Recommendations for Mechanic near Atlanta (for combination meter repair)

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by chesapeake, Jun 25, 2018.

  1. chesapeake

    chesapeake New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2018
    6
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    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Vehicle:
    2005 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    I bought a 2005 Prius with 92,000 miles on it in December. All maintenance appeared to have been done at the dealer, which showed up on the CarFax report. The prior owners had driven it less over the last few years, and they'd taken it in a few times for "inspection" before selling it. (Of course I didn't notice how suspicious that was until my dashboard went dark.) Thanks to these forums, I'm 99% certain my combination meter is bad.

    While on my first road trip in the car, my battery died, and after it was restarted, my dashboard was dark. I found the recommendation here to reset it by unplugging the white plug to my 12V battery. That worked, and I kept a rear door ajar to keep the "door ajar" light on on the dashboard (with the overhead lights set to "off," of course, so no other lights were on from the door being ajar).

    Things worked for a while (having to occasionally reset the dashboard via the battery plug when I closed all the doors), but I needed a jump for the second time in a few months and replaced the 12V battery (which was allegedly done by the dealer when I bought it, after he needed to jump it before I test-drove it). The old battery was from 2012 (thanks, dealer, for following through on your promises), and the dashboard stopped having its issues for a few weeks after I replaced the 12V, even when I inadvertently closed all the doors (which the mechanic had said might happen if I was lucky).

    Until it went dark again one day when we closed all the doors. Unplugging the battery didn't reset it, but my fuel was a little low, and it came back once the "low fuel" warning came on (mid-drive). After that, I've been really careful to keep at least one door ajar at all times. In the past week, the dashboard has gone dark again even though the rear doors have been ajar. The first time it happened while I was driving it; it just suddenly went away. I tried resetting it by unplugging the battery, but it didn't work. The next morning, it was back. And then less than a week later, it was dark when I started it, and even though it's been a few days, and I've tried several times over several days to reset it by unplugging the battery, I can't get it back. (I had just gassed up, so I don't know if the low fuel warning would bring it back. At this point, I realize it's time to fix it because it's a safety hazard not having a working speedometer.)

    I've searched the forums for recommendations for mechanics in the Atlanta metro area (I'm on the east side, near Decatur/Stone Mountain), but the newest recommendations were from 2010. Atlanta Hybrid Repair, which seems to be highly recommended (and who replaced the battery for me), wants $800, can't even look at it until Wed., and said it will take 3-5 business days because they have to order the part from the dealer before installing it, and probably on the longer side of that because the last one took 4 days to arrive, which would push me to being carless over a weekend and possibly also over July 4th.

    Another hybrid shop recommended to me was Medlock Gulf, but they don't do electronics and referred me to A1 Auto Electric, who estimated $150 in labor just to get to the part, and $250 to repair it (time 1-2 days). They didn't sound like they worked on a lot of Prii (they had to research how to get to the part online).

    And I also found "Atlanta Prius" "service team, inc.," which I couldn't find very many reviews for. Their quote was similar to A1, at $395 for a 2-day repair. I remembered to ask them about a warranty, and they said they have a 6-month warranty.

    And then there are numerous Toyota dealers in the area with service departments. I'm honestly just feeling overwhelmed right now. I don't know whom to trust with my baby. Obviously I'd like to pay as little as possible while being inconvenienced as little as possible and still fixing the car "right." I know you can only get 2 of any 3 things you want, so my priorities are 1) getting the right fix done right, 2) saving money, 3) being inconvenienced (though obviously only to a point).

    I'm not a complete novice when it comes to mechanical stuff, but I'm closer to a novice than anything else. I only own basic tools (nothing car-specific), and I've only soldered one thing ever, way back in middle school shop class, so I definitely think I should leave this to the experts, though if I could do some of the taking-the-dash labor apart myself with minimal tools and save significantly on the labor, I'd consider doing that.

    I apologize if I made any mistakes or etiquette faux pas in this first post on the forums.
     
  2. Tommerdoo

    Tommerdoo Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2015
    81
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    Location:
    Superior, WI
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    II
    I'm in the process of getting parts for my combination meter and I'm no soldering expert, but I did purchase a $25 kit from Amazon that has everything for the basics as well as $15 triple the parts (capacitors etc that I need), and with the help of Prius Chat and Youtube, I will be tearing apart my dash and removing and replacing the three parts that are recommended to be replaced on my '06-09' combination meter. Total cost for me should be $40 and if I have something go wrong I have many extra parts purchased to redo any bad soldering connections.

    If soldering isn't really your thing, but you feel comfortable watching a video on Youtube on how to remove the combination meter, then you could go that route. There are many places that will give you a lifetime guarantee on a rebuilt combination meter, and one seller on Ebay will even will let you buy a combination meter ($150) beforehand (and buy back your dead one for $60) which you tell them what mileage you need to match yours, so that when you take your combination meter out of your car you can just pop in the one they sent you so no down time on your vehicle (same day fix). Then you ship them your defunct combination meter (core charge is paid/returned and you get $60 back -- so really your only paying out $90 or so). That's pretty affordable if you ask me.
     
  3. chesapeake

    chesapeake New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2018
    6
    1
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    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Vehicle:
    2005 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Thanks. Is there somewhere I can find a list of the "many places" that give a lifetime guarantee on a rebuilt meter? Or even just one or two that people here have used and trusted? A lifetime guarantee is only worth the integrity and length of the business, and I have no idea who is actually reputable. Buying a bad part could wreck my car.

    I'd also appreciate a link to a detailed step-by-step video. I've watched a few, but they skip some or all of the steps of actually removing the combination meter from the car. I did read through the thread about repairing it yourself, but I don't remember seeing a video in that thread.

    I heard that it's an hour or two of labor on either end. But that's assuming you have the strength and don't break anything. I replaced a broken turn light in my old car, and what was supposed to be a five-minute fix took my friend and I over an hour because the plastic was brittle and it was so hard to undo the coupling (and even harder to get the new one into place) without breaking it. So is this an hour or two for regular people or mechanics?

    I'm terrible with anything liquid (glue, paint, etc.), and I don't relish the thought of dripping hot solder on myself, so if I do any DIY, it would definitely be the "order one online and install it myself" route. But if it's going to take me ten hours on either end, it might be worth the additional $300 for the cheapest local repair - again, assuming they're reputable.
     
  4. Tommerdoo

    Tommerdoo Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2015
    81
    28
    3
    Location:
    Superior, WI
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    II
    Regarding integrity, you can search on Ebay and make your own decisions. I've not researched enough to claim they are great, but they have some feedback that might backup their business claims....

    Ebay route: Rebuilt instrument cluster combination meter speedometer Toyota Prius 2004-2009 | eBay

    Here's a link to our PriusChat member that has posted much on this subject and is respected for their knowledge.
    Texas Hybrid -- Texas Prius Battery Replacement

    Take apart the dash:


    I'm still awaiting one of the capacitor parts so I haven't done this repair yet, but I will report back when done. Good luck on your repair!
     
    SFO and chesapeake like this.
  5. dbailey

    dbailey Junior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2018
    15
    5
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    Location:
    Atlanta GA
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    II
    Chesapeake: I am also in the Atlanta area and need to solve the same combination meter issue. I'm trying to decide between DIY and taking it into a shop. Did you find a local company that worked out?
     
    #5 dbailey, Oct 18, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 18, 2018
  6. FLA$H

    FLA$H New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2019
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    Location:
    HERE
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    Five






    Would anyone happen to still have the original CAPACITOR
    because I lost mine after replacing it and I would like to use
    the original to see how long it will last.
    I just need the HEIGHT & WIDTH.

    Thanks
     
  7. chizet

    chizet Junior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
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    I am in Atlanta as well. Did anyone ever find a good local to repair the meter?

    TIA
     
  8. Rick Arrow

    Rick Arrow New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2019
    1
    0
    0
    Location:
    Flowery Branch, GA
    Vehicle:
    2007 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    Just had mine replaced by Toyotanation in Buford. $1003.00
     
  9. wgarider

    wgarider Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2018
    5
    3
    0
    Location:
    Georgia
    Vehicle:
    2009 Prius
    Model:
    ----USA----
    I'm new to PC and have an 09. Can anyone recommend a trustworthy shop in the Atlanta area?

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  10. Jaby Glides

    Jaby Glides New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2021
    1
    0
    0
    Location:
    Atlanta Georgia
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    One
    Did any of you folks find a good independent mechanic? Same boat - er hybrid vehicle - here: just bought gen 2 2008 prius 47k miles. Now making knocking sound, only during low-medium acceleration.
     
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