One year after buying a high mileage Prius...our experience!

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Alex Wilsey, Jan 8, 2022.

  1. Alex Wilsey

    Alex Wilsey Junior Member

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    Alright so here goes nothing. About a year ago my partner needed a cheap car that would be reliable and not cost a fortune to fill up. He was going from a 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited to whatever we could find. I said Prius, he ran with it. Ended up finding an 05 in very good shape (the interior is in excellent condition for the mileage). It had 195xxx miles on it, and a recently redone battery. Seemed to be a good setup for $2,500. Blue book for our area was around $4,500, so it was definitely priced reasonably.

    Test drove it, ran very nice. He bought it the next day because the Jeep's lease was running out in a few months and the deal seemed very good. A few months later the car began to misfire randomly after a trip from DC back to Philly. Took it to the dealer and it ended up being the TSB for the 2005 models in which the windshield washer cowl leaks to the top of the motor and fouls out the plugs and coils. Stealership got us for $500, but the issue is completely resolved and 7 months later the motor runs fantastic.

    The massive issue was that in July, the HV battery failed. I went through the Dr. Prius app and the module voltages and resistances were an absolute disaster. I wondered if it was a fluke, but the car's computers are very smart and if something is wrong, especially with the battery, it absolutely knows. We were able to limp the crummy battery along for a few months and some other repairs such as front brakes, tires, and a strut needed to be done. My partner went to the place we got the tires and they way overcharged him. Not again. I do a lot of my own vehicle work, but I was away at school about an hour away and couldn't come home and do the work for him. Definitely taking it to my one local mechanic, who specializes in Prii. I should've definitely pushed my partner to go there but he was also crunched for time that week and they were booked out. Luckily the tire place did the strut and brakes, I have to do the rear drums at some point since they had about 1/4 of the brake material left, but given these brakes last so long I am not in a huge rush, and the parts are cheap.

    Finally, last month we got a new HV battery from Greentec at the recommendation of a few people and another well-known prius guy who services my friend's 06 that has 280k on it. My friend's family loves that guy and he said that Greentec has a solid product. Experience was phenomenal. Nice people and they were able to help out when they usually are closed. A month into the "new" battery, and it runs beautifully. 98% life left according to Dr. Prius (tested a month ago and now, holding very consistent), increased mileage, better power and much smoother driving. Even in the cold temps the battery holds charge very well and you can audibly hear the difference between the old battery and the new one when the car is driving, the motor runs much smoother and clearly is much happier.

    So, all in all, there is about $4,000 into the car with purchase and repairs. Blue book in this insane market and in our area is roughly $4,800 which I struggle to believe, but given all major issues have been dealt with, I don't imagine many other issues other than routine maintenance. Luckily, the inverter pump is strong and the recall was done. If I factor in the gas savings alone, the repairs are absolutely justified due to the fact that gas prices have risen and my partner uses less than half of the gas that he used to. All factored in with an 18 MPG on the Jeep vs 40 MPG average numbers, the savings annually in gas with the current price averages is about ~$2,000 annually. Factor in no car payments and the residual value vs. purchase price, the difference is in the $5,000 range or more. So the repairs are well worth it.

    Was this car difficult, absolutely. Has it been worth it? So far! It still saves him tons of money, albeit it has been a hassle, but I adore the innovation of cars and the Prius has been a good setup for my partner since it is easy to drive and great for the crazy traffic around here. Still, in the end, it gives my partner more free capital to invest in his education and future.

    One awesome thing about his particular car is that the motor runs excellent, and consumed very very little oil. Less than half a quart every 3,000 or so miles. I change the oil regularly at 5,000 mi intervals and use high mileage full synthetic with the 5w-30 manufacturer recommendation. The oil also runs extremely clean. I drive a Kia, my mother a new Honda Accord, my father a '16 GMC and '13 Optima. They all run dirtier oil than my partner's Prius. I changed the oil about 2,500 miles ago and it is remarkably clean. Wiped the dipstick on a white paper towel to see the color and there is not much dirt on it at all. The oil looks fantastic. Coolant in both tanks looks excellent, inverter pump runs great and the car drives smooth. I imagine there will be a few things that will need to be done. I would like to do another rear strut at some point, the rear brakes are at the top of the list as of now. Ordering them soon.

    Would my partner get another Prius, nope. Not his taste, is it a good fuel saver to have in college for him? absolutely. He is content for now, and is happy he has a nice car. I would absolutely buy an older Prius and do all the work myself (excluding the HV battery). The plan is that when I graduate next year, I'll drive my Kia until my partner chooses to get a different car and I'll take over the Prius as a commuter/city car. Maybe get rid of the Kia, maybe get an old 4Runner for our trips to the Adirondacks, the family Cabin in the Poconos and to tow my JetSki. Personally, I adore the design of the Prius and I find it quite roomy, as a 6'1 260 lb guy, I am not particularly small. I fit very comfortably in the Prius and adore driving it on the highway and in the city. I love having cars and at only 21 years old, I had my dad's old truck, an 03 Mercedes E class (that thing was quite the adventure), and my Kia Soul. If I end up taking my partner's Prius when he is done with it, I'll definitely need that 4x4 for the snow in my area because in the tight areas it gets messy very quick, and hoping I end up in the career that I am foraging towards, snow is an obstacle that I'll have to overcome and a Prius isn't necessarily fit to handle more than a few inches of snow on the ground. So anticipating that greater than a few inches of snow will happen, and the fact that my parents will likely retire in snowy upstate NY, I'll need that 4x4. Regardless, the Prius will be the commuter until it blows up, and given all the new parts and how well the motor runs, I don't see that happening anytime soon. She has 213k and going strong!

    Anyways, thanks for reading! Feel free to comment and ask questions.
     
  2. Tombukt2

    Tombukt2 Active Member

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    It will be very tough to find a lower maintenance car than the Prius Gen 2. I've owned hundreds of cars and I work on all my friends cars and work on even other people's cars and other people's vehicles and tree trucks and all kinds of stuff You will be pushed to your outer limits to find the car with lower maintenance or you have extreme luck some people have extremely good luck and some people have the worst luck on the planet I know a woman that if she gets near a mechanical item it will cease to work very quickly way faster than a normal person could damage it it just falls apart for this person I don't care what it is A chainsaw a car washing machine she can't own anything it is just her look it is happened all of her life I can't figure it out and don't care too but try to find the car with the little maintenance that you do to the Prius it doesn't exist yet Even electric cars they may have less moving parts and all that than an ice car but look at all the problems with batteries front ends falling out from underneath Tesla's lower control arm problems these are basic structural frame issues that should not be happening I'm glad I haven't spent my 50 grand to have to do $5,000 worth of repairs or BS within a couple of years oh no not in my world I have 300,000 and some change on my Prius it's an '09 I have done nothing to the car practically front brake pads and I put a new hybrid battery because I don't believe in playing games You get new batteries for your radio or your flashlight You get a new battery for your hybrid or electric car You don't spend months playing with modules That's not fixing the car That's just playing with the car if you have that kind of time no problem but most folks have to work raise children families etc
     
  3. Tombukt2

    Tombukt2 Active Member

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    You can tell by the statements this is younger folks would he buy another Prius no not his style meaning he wants a car payment and you know a new Dodge charger One of those plasticy things that everything you look at in the sides going to fall apart within years I don't understand the cars now go 300,000 miles up from the old 100,000 of 20 years ago but the interiors only last 40,000 miles and seats cost $2,000 so go figure a Tesla $40,000 extended range model 3 could possibly go a million miles but the seats will be ruined and 25,000 so you'll be sitting on tubular framed pieces of metal practically sticking through your stuff it's ridiculous until they get this even partially worked out The electric car is not even on my radar until they get to seats like an airplanes passenger class they can be redone in a matter of hours boom boom boom cars 2,000 bucks a seat to straighten out or more so Tesla's going to need this like four times and it's life before the first battery goes bad possibly so you spent more money on what your butt goes on then you have what drives the car complete idiotic
     
  4. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    Alex, sounds like you have a decent gen2. Keep us updated on the hv battery. My gen2 was far more reliable than the current gen3 and it had a much lower cost of ownership. I sold the 2008 five years ago. I seriously considered trading the 2012v at the time but my wife liked its size and ride. In retrospect keeping the 2012 was a mistake.


    Drum roll please - we have a new champion in the category of run on sentences:
     
    #4 rjparker, Jan 8, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2022
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  5. mr_guy_mann

    mr_guy_mann Senior Member

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  6. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    I think he took the OP as a challenge to his supremacy?
     
  7. Alex Wilsey

    Alex Wilsey Junior Member

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    I think you are so correct here. My father's optima is starting to experience catastrophic issues (consistent misfire and standard issues aren't seeming to solve it, I think the timing skipped because the oil is starting to have some *glitter* in it). So if the motor is kaput I may consider talking to my parents and having them sell the Optima and I'd give my father the Soul since it runs excellent and is a great commuter for him for the next year or so. If they are willing to go that route I'd probably look for a gently used Gen II (no older than 2006 though) with the cash from selling the Optima and I'd get an eTrailer hitch to tow my single jetski (total weight is about 600 lbs). I like to drive economically and honestly saving on gas would be a blessing for me, even though my Soul gets 32 since I do a lot of highway driving, which is fantastic for a box with wheels.

    I prefer the styling of the Gen III but with the minimal price range, I'd be stuck with a 2010 or 11 which had head gasket issues. Not my cup of tea. I am so familiar with the Gen II that god forbid there are issues, I know exactly what to do. The Gen II seems to be the most widely supported hybrid in the market, and with demand increasing and the increasing of perks outside of the physical car (such as better parking, emissions exemptions), it would be a great fit.
     
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  8. Alex Wilsey

    Alex Wilsey Junior Member

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    Don't be mean about his sentences! I know you are poking fun though. His sentiment and ideas are awesome though. And, we are in a virtual setting here, so I don't worry!
     
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  9. Alex Wilsey

    Alex Wilsey Junior Member

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    Probably. When I am determined my writing gets long and my sentences don't "flow" correctly. Now in academia, I am a stickler.
     
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  10. yossi

    yossi Junior Member

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    I am curious - why would a new HV battery result in the "motor running more smoothly"?
     
  11. nancytheprius

    nancytheprius Member

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    with a failing battery the engine has to pick up the slack is my guess
     
  12. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    I agree that a new hv battery makes the powertrain more responsive, adds power and minimizes horsepower lost to excessive charging.

    The engine is designed to be underpowered, especially at low to average speeds. Read up on the Atkinson cycle engine. The hybrid design at these speeds is expecting electric boost to be running in parallel with the engine. The parallel boost is there at higher speeds as well when the load requires. A bad battery uses more engine hp to keep the charge at an operational level. That charging hp does not make it to the wheels.

    All that is bad enough, but add some carbon buildup in the cylinders and intake passages and you have a situation where preignition can happen when the battery is not able to fully contribute. The knock sensor picks this up and retards the timing, further reducing power while increasing the demands from the battery to pick up the slack. The classic symptom is weak acceleration after a battery discharges quickly at a stop light.
     
    #12 rjparker, Jan 11, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2022
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  13. Alex Wilsey

    Alex Wilsey Junior Member

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    With a failing battery, the motor works extra hard to keep it charged while being tasked with propelling the car with diminished battery performance. The motor makes about 75ish horsepower and the electric motor does the rest. When the battery is weak, the electric motor can’t produce (up to 60) horsepower as designed and the motor has to work extra hard because it’s overcompensating for an underpowered electric motor AND trying to charge the battery.

    with a replaced battery, the motor runs at lower rpm’s and the electric motor produces much more power, you can feel the motor working less and more of that electric “whirring” when accelerating instead of a motor that is taching high to compensate for crummy battery performance.
     
  14. Alex Wilsey

    Alex Wilsey Junior Member

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  15. Alex Wilsey

    Alex Wilsey Junior Member

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    mom the simplest form, yep. The battery can’t produce enough juice or dies so quick that the motor has to work extra hard to charge and move the vehicle.
     
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