Please help..need advice

Discussion in 'Generation 1 Prius Discussion' started by Butterflyjkg, Oct 3, 2018.

  1. Butterflyjkg

    Butterflyjkg New Member

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    Hi everyone. I need some help here . My daughter purchased a 2003 Prius against her dads advice and we need help. Shes had it about 6 weeks and has had some issues. She bought this from someone that we believe was Shady. She is an hour away at college and drives home on weekends to work. We have the carfax report on it and it was regularly serviced up until about one year ago. It has 150k. She paid 2500 for it. Well, I loaned her the money. She only drives it about 2 days a week which we hear is a problem. She called us the first week saying the emergency brake was stuck on. You could get it in gear but it wouldnt move. We called AAA and the tow truck driver confirmed that and got it off. Two weeks later she calls us and says it wont start. We drive up to school and jump start the car and it starts immediately. We know nothing about a hybrid car. Neither does our daughter. The car was so cute she couldnt resist. So, after we jump start the car we drive it 20 miles and drop it at the Toyota dealer so they can check it and give it the once over. Here is where it gets juicy! They say the 12v battery was never changed and it needs a new one. They ask if its being driven regularly and we say no. They tell us that is bad for a Prius. They gave it a check up and said the rear brake drums are rusted beyond repair. Front brakes need rotors. Tires are bald, which we could see. The person we bought it from was a car flipper, I believe. He said it was inspected and I am sure it has a lickem stickem sticker on it. No reputable garage would have passed it. Toyota dealer also says the filter in the cabin needs replaced and it should have an Hvac check up? So, we were stunned. We already loned her the 2500 to buy the car and now the dealer says to do all this stuff is 1750$ ! Do we put another 1750 into a car that is probably worth 2000? We know we were taken for a ride by the seller. He was ripping us off and you live and learn. What should we do? We told Toyota to give us a new battery and we will come get the car until we decide if we are even going to fix it or just cut or loses and move on. I would rather be out 2000 than 3750. What do you advise? Should we sell it for its value minus the repairs it needs or are these cars so good we should make the repairs? I cant tell you how many times my husband has said I KNEW SHE SHOULDNT HAVE BOUGHT THAT CAR!!!!
     
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  2. Spaced_Rat

    Spaced_Rat New Member

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    So nothing there is particularly surprising aside from the drum brakes?

    Cabin filter is a $10 dollar part and takes 5 mins to change. Skip the HVAC check, the dealer just wants your $$
    Aux battery is $250 from the dealer and takes 15 mins to change.
    I got 4 new tires for my Prius off amazon for $130 shipped.
    If you cant do brakes, take them to a reputable brake shop like Les Schwab, etc...
     
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  3. davecook89t

    davecook89t Senior Member

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    Even the 12V battery for the Prius is expensive, and that is the least of your problems. I would advise you to not even spend the money to replace that. You would not be able to completely recover that cost when selling it and the same goes for new tires and new brakes. Unfortunately, getting rid of it now will probably cause a good deal of resentment from your daughter if she has fallen in love with it.

    We could very easily have been in your situation. A couple of years ago, our daughter was looking for her first car and I (her father) was the one who started getting interested in buying a used Prius. I was expecting to spend $7 or $8K, but I wanted her to agree to pay half, even though she was still in college and I knew it would be a couple of years before she could pay me. Even that was not good enough for her. She went to her push-over mother who agreed to pay whatever it would take to get her a car. So she and her boyfriend went out and found a 2007 Nissan Sentra with around 100K miles for about half of what I thought it would take to get a decent used car. I guess you could say it has worked out. Before she was working full-time we needed to spend a couple of hundred to replace a wheel bearing, and another couple of hundred for new tires and a battery, but apart from that nothing. She and her boyfriend even drove the car out from Philly to San Diego (where they now live) without running into any problems and she now has a CA inspection sticker and as far as I know, drives it every day. Looking back, I'm glad it worked out the way it did. To satisfy my own lust for the Prius, I bought a 2007 with very high mileage and it has been an excellent car, but buying a used hybrid is always a crapshoot. I can imagine if I had bought one as her first car it may have ended up needing major repairs and spent many days in the shop, all the while creating resentment on her part towards me for choosing that car for her.

    At least in your case, she was the one who made the decision. For around $4K, the Sentra has turned out to be a good car and I would think your chances would be even better with a used Corolla or Civic or Fit for that price. You can't force her to get rid of the car, but if she insists on keeping it, she should be willing to pay you back for any repairs it needs, even if that's not for a few years. Once her own money is on line, you know her perspective will change. Best of luck whatever you decide.
     
  4. WHCSC

    WHCSC Member

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    I just put a new 12v in for $150
    Really none of this sounds like a reason to freak out.
     
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  5. Spaced_Rat

    Spaced_Rat New Member

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    I just got a stocker because I was too lazy to do the modification.
     
  6. Brian in Tucson

    Brian in Tucson Active Member

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    Does Pennsylvania still have safety inspections? For the brakes, I think I'd find a "gas stationy" independent garage to do the work, buy the parts from Rockauto, you may need wheel cylinders and calipers, too, (and buy the cheapest brands.) I'd go to Walmart and find a battery that's dimensions are similar and put that in. The shop might need to do some adapting. Cabin filter is easy and cheap, and not much of a safety hazard if you don't do it right away. Buy the cheapest tires, get them at Walmart, they have an exclusive brand from Goodyear that's both cheap and reliable.

    Toyota's comment about she's not driving it enough is B.S. A couple of times a week is sufficient if the aux battery and the hybrid batteries are ok (hold a charge.) Don't take their word for what the repairs are going to cost! Do the research and do the figuring. $350 (max) for the brakes, $100 for a battery, tires $250 or so. Cab filter, air filter, oil, coolant, and trans, $100 plus maybe $100 in labor.

    Reading is probably big enough that there's an indie hybrid shop.

    While the indie garage is doing the brake job, have them change the coolant, engine oil, and maybe the transmission oil (it takes a special sauce for this.) The only part that's very likely to need replacing soon is the inverter coolant pump, which is more or less an extended mileage tuneup item.

    I sold one of my gen 1 Prius's to a high school senior young woman. I think is was a graduation gift, and I gave her a 10% discount! She was practically jumping with excitement! These cars can be reliable in the extreme, are very safe (side air bags, ABS) and fun and economical. Your daddy duty is to pay for the repairs and make sure it is safe and reliable. They're good cars! She's going to school and is working, you should be proud (and extremely supportive.!)
     
    #6 Brian in Tucson, Oct 5, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2018
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  7. Brian in Tucson

    Brian in Tucson Active Member

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    Les Schwab is local to the Pac. NW. And not my idea of reliable. Midas has been very good to me, but maybe that's the local shop. The kids at Walmart would probably do the cab filter while you were getting tires, be sure to look up and print out the procedure--the cab filter is behind the glove box and they would flip the cover pastopen to access it. I'd probably have the kids at Walmart do the engine oil & filter, and air filter, too. I've watched them and they have multiple redundancy to assure quality control.
     
    #7 Brian in Tucson, Oct 5, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2018
  8. Spaced_Rat

    Spaced_Rat New Member

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    Yeah, I am not exactly savvy on tire shops, I do my own brakes, always will.. There are numerous videos on how to change the 1st gen cabin filter, although its tragically easy..
     
  9. JimN

    JimN Let the games begin!

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    15 years and 150000 miles on the original 12v battery and brakes and the tires are past their expected useful life. The Prius is low maintenance, not no maintenance. The downside to that is that when the maintenance is due it will cost a fair percentage of the car's value.

    The kid loves the car. Great. Time to learn (or practice) some responsibility. Baby needs new shoes. Baby needs a new battery. Baby needs new brakes. (I needed brakes in less time and fewer miles.) Baby probably needs all the fluids changed. Time to pay for the baby.

    Changing the air filters (engine & cabin) are easy jobs and a good start to DIY101. How far you (all) want to take the DIY depends on several factors. If you know someone who has tire mounting equipment then the kid can save some money and experience mounting tires. I was able to buy tires cheaper through Amazon because I could help mount them.
     
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  10. mroberds

    mroberds Member

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    Suggestion: Find an independent mechanic that specializes in Toyotas. It doesn't even have to be a "mostly/only hybrids" type of garage - anyplace that does enough Toyota will know something about hybrids, because the Prius is popular. They can for sure do the brake job, front and rear, at a cheaper price than the dealer. I take mine to a shop in the Kansas City area that is run by a couple of Toyota dealership techs who founded their own shop.

    Having the rear drums rust up might be a function of being in PA, and it might be a function of the rear brakes being out of adjustment. Normally the rear brakes should apply to the drum every time you use the brakes, which keeps rust from building up. There is also a "self adjuster" in the rear brakes that is supposed to ratchet the brake shoes closer to the brake drum as the shoes and drum wear down. if the self-adjuster quits working, then eventually the rear brakes don't apply to the drum anymore, and the drum rusts. Any place that can do a brake job can fix this.

    The front rotors may indeed be gone if the car is old enough. Mine still has its factory front rotors, but I did have them turned (machined) when I put new front brake pads on at about 150,000 miles. Again, any place that can do a brake job can fix this - either turning the old rotors or installing new ones.

    The 12 volt battery is a little odd on a 2001-2003 Prius. From the factory, it had a relatively small one, in a size that was pretty uncommon in the US. (I think the battery from certain years of Mazda Miata would fit in the hole in a Prius, but the + and - posts were the wrong way around.) Toyota's answer for this was a kit with a bigger bracket for the battery to sit in, and a bigger battery, in a slightly more common size. The factory 12 V battery in my 2001 lasted about 10 years, and the first replacement (from Toyota) lasted about 7 years. I then switched to an aftermarket 12 V battery in a slightly different size, as I felt the Toyota replacement wasn't good value. This did mean I had to work up my own cable connections and modify the battery bracket a little.

    Any tire shop can do tires on a Prius. An '03 doesn't even have a tire pressure monitoring system, so 1) the shop doesn't have to be careful of the sensors in the wheels and 2) you should gently decline any extra charge for working with or resetting that system that the shop tries to slip on to the invoice.

    Another suggestion: Find a couple of 20% off coupons for Harbor Freight Tools in a newspaper or advertising flyer near you, go to their local branch, and buy their 1/2" drive clicker-type torque wrench, #62431, for $16 with one of the coupons. Take the wrench out to your car. Go back in and buy their 3-piece 1/2" drive "impact flip socket set", #62491, for $12 (this might be with the car stuff, rather than with all the other sockets and wrenches.) Put one of the sockets on the extension such that the "21 mm" end is free, put the extension on the torque wrench, and you are now equipped to do a better job on lug nuts than most tire shops. EVERY SINGLE TIME a shop takes a wheel off of the Prius and puts it back on, when you get the car back, loosen each lug nut a little with the torque wrench. Then, set the wrench to 76 lb-ft, and tighten the lug nut again until the wrench clicks. Go in a cross pattern, not in a circle - if the nuts are on a clock face, do like 12:00, 6:00, 3:00, 9:00. (Don't do 12:00, 3:00, 6:00, 9:00.) When you're done with all the lug nuts, set the wrench back to its minimum setting. After you've driven the car about 100 miles, recheck the tightness on all the lug nuts, without loosening them first. Then, don't worry about it until the next time a shop takes a wheel off.

    The reason for all this is that tire shops almost always put the lug nuts on too tight. This becomes important if you get a flat, because then you can't get it off the car with the lug wrench that comes with the car. It also helps your wheels and brakes to not get bent and distorted from overtightening the nuts. I have had Prius tire work done by about every kind of shop you can (Wally World, a standalone Goodyear shop, a standalone BF Goodrich shop, a Toyota dealer, and the independent garage) and the only one that got it right was the independent garage. I broke a Snap-On (high quality) socket trying to get the lug nuts loose after the Goodyear shop worked on the tires. As a bonus, the socket set will probably fit your other cars, too. (Secret tip: if you are stuck on the side of the road in the Prius and can't get the lug nuts off, the hole in the jack where the jack handle goes will fit over the lug wrench. This gives you another foot or so of leverage on the lug wrench, which sometimes is enough to move the nut. If that's not enough, you need AAA or a tow truck that has an electric or air impact wrench.)

    If there are things you want to DIY, and you want to get genuine Toyota parts, go read this post. Handbrake / parking brake cables | PriusChat Basically, if you dig around, some dealers will sell parts at a discount on their Web site. This doesn't work for everything, like batteries (which are hard to ship), but it works for most things. For the brakes, aftermarket parts offered by an independent mechanic or your local car parts store are usually fine. As an example, I priced two rear drums and a full set of rear brake shoes at a discounting Toyota dealer and at AutoZone. Before tax and shipping, the dealer is $202 and Autozone is $127. That $75 difference will make a good dent in the labor charge at an independent mechanic. (Similarly, one front rotor at the dealer is $71, and one front rotor at Autozone is $44.)

    If the car doesn't have its factory owners' manual, you can download a PDF of it for free at http://techinfo.toyota.com/ . This won't give you all the details that a service manual will, but it will tell you how to do the easy stuff, like changing light bulbs, fuses, etc.

    I don't work for or get money from any companies mentioned.

    I hope this helps!
     
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  11. pshawfocus

    pshawfocus Picard would own a Prius...

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    'low maintenance, not no maintenance' = very apt.
     
  12. WHCSC

    WHCSC Member

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    Really need to be careful on the oil to make sure it's not overfilled.
     
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