I'm back... with a new ride!

Discussion in 'General' started by visionseeming, Aug 3, 2019.

  1. visionseeming

    visionseeming Well-Known Member

    Hey fellow hypermilers,

    I first discovered CleanMPG over 10 years ago now (probably around June 2008 if I'm remembering correctly). Back then, my daily driver (to college) was a 2001 Mitsubishi Galant, which is what I learned to drive on.

    Somewhere in the summer of 2010, my dad was kind enough to buy me a 1994 Geo Metro XFi, with the 5MT of course. I was somewhat active here after I began using that car daily, it's also what I learned to drive manual transmission on.

    Lots has changed since then, I graduated college and began work in industry, moved out from my parents house, saved up enough to buy a house of my own, etc. And the Geo got me through the years. It's still a reliable car, and I think my best tank was in the low 70s MPG.

    Anyway, after years of wanting to upgrade, I finally bought a used 2013 Toyota Prius C, single owner, dealership-serviced car with ~140k miles on it. Which is actually more than the Geo, which still has only ~105k original miles on it.

    It's nice to have all the built in instrumentation on the Prius, I've just got to practice the techniques to really wring out the MPGs from it. I look forward to being (at least somewhat) active on this community again. :)
    xcel, 08EscapeHybrid and BillLin like this.
  2. BillLin

    BillLin PV solar, geothermal HVAC, hybrids and electrics

    Welcome back! Enjoy your Prius C. That's one car I would have liked to try out.

    70s (MPG) in the Metro is hard to beat, but you can do it in the C. Good luck!
    xcel likes this.
  3. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Welcome back ! I love the Prius c , and it was a very tough choice to decide between the c and the Liftback
    I bought in 2015. For parking and probably best overall fuel economy , the c wins. But the Liftback will accommodate my
    26" mountain bike with no disassembly ( my 27.5" bike wants the front wheel taken off). And discounts on the Liftback were
    better. Overall , it's hard to go wrong with any Toyota hybrid.

    Even though we no longer have a mileage log here, I'm interested in your results with the c.
    BillLin and xcel like this.
  4. S Keith

    S Keith Well-Known Member

    Sorry to be the downer here. I cringe when I see people buying ~150K+ hybrids with any expectation of reliability. When I see words like, "dealership serviced," I know that expectation exists. "Dealership serviced" mostly means that some unnecessary work has been done, yet most fluid changes have occurred on time, which is pretty much the only predictor of overall reliability (engine and transaxle are unlikely to be major problems).

    When I'm asked if someone should buy a used hybrid, my reply is, "are you okay with spending another 2-3K in the next 30 days? 60 days? 90 days?" If the answer is "no," then they shouldn't purchase the car. In approximately 300 encounters with Prius major maintenance events, about half of the current owners owned them for less than a year - some as few as a week or two.

    In my experience, all Gen3 Toyota Hybrids are VERY hard on their batteries. When coupled with a warm climate, the results are devastating. At 140K, you are definitely in the danger zone for HV battery failure unless the car has lived in a very mild climate and has been driven very conservatively.

    For peace of mind, I recommend you get an Android phone or tablet, load up Hybrid Assistant and Hybrid Reporter apps and conduct a battery capacity test.
    BillLin, xcel and 08EscapeHybrid like this.
  5. visionseeming

    visionseeming Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the words of caution. I was looking at similar Prius Cs with lower miles as well (~100k) which were a $1000 or so more. My rationale was that since Toyota gives a 10-year/150k mile warranty for the battery here in CA (the car is an original southern CA purchase, and has lived here its whole life), if the battery fails within the next ~10k miles (about a year and a half for me), I could have it replaced without needing to spend an arm and a leg. Still a risk I am aware of, that it could fail soon after the warranty expires (which is usually how manufacturers design their products anyway).

    The dealership service I expect to have been done by qualified techs who know the car well and use OEM parts, but you're right that it's no guarantee of reliability.

    During test driving and the last week of commuting to work, I have not noticed the battery draining very quickly. In fact in mixed city/highway (stop and crawl traffic) I am seeing around ~40% of the drive in EV mode. What warning signs should I look out for while driving that might indicate the battery pack is nearing end of life?

    Thanks for the advice. I do have an Android smart phone, I'll look into getting the apps loaded and running the test. Do you know where I could find a tutorial or documentation on how to do this? I'm also considering having a HV battery inspection done by the dealership, but not sure if it's worth the cost (maybe if I'd done it before the purchase, I could have had the seller pay for it).
    BillLin likes this.
  6. S Keith

    S Keith Well-Known Member

    You need to make sure your vehicle was originally sold in CA. If it was originally sold elsewhere, and it moved to CA, it only has the 8yr/100K warranty.

    If 10K miles is a year and a half of driving for you, a hybrid is a poor choice. You're paying a premium for a hybrid coupled with a high maintenance risk. Of course, if you just want one, that's your business, and you should ignore my comments. I'm speaking from financial, risk and practical perspectives. "Wants" rarely consider what is the best choice.

    Concerning "EV" mode, you need to understand that the USABLE capacity of your hybrid battery is LESS than the TOTAL capacity of the small 12V battery.

    12V: 45Ah * 12V = 0.54kWh of electrical energy
    144V: 6.5Ah * 144V * 40% = 0.37kWh of electrical energy

    The point is to establish realistic expectations. How long would you expect the energy stored in the 12V battery to propel your car? Yep. Not very far at all.

    So, I don't know how to interpret your "40% of the drive in EV mode". That sounds FANTASTIC based on the information above, but I doubt it's even as much as the 40% you indicate. If you are accelerating any reasonable amount above 10-12mph, the gas engine is going to light off, and you're not in EV mode. IF your model has the EV, ECO and performance modes, make sure you have NONE of them selected. Just drive the car in "normal" mode.

    Warning signs are reduced mileage - 7-10% coupled with great difficulty improving it even with very conservative driving.

    Those are usually coupled with very active battery gauge behavior... empties quickly and fills quickly.

    Often there is no warning of any kind.

    In addition to the App, you'll need a bluetooth OBDII reader. This is the one I have:

    The Hybrid Assistant website provides instructions on conducting the test.
    RedylC94 and BillLin like this.
  7. S Keith

    S Keith Well-Known Member

    I just re-read your prior post, and PLEASE, save your money on the "hybrid battery inspection". I have yet to encounter a dealer that can do a meaningful one. The $23 spend on the OBDII adapter is a WAY better investment, and the app is free.

    NO pack-level test is a true measure of reliability. Heck, even when you break it down to the module level test, reliability still can't be predicted. You can only measure groups of 6 cells and not the individual 168 cells (144 in the Prius C case) - any one of which will take down the pack if it fails. In other words, with module level testing, you're trying to predict the reliability of 144 cells with 20 measurements. On pack level testing with Techstream or Hybrid Assistant, you're trying to predict the reliability of 144 cells with 10 measurements (10 pairs of modules).

    The test and a couple of key parameters observed during the test can give you some insight into your packs health. One can generally say, "there are no obvious signs of impending failure" or "There are a couple of signs that this battery is approaching end-of-life." - however, that "end-of-life" might mean tomorrow or a couple years from now.
    visionseeming and BillLin like this.
  8. visionseeming

    visionseeming Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the advice. I will skip the dealer and buy the BlueTooth OBDII reader instead. I'm currently running a somewhat older Android phone (not sure if it has the requisite OS version/memory for the app), but I have another newer one lying around that should work if this one doesn't.
    BillLin likes this.
  9. S Keith

    S Keith Well-Known Member

    I've used it on an S4 with no issues.
    BillLin likes this.
  10. Blackbelt

    Blackbelt Well-Known Member

    Welcome back! Great choice of cars, i love my 2014 Prius C. I bought it used with 22K miles on it in 2016, and it will turn over to 60K miles this week. So far it has only needed tires and oil changes.
    My best trip mileage was a trip to work in the morning(29.2 miles) that i averaged 89.1 MPG for the trip. I had several trips in the 79 range also. Most of my summertime tanks average in the mid 60's, winter is in the 50's. There is one particular stretch where i can keep it running on battery only for several miles, which really helps the trip average.I can go from a a dead stop to 40MPH cruise on EV only. I try to stay off the interstate whenever possible as that really knocks the MPG down.
    My wife drives a smart and she can barely crack 50MPG, although she does zero hypermiling techniques.
    Mine is a sunlight fusion Two BTW.
    BillLin likes this.
  11. priusCpilot

    priusCpilot George

    I love my C 110l Miles now and tow with it all time! Put a roof rack if you need it! Anyhow the C is only 8yr/100k for the battery in all states. So that is not an option the 3rd gen up to 2015 was 10 yrs/150k miles.

    I do some stuff to keep the bat cool like run the fan speed at 6 on the bat plus blow AC down so it gets to the bat vent. I watch temps and keep them down. I also removed the passanger side rear shock cover to get more hot air out.

    You a prolong as well and the bat will go FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    BillLin likes this.
  12. S Keith

    S Keith Well-Known Member

    I confirmed Toyota warranty manual indicates 8/100 on the battery. I also found that as of 4/13/2018, the CARB indicates a PZEV classed vehicle has a 10/150 warranty on the battery:


    I'm under the impression the C is a PZEV rated vehicle.

    Can you clarify?
    BillLin likes this.
  13. Trollbait

    Trollbait Well-Known Member

    The 10yr warranty was only for certain CARB states, and Toyota may have been weird about honoring it in those states if the car was originally sold in a non-CARB state.

    Did Toyota officially cancel the Prius c? I'm not seeing a 2019 one on their site.

    In the 2017 warranty guide, it sounds like the warranty is 7yrs/70k miles, which doesn't make sense. My understanding was that the federal 8yr one was a mandated minimum.
    I can't for this, but can say that California required the 10yr one on cars for them to qualify for incentives like the HOV stickers. Since plain hybrids don't qualify for those programs anymore, a manufacturer may stop providing the warranty.
    BillLin likes this.

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