Newbie trying to decide between a 2011 or 2012 Prius

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by Cp82, Nov 13, 2020.

  1. Cp82

    Cp82 New Member

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    I’m looking at buying a used Prius. I like that they are reliable and great on gas.

    That being said I’m here to get advice from experts.

    I’m looking at a 2011 Prius with 79k miles for $9k I read this is the least reliable year. I read it starts to burn oil? How big a problem is this really?

    The other car is a 2012 Prius III, around the same miles and $10.5k. I heard this may also have the same problem.

    Any advice on these cars? How many miles can I expect them to last? I heard these cars are reliable, that’s why I started to look at them, then I read somewhere that the 2011 was least reliable....
     
  2. pjksr02

    pjksr02 Active Member

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    You'd be better off springing for a Gen-4 (2016 and up). You'd be getting a better car, and newer-than-10-year-old battery. Only consider a Gen-3 if you work on cars yourself, in my opinion. And if you have the VIN of these cars, run the # for recalls.
     
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  3. Austin Longenecker

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    Ideally, yes, one would be better off with a gen 4, however for many who buy used, it does not fit in their price range. If you go with a gen 3, I dont know the comparisons in reliability, but the only major repair I've made in the last 3 years/40k miles of ownership was due to a mechanic screwing up my EGR. If possible, DIY will save you money, and the hassle of mechanics who think the prius is an ICE only vehicle. (I've had more than one mechanic ask me "this is a hybrid right?"). If/when you do take it to a mechanic, make sure you trust they know what they're doing. This goes for any car really, but particularly hybrids.
     
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  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    welcome!
    2010-13 are all the same. they just trend to less reliable as they get older.

    for many of these cars, the egr is the weak point. buying used, you're nevr going to know if you got an oil burner or not until it's too late.
    it's a risk you have to be willing to live with. we don't know what percent go bad, some people have several hundred thousand miles with no problems, and we don't know why.

    if you are not a serious diy'er, be prepared for the worst (it's expensive) and hope for the best.
    either year is fine.
     
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  5. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    The low mileage is good, but the prices are too high, even with the lower mileage.
    Check Kelly Blue Book and see what there estimate is for "owner" selling, not dealer pricing.
    Not sure of the pricing in your area, but $6000 is more likely a realistic price.

    How you drive will be part of how much oil the engine burns. If you drive 70mph and more
    and drive it like a sports car, you'll burn a lot of oil.
    If you drive 65mph, or less, and drive it to get more mpg, you'll burn less oil.

    If I'm driving 70mph a lot, I will use almost 2 qts in 10,000 miles. If I keep it 65mph or less,
    I use about 1 qt. So 5mph makes a big difference.

    And if you are going to do the work yourself, you won't have any labor cost, and that's what
    cost the most, 90% of the time.

    Usually, it's better to get the newest car you can afford. Probably the 2012 has more features?


     
  6. Grit

    Grit Senior Member

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    Since miles driven, test drives & car history doesn't matter to poster, easy peasy just buy the cheaper one.
     
  7. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Unlimited miles as long as you roll them within the first 10-15 years. Time brings them down, not miles.

    Their record of reliability is based on how they did from new until now.

    Get the youngest one you can afford.
     
  8. ETC(SS)

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

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    Expert.....
    riiiight.
    An "ex" is a has-been, and a "spurt" is a drip under pressure.....

    G3's (2010-2015) were reliable back in the day, and they still represent a pretty good value if you're not afraid to swing your own wrenches on your own car......but if you're the type that throws your keys at a dealership's "service" manager and hopes that they will be gentle with you then I would look at a different make/model......and as mentioned before, those prices are a little steep....even in the big city.

    This isn't just true with Priuses, but in addition to brakes, suspension items, HVAC, electrical, and motor issues that start to become problematic on cars as they enter those awkward pre-teen years......Priuses also can (and sometimes do!) have problems with regenerative brakes, inverters, transaxles, and traction batteries....in addition to the leaks, creaks, cracks, and squeaks that are common to all cars after a decade in service.

    Unless you're prepared to pay for a car repair bill with a comma in it......perhaps more than once over the next few years, then you might not be able to afford to drive a 10 year old car with a bunch of miles on it - not unless you're shopping for a beater, spare car, etc....

    Read the ten longest threads in this forum with "head gasket" or "EGR" in the title and get back with us........
     
    #8 ETC(SS), Nov 16, 2020
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2020
  9. Grit

    Grit Senior Member

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    Hey, how come you left out the detailed part where the inverter dies in the middle of the freeway and go into limp mode and have a surge of cars propelling you forward like bumper cars?
     
  10. orenji

    orenji Senior Member

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    Wow such love for the Gen 3. It’s all about who owned it and how it was driven. There are plenty of well taken care of Prius with 150k miles Plus that have had no issues. Find one that was taken care of and you should be fine.
     
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  11. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    B I N G O !
    Almost 217,000 miles on mine. Head gasket still intact, aprox. 1-1.5 qts oil used in 10,000 miles.
    Depending on how I drive. :)

    If a person cannot do the work themselves, it's going to be more expensive to repair.
    If a person can do the work themsleves, it will be a lot less money, and worth getting an older fixer upper.
    And if they maintain it, it will provide reliability for a few thousands miles.

     
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  12. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    As a owner on gen3 now and gen2 in the past, I would buy the lowest mileage model of either as long as it was well under 100k miles. Honestly a tie breaker would go to the gen2. I would also allocate $2500 for a new Toyota hv battery, either right away or in a secure separate account. A hybrid is a great new car purchase, especially when traded by 150,000 miles. Used car? My first choice would be a standard Camry, Corolla or Rav 4 in the same price range. Maybe an Accord.
     
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  13. ETC(SS)

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

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    Ahhhh yes.
    And the secret to being rich is......don't be poor. :D

    There's a STARK difference between somebody buying a car and taking care of it for ten years, and somebody who buys a car, washes it and waxes it and keeps the interior squeaky clean until it starts to be problematic, and then dumps it on the market for an unsuspecting new owner....and with most makes and models those differences are sometimes very apparent.

    Here's the thing WITH G3 PRIUSES though.....

    1. It is very possible to have a G3 that was taken into the dealership every 5,000 miles for every prescribed maintenance and even a bunch that is NOT in the maintenance guide to suffer from:

    (a) Excessive oil use (real-world excessive use, as opposed to Toyota's definition of excessive oil use!)
    (b) A timing chain cover gasket "leak".
    (c) A clogged EGR causing a head gasket failure.
    (d) Electrical problems from rodent infestation caused by wiring that tastes like cheese flavored Doritos.

    Unlike all of the usual maladies that happen with 8 year old cars with 2/3 lunar mileage, the above represent failures that are PRIUS SPECIFIC....and I didn't even mention the inverter, which was problematic enough in early G3's to require a warranty enhancement (which a dealer may or may not remind you about,) nor did I mention the TRACTION battery which has actually proven to be very reliable in G3s.......but the oldest of these are closing in on TEN YEARS of service.

    Those problems mentioned above could cost an unsuspecting owner well over $1000....or?
    Someone who is familiar with Priuses may be able to dodge several very expensive repair bills with a few hundred dollars worth of tools and a technical degree from the University of YouTube....or AT LEAST a few CEU's worth of reading through some of the more voluminous threads in this forum.

    This is why....IMHO.....my original non-fanboy advice is still worth every bit of it's asking price of < $0.02....BUT.......as always.....actual mileage WILL vary! ;)
     
    #13 ETC(SS), Nov 18, 2020
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2020
  14. orenji

    orenji Senior Member

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    My experience is if someone has kept an older car clean and detailed than they also have at least followed the manufacturers recommendations for service.

    All the items you have listed would be and can be spotted by a good mechanic - the EGR would need to be removed and inspected, but more mechanics are now aware of the issue as the vehicle reaches higher miles and would suggest the removal and cleaning.
     
  15. Grit

    Grit Senior Member

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    That completely takes away the high & joy of impulse buying.
     
  16. orenji

    orenji Senior Member

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    Hunting can be fun.
     
  17. Sal43

    Sal43 Member

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    Those prices are way too high.
    I bought a 2011 Prius 4 with solar roof/nav with 58,000 miles for $9,300 2.8 years ago when gas prices were much higher. I did buy it from a private party though.
    I had to drive almost 90 miles to the Jersey Shore, but it was worth it to save over $1000 compared the the Prii in my area.
     
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