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Prius Owners w/50K - What We Think Now



  • 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: 2,992
    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.
  • Same with my 2004 Prius. I can't verify the frozen bladder without being willing to actually run out of gas but even with the indicator flashing on one bar, it never takes more than 6 gallons. It's a real pain but we never let it get that low just to be sure. I could carry a 5 gallons can in the trunk but that doesn't appeal to my wife.
  • It's frustrating to have had terrific mileage in the past, and now I could get this kind of mileage with a much simpler, Corolla or Hyundai. I'm feeling, "what's the point?". I do have a K&N air filter installed which always looks clean. Maybe I should give it a clean-out and see if that makes a difference. Or remove it and install a regular Fram air filter to see if that's the problem. I'm assuming that the amount of ethanol (10%) remains the same year round?
  • jayriderjayrider Posts: 3,602
    If your prius mpg is down [weather-winter gas-different additives] the corolla is down too. You can't do better than a prius. The K N filter wasn't cheap and any more messing around costs money that effectively lowers your operating costs with no likely improvement. Relax.
  • I just took a trip today to a VA appointment that was 95% freeway travel. As always, I drive conservatively-I don't force the car to stay at 65 uphill, no jackrabbit starts, etc. I got 45 mph; the best I've gotten in 2 months. I do believe the ethanol content in gasoline remains the same year around, but I had forgotten about winter-weather blending that the refineries do. In my area, southern Oregon, it has been bone dry for three weeks (very unusual for this time of the year) and it has been in the teens and twenties most of that time. And during that time I have been getting very low mileage for a Prius. My driving habits have not changed, as I always drive conservatively.
    So possibly it could just be the winter formulation. That still doesn't answer why two other people I know also have '08 Priuses and both get better mileage. One of the drivers tend to drive fast, as well. It's a mystery to me. :confuse:
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    How are the other two people calculating their MPG? If they're only going by the trip computer while you're calculating it manually, then it will inflate their MPG. Also, no two vehicles are identical. You could take two identical '08 Prius, drive them both 60mph on cruise for 400 miles on a highway and they'd get different MPG.

    That's because individual components are made within tolerance ranges and if you have a car with a lot of components towards the poor side of the tolerance range, then you'll have more friction in those componts and worse MPG when you add up all of those minute variations. For example if you have an inefficient but working alternator/motor, more electricity is needed to turn the motor and less electricity is being generated, so more gas is required.

    So in other words, you may have a car with more inefficient components than the Prius driven by your friends. And it's possible too, that you may have more part failures for the same reason.
  • jana26jana26 Posts: 4
    I have a 2007 Prius and was averaging about 46-48 mpg until I got new tires. Now I pray for 44! I have been extremely upset about this. My driving hasn't changed and I was "told" that the tires I bought were low-rolling-resistance. I honestly don't believe that either but.... (Don't believe everything you hear from Discount Tires!). And don't believe the car's computer for gas mileage! I have consistently gotten less per gallon than what it claims. I asked the dealer and they said it should average out but it doesn't.

    Other than that, I do love my Prius and have had no problems with it except I had to have the starting battery replaced (I call it that for lack of a better description). That cost me over $200.

    I'm taking it in for it's 60,000 mile checkup. Kinda worried about that--cost-wise! Not sure what to believe with the dealer regarding what really is needed for this check-up but...

    What should I expect to have done at this check-up? Thanks in advance.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992 2007&int_id=24

    Just a routine oil filter and air filter change at 60k miles, plus some inspections. The big stuff (spark plugs, coolant, etc) aren't needed until over 100K.

    As far as tires, generally new tires have better traction but the increased traction means increased friction and less MPG. How were your previous tires when new with MPG. Also check in the tire pressure on the new tires. Maybe too low? Are the new tires the exact same size as the old?
  • skylersueskylersue Posts: 1
    My 2002 Prius has 70,000 miles and I just had to replace the main battery. It cost me $2900. They told me that I should have driven it more often to conserve the battery. That's the first time I heard of that. I also recently had the water pump replaced. I love my Prius but I'm not happy that I had to replace the battery so soon. I've had to replace the tires several times since I bought the car. Has anyone else had to replace their main battery?
  • Something sounds amiss....I have 152 K and mine is running strong. I've heard from several sources that the whole bayyery does not have to be replaced. When one cell goes bad they replace only the bad cel or cells. (much cheaper) On E bay you can find cells and whole used batteries at reasonable prices. Food for thought.
  • anhdaoanhdao Posts: 4
    What is a frozen bladder?
  • dolaverdolaver Posts: 1
    I've read some of these comments, just to let you know I have a 2002 Prius with 256,385 miles on it. My main battery is still going strong. I have had to replace the power steering ($2,000) and the main Hybrid computer in the transmission ($5000 +). My catalytic converter needs replacing, but ($1,800) seems steep, for my car that has so many miles. I've investigated replacing it with an after market or junk yard catalytic converter, but I am understanding that that is not legal in California. Anyone have suggestions?
  • stevegoldstevegold Posts: 185
    Put the ODO in total miles mode, turn off, hold the ODO button in while turning on. The light will reset to off.
    The Maint req light comes on a little before every 5,000 miles. I use Mobil 1 and change the oil and the oil filter every spring and fall. (About every 5,000 miles) I am about to switch to the extended use Mobil 1 (12,500 mi interval) and plan to change the oil once a year. I have a 2004 with 80,000 miles. I have my first paid service issue last week. A rear coil spring that I broke on a speed bump and a leaking water pump. I did not change the brake pads or rotors as recommended because the pads had 8/12mm left and the rotors were rusted around the outside perimeter which I found out was normal.
  • Hopefully I won't jinx it. :) I love my Prius ... I live on a dirt road in Vermont and in the winter when the plow hasn't run by, it doesn't like plowing its own way. But that is the only limitation I have found. I am getting about 47/48 mpg and I have had to replace tires a few times and had to replace the small battery (not the hybrid system one). Other than that for the eight years that I have owned it, it has served me very well and is the best value for my car dollar that I have ever had, especially with gas around $4/gallon at the moment. I can't say enough good things about it. I intend on running it for many more miles. I think that if I had to replace the battery I would seriously consider doing it regardless of the miles because it is an awesome, economical car with strong testimony to its longevity. With gas prices are they are, it is easy to make up the cost of the repair.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    Do you notice big drops in MPG in the winter?
  • Winters effect the mpg's because....the hybrid system demands that the gas engine run extended time from cold start due to cold temps of winter. This makes for available heat from the heater. When summer comes the mpg's then rise because the engine does not need extended running time thus more mpg's. I have 156K miles and have seen the fluxuation from summer to winter for 9 yrs due to seasonal changes. Gas blends are part of the reason too.
  • dymdym Posts: 1
    I had been getting 51.3 mpg winter 2011 and summer 2011 and for some reason it fell in that Fall to 48.5 and Summer 2012 it rose to 49.3. Mine is a 2009 bought in 2008 and at one point early on it got 54.5 mpg average over my to work and long distance travel. When it dropped I asked the dealer rep and he said my new milage was more typical of what they see in cars in for regular service. I confess to willingness to get off the gas as soon as I see a red or yellow light unlike the other Charlotte NC drivers who shoot yellows and reds in acceleration. Had my share of "cut-offs" as a result but then they are not getting 40 mpg much less 49. Love my Prius and expressed it so much that my son in law who is a GM discount eligible buyer just bought a Prius V.
    His heavy foot may cost more MPG than my light one.
  • I started this site over 8 yrs ago and have had many surprises as the info of good news (mostly) came rolling in. I'm at 155 K miles and the thing that has amazed me the most is the durability of the Prius. This also means reliability. Both batteries (Hybrid & Utility) are going strong at 9 yrs. The other amazing item...the brakes seem to last forever. Other than oil changes, wiper blades, filters, head lt bulbs and tires I have found the car exceeds all my expectations. I simply believe and trust this hybrid car.
  • I bought a 2010 Prius 3 in 2010 and now have abut 63000 miles on it. I love this car. I have had no mechanical problems except one that made itself known just past the 36 month warranty period.
    I noticed that my solar driven cooling fan wasn't working this summer. I thought the fan had maybe died but then I looked at the solar panel and saw that green copper corrosion caused by long term moisture infiltration had shorted out the solar panel and it was unable to produce electricity anymore.
    I had the Dealer look at the panel and by looking at the panel from a ladder he ascertained that the moisture infiltration had reached all the way across the panel to the rear as evidenced by the green corrosion of the wiring in the panel.
    Now this just didn't happen overnight, but most likely, moisture had been infiltrating the panel for several years. There was no moisture visible in the pane, just the evidence of long term corrosion throughout the panel.
    What I am saying is this. These panels were manufactured by an outside vendor for Toyota. If made properly, a solar panel should be hermetically sealed. Most solar panels normally have a useful life of 15 years. This panel was defective the day it was made and it just took 3 years for the corrosion to infiltrate deep enough to disable enough of the solar cells to render it inoperative.
    The reason I tell you this is the solar option is an expensive option.($2000 replacement cost) If you are still in your warranty period I would suggest having the panel inspected for corrosion before you experience a failure. Once you know what to look for you can examine it yourself. Much like a hermetically sealed double pane house window there will be some clouding of the glass panel where the moisture has infiltrated.
    In my case the infiltration appears to have been going on for years before total failure. Since it is tinted and part of the roof design you won't notice the subtle changes in the color unless you inspect the panel closely.

    In conclusion, these panels should be waterproof and sealed during manufacture. If any moisture infiltrates by means other than from damage it is a design and/or manufacturing error.
  • I am now having this same problem with my 2010 Prius at 57000 miles. Did you ever find out what was the cause of the problem?
  • A lot of possibles but I'd try replacing your onboard air filter. Mine was so bad that I've replaced mine 3 times (and should have more often). At least check out that filter for crap and junk in it.
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