Prius repairs quoted over $8,000!!!

pria_the_priuspria_the_prius Member Posts: 3
edited March 2015 in Toyota
It’s undeniable that the main advantage of owning a Prius is for the fuel efficiency, but I’m beginning to see there are more disadvantages to owning a hybrid vehicle. Prior to buying my second generation Prius, I did my research and know that the vehicle production is more energy-intensive and results in higher production emissions than conventional vehicles, but this is offset by the Prius’s lifetime carbon emissions. The high life expectancy of the Prius and high reviews in consumer reports are all great reasons to own a Prius. The Prius receives high reports for excellent reliability overall, but the second generation show some lower ratings in the Electrical reliability. Owning a second generation (2005) Prius, I did not anticipate the amount of repairs, the frequency of them, and the expense of them.

I knew that the hybrid battery was an inevitable expense when I purchased the Prius. I was relieved to find out that there are alternatives to the estimated $4,000 battery replacement. Often times one or two of the cells are bad in the battery, which does not warrant a brand new battery - just a replacement of the cells. It’s unfortunate that Toyota does not offer such a repair given that the production of hybrid batteries require much more energy than producing a standard car battery and results in higher emission levels of gases like sulfur oxide. Also, the production of the battery relies on rare earth elements often coming from China who ignore the environmental safeguards during the mining process like removing topsoil and using acids that enter the groundwater.

The production and the disposal of the hybrid batteries have given the Prius a bad reputation. Fortunately in 2010 Toyota launched a battery recycling program which may offset the carbon footprint, but it does not offset the expense and waste of creating a new battery. This does not seem like an “environmentally friendly” solution to me.

It seems to me that Toyota’s strategy is to put you in a new Prius, but buying a new car does not resolve anything - again not very "environmentally friendly". Hybrid cars require more energy to produce than conventional cars, emitting more greenhouse gases and burning more fossil fuels during the manufacturing process. The production of hybrid batteries, in particular, requires much more energy than producing a standard car battery and results in higher emission levels of gases like sulfur oxide:

These more efficient technologies of hybrids often have higher upfront costs because the additional technological element and electric components in them seem to create more issues to fix and more difficulty to work on them independently. Toyota has a monopoly over hybrid parts and services for these vehicles making them much more expensive for repairs because they are newer technologies and basically have to amortize development costs over a smaller number of units produced. For example, the cost to replace the center multifunction display on the Prius runs anywhere from $1,500-4,000!

Since my car turned 150,000 years I have had to replace the Hybrid battery with an estimated cost of apx. $4,000 and the 12 Volt Battery with an estimated cost of apx. $450. Now I have a proposed estimate of $3,660.26 to fix the combination meter and the brakeactuator which seems to be a manufacture defect and is out of its extended warranty. The total cost of repairs for this would cost: $8,110!!! (This is not considering the annual maintenance and costs for expected wear-and-tear on vehicles over its lifetime.) The cost to repair a Prius is absurd. It's cheaper to buy a used Prius, so it’s no wonder that most people opt to buy a new vehicle. It’s unfortunate that we live in a generation were we think that everything is disposable and not repairable. I think we are going to continue to see more issues as we move to more technologically advanced vehicles in the future and these issues are not going to be cheap or easy to fix.

I have always loved Toyota for the longevity and integrity of their vehicles, but I have to say I am quite disappointed by their inability to uphold to their mission "To attract and attain customers with high-valued products and services and the most satisfying ownership experience in America."


  • priusowner10priusowner10 Member Posts: 3
    I keep hearing horror stories of hybrid battery failure and replacement costs. I still don't know if these stories are specific to Prius or for other hybrid makes/models. Has anyone had to replace a Prius hybrid battery within 10 years of purchase? If so, how many miles did it have?
  • texasestexases Member Posts: 10,634
    The Prius is one of the MOST reliable cars out there, according to the CR survey data. I'm sure there are occasional horror stories like this, but they are few and far between. Battery replacement is far from a given, and problems in a 10-year-old car are not what I'd call a 'manufacture defect'. I would get on priuschat, etc., see what less-expensive fixes there are for these problems.
  • cmhj2000cmhj2000 Member Posts: 381
    150,ooo years? ya ok I know you mean miles. Still this is not a defect, it's 10 years old!!!!
  • priusowner10priusowner10 Member Posts: 3
    If I can get 150,000 miles on my original battery then I'm OK because I don't plan to keep my car for 150,000 miles anyway. I want the car to have some resale value when I do trade it in without some joker saying they wont give me anything for it because they say they will have to replace the battery.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well technology of this sort is a two-edged sword. On the one hand you gain a great deal of efficiency, comfort level, ease of driving, safety---all the things a modern car can do; on the minus side, you lose the ability to easily repair these complex systems in the environs of your backyard workshop. It's not like you can "make" new parts or go to an Auto Parts store to get them. You either buy new parts or cross your fingers with used parts. Occasionally, some skillful vendor might offer to rebuild certain components for you at 1/2 the new cost. You see this a lot with things like instrument panel displays, some types of control modules, or even entire engines.

    You have to look at your Prius the way you might look at your flatscreen TV or iPad . When it breaks in a major way, chances are pretty good you aren't going to pay to have it repaired because it has depreciated to the point where you could buy another one, still working, for the same or less money. And even with $8000 worth of new parts, you still have a car with 150,000 miles on it and all those other old parts, also ready to break.

    Statistically, most Prius owners have a good experience but anything made by human beings (and their robot friends) is subject to failure now and then.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    Yep, a 150,000 mile car with an 8000.00 repair bill.

    Given the complexity of todays cars and the price of parts coupled with soaring labor rates, it really doesn't take much to total a car.

    I wouldn't buy a hybrid. I know they are trendy but the math just doesn't work!
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    A TV reporter is looking for a family with a car in need of repairs, but is holding off because the estimates (preferably $1,000 or more) are too high and/or they can’t afford to pay for the repairs at this time. The reporter will work with Edmunds to evaluate the estimate and help the family find ways to bring down the cost of the repairs. If you'd like to participate, please reach out to [email protected] by no later than Friday, May 29, 2015.
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