a different thread someone said they had for 70k without issue.

    My battery and brake accumulator both seem fine, both apparently being original.

    Other than that, I've only had tiny little repairs.
     
  7. psymon100

    psymon100 Junior Member

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    so far i'm happy; this forum and it's posters are an awesome resource. so if you're willing to get stuck in with maintenance to make the thing drive great - i say go for it.
     
  8. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    I personally think this is a BAD idea, especially if you get one with the original HV battery still in place.
    That is pretty much guaranteed to fail sometime soon and the cost is around $1800 MINIMUM for a good replacement.

    I think anyone on a tight budget is looking at this wrong. The tiny bit extra you will get in gas mileage is NOT economically justified if you have to pay a premium in the price just because it is a hybrid. Add in the cost of a new battery and see how it looks to you.

    Look at/for a compact or sub-compact high gas mileage conventional vehicle. Some get almost the mileage of a Prius and they should be cheaper to buy.......or you can get one newer with less miles for the same money.
     
  9. exstudent

    exstudent Senior Member

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    Any high mileage vehicle will NOT be trouble free. Parts will be well worn and require replacement at some point in time.

    The pressing question is how will you do the maintenance and repairs? Paid or DIY? If paid, stick w/ a conventional car. Not enough shops are able to work on the Prius well. You will go broke fast with the expensive labor rates (dealer or non-dealer). If DIY, then you should come out ahead.

    As for a high mileage Prius still being fuel efficient and reliable. There are factors that effect this.
    Fuel Efficiency will be impacted by the HV Battery. No surprises here: the older the battery, the less MPG compared to when the battery was new.

    Reliability is affected by how well the car was maintained, parts used (OEM vs aftermarket), and treatment by previous owners.​

    The HV Battery easily lasts 8/10years, by design, as that was the original warranty period. If you do buy a Prius that is more than 10years old, don't expect the battery to last much longer when you take possession, esp if was replaced with a rebuilt/reconditioned/remanufactured HV Battery.

    WHEN the HV Battery fails, a new OEM HV Battery would be your best bet for a reliable repair. Someone in Ohio reports getting one for $1600! That's the cheapest reported dealer price I am aware of. P0A80 - Replace Hybrid Battery Pack | PriusChat

    Should you still decide on a high mileage Prius that is 8+ years old, please:
    1) Pay for a CarFax report. There are enough stories of people cheaping out, only to later learn they bought a salvaged vehicle.
    2) Pop the cover off the HV Battery pack and examine all the serial numbers of the modules. If there is a break in the sequence, this pack has been repaired. The other modules are likely not far behind in failing too. You now have some leverage to try and get a lower price.​
     
    #9 exstudent, Jun 11, 2019 at 3:46 AM
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019 at 4:34 AM
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  10. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Buying a very high mileage Prius for gas savings does not make alot of sense. One big repair and all that gas saving money goes out the window and your stuck with a high mileage Prius with the ticking time bomb the hv battery in the trunk. The other big one is the brake abs unit very expensive if you cannot diy it.

    What are your technical/mechanical skills? if you have a garage full of tools and a dvm and know how to use it and a place to work on the car you have a chance if non of those a Prius is a bad choice because if anything happens you will have to take it to the dealer at $140 an hour while they do a deep deep exploration of your wallet.

    It can be a very complicated car for the average Joe. Look at the post above me I like exstudents posts its a good post but he's got you taking a high voltage battery apart to check it. You have to tear the back of the car apart to get to it and who can do this when there buying a used car? Who knows how to do that other then the members on this site? Can you? The fact that you should do that should make your decision.
     
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  11. BLNT

    BLNT New Member

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    I think Gen 2s are an excellent deal, compared to other cars that are automatic, have cruise control, AC, practical and have this low fuel consumption. We have 4 Gen2s (2004,2005, 2x 2006 with 120k-170k miles on them) and these are the things I got to know over time - hope this helps to get a rough idea. The amount of items on this list does not make the 2nd Gen Prius an unreliable car and these are certainly don't come-on often. I just thought you should get a full picture on most servicing needs of a 2nd Gen Prius.

    1., The part in the rear brake calliper tends to rot that connects the two parts of it. It is the one on which the calipers move when braking. It can be detected if there is not a lot of break wear on the rear discs. As a result, a rear brake service can be costly to not only replace the pads and discs, but the caliper as well. It can be taken apart, cleaned and greased as prevention.
    2., Check for water inside the trunk. Water can find its way inside through tiny cracks on the top side of the trunk hindge and where the black plastic cover ends on top of the car towards the trunk.
    3., Front strut boot - it is a rubber seal, protecting the inside of the struts from dirt. If it is torn, it needs replacement becuase it can cause the front struts go bad more quickly than expected.
    4., Check the oil level.
    5., Check the coolant level. It should be above the dot. But it is very unlikely to have issues with coolant consumption on Gen2s. It is more of a problem for Gen3s.
    6., Check for working cruise control. A faulty cruise control can be caused by a bad brake sensor or the part itself. When getting in-out of the car, a tall person's knee can easily hit it and cause harm to the stalk switch.
    7., Check if the buttons in the bottom right hand side of the steering wheel work. If not, most likely a wire harness will need replacement within the wheel.
    8., ABS actuator sometimes goes bad - this can be quite costly to replace.
    9., Check the 12V battery voltage through the in-car diagnostics menu. If the voltage gets too low, the car won't start. It is less evident to experience a 12V battery on it's last leg in a hybrid than on ICE vehicles.
    10., Sometimes the inverter water pump goes bad.
    11., Hybrid battery can go bad as others highlighted.
    12., On older models the bottom part of the bonnet can start to corrode.
    13., Timing chain can go bad on certain 2006 models irrelevant of mileage.
    14., Every 90 000 km / 56k miles, the transmission fluid should be changed along with spark plugs
    15., Regular oil, air filter, cabin filter
    16., Sometimes the AC needs a re-charging in these older models.
    17., Rarely, the catalytic converter needs replacement as highlighted by others.
    18., Inverter itself needs replacement. But this is rarer than hybrid battery servicing. I've heard (no idea if it's true though -others will let us know I guess here in the comments) that it goes bad when towing a larger object or doing high speed (170 kph / 100 mph) for a long period of time.
    19., If you put Nitrous in it, the engine will explode.
     
  12. oldtechaa

    oldtechaa Member

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    So you got to know number 19 over time ... from personal experience? Funny, I thought that was something only Tyler Hoover did, but you've dabbled in the same sport in the past?
    ;)
     
  13. BLNT

    BLNT New Member

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    Haha, no way I'd try that - this Tyler Hoover is an adventurous type.
     
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