Questions to ask when looking at a used high mileage Prius?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by cigar_fan1, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. cigar_fan1

    cigar_fan1 New Member

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    I'm looking at a 2006 Prius with about 123,000 miles on it tomorrow. What should I look for? What kind of questions should I ask? What maintance should have been done as far as the electric part of the vehicle at this mileage? I'm new to the hybrid world and not really sure what to expect as far as maintance for a hybrid with over 100,000. Any help you can provided would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
     
  2. macmaster05

    macmaster05 Senor Member

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    Great question. *sigh* we really need a sticky on this! I scoured the forums and can't find one anywhere. This question gets asked 10 times/day.
     
  3. macmaster05

    macmaster05 Senor Member

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    So out of laziness I'll just copy what everyone else has said:


    __________________________
    Check car fax and ensure no accidents, ensure they followed maintenance regiment - 5k oil, 15k service

    - New 12V battery (expected life of 4 years - 2006 prius would require new one soon)

    - Check that transaxle fluid was replaced

    - Shifting of car gears should be completely not felt by driver due to CVT

    12V Battery health check; replace if weak
    Alignment check; rear can't be adjusted so don't accept a bad one
    (especially in your case, brand new tires may hide evidence of poor alignment)
    Get a list of TSBs, look out for the described symptoms in test drive
    Above 35-40K miles, get them to do an ATF drain and fill if it hasn't been done
    If they can't/won't produce service records (scary by itself) you can check them at Toyota Owners Online | Official Toyota Owners Website - just claim the VIN as yours.

    Ask or check:

    4. When was transaxle oil last changed? Wrong answer: never. Negotiate a lower price.

    5. Inspect the throttle (remove air cleaner) for 'crud'? Something for an early look.

    6. What does the tire wear look like? Fixable, look for evidence of uneven wear. Negotiate alignment report.


    7. Was the gas paddle “fixed” during the recall?

    8. Check the production date in the doorplate. It may be, for instance, a 2005 model when the seller says it’s from 2006 (perhaps registered early 2006)

    9. Did you ever change the ATF (Tranny Fluid)? Toyota says it only needs changing in "Harsh Use". Lab testing has shown that it should be changed every 60,000 miles. It should cost about $100 at a dealer.

    _________________________________
    I apologize for the plagiarism. This aint no english class tho'.
     
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  4. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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  5. richard schumacher

    richard schumacher shortbus driver

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    Pay a tech at a different Toyota dealer to thoroughly inspect the car before buying. As with every modern car so much hard-to-find stuff can be wrong with one it'll make you ill.
     
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  6. macmaster05

    macmaster05 Senor Member

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  7. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    the one question only you can answer: if something goes seriously wrong (unlikely, but possible) can i afford to pay $5-10,000. for the repair?
     
  8. Spiritgod

    Spiritgod Junior Member

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    I'll admit, just having been on this site the past two day I can see why someone would become irritated on all the questions that seem to go by the same layout. I for one am guilty of asking the questions as well, but in my defense I did use the search function.

    I think what many have a problem with is that even when you use the search function that you don't necessarily get the posts you want. I for one did a few searches and some where upward of a few years old, and I wanted something more current.

    Buying a car is no small endeavor, people who are new want to know as much as possible, but some just don't take the time to research, which means you get new users with the same basic questions day after day. With the Prius it's a little different as well, you can search for days, like me, and still not know the facts due to the overwhelming lies that are spread in order to keep customers scared of a fairly new technology. I started with high hopes on becoming a Prius owner, but after day two with hours of research under my belt I was becoming skeptical that the car I wanted wasn't meant for me, but after coming on here asking questions, I'm sure you have answered several times before, I am more confident now more than ever that I will become a Prius owner.
     
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  9. born2pdl

    born2pdl Junior Member

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    While Prius body and mechanical systems are just car systems, the hybrid aspects of the car do make it a different animal. If you want to be prepared to knowedgably buy a used higher miles prius, you should spend 2~4 weeks scanning and reading all PriusChat Gen II posts. You'll become familiar with systems and terminology, hear common complaints, failures and resolutions, and ultimately get a feel for whether you would really love this car or just get sick of it.

    My take is that DIY'ers will benefit more from buying/owning a higher miles 2004+ Prius since they study/ask/decide for themselves how to resolve their problems. This avoids many unnecessary dealer service costs and reduces cost impacts of high miles maintenance and failure items.

    If you're the type who relies fully on others for diagnoses and repair recommendations, the overall cost versus good mpg may not work out for you. You'll be better off time and money-wise buying a clean loaded low miles 2007~08 Hyundai Elantra 5speed for $6~9k. Or if you're too high above the "H" word, pay more for a higher miles corolla.
     
  10. cigar_fan1

    cigar_fan1 New Member

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    I did look around the forum prior to posting but the search function isn't always reliable and/or the posts are outdated as spiritgod pointed out.
    I did look at the 06 and drove it and though it was nice it did not grab me like my Solara did when I test drove that. I'd certainly like to be practical and get 50 mpg rather then my current low 20s but coming home from the test drive and doing more reading on the Prius I'm now worried about the issues I've seen on the traction control. Chicago winters get rough. We've recently been in a warm spell so all the snow is melted. I'd obviously like to test drive the car again when we get our next winter storm but until then... I've seen a lot of posts on here that seem to indicate that the traction control was improved for the 2006 model year and that with proper snow tires the Prius handles well in all driving conditions. What I'm wondering is would I be better off with a Prius that does not have traction control? What about the VSC system? Now I was born and raised in Chicago, I know I to drive in inclement weather, knock on wood I've never driven in to a ditch or been stranded anywhere due to inability to drive myself out of any weather or road conditions. I started driving in an 89 Corolla, got a 4x4 01 Tacoma and am now driving an 02 Solara. I am in love with the traction control on my Solara and will take that over the 4wd on my Tacoma any day of the week. Because of recent experience with the SOlara's traction control I decided I wanted to find the same feature on my next car. Is the traction control system that terribly different on the hybrid Prius? They are both Toyota cars so I'm confused as to the great difference in my experiences with it on my car vs what I'm reading about the Prius. If I can drive in snow/ice and have the proper tires, should I be concerned about getting traction control on a Prius?
     
  11. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Traction control is not an option on the Prius. It is a standard feature and its primary purpose is to protect the transaxle. Its secondary function is to improve traction. The VSC system is useful, IMO.

    Given proper winter tires and driving technique, you should be OK with the Prius in the winter. (However, I have an AWD SUV so I use that vehicle when driving snowy roads.)
     
  12. imOCD4a_prius

    imOCD4a_prius Member

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    *********************This is great info & just what i am looking for, amoung other things--thanks.
    regards, imOCD4a_prius
     
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