The Year is 2019– Should I Buy a Used 2005 Prius from a Toyota Dealership?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by Melody Wombough, Apr 2, 2019.

  1. Melody Wombough

    Melody Wombough New Member

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    Hi all,

    First-time car buyer here. I wish I had the money to shell out for a brand new car, but that’s not the case (and I don’t like the idea of buying a new car anyway). I’m just looking for a small upgrade from my 2002 Honda Accord that I’ve had for 5 years now. There’s nothing wrong with it, I just want better fuel economy and it’s at 175,000 miles. Time for something a bit better that won’t break the bank.

    I found a used 2005 Prius at a Toyota dealership near me. The owner traded it in for a newer car. Believe it or not, it’s only got 92,000 miles on it, the Carfax report is totally clean (no accidents, no damage reported, etc) and looks like it got maintenance done very regularly. This seems like a GREAT buy, but I have trust issues and feel like it’s too good to be true.

    Questions:
    - Does the 2005 model have any history of wonky parts that seem to go out unexpectedly compared to other years?
    - Does it actually get 48 city/45 highway, or is this overstated?
    - How does the 2005 do at high interval marks like 100k miles, 150k, 200k, etc.
    - All things considered, could this car reasonably last me 5-10 years? (I drive the average 10-15k miles a year).
    - Anything else I may not have thought of?

    Thanks so much for your help!

    Sincerely,

    Broke millennial who definitely can’t afford a new car so please don’t suggest it.
     
  2. mpg_numbers_guy

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    According to Fuelly the average 2005 Prius gets 43.1 MPG.

    An older Prius has the potential to have several expensive repairs:
    - Hybrid battery: $2000-$3000
    - Transaxle, if not properly taken care of: $1500-$4000
    - MFD (weak spot on '04-'05 if I remember correctly): <$300 DIY, $700-$1000 dealership

    If you are looking for a cheap car to get better MPGs, try something like a Honda Civic, Toyota Echo/Yaris, or the Honda Fit. Any one of those will easily match the Prius' highway economy and get around 30 MPG in town. Older Prii have a lot of potential repairs that may be required, and it isn't a good idea to buy one unless you have reserve cash just in case. They are quite reliable cars, but when stuff does break, it's pretty expensive.

    Based on numbers that myself and others have posted, the fuel savings of a Prius will not make up for the extra cost in repairs unless you either 1) buy a new Prius that won't need repairs for a long time or 2) drive over 20,000 miles per year where the fuel savings will be evident. If you drive over 20k miles per year, then a Prius is a great car whose fuel savings will reward you. If you don't drive that many miles a year, the fuel savings will likely not recover the additional expense to maintain.

    I may sound pessimistic, and if I am overly so I am sure I will be corrected by more knowledgeable Prius owners. I just know that as a "broke millennial" once, there are many cars that will get almost the same fuel economy without the additional expenses of a hybrid powertrain.

    Good luck on your search.
     
  3. Melody Wombough

    Melody Wombough New Member

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    Thanks for your reply! I fell like there’s no clear answer for me because there’s always risk in buying a used car, so it’s hard to weigh the risks between different cars. I know the batteries are expensive but most reviewers that I’ve seen have said that they hardly ever go out (or maybe they give out more frequently, what do I know?). I thought going from my Honda with 175,000 to a Prius with 92,000 might save me some money, as I’m sure that over 200k I’m gonna need a lot of work done, but I guess I’ll have to keep researching.
     
  4. ericbecky

    ericbecky Hybrid Battery Hero

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    In 5 -10 years, if not sooner you will be replacing the hybrid battery. That is a $2500-$3000 expense for a New one. And you want to buy a New one for sure.

    There are other things like very expensive headlights ($90+. Closer to $150 if you get them from a dealer)


    A low mileage Corrolla other non-hybrid may be a better option.

    I'm.sayimg this as a hybrid mechanic.
     
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  5. maddog2020

    maddog2020 Junior Member

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    Honestly, I would stick with your Accord. 175k is not that much for that car, keep it until it dies. Do the regular maintenance.

    Ian


    iPhone ?
     
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  6. 09Prius2

    09Prius2 Member

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    It doesn't sound like you drive enough miles to justify the purchase.

    If you drive 10k miles a year the prius will save you 500 in gas. You'll outspend that on repairs. 20k miles saves you 1k a year, it would still take several years to save your money back.

    Only If you drive 30k-40k miles a year, then you're saving 1500-2000+ a year on gas. Then its worth it.

    The accord will probably not give you a major problem or even very many minor problems.

    The prius has a good engine and transmission but everything else is known for failure. Electronics and batteries on older models. The electronics can be expensive and used parts are getting harder to find.
     
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  7. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    It's the possible need to replace the Hybrid Battery at some upcoming point that makes the purchase very questionable for anyone on a tight budget. I ALWAYS tell anyone buying a Prius a decade or more old, that they should have the budget set aside for that possible outcome.
    There are cheaper ways to replace the battery if it goes, but I also recommend replacing with a OEM Toyota battery. Although this route is debatable.

    If I'm closing my post with the sign off..."Broke Millenial who can't afford...."
    Then really my advice is just keep driving the vehicle you have, that currently has nothing wrong with it.
    A 2002 Honda Accord doesn't have a lot of trade in value, so it's not like continuing to drive it, is subtracting from it's overall value on the market.
    If the Accord starts to be problematic, or "dies"? You can always start car shopping then, or make decisions about investment into repair, one step at a time.

    The Prius? Might not be a bad investment, but NOT if you can't afford a replacement Hybrid Battery if that becomes needed. Also? IMO the Prius, being a Hybrid is a synergy of two different driving systems, an internal combustion engine, and electric motors/battery. It's an amazing system and historically very durable, but I think the undeniable truth is that as the vehicle ages there is a risk for more components failing if only because a Hybrid has more components that can possibly fail.

    I'm not sure this is the case, but I've been budgeted in the past. And when I use to get the "bug" to buy a new vehicle or new used vehicle? What I would do, would be buy a whole lot of automotive cleaning products, Waxes, interior cleaning supplies, etc, etc.
    Then I would spend a weekend really detailing the whole vehicle inside and out.
    It was a lot of work ( But Fun to me ) and most of the time when I was finished and my vehicle was looking shiny and clean? I usually felt like keeping the vehicle wasn't such a bad idea.
     
  8. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Agreed. When money is tight, an old Prius is a poor choice. Age hurts the battery more than miles. This one has moneypit written all over it.
     
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  9. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

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    ^ This.

    The better fuel economy of the Prius would take many, many years to overcome the purchase price and that's not figuring in any repair costs. Unless it's been replaced, it WILL need a HV battery sooner rather than later; just a matter of time.

    OP never has mentioned the asking price. If it's at a dealer...... :whistle:
     
  10. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

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    Easy then: Don't buy anything till you can afford it.
     
  11. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The OTHER One Percenter.....

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    Howdy
    That's the waaaaaay down deep part of your lizard-brain trying to keep you from making a mistake.

    See also:
    instinct
    gut-check
    'funny feeling'

    I'm not a sexist, but I'm presuming that you're not really into swinging wrenches on 14-year-old cars.
    It's not all that tough, really and it's kinda fun but you need a place to do it.
    Garages work best, because getting rained on while you're tinkering on a car takes a lot of the fun out it.
    You don't need all that many tools, and the interwebs are full of helpful YouTube videos that will give you enough information to make a 2005 Prius one of the CHEAPEST and MOST reliable cars on the road.

    Unfortunately.....
    All of this takes more time than money, and millennials are always running around in a huge hurry to do stuff like jobs, school, etc and they often do not have a spare car to drive while their primary mount is in the barn getting reshod.

    So....
    While it's a REALLY REALLY good idea to learn how to properly maintain a car rather than paying it done, I'm going to vote for the party ticket on this thread and say that you can't really afford this car......yet.


    Good Luck!
     
  12. Melody Wombough

    Melody Wombough New Member

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    I often agree with keeping a car until it dies. Trust me, that was the plan for this Accord since I got it. But waiting until it dies gives me less leveraging power at the dealership since I'll be desperate for a car and won't have as much time to make a decision. I figured starting to shop now would give me an advantage, rather than waiting until the car dies and finding myself in a situation where I'll buy anything that runs. I can get more for my Honda in a private sale right now (I do have a buyer) than I could reasonably save for a down payment on a car inside of a year or even two. That's why I'm thinking I should transition to a newer car now. I think what you guys are saying about the repairs makes sense, but I just wanted to give a few more details on my reasoning for considering getting a newer car while my car is still in decent condition.
     
  13. Melody Wombough

    Melody Wombough New Member

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    I spend $160 on gas every month (fill it once a week for $40-$45) and I calculated that with the Prius I'd only be filling it twice a month for about $60-$65. Unless I completely bungled the math, doesn't that put me at $1200 in savings/yr? I mean even so, if the battery goes out tomorrow I still don't have $2k-3k for a battery, but then again, my roommates 2004 car landed him with a $3k repair last August out of a clear blue sky so anything can happen at any time *shrug.* That's why I'm even considering getting this older car, because things are gonna happen if they're gonna happen and they're not if they're not and unless I can buy a new car, there's no way to tell the future. Trying to weigh the risks/benefits. I so appreciate everyone's input and it's definitely giving me pause.
     
  14. Melody Wombough

    Melody Wombough New Member

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    Thanks so much for your reply! I really appreciate everyone taking the time to help me out.

    But... I'm so, so conflicted because I keep seeing articles from reputable car entities (not Toyota because obviously they want to sell me something so they'll say anything) that say that the battery rarely needs to be replaced: "The first, and most reassuring thing you should know about these battery packs, is that replacement is a rare occurrence. Toyota told us that the engineers consider the NiMH batteries in Prius and other Toyota hybrids to be a life-of-the-car component."

    Is that above quote just being waaaay overstated? Again, thank you all so much, this advice and your experiences are invaluable to me.
     
  15. Melody Wombough

    Melody Wombough New Member

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    So many people in this Prius Chat thread are saying a 2005 with low miles would be a good buy... I'm not saying you're all wrong, but I'm just getting a lot of conflicting information and I want to sort it out. And trust me, I don't have a new car buying "bug." I'm a creature of habit and this process of even thinking about replacing my car with a newer one is mentally and emotionally taxing. I'm just trying to be as objective as possible and gather the most information I can.

    Thread: Battery Failure: Miles vs. Years | PriusChat
     
  16. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    keep the honda. prius will not be an upgrade as repairs become necessary
     
  17. Skibob

    Skibob Senior Member

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    I think the part you are missing is people who are telling you not to buy it figure you don’t have any repair skills. Do you know how to repair cars? My guess is no. As stated there are several high dollar repairs that are generally not related to mileage. The traction battery and the brake accumulator come to mind.
     
  18. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    ^ nice breakdown... and I generally agree. If you're into heavy DIY, know electrical safety and car maintenance, an old Prius isn't bad. You can use time & skill to save a lot of money.

    If not? Get a younger Prius or a simpler car.
     
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  19. MilkyWay

    MilkyWay Active Member

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    Based on mileage guessing dealership wants 4k or 3.5k.

    Hopefully not much more than that.

    They are great cars, rarely breakdown. You'll love it and immediately see savings when you go to fill up and it only takes 7 gallons.
     
  20. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    you're getting conflicting opinions because we get conflicting reports. toyota considers the life of the car to be 150,000 miles. but they use an average of 12 miles per year, so that would be 12 1/2 years.

    unfortunately, the battery is only warranted for 8 years in oregon, so toyota doesn't have to pay for any that fail in the following 4 1/2 years, you do.

    you may get many more trouble free miles, or you have face expensive repairs. it happens both ways, do you feel lucky?
     
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