Test driving a used Prius in cold weather?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by sklarskyj, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. sklarskyj

    sklarskyj Junior Member

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    Hey all,

    My wife and I trekking out to Springfield, MA this evening from Boston to take a look at and hopefully buy a 2010 Prius III with 20k on it (I had another thread about it here where I discovered it's a III and not a II as originally advertised).

    I know MPG goes down in the winter and it's supposed to be a balmy 23˚F there tonight. So, if I want to get an idea for the condition of the battery and the hybrid system, what MPG should I expect while testing it? Any other good indicators?

    Or should I just trust that it'll be okay because the car is still under warranty for the drivetrain, emissions, corrosion, and the hybrid system?

    I also plan on downloading some of the prius specific codes I've seen around the forum for my Torque app and I'll bring my bluetooth ODBII adapter and run a scan on it while I'm there.

    Any other major things to look out for would be much appreciated!

    Thanks!
     
  2. car compulsive

    car compulsive Active Member

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    Once the car warms up after driving it for 5-10 minutes, it should drive as normal. There will likely be more squeaks and rattles from cold interior plastic components. If the car is at a dealer, ask to test drive a new one to compare as there should be negligible differences.
     
  3. tankyuong

    tankyuong Senior Member

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    40's mpg range
     
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  4. TypicalEngineer

    TypicalEngineer New Member

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    The problem of warming up my prius has bother me this winter. My prius engine turns itself off when I would have expected the engine to idle to warm up. Do I need to shift to B to force it on? Also, the A/C comes on automatically this winter even when I am not defrosting the front or back. I know the car is smarter than me but the A/C take power.
     
  5. tedjohnson

    tedjohnson Member

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    I would see what the present tank MPG is, should be hi 40's low 50's. In my experience in this weather a run from Springfield to Boston should be in the low 50's if you keep it to 6o mph. I would not worry about the rest, its still covered by warranty. Check for any collision damage, uneven tire wear, the usual. sounds like a good find. What's the asking price?
     
  6. sklarskyj

    sklarskyj Junior Member

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    Thanks guys.

    Asking price is $17,645 -- definitely below any non-salvage Gen-III with close to that few miles. Doesn't sound like they're budging on that based on what else is available on the market for something similar. That's below the estimated trade-in value from both KBB and Edmund's.

    One dealer in the Boston area that I'd been talking to, when told I found a 2010 Prius III for that price with those miles suggested it might actually be a Prius II based on the pricing. Thing is, it was advertised as a II, but after inquiring about the presence of bluetooth (yes with steering wheel buttons) and the JBL stereo with cd changer, the salesman e-mailed me and said that it is actually a model III, and not a II.

    The only thing is, we're not going to be able to get to Springfield until after 6pm tonight, after which they can't get the registration done today. So that means we can only drive it home tonight if we trade in our '01 Civic EX and switch the plates. I had been hoping to fix a couple of the cosmetic issues on the Civic myself and sell it on Craigslist instead....decisions, decisions.
     
  7. tankyuong

    tankyuong Senior Member

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    Turning on your heater full blast will force your engine on
     
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  8. tedjohnson

    tedjohnson Member

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    That's reasonable, for only 20,000 miles, considering a new one is around $25,000.....Drive it home on the owners plates and return them tomorrow.....
     
  9. Jerry Mcl

    Jerry Mcl Junior Member

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    I Have a 2006 and a 2012....The colder it is the less MPG...But as tedjohnson said...It is reasonable to to be in low 50's...even for a boring ride to Springfield...Good luck!
     
  10. sklarskyj

    sklarskyj Junior Member

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    Thanks for all the advice!

    We decided to buy it for $17,445. Turns out it has a new set of winter tires (Toyo I believe) on there now, which we were planning on putting on anyway as we live in Boston and drive up to Vermont and NH often in the winters. So I will have to ask around in a couple months for advice on summer tires!

    Since we were headed to NYC for the weekend and they only offered $2k for our Civic we decided to pick the Prius up on our way back to Boston Monday. We plan to sell the Civic on CL for hopefully >=3k.

    Excited to pick it up tomorrow and bring it home!

    SCH-I535 ? 2
     
  11. Ed Burke

    Ed Burke Junior Member

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    They put a set of tires on a Prius that was driven less than 7,000 miles a year after only 3 years ? That does seem odd. New Prii don't come with winter tires.
     
  12. Jerry Mcl

    Jerry Mcl Junior Member

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    Changing the tires with only 7000 miles may seem odd...but I know people who bought Prius's and that was the first thing they did! It's a light car and the Traction Control can be a pain every time you hit a bump. So a lot of people jump to change to their favorite kind of tire for ride, comfort and control....just saying..
     
  13. sklarskyj

    sklarskyj Junior Member

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    Well the car was being sold in Western Mass in the winter, so I figured winter tires were a given, especially for anyone who would be test driving it.

    SCH-I535 ? 2
     
  14. tedjohnson

    tedjohnson Member

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    Prius is a light car? At 3100# I think its awful heavy, But the new tires are maybe winter tires that the owner traded it in with. Maybe he has the summers too. Be interested in how it went driving it back to Boston....
     
  15. sklarskyj

    sklarskyj Junior Member

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    Sorry for not following up sooner ... unfortunately we weren't able to bring the car home on Monday as planned. It turns out there was a filing error for the title so they couldn't transfer that over to us and let us drive the car home. Apparently the previous owner was not a US citizen, he was French (this also explains the low mileage since he traveled back and forth between here and France for much of the time he owned the car). Sounds like there was some confusion between his state issued ID number and a SSN (which he did not have).

    Not sure why they didn't figure this out before since the dealer has had the car for a bit over a month now. Fortunately, we never handed over a dime, so just in case things go sour, we simply lose out on a good deal and have to continue searching. Assuming they do get things sorted out (and they seemed to think that would happen within the next two weeks), they will bring the paperwork and the car out to Boston for us. It would be a huge headache to find a time my wife and I can both drive out to Springfield and back.

    Soon enough...
     
  16. car compulsive

    car compulsive Active Member

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    Proceed with caution to ensure you clear title for the car.
     
  17. sklarskyj

    sklarskyj Junior Member

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    Thanks, I plan to. It did have one of those CarFax reports that guaranteed no major problems with the title... not sure how I would go about using their buy-back guarantee should I discover later that there are other problems. This is the first car I've actually purchased (I've always lived in the city and my wife bought the Civic before we met), so I'm trying to learn here.

    In the meantime, I'm still keeping my eyes open for other potential deals in case we decide this isn't going to work out.
     
  18. priusrat

    priusrat Junior Member

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    My 2010 prius 2 didn't need new tires until over 45 K. Has that car been in an accident? Is that why there are new tires on it? Hope you checked it for vibrations and tracking at highway speed. Changing over to new tires at 20K makes me suspicious, too.
     
  19. toyolover

    toyolover Member

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    I have the 2010 Canadian model with Premium Package equivalent to the III in US. It was purchased new and is now 38 months old. I never had problem starting the vehicle in our cold winter even though it is parked outside on my driveway. It was -4F yesterday and it fired up right the way like the first day. The original tires (all seasons) worn out at 72000 km and I had it replaced 3 months ago at Costco. The only problem I ever had (if you can call it one) is the squeaky noise coming from the center console near the arm rest. It only happens in winter due to the contraction of plastic. However, the noise was not heard this winter. The other thing to watch out is to check the plastic cover that covers the bottom of the engine. The trap door right under the oil filter may be gone (it is a common problem and Toyota has a TSB on this). There is no replacement part for the door only but to replace the whole piece of the under-engine cover. This part is very expensive at almost $200 plus labor. (There are threads regarding this issue in the forum.) The retractable trunk cover should be checked to make sure the spring rolling mechanism works. Check the spare tire to make sure it is in good condition. Make sure the tire jack and tool kit are in the trunk. Make sure the 1" thick owner's manual is in the glove compartment. The owner's manual details the function of the switches and is a must have. It is expensive to replace too. There is also a one page (tri-fold) Information Guide which highlights the features and operation instructions. Two remote keys and a valet key should come with the car. Remote key replacement is $300+ at the dealer's service department. A key code should come with the key set for future duplication purpose. There should be a tow hook near the spare tire which you may find it useful if your car needs to be towed out of the snow bank. Happy shopping.
     
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  20. bholdn

    bholdn Junior Member

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    Run like hell.

    From the dealer and this title issue, definitely. But I'd also suggest you reconsider buying a 2010. Mine is a rattle trap and I wish I'd never bought it, and there are so many rattle threads on this forum I know it isn't just me. That said, yours may be fine; just, buyer beware.
     
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