Help! Just Bought a 1st Gen Prius, and think I might be getting scammed - Toyota Prius Forum : Toyota Prius Forums
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post #1 of 11 Old 11-18-2015, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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Default Help! Just Bought a 1st Gen Prius, and think I might be getting scammed

TLDR: Need advice from experts. Should I have the cell in the battery pack replaced or replace the battery pack, or sell the car or... something else?

Can some one who knows more about this than I do help me? I bought a 2003 Prius, and now I am being told the battery pack is bad. I think some one might be scamming me, but I am not sure who. I don't know who to trust.

I bought the car from a 3rd party dealer, but I had it inspected by the technicians at a Toyota dealership beforehand, and the dealership said the car was fine. Less than an hour after the Toyota dealership gave the car a clean bill of health, I bought it. Less than an hour after that, the car started having all kinds of problems.

The Toyota technicians told me to replace the little battery, the engine belt and the air filter, I did everything they said to do. But the problems persisted. After I did all that, I took it back to Toyota for a 2nd inspection and now, suddenly they say I need a new battery pack, which will cost me more than I paid for the entire car.

But if that's the problem, why didn't that show up on the diagnostic they did the day the problem started?

Now, the guy I originally bought the car from swears up and down that we can just replace the cell, and not the whole battery pack, while Toyota says I need the whole battery pack replaced.

I'm already out over $4000 (that I borrowed from my parents), between what I paid for the car and the repairs and registration etc...

I don't know who to believe or what to do! I thought if a Toyota technicians said the car was good, I could trust that, but every time I go there they tell me something different.

Can anyone tell me what they think I should do? Just replace the battery cell?

Summary of the problem: the check engine light and the red triangle warning light are on all the time now. The car also seems to shift into a lower gear while I am driving. Every few minutes the engine starts making a louder noise, and it goes slower, the brake light also comes on at the same time.

Earlier, the tortoise shaped light on the dashboard was also lighting up, and when that lit up, the car would not move in reverse, but after I changed out the small battery, that seemed to fix that problem.

...Sorry about the long post. I am not really a car guy, I'm kinda freaking out about the amount of money that seems to be disappearing here. I would be very grateful for an outsiders perspective on all this. Both of the guys who are talking to me are trying to get me to buy more from them, so I don't feel like I really should trust either one.

Last edited by Will Menta; 11-18-2015 at 01:16 PM.
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post #2 of 11 Old 11-18-2015, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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post #3 of 11 Old 11-18-2015, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Will Menta View Post
But if that's the problem, why didn't that show up on the diagnostic they did the day the problem started?

Now, the guy I originally bought the car from swears up and down that we can just replace the cell, and not the whole battery pack, while Toyota says I need the whole battery pack replaced.
When you replaced the 12 V battery, did you completely charge it before putting it in the car ?

Where do you live ?
There are places these days that specialize in repairing hybrid main batteries.

Alas, there is no good (easy) way to probe inside the battery to see if parts of it are getting weak.

Alas again, buying any kind of used car is a gamble.

While I don't recommend it for those who can afford and new or rebuilt battery, in your case trying to fix the old one might be the best option.
Just realize that the "fixed" battery might fail again a few days or weeks later and require additional work.

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post #4 of 11 Old 11-18-2015, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
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When you replaced the 12 V battery, did you completely charge it before putting it in the car ?
No! I thought new batteries came already charged. Are you telling me that a brand new battery, right out of the box, is not charged up?
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post #5 of 11 Old 11-19-2015, 07:44 AM
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No! I thought new batteries came already charged. Are you telling me that a brand new battery, right out of the box, is not charged up?
Yes that's exactly what I'm saying.

Some come charged but most don't.....and it takes a LONG time for the car to charge it up, if it ever does fully.

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post #6 of 11 Old 11-19-2015, 07:59 AM Thread Starter
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Yes that's exactly what I'm saying.

Some come charged but most don't.....and it takes a LONG time for the car to charge it up, if it ever does fully.
Wow! I never knew that. Thank you. I will certainly have it charged. Do you think that little battery not being charged might explain all the other problems I've been having, supposedly with the battery pack?

Cell block #1 on the battery pack is depleted, could it be depleted because its being used to charge the little battery?
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post #7 of 11 Old 11-19-2015, 10:51 AM Thread Starter
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Wow! I never knew that. Thank you. I will certainly have it charged. Do you think that little battery not being charged might explain all the other problems I've been having, supposedly with the battery pack?

Cell block #1 on the battery pack is depleted, could it be depleted because its being used to charge the little battery?
I just had the 12 V battery checked. It was charged, in fact, the old battery that I was told was bad was also charged too.
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post #8 of 11 Old 11-19-2015, 06:18 PM
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Do you think that little battery not being charged might explain all the other problems I've been having, supposedly with the battery pack?
A weak 12 V battery can cause all kinds of strange things so......there is a chance but with a car that old, it's only a small chance.

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I just had the 12 V battery checked.
Who checked it and how did they check it ??
Probably no need to dwell on that any longer. You need to be looking for a battery rebuilder nearby who has a good reputation.

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post #9 of 11 Old 11-22-2015, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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A weak 12 V battery can cause all kinds of strange things so......there is a chance but with a car that old, it's only a small chance.



Who checked it and how did they check it ??
Probably no need to dwell on that any longer. You need to be looking for a battery rebuilder nearby who has a good reputation.
It was checked by a private mechanic. He hooked a voltmeter up to the old battery, which I had unhooked a few days before, at it showed that it still had 12 V. He said that if the batter was bad it would not still be holding the complete charge like that.
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post #10 of 11 Old 11-24-2015, 10:50 AM
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It was checked by a private mechanic. He hooked a voltmeter up to the old battery, which I had unhooked a few days before, at it showed that it still had 12 V. He said that if the batter was bad it would not still be holding the complete charge like that.
Much as I expected.

You need a digital meter to test a battery.
A fully charged one reads from 12.6 to 12.8 volts.
12.0 volts actually is about half discharged and will not give you reliable service.

You need to charge it AGAIN and take it somewhere like Auto Zone to have it load tested. You can also do that by driving the car there.

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