Used 2013 Prius v w/ 136k miles & head gasket issue: worth keeping?

Discussion in 'Prius v Main Forum' started by Ross Teixeira, Mar 20, 2022.

  1. Ross Teixeira

    Ross Teixeira New Member

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    We're new to the Prius family and need advice!

    We recently purchased a used Prius v 2013 II for 12k with 136k miles from a dealership for $12500 total. A few days later, the check engine light came on and the engine started sputtering, cylinders misfiring. Took it into the dealership, they said the service record claims to have replaced the head gasket but they actually didn't.

    They offered to replace the engine with a used 90k junkyard engine (for free), or let us return the car and cancel the deal. Is it worth keeping and doing the repair, or returning and trying to find a better deal?

    We checked the battery health at 80% with Dr. Prius, no other noticeable issues.
     
    #1 Ross Teixeira, Mar 20, 2022
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2022
  2. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    It needs a rebuilt engine with improved pistons and rings, the root cause. The 90k engine might be better than nothing IF it was a 2015 engine. There are other concerns on this model. The brake by wire system, commonly called the brake booster assembly, is a flawed designed that will cost you $2,500 in your ownership. The hybrid battery is also likely to fail over the next year or two depending on your miles per year. DIY it is $2,000 - dealer replacement can be $2,500-$3,500. The egr system is a poor design as well and tends to clog by 150k miles, sometimes sooner. About $800 to repair the egr cooler and valve unless advanced diy is possible.

    Overall a 2016 or newer Prius is far better. Reengineered to solve the head gasket, brake booster, better hybrid battery management with lithium batteries, a whole new egr system, etc. Exclude the 2016-17 Prius v wagon which retains the earlier gen3 design.

    Prius v gen3 Prius liftback gen4.jpg
     
    #2 rjparker, Mar 21, 2022
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2022
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  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    these days, you might as well take the deal. make sure they clean the egr circuit while doing the engine replacement, and consider an oil catch can
     
  4. Tim Jones

    Tim Jones Senior Member

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    TAKE IT BACK! There are many other very $$$ things waiting to happen....... hybrid battery.....$2000 brakes $2500 or more
    water pump.....head gasket on junkyard motor......consider yourself luck they will take it back. Get a non hybrid used car..........
     
  5. Ross Teixeira

    Ross Teixeira New Member

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    Thanks all, we have decided to take it back.

    Why do you suggest a non hybrid used? We are very interested in a hybrid long term because of frequent city driving.
     
  6. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    if you're gonna go hybrid, go 2016 or newer lift back.

    frequent city driving doesn't make the case for a hybrid. how many miles a year on average, and how far are the trips on average?
     
  7. Tim Jones

    Tim Jones Senior Member

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  8. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    A hybrid is often a great value for the first owner who sells by 150,000 miles. He rarely has a multi thousand dollar repair in his ownership. Its not just the repair; most mechanics won't work on them so you may have to go to a dealer. Most auto supplies won't have hybrid specific parts except for used hybrid batteries which are a rip off. Many hybrid problems will strand you. So if you are a used car buyer looking for value and low operating costs, a high mile used hybrid is not the choice.

    When it comes to 2010-2015 Prius and 2012-2017 Prius v wagons, the above is amplified due to several straightout design flaws. Engines burning oil and blowing head gaskets. Accumulating oil and condensate in the intake manifold. Failing brake by wire master cylinders and pumps. Inverters stranding people far from home. Egr systems clogging with the gunk from the bad rings in the engine. Hybrid batteries requiring replacement, somewhat as expected.

    Yes a recent gen4 design would be a choice because most of the design fails have been fixed. But think about this - a hybrid has all the complexity of a gas engine and an all electric car built into one small vehicle.

    Toyota's hybrids were a revolution twenty years ago and were in high demand in 2008 when gas went to $4. The gen2s from 2004-2009 were very reliable short of hybrid battery issues sometime after 150k miles. They are simply too old now. Gen3, in a stated effort to be more efficient, got it wrong. Gen4 fixed most of the issues with a system now used in new Prius, Rav4, Camry, Corolla, Sienna, Highlander and many Lexus vehicles.

    Years from now when the majority of cars are ev and get 500,000 miles before disposal, people will fully appreciate the simple cars before hybrids and the better cars after. For used value in 2022 buy a Civic, Accord, Camry or Corolla. No hybrid, V6 or turbo versions. Save for a few years so that you can start buying new in the future.
     
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  9. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    Bisco is right on the mileage metric. You need high miles such as 15,000 - 20,000 per year to get enough gas savings to make the hybrid cost premium worthwhile. Consider a Civic can easily get 35 mpg versus a real world Prius getting 45mpg. Do the math and you find the simplest repair kills the economics unless you are rolling huge miles per year as a taxi or delivery driver. Or you have a long commute. Pre covid, I was putting on 30k miles a year and could justify a $2,400 battery, a $2,500 brake booster system, an $800 egr repair or a Sunday night Inverter stranding hundreds of miles from home. Try to find a rental car late on a Sunday night. Airports are often your only choice after an expensive tow and taxi ride.

    All of which happened even with the best maintenance. As a new car buyer my extra cost extended warranty and now expired customer support programs took care of a few of them. At 30,000 miles a year I was saving maybe $500 on gas versus a Civic or Camry. Over the first eight years and 240,000 miles maybe $4,000 - $5,000. The hybrid battery took most of that and the egr and other specifics took the rest. Sure if you compare to an 18 mpg car the economics are better, it is just not a fair comparison.

    My earlier new 2008 Prius had no major maintenance at all in nine years. The used buyer in 2017 received the original battery, brake booster and inverter. It did not burn oil and had no egr system to clog. However age alone weighs against a used gen2 today even if you can find a garage queen with 100k miles.
     
    #9 rjparker, Mar 27, 2022
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2022
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