Seems like buying a used Gen3 Prius is not recommended

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by trimore7, Apr 5, 2018.

  1. trimore7

    trimore7 New Member

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    We have 7 children and my stay at home wife drives a Nissan NV Passenger Van currently for all driving needs that gets 13mpg. Most driving though is not with 7 children but a few.

    We need to buy a 3rd car since having 2 new drivers (teenagers) in the next 6 months. It will also be used as a daily around town car to get kids places, grocery runs, etc.

    I have had my eye on Prius due to the MPG and stated history that it is reliable, great MPG and low cost to own. My own total cost of ownership calculations on vehicles in the $10k range seems including the Prius, Fit, Civic and Focus seem to have to the Prius come out on top after about 3 years assuming no major issues on any of them.

    What I am reading on this site would indicate that we should probably just pass on the Prius due to the greater chance of higher cost of possible repairs if something major goes wrong, and look to a Civic, Fit, Accord, Corolla, Camry, Focus, etc.

    By the way, I am very capable with auto repairs and do most maintenance and repairs myself.

    Thoughts on Prius vs another in our situation?

    Thanks
    Matt
     
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  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    welcome!

    it really depends on the year, miles and condition. and then, the years and miles you plan to keep it.
    the biggest issue is the head gasket, which is affecting a number of cars, though difficult to get a handle on percentage and cause.
    many here are doing basic egr/intake manifold cleaning, and some are adding an oil catch can.
     
  3. Grit

    Grit Senior Member

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    As a Prius owner who upkeeps the vehicle myself, I dont recommend Prius and Toyotas to anyone. Doom to inverter and head gasket failure will keep you awake at night.

    Look into ford c maxx or Honda Civic hybrids.
     
    #3 Grit, Apr 5, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2018
  4. MelonPrius

    MelonPrius Active Member

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    It depends on your repair fund. There's an excellent chance that routine maintenance will be all that is required, depending on the variables that bisco mentioned above.

    But if you go with a vehicle that is beyond its 8/100k traction battery warranty, then you should have a reserve fund. While it's true that most Prii will be running fine, it probably doesn't apply to the used Prii that are for sale.

    With Consumer Reports, the gen 3 engines are all ranked way above average for major and minor engine. OTOH, if you visit forums for other cars, you'll also read about their achilles heels. For example (depending on the year), Fits can have an expensive air conditioning repair looming, which is documented in both CR and one of their forums.
     
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  5. undertow999

    undertow999 Junior Member

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    I bought my Gen 3 with 130k and currently have 155k after 8 months. No issues what so ever but mine had a great service history from Toyota and was a single owner. Just do your research and see if your comfortable doing the more common repairs yourself. I love my Prius and it serves its purpose better than any other car in my opinion. Good luck.
     
  6. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    As some others mention, the Prius has been very reliable on average. however, you don't buy the average, you get just one example.
    Because when something does go wrong, few mechanics know how to fix a hybrid, they tend to replace the entire subsystem. This can make for expensive repairs.

    $5000 Transaxle (to minimize likelihood, drain and fill the ATF WS every 90,000 miles)
    $4000 Inverter (to minimize likelihood, never jumpstart another car and replace the 12 volt battery if you need to jumpstart your car)
    $3500 High Voltage Battery (to minimize likelihood, keep it cool, run A/C, use B mode down long descents (more than 600 foot drop), and park in the shade) In Tampa, you will have to drive 600 miles to find a 600 foot drop.

    While we strongly caution starving college students that they can't afford such a repair, you would merely hate one. I would not hesitate to buy a used Gen 3, or even a Gen 2 for my teens.
     
  7. Virg

    Virg Junior Member

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    I have a 2014 Prius 3 and have had no problems with it. I get around 48mpg in town and 55-58mpg on the highway. Great car and cheap to run.
     
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  8. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    I'm going to suggest looking at the Prius v because:
    • excellent interior space so passengers are not sitting too close together
    • excellent cargo space to carry the passenger stuff
    • not great but good enough performance
    • being discontinued often softens the used market price
    I would recommend looking at threads about cleaning the exhaust gas, cooling and valve assembly. A dirty job, it plays a significant role in fuel efficiency.

    Bob Wilson
     
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  9. frodoz737

    frodoz737 Top Wrench

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    I would avoid the Focus since it's just Ford's current equivalent of an Escort. Any one of the Prius, Corolla, Civic and Fit should serve your needs. Some of the repair prices quoted earlier are fair and may scare you, but have you priced a transmission or other major component on ANY car lately. I would stay with Honda and Toyota though based on the known reliability and better TCO over most...putting your emphasis on mechanical condition and need, not shape, color, options, cool factor or any other agenda outside point A to B.
     
  10. farmecologist

    farmecologist Senior Member

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    Honestly, some of the ‘hysreria’ here can be off putting if you are new. (y)

    Remember that this is an ‘enthusiasts’ forum and we often talk enthusiastically about any problems vs the good points ( I’m certainly guilty of this )! :D

    One thing I’d like to point out is that Prius vehicles are generally *more* reliable than other cars...so much so that many ‘regular joes’ put many miles on them but probably neglect proper maintenance. Many pubs...and even mechanics back up the reliability statement.

    Frankly, it is very interesting to see how much higher the mileage is on a used Prius vs just about any other vehicle ( in my area at least ). Problems will eventually happen with any high mileage vehicle. It is exactly this ‘go forever’ reputation that can lead to a false sense of security buying a high mileage Prius.

    Don’t be put off by what you read here. Rather, shop for a used Prius like you would any other used car...low mileage and as new of a model year as you can afford.

    Or...look into Gen2’s because arguably they are the ‘most reliable’ in the mind of many here ( no external EGR, etc... ). However, low mileage Gen2’s can be very difficult to locate. (y)
     
  11. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Titanic Social Director

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    Our 2010 is still champion. Still, our usage is like a reverse logarithmic curve, using the car less and less. I've got the 12 volt on a smart charger pretty much round the clock these days, and sometimes it's just a grocery run every 3~4 days. We walk the dog a lot, and walk to local stores whenever practical.

    At 74K kilometers now, had all the recalls, done the EGR, intake manifold clean, Oil Catch Can Install, more transaxle fluid changes than I care to admit, brake inspection tri-yearly, brake fluid change tri-yearly, oil and filter change every 8K kms or 6 months (6 months governing by a landslide these days), garage stored, waxed every 6 months: this creampuff MAY be our sunset car. No complaints.
     
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  12. milkman44

    milkman44 Active Member

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    I have read some of the problems with the GenIII on here and it does sound scary at times. People tend to post problems and we don't hear about the trouble free miles that a lot of these cars get. I have 185,000 miles on my '10, I had the left low beam go out, I replaced both sides. I read here about the short lived 12V battery so 3 1/2 years ago, I replaced the original but it's still being used on my generator. I replaced the spark plugs at 140,000 miles and they still looked good, after 40,000 miles, the new plugs started misfiring, I now have the original plugs in the car. Original brake pads and only oil changes and trans fluid changed twice. Maybe I just got lucky and it might go belly up tomorrow, but it sure has been a trouble free ride for me,

    Edit:
    Forgot to add, it is getting 4000-4500 miles before adding a quart of oil.
     
    #12 milkman44, Apr 6, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2018
  13. James Powers

    James Powers Senior Member

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    I agree with what is being said.. Reality is, all cars these days are going to have issues. As long as you do your research and get any car that was regularly serviced, I think you should be fine.

    My Prii was a fleet vehicle, 2014 Prius Two. Bought it with 82k in Aug2017, I commute M-F with the Power Button on most days and now have 103k on it. I am sitting at about 500 miles to a tank. Just yesterday I traveled 57 miles and got 59mpgs.

    My brother has the Honda Civic Hybrid and sees about 45 mpgs, but he loves it. Really just a preference and maintenance.
     
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  14. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    If absolute lowest cost of ownership is numero uno, a Corolla or Camry will be the answer. A new or lightly used (2-3 years old if you want someone else to deal with the depreciation) will last you through til the last kid gets his/her licence. Parts are cheap because there are many examples of Corollas and Camrys on the road. (2014-2018 Corollas have standard LED headlights for nighttime driving and come with the latest infotainment systems.

    For a Prius, so far we've only determined the 2010 MY that has the oil burning issue (mine hasn't done that yet but I'm still only at 90,000 miles).

    The Prius will have a reduced maintenance list - no timing belt/chain of any kind, no power steering fluid, brakes will last a very long time in city driving as long as you're gentle). The only thing you want to budget for is a HV battery replacement - just in case. You may never need it but if you do, it may be in the realm of $2,000-$3,000 (depending on labour costs in Florida). On the plus side, it appears that after battery replacement, the car performs nearly like new because now you have a brand new battery and a slightly worn engine.

    Get something newer.. like a 2012 or newer. This will get you a standard backup camera (2010/2011 had backup cameras bundled with navigation) and USB/iPod connectivity for the kids. Get one with the upgraded navigation system (7" high resolution screen) vs. the stndard 6.1" screen with a 3rd party navigation. If there are none in your budget, then look at a 2011.

    Safety Connect is also available beginning on late 2010 models (unless you have AAA membership). Safety Connect is the telematics system that includes automatic collision notification, stolen car locator and so forth.

    If you do your own maintenance and repairs, perhaps you can widen your knowledge and read up on hybrid maintenance and repairs? Some people have replaced the battery or battery modules themselves but you have to know what you're dealing with.


    An alternative is a Prius v.
     
  15. James Powers

    James Powers Senior Member

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    Couldn't agree more regarding the Corolla.. My wife drives a 2006 Corolla S with 160k miles+ on it and the paint looks worse than the engine runs.. Im pretty sure a couple times that thing had no oil in it and ran just fine......
     
  16. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    Repeatedly from time to time we get people at Prius chat asking "If" they should get a Prius.
    My feeling is, if you invest into owning a Prius and a Hybrid by default, you should REALLY want a hybrid and a Prius.

    If you're casual about owning one, or not really committed to ownership? I kind of say, wait until you are sure, absolutely sure a Hybrid or Prius is what you want to own.

    If you are comfortable, familiar, with doing your own maintenance on ICE vehicles then that might be a considerable advantage to sticking with completely ICE vehicle choices.

    The last impression I would comment on, is that I currently own a Honda Fit. I really like it. It's a great, sub-compact, hatch-back vehicle. Very versatile.
    BUT...
    7 kids? Two becoming teenagers?
    Well, The Fit is a sub-compact. You can nicely fit about 4 people. But there is no way to NOT make it a sub-compact.

    Advantages to an ICE sub-compact? Good MPG for an ICE vehicle. Easy to maneuver and park.
    Disadvantages?
    As cleverly designed as The Honda Fit is...it's still a sub-compact. You are never loading 7 people into it. Basically, it's at best a 4 passenger vehicle. I think it's a GREAT around town vehicle, but when you say "kids" ...comfortably, it's the Driver and 3.
     
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  17. fgp

    fgp Active Member

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    ive had about 5 different prii. from 2004 to c to plug in etc. i am a big supporter and my experience is that i have literally never had a problem. it seems to me that consumer reports has always recommended new or used prii and still do. right now i have a 2015 basic 3 and am loving it. not worried whatsoever. but thats just me...
     
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  18. Sporin

    Sporin Prius Noob

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    Agree with all this. Forums like this can make you crazy. You can find an online forum to talk you out of ANY car. :)

    Fact is that the Prius is one of the lowest cost of ownership cars you can buy and they last a good long time. Do they last forever? Of course not, nothing does. But the data shows that these do very well.

    Our 2010 Prius, bought new, has been absolutely trouble free for 8 years and 145k very hard, Vermont miles. It shows no signs of oil burning or anything else. I've done a minimum of the "usual" stuff you'd do on every single car by this mileage (both front wheel bearings, 12v battery, brakes, oil changes, tires, a few bulbs, that's it.).

    If some $5000 part breaks in a year, then I'll trade it in and move on. It will be nearly 10 years old at that point. It's already scratched and worn, and doesn't owe me a penny.

    While I enjoy older vehicles (my other vehicles are a '94, and an '05) I don't see the obsession some have here with making their Prius last "forever." This idea that if it can't go to 300k miles than it's not worth owning at all.

    No car lasts forever, and Prii aren't some special collector car that I want or need to keep running and driving forever as if it's going to appreciate. If I get 10 good years out of it without major repairs than that's good value for my money and I'll be happy to trade it in on something newer, safer, and better when the time comes.

    I'm sure I'm going to get roasted by someone for that rant, but so be it. :whistle:

    [​IMG]
     
  19. ewxlt66

    ewxlt66 Active Member

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    Just bought my 3rd used Prius last night. 2015. In 25 years, I haven't found a cheaper car to own.
     
  20. mikefocke

    mikefocke Prius v Three 2012, Avalon 2011

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    Safety above all else with two new driver teenagers. Had 2. One a perfect record. Other one once told me I was very good receiving word of his latest accident. Practice I said. Nothing serious. Just don't get lots of cash into something they will learn on.
     
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