Scam?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by ejerommel, Jan 14, 2022.

  1. ejerommel

    ejerommel Junior Member

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    In our last snowstorm we had, we did roughly $3,000 worth of damage to the front suspension of our 2005 Prius. Knowing how hard it is to come by new or used cars right now and that the prices MAY come down in 6 months or a year, I was really thinking I would repair the car and keep driving it. But then, the mechanic pointed out that the hybrid batteries are probably about shot and also there is a check engine light which indicates the catalytic converter is probably bad. He quoted me a price of $1800 for non-Toyota battery and I can't remember how much for the catalytic converter. I think I blacked out.

    So with this new information, it seems like I should not repair it but instead look for another car.

    So, then I went to Craigslist to see if I could find a used Prius in my area. In the process, I saw a guy on Craigslist who says he can replace the hybrid battery for $625. This deal seems too good to be true. But ever hopeful, I thought I would ask the smarter brains here on Priuschat if there is any way this is legit.

    Here is what the battery posting says, word for word:

    "2 years warranty
    We own a Prius Fleet and now we offering Hybrid battery service.
    We make it easy for you.
    In one hour we swap hybrid batteries on your location with 2 years warranty !
    We take the core."

    I notice he never says the batteries are new. Should I run away? It feels like I should, but am hoping for good news.
     
  2. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    If that's the whole ad, I notice he doesn't say anything about the batteries. :)

    It could be that he owns a Prius Fleet and is looking to swap your battery for a flogged one of his....
     
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  3. Tombukt2

    Tombukt2 Active Member

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    This a California car or heavy smog state. The lil 04 to early 06 are inexpensive as parts cars around here . 500 complete whatever wrong with usually hv batt. Rarely blown up . I keep a spare car for parts soon it'll be no more all parts off . Now to metal yard maybe 300 bux. Spare parts e bay cat buy a real battery drive long time .
     
  4. rogerthat

    rogerthat Member

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    Under no circumstances should you consider a Craigslist battery. Also, be wary of any mechanic who claims you need to replace your catalytic converter - this is easy money for them: they remove your oem version and replace with a cheap aftermarket version. Then they sell your oem cat for big profit. You should do this yourself as many of us have already done - it would likely pay for half of a brand new oem battery.
     
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  5. OC63RAG

    OC63RAG Junior Member

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    If there is some way to verify the condition of the "new" battery then I'd consider it. I know of a guy in LA who will sell used batteries for about $400. Are they guaranteed? Nope but for most of the people who just want to keep driving for their gig work it's fine.
     
  6. alftoy

    alftoy Active Member

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    Are you just going by what the mechanic says, the check engine lights might be for the O2 sensor on the cat. I think I would avoid that mechanic. Its unfortunate that you can't do your own diagnostics. Even going to Greentec and installing a replacement battery, your battery might be salvageable, but any refurb battery place takes your battery in trade and refurbishes it and resells it to another customer like you.

    What was $3000 damage or is that what the mechanic charged you or did insurance cover the damage.

    Can't suggest a Prius Chat member, might have to take a drive to Bowie MD, Greentec Hybrid Battery can install a battery for approx $1000 with warranty at least. 6 gallons of gas and 6 hours of your time for a bit of peace of mind.

    Hybrid Battery Repair Shop in Bowie, MD | Greentec Auto
     
    #6 alftoy, Jan 14, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2022
  7. Another

    Another Active Member

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    in a word, yes
    In two words, hell yes.
     
  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    hybrid battery about shot> disregard

    check engine get? get the trouble code from a dealer or shop with tech stream.

    repair accident damage? how many miles on her?
     
  9. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    I think you probably should wait until you get more certain indicators before authorizing any replacements. Or get some second opinions.
     
  10. ejerommel

    ejerommel Junior Member

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    Thanks for your input, everyone!

    Rogerthat, I'm ashamed to say that I have known for quite a while that the catalytic converter is bad. So, as cautious as I am with mechanics, I wasn't surprised at all that he would bring this up. This problem suddenly is urgent, though, because the car now resides in a county that requires that it pass an emission inspection (which isn't due until August).

    I guess I was assuming that even just buying the part would be hideously expensive. I will look into the cost of the part. Is any welding involved in changing a catalytic converter? I know very little about cars (can't diagnosis much of anything myself), but I am fairly handy and can do many repairs on my own once someone else diagnosis and I find a good Youtube video.
     
  11. ejerommel

    ejerommel Junior Member

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    Thanks for your thoughts, alftoy. The car is actually located in northern Virginia now, so Bowie, MD isn't all that far away. However, the car isn't drivable, so would need to be towed. I will go to the Greentec link that you provided (thanks!) and see if they do any mobile work.

    The $3000 damage is to the right front suspension. The car slid in the snow and hit a curb. The mechanic suggested that if we use new parts (hub and bearing assembly, lower control arm, ball joints, strut assembly, swaybar link, wheel, tire, and tire sensor) to repair the car, then we should also replace some of the same parts on the left side of the car. We were thinking we would pay out of pocket to avoid making an insurance claim which would cause the premiums to go up. But that was before we knew exactly how much everything is going to cost. Now we are looking at all options.
     
  12. rogerthat

    rogerthat Member

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    Well you'll be happy to learn that aftermarket cats (assuming you're not in a state that requires oem) are not all that expensive and relatively easy to replace. Here's my thread detailing the process. There are a ton of other threads and youtube videos on the topic.

    Even if your cat is bad and your mechanic quoted you to replace, I'd still say it's scammish to quote for an install without mentioning what happens to the old cat which is worth a fair amount.
     
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  13. ejerommel

    ejerommel Junior Member

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    Thanks, Bisco. Can you tell me more about why I should disregard the mechanic's statement that the hybrid battery is about shot?

    The car has over 225,000 miles on it. I have never really had the battery condition assessed, but I have noticed that often when I start the car, the battery charge is really low (like down in the pink zone), and then within 5 miles of driving it says it is fully charged. This has led me to believe, even before the accident, that the battery is getting really weak. So I'm not entirely surprised that the mechanic would bring this issue up.
     
  14. ejerommel

    ejerommel Junior Member

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    That's the first bit of good news that I have had in days! Thanks a ton!
     
  15. ejerommel

    ejerommel Junior Member

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    Thanks, Fuzzy1. The mechanic seemed to be basing his opinion just on the car's age and mileage. What kind of indicators should I be looking for? What I have noticed just by driving it is that often when I start the car, the battery charge is really low (like down in the pink zone), and then within 5 miles of driving it says it is fully charged. When the batteries were younger and healthier it used to take them longer to charge.

    The car isn't drivable right now, so getting second opinions is hard.
     
  16. rogerthat

    rogerthat Member

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    I think the general consensus on Priuschat is to drive the car until it throws a code indicating a bad battery. I believe my battery is also degrading and shows similar symptoms to yours - goes from purple to fully charged much sooner that I previously recall. I make sure my car is driven daily. When the time comes to replace the battery, I plan to go oem and install myself. Current prices are below $1800 at my local dealers and I've seen them as low as $1595 a few months ago.

    I'd get a second opinion on that accident damage though. You have several issues, so how to proceed is not as clear cut as if you just needed a replacement cat or battery.
     
    #16 rogerthat, Jan 14, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2022
  17. Aegean

    Aegean Active Member

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    You can use this rebuilding service in VA for $450. (www.doctorprius.com). I have done two Prius in the past successfully. My red Prius runs fine after 22,000 miles so far and 22 months. I sold my green Prius a year and half after the repair and HV battery still was running strong.

    Prices are based on warranty that you select.

    Also, all the suspension parts you mention above can be bought used online for a few hundred dollars.

    Finally, if the vehicle is in Northern Virginia then you do not need to pass emissions if you have a Prius. Both my Prius are exempt from emissions. The easy way to check that for your own vehicle is to go to the DMV website and just try to renew your registration (but don’t finish the process). If you see the three year option you definitely do not need emissions.
     
    #17 Aegean, Jan 14, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2022
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  18. alftoy

    alftoy Active Member

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    The car isn't drivable because of the suspension? Attached a list of salvage yards near Charlottesville, can get all your parts there. Also inquire if they can suggest a decent mechanic.

    Rogerthat has a nice detailed writeup on replacing the cat. Here is a helpful video as well.

    M & M Service & Salvage Yard, Inc.

     

    Attached Files:

    #18 alftoy, Jan 14, 2022
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2022
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  19. ejerommel

    ejerommel Junior Member

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    Really? That would be great! I had the impression that the emissions test is part of the state inspection and that the car would fail the inspection if its emissions are too high. I'll go to the DMV website and check it out.
     
  20. ejerommel

    ejerommel Junior Member

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    Maybe "supsension" isn't the right term, but the wheel is pushed back and turned. According to two mechanics (we initially had it towed to a dealership, and after they quoted us an absolutely crazy price, we had it towed to an independent mechanic), all sorts of things are broken or bent: control arm, ball joint, strut assembly, wheel, possibly the axle, etc.

    The independent mechanic told us that we have the choice of going with used parts, which will save us a lot, obviously. Since our hope was to drive this car for as long as possible, though, we initially told him that we would prefer to go with new parts. But now with his new recommendation that we also replace the battery and the cat, we just don't know.
     
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