Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Prius

I seem to be getting a LOT of hits lately from people doing Google searches about Prius problems.

I feel really bad about this, because we have had very little to complain about with this car.

We bought the car in August 2005, after moving back to the United States from England. In that time it has been in the shop to be fixed 5 times. 4 for the same things, and the last two could have been avoided if the dealership in Florida would have done what the dealership in Iowa recommended.

At that time I had teaching job where I was driving 60 miles one way, each day to work. It was the summer after Hurricane Ivan slammed into the Northwest Florida coast. Taking with it many homes and many jobs. Not as big of a news story now, but then in the pre-Katrina world, it was a big hit to Northwest Florida.

DJ and I had come back to the states in April to job hunt, and at that time I discovered how hard it was going to be to find a house. So when Jerry's co-worker told him that they had a house in Florida that we could rent we jumped at it.

Then a few weeks later I was offered a job, at a school on the coast. The only interview that I had gotten while we were still in England.

I jumped at the chance.

From August to May of that year I drove our Prius 120 miles each day, Monday to Friday.

We also drove the Prius to visit my Grandmother who was dying in Iowa, over Thanksgiving.

Then we drove it again to Iowa in March when she passed away.

For the first 2 1/2 years that we owned this car, those are the only times we had problems with it.

Both times we were in Iowa, the weather got down below 25 degrees overnight. The next morning, the car would not start. We were told on the second trip that the problem was with the inverter, and the only true fix was for it to be replaced. Seeing how we lived in Florida, getting down below 25 degrees is not an issue, normally, so the local (Florida) dealership did not want to replace it (who can blame them? Its a couple thousand dollar part, on their bill.)

Fast forward to this past January.

As I was trying to get up to Georgia after the packers came and packed up the house, the temperatures dropped to 18 degrees, the night before I was leaving.

I got up bright and early, and was ready to go, but the car once again would not start.

I called the Toyota service people, who called the local wrecker company to come and "jump start" it. Even though I told them what the problem was.

The wrecker company turned around and towed me down to the dealer.

Now this is where the kicker was, the dealership in Florida tried telling me that the problem was that I had an old battery, and it needed to be replaced.

I let them replace the battery, which of course cost me most of my traveling money.

Prius batteries are not cheap! And of course are not covered under the 100,000 mile warranty.

I left straight from the dealership, picked up the dog, and birds and drove to Georgia.

Upon getting here the car was fine, the next morning not so much. It got cold again, and once again the car would not start. We got it to start enough where we could drive it to the dealership here, and they ended up having to replace the inverter.

A few weeks later is when we had the latest problems with the car. It took them a while to figure out the problem, and with a giant lack of communication between the dealership and us about the time it was taking. But Toyota did fix the problem, and we didn't have to pay, so it was all good.

All in all, the Prius has saved us a lot on gas.

Plus it is friendlier to the environment for all of the miles we put on it.

I would recommend it to anyone that is considering going with a hybrid. I am glad we bought it, and would not get rid of it.
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