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I want to buy a used Prius but I need advice

Hello, I am drowning in all of the information that is out there about the Prius. All that I really know is that it is good on gas mileage. That is what I really need. I also heard that it is bad for repairs because many shops do not know how to fix them. Lastly I heard that the batteries die after 100,000 miles and they each cost like 2000 to purchase. My questions are: Can any dealer fix a Prius? Is it worth it to buy one that has over 100,000 miles? How does the car do in snow? How does the car do in accidents?

Thank you in advance to all of you Prius Owners.

Comments

  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    A Prius batter can easliy go over 200K miles, so I wouldn't worry about that. And while it may be more difficult to repair, the reliabilty ratings of the Prius have always been on the top of the JD Powers, Consumer Reports, US news, etc charts, and it's better to have a highly reliably more complicated car than a simple Chevy that lives in a repair shop. It drives in the snow as well as any other FWD car of it's size, and has mostly 5 star safety ratings. If you look at fueleconomy.gov, you'll see a Gen II (model years 2004-2009) will average abou 47mpg and a Gen III (2010-2014) 50mpg. If you're currently driving 15,000 miles per year with a car averaging 25mpg, you'll save a little less than $1,000/year with a Gen II and a little more than $1,000/year with a Gen III Prius.

    One question is what you're replacing?
  • Hello,

    Thank you, I am replacing a Pontiac vibe. It eats up gas and I want a smaller more gas efficient car.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    More on the reliability of the Prius:
    http://www.hybridcars.com/toyota-prius-tops-reliability-chart/

    the prius is "the number one vehicle in the categories for both four-to-five and six-to-seven-year-old vehicles"

    In 2010, I bought a 4 year old Prius for about $13K that had 40K miles. I'm now up to 110K miles on the car with zero problems to date and averaging in the mid to upper 40s MPG. I didn't buy it just for the MPG, but because the car it was replacing was too big for our needs, and I was worried about some costly transmission repairs in the near future based on some research I was doing. And replacing the 22 mpg car with a Prius saves me over $1,000/year in gas. So it was a combination of gas savings and potential future repair costs that were my main drivers for buying a Prius.

    If I were you I'd look at the potential future repair costs of your Vibe over the next 10 years, how much you'll get for it selling or trading it in, and then look at how much money you'll save on gas over the next 10 years based on the miles you drive and MPG you're currently getting an compare that to driving a Prius. Again, with the Prius being very reliable, if you bought a prius with 50K miles for about $14K you'd likely easily go to 150,000 without major problems.

    And if the math works out go for it. Another factor to consider is climate. While all cars get worse MPG in the winter, due to the nature of the hybrid system, the winter MPG decrease is even more significant, so if you live in north dakota, you'll see less gas savings than if you live in florida. Also, if you drive mostly on highways, then you might want to look at a VW Golf or Jetta TDI diesel; however, the reliability ratings on VW aren't nearly as good as with Toyota.

    Good luck!
  • I am also looking into buying a Prius for gas savings. My commute is long and I'd like to get a car that has better gas mileage. I've heard a bunch of mixed reviews about this Prius. My biggest concerns with the Prius are BATTERY LIFE, BRAKE MALFUNCTIONS and ELECTROCUTION.

    I know the electrocution thing sounds odd and paranoid however I have a close friend who is a First Resonder and as such is privy to certain information. First Responders were informed to be extremely cautious when arriving to the scene where a hybrid car was involved in an accident due to the chance of the responder being electrocuted or the driver/ passengers in the car.

    Does anyone know anything about ALL THREE, (battery life, brake malfunctions and electrocution)?
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    Battery life - Everything I've read online is that Prius batteries can last over 200,000 miles and while you might pay a couple of thousand to replace them, in another less reliabile car you might be paying more to replace an engine or transmission. Bottom line is to look at total ownership cost based on maintenance, repairs, fuel cost, etc and not just the cost to replace the battery.

    brakes: not sure what you mean. There's a recall for some 2010 Toyota Prius and Lexus HS 250h but that's all I've seen.

    electrocution - http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/Hybrid/story?id=99524
    "such fatalities haven't occurred "
    The Prius has been around since 2001 and while the possiblity is there, according to the article there hasn't been such an occurance, so it seems like a pretty small thing to worry about with respect to safety.
  • Thanks for your help! I read several posts on this forum regarding the breaks malfunctioning. http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/direct/view/.f0db60b It seemed like most of these posts were from Prius owners from several different years.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    "NHTSA did not find a vehicle-based cause of those incidents in addition to those causes already addressed by Toyota recalls"
    http://www.nhtsa.gov/Vehicle+Safety/Additional+Information+on+Toyota+Recalls+and- +Investigations

    And that posted you linked to only made 2 posts on Edmunds and just became a member, which makes me suspicious that it could be a fake poster just trying to stir things up. Just like after the highway incident there were all sorts of people saying they couldn't stop their Prius, then after a couple of months it all went away. Some people just do things to get on the news. There was an issue of the gas pedal getting stuck by floor mats, but that was corrected. It's nothing I personally worry about and whenever I read reviews from Consumer Reports, JD Power, US News, as well as the automobile magazines none of them mention any of the three things you bring up as being problems with the Prius.
  • Very helpful, thank you!
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