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Prius Owners w/50K - What We Think Now



  • Since my last posting (#188), nothing significant happened that require Prius technician service. This summer my mileage did go down to 42mpg average. This probably is a result of the ICE showing some signs of wear, the main battery pack not holding a charge as it used to be, and also the AC was used extensively. At one point, I hear engine knock when I'm going uphill. I switch to premium grade gas which eliminated it but I also notice that my mileage did not go up. I've moved back to regular grade and did not hear any engine knock. I may have filled up with bad gas at that time.

    I've replaced another set of tires. The brake pads are still good for another 50k. For those of you that have over 100K miles, check your rear brake shoes or have them replaced.

    I do keep a car for an average of 10 years before I replace it with another one. If no major incident happens from now till late '13, I estimate the Prius to have gone way past the 300K miles.
  • mickeyrommickeyrom Posts: 936
    :) That sounds really great! What year is your geezer Prius?
  • As I close in on 150K I have such satisfaction & praise for this $ saving, dependable hybrid vehicle I must thank my decision way back when so many nay-sayers blasted the Prius as a flash-in-the-pan concept car.
    There are some points to share about the Prius worth mentioning. Brakes seem to last forever unlike any car I've ever seen. Old school taught me to change my oil myself but in addition to that and good filters I learned to add a 1/2 can of STP. I was impressed with the story how STP made such a difference during the 2nd World War by the Germans and their mechanized equipment. A product that delivered longevity for serious wear & tear. Just a thought to share w/ you. :shades:
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,824
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  • My 2006 Prius has 89,000 miles on it. My passenger headlight started flickering and dying about 6 months ago; it does not illuminate now. The driver light is sometimes dying; no flickering like the passenger side used to. I just turn the light off and on in order to get the illumination back (but at a lower brightness). The postings that I've read suggest that Toyota would be willing to pay for, or at least discount my costs for repair. Is it sufficient to deal just with the Toyota dealership, or do I need to talk to Toyota Corp.?


    David in San Diego
  • I'm unaware of coverage for a hd lt bulb and while I've replaced 3 hd lt bulbs in 8 yrs on my '04 Prius I must say that the method of replacing a bulb is next to brain surgury to say the least. Toyota makes it a task of major difficulty. No one ever said that they keep things simple. They just don't. Truth be known.
  • rick294rick294 Posts: 77
    Oh, swell. Now I have something to look forward to... :(
  • mickeyrommickeyrom Posts: 936
    Replacing light bulbs would be considered maintenance.I seriously doubt that Toyota would pay anything.Let us know if it's otherwise.
  • No car seems to accomplish perfection (although I think if they would REALLY listen to auto owners they could come alot closer). I love and am amazed by the Prius and its inovative difference to all other cars. I have over 136K miles and original brakes, muffler, both batteries and nary any repairs or replacement of parts. Oil changes, tires, filters and wiper blades are my only expenditures after over 8 yrs of ownership. No other car has come anywhere even close to this remarkable success. That's over 50 vehicles. Nuf said.
  • gwmortgwmort Posts: 22
    My 2003 prius is now up to 164,000 miles, and still on the original HV battery, but it is dying a slow and painful death.

    For about the last 30,000 miles or so I would get random error messages when first starting the car that would disappear later in the day once the battery had built some more charge up again. I really can't afford to sink a lot into repairs so I have avoided going to the dealer.

    At some point the car started to not go into reverse "gear" any longer. Remember there is no traditional mechanical transmission and even what there is the ICE doesn't operate the car in reverse, its all electric. My research and best efforts to troubleshoot have led me to believe that reverse in particular relies on certain specific cells in the HV battery, and I may have lost some of those. Luckily, having no mechanical reverse transmission makes it effectively in neutral in reverse and I am generally able to stick my foot out the drivers door and "flintstone" out of most spots, and I learned to always look for pull throughs and what not.

    Now I am having trouble getting the car going in the mornings (especially since winter came back this year). The ICE stalls shortly after starting, and not the normal going in to standby until needed, if I pull away in electric it never comes on no matter how fast I try to go it just depletes the battery. So I pull over and restart it.

    My morning routine is then: 1. Start car, it stalls but is still "on"; 2. Try to put it in reverse (chances are presently 1 in 3); 3. regardless of whether it actually goes in reverse my driveway is steep enough to roll on gravity into the street, then pull in front of house on electric power; 4. Turn off car, wait about 30 sec and restart, get into drive and gun it to have some gas flowing and things go fine from there.

    If I drive for 2-3 hours in a particular day I can usually restart it and have no warnings or alarms and actually have reverse the rest of that day, but it starts all over the next.

    I really love my Prius, other than the above its never given me a bit of mechanical trouble, and its been paid off for years. I'm thinking if I never replace the HV battery it will eventually just become more or less a 4 cylinder conventional car with no reverse. I have a Volt on order and now need to decide to sell the Prius or get it fixed up and given to my son. I'm thinking spending a few grand on the repairs might be better investment in an otherwise reliable old car then taking some unknown for him off a used car lot. Either way I am just hoping she can make it another 8 months til my Volt arrives.

    This is the longest I have ever owned a car and do not regret my purchase at all.
  • 50 vehicles! Man you're whackier than me.I've only had 35 :)
  • grandtotalgrandtotal Posts: 1,207
    Reverse in a Prius does not rely upon particular cells in the HV battery, and Reverse is no more "all electric" than Drive is.

    Have you ever had the 12V battery replaced? If not I suspect that your problems may be due to that rather than anything else.
  • railroadjamesrailroadjames Posts: 560
    edited September 2011
    Never before, in all my automotive dealings , has a car given so much quietly, dependably, and ...most of all, thriftily than my '04 Prius. With these most difficult times, I found a little paridise in the Prius. Toyota has not built the perfect car's pretty darn close from my perspective. Closing in on 9 years and nearly 150 K miles I'm convinced that this is a car that deserves the highest accolades of praise for acheiving a near "Bullseye."

    How much money have I saved in gas thrift? Conservatively about $12,000.00 over these 8 plus yrs. That ain't chicken feed folks. That's the definition of thrift. Low maintainence is true to form. Original brakes at the near 150K miles is unheard of in any other vehicle. I don't know exactly why but I love it. Brake jobs these days run $600.00 to $800.00 and that is money saved. By this time frame I would have had to replace exhaust, starter, 12 volt battery (twice) and most likely a rebuilt tranny. Do the math. That's about $2,500.00- $3,500.00 conservatively speaking.

    Lastly, I get a kick out of the styling that ran the nearly same look for 8 yrs and even close to the 3rd Generation look also. This supports a better resale value to the owner and as long as gas prices continue to flirt with $4 bucks there will be folks lined up to buy a used one. ;)
  • I have to agree 100%. I love the 04 Prius. I change the oil and filter myself twice a year. I also wash the two air filters at the same time and replace them after 3 or 4 years. I switch from regular to snow tires and back myself and replace them when necessary. My only complaint is loss of battery boost after 5 minutes going over the Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70. That should be better starting with the 2010 model but my 2004 runs fine. (Independence Pass does not have the same problem because you can't go 75+ no matter what).
  • railroadjamesrailroadjames Posts: 560
    edited December 2011
    Back in March of '07 I presented this particular subject to disect the Prius Hybrid and see what's good and what's bad about this unique car.

    I'm back presenting the same subject matter but with 146 K miles on my '04 Prius. Here's the low down on my experience as of today.

    4th set of tires.......5 set of wipers......3 hdlt bulbs......1 waterpump (139K).

    As to my appreciation of the '04 Prius, I'm even more impressed than I ever thought one car could make me. Yes, the car has a bit of wear & tear but still looks good and almost 8 yrs old and no rust, original exhaust, smooth tranny, and most of all....original brakes untouched at 146,000 miles. I influenced 8 other folks to take the plunge and buy a Prius and not one has been anything but a happy owner. Nuff said. I'm looking into the Prius V for my next new car and why not?
  • We love our '08 Prius - but for the last 3 months we've been getting no better than 40.5 - 42.5 miles per gallon! What in the world is wrong? My mother in law also has a 2008 Prius and regularly gets 46 - 52+ mpg. Another friend also has the same year Prius and gets even better than she does. Our tire pressure is fine and I use full synthetic oil. Anyone have any ideas? Even with a full tank and a long downhill grade, the mpg meter might add a .1 or .2 to the mpg. It used to be a very rapid increase on the same downhill stretch right after filling up.
  • My question would be is the gas motor running more now as the batteries are older? If so that would explain the drop in mpg. Otherwise I have no idea.
  • railroadjamesrailroadjames Posts: 560
    edited December 2011
    First I'll explain what I think I've come to understand about 2 issues that pertain to the Prius......#1 (milage)..In the winter milage drops due to the design of requiring the "ICE" engine to run until temps will heat the interior. This is a must, otherwise it would take too long to have heat from the heating sys. inside the car. Also note that gas blends in the winter months are such that milage is effected by 3-5 mpg's less.
    #2 (Batteries)...What was once the scariest issue..(longevity of the batteries) seems to be a non-issue since there have been relatively few problems with them. My car is close to 9 yrs old still running strong (summers 45-48 mpg & 40-44 in winters. The secondary battery (small one) is still working fine unlike conventional car batteries that last usually 4-5 yrs. By the way, you can only buy that battery thru Toyota as of today.
    Try not to set your hopes on over 47 mpg's since that requires extreem frugal tactics. Normal driving usually gets you my general mpg's. If you've got bad habits expect less. Plain truths as I see it. Lastly, with nearly 146K miles the Prius has not only proven itself as a leader that set the bar where others can only hope to achieve but the Prius, over the past 8 yrs has saved me over $14,000.00 in gas savings. That ain't hay folks.
  • I have to tell you that people often exagerate mileage for ego inflation. Sorry, but I've noticed alot of highly inflated gas milages. I have a tid-bit of a comparison......How many miles to one tank? I got 546 miles on a tank and that is extreemly good on a trip. The tank is only 11.8 gallons so take that into consideration. Good weather ...a tail wind and smooth roads can help get you high mileage. I took a trip from Indiana to western Iowa into a headwind getting a paltry 35 mpg's....BUT.... on my return I got 49 mpg's which just goes to show how the elements effect mileage.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    My norm MPG for my '06 Prius is mid-40s in winter and high-40s in summer. On long road trips I get in the low-50s if I keep the speed about 65mph, but if I go 70+ it drops back in the upper 40s. One thing I rarely get is above 500 miles on a tank. Even if I wait until the gas light comes on, drive another 25 miles, up it's rare to be able to put over 10gal into the tank. Maybe the bladder in my tank isn't as flexible?

    Speed, outside temperature and driving style seem to impact the Prius more so than other cars I've driven.
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