Things to look for when test driving a used Prius?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by mmmMPG, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. mmmMPG

    mmmMPG New Member

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    Greetings!
    I've got the opportunity to buy a used, 2010, Prius III with nav. It only has 5000 miles, and everything looks perfect. (Carfax checks out, etc.) I do plan to have it looked at by my local Toyota dealer, but is there anything that I should be looking for or paying special attention to myself as i test drive it and look it over? Any other tips when looking to buy a used 2010 Prius?

    Any input would be hugely appreciated!
     
  2. jdcollins5

    jdcollins5 Senior Member

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    With only 5000 miles it should be like new inside and out. Since you are going to get it looked at by your Toyota dealer for mechanical or electrical issues, I would just look for any interior or exterior issues, chips or dings on the paint or any spots, stains, etc. on the seats or interior. Also check the tires for any signs of unusual wear patterns.
     
  3. adamace1

    adamace1 Senior Member

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    Not much to worry about because it is under Toyotas bumper to bumper warranty. just take it on a good test drive make sure you like it, and listen for any noises you don't like. Also make sure the price is good cause new ones are cheaper than they have ben for years.
     
  4. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    Are you buying from a Private Party? An automobile dealership? or a Toyota Dealership?

    With only 5000 miles on it, my biggest question is why is it for sale? A 2010 is already 2 model years old with the 2012 approaching, and 5000 miles on that vehicle is very, very low.

    You can plug in a lot of scenarios to account for the low mileage, many of them good...

    But my paranoia is why? Even vehicles I have almost instantly hated, I have usually driven for more than 5000 miles.

    You might not be able to get the reason. If it's a dealership, or even a dishonest owner. But what you want to try to limit is your risk. You want to make sure it's not sitting there with only- 5000 miles because it's spent most of it's life in a repair shop, or has some other hidden issue.

    You said Carfax checked out..and that's good. But if you have no other back-story? Then I'd definently have it checked out by your dealer. I believe Toyota dealerships keep a VIN based history of dealer provided service and maintenance...see if you can access any history of that.

    I'm admittedly just paranoid, and the worst thing you are presenting is that it's sounds almost too good to be true.
     
  5. Teakwood

    Teakwood Member

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    For me, it boils down to two simple questions:
    1) Is there anything broken or out of place on the exterior or interior?
    2) When driving it, does it "feel right"?

    If the answer is "yes" to the first or "no" to the second, let it be. Also, never make a final "buy" decision without having walked away and thought about it for a while (at least for a half hour).
     
  6. NYPrius1

    NYPrius1 Active Member

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    Things to look for when test driving a used Prius? - A Good Prius Mechanic
     
  7. mmmMPG

    mmmMPG New Member

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    Thanks for the input so far!

    @ The Electric Me: The car's story is solid. It was owned by a retiree and thus only driven for normal running around town, and garaged. It's for sale because... as they say... he's no longer with us. (Pretty sound reason for selling!) The family are friends-of-friends, so I didn't know them personally, thus I'm treating it the same as any used car purchase. They're interested in settling the estate and are willing to let me have it a bit under Edmunds TMV, well below KBB.

    @NYPrius1: Are there independent Prius mechanics? I'd figured this was a dealership only car...

    The car looks great, and I've spoken with the local dealer who sold it, who confirmed all warranty stuff. It needs its 5000 mile service, but that's about it. I'll likely pick it up in a couple days if it really feels right.

    I was thinking about getting a 2012, and really hoping that Toyota would announce pricing info, but this deal is going to be hard to pass up. Seems to me that I'd be getting an essentially new car at about a $7k discount - with the only compromise being an 18-month shorter warranty period.
     
  8. NYPrius1

    NYPrius1 Active Member

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    I don't know your area, BUT for peace of mind a good dealership. Ask around for one in your area.
    Best of Luck to You my friend.
     
  9. seilerts

    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

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    There are more and more independent shops every day. Both Toyota specialists and hybrid generalists. But you are covered at the dealer for another year. Still, it behooves you to find someone to do the maintenance, since every trip to the dealer involves a hard sell from the service advisor for fuel injector cleaning, A/C evaporator box flush, and other useless services.

    There are several TSBs out for 2010, most noticeably for brakes, front caliper rattle and rear squeak, and the plastic engine undercover. They will do the brakes if you complain about them, but it will take a couple of oil changes for the engine undercover to warp/break. There is a lot of information about these issues here.
     
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  10. Teakwood

    Teakwood Member

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    Man, go for it. You seem to have done your homework and that $7k savings makes the deal really sweet. :)
     
  11. HTMLSpinnr

    HTMLSpinnr Super Moderator
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    At this rate, you could probably grab the Toyota Platinum extended warranty for $1k or so (look for warranty shack or something similar), and still come out ahead, while solving your warranty concerns. The warranty can be purchased as long as you're still within the original 3y/36k period.

    Personally, I think this is a great find. My only concern is at 5k miles, how often was the oil changed given the interval is 12mo or 10k miles. See if there are dealer records on oil changes, or just have it changed as a precaution and start your interval from that point on.

    That all said - there are some changes (most welcomed) with 2012, including a revised center console, 3 door smart key, LED DRLs, pedestrian alert, different Nav/Audio system, etc. Whether they're worth the $7k+ (most of which you'll lose the moment you drive the car off of the lot), is up to you.
     
  12. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    Alright...that explains the low miles. I'd still have it checked out, because I always think that's worth the cost. BUT...sounds like a good deal.
     
  13. SlowTurd

    SlowTurd I LIKE PRIUS'S

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    make sure it has wheels
     
  14. cycledrum

    cycledrum PSOCSOASP

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    Seriously, I would check all tires pressures when cold. Fluids of course too. Ok to inflate a couple or few over recommended. Get the car good and warmed up, 6 miles or so, reset the tripmeter gage, drive for several miles or more. The MPGs should come up nicely. On 3rd gen, it should be hitting over 50 MPG. It's take a few miles to settle in.

    If spending a lot of money at a private party, I'd take it to Toyota for a thorough pre-purchase inspection, unless the seller is like me who shows up with a complete binder of everything to do with the car, organized and the car looks virtually new.
     
  15. mmmMPG

    mmmMPG New Member

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    Well... I just had it to the dealer for the pre-purchase inspection, and everything checked out great. It looks good, seemed to drive fine as well. To buy or not to buy... My only lingering concerns are:

    1) It's an early 2010 (built Dec. 2009) Were the first few batches more prone to rattles, problems, etc.? When did Toyota start building the GenIII? (The other 2010 I looked at was built Nov. 2010 - almost a year later!)

    2) Now that we've seen the light, we'd really like one with the Solar / Sunroof. And/or maybe even a IV with leather. Hmm.. Maybe get this as a starter prius, and then step up later?

    3) Regarding the PriusChat special 7-year extended warranty deal... I thought that was only available to original owners? I believe somewhere it says you can't purchase it if you bought the Prius used. Perhaps I made that up?

    BTW, yes, the oil was changed this past summer, so that's fine. Essentially I'm looking at an 18-month old 2010 Prius III w/Nav and 5000 miles for $20k. Seems to me like a good, but maybe not AMAZING, deal. If it had the sunroof I'd be driving it right now, even if it was a hair more expensive. As it is, I'm on the fence. Thoughts?
     
  16. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    Geesh....

    You gotta buy what you want.

    It sounds like a good deal. But what do you want?

    If now you've changed gears and are sold on a Solar/Sunroof package? Then only YOU can answer that....

    My personal philosophy, is right, wrong, great or horrible...at least when you make the initial purchase of an automobile you should feel 100% good about it....

    If you now think you won't...because this isn't the vehicle you want? Well only you can determine that for yourself.
     
  17. mmmMPG

    mmmMPG New Member

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    Done deal - I pick it up this weekend, and I'm thrilled. As much as leather and sun are nice - prices for the IV's with the solar package are bonkers... (And if, per chance, I found one that was reasonable, I don't think I'd have much trouble selling a pefect III w/nav.)

    Very excited, and can't wait to well and truly join the PriusChat community!
     
  18. Gurple42

    Gurple42 New Member

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    You did good, checked it out, asked the forum and took the plunge---ENJOY!:rockon:
     
  19. mmmMPG

    mmmMPG New Member

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    Picked the car up last night. It's perfect, inside and out. Great deal, great car. Hasn't even hit 5000 miles yet, and still smells new! It has the original window sticker, and it even has the dealer inventory tav on the keys.

    The only funny thing about the car: It came with the full carpets and cargo organizer, both listed on the window sticker and installed int he car. BUT - the rear cargo mat (the carpeted one) is a Gen II part. They must've installed the wrong one when prepping the car, and nobody noticed. So that'll be available in the classifieds soon! (I'm replacing it with a rubber mat anyway, so no worries there.)

    I took it for a long drive, an it is wonderfully quiet on the highway. Especially compared to our previous toaster -- a 2006.5 Scion xB. (Amazing car, the xB, just not an ideal highway cruiser!) Very pleased, as is the wife. And to my surprise the factory nav/bluetooth works great with my iPhone, and it only required one search of priuschat to set it up! Victory.
     
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