when should you trade in your Prius,before it becomes a money pit?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by ski.dive, Oct 15, 2012.

  1. 120m256

    120m256 New Member

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    Kind of funny that if there is no way to save/fix a battery pack with one bad module, hybrids are basically the least-green vehicles on the road. The environment would be better off with everyone driving a pickup that gets 15mpg
     
  2. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    Nobody said there was no way to fix an ailing battery, but the reality is that when one or two modules have failed (as in have reached their end-of-life) the others are not far behind so it is not a viable or economical solution as a business model. While these battery modules are not useable as a car battery, the modules that have not yet failed can be repurposed for other uses. In the meantime, the best thing to get the car back on the road is to put in a new battery and get on with life for another 10 - 15 years. Toyota's end-to-end plan for recycling hybrids ensures that Prii are overall more carbon-friendly than a conventional gas or diesel car/SUV.

    I find it interesting that detracters find it easy to focus on Hybrid and EV batteries, but don't think twice about all the unrecyclable waste in conventional cars.
     
    #162 dolj, Jun 16, 2021
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2021
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  3. ski.dive

    ski.dive Active Member

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    My 2008 [ I've had since new ] still runs great with the 'original hybrid battery'
    When the time comes , I will buy a NEW battery and run it for another 10+ years.
    Much cheaper that buying a new car.
     
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  4. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    That’s an about face from your first post, lol. Something else might crop up in that second decade of bliss?
     
  5. ski.dive

    ski.dive Active Member

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    My 2008 has been the best most dependable car I've owned...I will get rid of it when it becomes a big money pit.
     
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  6. 120m256

    120m256 New Member

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    The problem is that a car may not be worth the investment of that new battery after 10 or so years. Maybe it has very high miles, cosmetic damage, a worn interior, etc.

    I'm in no way bashing hybrids or EVs. I'm just disappointed that the batteries can't easily and cheaply have their life extended 50%.

    My comment about a hybrid being worse for the environment is that let's say a conventional and hybrid car both get junked after 10 years. Both cars have all the same components, except the hybrid also has the battery and electric motor. Under these conditions, the hybrid was indeed worse for the environment.

    Additionally, maybe with the exception of the Prius, hybrids require the same amount maintenance and repairs as a conventional car. It could be the expense of replacing the hv battery is what pushes an owner to get a new car.
     
  7. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    You can recycle the battery from a 5 yo or new wrecked Prius and get a 50% extension. Pretty easy to do.

    Yes, if a Prius is not well looked after then it may not be an economical option, but generally speaking, Prii are well cared for and at 10-yo are spring chickens that you can put a new battery in and go another 10 years.

    Doing my own maintenance, compared to other conventional cars I've maintained, I can't agree that hybrids require the same amount of maintenance and repairs as a conventional car. The diff and gearbox are combined and only need to be drained and refilled every 60,000 miles after the initial change at 120,000 miles. The brakes only require inspection, cleaning, and lubrication every other year. A well looked after Prius will last many many years.
     
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  8. JGC61

    JGC61 Member

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    I trade them in at approximately 60,000 miles
     
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  9. Paul Schenck

    Paul Schenck Active Member

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    Just wondering, that was what I thought I would do and didn’t. What would you say your monthly Investment is?


    iPhone ?
     
  10. srellim234

    srellim234 Senior Member

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    All numbers include insurance, fuel and regular servicing.

    2016 - $1260.20 (includes purchase price)
    2017 - $ 299.26 (includes purchase of Prolong hybrid battery conditioning system)
    2018 - $ 300.62 (includes headlight replacement, new tires, new TPMS sensors)
    2019 - $ 830.10 (includes accident repairs and new hybrid battery pack)
    2020 - $ 94.60
    2021 - $ 93.64

    The cost per mile continues to go down. It's currently at 39 cents a mile, high for a 2008 Prius but still lower than most other cars.

    For comparison, AAA estimated for 2017 the average car cost $706 a month.

    I'll be keeping this Prius a bit longer.
     
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  11. Paul Schenck

    Paul Schenck Active Member

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    Dolj I get where you are coming from. Just answer me this question you have a flashlight with 28 rechargeable batteries in it an it’s been working great for years. The one day you go to use it touch the switch and an error message flashes “call the dealer”
    When you search on the internet you find some people are paying $2500 to fix their flash lights and some other are fixing it themselves for $40.00 by taking all the batteries out, measuring them and replacing the bad one. There is another group that says they will exchange your batteries for theirs and give you a warrantee.

    Wouldn’t you keep all the batteries that had been working for you and fix the one causing the problem?
    That’s all I,ve been doing since. I replaced the the battery with a used one I got with a totaled Prius I purchased for $1000. When it had a problem at 500,000 I took two cells from my old battery and replaced the entire block causing the error. I did the same thing again at 613,000 miles.

    With the Dr Prius app the test shows my battery has 60% of its life remaining. So by replacing a cell in block 11 I have a battery with 60% remaining.
    Not bad for 2hours work right? And I still have 20 more individual cells to use if it should happen at 700,000 or 800,000 or 900,000 though when I get to 1,000,000 miles I will have saved $233,000 in gas and I’m going to put a new lithium replacement in there for $2900.


    iPhone ?
     
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  12. rjparker

    rjparker Senior Member

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    The assumption that a flashlight is in any way comparable is amusing. First, my older flashlights always had all cells low at the same time and all were replaced. If I still liked the flashight. Sure I could get a "reconditioner" (they made them for Nicad D cells) but collective wisdom determined it was not worth the trouble. I believed the engineers who said it would not work reliably and just bought new.

    Second my grandfather or five year old nephew could easily pick up that light and safely change the cells. Sure the Prius packs have safeguards but its an advanced diy at best. Most day to day auto shops would laugh if you ask them to change two modules with used parts. Sort of like asking them to install a used water pump. It might work for a while but no self respecting shop wants the comeback much less the trouble if the used part does not work at all.

    Finally when lithium flashights became affordable, the earlier chemistries and their chargers were replaced. Now a flashlight battery is 95% of the cost, it lasts two to three times longer, the light costs three times more but the working life extension and power is worth it. But when its dead it gets a new lithium battery, hopefully a Makita brand that also runs my power tools, blower and weedeater.

    When we have some runtime on Prius replacement lithiums I might unbolt the assembly or let a shop do it. I would probably not use one of hybrid battery shops that currently market to unsuspecting owners with their "remanufactured" compromises.
     
    #172 rjparker, Aug 10, 2021
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2021
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  13. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

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    I'll start by answering your direct question then expand from there.

    My answer to the above is no, the 'call the dealer" error message would be me noticing the light from the flashlight was going dim. What I would do is remove all the batteries and replace them with the second set of batteries I had on hand (as I rely very heavily on having a reliable working flashlight). I would then immediately put the first set in the charger and charge them up.

    I also get from where you are coming but the three scenarios are not apples for apples. Each one has pluses and minuses. In my scenario, I want a car that is reliable and a repair I do once and forget about for 10-15 years.

    The only person that I would advise doing any kind of battery "reconditioning/rehabbing" is the owner and maybe a select few who do the job properly. The owner will care enough to do the job properly but on the back of a steep learning curve.

    One of the many areas the analogy fails is that a flashlight is designed to have the user remove and replace the batteries a Prius is not. rjparker also states some other good points in regards to the flashlight vs Prius analogy.
     
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  14. Another

    Another Member

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    Since we have all of the expert’s convened here that can speak with certainty about the generalities of the useful life of disparate entities, how many years should I wait before dispatching my spouse to obtain maximal utility?
     
  15. ETC(SS)

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

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    Cars are designed to a specific life cycle, and I've found that most of the packs in Priuses have gone well beyond 10 years...which is why Toyota warranties them for .............10 years, or 150,000 miles.
    For many owners, this is sorta like the transaxle fluid, or a "lifetime."

    The average battery replacement cost (unless you're an idiot and go to a dealer) is about $2500 for wireless Priuses.
    A little bit more for the Pips and Primes.
    I've seen people pay this same amount for HVAC work (although it's usually closer to $1500)
    There are cars of all types that can be counted on to need well over $2000 worth of transmission, transaxle, or CVT work at the 150,000 mile point.
    Regenerative brake work can ruin the looks of twin $1000 bills, and let's not forget the $1500 catalytic converters....WHEN you can get one from dealer stock.

    This is the G2 sub-forum.
    That means all of the cars that we're talking about here are teenagers....and no matter how good a parent you think you are almost all of them are going to start drinking and smoking pretty soon - if they don't already do so.

    If by "junked" you mean "thrown away" then you might be right, but automobiles are almost entirely recycled these days.
    I'm not one of these wacky Wicca fans who yearn for a return to those glorious mid-19th century days...BUT....the math is pretty simple for the carbon throughput of a 3200#, 15-year-old, 40MPG Prius versus a 4700#, 15-year-old, 18MPG, F150 truck.

    It's not even close.

    No.
    Priuses didn't "save the planet" any more than the Teslas are GOING to....but as a cranky old marine might put it, they "suck less."

    They were cheaper too.

    ACTUAL mileage may vary....
     
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  16. Paul Schenck

    Paul Schenck Active Member

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    We think a lot alike, as I did actually do as you said, bought a new battery (80,000 mile salvage vehicle for $1000) and put that in, which got me from 400,000 miles to 500,000 miles. Then with 4cells from my old battery I got it to go another 100,000 before adding 2 more calls a few weeks ago. Now, Dr Prius says the Battery has 62%, again proving your point from another post you can get 50% or better easily by switching out a few bad Cells.
    Tesla takes their old car batteries and recycles them into the Home solar storage packs, avoiding the huge environmental waste, and I am not aware of how Toyota re-purposes the $3000 exchanges they do. I do, however, feel pretty good about getting another 200,000 miles out of mine by learning how to remove it and replace a few cells.
    So I think I’ll keep my 17year old flashlight and keep replacing cells till I can get my hands on the lithium replacement.


    iPhone ?
     
  17. Paul Schenck

    Paul Schenck Active Member

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    Thanks RJ, I agree with you that we deserve easy access to a lithium replacement. And I would be very impressed if Toyota offered it to us as a Thank-you for keeping our Prii running far beyond their expiration dates. As it is we are left waiting for Dr. Prius to work through supply/Covid backlogs.
    I’m glad you found my simple analogy amusing, and for the very reason I made it; it is overly simple so that you grandfather or daughter can understand the idea, and then learn the how and why quite a bit more engineering is involved.
    Let us then agree, it is like a big flashlight and any shop that said a used battery will last as long as a new one isn’t honest let alone self respecting. They could also say there are two options, they can do the job in two hours either way and charge $85/hr plus the cost of a new battery, or the cost of a rebuild which ever the owner would like. This way Grandpa and your daughter could enjoy the service and expertise they lacked.


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  18. Paul Schenck

    Paul Schenck Active Member

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    Yes


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  19. Colorado Boo

    Colorado Boo Member

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    Like most things...it depends! It factors on how much of a DIY a person is and how much free time they have to keep an older car running. Another factor is if it's the owner's primary, and only, vehicle. A single Mom with kids should have a reliable, newer vehicle than something, say, 25-years old and over 200,000 miles. (If possible, of course...I know many folks who just can't afford something newer than 8-10 years old.)
    If we get a catastrophic failure, like the hybrid battery needs replacing or the head gasket needs replacing, we have to look at the car's worth versus how much we'll spend to get it fixed. (Is it smart to spend $4,000 if the car is only worth $2,000 or would it be better to find a newer or even new model and putting $4,000 down on it?) Some people do spend the money and I can understand why.
     
  20. srellim234

    srellim234 Senior Member

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    It's not the car's worth versus how much to repair. It's the car's value plus the cost of repair subtracted from the immediate and ongoing cost of a replacement car. In your example, it's $6,000 down, not $4,000.

    In our case we elected to go with a new OEM pack which did cost more than we could have sold the car for. We did it because when it was done we still had a very reliable Prius in the driveway, fully paid for and most likely good for years to come. A newer used car always brings a decent amount of risk with it. A new car would lessen the risk but cost hundreds of dollars a month more in car payments, gas and insurance.

    Tracking every penny spent on it since we bought it, the 2008 Prius has cost 39 cents a mile. Since the battery was replaced it's been 16 cents a mile. Considering that in 2019 AAA estimated the average new car would cost over 75 cents a mile for the first five years we figured we still have a pretty good deal parked in the garage. When the cost per mile gets to about 2/3 per mile of a new car, we'll replace it.
     
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