Some bloke emailed me that he is looking at a used (‘second hand’) Prius 2011 with 60k km on it, and if there’s anything that he should look out for before deciding to purchase it. Here’s my reply to him:
Prius 2011 has one very common problem – ‘Check Hybrid System’. It’s an error message that pops up halfway through your driving – won’t stall, can continue driving, but at reduced power and no hybrid.
Cause ranges from defective 12v AUX battery, to the inverter, to the Hybrid battery itself. Most problems seen on high mileage 2011 models, before the infamous Toyota Prius recall (to flash the firmware). My theory is, the 2011 high mileage models could have already sustained damage to the transistor (too late) for the recall, or simply it wasn’t flashed right at Toyota SC (some users complained abnormal charging behavior or driving experience). Toyota has this under warranty (8 years). Since the unit you’re interested is somewhat low mileage, I’d say it’s low risk (but check with the owner anyway if he/she had the car flashed at Toyota SC, and make sure you test drive the car with ECO/PWR mode disabled).
Maintenance: No worries. It’s very economic. My 2012 model is approaching 90k km, no brake pad change, no 12v AUX battery change, no ATF change, and only brake fluid change once. Parts are expensive but so are other makers. Remember, Prius isn’t marketed as a ‘fuel economic’ vehicle – it’s supposed to be a ‘green vehicle’ (although being ‘fuel economic’ is one of the advantage of being green). Prius isn’t that economic when you do a lot of short commute (of less than 10km per trip) with frequent start/stop.
If you need more info, you can request to join this closed group at Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/priusgang/
Lots of info inside, updated daily by Prius owners on their experiences.
It’s a closed group, just mention to the admin that you’re interested to buy a 2011 Prius and you’re here to seek more interaction from owners.
One thing I forgot to mention though, is to look out for sleazy previous owners. If you’re getting it from a dealer, be sure to check the battery vent at the driver side of the rear seat. Check for thick dust build up or signs of tampering there. Thick dust build up on the vent (or inside the vent) is an indication of a potential overheated hybrid battery which could have a shorter life. You can be a bitch about it but no harm checking. Reason is simple – just read this post about notebook computer overheating issue I’ve written before here – the same principle applies. A clean a vent is an indication of lowered risk.