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Prius Trade-In Gone Wrong

Hi Everyone,
I recently posted a problem with my 2007 Toyota Prius, and I received some valuable feedback… thanks to all who responded. I have decided to trade in my Prius.
My Toyota Dealer Mechanic advised me to unplug the battery and then plug it back in before trading it in to a dealership. He said that unplugging and re-plugging the battery would make the engine check light turn off temporarily. I did this (with the guidance of the Chilton Repair Manual), and now when I turn the Prius on, not only does the engine check light still come on, but ALL of the warning lights come on, and I cannot put the car into drive! I was planning on trading it in tomorrow morning, and now I can’t even drive my car! What should I do!?

Which battery did you disconnect? The 12 volt starting battery or the high-voltage storage battery?

As it was instructed in the Chilton Repair Manual, to disconnect the high-voltage battery, one first has to disconnect the negative terminal from the 12-volt battery, and then disconnect the high-voltage battery. This is what I did.

You should have only disconnected the 12 volt battery. The computers are powered by the 12 volt system, this would have cleared the memory. Now you have a hybrid problem preventing you from driving the car. Recheck the high voltage connector, be sure it is locked and the service plug is installed.

BTW you must use insulated service gloves when working with the high voltage battery.

Be sure the front wheels are straight before disconnecting/connecting a battery on a late model vehicle to avoid the “steering angle sensor out of calibration” fault.

On second thought you should have this car towed to shop capable of working on hybrids. You servived one near death experience (tampering with the high voltage battery), I don’t know if you’ll get lucky twice.

KARMA! (or is that CARMA!)

You tried to misrepresent a fault on a car you were going to trade in and now you are going to pay the price. If you insist on pushing on, a FACTORY shop manual may detail the correct procedure for disconnecting / connecting both batteries…and or clearing the warning light constellation that now illuminates your dashboard… Good Luck…

I’ll agree with the last two here.

I can’t help you but will only add that you should never trust a Chiltons manual and what goes around, comes around.

Boy, this, along with the $900 headlight problems, really makes me want to run right out and buy a Prius. I can’t wait 'till the dealer opens in the morning.

Thanks for all of your comments. Yes, Karma. I deserved it… but seriously, the lead Toyota mechanic advised me to do it. And I don’t feel bad about trying to be deceitful to a dealership… they make a living out of ripping people off. I would NEVER do this if I was selling it to an private buyer.
Anyway, I traded the car in today. Very happy with getting rid of the Prius, a car that had so many problems, I bought it brand new, I only had it serviced at Toyota, and for 6 months they continued to tell me nothing was wrong with the vehicle when I was losing tremendous amounts of oil and the acceleration dropped down to 25 mph driving up a mountain just to get home. I’m done with Toyota. Good riddance.
By the way, I had the car towed to Toyota this morning, and they rebooted the system. Engine check light did not come back on before the trade-in, and as far as I’m concerned, Toyota told me nothing was wrong with the vehicle. I actually paid them to tell me this, so I don’t feel guilty (maybe a little) about trading it.
Thanks for everyone’s help here.

"they make a living out of ripping people off."
I believe some people in auto sales feel they are providing a service but they would like to make the most profit as possible. Personally I don’t care to do business with car dealers.

Telling you there was nothing wrong with your car; it is difficult to tell someone they need a new engine without good evidence.

Did you buy another daffodil or something better suited for mountain grades?

Granted, some car dealers or salesmen, are weasels and will lie about a car with a problem. However, I consider these type to be in in the minority.

What goads their bad reputation along is that they take cars in trade or purchase cars at auction that may have not noticeable at the time problems or problems that were covered up by the person who was trading the car in.
When a buyer purchases a used car and that hidden problem rears its ugly head then the buyer usually assumes the dealer knew all about it and is a thief of the highest order.

As an old boss of mine used to say, “The general public taught me everything I know”.
He repeated this phrase quite often after discovering that someone had stuffed a motor full of STP oil treatment to shut up knocking bearings, crammed the rear axle full of sawdust, and so on before driving it down to the lot to trade it off.

Maybe I missed it but what did you trade it in on? You said you went back to the Toyota dealer . . . you didn’t get another Prius did you? I’ve heard a lot of complaints about hybrids in general and the Prius from my neighbor . . . what did you get? Rocketman

Good luck on your next vehicle.

Every car maker has a few lemon and problem children. Its just the way it works. Fortunately odds are you will get something decent irrelevant to brand and model.

So what kind of vehicle did you buy?

Hey Jon, what are you going to replace it with?

@Jon29–“And I don’t feel bad about trying to be deceitful to a dealership… they make a living out of ripping people off”.
I believe a dealer, as a businessman, has a right to a profit and the dealer’s employees have a right to make a living. I have dealt with a number of dealers. If I feel that the dealer isn’t on the up and up, I walk out.
Some years back, when my first wife was living, we drove 50 miles to visit her sister. At the time, we were looking for a newer car. My first wife thought she wanted an AMC Gremilin. We pulled into a Dodge dealer where I had never visited before because my wife at the time spotted a Gremlin on the lot. While we were looking at the car, a salesman came up and his first words were “You don’t want that car. It’s a piece of junk”. He then asked us what we were looking for. When we told him that we wanted a compact car with bucket seats, power steering, preferably with air conditioning and power steering, he steered us to a 1971 Maverick Grabber that the dealership had just received on a trade. They allowed me to drive the car 50 miles back home to my mechanic for a check out. I returned with the car and a check for the agreed upon price. Four years later, I was returning from a visit with my wife’s sister and the Maverick overheated. I was right by the dealership so I pulled in. The service department made emergency repairs to get me home and there was no charge.
I disagree with you about dealerships. I would feel bad about being deceitful to a dealership.

Salespeople make their living on commission. The lower the price they can pay for a trade and the higher the price they can get on a sale, the better their income. I don’t begrudge them a decent living. But they have to earn it from me. I go in knowing what the car cost them and what incentives are available. They get a few hundred bucks from me, but nothing near MSRP. You have to counter their excellent knowledge of the market with good knowledge of the market on your side. I never left a dealer after a sale where the salesman was unhappy. But maybe not as happy as he might have been.

I research the price of a car before I visit a dealer whether I am looking for a new car or a used car. If I want to dispose of a car, I don’t disclose that I want to trade the car. I negotiate the best price for the car I am interested in buying. When and if we agree on a price, I then ask the dealer if he would like to buy my car. There are always two transactions in a trade–you are buying a car from the dealer and the dealer is buying a car from you. Most of the time, the dealer doesn’t want my trade-in and that is fine. One time, I was replacing my Ford Aerostar and had negotiated a good price on a new Windstar. I then asked the dealer if he was interested in buying the Aerostar. He then offered me more than what I would have sold it to a private party.