2001 Prius: Sell or keep driving?



Should I sell this car or drive it into the ground? Pros I see: 145K, runs well, dependable, good to drive, 40 mpg ave. Cons: Local mechanic can only do simple maintenance, check engine light turning on more regularly, 2 different dealers’ mechanics advise HUGE repairs (new catalytic converter, new computer, $3K)saying the mpg will start to go down soon, will stop running so well. Any advice, useful experiences to share, ideas on how easy it would be to sell? Input on how long before battery becomes an issue? Thanks.


I would wait personally and then access. The depreciation year to year now is not high and miles is not a large of a factor. Do nothing approch may never cost you except maintenance and possible repair. A new Prius is north of $20k, thats a lot of maintenance/repairs!


If you tell the prospective buyer it needs that much put into it to make it run right, they’ll either walk, or drop their offer by that much, or more. How many car payments is $3000?


I agree, in general it is better to hold onto your current car until the repair costs exceed it’s value. I would hold onto it until it actually needs work then decide if the repair is less expensive than the replacement cost. You have already “spent” much more than $3000 in initial depreciation.


I own a 2007 Prius which I believe has a different generation battery and charging system. Toyota gaurantees these new Prius hybrid systems for 7 years or 150K miles. That’s not to say that at 7 years all sorts of problems begin to happen. However, I think you have to assume that the hybrid system and specifically, the battery, could begin to require very costly repairs in the next couple of years. The long and short question I would ask is how much money would you be willing to put in this vehicle, yearly, for the next few years ???


Before making a decision, see what you can get for a trade-in on another Prius (assuming that is what you would get for a new car). Besides the repairs you mentioned, I would worry about having to replace the batteries - now that seems like it would be expensive. I think your batteries are long out of warranty. You may want to avoid the financial risk of keeping it if the cost of a new one minus your trade seems worth it to you. I tend to keep cars a long time (10+ years) and it is the cost of the batteries of a hybrid that makes me hesitate to get a hybrid (and may be why Toyota felt that had to extend the warranty on the batteries).


There are a few independent shops which are capable in automotive electronic and electric systems. I think the dealers’ mechanics aren’t. Automotive computers have a very low failure rate. In other words, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the computers in your car.
There are too many mechanics who do their diagnosis by symptoms, only. There are simple, and sophisticated, test equipment which, when used in capable hands, can save a lot of useless parts changing.
A DTC (Diagnostic Trouble Code) is set, in the computer(s), when the “check engine light” is turned on. This DTC means that a problem has been found in a particular circuit, not that a sensor, or other component, is defective. The skillful use of that (dusty) test equipment is necessary to determine where the fault actually is.