Author Topic: The $3700 Prius Experiment  (Read 43468 times)

K-ice

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Re: The $3700 Prius Experiment
« Reply #150 on: April 26, 2019, 08:07:11 AM »

We only had to replace the hybrid battery on the 2006 Prius (murdered by a teen driver @ 300k+ miles) because we "accidentally" let it sit (without ever turning it on/moving it) for around 6 months... they need to be driven, at least occasionally or the battery will completely drain and then it can not be "recharged".

What if you were a snowbird or traveling for a long time? Can you disconnect the battery & store the car without issue?

Slow&Steady

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Re: The $3700 Prius Experiment
« Reply #151 on: April 26, 2019, 09:37:15 AM »

We only had to replace the hybrid battery on the 2006 Prius (murdered by a teen driver @ 300k+ miles) because we "accidentally" let it sit (without ever turning it on/moving it) for around 6 months... they need to be driven, at least occasionally or the battery will completely drain and then it can not be "recharged".

What if you were a snowbird or traveling for a long time? Can you disconnect the battery & store the car without issue?

I am not sure.  The battery was fine and recharged fine when we parked it, when we tried to drive it 6 months later that was a big fat NO.  Based on my Google-ing and what the car people told me this is because you cannot let the car sit that long without activity.  Maybe find a local person that you can pay to go drive through the car wash once a month or something, I am not sure.  It is the hybrid battery that died, I am not sure if you would be comfortable with disconnecting that yourself or not (or if that would work).

englishteacheralex

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Re: The $3700 Prius Experiment
« Reply #152 on: April 26, 2019, 09:55:10 AM »
We bought a 2007 with 80k miles for $5800 last month. PTF and finish reading this thread. Thanks!

SotI

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Re: The $3700 Prius Experiment
« Reply #153 on: April 26, 2019, 10:52:23 AM »
I got a 2009 Gen 2 Prius, currently at around 130k miles.
It's been reliable, but not as free of repair and maintenance issues as others have experienced:
I typically run it 15 - 20k miles per year, with annual maintenance according to schedule.
Still, I had to have 2 battery modules replaced (in 2014) and 2x brake pads (front and back, respectively) since. I also have had some recurring issue with the front headlamp bulbs that seem to burn out almost annually on one side or the other.

Oil consumption is also becoming a bigger issue here over time: until 2017, oil only needed to be topped up once per year (part of the oil change schedule). Since then, however, I have to check and fill up every 3 months or so.

All not BIG issues, but almost every year, some small thing or the other.
I still want to run her till major failure will us part b/c she's otherwise been a sturdy old gal.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: The $3700 Prius Experiment
« Reply #154 on: April 29, 2019, 05:13:23 AM »
Keen on doing such an experiment myself, a Prius would suit my driving very well. Seems that $6-7K can get a decent 2nd gen, but third gens still cost a bit. Most of the really cheap ones seem to have spent a bit of life as taxis or Ubers and have 600,000km on them.

Now, the issue of course is that I'm looking at buying a place, and taking $6K out of the 'downpayment fund' to buy another car is probably not quite optimal.

Then again...
« Last Edit: April 29, 2019, 05:34:32 AM by alsoknownasDean »

Stachetastic

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Re: The $3700 Prius Experiment
« Reply #155 on: April 29, 2019, 06:28:00 AM »
So glad to see this thread revived! We bought a 2007 with 185k miles last Fall for $3300. I've noticed this Spring the AC has stopped working. It also ran so low on oil that the warning light came on, so we will be more diligent in keeping an eye on that. It's my upgrade from a 2004 Corolla with 270k miles, so the Prius feels downright luxurious.

mtnrider

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Re: The $3700 Prius Experiment
« Reply #156 on: April 29, 2019, 08:04:43 PM »
Gen III Prius here, with only 60k miles.  No major work yet, of course.  But be careful of the dealership prices for the scheduled maintenance. 

They are great.  Like the video posted earlier explained - yes, you really can sleep in them.  With normal camping gear it's comfortable, even for a tall guy.

I drive mine in the snow.  They handle pretty good, I'd say almost as good as my old Subaru, except going up slippery hills.  Be aware that if you put snow tires (or even three season tires with more aggressive tread for good snow traction) that your gas mileage will go down by about 10% from the factory low rolling resistance tires.

Also, highway acceleration isn't horrible, but it's not great either.  About as fast as my old '94 4 cylinder Subaru wagon.

Overwall - would recommend.



K-ice

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Re: The $3700 Prius Experiment
« Reply #157 on: April 30, 2019, 12:21:59 AM »
Keen on doing such an experiment myself, a Prius would suit my driving very well. Seems that $6-7K can get a decent 2nd gen, but third gens still cost a bit. Most of the really cheap ones seem to have spent a bit of life as taxis or Ubers and have 600,000km on them.

Now, the issue of course is that I'm looking at buying a place, and taking $6K out of the 'downpayment fund' to buy another car is probably not quite optimal.

Then again...

Be very careful about buying or financing a car until you have settled on a house. A realtor once told me his client was shocked when she was pre-approved for a mortgage, then bought a new Jeep. Surprise, those $450 payments really limited her condo purchasing power.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: The $3700 Prius Experiment
« Reply #158 on: April 30, 2019, 12:43:36 AM »
Keen on doing such an experiment myself, a Prius would suit my driving very well. Seems that $6-7K can get a decent 2nd gen, but third gens still cost a bit. Most of the really cheap ones seem to have spent a bit of life as taxis or Ubers and have 600,000km on them.

Now, the issue of course is that I'm looking at buying a place, and taking $6K out of the 'downpayment fund' to buy another car is probably not quite optimal.

Then again...

Be very careful about buying or financing a car until you have settled on a house. A realtor once told me his client was shocked when she was pre-approved for a mortgage, then bought a new Jeep. Surprise, those $450 payments really limited her condo purchasing power.
Surely that doesn't matter if paying cash? :)

This is the MMM forums after all.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2019, 04:57:11 AM by alsoknownasDean »

StarBright

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Re: The $3700 Prius Experiment
« Reply #159 on: June 09, 2023, 08:12:42 PM »
Necro Post Warning!

Rather than start a new post I thought I'd check and see how all y'all used Prius owners are doing.

We just been notified that our 2006 corolla needs several thousand dollars worth of repairs. We wanted a Bolt in a few years but now they are being discontinued and the only used ones in my area are selling for around 25k with 80k+ thousand miles and no electric installation.

The car market is insane right now.

We're looking at a used 2012 Prius 4 with 50k miles on it for 16k. Which sounds absolutely bonkers but might actually be the best deal we are seeing.

We have been a one car family for a week and it isn't going well (two jobs, two kids in different summer camps). We need a car.

A used Prius feels palatable, but the prices I'm seeing look nuts.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: The $3700 Prius Experiment
« Reply #160 on: June 09, 2023, 08:30:09 PM »
Necro Post Warning!

Rather than start a new post I thought I'd check and see how all y'all used Prius owners are doing.

We just been notified that our 2006 corolla needs several thousand dollars worth of repairs. We wanted a Bolt in a few years but now they are being discontinued and the only used ones in my area are selling for around 25k with 80k+ thousand miles and no electric installation.

The car market is insane right now.

We're looking at a used 2012 Prius 4 with 50k miles on it for 16k. Which sounds absolutely bonkers but might actually be the best deal we are seeing.

We have been a one car family for a week and it isn't going well (two jobs, two kids in different summer camps). We need a car.

A used Prius feels palatable, but the prices I'm seeing look nuts.
How many thousands for the Corolla repairs? Might be worthwhile rather than paying over the odds for a replacement.

Honestly a new Prius might be the go if a 2012 is that much.

Sent from my Pixel 7 Pro using Tapatalk
« Last Edit: June 09, 2023, 08:31:47 PM by alsoknownasDean »

JAYSLOL

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Re: The $3700 Prius Experiment
« Reply #161 on: June 09, 2023, 09:44:19 PM »
Really depends on your situation and how much car you need in your life.  For me, Id pour $2k or $3k into an 06 Corolla any day and drive it another 5 years or more, or rather Id probably try to do the work myself.  But Im looking at a long road to FI still, and upgrading cars is something Im actively trying to avoid, Im ok with driving a beater into the ground, and I dont put on the mileage that warrants getting a hybrid or full electric car with the premiums that come with them.  If you do put on the mileage and upgrading the car is a drop in the bucket for you, then Id be very tempted by the new Prius, it looks nicer, drives nicer and gets even better mileage than any previous Prius.  If you put on the mileage, but upgrading does impact you like it does for me, then a 2010-2015 Prius for $10-15k might be the best option.  I try to be as patient as possible when looking for a new car, and Ive found a few very good undervalued vehicles for us over the years.  Lately I watch facebook marketplace like a hawk and it pays sometimes

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Re: The $3700 Prius Experiment
« Reply #162 on: June 10, 2023, 02:10:55 AM »
I've had 2 x3rd Gen Prius's both bought second hand and I loved both of them to bits. The second one I bought at 50k kms (approx 30k  miles)  at 10 years old fully log book serviced! Woo Hoo!

The only 2 downsides I found are that the head room is not good if you are over 6 foot tall - my 6 foot 3" son had to drive it with the internal cover of the sunroof open, and possibly would have hit the top of his skull on the forward part of the opening in an accident. And they are really a smooth road car - urban or highway. The ground clearance is very low and not suitable for any sort of rutted/uneven gutter road.

In the past,  in Australia, they did not hold their value well ( I think due to inappropriate battery life concerns/perceptions) and so were great value for a second hand buyer. There's been a big boost in Ev/hydrid car popularity here, and car values/secondh hand car values have changed a lot, so that might not still be the case ie YMMV..

Due to retiring to a bush block ( my retirement dream)  I truly needed a high clearance 4x4 and so the Prius had to go as I didn't need 2 cars. I'm so NOT a car person but I'm still mourning having to let it go.


StarBright

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Re: The $3700 Prius Experiment
« Reply #163 on: June 10, 2023, 05:27:28 AM »
I've had 2 x3rd Gen Prius's both bought second hand and I loved both of them to bits. The second one I bought at 50k kms (approx 30k  miles)  at 10 years old fully log book serviced! Woo Hoo!

The only 2 downsides I found are that the head room is not good if you are over 6 foot tall - my 6 foot 3" son had to drive it with the internal cover of the sunroof open, and possibly would have hit the top of his skull on the forward part of the opening in an accident. And they are really a smooth road car - urban or highway. The ground clearance is very low and not suitable for any sort of rutted/uneven gutter road.

In the past,  in Australia, they did not hold their value well ( I think due to inappropriate battery life concerns/perceptions) and so were great value for a second hand buyer. There's been a big boost in Ev/hydrid car popularity here, and car values/secondh hand car values have changed a lot, so that might not still be the case ie YMMV..

Due to retiring to a bush block ( my retirement dream)  I truly needed a high clearance 4x4 and so the Prius had to go as I didn't need 2 cars. I'm so NOT a car person but I'm still mourning having to let it go.

The bolded is good to know! My husband is 6'2". Thanks

He did drive his parents' prius plus last year and didn't have any issues - but we'd definitely want to test drive this older model first.

Really depends on your situation and how much car you need in your life.  For me, Id pour $2k or $3k into an 06 Corolla any day and drive it another 5 years or more, or rather Id probably try to do the work myself.  But Im looking at a long road to FI still, and upgrading cars is something Im actively trying to avoid, Im ok with driving a beater into the ground, and I dont put on the mileage that warrants getting a hybrid or full electric car with the premiums that come with them.  If you do put on the mileage and upgrading the car is a drop in the bucket for you, then Id be very tempted by the new Prius, it looks nicer, drives nicer and gets even better mileage than any previous Prius.  If you put on the mileage, but upgrading does impact you like it does for me, then a 2010-2015 Prius for $10-15k might be the best option.  I try to be as patient as possible when looking for a new car, and Ive found a few very good undervalued vehicles for us over the years.  Lately I watch facebook marketplace like a hawk and it pays sometimes

5k if we also do the AC which was in and out last summer (But I decided we could live with because it is just the extra errands car). 4kish if we skip fixing the AC (needs new transmission lines, some steering pinion things and the exhaust is rusted through and it won't pass inspection). Don't have the time or skills to attempt fixes ourselves. It will also need breaks and new tires in a couple of years. But mileage wise, we've only put 70k miles on it since we got in 2009 (for a total of 160k or so)

I would also love to drive it to the ground - but am not sure what driving to the ground is really? And I wonder if we are at that point? I'm not a car person. I drove my first car for 16 years until it needed a pretty hefty repair (also around 5k), so then I just replaced it with the current model year because I also had toddlers at that point and a new car felt like the right call.

Sadly - money is a consideration for us. We make a nice amount for a family of 4 but we're actually talking about saving less for retirement to ease cash flow.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2023, 09:45:43 PM by StarBright »

VanillaGorilla

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Re: The $3700 Prius Experiment
« Reply #164 on: June 10, 2023, 09:18:34 PM »
I am 6'2" (measured, not reported) and fit very comfortably in Gen 3 Priuses, though I'll admit I am mostly legs. EDIT: neither of my cars had a sunroof either, for what that's worth.

16k for a 2012 is about the current market value. Insurance gave me about that for my 2013. I bought another one a bit under that but was discounted a tad as the title status was ambiguous (ended up being clear).

I love my Prius but I will vigorously disagree with anybody who claims they are good in the snow. The hyperactive traction control system makes them terrible in snow, and the ground clearance makes them quite awful on dirt roads too.

I've driven about 70k miles in a Gen 3 Prius and the only non-standard repair was a $100 MAF sensor that took me three minutes to replace. Great cars.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2023, 03:06:37 PM by VanillaGorilla »

JAYSLOL

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Re: The $3700 Prius Experiment
« Reply #165 on: June 10, 2023, 09:44:45 PM »
$5k is starting to add up for an 06 Corolla, but you are probably still at or under replacement value, so if it were me Id fix it, unless there were engine or transmission health or rust concerns.  But you sound like a good candidate for upgrading to a 2012 model, Id try selling or trading it in as is, youd probably still get $3k or more for it. 

happy

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Re: The $3700 Prius Experiment
« Reply #166 on: June 10, 2023, 10:33:31 PM »
I am 6'2" (measured, not reported) and fit very comfortably in Gen 3 Priuses, though I'll admit I am mostly legs.
This might make all the difference. My son's height is in both his body and legs, so I'm sure he'd sit higher than someone mostly legs. He likes to have the seat relatively upright compared to some others. Also the windscreen/sunroof surrounding is very raked and aerodynamic, so that if one had the seat moved further to the rear to account for longer arms/legs it would make more of a difference than one might ordinarily expect.

theninthwall

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Re: The $3700 Prius Experiment
« Reply #167 on: June 12, 2023, 06:35:31 AM »
Checking in here, we bought our 2008 Prius back in 2018 for $5750 with just under 100k miles, which seems like a bargain now. We are up to 180k now. As per a previous owner, we got told by everyone when we were buying the car that the battery was going to die and we would have to pay an exorbitant amount, but there seems to be a lot of myth/hearsay/BS around that. Touch wood we are okay right now and battery replacement isnt particularly costly.

K_in_the_kitchen

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Re: The $3700 Prius Experiment
« Reply #168 on: June 23, 2023, 08:04:42 AM »

The only 2 downsides I found are that the head room is not good if you are over 6 foot tall - my 6 foot 3" son had to drive it with the internal cover of the sunroof open, and possibly would have hit the top of his skull on the forward part of the opening in an accident. And they are really a smooth road car - urban or highway. The ground clearance is very low and not suitable for any sort of rutted/uneven gutter road.

We have a 2nd gen Prius and my 6'1" kid hates driving it.  My 6' kid is perfectly happy, but drives in a more reclined position.

We spent just over $8K to get into this Prius during the pandemic, including a pre-purchase inspection, purchase price (private party), smog check, state sales tax, registration, oil change, brakes, and tires.  It was 14 years old at the time with 150K miles, but already had a new battery and a shield for the catalytic converter, and we knew it had been well maintained.  It seemed crazy at the time, but it has been reliable and the gas savings are a big plus for the kid who drives it.

cleverscreenname

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Re: The $3700 Prius Experiment
« Reply #169 on: July 10, 2023, 06:01:16 PM »
I love my Prius but I will vigorously disagree with anybody who claims they are good in the snow. The hyperactive traction control system makes them terrible in snow, and the ground clearance makes them quite awful on dirt roads too.

I turned my Prius into an excellent snow car while delivering a back country roads newspaper route during the middle of the night (before the plows came out). The most I've driven through was 1 ft 2 inches of constant snow the whole length of the road. In doing this, my Prius used more gas than normal because I was dragging in the snow. The ground clearance started at 5.5 inches. I installed heavy duty springs, which raised the car 1.7 inches. I switched to 215/70r15 tires, which added another 1.2 inches of lift. They were quality snow tires and I made it up all the hills as well. People were dumbfounded how I delivered year-round without 4WD. I installed a trailer hitch (it tows amazing with it's bulletproof CVT transmission) and had a $100 ATV winch which easily pulled me out anytime I got stuck, simply wrap around a tree, light post, I've even used mailboxes since the car is so light.

I agree the traction control and stability control are ridiculous, and gives Prius a bad name when people try to use their terrible bald all season tires in the snow. Fortunately you can turn off traction control by doing an annoying little dance that I memorized while turning the car off and on, but you can't disable ESC (stability) without pulling the fuse or unplugging an ABS wheel sensor.

ESC is the one that will disable your brake pedal anytime a tire slips and rotates at a different speed from the others, because it's required to ensure you can make a non-slipping turn at anytime.
(Even with your brake pedal to the floor for a half-mile on a snowy road, for a stop sign at a bottom of a hill to avoid getting T-Boned in the busy intersection. Luckily I discovered the e-brake cannot be neutered by ESC, so I hit that and lo-and-behold stopped just 50 feet later with just the rear tires and no drama. That's the day I learned about snow tires, and that "all-seasons" actually means "no-seasons".)

Hybrids, particularly Prius with its indestructible planetary CVT transmission, are purpose-built for newspaper and mail delivery. Even a stick shift Saturn 4 cylinder that averages 40 mpg can only muster 22 mpg in these stop and go conditions, but my 45 mpg-rated Prius returned 58 mpg (with 312,000 miles) in the summer driving this route. Most mail carriers drive Jeeps getting 8 mpg because they "need" the 4WD in the winter with their all season tires, then they also get 8 mpg all summer because they are too lazy to own 2 vehicles. (Or too poor after paying those Jeep payments+repairs+ocean ship worth of gas!)

Also, to everyone in this thread, I own the expensive Prius battery balancer, and am willing to rent it out if anyone gets battery error warnings (Like if you have 700k on your odometer, or let it sit 6 months without driving). I also own a OBD2-to-USB cable and Toyota Techstream, to read,diagnose,clear,adjust every electronic module on any Toyota. The cable and the software CD was $45 on eBay from China. I used it to get detailed error messages from the ABS module so I knew which pump valve to replace instead of the entire system. Also for a battery ECU code which told me I had a bad temperature sensor in the battery. A few disassembly hours later, I had replaced the sensor for $16 instead of buying a replacement high-voltage battery for $2,000.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2023, 06:13:31 PM by cleverscreenname »

ChpBstrd

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Re: The $3700 Prius Experiment
« Reply #170 on: July 11, 2023, 07:48:19 AM »
I'm thinking about a Prius, but I have a couple of interesting use case concerns:

1) Could it reasonably tow and brake a trailer weighing 750-1000 lbs on a very occasional basis? I've found resources stating that the US owner's manual forbids towing, but the UK model is rated for >1500lbs. Also, how is the visibility? For reference, I tow with a 2011 Corolla just fine, though I wish the mirrors were bigger.

2) I have a very "angular" driveway, and live in an area where they made the roads wide and then put in lots of tall speed bumps when traffic drove fast on the wide roads (shocking). So I'm a little bit concerned about ground clearance and whether I'll eventually scrape the bumpers loose. IMO lowering ground clearance is a way to cheat and get better fuel economy numbers while reducing the utility of the car and creating future repairs when one bumps a curb or parking lot bumper.

farmecologist

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Re: The $3700 Prius Experiment
« Reply #171 on: July 11, 2023, 09:57:33 AM »
I love my Prius but I will vigorously disagree with anybody who claims they are good in the snow. The hyperactive traction control system makes them terrible in snow, and the ground clearance makes them quite awful on dirt roads too.

I turned my Prius into an excellent snow car while delivering a back country roads newspaper route during the middle of the night (before the plows came out). The most I've driven through was 1 ft 2 inches of constant snow the whole length of the road. In doing this, my Prius used more gas than normal because I was dragging in the snow. The ground clearance started at 5.5 inches. I installed heavy duty springs, which raised the car 1.7 inches. I switched to 215/70r15 tires, which added another 1.2 inches of lift. They were quality snow tires and I made it up all the hills as well. People were dumbfounded how I delivered year-round without 4WD. I installed a trailer hitch (it tows amazing with it's bulletproof CVT transmission) and had a $100 ATV winch which easily pulled me out anytime I got stuck, simply wrap around a tree, light post, I've even used mailboxes since the car is so light.

I agree the traction control and stability control are ridiculous, and gives Prius a bad name when people try to use their terrible bald all season tires in the snow. Fortunately you can turn off traction control by doing an annoying little dance that I memorized while turning the car off and on, but you can't disable ESC (stability) without pulling the fuse or unplugging an ABS wheel sensor.

ESC is the one that will disable your brake pedal anytime a tire slips and rotates at a different speed from the others, because it's required to ensure you can make a non-slipping turn at anytime.
(Even with your brake pedal to the floor for a half-mile on a snowy road, for a stop sign at a bottom of a hill to avoid getting T-Boned in the busy intersection. Luckily I discovered the e-brake cannot be neutered by ESC, so I hit that and lo-and-behold stopped just 50 feet later with just the rear tires and no drama. That's the day I learned about snow tires, and that "all-seasons" actually means "no-seasons".)

Hybrids, particularly Prius with its indestructible planetary CVT transmission, are purpose-built for newspaper and mail delivery. Even a stick shift Saturn 4 cylinder that averages 40 mpg can only muster 22 mpg in these stop and go conditions, but my 45 mpg-rated Prius returned 58 mpg (with 312,000 miles) in the summer driving this route. Most mail carriers drive Jeeps getting 8 mpg because they "need" the 4WD in the winter with their all season tires, then they also get 8 mpg all summer because they are too lazy to own 2 vehicles. (Or too poor after paying those Jeep payments+repairs+ocean ship worth of gas!)

Also, to everyone in this thread, I own the expensive Prius battery balancer, and am willing to rent it out if anyone gets battery error warnings (Like if you have 700k on your odometer, or let it sit 6 months without driving). I also own a OBD2-to-USB cable and Toyota Techstream, to read,diagnose,clear,adjust every electronic module on any Toyota. The cable and the software CD was $45 on eBay from China. I used it to get detailed error messages from the ABS module so I knew which pump valve to replace instead of the entire system. Also for a battery ECU code which told me I had a bad temperature sensor in the battery. A few disassembly hours later, I had replaced the sensor for $16 instead of buying a replacement high-voltage battery for $2,000.

Our daughter worked in Minneapolis for a year after she graduated from college and had a 30 mile commute each way.  The winter was pretty brutal driving.  However, we put good snow tires on her Prius C and wow...that little thing was a little mean snow machine!   I was super impressed with it and she ended up getting through the winter without issue...in some really bad conditons.



happy

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Re: The $3700 Prius Experiment
« Reply #172 on: July 12, 2023, 02:32:59 AM »
Quote
I turned my Prius into an excellent snow car while delivering a back country roads newspaper route during the middle of the night (before the plows came out). The most I've driven through was 1 ft 2 inches of constant snow the whole length of the road. In doing this, my Prius used more gas than normal because I was dragging in the snow. The ground clearance started at 5.5 inches. I installed heavy duty springs, which raised the car 1.7 inches. I switched to 215/70r15 tires, which added another 1.2 inches of lift. They were quality snow tires and I made it up all the hills as well. People were dumbfounded how I delivered year-round without 4WD. I installed a trailer hitch (it tows amazing with it's bulletproof CVT transmission) and had a $100 ATV winch which easily pulled me out anytime I got stuck, simply wrap around a tree, light post, I've even used mailboxes since the car is so light.

Its amazing what the right gear/mods can do. I never got the chance to test my Prius in the snow, but it was fine on gravel roads as long as they were well maintained and the clearance was OK ( which is very uncommon on Aussie gravel roads). I did have a win in the Camry I then owned, which with snow chains, wolfed through 1foot 2" of heavy Aussie snow after an overnight  dump. The middle part of the underside (?sump/exhaust system) dug a nice big channel  through the snow, but this did not deter the mighty Camry. OTOH my father's high clearance AWD with ordinary tyres, which we all thought would save the day ( especially my father!), slid off the side of the road after driving 3m! And stayed there until the snow melted.

JAYSLOL

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Re: The $3700 Prius Experiment
« Reply #173 on: July 12, 2023, 08:14:31 AM »
Quote
I turned my Prius into an excellent snow car while delivering a back country roads newspaper route during the middle of the night (before the plows came out). The most I've driven through was 1 ft 2 inches of constant snow the whole length of the road. In doing this, my Prius used more gas than normal because I was dragging in the snow. The ground clearance started at 5.5 inches. I installed heavy duty springs, which raised the car 1.7 inches. I switched to 215/70r15 tires, which added another 1.2 inches of lift. They were quality snow tires and I made it up all the hills as well. People were dumbfounded how I delivered year-round without 4WD. I installed a trailer hitch (it tows amazing with it's bulletproof CVT transmission) and had a $100 ATV winch which easily pulled me out anytime I got stuck, simply wrap around a tree, light post, I've even used mailboxes since the car is so light.

Its amazing what the right gear/mods can do. I never got the chance to test my Prius in the snow, but it was fine on gravel roads as long as they were well maintained and the clearance was OK ( which is very uncommon on Aussie gravel roads). I did have a win in the Camry I then owned, which with snow chains, wolfed through 1foot 2" of heavy Aussie snow after an overnight  dump. The middle part of the underside (?sump/exhaust system) dug a nice big channel  through the snow, but this did not deter the mighty Camry. OTOH my father's high clearance AWD with ordinary tyres, which we all thought would save the day ( especially my father!), slid off the side of the road after driving 3m! And stayed there until the snow melted.

FWD with great snow tires beats 4WD/AWD with all season or summer tires every time.  My guilty pleasure is AWD with snow tires though, I can definitely get around fine without AWD but it does feel very nice

farmecologist

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Re: The $3700 Prius Experiment
« Reply #174 on: July 12, 2023, 08:47:18 AM »
Quote
I turned my Prius into an excellent snow car while delivering a back country roads newspaper route during the middle of the night (before the plows came out). The most I've driven through was 1 ft 2 inches of constant snow the whole length of the road. In doing this, my Prius used more gas than normal because I was dragging in the snow. The ground clearance started at 5.5 inches. I installed heavy duty springs, which raised the car 1.7 inches. I switched to 215/70r15 tires, which added another 1.2 inches of lift. They were quality snow tires and I made it up all the hills as well. People were dumbfounded how I delivered year-round without 4WD. I installed a trailer hitch (it tows amazing with it's bulletproof CVT transmission) and had a $100 ATV winch which easily pulled me out anytime I got stuck, simply wrap around a tree, light post, I've even used mailboxes since the car is so light.

Its amazing what the right gear/mods can do. I never got the chance to test my Prius in the snow, but it was fine on gravel roads as long as they were well maintained and the clearance was OK ( which is very uncommon on Aussie gravel roads). I did have a win in the Camry I then owned, which with snow chains, wolfed through 1foot 2" of heavy Aussie snow after an overnight  dump. The middle part of the underside (?sump/exhaust system) dug a nice big channel  through the snow, but this did not deter the mighty Camry. OTOH my father's high clearance AWD with ordinary tyres, which we all thought would save the day ( especially my father!), slid off the side of the road after driving 3m! And stayed there until the snow melted.

FWD with great snow tires beats 4WD/AWD with all season or summer tires every time.  My guilty pleasure is AWD with snow tires though, I can definitely get around fine without AWD but it does feel very nice

Oh man....don't get me started in the snow tire debate...haha.  I totally agree with you and sure, AWD with snow tires is the ultimate.  However, I have driven FWD with snows my entire life ( in Minnesota ) without issue.

Gotta love all the people that "invest" in AWD due to great marketing ( cough....Subaru...cough ) and don't bother to put snow tires on.  Many AWD/4WD truck owners don't bother with snows either...and end up in the ditch.  It is also quite amusing when people think AWD will help them stop on ice, etc...it doesn't. 

I will say that Subaru has done a GREAT job selling the "AWD lifestyle".  Problem is, most of the people driving them don't take them off-road and don't understand they need snows in the winter to take advantage of their investment.  I suspect some people are overextended already on their shiny new vehicle payment, etc... and don't want to spend the money on snows....which isn't good.

We did try an experiment recently by using Michelin CrossClimate2's on one of our vehicles.  And they actually do come close to a snow tire.  Not 100%, of course, but FAR better than any other all season tire.   I'm mighty impressed with them and always recommend them to people who won't/can't do snow tires and want the best compromise.






roomtempmayo

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Re: The $3700 Prius Experiment
« Reply #175 on: July 12, 2023, 08:49:01 AM »
The ground clearance started at 5.5 inches. I installed heavy duty springs, which raised the car 1.7 inches. I switched to 215/70r15 tires, which added another 1.2 inches of lift. They were quality snow tires and I made it up all the hills as well. People were dumbfounded how I delivered year-round without 4WD. I installed a trailer hitch (it tows amazing with it's bulletproof CVT transmission) and had a $100 ATV winch which easily pulled me out anytime I got stuck, simply wrap around a tree, light post, I've even used mailboxes since the car is so light.

This is amazing.  Chapeau. 

cleverscreenname

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Re: The $3700 Prius Experiment
« Reply #176 on: July 12, 2023, 10:17:45 AM »
I'm thinking about a Prius, but I have a couple of interesting use case concerns:

1) Could it reasonably tow and brake a trailer weighing 750-1000 lbs on a very occasional basis? I've found resources stating that the US owner's manual forbids towing, but the UK model is rated for >1500lbs. Also, how is the visibility? For reference, I tow with a 2011 Corolla just fine, though I wish the mirrors were bigger.

2) I have a very "angular" driveway, and live in an area where they made the roads wide and then put in lots of tall speed bumps when traffic drove fast on the wide roads (shocking). So I'm a little bit concerned about ground clearance and whether I'll eventually scrape the bumpers loose. IMO lowering ground clearance is a way to cheat and get better fuel economy numbers while reducing the utility of the car and creating future repairs when one bumps a curb or parking lot bumper.

1. Absolutely. The most I've towed with my Gen2 was 2850 lbs, but only at 40 mph for a local scrap recycling run. I routinely towed 2000 lbs at 60 mph, 10% weight on the hitch of course. Keep in mind I do change my transmission fluid every 100k in my Priuses and Volt, but it's just like an oil change without a filter, it's stupid-easy. Remove a bolt to drain, re-insert the bolt and fill, done.

I was always certain the reason for giving cars 0 lbs tow ratings was to push sales for ugly School bUs Vehicles (see what I did there?), but an article similar to this one https://priuschat.com/threads/why-tow-ratings-are-different-in-the-eu-vs-the-us.165744/
taught me that Europe and US has very different ideals regarding towing.

European law is 60mph max and 3%-7% trailer weight on your tongue (increases towing capacity), because trailer sway oscillations (from wind and lane corrections) are ever increasing above that and you will lose control. US law is 10% on your hitch (decreases towing capacity), which is tested and proven for a pickup truck going 100mph and still decreasing oscillations.
Your vehicle weight vs trailer weight determines at what point oscillations will decrease or increase.

I'm not sure what you mean by visibility, I've towed with lots of cars and since they sit lower than trucks I can always see the whole trailer, all though I'm over 6ft tall... Prius, Volt, Model S are all liftbacks (hatchbacks) so you can open the hatch while backing up the trailer for a fantastic view.

2. Speed humps have infected Buffalo NY as well.
https://www.rochesterfirst.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/66/2019/12/SPEED-HUMPS.png?w=1280
The picture doesn't do it justice. These suckers are higher than the bumper on my Honda Fit. The signs recommend 15 mph but that would be insane, I've seen careless drivers "catch air" at perhaps 20mph; I crawled over one at 2 mph and the suspension made concerning noises. I flat out don't drive on any street with them now. Just like in the picture, when they install on a street they put them every 30 ft or so, overkill. The news reported they cost $2,000 each, and we still have countless roads cracking and destroyed with potholes with the same effect as these humps. Good use of our taxpayer money *eye roll*.

Anyways, they make them long enough that even subcompact cars can make it over the humps without scraping the bottom, you won't have a problem. But can you imagine trying to plow the snow from that street? Maybe every small street and driveway will get ignored this coming winter. Not as much of an issue now with global warming and less snow, haha.

Thanks everyone for your antecedents of snow tire wins, I smile as I read each one.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2023, 10:47:43 AM by cleverscreenname »

ChpBstrd

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Re: The $3700 Prius Experiment
« Reply #177 on: July 13, 2023, 09:50:18 AM »
I'm thinking about a Prius, but I have a couple of interesting use case concerns:

1) Could it reasonably tow and brake a trailer weighing 750-1000 lbs on a very occasional basis? I've found resources stating that the US owner's manual forbids towing, but the UK model is rated for >1500lbs. Also, how is the visibility? For reference, I tow with a 2011 Corolla just fine, though I wish the mirrors were bigger.

2) I have a very "angular" driveway, and live in an area where they made the roads wide and then put in lots of tall speed bumps when traffic drove fast on the wide roads (shocking). So I'm a little bit concerned about ground clearance and whether I'll eventually scrape the bumpers loose. IMO lowering ground clearance is a way to cheat and get better fuel economy numbers while reducing the utility of the car and creating future repairs when one bumps a curb or parking lot bumper.

1. Absolutely. The most I've towed with my Gen2 was 2850 lbs, but only at 40 mph for a local scrap recycling run. I routinely towed 2000 lbs at 60 mph, 10% weight on the hitch of course. Keep in mind I do change my transmission fluid every 100k in my Priuses and Volt, but it's just like an oil change without a filter, it's stupid-easy. Remove a bolt to drain, re-insert the bolt and fill, done.

I was always certain the reason for giving cars 0 lbs tow ratings was to push sales for ugly School bUs Vehicles (see what I did there?), but an article similar to this one https://priuschat.com/threads/why-tow-ratings-are-different-in-the-eu-vs-the-us.165744/
taught me that Europe and US has very different ideals regarding towing.

European law is 60mph max and 3%-7% trailer weight on your tongue (increases towing capacity), because trailer sway oscillations (from wind and lane corrections) are ever increasing above that and you will lose control. US law is 10% on your hitch (decreases towing capacity), which is tested and proven for a pickup truck going 100mph and still decreasing oscillations.
Your vehicle weight vs trailer weight determines at what point oscillations will decrease or increase.

I'm not sure what you mean by visibility, I've towed with lots of cars and since they sit lower than trucks I can always see the whole trailer, all though I'm over 6ft tall... Prius, Volt, Model S are all liftbacks (hatchbacks) so you can open the hatch while backing up the trailer for a fantastic view.

2. Speed humps have infected Buffalo NY as well.
https://www.rochesterfirst.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/66/2019/12/SPEED-HUMPS.png?w=1280
The picture doesn't do it justice. These suckers are higher than the bumper on my Honda Fit. The signs recommend 15 mph but that would be insane, I've seen careless drivers "catch air" at perhaps 20mph; I crawled over one at 2 mph and the suspension made concerning noises. I flat out don't drive on any street with them now. Just like in the picture, when they install on a street they put them every 30 ft or so, overkill. The news reported they cost $2,000 each, and we still have countless roads cracking and destroyed with potholes with the same effect as these humps. Good use of our taxpayer money *eye roll*.

Anyways, they make them long enough that even subcompact cars can make it over the humps without scraping the bottom, you won't have a problem. But can you imagine trying to plow the snow from that street? Maybe every small street and driveway will get ignored this coming winter. Not as much of an issue now with global warming and less snow, haha.

Thanks everyone for your antecedents of snow tire wins, I smile as I read each one.
Good to know. I also suspect there is a correlation between American perceptions of towing capacity and the increase in interstate speed limits from 55mph in the 1970s to 75-85mph today. More tongue weight is needed to keep a trailer stable at faster speeds, so you need more vehicle to hold up that weight. Then there's the issue of braking from 85mph versus from 60mph. Our European peers are able to tow more with the same vehicles by not going as fast.

Maybe the secret of small-car towing capacity is to avoid American interstates? E.g. your experience pulling 2,850 lbs with a Prius might have been a scary experience at 85mph!

Just Joe

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Re: The $3700 Prius Experiment
« Reply #178 on: August 03, 2023, 08:40:23 AM »
Excellent assessment ChpBstrd.

I occasionally tow with a 1st gen (small) CRV. Think current HRV size. Mostly 500-750lbs loads. It does just fine at low speeds even towing a whole second car (done that several times too). At highway speeds there are many ways to die when the load equals the weight of the tow vehicle. Brake fade is also an important concern on the old 'V b/c the brakes are not substantial. Even when towing modest loads within the rated tow capacity but on mtn roads.

I've done highway speeds towing another car using that same CRV when I was younger and dumber and quickly realized all the ways that combo would kill us soon and slowed down to ~45 mph. A friend's car broke down along a country highway and they called me for a rescue b/c I owned a tow dolly.

If the load begins to drift, it will drag the light tow vehicle with it. I could feel the tow dolly pull the 'V rear axle side to side as we crested a hill and the load went from being pulled up a hill to pushing a little coasting down the hill. Not much weight on the tongue b/c - tow dolly.

It was a long ride home that day. None of us had much money back then so we helped each other out when we could.

These days if I tow much weight I use our larger second car. 5K tow rating. I installed a brake controller in it for our little popup camper too for extra safety and added brakes to the camper. Overkill. Nice to have when crawling over steep mtn roads and using the brakes often as we have done in the mtns of western NC. 

The short term risks with Prius as a tow vehicle would be physics. Longer term, be gentle with the transmission b/c they are light duty designs. I wouldn't worry about putting a trailer hitch on it to haul bicycles or a small utility trailer.

 

Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!