CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Used parts for a Prius gear shifter assembly?

I have a 2001 Toyota Prius and need a gear shifter assembly. The dealer wants to charge $630. I am considering searching for a used part. Since I am not a DIYer, I will need the dealer or an independent shop to install the part.

Is this the sort of part that makes to buy used? Is it likely to be safe? Will it be difficult to get someone to install it?

Alternately, I could buy a new Toyota part online. I have done this before with small parts. If I go this route, is there anything to watch out for?

I found this thread that might interest you.

Thanks for pointing out this thread on replacing gear shift levers. Unfortunately, that thread was for a second generation Prius which has a small joy stick as a gear shift lever. The lever on the 2001 Prius is quite different and much more conventional.

IMO one of the worst things you can do is go shopping for a part then go shopping for someone to install it. The mechanic will take no responsibility for a used part and you will likely pay more for the labor. Also, if this shifter has failed because of a design flaw any used replacement will likely have the same flaw. I would start by going back to the dealer. Ask if the new shifter is a modified design, and ask if they would install a used one. Then get get some advice from an independent mechanic. Even if they recommend a new part you might save some money on the labor. If you plan on keeping the car a long time it might be best to pony up the bucks for a new shifter.

I agree 100% with MTraveler, and did not mean to suggest that. The link I provided included installation instructions and described it as a simple DIY project, which in reviewing the link it seemed to be. I’ve never personally done one.

If I misled you, I spologize.

What about the strategy of buying a new Toyota part online and having the local dealer install it?

Same deal as MTraveler described. Except more so. Your dealership may be required by its franchise agreement to use only parts from the company distribution system. IMHO that’s legit, because it ensures that any parts used in repairing a vehicle by the dealer, which respresents the manufacturer’s name, are OEM parts and not parts of lesser quality.