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2004 Prius - Repair or Sell? #5113414 05/23/19 11:57 AM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 20,985
The Critic Offline OP
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Posts: 20,985
I have a customer with a 04 Prius with 140K. They are the second owners of the vehicle.

The car is in average shape for 140K and they recently installed new tires. It needs a hybrid battery ($2400 installed, new from dealer) and a 12V battery ($200 installed).

For better or for worse, the car has been extremely reliable for them. It has not experienced any of the “typical” Gen 2 Prius issues. Which only means that the issues are coming. Hard to say. The only expensive one is the Brake Actuator ($2k-ish) and there is a 50/50 chance that this issue may come up.

In our area, a working 04 Prius would sell for about $5K. A non-working one should sell for $1K-$1.5K depending on the day.

Would you fix or sell?


2011 Toyota Prius 1.8L - 195K - Idemitsu ZEPRO Adv. Moly 0W-20
2007 Honda Accord 2.4 - 138K - Mobil 1 EP HM 5W-30
Re: 2004 Prius - Repair or Sell? [Re: The Critic] #5113418 05/23/19 12:05 PM
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addyguy Offline
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Ditch it.


2010 Kia Soul 2U - 2.0L I-4, auto; 145k miles.
Castrol GTX HM 5W-30, STP blue bottle; Fram TG 9688.

2009 Pontiac G5 - 2.2 I-4, auto, 121k miles.
Oil/filter TBD
Re: 2004 Prius - Repair or Sell? [Re: The Critic] #5113419 05/23/19 12:07 PM
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Farnsworth Offline
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Replace the 12v battery and see what happens would be my starting point. I think Priuses have been sold cheap because only the 12v failed and the owners don't know that makes a mess out of everything until it is replaced.

Re: 2004 Prius - Repair or Sell? [Re: Farnsworth] #5113422 05/23/19 12:09 PM
Joined: Aug 2004
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The Critic Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Farnsworth
Replace the 12v battery and see what happens would be my starting point. I think Priuses have been sold cheap because only the 12v failed and the owners don't know that makes a mess out of everything until it is replaced.

The freeze frame data showed block 7 to have a >1v variance. Despite the dying 12v battery, it definitely needs needs a new hybrid battery.


2011 Toyota Prius 1.8L - 195K - Idemitsu ZEPRO Adv. Moly 0W-20
2007 Honda Accord 2.4 - 138K - Mobil 1 EP HM 5W-30
Re: 2004 Prius - Repair or Sell? [Re: The Critic] #5113424 05/23/19 12:11 PM
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JohnnyJohnson Offline
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My Stealership currently replace the 12 volt battery with a 84 month battery for $129 installed.


2004 Corolla 134866
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Re: 2004 Prius - Repair or Sell? [Re: The Critic] #5113425 05/23/19 12:11 PM
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Donald Offline
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No aftermarket batteries available?


2015 Subaru Forester 2.5 engine/CVT
2015 Ford F250 w/Powerstroke
2016 Subaru Crosstrek CVT (wife's)
Re: 2004 Prius - Repair or Sell? [Re: Donald] #5113428 05/23/19 12:17 PM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 20,985
The Critic Offline OP
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Joined: Aug 2004
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Originally Posted by JohnnyJohnson
My Stealership currently replace the 12 volt battery with a 84 month battery for $129 installed.

Those promos usually exclude the Prius 12v battery; the dealer’s cost on them is well past $150.

Originally Posted by Donald
No aftermarket batteries available?

The aftermarket batteries with new Chinese cells is within $200 of a new battery from Toyota. Rebuilt aftermarket batteries have an astronomical failure rate; my supplier said they have a warranty rate of almost 50%.


2011 Toyota Prius 1.8L - 195K - Idemitsu ZEPRO Adv. Moly 0W-20
2007 Honda Accord 2.4 - 138K - Mobil 1 EP HM 5W-30
Re: 2004 Prius - Repair or Sell? [Re: The Critic] #5113473 05/23/19 01:03 PM
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 14,145
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supton Offline
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Man, tough one. Sounds like the question should be, could the customer stomach dropping $2,500 this month, then another $2k next month if the brake actuator dies, and then say another $2k after that? Granted, $5k is about all that they could be shelling out (realistically) over the next few months over common failure items (whatever they may be). If they can pay that without flinching, then that's cheaper than a new car. If that irks them, and they would rather drop the coin on a new(er) car, then it's time to move on. If they like to gamble, well, have fun.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 187k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 153k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 209k, his
Re: 2004 Prius - Repair or Sell? [Re: The Critic] #5113478 05/23/19 01:06 PM
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AuthorEditor Offline
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Never worth spending the value of the car on repairs. For $5000 they could get a non-Prius that would serve them for many, many years with no major repairs.

Re: 2004 Prius - Repair or Sell? [Re: The Critic] #5113483 05/23/19 01:10 PM
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vw7674 Offline
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I gotta see this $2,000 brake actuator. : )

Re: 2004 Prius - Repair or Sell? [Re: vw7674] #5113489 05/23/19 01:14 PM
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BMWTurboDzl Offline
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Originally Posted by vw7674
I gotta see this $2,000 brake actuator. : )


It's a BMW part that's why it's so expensive liar

OP: Dump the car for scrap. I bet the battery back is worth more than $1k.

Last edited by BMWTurboDzl; 05/23/19 01:15 PM.

“It took untold generations to get you where you are. A little gratitude might be in order. If you’re going to insist on bending the world to your way, you better have your reasons.”

435i
Re: 2004 Prius - Repair or Sell? [Re: The Critic] #5113495 05/23/19 01:21 PM
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Chris142 Offline
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It's useless with the bad hybrid battery? Can't even drive it on gas alone? If so I would fix it.. $2600 and you have a relatively low milage Toyota?

I'm sure that some tree hugger will buy it for the $5k.


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Re: 2004 Prius - Repair or Sell? [Re: The Critic] #5113496 05/23/19 01:22 PM
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dtownfb Offline
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Is there anyway to check the brake actuator?

supton brings up good points.

You are talking about a 15 year old car. No matter how reliable, other parts could need replacing. If you are confident that what you identified are the only big ticket items and there is a good mechanic to fix the small items, I would replace the battery and keep driving it. My guess is even a year from now, the selling price will still be $5k with a new factory battery and only 150k miles. These Prius have gone well over 300k without too many issues. Plus it's in California so rust should been minimal or not an issue.

Not unless your customer is itching for a new car......I would still fix it then sell it.


2006 Toyota Camry
2013 Toyota Sienna
2015 Toyota Camry
Re: 2004 Prius - Repair or Sell? [Re: Chris142] #5113519 05/23/19 01:41 PM
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eljefino Offline
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Originally Posted by Chris142
It's useless with the bad hybrid battery? Can't even drive it on gas alone? If so I would fix it.. $2600 and you have a relatively low milage Toyota?

I'm sure that some tree hugger will buy it for the $5k.


Yeah you need the hybrid battery to kick the gas engine over. A semi-bad one will turn on every dash light then the gas engine revs to the moon and gets 25 MPG.

Re: 2004 Prius - Repair or Sell? [Re: The Critic] #5113520 05/23/19 01:42 PM
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rshaw125 Offline
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Replacement batteries are no where near $2000. This vehicle could be a great deal for a resourceful person.


2012 Porsche Carrera S
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2002 Taurus Vulcan SOLD
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