What all goes wrong as a v gets high mileage?

Discussion in 'Prius v Main Forum' started by Kelsuhh, Jun 14, 2020.

  1. Kelsuhh

    Kelsuhh New Member

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    Hi all! I've been toying around with the idea of getting an older v for a while. I've come across a 2012 v 5 (but no ATP) with 190k miles that has a new head gasket and a new hybrid battery. Assuming it was a 7k car... what other repairs might you expect on something so high mileage? Is 200k nearing the end of life for a v, or the end of taking it for long drives with peace of mind? I'm trying to logic out the cost/benefit of getting something like this vs. something newer with half as many miles for twice as much. At what point do/did y'all look at replacing your v's?

    Additionally, I've read the very good comments about safety features in the 2015+... wondering if a 2012 is worth it at all nowadays, 5 trim or not. Appreciate your perspectives.
     
  2. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Just because it has a new head gasket, doesn't mean they have addressed any of the problems that might cause rapid head gasket failure. Did they clean the likely clogged EGR circuit too?

    Maybe others can chime in on what other issues are suspected to cause head gasket failure in Gen3 models.
     
  3. ttou68

    ttou68 Active Member

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    At that mileage, I'd be looking into these items...

    Water pump, spark plugs, coil packs, transmission fluid, inverter coolant, wheel bearings, front struts and rear shocks, oxygen sensors, rotors and break pads, EGR, PCV, intake manifold.... check all front suspension bushings...

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  4. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Brake booster. It's complicated, critical and pricey. Plenty of threads about it. EGR & head gasket already mentioned.

    The v is a car to get new or young, work it hard and then make it somebody else's problem before it gets old.

    And don't be the somebody else.
     
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  5. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    If you want a "smaller hauler" that doesn't know when to quit; a vehicular legend that only improves with age? Go get a Toyota Matrix. Those have a second and third act waiting in the wings where the v is best enjoyed young.
     
  6. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    And sadly they discontinued it.
     
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  7. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Yeah but those last '13s ('14 for Canada) are in perfect price territory for somebody looking to hit on a super reliable, used mini hauler for a long span of ownership.
     
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  8. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    In many big cities and all over Europe, Prius v taxis make 400k miles or higher. Sure they replace a battery and head gasket once or twice but for high mileage drivers they are a winner as taxis and delivery vehicles because they have excellent rear seat space, great oversized ac and plenty of cargo volume. All while getting 40 mpg. When I went to Europe I would pass by the German made BMW and Mercedes taxis for the best, a nice (still) Prius v that was not belching diesel fuel, had ac that worked well, was smoother, quieter and had held up nicely. Toyota still sells Prius v (Alphas) in most of the world including Canada.

    However, I always tell people who want to buy these to evaluate their miles per year and buy if they can get rid of it by 150k-175k. So I may have advised your seller. Seriously, they are generally solid cars in a traditional sense, eg body, drivetrain, suspension, interiors, electronics, even most accessories. The biggest problems are the hv battery ($2250 at least), brake booster (more than the battery) and egr cleaning/replacement ($800-$1200). All could be done diy for less but not easily. These jobs are not recommended for first time Saturday mechanics and most independent shops are less than qualified as well. However there are a few independent Prius mechanics available in select locations. If you have access to one of them, consider having them do an evaluation. Finally they do tend to burn oil but that is manageable if you pay attention and don't let it run out of lubricant.

    So the HV battery was replaced. Is it a new warranted Toyota battery? If so, it should have a three year warranty. Many people buy "reconditioned" batteries which are just used modules from several old batteries mixed and matched to clear the codes for another year.

    The head gasket was replaced. That is excellent assuming they did a good job and cleaned the egr, changed the pcv and inspected everything else they accessed. That job can be $5k at a dealer and most don't want to do it on an old engine due to other engine wear concerns. They would rather swap in a low mileage used motor for about the same cost.

    The brake booster assembly is your brake by wire system and it is next to inaccessible for most people and even many mechanics. Toyota does not let all their mechanics work on this system. There is an age related flaw in the hydraulic accumulator diaphragm that builds up brake pressure ahead of time so that the computers have something to work with. In addition, the "master cylinder" is your brake ecu, abs controller, regen logic, pitch and bounce control and probably watches your kids when you go out. Nitrogen released from the accumulator tends to get into the master cylinder and cause damage, so both are replaced when the problem shows itself. Almost all other gen3 prius vehicles have a factory extended warranty on this system; the prius v does not. I believe there is a class action suit in progress.

    The egr system has a stainless "cooler" that has honeycombed channels for about eight inches between the exhaust manifold and the egr valve. The cooler is liquid cooled to reduce the exhaust gases temperatures headed to the egr valve. The egr valve then injects exhaust into the intake manifold to moderate the combustion chamber temps for pollution and reliability. That stainless cooler gets totally clogged up and has to be removed with much effort, cleaned (sometimes) or replaced.

    Oil burning is primarily due to the piston rings, a low friction design specified to improve mpg. Toyota generally fixed this around 2016. Extra blow by into the crankcase also aggravates the egr and head gasket problems while oil getting into the combustion chamber burns.

    In your case, I would suggest offering less money if the car was a perfect driver and looked great. Instead of $7k maybe $3.5k to $4.5k max. Put the rest into a repair fund that is ready to go.
     
    #8 rjparker, Jun 15, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2020
  9. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    From researching piston/ring part numbers, Prius v (similarly to Prius) revised both pistons and rings. Model year 2015 onward for sure have the revised parts; I believe the revision happened somewhere in the course of model year 2014. The aim of the revision seems to be to reduce oil consumption.
     
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  10. Kelsuhh

    Kelsuhh New Member

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    I genuinely love all of these replies. Thank you all so much. I was especially curious about the head gasket replacement -- sounds like a band-aid fix wouldn't actually do us that many favors, which is likely what this was.

    From all your wisdom, I'm gathering that it's really worthwhile to spend extra and get a 2015-2017 v with low mileage and just really enjoy it. I love road tripping and generally go around 20k miles a year -- so it sounds like I could still get close to a decade out of a car like that, which is pretty nifty to think about.

    I've been really interested in car camping with a 6' fiance and a 60lb dog, which is the main reason we're looking to replace our trusty 2008 Prius. :) Appreciate the recommendation of the Matrix -- I've been having trouble thinking of what vehicles could compare to the Toyota Prius reliability we've enjoyed in our old car (got it at 130k miles, now at 220k it's only needed routine maintenance and other than burning oil and some lower mpg, runs like a champ).

    Sounds like maybe the v isn't made to last so long?
     
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  11. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    All hybrids are at a disadvantage here*, nothing special about the v. The battery packs degrade over time whether you use them or not. Also, most "ordinary" cars become cheaper to service later in life because you can take them to less expensive mechanics. Not as many of these neighborhood mechanics know hybrids well, so you're stuck paying dealer labor rates later into the car's service life.

    So the way I read it, hybrids are best used as all-you-can-drive mileage buffets for the first 10-15 years of their lives. Then get rid of them with prejudice before they figure out how to read the calendar and brutalize your bank account.

    With a non-hybrid car, it's easier to stretch out the calendar. It'll be a long time before safety, convenience and fuel economy pressures grow enough to force you to retire such a car.

    So in your shoes I'd still consider a 2017 if I had a plan that would let me replace it on a moment's notice sometime between 2027-2030. There's a lot to like before they get old and expensive.

    * "here" meaning a secondhand car you can stay friends with for a decade
     
    #11 Leadfoot J. McCoalroller, Jun 16, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2020
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  12. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    I would tend to disagree. While the car has its attributes and is certainly a great car to buy new (where available) the 2012 Prius v discussed here is at a disadvantage, even to other gen3s. There is a strong argument that the 2012-2014 prius v IS the worst Prius from a reliability standpoint. So much so that I would probably take a 2008 Prius with equal mileage over a 2012 v. Most of the v's problems are shared with the other gen3s of the same year such as battery, head gaskets, timing chain leaks, egr, inverter problems (covered by extended service campaign), oil consumption and brake booster system. The difference is the brake booster system was excluded from the rest of the gen3s service campaign plus the parts are unique to the v. Add a poor crash rating of the early v's and you have a strong candidate for worse Toyota Prius hybrid to buy used especially with high miles. Which was the question posed in this thread.
     
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  13. MrRJP

    MrRJP New Member

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    2018 was the last year for Prius V in Canada.

    Pixel 4 ?
     
  14. Tim Jones

    Tim Jones Active Member

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    5 Things I Learned About Toyota Prius After A Deep 1 Year Study | Torque News
     
  15. activ8xp

    activ8xp New Member

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    My 2013 V just blew it's engine last week @ 188k. It started consuming oil around the 165k mark and I did the oil changes religiously at the stealership and walmart. So when I noticed the red low engine oil light light up shortly during cornering or up a hill, I'd add some more oil.
    Last week I went to visit my son in Denver and we decided to climb Pike's Peak, no problem for the car, but I noticed the low oil light and Like I have been doing, was going to put more oil in, later.
    On the way home a day later, while doing 85 on the interstate. I get this horrible noise that got louder and louder and pretty quick thereafter saw blue smoke from the exhaust and a burnt oil smell, all lights on the dash lit up and coasted to a rest area. Towed to a Dealer and found out I had a hole in my engine block, was offered $300 for salvage or $6k for a new engine install
    I have a connection with this car damnit, it has all the bells and whistles. I'm not going to let her die in Kansas. So hauled back to Arkansas and purchased a used 15k miles engine from Ebay ($1750). Friend of mine is helping me install it whenever it comes in.
     
  16. Tim Jones

    Tim Jones Active Member

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    Another reason I tell people don't purchase a used Gen 3. I have replace everything except the engine.
     
  17. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

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    Third or fourth gen. The latter will work, with a few mods, mostly coolant line rework.
     
  18. activ8xp

    activ8xp New Member

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    Not sure.... I'm guessing a Gen3
     
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  19. activ8xp

    activ8xp New Member

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    I have zero problems with anything but the engine. which is why I decided to replace it. Mine is a v V with all the bells and whistles. I feel I owe it to the car to get it running again, if that makes sense.
     
  20. Tim Jones

    Tim Jones Active Member

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    I totally understand. I just got spoiled with a camry and a prius.
     
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