Review: My 2011 Prius turned 200K

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Originally Posted by The Critic
Originally Posted by spasm3
How many of those miles were with the engine running vs electric power?
Originally Posted by Marco620
Good question!!!
... The gas engine is always running at speeds over 42 mph and during moderate to heavy acceleration at any speed.
The answer to that question is not nearly as simple as non-owners tend to assume, and would depend on details of your definitions. Critic's reply is about as good as any equally brief answer. Should we assume "electric power" in the question means energy coming from the battery, considering part of the power from the engine is handled through an electrical route, even at times when net current to the battery is zero? How are you going to count miles the car is rolling downhill or coasting with no power supplied by engine or battery? Bottom line, ALL the energy to make the wheels go 'round comes from the engine, directly or indirectly. At ~107k, my same-age Prius has had very few problems so far, all minor body issues. I'd consider head gasket failure at only 185k in a well-maintained, non-abused vehicle evidence of inexcusably poor engineering.
 
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I enjoy high mileage stories and really appreciate it when an owner makes the effort to keep a car going and take it the distance. Having said that, two things detract from this high mileage story...the head gasket...and the hybrid battery. Those are two big repairs. The hybrid battery from Toyota being $2,500 and I imagine the head gasket repair being somewhere close to that. That's a good $5,000 in out of pocket, unexpected repairs. I can live with the struts, water pumps, control arms, fluids, EGR cleaning, PCV replacement...but head gaskets, hybrid battery and even an intermediate shaft, shouldn't happen until that thing is reaching 300k or more. IMO. But good story, love the commitment. Take it to 400k without major issue and get that money back.
 
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Originally Posted by CR94
Should we assume "electric power" in the question means energy coming from the battery, considering part of the power from the engine is handled through an electrical route, even at times when net current to the battery is zero? How are you going to count miles the car is rolling downhill or coasting with no power supplied by engine or battery? Bottom line, ALL the energy to make the wheels go 'round comes from the engine, directly or indirectly.
"They" say you can run an engine at 80% load and 80% of redline nearly forever. Prii don't run that hard more than a few percent of the time, unless you have a mountain to climb daily. But if the engine's rotating it's more often doing something. Maybe 30% power at 1600 RPM. But it rarely idles doing nothing, which lets gas wash down the rings etc. The only design disappointment is they don't engine brake, so there isn't super-high vacuum to help the rings. I'm saddened that Critic changed his antifreeze so frequently and still had HG issues. Nature vs nurture-- design defect.
 
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HG job? IMO, if that was the only thing it needed... I still wouldn't be impressed. Sounds like a lot of work to me. I thought all cars went 200k without issues? Not that I've had many do that... My VW certainly didn't! smile But seriously, my wife's Camry is about to hit 200k and it's had... a set of brakes and a couple of alignments, and the battery was proactively replaced. One flat tire but I'm not sure if that is the car's fault or not (it did strand the car). It does have a rattle in the rear on bumps, so I'm guessing it's due for work. But nothing else I've owned has done that. Maybe the mantra should be, no repairs before 100k, then only x dollars before 200k, and the sky is the limit afterwards?
 
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Awesome report. That's an amazing amount of miles considering there is a lot of start and stop going on with a hybrid. I am sure you have saved a lot of money on gas and hopefully you can make it another 100,000 or more miles. I like reading these high mileage reports. I would buy the rebuilt battery and give it a try when yours finally gives up.
 
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Why the frequent brake fluid flushing? Every 30k miles seems very excessive. Is this something needed on Toyota hybrids?
 
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So, the only real hybrid piece needing replacement is the battery pack for $2500.00? Considering that this HEV saved you probably $8-10K in fuel costs over 200K at CA gas prices as compared to a conventional gasser of similar interior volume, that seems pretty reasonable.
 
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Originally Posted by eljefino
... Prii don't run that hard more than a few percent of the time, unless you have a mountain to climb daily. But if the engine's rotating it's more often doing something. Maybe 30% power at 1600 RPM. But it rarely idles doing nothing, which lets gas wash down the rings etc. The only design disappointment is they don't engine brake, so there isn't super-high vacuum to help the rings. I'm saddened that Critic changed his antifreeze so frequently and still had HG issues. Nature vs nurture-- design defect.
At low-to-moderate speeds, the engine produces considerably less torque than a similar size normal modern engine, therefore must spin faster to get you up the mountain you mention. According to the engine performance plot for 3rd generation Prius, only 21% of peak power is available at 1600 RPM. Yes, the engine's usually "doing something" when rotating, in the sense of producing moderate torque most of the time. It normally never runs with a light load. Notable exceptions are when it's warming up, and coasting at speeds above forty-something, when the wheels spin the engine slowly with no fuel injected. That amounts to light "engine braking." Selecting "B" with the transmission joystick while descending that mountain yields much stronger engine braking, especially if the battery is "full" and you're on the brake pedal. Yeah, I too wondered why so many coolant changes. Toyota recommends the first change at 100k, and subsequent ones every 50k.
 
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The Critic

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Originally Posted by Railrust
I enjoy high mileage stories and really appreciate it when an owner makes the effort to keep a car going and take it the distance. Having said that, two things detract from this high mileage story...the head gasket...and the hybrid battery. Those are two big repairs. The hybrid battery from Toyota being $2,500 and I imagine the head gasket repair being somewhere close to that. That's a good $5,000 in out of pocket, unexpected repairs. I can live with the struts, water pumps, control arms, fluids, EGR cleaning, PCV replacement...but head gaskets, hybrid battery and even an intermediate shaft, shouldn't happen until that thing is reaching 300k or more. IMO. But good story, love the commitment. Take it to 400k without major issue and get that money back.
The hybrid battery is still original. The HG was replaced due to a failure.
Originally Posted by Leo99
Why the frequent brake fluid flushing? Every 30k miles seems very excessive. Is this something needed on Toyota hybrids?
Lexus specifies brake fluid replacements on their vehicles every 3 years or 30K miles - it is in the owners manual. Many brands spec similar intervals. When using DOT3 brake fluid it is probably not necessary to replace at this frequency, but it is inexpensive and not an unreasonable maintenance item.
Originally Posted by fdcg27
So, the only real hybrid piece needing replacement is the battery pack for $2500.00? Considering that this HEV saved you probably $8-10K in fuel costs over 200K at CA gas prices as compared to a conventional gasser of similar interior volume, that seems pretty reasonable.
The hybrid battery pack is original. It was reconditioned a few times for maintenance but the benefits were minimal at best.
Originally Posted by CR94
Yeah, I too wondered why so many coolant changes. Toyota recommends the first change at 100k, and subsequent ones every 50k.
Not sure if I would trust the 100K initial coolant change. Toyota specs 50K on subsequent changes. Service fill and factory fill are the same plus the specified coolant replacement procedure removes most of the coolant. This is why I have always used 50K-60K as the service interval for coolant.
 
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Originally Posted by The Critic
Originally Posted by stockrex
Good report, I have been eyeing a used ones, not sure why though. Yikes, 4k for a head gasket job? wow, what was the reason for failure? heat warping?
Toyota wants the subframe dropped for the head gasket repair so the labor time reflects this. Labor rates are $150-$200/hr here. The HG issue is common on the Gen 3 Prius 1.8L (10-15) at high mileage. No one knows why, but there have been some theories about it being related to the EGR.
May you share the theory of why the EGR system is the culprit of a head gasket failure?
 

The Critic

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Originally Posted by painfx
May you share the theory of why the EGR system is the culprit of a head gasket failure?
Some people think a clogged EGR cooler will increase cylinder temperature and cause the head gasket to fail prematurely.
 
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Time to upgrade to a 2019 VOLT before they are all gone? 54 left on autotrader in new condition.
 
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Originally Posted by Leo99
Why the frequent brake fluid flushing? Every 30k miles seems very excessive. Is this something needed on Toyota hybrids?
You'd be surprised. My father's 2019 VW Passat wants a brake fluid change every two years. My Golf every 3. I'm guessing it's just the new types of brake fluid or something.
 
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All seems like basic maintenance to keep a car lasting for a long time. Although some of them seem a little excessive. Shocks and struts replaced twice? Coolant replaced 5 times over 200k miles? I understand your reasoning, but I felt that you could have easily stretched those intervals a little longer. With that kind of maintenance regimen you could probably get that Prius to 500k miles.
 
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