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Grumpy Cabbie

Gen3 Hv Battery Failures In Taxis :(

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Just for your info, but it appears the gen3 Prius is not holding up any way near as well as the over engineered gen2 Prius built from 2004-2009 did.

There are numerous reports of gen3 HV Battery failure in taxis under 100,000 miles (generally between 80k and 120k miles) resulting in expensive repair if outside warranty. Remember that the original hybrid warranty on the gen3 was only 60,000 miles or 5 years and it appears from high mileage users that Toyota must have known something as it was reduced from 100k on the gen2 to 60k on the gen3.The warranty was increased back to 100,000 miles after all the recal palava but not for gen3's sold between June 2009 and June 2010 (roughly).

http://www.toyota.co.uk/cgi-bin/toyota/bv/frame_start.jsp?id=Owners-Warranty

My gen3 is on its THIRD steering motor and has had an inverter replaced. The HV Battery is now starting to show the early signs of failure at only 79,000 miles (60,000 of which were private hire use). Hardly a glowing reliability record.

One of the reports that helped me consider the gen3 Prius back in late 2009 was the glowing reports of a Canadian taxi fleet owner who had cars run into the high hundreds of thousands of miles without issue. He has since reported on the US Priuschat forum that his gen3's are turning out to be a Royal PITA with many transmissions/transaxle replacements (not cheap at about £4,000 I believe) and HV Battery replacements.

His comments are that the older gen2's are proving much more reliable than the newer gen3's. Hardly a glowing endorsement of the newer car.

I do have to say the 3rd generation cars are not holding up very well
compared to the second generation. The 2010's have all had transaxle
problems and a few have had to get the Battery replaced already. The
improved fuel economy on the 3rd generation is greatly offset by higher
cost for repairs. I have a 2010 with 250,000km and have not had any
issues yet. When I do have to replace one of the cars I will be
looking for a 2008 and hopefully I hear better reports on the 2011 and
newer Prius after the way the 2010's have held up poorly compared to the
2nd generation.

http://priuschat.com/threads/600-000km-taxi-report.133531/#post-1906102

http://priuschat.com/threads/european-gen3-prius-failings.133013/page-2

http://priuschat.com/threads/finest-greenest-safest-taxicab-in-the-world-the-story-of-cab-2545.122753/

Some of you won't care as you won't be running your car to high mileage, but if expensive failures are occuring regularly at around 80,000 miles, then it will certainly affect second hand values and could even ruin the reputation of hybrids in general, meaning you might be stung when trading in! There's enough fud about hybrids already but if the nay sayers actually have a point, then the hybrid could be dead in the water in the UK or Europe. Remember how many passengers a hybrid taxi will take every day, week, month, year and how many people the disgruntled driver will tell his gen3 tales of woe to.

My Toyota dealer sold one of the highest levels of Prii outside of London and advised me that many customers said that if they were good enough for a taxi, then they must be ok. It appears that they aren't good enough for hard taxi work. My Peugeot never broke down on me, the Prius has! That's broken down at the side of the road not going anywhere.

Discuss. :)

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I traded mine in when the 3 year warranty was up for the Prius+. I only do 6K miles a year, so it would take me about 13 years to reach 80K and I've never owned any car that long. As you say, it won't affect so many people, as most keep a car for only a few years then trade up.

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But it could affect trade in and second hand values. I think one of the reasons the gen2 become a success was that prospective second hand owners had some comfort in the long warranty and reliability on offer. If the car is going to fail on them with expensive repairs, then they may start to make alternative purchases.

I know there were many posts about the 'weasel warranty' in the past and I fear our early suspicions were right. This car has nearly cost 50% of its value in replacement parts and it's only 4 years old.

I hope the newer li-ion batteries prove more reliable. My cynical mind wonders why they're not sold in the US though. Their 5 seat Prius V (like the Prius+) has the NiMh Battery in the boot where the extra row of seats would be in the +. Does the Li-ion cost more or is it less reliable? Many States in the US require a 10 years/150,000 mile warranty.

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My gen3 is on its THIRD steering motor and has had an inverter replaced. The HV Battery is now starting to show the early signs of failure at only 79,000 miles (60,000 of which were private hire use). Hardly a glowing reliability record.

One of the reports that helped me consider the gen3 Prius back in late 2009 was the glowing reports of a Canadian taxi fleet owner who had cars run into the high hundreds of thousands of miles without issue. He has since reported on the US Priuschat forum that his gen3's are turning out to be a Royal PITA with many transmissions/transaxle replacements (not cheap at about £4,000 I believe) and HV Battery replacements.

What are your symptoms for the HV Battery failing. I have two customers who have 155k and 190k on gen 3 as taxis and nothing has really gone wrong with them apart from general maintenance. We are seeing more fleet Prius being run to 120k as the lifetime cost has been less than diesels according the the fleet companies

Alex

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What are your symptoms for the HV battery failing. I have two customers who have 155k and 190k on gen 3 as taxis and nothing has really gone wrong with them apart from general maintenance. We are seeing more fleet Prius being run to 120k as the lifetime cost has been less than diesels according the the fleet companies

Cycling from low to high much quicker and frequently than previously and will quickly drop to 2/8 bars very quickly. There is also hesitation when transitioning from electric to the engine switching on. Like a hesitation or 'stumble'. I'm gonna speak with the dealers in the next day or two as I understand there is an option to extend the Battery warranty to 10 years IF the car passes and initial testing proceedure (and your mileage is below 15k a year).

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I keep a close eye on GC's postings because I too have a gen3 T3 of the same vintage and do a lot of miles. Just coming up to 80,000 miles. I have the Toyota extended warranty which will take the Prius to Nov 2014, unlimited mileage, which covers the hybrid parts and HV Battery. So far steering and HV Battery are holding up.

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I keep a close eye on GC's postings because I too have a gen3 T3 of the same vintage and do a lot of miles. Just coming up to 80,000 miles. I have the Toyota extended warranty which will take the Prius to Nov 2014, unlimited mileage, which covers the hybrid parts and HV battery. So far steering and HV battery are holding up.

Word on the street is that it's the original 2009 models that appear to have the issues. The ones with the original 5 year/60,000 mile warranty that Toyota refused to increase to 8/100,000 miles to match the gen2 and the gen3 from July 2010.

Had the car in recently for an EGR valve replacement (hmmm, thats another story) and the dealer checked the HV Battery and said it was fine. I'll take their word on that BUT it does still seem to cycle wider, quicker, perhaps more violently than it used to.

Might have to take out the extended warranty. If they accept me then 'no worries'. If they won't, then that'll speak volumes and I'll get rid.

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GC

I've got an early T Spirit with the weasel warranty. I only do about 12k miles a year but it had done in the hight 60s when I bought it 18 months ago and now done over 80k. Do you know if all of the early Gen3 models have issues? Seem to recall you saying previously that the steerting motor problems you experienced didn't occur on the T Spirit. Also, any idea how much the extended warranty costs?

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Do you know if all of the early Gen3 models have issues?

They don't all have issues but GC has had more than his fair share of problems. But he has used his as a taxi. My gen3 is the same age and model as GCs and has done 80,000 miles but not as a taxi. My miles are the daily commute and long trips (plus some 'off the beaten track' roading ;) ). YMMV

Also, any idea how much the extended warranty costs?

The official Toyota manufacturer's extended warranty for my gen3 was £700 for 2 years. There are some prerequisites if you want to take one out. Check with your Toyota dealer.

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GC I've got an early T Spirit with the weasel warranty. I only do about 12k miles a year but it had done in the hight 60s when I bought it 18 months ago and now done over 80k. Do you know if all of the early Gen3 models have issues? Seem to recall you saying previously that the steerting motor problems you experienced didn't occur on the T Spirit. Also, any idea how much the extended warranty costs?

I am only speculating it's the early gen3's - the reduced warranty (5 years/60,000 miles for hybrid) should have set the alarm bells ringing when I bought it, but never guessed Toyota would take a backward step from the reliable gen2. My hunch is that because Toyota refused point blank to increase the warranty on these cars in July 2010, then they much know something about them.

Originally I never worried about the reduced warranty because I assumed at the time that as the car is sold in the US where some States (California and others) insist on a 10 year/150,000 mile warranty on the hybrid systems, that the UK versions would be built accordingly. I'm now wondering if Toyota have graded their parts according to warranty. Grade 'A' Battery packs go to the US where they should last that warranty and the UK Battery packs with the much reduced warranty appear to get the grade 'B' packs, where they're OK but perhaps not as well balanced or tuned as the Grade A packs, but perfectly usable; just for not as long.

Apparently this sort of thing has gone on for years in the electronics and computer industry and I could understand Toyota trying this out in their days of attempting to reach Number 1 car maker at all costs - reliablity and quality control it appeared. Then the recall malarky hit and suddenly the warranty was increased again in Europe and all should be well they hope.

Now I have no proof or evidence of the above, but it appears to ring true. I've listed the sorry list of replacement parts for my car of which only 60,000 miles was private hire use. The remaining 20,000 was commuting use. Hardly a hard life considering many taxi drivers run cars up into the mid hundreds of thousands of miles. I was hoping originally to get to 200,000/250,000 before the recession killed any hope of that, but I know now the car just wouldn't have made it.

Moral: Past experience is worth nothing - even Toyotas legenday reliability. And get the models with 100,000 mile warranty OR pay to extend it if you can. Otherwise, keep well away from this expensive money pit. I'm sure some of the dealers on here would be happy to confirm in print the cost of a new inverter, steering motors and other items that other cars don't have but cost a bl**dy fortune. Then add the expensive transaxels, HV Battery, expensive 0w20 Oil that dealers KEEP forgetting to put in (they just keep putting in 5w30), then remember that most non Toyota garages wouldn't have the first clue how to start the car, let alone work on it and you then find you get your leg lifted for main dealer labour rates. Servicing is one thing, diagnosing and fitting a malfunctioning inverter is another.

Good luck.

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Booked my Prius in for a Hybrid Health Check at my local Toyota dealer to see I can join the Hybrid Service Programme: http://www.toyota-europe.com/own/hybrid/hybrid-service-programme.tmex

Well I'd appreciate the full details and wording of this as I was ASSURED by my dealers that there's no such thing in the UK.

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I've e-mailed the dealer for confirmation and will let you know what they say.

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** Please check with your retailer for specific Toyota Hybrid Service Programme details.

Keep us informed

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