To Buy or Not To Buy 2008, 230K miles, $3K

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by mitch_n, Dec 8, 2018.

  1. mitch_n

    mitch_n New Member

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    Hi!

    I’m looking for some feedback regarding a one-owner 2008 Toyota Prius with +230K miles, with clean Carfax. The car is SOLD AS IS- For parts only- No WARRANTY, by a local Toyota dealership, with a tempting price tag ($3000). The dealer said the car had been driven to the dealership and not towed; however, they won’t inspect the car because it has high mileage (even if I pay for it). They won’t allow me to drive the car on or off the lot either, because it’s not inspected. They will, however, allow me to bring my mechanic and have the car inspected on the lot prior to purchase.

    The car looks good on the outside; it has one minor scrape on the rear bumper. All the lights, mirrors, windows, and wipers are in working condition. The interior is clean and was not abused or neglected and everything seems to be functional. It has the owner’s manual and 2 other little booklets. In the owner’s manual the pages pertaining to service have been used over and over. The display shows 45 Mpg and the hybrid battery pack is charged to about 75-80%.

    It has new tires (little hairs still on). It has a new 12V battery installed, and oil change done before I checked the car. The car starts and the gas engine turns on and runs smooth at idle. The heater works, today 37 F (3C) degrees outside, could not test AC.

    I looked in the engine bay which is dusty. I saw no leaks by the engine coolant pump, and inverter coolant pump. I also looked for ripples in the inverter reservoir and I saw something but not like a rolling boil. There are also no visible oil seeps/stains on top of the engine. I looked underneath and it seemed to be clean, no oil stains on the transaxle nor the engine. I stuck my finger in the tailpipe ;p and there was soot (very wet, not oily).

    Spoke to the mechanic (not a hybrid tech) who changed the oil and replaced the 12V battery. He said the car drives, shifts, and the brakes work. He saw a red triangle before changing the battery and he thinks the engine is running rich. There were no warning lights as we sat in the car for about 10 minutes with the sales rep with the gas engine running.

    The car has dealer service records and the last multipoint inspection was done at 220k miles (6 months ago) and no repairs were suggested.

    My question is, should I pursue this car by bringing a mechanic or leave just forget about it?

    Thank you!
     
  2. fragglestickcar

    fragglestickcar Junior Member

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    It sounds like you want to make it work. Two obvious points that may bear stating:
    1. The fact that it's at a dealership is an added latent cost. The original owner needed to make a quick sale, and the dealer is happy to act as intermediary to make a profit from him and you.
    2. Corollary to point 1 is that you can eliminate this cost by buying direct from the many used prii on craigslist and fb marketplace. You are very likely to find one with lower mileage for maybe 1000 dollars more (depends where you live).
     
  3. PAUL SCHULTZ

    PAUL SCHULTZ Member

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    They won't let you drive the car?!?! I'd walk away from it. That is odd behavior to have a used car on their lot and not allow you to test drive it. Would they drive you around at least??

    If you wish to continue you should have the codes read with a reliable software/reader like Techstream.

    Paul.
     
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  4. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    Parts only should be $1500
     
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  5. mitch_n

    mitch_n New Member

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    Thank you for your replies.

    Fragglestickcar- it is true that dealers will make a profit. I have been looking for a Prius for some time. Here, where I reside, in Tennessee, the cars have very high mileages and are expensive. The best prices for used cars I found to be in Florida, Georgia, Texas (maybe hurricane cars?) .

    Paul- I know, it was odd not to be allowed to drive the car, but it is sold as is for parts only, no warranty, with a clean title. the service records on the toyota website show that services were performed. As I sat in the Drivers seat I asked the sales rep- "So this is the shifter..." thinking maybe it wont hurt to throw it in Drive. but the guy had that look in in his eyes. "Don`t do it, man!" I`ll try to find a Toyota hybrid mechanic who is willing to take a look at the car. Maybe they will all say to stay away. Or I will get the scan tool.

    JC- they had a camry parts only as is for $15k, it is gone today. now 2007 camry parts only, 110k miles, $8k. Prices are interesting here.

    I watched some Youtube videos and definitely the inverter pump was not humming- and no turbidity in reservoir. Assuming that only the inverter pump is defective that would be a ~$50-$90 DIY fix.

    What else do you think can be damaged by driving with a defective inverter pump?

    Since the Toyota tech was able to drive the car in the bay for oil change and battery I assume is not immobile.

    What does running rich mean for a Prius, what causes this condition?

    Is non oily sooth in the tailpipe normal for this type of engine?

    Thanks, mitch
     
  6. frodoz737

    frodoz737 Top Wrench

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    Red Flags are flying. All Dealerships can place temp tags on any vehicle roadworthy to test drive...and if there are issues they don't want to address, that usually means it's not road worthy. It's earmarked for auction and will likely sell for halve that. 10 years old and 230,000 miles means it's worn out and will need MONEY very soon. If you are buying this due to lack of funds...don't. You can do much better.
     
    #6 frodoz737, Dec 9, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018
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  7. oil_burner

    oil_burner Active Member

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    don't do it, huge red flags if they won't even let you drive it around the parking lot. Cars don't run rich for no reason, everything is tightly controlled by the computers so a rich condition would be due to a failed or failing sensor (MAF, O2, etc) or due to misfire and unburnt fuel leaving the exhaust. Any should trigger a CEL although these can also be cleared with a scan tool so they are hidden temporarily. Be patient and find a used Prius from a private sale. I paid $2000 Canadian or about 1700 US for my 2007 and it had 218,000 miles on it. The owner was up front about oil consumption and had otherwise taken great care of the car, after an extended test drive I could make a decision on it. Obviously no test drives means either A)they do not want to make a sale that badly or B)there is something seriously wrong with the powertrain that would be noticed in a test drive.
     
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  8. mitch_n

    mitch_n New Member

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    Frodo and oil_burner,

    You are right! No test drive is major impediment in buying a vehicle.

    What made the car attractive was the longevity of prii and the price tag.

    The dealership has many cars in this condition probably they are trying to get a better price than the auction would bring them.

    Thank you all for your input!
     
  9. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    if you want it for parts/hobby car, fine. if you're looking for a daily driver, stay away from hybrids
     
  10. MilkyWay

    MilkyWay Active Member

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    On a 2 minute Craigslist search prices seem to be similar to what I am used to.

    Go to local craigslist search for prius...set max price to 4500...bookmark the search and check it every day. I'm sure you can find better

    (Looks pretty clean, you can buy an "ozone machine" on amazon for $70 it will take smoke smell out: 2007 Toyota Prius - cars & trucks - by owner - vehicle automotive sale)

    (right rear rocker scraped up? 2007 Toyota Prius - cars & trucks - by dealer - vehicle automotive sale)

    (Left door and wheel well banged up: Price Lowered on this pretty blue 2007 Toyota Prius 4 dr - cars & trucks - by owner - vehicle automotive sale)

    None of the above are great deals but I would pass on the one you mentioned. Keep looking. Check Facebook marketplace, offer up, ebay motors, etc...I'll most likely be dumping my 08 Prius in avatar within the next couple months. I think market is tough right now and I'll get $2500 to $3200 (when I list it in about a month or 2). Has 195K miles.
     
  11. audiodave

    audiodave Active Member

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    Computer is reset so it hasn't had time to toss a possible code. The past looks good but the future is a mystery.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  12. fragglestickcar

    fragglestickcar Junior Member

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    Never been to Tennessee. Perhaps it's common for TN dealers to stand by as market-makers for private parties in a hurry to sell. Kick the seller a few hundred bucks and flip the vehicle for a 5x to 10x profit. Win-win right?

    Where I live, no dealership would act as a such a clearinghouse for the general public. I suspect there are a variety of liability and business reasons for not getting into this dicey game. And I know they'd never sell a robust, relatively problem-free prius for 3 grand, even one with 230k on the odo. But again maybe TN is MAGA.
     
  13. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Junior Member

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    I just paid $4300 for an '07 with 130k, clean title & Carfax. Minor issues revealed by pre-sale inspection got me $600 off the asking price. Of course, Prii are plentiful in California. Check KBB and keep looking for one from a private seller and pay for an inspection by a knowledgeable non-dealer shop.
     
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