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2006 HV battery dead - unlucky or average? What options?


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I've got a 2006 Prius, purchased in 2010 with about 80k on the clock, now up to 195k.  Was delighted and a bit smug and several friends/colleagues have purchased on my recommendation.

Then out of the blue yesterday all the warning lights came on (engine shape and !) so I drove it to my usual Toyota service place (seemed a bit sluggish accelerating but only really once).  They came back 20 mins later and said the HV battery is dying, $3000 to get a new one installed then $500 back from Toyota (for the old one I believe).  1 year warranty.

I've read on here around 2013 people claim that Toyota had only had to replace 3 batteries.  Is that true?  Has that trickle turned into a flood?  Crunching the numbers, and given petrol went down rather than up from when I first did my sums before buying, I think at best I'll only break even on petrol savings vs extra cost of the car (even though second hand) vs having to buy a new battery this soon.  I may be ahead if I factor in lower servicing costs and saving the world.

After the initial shock of a bill that big I suppose I should've seen it coming, at 11 years old.  But given the US warrant them to 10 years I assumed a mean failure rate might be more like 15 years (they wouldn't warrant to 10 years if a significant % failed at 9 to 10 years).  Do people think 11 years is reasonable or am I a bit unlucky.

I've also read that people replace individual cells themselves but I'm no sparky and it is HV and I'm time poor (as well as cash relatively tight).  So I don't think I'll go down that path.  I wish someone in Adelaide would start doing it.  I spoke to my local auto-electricican and he said they'd need extra qualifications to do HV work and wouldn't touch it.

I'd consider a reconditioned one, but again, no-one in Adelaide.  A Victorian company would ship one to me for $1250 but then I haven't found a mechanic that would do the job and if I did they'd probably charge say $350 so then I doubt it's worth saving around $900 but with a reconditioned versus new... I'd want it to last another 11 years at least.  Which leads to another question - both are warrantied for 1 year.  Why would Toyota only warranty the new one for 1 year versus the 8 years?

So many questions.  At this stage I've booked the job with Toyota for Tuesday next week (earliest they could do) and I'm just driving with the warning lights on.

The extra concern for me is that I've just bought a 2009 Prius, assuming I'd get at least 15 years out of the battery but I'll be pretty upset if it dies at 11 years too (just 3 years away) before I get any real fuel savings.

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Based upon my internet searching over the past few years, 10 years battery life is what you can expect then swap/replace. Exactly why I am not considering buying a used hybrid vehicle.

Something else on my to be avoided list is the CVT tranmission. Another component where there is no easy fix/replacement [at this stage] and buy a new replacement costing $$$ thousands.

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Thanks campbeam.  I note your 10 years comment.  All I seem to be able to find is people saying "lifetime of the car" or just anecdotal comments like "mine needed replacing at xx years" where xx is often 11, 12, 13 and other comments like "mine is find at yy years" where yy is often up to 15.  Really hard to get any idea what the average is, what an upper and lower decile might be.

Interestingly the faults have all cleared by themself 2 days after they first appeared.  Was not expecting that.  I'm still booked in for a new battery next week.  Worries me that it could've just been some flaky connection or one off issue and I'll be paying $2500 for nothing.

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Toyota will replaced with a new battery for $2500 (after $500 back) but only a 1 year warranty even though the new car/new battery warranty is 8 years?! They acknowledged it was odd and assured me it would probably last more than the 11 years I got out of this one, but assurances are not warranties.

I've actually cancelled it.  The RAA here in SA were able to advise of repairer/service centre that deals a lot in Prius for taxis and I talked to them and they said it's often a related part not the battery itself, or they can determine which cell is faulty and replace it for a fraction of the cost.  Exactly what I wanted to hear.

They also said wait until the fault comes back on, they'd rather diagnose it while the problem is occurring.  I suspect I won't have to wait long.

I'll post back here when it's resolved and hopefully I'll be able to recommend the same repairer/service centre.  I imagine this will be a growing business as many Prius are getting well into their 2nd decade.

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