2005 Toyota Prius 4dr Hatchback (1.5L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid CVT)
I am second owner, but the first owner was my sister and her husband. They bought the car new in 2005 and had it until 2013 when they divorced and I took it. They didn't have any major problems with it and I presume they had regular maintenance done. I took the car at 8 years and just over 110,000 miles. It worked great for 3 years. All I did was regular oil changes and had brake work done once. At year 11 and 151,000 miles (just after the 10 year/150,000 mile warranty expired) the red light of death came on because the hybrid battery was dying. Let the car sit for about 6 months (thank God I had a second car to use) because my husband was gone with the military and when he came back he replaced it with a refurbished battery from Dorman because that warranty was better than getting a new battery installed at the Toyota dealership. We figured we'd keep the car until the second hybrid battery died, assuming the car would last through, and probably longer than, the battery's warranty period of 3 years. (Yeah right!) We replaced the auxiliary battery at the same time for a grand total of $1700. Within 18 months, at barely 13 years and 161,000 miles, the red light of death came on again because the replacement auxiliary battery was already dying. Naturally this occurred while on vacation. When the red death light came on I pulled over, turned the car off and then couldn't get it started again. So I spent another $400 replacing it again plus towing fees.(Why didn't Toyota come up with an emergency way to put the car in neutral? Towing the Prius is a pain in the ass!) Within 2 days of the auxiliary replacement, I turned off the car at a rest stop and when I turned it back on the front dash was dead- no speedometer, no gas level, no odometer, the touchscreen was partially functioning, and I had turn signals. I figured I couldn't make it 800 miles home without either a odometer or a gas gauge. Car did turn on and thankfully I was about 10 miles to next town so I made it to the dealership. I needed the computer component that lights the dash, a very rare thing to break down according to the dealership. My vacation was extended by 4 days because they had to order the part (only around $200) and then spend hours installing it (over $600 labor) because the entire dash had to be taken apart. When I got the car back all 4 air vents were broken. After 13 years the plastic get brittle; if Toyota had offered to reduce the price of the vents, or help cover the cost, I probably would have ordered 4 more because, yes, after 13 years in the California and Arizona sun, I believe the plastic gets brittle too. Made it home $1400 poorer from vacation after the battery and front dash. Less than 2 months later, at 13 years and 164,000 miles, the red light of death came on again when I was driving to work. I was scared to turn the car off since the prior times it either didn't turn back on or turned on with major problems. So I called into work and drove to the dealership instead. Turns out the hybrid inverter / converter failed. Per the internet and the dealer, this is extremely rare. Dealership estimates $5800. Part itself costs over $4500. Must be an easy part to fix because tax on the part was about the same as the cost of labor. New part online is $3100, salvage is $200. So, paying again to tow a dead and non-rolling Prius back to my house to self-install a salvage part (can't get it to turn on at the dealership; they were surprised I made to them). Then, I'm selling the car cheap and will never buy another hybrid. I don't trust hybrid electronics after the warranty expires and with the premium on a hybrid price you don't make up that premium cost in fuel savings over the short 8-10 year warranty period. I half suspect they engineer the car to fail within a few years after the warranty expires because it tricks everyone into doing at least one fairly pricey repair because "it ran so well for so long" and "was so good on gas." There is no warning when the car is getting "old". It doesn't rattle or slow down or give a signal that something is failing fast. It either runs great or it gives the read death light, dies within miles and never runs again without $1500+ in repairs. I'd prefer a horse to a Prius.