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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I see few 2002/2003 prius for sale in my area with 200K+ milages under $2K and needing battery replacement. The battery replacement (swap) service around $1K including rebuilt battery and labor/parts.

What should I look out for for 10 year old 200K mileage Prius?
 

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If possible, see if you can find a hybrid garage that can put in a battery from the Gen 2 Prius. It's a bit more powerful and possibly cheaper as they are more Gen 2s and there should be more used batteries around in good condition.

- Note that the Gen 1 uses XL (extra load) tires so keep that in mind when replacing those.
- Check the 12V battery and see if it's been replaced recently

Note that if the battery is low, the 1st Gen Prius will go into "Turtle Mode" and you'll see a little illuminated turtle on the dash. Typically won't happen unless you plan on crossing the Rockies or Appalachians regularly with a full trunk. Newer Prii are capable of maintaining speed without the battery's help on the highway.

Here are a few things I found from a Gen 1 owner:

The more salty your winters are, the more you need to exercise the parking brake cable and inspect the condition of all brake hardware wrt corrosion. This is a downside to friction brakes with a very low duty cycle! Absent that, anticipate 200k brake life or more. But, as with all hydraulics, the fluid will absorb water over time and one should enlist the help of a competent brake shop to confirm that you are not above 1% water. Fluid replacement otherwise.


For (nearly) all NHW11 used buyers, find out if the HV battery resealing and crankshaft position sensor have been done. Free by Toyota with no sunset. The most common squawks are ECM and power steering replacement, both of which should have been done (by now) under warranty for affected vehicles. Some bad accelerator pedals before VIN ... 45000.


This thread could help:

http://priuschat.com/threads/who-should-and-should-not-buy-a-2001-03-prius.110701/
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for quick reply.

What would be MPG difference between 2002/2003 and 2004/2005 models with similar mileage around 200K?

The reason is I am seeing 2004/2005 around $5K and sometimes few hundred less. Wonder if extra $2K can payoff in year or two... Also may need rebuilt battery in some case for extra $1K.

Cheers,
 

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Thanks for quick reply.

What would be MPG difference between 2002/2003 and 2004/2005 models with similar mileage around 200K?

The reason is I am seeing 2004/2005 around $5K and sometimes few hundred less. Wonder if extra $2K can payoff in year or two... Also may need rebuilt battery in some case for extra $1K.

Cheers,
The difference when new is significant due to the improvements in the engine (same engine but tweaked) as well as a better NiMH battery. When new, the differences between the Gen 1 and Gen 2, adjusted for the new EPA testing is 5mpg at the combined mpg number.

Consumer Reports tested a 10 year old 2002 Prius with 206,000 miles and achieved nearly the same mpg and nearly the same 0-60 time as the 2001 Prius they tested when it was new.

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/2011/february/cars/toyota-prius/overview/index.htm

As much as the Gen 1 owners may hate me for saying this, the Gen 2 is a better car. It's roomier (midsize vs. compact), more practical (hatchback + fold flat rear seats), more powerful (110hp vs. 98hp), better mpg (46 combined vs. 41), more safety features (available VSC and seat-side & side curtain airbags vs. optional seat-side airbags) and probably more parts available just by the sheer number of vehicles that were sold if you need a spare part. It also uses regular 185/65R15 tires, the same as any Corolla of that era.
 

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Noticed from CS report that 2001-2003 model only give ~32MPG in City. Is this typo? It seems low for Prius...
Given that they got 46mpg with the Gen 2, I'm not surprised. They're pretty hard on their vehicles, almost like C/D lol. I'm guessing you'll be closer to 40mpg but keep in mind what the EPA numbers were like for other cars in the early 2000s. The Camry 4 cylinder would've been in the low 20s (city) and a Corolla 1.8 would be close to 30mpg city.
 
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