Mystery(ies): What are these toggle switches for?

I’m considering buying a used 07 Prius, 124K miles. I test drove it this weekend and it seemed fine, but there were some modifications I didn’t understand - and current owner said they were on the car when he bought it, but he doesn’t know what they’re for either. First: 2 toggle switches (and hole drilled for possibly a third switch) on the panel just over the emergency brake (see pic). Second: two (slightly off-center) holes drilled in the panel under the CD/radio (see pic).

I haven’t run it through CarFax or similar VIN check yet and I haven’t had it checked by my own mechanic yet - both of which I would do before I buy a used vehicle - but I wanted to know if anyone might know what these are for and if they might be a red flag of some sort.

A few other notes about the car: The current owner has only had it for 7 months and says he wants to sell it to get a different kind of vehicle. Two wheels have been replaced, both on the driver side. The driver side mirror needs to be replaced (currently taped on). The ad for the car says it has 128K miles, but the odometer only reads 124K.


Those switches could mean someone went nuts with some add-ons such as lighting, etc or a means of bypassing some problems.

The 2 wheel replacement on the same side would also be a concern as that could mean someone broadsided a curb or slid sideways into a ditch. That in turn could mean bent suspension components or a tweaked chassis.

Carfax does not always show the full history of a car so it’s not the final word. My opinion is that it might be best to walk away from this one unless it’s determined beyond all doubt those switches are essentially benign and there is no chassis damage. And the right price of course.

Walk away.

There will be another Prius that will be a good deal. The toggle switches are odd, but two wheels replaced on one side are a huge red flag. Tires should be replaced in pairs on the same axle not one on each axle. A busted mirror on the same side as the replaced tires??? The current owner wants to on load it after 7 months??? This has too many little things adding up to big problems.

They should pay you to take this thing. The taped mirror would have been enough for me to look elsewhere.

I agree. There are some issues unidentified. Who knows about the switches. A friend bought a 64 highway patrol car and it had switches in it like that. One of them was for shutting the tail lights off to not be noticed parked. Who knows what the car was used for.

I’d pass, somebody messed with the electrical system on a car that has a VERY expensive electrical system. Why take a risk? And that’s before the ‘two wheels replaced’ red flag.

Agreed with the others. If the owner can’t tell me what the switch does, AND does not let me inspect how it is wired, I pass. I’m not going to pay money to inherit someone else’s shoddy wiring.

I have seen Prius cars used as taxicabs in big cities, so perhaps the switches were used to turn on the taxicab sign. Also, the Prius may have been used for Pizza delivery and the switch was for a,lighted sign on top the car.

Walk away. When an owner (usually someone who knows nothing of what they are doing) tinkers with a vehicle…it usually comes back to bite the next owner. Don’t become that next owner.

A previous owner did that. Ask the current owner if they know why the switches and holes are there.

I would also pass on this car.

“What are these toggle switches for?”

They are there to tell you to look for a less-flawed Prius.
Whether those switches were for roof lights, or for…God only knows what else…the bottom line is that one of the previous owners screwed-around with the electrical system on a car that has an extremely complex electrical system.

Run away from this “deal”, and seek something without such obvious flaws.

Used cars are like commuter buses.
If you miss one, another one will be along shortly.

One more nail in the coffin - those switches couldn’t be cheaper, a few bucks at Radio Shack. Not what I’d want to add to my car.

The seller more than likely knows a lot more than they’re wanting to reveal about this car. Playing ignorant is not that rare when car sales are involved.

I agree wth the others. Do yourself a huge favor and forget about this car.

Run like the dickens. My reasons have already been illuminated by others.

I’d want a good discount, but I wouldn’t rule it out altogether just b/c of the toggle switches and mounting holes. I suspect one of the prior owners was a scientist or engineer type who had some kind of home-brew electronic gadgets attached, probably to monitor the hybrid’s performance in various driving situations.

As a teenager I had an early 60’s Ford sedan econo-box and wired in a circuit, some switches and knobs on the dash, that turned the windshield wipers on an off at a very slow rate, for use when it was raining, but not very much rain. And I added a switch to the low voltage side of the ignition coil, so I could disable the engine if I wanted, sort of a pin-head beer-budget car security system.

I think that I’d be more worried about the wheel replacement reason than the switch issues. Both on the same side would cause me to think that someone went sliding into something and if the impact was hard enough to ruin 2 wheels I suspect that a number of things attached to those wheels did not escape unscathed.

It wasn’t that many months ago snow and ice along with flooding was present in many parts of the country. The seller has had the car 7 months and this is July so from January on it’s open season on sliding for the first 3 or 4 months anyway depending upon location.
Wonder if this is another one of those Craigslist Specials.

George, you may be right… the prior owner may have had an N2O system hooked up… {:slight_smile:
Can you say “BOOM”?

A bottle of nitrous? On a Prius? That’s a sleeper in many ways.

lol …