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Hollow sounding driver's door on just purchased used 04 prius

Hello Everyone,

I have been looking high and low for a Toyota Prius in the DC area for over 2 months and finally found a car for just the right price. It is a 2004 prius with 56,000 miles on it with package six. When I drove it there were no unusual road noises, the alignment was good and it accelerated and braked good. Having driven another prius (no totaled) for over a year, I knew the car ran well.

Since this is a fast market I had to make the decision to buy the car fast (although the dealer said no pressure, for the price I found it (< $12000) I knew the car wouldnt last too long. I checked the carfax and found no accidents. The car had been purchased and serviced at the same dealership and they said it was traded in 2-days ago for a new prius. It passed MD state inspection and does not have any bumps or visible damage to the body.

As I signed the paperwork and drove the car home to the burbs, I heard the noise when I shut the driver door. It sounded tinny. When I knocked on the driver side door, it sounds hollow.

I am worried about this. Did I just get sold a lemon? If so, can I exchange the car?

Help please :slight_smile:

Thanks in advance.

If the driver’s side door sounds different than the passenger side door, it could be that the driver’s side door may have been hit and either bumped out or replaced with an aftermarket part. If the door panel was bumped out, it is possible that some sound deadening material wasn’t replaced. It could be that the interior panel was removed for some reason and the paper water barrier wasn’t replaced.

I think I would remove or have someone remove the interior panel to be certain that this barrier is in place. If it isn’t, then replace it. If it is, put the panel back and don’t worry about it. You aren’t looking at big money here.

I agree.

I’d only add that while you have the door panel off you can if you’d like add some sound deadening material to the sheetmetal. You can buy this at the parts store. The most common is Dynamat, but there are othere brands. It’s easy to do and makes a big difference.

Agree. Carfax Or No Carfax, That Door Shell Could Have Been Damaged And Replaced. When I Managed A Body Shop And We Replaced A Door Shell (Factory Part) It Usually Sounded Tinny. Used Doors Solve That Problem.

Take a good look at the A-Pillar (hinge pillar), B-Pillar, hinges, roof, and rocker panel for evidence of repair or refinishing or have a body shop look at it. That could alleviate your concerns Often when a door is caved-in there is additional damage to the car.

Listen for wind noise and watch for water leaks.

$11,000 to $12,000 for a little car that’s 7 to almost 8 eight years old ( 04 production began summer 2003 ) sounds like a ton of money to me. Keep this car a couple of years and you’re driving a 10 year-old car !

I guess, but I’d never do it. There can be a lot of history to a car that’s that old.

Have a professional bodyman look it over for you. Many (most) shops should do this for free as they are trying to win future customers.


Thank you for the replies.
I have more information. I went to the service department today and asked to see the service records. They told me that the cars driver side motor was fixed in 2005. After that, on the service record, I have seen that there is a lot of “electric work” done, but I dont know exactly what it was. So, my question now is- is this car going to turn into a money pit. I am still within the 48h window, I can return the car and walk away from it. regardless of the amenities in the car, I am not sure I can afford $500 in repairs every other month.
Please advice

I think you are beyond mechanical/electrical questions here. I think you will be constantly worried about this car, no matter how many experts tell you it is OK.

I, myself, would worry about non-specific “electric work”. And I’m wondering what the heck is the “driver side motor” (maybe because I don’t know anything about Priuses).

Well, the frequency of repair record reported by subscribers of Consumer Reports and published in the most recent issue is favorable, so the odds are in your favor of the car not being a money pit. I have a friend who has 90,000 miles on a 2004 Prius and has had no problems. The car is a used car that is 7 years old, so it isn’t perfect. I think I would drive the car and not worry about it.

All car doors are hollow.

Does anyone know what are the Lemon laws in MD. Technically this vehicle may not be a lemon, but I want to know if I can return this vehicle within 48h.

Agreed… KBB Private Party for a 2004 Prius with 56k is $10,320 in my area…

On the other hand, a family member has a 2002 Prius. If it weren’t for the fact that Toyota stepped up and paid for a LOT of repairs outside of warranty, that car would have cost them about $5,500 in repairs so far, NOT including the rental car for the 6 continuous weeks it once spent in the shop…

Oh. When you said “I am still within the 48h window” I thought you knew that you had a right-of-return (maybe in your sales contract). For info on Maryland Lemon Law, go to MVA home page and type “lemon law” in the search window. Too many hits there for me to digest for you.

I’d guess tht the law does not give you a non-lemon right of return. You might have to take the expert advice here, and convince yourself to be satisfied with the car you thought you wanted.

You are right. I did the search after I put in the previous comment. I knew there were risks in buying a car (or anything for that matter). Its just up to one to decide what risks are worth it. Well, I know I am stuck with the car now and probably an expensive mistake at this point in my life. But nonetheless, a lesson learnt for the next time :slight_smile:

Post back after you have had the car for a month or so and let us know how it is working out. As you stated earlier, the dealer repaired a window lift motor in the door that has the hollow sound. I would pull off the left door panel and make certain that the water barrier is in place.

When you saw the unspecified “electrical repairs”, maybe the previous owner worked out all the gremlins for you. You bought the car you wanted, so give things a chance and enjoy the car.

Will do. I hope the same as well. RIght now I am beating myself up mentally for walking into something like this with my eyes open. I am mostly disappointed in myself that even though I knew all the rules of car buying, I couldnt put it into practice. THis is definitely keeping me from enjoying the car I wanted and I definitely wanted this car.

Three years ago, I went to Rural King to get parts for my lawnmower. A rescue organization was there with three 6 week old puppies that were litter mates. I had lost a dog to kidney failure three months earlier and came home with one of the puppies. After having the puppy for a couple of months, I found out that he was pretty badly spoiled. He has the qualities of Alexander Haig–he is in charge here. Am I beating myself up for getting the dog? No! I thought at the time I wanted the dog and I wouldn’t give him up for anything.
Don’t beat yourself up over the purchase. There are risks in buying a used car just as there are risks of adopting a puppy of unknown parentage (the mother dog was killed on the road which is why the rescue organization had the pups). However, the risks you took in buying the car certainly saved you money in depreciation costs over buying a new car, and all kidding aside, I have never regretted adopting the dog.