Still Shopping: Questions re: moon/sunroof, alarm vs. immobilizer

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by rubia, Jun 26, 2017.

  1. rubia

    rubia New Member

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    Hello, All! I've just joined but I've been reading for a while. Thanks for your knowledge here - it's helped a lot.

    I'll try to be brief.

    I've been looking online on and off for about 4 or 5 months for a used Prius. I've determined, thanks in part to you all, that I want a 2013 or later, trim 3 or better (mainly for the back-up camera), with miles under 80-85k, and well-maintained, (preferably one owner). I have a pretty strict budget, so I've been looking in the same price range ($15,500-ish) and assuming I can wheel and deal a bit to get it down.

    Found a car at a dealership near my job last week so decided to go in for a test drive. I ended up liking the car a lot more than I thought I would, and the salesperson was great, brought the price down, but I didn't sign anything. I wanted to get my financing in order first, so I went to my bank, did that and let the guy know. I had two small questions before I would buy. While I was waiting for the answers, less than 24 hours later, the guy sold the car. No call to me, no warning, just wanted to make the sale. If it had been me, I would have seen the opportunity to sell two cars, but that's just me. I was very upfront with him about buying the car and gave him all the info about financing and everything so he would safely assume I was not stringing him along but that was that. And no follow up about how we can proceed. I really am not a fan of these salespeople.

    SO, issues:

    - The alarm versus immobilizer. Does anyone know the difference? Does NO ONE know the difference? The dealers seem vague. I got some good info on here, but even so - nothing set in stone. He wanted to charge me $1650 for this feature, which he couldn't say was the alarm or the immobilizer, and then brought it down to $500. I told him after doing some research that I didn't want it. What's the deal with this? Is this just the software that turns the alarm on and off? What comes standard? Do people ever just ask their mechanic at an oil change to turn it on? It's not the immobilizer, right? What comes standard?

    - This car had the solar panel on the roof, plus the moon roof - I guess we're calling it the moon roof, that slides open, etc. - which was a surprise as it wasn't noted in the online listing. I fell in love with this pair of features. But now that I'm stuck looking for another option, I cannot find them offered anywhere! I keep wondering if it's just not being listed, like it wasn't in this one, or if it's just really hard to find. No one ever features it in their online pictures. I keep looking at the zillions of Prii parked around my city, and I rarely see these options. Was this a limited feature? Did I miss out on getting a unicorn?! SO - this leads me to the question:

    - What is the best way to search for the specs you want when the dealers aren't noting them correctly in their listings? Do I have to call everyone? Is it possible to call a dealership and say "this is what I want - go find it at auction and I'll buy it" or something? Has anyone ever done that?

    - Lastly, how long did it take for you all to get used to the limited visibility/using the back-up camera? It scares me how much less I can see in the Prius versus my Subaru Forester.

    Anyway, that's long, but thanks for reading. This search is challenging. I am in LA and there are many, many used car dealerships with used Prii around - 25, 50 miles away, (still considered LA County!), but even 25 miles is a haul - I'm not mobile at the moment, (hence my search) - and it's hard to know who to trust, as online reviews are never great. As far as Toyota dealerships, there are maybe 4 that I can get to easily. So, I think I need to get something closer to home, if at all possible, and stick with a dealer, but so far - not impressed.

    Thank you!
     
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  2. Elektroingenieur

    Elektroingenieur Senior Member

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    An immobilizer is a standard theft-deterrent feature on most new vehicles. Toyota describes how their version on current Prius models works in the New Car Features book:

    The immobiliser system compares the ID code that is registered in the certification ECU (smart key ECU assembly) and ID code box (immobiliser code ECU) with the ID code of the transponder chip that is embedded in the electrical key transmitter sub-assembly. The system unsets if these ID codes match. Thus, the certification ECU (smart key ECU assembly) or ID code box (immobiliser code ECU) and the hybrid vehicle control ECU communicate with each other to enable the hybrid system to start.​

    On the current Prius, the immobilizer is closely related to the Smart Key System, but it can also function independently: there is a passive RFID tag in the key fob and a reader in the START button, so the immobilizer can allow the car to start even if the normal wireless handshake between the key fob and the car isn’t working, as might happen with a weak or dead battery in the key fob.

    Separate from the immobilizer, there are many optional alarm systems, none quite as impressive as the one on 007’s “Burglar Protected” Lotus Esprit.

    As a Genuine Toyota Accessory for the current Prius, Toyota offers the TVIP V5 (Toyota Vehicle Intrusion Protection) system, also called the RS3200 PLUS (part number PT398-47160, list price $285), but there’s really not much to it: a glass breakage sensor (microphone and ECU), its wiring and mounting hardware, and some stickers for the windows. The sensor connects to the existing main body ECU and is enabled by a software setting; you can read the details in Toyota’s installation instructions. There is a similar product that fits many older Prius models (part number PT398-47090, list price $325).

    Dealers also offer their own aftermarket alarm systems on new and used cars, which I generally wouldn’t recommend. Indeed, even if you don’t pay for it, I’d suggest making sure the dealer doesn’t leave you with the remains of one spliced into the car’s wiring. The “KARR” brand seems to be popular in Southern California; dealers install this for their own convenience (they can lock all the cars remotely from the office at night, and the salespeople can open any car on the lot with a wireless transmitter), and if the customer doesn’t buy it with the car, they just “deactivate” it, leaving the electronics connected to the car’s wiring, which can cause reliability problems later. You want anything like this removed completely, or better yet, never installed.

    If you’re concerned about auto burglary, my advice is to keep valuables out of sight, of course, and if you want more protection, buy some TVIP window stickers (part number 00107-VIPWS, list price $1.01), arguably the most effective part of the Toyota system.
    If the listing includes a VIN, you can use Toyota’s Vehicle Specification page to see the original equipment.
     
    #2 Elektroingenieur, Jun 27, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2017
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  3. rubia

    rubia New Member

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    Thank you, Elektroingenieur - that's a good deal of useful info. Much appreciated.
     
  4. JimN

    JimN Let the games begin!

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    Car descriptions for the most part aren't very helpful and many/most(?) used cars are misidentified.

    Here's a link to the 2013 brochure: http://www.auto-brochures.com/makes/Toyota/Prius/Toyota_US%20Prius_2013.pdf

    You found a car with a Solar package that was offered on the Three and the Four. They are out there but you'll have to sort through a lot of base Threes to find them. Like the Advance Tech package, Solars are tough to find. For example, if a region didn't order any Solar Threes there won't be any locally but those close to a regional border may have to do some driving.

    The backup camera has progressed from being an option to becoming required on cars built as of May 2018.

    A local Chevy dealer has a sign on the wall: The car you are looking at and considering today is the same car that someone else saw yesterday and is considering. The car is inventory and the first money gets it. You should have offered a deposit to hold the car and the salesman should have asked. A $100 check should have been enough. It sounds like you were going to finance 100%, including the taxes and fees.

    One of the criteria available on cars.com is "sunroof". There are 9 2013s listed in the entire country, 2 in CA in your price range.

    "What is the best way to search for the specs you want when the dealers aren't noting them correctly in their listings? Do I have to call everyone? Is it possible to call a dealership and say "this is what I want - go find it at auction and I'll buy it" or something? Has anyone ever done that?"

    I don't have a solution for crap info and I doubt calling would work. I would expect the response to your call: "Sure. We have exactly what you are looking for. Come on down." Salesmen will lie like rugs to get a potential customer on the lot. It's happened to me. The slimebag knew he didn't have the car and walked me around the lot trying to get me to buy something else. He wasn't a very good salesman because he didn't realize that I could him explaining to the boss, "I walked him around the lot and I couldn't get him interested in a sunroof".

    When you appear, the salesman will walk you around the lot trying to get you interested in buying whatever is there and offer the story that "your car" must have been sold yesterday/this morning. Keep in mind that saying "no" won't get you on the lot and as long as you are on the lot there is a chance you'll buy something.

    Here's a link describing car brokers: Car Brokers - CarsDirect
     
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  5. Insighter

    Insighter Active Member

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    Plug-in Advanced
    Hello Elektroingenieur:
    I'm considering this RS3200 Plus for my Prius Prime Advanced. I'm presuming it works the same on the Prime as it does all other 4th Gen Prius models. This alarm has a passive arming system (as well as passive rearming), but one PDF manual I read online indicated that maybe it doesn't work with the Highlander and 4Runner. Do you know if the passive arming works with the Prius Prime? That is the main feature I'd buy it for, so I'm trying to find a definite answer. Thank you for any information you can provide.
     
  6. Elektroingenieur

    Elektroingenieur Senior Member

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    The installation instructions (PDF), including the functional test procedure and expected results (“Accessory Function Checks,” pages 32–34), are the same for the Prius and Prius Prime. The only variation seems to be the method of testing the glass breakage sensor, which is different if the car has acoustic glass.
    If by “passive arming,” you mean that the system would arm itself when you leave the car, even if you haven’t locked the doors, I can’t confirm that such a feature is part of the system for current Prius or Prius Prime cars at all. It may have been included in accessories for other models sold under the “RS3200” or “TVIP V5” names, but it’s not checked in the functional test or mentioned in the description on parts.toyota.com.

    The installation instructions say a V5 Owner’s Guide comes with the system. I don’t have this document, but if you’re planning to buy a system from a dealer, and they have it in stock, perhaps they could check if it says anything about how the system is armed.
     
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