So you have decided to go for a hybrid vehicle since the price of fuel is touching the sky and there is a heavy chance of prices getting even higher in the near future. And when we talk about hybrid vehicles, Toyota Prius is maybe the most prominent among its peers. In this blog, we will be talking about a few pre-purchase tips that you should keep in mind before buying a used Toyota Prius.
Before we start with the blog, let’s talk a little bit about Prius. Prius is available with either a 1.5L internal combustion engine or a newer 1.8L internal combustion engine. The 1.5L engine was available in the older 2nd generation Toyota Prius whereas the 1.8L engine was introduced in the 3rd generation Prius and continues to the current 4th generation Prius as well.
Keep in mind some of these things affect Toyota Aqua as well since both Aqua and Prius share the powertrains and hence the same issues, so if you are after an Aqua, keep reading.
Hybrid battery pack
Well this is one of the main issues the Prius cars always have had. Toyota’s hybrid synergy drive system relies heavily on the hybrid battery pack, and that means the battery gets to work extra hard for you to get the high fuel average you want.
Toyota says a Prius battery will last between 100,000-150,000 miles or between 8-10 years. But the reality is, considering most vehicles coming to Pakistan are Japanese imports, it is fair to come to a conclusion that the battery in the car you are buying has already passed its expiry date. It is a pretty common and unfortunate practice of reversing the odometers of used imported cars in Pakistan. So there is a high chance that if the Prius you are buying says, 120,000 km on the odometer, it has been driven double than that if not more. Auction sheet tempering can hide the original mileage of the vehicle, so it is better to get the auction sheet verified from 3rd party service providers. That will tell you the exact condition your car was in when it was imported in Pakistan. And the mileage will shed some light on how much abuse the batteries of the car have suffered.
The fact is, that the battery pack can be an expensive part to replace. Depending on the used car parts market, or the availability, a used battery can cost you anywhere from 100k to 200k. The price of the battery pack also heavily depends on the condition/mileage on that used battery pack. For example, a used low-mile battery pack from a 2018 Prius is going to cost more than a high-mileage pack from a 2014 Prius.
There is a common trend nowadays where the individual cells of the battery pack are rejuvenated to save the cost of replacing the whole battery. That is something of a hit or miss kind of a deal; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Keep in mind the time and labour to get the battery disassembled and assembled again for the cell replacement every time you get an error.
Therefore if you are buying a used Prius, get a trained professional technician to come and evaluate your potential new purchase for you. Checking the health of the battery is kinda technical and takes special diagnostics tools to do it. Besides, you need someone who can also decipher the readings because even with the most advanced diagnostic tool you won’t get the condition of the battery in simple terms like if it is good, normal or needs replacement.
This is the second main issue with Prius no matter what generation as well as Toyota Aqua too. Although there have been recalls by Toyota to fix the ABS, there are a lot of vehicles that were imported to car that still have this issue.
Basically the brake booster and booster pump assembly of Prius has a manufacturing fault and it can fail at any time without any specific warning as such. The only initial warning there is that the ABS unit of Prius makes a rapid clicking noise when the car is operating. When the actuator is about to give up, the duration of that clicking increases and it becomes more frequent. The ABS pump keeps running to build up the pressure but fails to do so. You would hear it again and again and for longer periods of time. That is an indication that you are about to hit with a brake booster replacement service cost. And when it completely fails, then of course you will see warning indications, like ABS, VSC and other brake related lights, on the dash panel as well.
When the brake booster and booster pump fails, you basically lose the ability to stop the car. The rear brakes somewhat work but the front is totally freewheeling.
The only solution is to replace the ABS unit AND the pump. There is a common practice in Pakistan where the ABS unit is changed but they do not replace the pump. The fact is that both the actuator and the pump need to be replaced.
And all these parts replacement can cost you a hefty sum. Replacing both can cost you somewhere from 80k to 100k depending on the condition of the parts as well as the availability. The ABS accumulator and pump of the 2nd gen Prius are usually a little cheaper than the 3rd gen’s. Also, it is a whole lot harder to replace the part in the 2nd gen Prius compared to the 3rd gen Prius. In 2nd gen, you have to remove the inverter to get to the ABS accumulator whereas that is not the case in the 3rd gen Prius.
Keep in mind that these parts are all imported from Japan and other countries so their availability can be an issue. Also, not every mechanic is equipped or trained enough to replace these units since they need calibration afterwards as well. Car needs to go through the electronic brake bleed process that can only be done with the help of a diagnostic tool.
So these are two of the major issues Prius owners have been facing for years now. If you are buying a used 2nd or 3rd gen Prius, make sure both the battery and ABS are in good condition. Or better if they have been replaced recently since that means you won’t be facing the cost of replacement during your ownership.
If you’re a current Prius owner and would like to sell your car, or if you’re interested in buying a Prius, trust CarFirst with your decision. We’re Pakistan’s most trustable and easiest way to buy and sell cars – explore the most hassle-free way today on www.carfirst.com!