Author Topic: Ugh, another repair...is my Prius worth keeping?  (Read 4095 times)

kevj1085

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 86
Ugh, another repair...is my Prius worth keeping?
« on: August 06, 2017, 03:20:00 PM »
Just 2-3 weeks ago we had 3 repairs...new 12v battery, new combination meter, and new inverter water pump which all totaled to $1500. I was frustrated to say the least w all 3 of those repairs in a matter of 1 week. Well I went to get an oil change yesterday and after that the guy told me upon inspection that the front and rear struts were bad and I really need new ones along w new tires. New front and rear struts plus 4 new tires w alignment was gonna cost me $1930.

I know new wheels are something you do need now and again and I ha e read struts can need to be replaced around the mileage I'm at (142k). However, to have to put down almost $3500 within 2-3 weeks makes me scared for what's around the corner say in another 2-4 or 10 weeks. The car gets such great gas mileage and has always been good to me, but it seems lately I can't go a week without some major failure. Is this just a rough patch time of repairs that are often needed as cars age? Should I expect these things to continue arising at these outrageous costs monthly, or is it likely that eventually I'll be able to go a long stretch again without much fear?

I'm terrified that the hybrid battery will go next which will probably be $3500 just for it.

Sarah Saverdink

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 122
  • Location: New England
    • The Saverdinks
Re: Ugh, another repair...is my Prius worth keeping?
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2017, 03:44:03 PM »
Anecdote, but we have a 2005 Prius @ 213k miles. We purchased it 4 years ago when it had $105k miles. It has not needed a single repair since we've owned it. New tires due to wear, yes. The rear struts are shot due to age, but it rides well enough and we don't want to put money into the car so we haven't replaced them. Overall, it's been a very reliable vehicle.

kevj1085

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 86
Re: Ugh, another repair...is my Prius worth keeping?
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2017, 03:56:48 PM »
Anecdote, but we have a 2005 Prius @ 213k miles. We purchased it 4 years ago when it had $105k miles. It has not needed a single repair since we've owned it. New tires due to wear, yes. The rear struts are shot due to age, but it rides well enough and we don't want to put money into the car so we haven't replaced them. Overall, it's been a very reliable vehicle.

The guy told me if I don't replace the struts it could be catastrophic as in the wheels falling off while driving or causing majorly costly repairs to many functions if something were to happen to it. Is this just a scare tactic or is there legitimacy to it? If it's legitimate why have you not felt the need to fix them?

sokoloff

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1193
Re: Ugh, another repair...is my Prius worth keeping?
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2017, 05:57:30 PM »
Worn struts cannot make the wheels fall off. (I suppose if they were rusted completely through, the wheel could collapse into the fender, but it still won't come off.)

If the guy told you that, he's straight up lying. If they're worn, the car bounces more; eventually, it is a handling issue to the point of being a safety issue, but that's when they're really, really bad. Like you'll know it before the shyster at the quickie lube place tells you.

retiringearly

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 341
Re: Ugh, another repair...is my Prius worth keeping?
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2017, 08:23:44 PM »
I would find another car repair shop if I were you.

cchrissyy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 734
  • Location: SF Bay Area
Re: Ugh, another repair...is my Prius worth keeping?
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2017, 08:36:36 PM »
sounds like the car is GOOD but the oil change guys' advice isn't. you should try to get advice from a more trustworthy shop. also, if it's truly time for new tires, then that is pure coincidence that it happened around the time of another repair. all cars need new tired every so often and sometimes that will be at a convenient time and sometimes it won't be.

I once had a car that requires obnoxiously expensive tires and had the bad luck to have unrepairable flats a couple times in quick succession. so I understand it sucks when it happens but that's just bad luck, not the car's fault. well, the part where I bought a car that required fancy tires was my fault, but, at least you didn't do that, since Prius tires aren't anything special.

I recommend costco for the tires. the prices are good, they have a warranty, and if you get a whole set they will fill and rotate them for you for free any time you want.

JLee

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5498
Re: Ugh, another repair...is my Prius worth keeping?
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2017, 12:38:22 AM »
Just 2-3 weeks ago we had 3 repairs...new 12v battery, new combination meter, and new inverter water pump which all totaled to $1500. I was frustrated to say the least w all 3 of those repairs in a matter of 1 week. Well I went to get an oil change yesterday and after that the guy told me upon inspection that the front and rear struts were bad and I really need new ones along w new tires. New front and rear struts plus 4 new tires w alignment was gonna cost me $1930.

I know new wheels are something you do need now and again and I ha e read struts can need to be replaced around the mileage I'm at (142k). However, to have to put down almost $3500 within 2-3 weeks makes me scared for what's around the corner say in another 2-4 or 10 weeks. The car gets such great gas mileage and has always been good to me, but it seems lately I can't go a week without some major failure. Is this just a rough patch time of repairs that are often needed as cars age? Should I expect these things to continue arising at these outrageous costs monthly, or is it likely that eventually I'll be able to go a long stretch again without much fear?

I'm terrified that the hybrid battery will go next which will probably be $3500 just for it.

What year is your Prius?

EarthSurfer

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 135
  • Location: 5280
Re: Ugh, another repair...is my Prius worth keeping?
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2017, 05:18:33 AM »
I second that you need to find another repair shop, and maybe find a friend who enjoys working on cars as a first level BS detector.

A few random thoughts:

Are there any hybrid / Prius specialty shops in your area? They would know how to repair the traction / main battery for a fraction of new. I had a bad string of batteries replaced in my Ford Escape Hybrid for less than $500, and that battery requires special hardware just to lift out of the vehicle! (I'm a DIY mechanic on my vehicles, but some repairs are beyond my ability or require specific tools.)

If you find that DIY car mechanic friend, see of you can barter for basic maintenance. I traded a year of haircuts for replacing the spark plugs on a friend's V6 Escape, and doing most of the 100,000 maintenance checks. I was appalled that the local shop quoted $600, and the dealer almost $900 for what was less than 2 hours of my time. That represents a week of take home pay for my friend. (And I have something a lot more stylish than the DIY #2 buzz cut I have done for a decade.)

A quick search on Prius combination meter turned up articles on Toyota extending the warranty to cover the high number of failures. (Depends on Year model)

I am a subscriber to the idea "Good tires are cheap insurance." I was fortunate to find a small shop run by a tire distributor when I lived Boulder county. When it's getting near time for new tires, I just stop by for a cup of Foldgers, get an update on the past year of hunting, and I tell Nate I need tires soon. He usually calls in a week or two with a good price on better than average tires.
 

rothwem

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 541
  • Location: WNC
Re: Ugh, another repair...is my Prius worth keeping?
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2017, 06:50:10 AM »
I don't understand why people on this site are so adverse to working on their own cars.  MMM builds freaking houses!  A car is small potatoes comparatively, since they're DESIGNED to be taken apart.  If you had a leaking toilet, and the plumber quoted you $1500 to replace it, would you just do it?  Hell no, you'd research to see if it can be done cheaper. 

Struts are easy to do, and fairly cheap.  I put high end shocks and struts (Bilsteins) on a BMW, and it cost me under $700, and that's with new rubber mounts and strut bearings.  How did I do it so cheap? I didn't pay a mechanic to do it.  I would be really surprised if you couldn't get a set of replacement shocks (KYB is a good brand that's fairly inexpensive) for under $400. 

You then take yourself over to Youtube and figure out how to do the replacement. 

For tires, get a set of Michelin Defenders that will last 90,000 miles, then don't worry about it anymore.  They'll probably dry-rot before they wear through the tread.  They shouldn't be more than ~$100-$120/tire, since the Prius uses itty bitty doughnut wheels. 

HipGnosis

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1593
Re: Ugh, another repair...is my Prius worth keeping?
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2017, 12:40:27 PM »
Toyota Hybrid batteries are made up of many smaller cells. If one of these cells goes bad, it can cause the entire battery to stop working as they are linked together in series. A single cell can be replaced for about $50.   Electric - hybrid car repair shops are becoming more popular.

For tires, get a set of Michelin Defenders that will last 90,000 miles
Don't buy 90K mile tires unless you drive 15K miles per year.  Tires should be replaced when they are 6 years old regardless of miles.

Don't EVER take the mechanical advice of an oil changer.  The odds of it not being valid are astronomical.

Sarah Saverdink

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 122
  • Location: New England
    • The Saverdinks
Re: Ugh, another repair...is my Prius worth keeping?
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2017, 08:34:50 PM »
Anecdote, but we have a 2005 Prius @ 213k miles. We purchased it 4 years ago when it had $105k miles. It has not needed a single repair since we've owned it. New tires due to wear, yes. The rear struts are shot due to age, but it rides well enough and we don't want to put money into the car so we haven't replaced them. Overall, it's been a very reliable vehicle.

The guy told me if I don't replace the struts it could be catastrophic as in the wheels falling off while driving or causing majorly costly repairs to many functions if something were to happen to it. Is this just a scare tactic or is there legitimacy to it? If it's legitimate why have you not felt the need to fix them?

The strut is a large assembly. The damper inside the strut on our vehicle is totally shot, but the rest is fine. Definitely get a second opinion.

JLee

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5498
Re: Ugh, another repair...is my Prius worth keeping?
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2017, 11:14:54 PM »
Anecdote, but we have a 2005 Prius @ 213k miles. We purchased it 4 years ago when it had $105k miles. It has not needed a single repair since we've owned it. New tires due to wear, yes. The rear struts are shot due to age, but it rides well enough and we don't want to put money into the car so we haven't replaced them. Overall, it's been a very reliable vehicle.

The guy told me if I don't replace the struts it could be catastrophic as in the wheels falling off while driving or causing majorly costly repairs to many functions if something were to happen to it. Is this just a scare tactic or is there legitimacy to it? If it's legitimate why have you not felt the need to fix them?

The strut is a large assembly. The damper inside the strut on our vehicle is totally shot, but the rest is fine. Definitely get a second opinion.

If what's inside isn't working, the strut isn't working. :P

rothwem

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 541
  • Location: WNC
Re: Ugh, another repair...is my Prius worth keeping?
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2017, 06:33:14 AM »
Anecdote, but we have a 2005 Prius @ 213k miles. We purchased it 4 years ago when it had $105k miles. It has not needed a single repair since we've owned it. New tires due to wear, yes. The rear struts are shot due to age, but it rides well enough and we don't want to put money into the car so we haven't replaced them. Overall, it's been a very reliable vehicle.

The guy told me if I don't replace the struts it could be catastrophic as in the wheels falling off while driving or causing majorly costly repairs to many functions if something were to happen to it. Is this just a scare tactic or is there legitimacy to it? If it's legitimate why have you not felt the need to fix them?

The strut is a large assembly. The damper inside the strut on our vehicle is totally shot, but the rest is fine. Definitely get a second opinion.

If what's inside isn't working, the strut isn't working. :P

Well, the strut also attaches the body of the car to the steering knuckle/hub assembly (where the wheel attaches).  I think the point of the post was that if the strut was bad, then yes, the wheel could conceivably fall off, but if its just the damper in the strut that's bad, then you'll have poor handling, but your wheels will remain firmly attached to the car. 

nick663

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 298
  • Location: midwest
Re: Ugh, another repair...is my Prius worth keeping?
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2017, 06:49:18 AM »
I don't understand why people on this site are so adverse to working on their own cars.  MMM builds freaking houses!  A car is small potatoes comparatively, since they're DESIGNED to be taken apart.  If you had a leaking toilet, and the plumber quoted you $1500 to replace it, would you just do it?  Hell no, you'd research to see if it can be done cheaper. 

Struts are easy to do, and fairly cheap.  I put high end shocks and struts (Bilsteins) on a BMW, and it cost me under $700, and that's with new rubber mounts and strut bearings.  How did I do it so cheap? I didn't pay a mechanic to do it.  I would be really surprised if you couldn't get a set of replacement shocks (KYB is a good brand that's fairly inexpensive) for under $400. 

You then take yourself over to Youtube and figure out how to do the replacement. 
Agree with this for the most part.  Just be very careful using spring compressors if you decide to DIY.

When you get into fab/customization, I'd argue cars are more complex than houses (mainly because "good" construction for houses is still not very precise) but for repairs where you're just bolting in new parts cars can be very simple.

WhiteTrashCash

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 900
Re: Ugh, another repair...is my Prius worth keeping?
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2017, 07:17:34 AM »
For work like suspension, brakes, or exhaust, I recommend going to a place like Midas or Monro (or the equivalent where you live), because they will charge you much, much less for the work than a neighborhood repair shop. My local Midas are also much more honest about the work needed than many other places because they want to build a good reputation online for Millennials who use Yelp, etc. If you can't do the work yourself, it would be a good idea to get a second opinion from one of those places.