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Buying a used Prius


HARRYSMAD
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While my current car (Ford Mondeo) was being fixed, I hired a Prius for a couple of days and I really liked it.  As my car is on the verge of collapse I have been looking to buy a used Pruis.  However, for some reason, everyone I talk to it about tells me I'm making a big mistake and I should just get a "proper" car, the Battery will fail and it will cost thousands etc etc.  I have replied that buying any used car is a gamble and the big end could go or something of similar seriousness but I just wondered if any of you could share your experiences of buying a used Prius.  Are you pleased you did and would you do it again?  Have any of you had Battery issues that have cost you thousands?  I don't know anybody else with a Prius so if you could share your experiences with me I'd really appreciate it.  

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Hi Clare and welcome to the Toyota Owners Club forum.

Back in the summer of 2017 I bought my first Toyota hybrid. It was a 2010 Auris, which has the same hybrid engineering as the Prius. I really like the Auris hybrid, had 45,000 miles on the clock, now has 78,000 miles and it is the wife’s car.       
After 6 months, loving the Auris (note, not all Auris are hybrid, but all Prius are) I bought a 2010 Prius which had 105,000 on the clock. Owned by a taxi driver for the last 50,000 and maintained very well (taxi drivers need car on the road to earn money). I loved the car more then the Auris - better fuel consumption. Loved it so much I traded it only 6 months later (110,000) for my current 2016 Prius.     
 To dispel the myth that the Battery fails. They are talking about the main hybrid Battery as opposed to the 12v Battery. Hybrid batteries used to be very expensive but the Prius has been on the uk market since 1999 (over 20 years) and prices have dropped to about £1200. Still a lot of money BUT I have yet to read of a owner having to replace one, and any case, the cells can be individually replaced if needed. Toyota have faith in their hybrid batteries. How.? You can have an annual Hybrid Health Check which extends the hybrid Battery warranty by 12 months up to 15 years - yes, fifteen years. Cost currently for the health check is £45, but free if the car is serviced at a Toyota dealer. So that gets rid of that myth, fire the facts back to your friends.        
iThere are owners in the uk who have clocked up 150k-200k miles, in the US 300,000 miles on the same engine. Servicing is key. Buying second hand, check service done on time, preferably at a Toyota dealer. The whole hybrid engineering is rock solid, of course brakes, suspension, electrical faults etc is like any other car.      
You have put “2010” in your details, is that the year of the Prius you hired? 2009 was the start of the Gen3 Prius, part way through 2016 start of the Gen4. Both similar hybrid “bits”, the Gen4 is more frugal on petrol. My Gen4 has now done 37,500 miles, just had its 5 year MOT and the dashboard is telling me from new it has done 72.4mpg. We went from Chester on holiday to Norfolk in July, 700+ miles and it returned 80.4mpg. The Gen3 won’t do those figures but the day I traded it in I did 100 miles and got 66mpg.    
without saying it, I think I have answered your question “are you pleased and would you do it again”. Best car I ever had, and being in my 70’s I have had more then a few.

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30 minutes ago, HARRYSMAD said:

While my current car (Ford Mondeo) was being fixed, I hired a Prius for a couple of days and I really liked it.  As my car is on the verge of collapse I have been looking to buy a used Pruis.  However, for some reason, everyone I talk to it about tells me I'm making a big mistake and I should just get a "proper" car, the battery will fail and it will cost thousands etc etc.  I have replied that buying any used car is a gamble and the big end could go or something of similar seriousness but I just wondered if any of you could share your experiences of buying a used Prius.  Are you pleased you did and would you do it again?  Have any of you had battery issues that have cost you thousands?  I don't know anybody else with a Prius so if you could share your experiences with me I'd really appreciate it.  

Hi Clare, I think it really depends on how old the Prius is that you want buy, mileage & service history. Regarding the hybrid Battery, from my experience there is a lot of nonsense talked about them failing in fact my previous Prius was about 7 years old when I changed it for my present Prius & I never experienced a hybrid Battery problem or indeed any other problems whatsoever. If the car you buy has been serviced by a Toyota dealer there should be details of the health check they do on the Battery each year. My dealer said he’s never known anybody have a Prius with a failed hybrid Battery. Nevertheless, if you are considering a second hand Prius, you would be wise to get an independent check on the car & it’s Battery before you make your purchase. If the Prius or any Toyota is less than ten years old & has done less than 100,000 miles & has its annual service & mot done by a Toyota garage, a recent decision means the car gets another years warranty, completely free, which is something to bear in mind. 

The Prius is just about the best car I’ve ever owned & I really enjoy driving it, in fact to me it’s superior to a so called ‘proper’ car since it’s easy to drive, far more economical for equivalent engine size & very comfortable on long journeys. I would never even consider buying a ‘proper’ car ever again, in fact other than having to buy an all electric vehicle in the future, my choice would always be a full hybrid car, preferably a Toyota. Just one word of warning, make sure if you do look at a very high mileage Prius for its age, it may have been used as a taxi, since in recent years it seems the Prius has been the taxi drivers car of choice. Mind you if they use them, bearing in mind they want a reliable, economical, hard working car to use for their business, it must say something about the Prius!

If you do buy a used Prius, I hope you’ll come back on the forum & let us all know about your car & experiences. You will find lots of help from experts like Frosty & others who can give you advice & information that you may find invaluable. I’ve certainly found this forum to be excellent & have gleaned some good advice. 

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I'm a relatively recent owner of a used Prius Plug-in, which is similar to the regular Prius hybrid but with a bigger Battery so it can operate as both a hybrid and as a pure EV, running purely on electric, for upto 35 miles. So far it's been fine and great to drive. Go back to earlier in the year and some of these were popping up at prices close to a standard Prius, so worth considering if you want a plug-in. That said, since then prices of all used cars have gone off the scale, so it's not a great time to buy any car.

Things I found from my research prior to purchase:

1. If you are buying a younger used (1-5 years) then most had 5 year original manufacturer warranty, so there may be some of this remaining which gives some confidence about any major failures or issues, subject to the service history etc etc.

2. Toyota offer a 'hybrid health check' which can be done stand-alone outside of a service, for around £45, to check the status and condition of the Battery and provides a 1 year extension to the warranty on the Battery. So if you get a used Prius or other Toyota hybrid and it's been serviced by the used car dealer, might be worth putting it through the hybrid health check while it's still under whatever warranty it comes with, to check there's no major issues.

https://mag.toyota.co.uk/toyota-hybrid-health-check/

3. The Battery warranty goes upto 15 years assuming you keep getting it serviced with Toyota and/or get the hybrid health check done each year.

4. You may want to look into Toyota's new 'Relax' warranty if the car is outside the original warranty, this is like a 1 year /10k miles rolling extension which applies each time you get it serviced at the Toyota dealers, so potentially extending it upto 10 year/100,000 miles, but at the added cost of needing to use Toyota for servicing. Worth looking at the T&Cs on this though, as they are long and detailed on what's covered and what is not.

https://www.toyota.co.uk/owners/warranty/toyota-warranty

https://www.toyota.co.uk/download/cms/gben/Toyota Relax TCs - 25.05.21_tcm-3060-2286757.pdf

5. As the poster above mentioned, these are very popular as taxis, there's some online services for checking car history, including if it's ever been registered as a taxi, which you might want to consider if you have concerns about buying a former taxi.

6. Consider the catalytic converter theft problem, particularly if it's an older used Prius which were particularly targeted, so find out if it has a catloc (catalytic converter lock) fitted and if not, consider whether to get one fitted to reduce the risk. Search for catloc on these forums, there's lot of threads.

 

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Hi and welcome.

Toyota Prius is one of the most reliable cars of the last decade and all Toyota hybrids in general. No need to worry about the Battery as long as the car been taken care of you won’t have any problems. If you are buying an ex taxi with over 300k miles then may be a thing but if you are about something newer with less miles it will be ok. Usually people who says negative about Prius and their batteries are the ones who actually never tried one and knows  nothing about these cars. Prius or any other Toyota hybrid are probably the best option for a car purchase, new or used. 👍

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13 minutes ago, TonyHSD said:

Hi and welcome.

Toyota Prius is one of the most reliable cars of the last decade and all Toyota hybrids in general. No need to worry about the battery as long as the car been taken care of you won’t have any problems. If you are buying an ex taxi with over 300k miles then may be a thing but if you are about something newer with less miles it will be ok. Usually people who says negative about Prius and their batteries are the ones who actually never tried one and knows  nothing about these cars. Prius or any other Toyota hybrid are probably the best option for a car purchase, new or used. 👍

Totally agree with your comment Tony. I just wonder how many cars out there are capable of matching the huge mileages that the Prius is able to cover. The Toyota garage I use told me they have a customer who uses them for service has a Prius that has done well over 300,000 miles. There are also Prius cars in the States that have I believe covered over 500,000 miles. How people can say it’s not a ‘proper’ car also amazes me because like all Toyota hybrids, they are super cars compared to the junk I’ve owned over the years in the past. As you say, those that criticise the Prius are usually those that have never driven one & are ignorant about the amazing technology & reliability built into these magnificent cars. I’m just glad I made the switch from a ‘proper’ car about twelve years ago!

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46 minutes ago, BhxTrev said:

Totally agree with your comment Tony. I just wonder how many cars out there are capable of matching the huge mileages that the Prius is able to cover. The Toyota garage I use told me they have a customer who uses them for service has a Prius that has done well over 300,000 miles. There are also Prius cars in the States that have I believe covered over 500,000 miles. How people can say it’s not a ‘proper’ car also amazes me because like all Toyota hybrids, they are super cars compared to the junk I’ve owned over the years in the past. As you say, those that criticise the Prius are usually those that have never driven one & are ignorant about the amazing technology & reliability built into these magnificent cars. I’m just glad I made the switch from a ‘proper’ car about twelve years ago!

Agreed 👍

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Hi Clare, If you do get a Prius you will not regret it. Just make sure it has a full service history from Toyota and the hybrid Battery check was done. I have had four Prius cars and no faults any of them. They are easy to drive economical and very low emissions. The only reason I have had 4 Prius cars is to get the latest technology. Our Gen 4 Prius is full of safety features which were not on our other Prius cars. I do a low annual mileage but my son used his 2010 Prius for business in Europe. He made long mileages and never had a fault. He has just sold it privately for a good price; lots of folk wanted it. In winter on normal tyres the Prius is not so good on snow or ice. My son goes skiing in the Alps he had a garage remove his normal Summer tyres for Winter tyres each year, Good luck in finding a  Prius second  hand ones do hold their price.

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Personally, I wouldn't say toyota service history is important- it's what has been done. Things I'd look out for: as previously said, hybrid Battery issues are cited by people who have never owned a hybrid, so total red herring. Even if it does go, it's not prohibitively expensive. Brake fluid changes alongside ideally CVT fluid if it's higher miles would for me be indicators of a well looked after vehicle. Ideally you'd want brake servicing somewhere along the line as the fact that is is light on pads/discs is a bit of a double edged sword as they can seize up. Finding a garage who does this sort of thing though as preventative maintenance- probably easier said than done though, but just listen out for binding brakes/squeaking on the test drive.

The big ticket item which is documented on the other thread- potential head gasket failure that is believed to be linked to the EGR cooler and associated parts. Again, this is not a regular maintenance item and I personally think that you will be very lucky to find anyone that's actually bothered to do this. For me therefore, I'd be looking for not much more than 100,000 miles and budgeting to do this myself. Priuschat contains a lot of threads about this and some owners being caught out assuming service history prevents catastrophic failure. This is emerging as the achilles heel of the gen 3. I've just cleaned mine out at just over 100,000 miles and it wasn't quite blocked, but add another 50,000 miles and I think I would have been in trouble.

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Wow thanks everybody - you've really cheered me up!  I had started to feel really stupid for wanting a Prius but I loved driving the hire car (it was a 2015 model).  I am taking my time looking for the right one and I have seen a few around but they sell really quickly.  However, I check the the MOT history etc to see if there are any previous problems and although I don't have that much money I am trying to go for a combination of lowish miles and not too old.  

Thanks for all the information - you're really made me feel better.  I can't believe the negative comments I have had from such a lot of people but I will have the courage of my convictions and stick with my original choice!   Now I've just got to find the perfect car!

I'll come back on here when I've got my Prius, which will hopefully be quite soon!  

Thanks again for yor help!

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In the meantime Claire, if you have any questions/queries or any other help please don’t hesitate to ask.

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1 hour ago, HARRYSMAD said:

Wow thanks everybody - you've really cheered me up!  I had started to feel really stupid for wanting a Prius but I loved driving the hire car (it was a 2015 model).  I am taking my time looking for the right one and I have seen a few around but they sell really quickly.  However, I check the the MOT history etc to see if there are any previous problems and although I don't have that much money I am trying to go for a combination of lowish miles and not too old.  

Thanks for all the information - you're really made me feel better.  I can't believe the negative comments I have had from such a lot of people but I will have the courage of my convictions and stick with my original choice!   Now I've just got to find the perfect car!

I'll come back on here when I've got my Prius, which will hopefully be quite soon!  

Thanks again for yor help!

Hi Clare, as Joe has already said, if there’s anything you need to ask about the Prius, I’m sure if you come back on the forum you’ll get good honest answers & advice. I shall look forward to you letting us know you’ve secured a Prius & yes you’re right, they sell second hand quickly, in fact my Gen3 Prius I part chopped for my present Gen 4 was on the Toyota garage forecourt for only 15minutes before someone bought it! Anyway I hope you are able to find your perfect car soon. 

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Claire, just one point to look out for…… there are more then a few imported Prius from Japan. Personally, I wouldn’t touch one, no history, no record of what it’s been used for, Toyota Uk will not cover any warranty, some have display screen in Japanese. Potential nightmare. 
On Autotrader there looks a nice 2014 with 57,000 on the clock, Winsford mid Cheshire.

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Thanks all!  Yes I have seen loads of imported ones but don't want to go there.  Apart from anything else, the insurance is loads dearer! 🙂

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