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Prius Owners w/50K - What We Think Now

I'd like, very much, to here from owners of the Prius with 50K miles or more like myself. Give an appraisal of the car. What's good..What's not so good..and what could be improved. I've owned my '04 Prius 3-1/2 yrs and now have 55K plus and am on my 2nd set of tires. I replaced 1-airfilter 1- hdlt bulb and 1-set of wiperblades. Still on the original brake pads to my surprise.

Complaints are as follows...Windshear, at times, a problem. Ride could be a bit better I'd like to think. Digital gauge lts could be better on sunny days. I sometimes think the center screen is too complex to operate while driving. Replacing a hdlt bulb is next to impossible. It took nearly 1/2 an hr. and some serious cussing and scratched hands. I think I'll let my wife do it next time. Every time I have to clear the "warning lt for oil change" I have to get the book out to remind me "the procedure." Rr carpet mat slides around too much. Special cloth interior is a son-of-agun to keep clean. Can't put a sunroof in car darn it! Lastly, I wish people would go to dealers and give me a break. I feel like a salesman when discribing, "what a great car it is."


  • skip1skip1 Posts: 16
    I have a 2006 Highlander limited and a 2006 Prius.

    My son is driving our original 2001 Prius which we had before people knew what a Hybrid was. The original has the 78k on it.

    It has Original brakes, 2nd set of tires, will need a set before this coming winter. Runs like it did when we bought it in 2000. Had the converter and exhausted changed around 73k which was under extended warranty and that has been it other than scheduled maintenance. He doesn't get the gas mileage, we use to get on it, but thats his driving. My wife has driven it and can still get 48~50mpg on it.

    We converted in 2000 and would not go back,even to a Cadillac again. I know what you mean about being a sales person for Toyota. I have had so many people ask me about the Original as well as the ones I drive now along with letting them try it out at times.

    Use of the car is mostly in Milwaukee area with several trips to New York and Georgia a year.

    They are great cars.
  • I have a 05 and one of the major reasons was for the milage between California and Arizona as we have a home at the river and are there 3/4 weekends a month for the past 5 years. I have 60K miles and the major issue I had was the ride..replaced the tires at 22k for Perrelis w/ 80k milage warrenty. What a major difference the tracking and road ride was, I would do it again in a heartbeat, it was pricey. The oil, air filters etc I have replaced at recomended intervales as well as rotated tires every 5k miles. I am having a major issue with the blower on my air conditioning unit. If you go to "electrical issues" I posted the problem April 12. Love the car..will most likely replace with a Camry Hybrid my sister bought a 07 a month ago and is getting 40mph right off the bat. The mystery with the air conditioner will most likely cause me to dump it, and yes we have the extended warrenty..they can't fix what they can't find...Must have air in Arizona it got to
    123 degrees last June..yep thats right ..just for a few weeks then 112 113 the norm.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    I'm just approaching 50k mi in my 2005 but I have a friend who purchased one of the first 2004's in Jan '04 who's at 140,000+ miles. He's posted here on another thread under 'carbot' that he's still on his original brakes but his 3rd set of tires ( that makes sense ) with no issues at all except the armrest fabric needed repair. He too mentions the screen in sunny weather is almost unusable.

    There is no deterioration in performance at 140K miles. That's important to me as well since I expect to hit 250K miles in 6-7 years.
  • railroadjamesrailroadjames Posts: 560
    I would hope that more Prius owners will add to this thread in the future because of the tremendous value of info that can fill in the details & possible quirks with the 2nd generation hybrid. I recently took my '04 Prius w/ 58K miles in to check on a noticable front vibration @ 70-75mph. Found out I needed front only wheel alignment ($69.00) It helped tires had developed bad wear @18K. I'll probably be getting new tires by fall and I'll spend a bit more for the Michelins or Pirellis this time. Better tires mean safer car.
  • devsiennadevsienna Posts: 70
    I'm at 57K miles, still on the original set of Goodyear Integrity Tires (one tire was replaced at 30K due to a un-repairable puncture) and original brake pads (6mm front, 3mm rear). Only items that have been replaced other than the oil filter every 6K miles or so is the cabin air filter once, and the engine air filter. Tires are due to be replaced in the next month or so.

    My only real complaint about the car is the rear window visibility. Other than that, it has performed great. I'm averaging 43 to 46MPG due to the fact that I'm not exactly a conservative driver, nor do I live in a flat area. The car has survived multiple trips up and down the I5 grapevine in Southern California without a problem, and has been up to Lake Tahoe without a problem. No lack of power from my perspective. No regrets at all about the purchase.
  • little_pogilittle_pogi Posts: 149
    Yes, 90k plus and still going strong. It seems that the mileage on this car gets better as it ages. I do not notice any loss of power on the ICE compared when it was still new. I use the car primarity for work around southern California. The brake pads and linings are still original and it looks as though only 50% worn out. In the line of my work, I go in and out of the car more than 20 times a day. Doing the math, that's opening and closing the front driver side door over 18,000 times since I got the car. I do not hear any rattle yet on the doors. The rubber padding on the parking brake occasionally will fall out due to wear. That's probably also due to the over 18K times I've stepped on it every time I get out of the car. Oil change and tire rotation is being done faithfully every 5K miles. First set of tires changed after 50K and the second set may be due at 100K. I've also change the inverter coolant 2x.

    One major incident was my 12V battery getting discharged 2 hrs after going home from work. Still puzzles me as to what caused it. I have left the car in the garage for 3 wks and it started just fine. Jumpering the batt was a not an easy task.

    Looking forward to use the car for another 50K+ before moving on to the next gen Prius.
  • stevegoldstevegold Posts: 185
    Jumping the battery is easy if you ever have to do it again as there are a duplicate set of terminals under the hood. You don't have to go down below in the back to do it. Check the book for the front location but they're right there under a cover on the left side.
  • We have a 2005 Prius also. We too had to replace the original tires at 22,000 miles. The dealer told us to inflate the tires to 40 psi rather that the 34 psi recommemded in the manual. It this your experience as well?

    KCAir at Personafile
  • About tires....Be smart and purchase premium tires (GoodYear...Michelins... B.F. Goodrich etc) I found a set of Dorels and got about 21 K and noticed vibration @ front and noticed chiping on front tires. I immediatly went back to tire dealer and was told that many Toyotas need "wheel alignment" due to independent suspension. I learned that the service for alignment is supposedly necessary every 6-9 K. O.K....sounds extreem to me so how about every 10-12K which is also recommended by "others". I presently have 62-1/2K and bought a pair of B.F. Goodrich 185-65-15's. and will get the other pair @ another 12-15 K putting the 1st pair on the back. The most important issue...Get good tires ..keep them inflated right...rotate...and get wheel alignment at reasonable time spans.
  • anotherguyanotherguy Posts: 32
    I bought an '04 Prius in October '03 and have about 62K miles on it. On the whole I am very happy with it. I got hit with the "stalling" problem 3 times in the spring of '04, but after the software patch I've had no problems. Apart from 1 set of tires and a couple of sets of wiper blades, everything has been routine, or done for free when I came in for the routine stuff.

    My biggest problem with the car is that the rear blind spots are terrible. I've almost hit somebody several times because I just didn't see them. Any prospective Prius buyer should be very clear that they are willing to put up with it.

    After that it is all relatively minor stuff. The gas gauge reads empty and the low fuel light comes on where there are almost 3 gallons left in the tank. That's close to 150 miles of range left. I've gotten into the habit of ignoring the fuel gauge and refilling when the trip odometer reads 10x the estimated MPG. The hood curves so sharply that you can't see where the car ends. That makes turning in tight places more tense than it needs to be. The Prius can get blown around in a strong wind very easily and the lumbar support is not very good.

    By the way, my overall average is probably about 47 or 48 MPG. I can get in the low 50's on long flat stretches of highway, and get in the low 40's driving around town in winter. I definitely get better mileage on the highway.
  • stevecebustevecebu Posts: 493
    I'm looking to buy a Prius possibly and my wife will be the primary driver of it. but she like me to drive the long hauls. How have long term owners found the seat comfort on very long drives? Some cars just do not feel comfortable and the seats wear out on some models faster than others. My wife will use it mostly to drive mack and forth to work and errands. We will be living in a very hilly area with a fair amount of snow in the winter and will need tires with the snowflake symbol. has anyone used tires like this or do you stick with pure all seasons. The snow and of course ice and such can get pretty bad at times in Upper New England.
    Any thoughts? Thanks
  • caazcaaz Posts: 209
    Everybody happy with the quietness of thier prius' in here?..What i did was go to getting better milage with the larger tires
  • "CAAZ"..You didn't say what brand you purchased...Care to pass that info along our way. I have found the B.F. Goodrich tires appear to be reliable and a good ride.
  • One of the main reasons we purchased the '04 Prius was because the car had more than enough roominess and comfortable seats unlike the more recent Honda hybrids (in our opinion). As to winter/snow driving, the Prius delivers a solid ride, a decent tractability, and a variety of pluses like good heat, heated side mirrors, and a unique transmission that is smooth and predictable. One more note about the seats...They wear well and, although they are not power assisted, they are easy to adjust for my wife & I. They clean up fairly well with soap & water but to tend to show dirt spots too frequently. Having owned the Prius over 3-1/2 yrs I must say that I can't think of a better car @ its price.
  • stevecebustevecebu Posts: 493
    Having owned the Prius over 3-1/2 yrs I must say that I can't think of a better car its price.

    Thanks for the reply, driving in snow is a big concern for me as we have a fair amount of hills and the power to go up them for long distances as well as long comfortable highway drives is very important. I find everyone usually loves their car when it's new. It's when you have some real time and miles in the car that you know it's good and bad points and all cars have them. That's why I asked owners who have 50K+ miles on the cars.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    If I could remember to fill it up with gas when it speaks to me I wouldn't get the 'triangle of death'.

    If I was told I bought the one with the bullseye on it I might have looked to switch: ( hit 5 times in 19 mo's :surprise: OK twice were by rocks to the windshield that I had repaired at no cost; one was a deer that stole my O/S Rearview mirror; once I hit a curb and damaged a wheel; the last was a lady who hit me behind the driver's door ).

    Despite these incoveniences it's the best car I've ever had in 35 yrs of driving. It does exactly what is expected of it. Quick off the line. 48 mpg lifetime. Room for a 43" flatscreen, golf clubs, briefcase, two pizzas and two humans. For me personally the seating is the most comfortable I've ever had except my 94 Chrysler LHS.

    Surprisingly the tires while quite noisy have just reached their limit at right at 50K miles. I'd like a quieter ride so I'm thinking of the Goodyear Assurance Comforttreads. We don't get much snow at all.

    No issues with any accessories or electronics.
  • jacsysmanjacsysman Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 prius I purchased in 2004 with 38,000 miles on it. The car now has 72000 miles. The first set of tires were worn out at around 45,000 miles or so. I just replaced the front tires again at 72000. I have had a few problems with the car. The computer failed and had to be replaced, there was a mysterious fuel tank leak, A component in the rear axle wore out. Since I purchased the extended warrantee and have 3 cars these repairs were not a big inconvenience and free. The one issue I do have is that toyota kept the car for about 3 weeks for each of the repairs. Also, the giant battery was replaced by toyota during one of the other repairs but had not malfunctioned to my knowledge as the car never indicated any issues with the giant battery. The service manager simply informed me that he had replaced the giant battery when I came down to get the car. I am annoyed by the material used in the interior because it gets very dirty easily and tears easily - toyota should have selected a more durable material. Overall I love the car. Good mileage and short hood make it a dream to park in manhattan. I make frequent long trips and the highway gas milage averages around 50 which is great. My friends always comment that they are surprised that we drive all over town all day long and the gas gauge hardly moves.
  • amz1600amz1600 Posts: 5
    I was just wondering what material in the Prius rips easily. Is it the seat? If so, is it the leather or the cloth seats?
  • I have a 2004 Prius with over 75K now and experiencing problems with the steering wheel lock. It left me stranded and had to tow to mechanic. Mechanic doesn't know what the problem is. According to him no bulletins on the issue. The steering locks up for now reason. I was driving down the road and luckily was about to drive it straight off the road.
  • My 2004 Prius has almost 55,000 miles at this point. So far probably the most trouble free car I have ever owned and that's saying a lot since I have driven nothing but Toyota's since 1988. The only thing I notice is a noisy air handler door behind the glove box. It's most noticeable when first turning on the AC. The dealer claimed never to be able to hear it while under warranty even though every passenger can. I tried lubricating the pivot points with a little light silicone lube to no avail. It's loud during hot weather and absent during cold weather.
    Mileage and performance are good and I recommend this car to everyone who asks. Based on my experience to date, I would buy another without hesitation. It has been so pleasing to own and drive that now our other vehicles, a Tacoma and a Corolla, seem outdated even though they are dependable.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Mileage and performance are good and I recommend this car to everyone who asks. Based on my experience to date, I would buy another without hesitation. It has been so pleasing to own and drive that now our other vehicles, a Tacoma and a Corolla, seem outdated even though they are dependable.

    This is a good point. How in the world would we go back to a smaller vehicle like a Corolla or Matrix or Civic at 'only' 35 mpg on average?

    No SKS? And how do I fit all that stuff in the trunk of a Corolla? Buy a Matrix I guess...and get 27 mpg...ugghhh! We've been hooked like fish and can't get away... >>\\\\'>J
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,961
    If you are a long-term hybrid owner, our Senior Editor, John O'Dell, would love to hear from you! A short email with your maintenance experiences and concerns would be great. Please send to John at by close of business Wednesday, August 22, 2007. Be sure and include your Forums username.

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  • I am in the third year of my ownership of Prius 2004 (bought it used). I changed the motor oil from dino to semi-synthetic to fully synthetic mobil one oil to allow for even further reduced use of oil from the Gulf Oil countries (Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc). It is my contribution to the troops to help minimize our reasons for staying in Iraq. I change my oil every 10K miles now myself, of course after the 36K mile marker has passed. That makes my contribution to the Exxon Mobil company as small as possible. I have justified my extended change interval with a previous post under my name. I recycle my oil with the local Pepboys, just 5 minutes walk from here.

    I have changed the cabin air and engine air filters myself to reduce the expenses using "quality" Toyota-branded filters. I have changed my tires to relatively long-life tires by Goodyear: Comfortred, again to reduce my landfill contribution, keeping the two best tires from the Integrity (1st set) series for when the Comfortreds are worn or in case of a blowout.

    Lastly, I changed my transmission fluid around 65K miles based on studies I read online about others analyzing their transmission fluid and finding the appropriate time to change it around 65K miles. Again, I used the Toyota WS-ATF (World Standard=WS) for the fluid change - and did it myself again. Of course I recycled it with the neighborhood Pepboys too.

    I do have a 100K mile extended warranty from Toyota, so I am still careful about what oils and fluids I use. I drive about 2K miles a month (24K/yr) and thus drive about 60% more miles every year than the "average" driver (15K/yr). It's much cheaper the way I maintaine and I believe I have the maintenance down to an art. I am still open to improvements if you hear of any!

    Thanks, Tony
  • You seem to be taking extensive steps to care for your car but I must admit surprise to your 10,000 mile durations between oil changes regardless of the use of synthetic fluids. Although most manufacturers recommend 3,000 to 5,000 miles intervals. I, on the other hand, follow my pappy's teachings. 5,000 miles and every other time the filter. To each his own. It just seems odd that you are so elaborate with so many duties and go to what I would call, extreem miles b/4 changing crankcase fluids. Enjoy your Prius and many miles of savings and green days ahead.
  • After owing the Prius for 13 months and having driven over 40,000 km I have to say this car has been a great car. Recently we took our second long trip with the car over 3000 km. with 2 adults, 2 larger teenagers and an 8 yr old. With the hatch back full of luggage including smaller cooler. After driving 2 days at 120 - 130 km/h and passing many other cars with cruise up and down hills we averaged 55 mpg! (acutal calculation). Also I am using Mobil 1 changing every 10,000 kms and this is only vehicle in 20 yrs of ownership where the oil is unbelievably clear after each change. Even my wife really enjoys riding and we both hate the days we need to take our second vehicle out (Ford Explorer). The CVT trans is so smooth a even that every time I am amazed at the technology. My only drawn back with this car for driving is the higher road/tire noisy present when driving down highways... but around town I don't think there is a better car anywhere!! :shades:
  • I have an 05 prius and I change my own oil . The "maint reqd" light comes on How do I get that to go off what do I do every oil change?
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,961
    According to some Prius owners are reporting problems with unintended acceleration. Personally, I think something like this is either a result of stepping on a wrong pedal in a brief moment of stress/confusion, or related to an issue like the Toyota floor mat recall with a floor mat geting onto the accelerator. if your car suddnely makes a move you don't expect, I think a lot of folks might have a hard time thinking about a rational explanation instead of jumping to the conclusion that something must have been wrong with the car.

    But since this is a topic about long term Prius owners, this would be the place to ask if anyone has experienced this or knows someone who has.

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  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204 is a NOTORIOUSLY anti-hybrid site. I have complained to them for years that I can easily find anti-hybrid stories on their site and seldom anywhere else.

    Trust the validity of anything posted there on your own peril.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,961
    ...and claim of unintended acceleration would always seem, at least to me, to have a relatively simple explanation other than a "defect'.

    This isn't about pro/anti hybrid. just trying to get to the root of something that SOME Prius owners are bringing up.

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  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    I'm just saying - be careful spending any valuable time on issues you find on because they are a suspicious source of info.

    As you say, almost all historical instances of "self-acceleration" have been proven to be "driver error" and not a system problem on a vehicle.

    If there is an issue with the Prius accelerator system having a problem I would be highly surprised.

    As I would with ANY car accused of having a "system problem" which causes "unexplained acceleration."

    There was an issue in the past 3 years with a Civic hybrid owner who claimed this and it was proven to be a hoax (at least in my mind) with the intent of discrediting "hybrids" by saying that they "randomly accelerate on their VERY OWN!!!"

    I take all these reports with the required grain of salt until the day that scientific testing can reveal that any car can "randomly accelerate" on it's own.
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