What does it cost to replace a Prius Battery and how long do they last?

Common client question: My only concern with the Prius is longevity. Do they hold up once they get over 100K, or are the batteries going to die before then. I don’t know what it costs to replace that type of battery. Do you? What kind of price range would I be looking at?

Answer:  I have bad news, all cars eventually fail.  If you are concerned about not having anything breaking on a car, you might be better of with a bicycle or a pogo stick . . . then you won’t have to replace any costly parts that might eventually break.

No wait, they will break also. . . . well, there is always walking . . . no . . . wait, you are eventually going to die . . .

I have a philosophy that we do not make good decisions out of fear and fear is best fought by education and accurate information, so that being so . . .

Yes, there is no safety, there is no sure bet, there is only making the best educated decisions with cars and let’s go from there.

I have a philosophy that we do not make good decisions out of fear and fear is best fought by education and accurate information, so that being so . . .let’s move on.

If you are looking for an economical car, that can seat five, get’s great fuel economy, is incredibly reliable, has a nice ride, is roomy, has good storage room, safe, and has a low cost of operation and you are not considering a Prius because your concern is with the battery life and the hybrid system’s reliability, let me share some information with you.

Fact is a gasoline engine’s life is between 180,000 and 220,000 miles . . . and there is not enough evidence to support that the hybrid batteries in the second and third generation Prius do not last at least this long, if not longer.

The Prius has been phenomenally reliable and the chances of your battery going bad are the same, if not less, than the chances of a Camry’s engine going bad on it’s own . . . since the 2005 (Gen 2) model and up, the Prius is one of Toyota’s top cars for reliability — see the Consumer Report’s attachment.

Prius vs Camry in Reliablity

Toyota Prius (Generation 2 and up) vs the Toyota Camry (4-cyl) in reliability

I’m speaking from experience for the most part on this matter and from keeping up with my clients . . . In the past 10 years, I have seen several traditional Toyota motors go bad . . . but not one of their hybrids or their hybrid batteries.

Along with this, in a 2008 press release, Toyota stated the following:

“The Prius battery (and the battery-power management system) has been designed to maximize battery life. In part this is done by keeping the battery at an optimum charge level – never fully draining it and never fully recharging it. As a result, the Prius battery leads a pretty easy life. We have lab data showing the equivalent of 180,000 miles with no deterioration and expect it to last the life of the vehicle. We also expect battery technology to continue to improve: the second-generation model battery is 15% smaller, 25% lighter, and has 35% more specific power than the first. This is true of price as well. Between the 2003 and 2004 models, service battery costs came down 36% and we expect them to continue to drop so that by the time replacements may be needed it won’t be a much of an issue. Since the car went on sale in 2000, Toyota has not replaced a single battery for wear and tear.”

(I’d cite the link, but it seems it’s broken . . . BUT if you do some more research, you’ll find this is consistant with what actual owners are reporting.)

Yes, The batteries are not cheap, but the odds you you actually finding out what they cost from you having to actually buy one is just as likely as if you had to replace replacement cost of a traditional motor on a Camry.

Also, in line with motors, there is an engineering advantage to the hybrid design because the gas motor is actually supposed to last longer because it is under far less of an actual work load and parts like the air conditioner system do not run off of traditional pulleys and they also tend last longer . . . ACTUALLY there is more evidence to support that hybrids last longer and are cheaper to run over all.

So after knowing this information, do you feel the Prius is a fit for you? :)

If so, I can pick you up a 2008 to 2009 Prius for 14500 to 16000 right now.

Feel free to contact me at aaron@motorphilia.com if you would like to know more about these cars or anything else that is automotive related.

(And to answer what it cost for a replacement Prius battery . . . check out eBay . . . they’re under 500 bucks all day long.)

Rantings about buying a nice performance car for under $30,000

The Lotus Elise:

I owned an Elise for a bit (before the semi-truck ran it over).

Here’s my my take on it (not that you asked) . . . It’s a great car if you don’t have any friends or care to have anyone ride with you.

It’s a ton of fun, but it ends when you try to get out of it or into it. Then you transform into a lurching creature who has to crawl into and out of its subterranean hole.

If you’re thinking about having an Elise as a daily driver . . . that’s what I would call a comedy.

The Subaru Impreza STi

I like the STi . . . and I had a 2009 before I got my Corvette . . . and I was sad I swapped it for the Vette . . . it’s a sleeper (the STi) and if you don’t know what you’re doing with it, it could leave you very unimpressed. But, if you know what you’re doing . . . it’s phenomenal.

The BMW 1-Series

I  hate the 1-series . . . I mean I hate it . . . it’s stupid and it makes no sense to me. “I want a BMW, but I don’t want to pay 3k more for a real one . . . just this cramped-little box will do just fine.”

The real BMW’s to get:

If you’re going to get a Bimmer . . . there is one car to get . . . (if getting started) . . . it’s the 335i . . . that’s a badass car with tons of potential and it allows you to have friends also!

If you’re going to small BMW . . . get a Z4 . . . it’s actually built with a purpose in mind and handles well.

Volkswagen GTi / R32  and the Honda Civic Si

I like the R32 and I do see them often, but as time rolls on, they will start to disappear . . . I do like them and I’m a fan of them being a hatch. As for the GTI . . . it’s ok . . . I tend to lean towards the Civic Si if that is the choice — it will not fall as part as quickly and people will want to buy it from you when you one-day want to sell it. VW (unless it’s very limited production or diesel) is piss-poor on the pre-owned circuit and historically laden with poor engineering and design choices.

The Mitsubishi Lancer EVO

The EVO is a great car for picking up 14-year old boys. It’s a badass car on the track — but so are a million other cars that are designed for the track. On the pre-owned market, EVO’s are usually treated a little rougher than their heavy equipment counterpart and seem to want to fall apart too quickly for me to really like them.

Anyhow, that’s my 2 cents . . .

Before you make another joke about Toyota.

ToyotaToons_30.jpg R.J. Matson, The St. Louis Post Dispatch / Politicalcartoons.com image by 2b2
Toyota is getting a unfair shake by some people out there.
What is upsetting is how people put so little research in their claims and make one of the finest and most dependable cars made into a sort of pariah.
It’s a little sad to me when people make up their minds on partial information . . . the side effect is it can make people look really stupid, even when they are quite bright.
I recently had a very brilliant client ask me about getting rid of her Toyota for a Honda because she didn’t feel safe because of the recent news surrounding Toyota’s accelerator recall . . .
So I asked her, “Are you having any accelerator issues,” and she said “no” . . .
Now, most car dealers just want to make sales and they really want you to be scared of whatever you are owning if that means they can sell you another car . . . as for me, I think it’s wrong to make people scared and I believe it’s best to keep people informed and help them make good choices that are well thought out and educated.
I was bothered by how this very bright and successful woman could have been so easily swayed to believe her car is a danger to her, but she’s not alone . . . many people have reacted this way and, well, this bothers me.
It’s not that I’m immune to being like this . . . In fact, it’s universal,  when we are not educated in an area, this is what we do . . . we react and it’s usually in fear.
Times like this remind me of  a loud crashing noise I heard outside of my house one morning a few months back . . . I though something exploded. I walked outside to investigate what the noise was and it was actually a pallet of roofing tiles that fell about 25 feet onto my neighbor’s driveway, slapping flat and hard into the cement.  It seems the roofers let this one slip away . . .
But I thought is was something worse for a moment . . . maybe an explosion or a crash or something . . . I don’t know . . . bad .  . . it was my first gut reaction.
Anyhow.  .  . by going outside to see what happened, my suspicions were all false and it was nothing . . . it was just a loud noise . . . nothing was damaged. . . and, in the end, it just a very boring story.
However, if I said something horrible did happen . . . I bet your ears would have perked right on up.
I know mine would have . . .
So this is why I’m writing this now . . . .  sensationalism sells books, radio space, tv ads, and gives egomaniacs something to say, but it’s not based on really informing you . . . it’s what will keep you coming back.
This rant aside. . . . I know that it makes no point to argue, so I’ve decided to research this issue and see what really up and provide some facts to help me and you see what’s going on and give this whole incident some perspective.
First off, what I’ve found, is the incidents of sticking accelerators was vary small in proportion to the media fervor thrown at Toyota.
According to the NHTSA, of the 9 million cars recalled by Toyota, the total complaints brought against the company were an alleged total of 37.
Second, Ford had the same issue with the Escape on a much larger scale, but it was never publicized.
Beyond this, Ford has actually had some incredibly large national safety recalls . . . one of the most recent is very concerning and it bothers me that it seems no one has heard about it . . . so I don’t get off track, I’ll mention this a little later on here.
Fact is, Toyota has decades of producing some of the most reliable cars made on this planet and have been the benchmark for quality control and their Kaizen business philosophy is considered to be an innovation in how many successful companies operate today: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaizen
Fact is, they took accountability and took an extreme measure to rectify this issue in recalling millions of cars to ensure their owners would be safe . . .
Fact is, all of the U.S. manufacturers have had or are currently having similar issues with sticking throttles and accelerators.
Here is just a small list of some cars that you probably haven’t heard about, there a many more cars I could list and if you do a little research you’ll find them out there . . .
1. The Dodge Caliber:
2. The Chrysler Pacifica
3. The Ford Escape:
4. The Ford Tarus:
5. The Ford Escort:
6. The Ford Explorer:
7. Chevrolet Trucks:
So here’s what is amazing to me . . . In regard to Ford and the recent news, I can’t believe this hasn’t been widely publicized  . . . “On October 13, 2009, Ford Motor Co. expanded its largest-ever recall by about 4.5 million vehicles equipped with  a faulty cruise-control switch linked to at least 550 vehicle fires nationwide, and the destruction of many homes and other properties.  Ford has now recalled more than 14 million vehicles in eight separate recalls over a 10-year period because of the problem.”
What amazes me is that is seems no one knows about this and it’s been going on for 10 years.
What’s also amazing to me, is  when the top competitor to Ford, GM, and Chrysler has a minor issue that has happened to all of them . . . we don’t hear about their faults. In fact, we didn’t hear a story about any of these cars on the news.
Is it a coincidence that after an incredible blow hits the U.S. manufacturers in 2008 and as Toyota, a foreign company, overtook their market share, and, as the Federal Government took control of General Motors, that this issue received such high press coverage recently?
What are your thoughts on this matter?

Buying on a budget . . . Think Yaris :)

In my quest to buy and drive almost every car ever made, I recently picked up a 2008 Toyota Yaris (4-do0r).

I don’t have time to into an in depth review of this car, but, in short: I am impressed.

In fact, I have an easy time saying that the Yaris is on my “favorites list” for small cars.

If you are on a budget,  you can pick up a nice pre-owned model these days for under $10,000.

They have great passenger room, good storage space, well built, quiet, get over 40 mpg, are cheap to maintain, good looks, and have good features for the dollar. If you are car shopping with a budget, put this on the top of your list. You won’t regret it!

Buying tips:

1. Look at the body panels to see if they have the factory VIN stickers . . . if not, this is a good sign of a Toyota being in an accident and you should have a professional inspection done to further investigate the integrity of the car.

2. Check the engine oil . . . if it is dark and sludgy, this is a sign of an abused Yaris.

3. Tires. . . always check the tires. They are about $500.00 for a set on this car.

If you have questions about any car, feel free to ask me . . . I’ve owned and driven thousands of cars in my life and I am happy to help you find something you will love.

Never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever give up!

(art by Aaron Manley Smith)
“Love doesn’t work out too well when we are armor plated.”
So that being said . . . .

A year or so, I wrote a brief snippet about C.S. Lewis’s sentiments on truly loving others in his book “The Four Loves

Every once in a while I get comments on this article and I saw one that really bothered me  . . .  it was sort of a call for help and I felt very sad for this person.

Here’s what they had to say:

“As someone who has had their heart broken 8 times trying to find love, the most recent just today, I have to say that C.S. Lewis was wrong.

He seems to forget that losing love, that pain… IS HELL!! So, basically I am damned either way. At least I won’t have to go through the rejection any more.

Let my heart shrivel and die, let me not feel a thing. I would rather be numb than in pain, better callous than cursed.”

Well . . . Crap.  That sucks.

So here are my thoughts . . . you are not alone.

Never give up! Ever!

This is a sad and selfish hole we all fall into . . . and getting out of it is the trick.

The hardest thing to do is love like you have never been hurt before.

Especially after getting your heart ripped out and stomped on and having every piece of trust you have shredded like wood chips and burned up in to nothing.

Ya, this is a good place to give up and die . . . it’s really crappy and if it hasn’t already to you, don’t worry . . . IT IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO ALL OF US!

If you keep finding that you get hurt over and over again, stop searching and take time to heal.

If you keep swinging from one person to the next you aren’t looking for love, but more of a fix to feel something.

You’re not “cursed” but if this pattern repeats itself, you should look into yourself and see how you might be affecting the outcome.

I know of a great girl who is a good example of self-sabotaging her relationships because she’s always in fear of the person she is in love with leaving her. She doesn’t see this, but her fear has pushed away some great guys . . . has she found somebody yet?  No.

Does she see where she makes her mistakes? No.

She finds every fault outside of herself to blame, but her.

I know from past experiences, that I am not much better at this and I’ve committed to learn my way out of this.

What I have learned over the years, is the only thing that you can change is yourself and the way that you handle situations.

Faith is important . . . learning to have it again is tough, but it’s necessary.

It takes a lot of faith to love someone . . . more than you think you could ever have. By loving someone deeply through all that comes, we learn how to love others better and how to become better people.

Yes, and having faith means being scared and letting go.

What I have learned so far is “Hang in there.”

It’s more than a cliche or some thoughtless advice that a person tosses your way instead of listening . . . it’s actually a way of life.

I’ve also learned that self pity will take me no where.

My best advice to everyone is: If you love anything or anyone, don’t ever ever ever ever ever give up. . . all things that are of great value don’t come easy and they are hard to find.

This is what makes them special.

I’ve felt the feelings this person is expressing and it’s hard to believe now, but I’ve found that they are a myth . . . a hoax . . . and not real.

They come from you asking, “what does this person give to me?”, but not from “what can I do to help this person?”

The only thing we can do, is choose to love better . . . if you need help, I’ve found that Corinthians 13 does a good job of giving the template of true love.

The great truth we all should learn is this: Loneliness is the illusion we are tricked into feeling when we stop thinking of others and only of ourselves . . . it’s a disease and we can fight it the moment we chose to put others before us.

If you don’t believe me . . . try it . . . don’t talk about it . . . help others and find connection and never ever give up.

You’ll find that if you keep working on “you” instead of hunting down new people, you’re going to find someone wonderful who love’s “you” just as much as you do.

Last thought . . . how can you love others as you love yourself if you don’t even love yourself yet?

Do something right now to better your life . . . start with something small. Wash the dishes, clean your house, go to the gym.  . . . now find something you can look forward to at the end of the day that isn’t another person.  . . make a list of what you are grateful for . . . love who you are and never forget it!

Get it? :)

Mothers & The Minivan . . .


Hello Mothers . . .

I’m greatful for my mother and I’m constantly impressed by how much you put into this world and how much you give up for your children . . .

That being said . .. we need to have some words . . .

So. let me ask you . . . what car has a lower death claim rate?

The Chevrolet Suburban or the Honda Odyessy?

I’ll tell you at the end of this rant . . . please read on.

In dealing with thousands of people who buy cars, I’ve come across one very strong trend in mom’s: they  hate the minivans. . .

I’m not really sure where this disgust stems from, but I’m willing to wager it’s this belief they they are succumbing to the dreaded “soccer mom” status . . . where a woman loses all identity to become a droning slave to her offspring and has abandoned any will to live because her purpose is served and she may now wait to die.

But the fact is, women don’t buy minivans and the “soccer mom” car is actually the SUV and the rule seems to be, “the larger the better.”

It’s actually men who buy most minivans . . . and if you don’t believe me, look who is driving what when you are out and about. I’m right.

When asked what they feel is most important, young parents and, especially mother’s, will say “safety” above anything else . . . but are SUV’s and large SUV’s actually safer than minivans?

The answer is, yes . . . and no . . . not really . . .

Fact is, if you want to be really safe. Don’t drive . . . next, fly . . . if you can’t fly, get a tank. . . What! what?

That’s ridiculous?!! (you say?) Well, actually there are people who own them and they can be street legal. Take this man in Iowa for example:

So the fuel economy sucks . . . a little . . . maybe it’s a little worse than a H2 or a Suburban, but you’re safe right?

And, really, if anyone would dare call anyone a “soccer mom” when she comes rolling up in a beast like this?

Actually there is something greater than just what type of car you are driving to determine how safe you are going to be . . . Here’s a chart showing the most unsafe and safest cars between 2002 and 2005:


Now, do you see a correlation?

Fist . . . the “unsafe cars” are generally lower-end models and the “safe cars” tend to be higher priced and higher quality cars, but more than the car is the story not shown but underlying this data . . . it’s the demographic buying these cars.

Having sold every one of these cars to many different clients over the past decade, I can speak with experience that the person buying a Dodge Neon is in no way similar to the person buying the BMW 7-series.

I’m going to offend some people . . .  but education and one’s willingness to stay educated has a strong correlation between who buys what and how they drive.

Going off on this tangent and saying the SUV’s are actually “safer” than cars, isn’t necessarily true.

There is evidence to support that small cars are not as safe as their larger counterparts,  but what studies have shown is that once you get over 3200 lbs (in to the mid-sized car area), you’re in the right place to find a really safe car.

Unless you’re hauling a boat or a trailer and taking 7 people with you, a large SUV is a waste of gas you your money.

Minivans and mid to large higher-end sedans are great alternates and will save you money in the long run . . .

A BMW 2006 3-series is a very safe and reliable car and it get 30mpg on the highway . . . if you were to drive this over the course of 50,000 miles you would save $4,100. Oh,  and a 2010 Prius will save you over $5,000! And, yes, they are safe cars . . . go ahead a check my facts.

In short, mothers . . . listen to reason . . . the SUV isn’t the anti-soccer mom car. It’s the “I want to waste money” car.

And if you want to use “safety” as your reason for buying the gas guzzling land yacht that you will tow nothing more than 3 kiddos and a dog in over buying that minivan, here’s something to chew on . . . according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Chevrolet Suburban’s death claim rate is almost 5 times greater than the Honda Odyssey (which also get 50% better fuel economy).  http://old.swivel.com/graphs/show/15821601?limit_modifier=limit&graph[limit]=200&commit=>

Also, according to Consumer Reports, the Honda’s is a better choice due to its reputation for have a lower cost of maintenance and stellar reliability, where the Suburban is patchy at best.

And I shouldn’t beat up too much on the Suburban, it isn’t a bad car . . . but if you’re a mother planning to escort the kiddos about, it makes almost more  sense to buy a tank over a minivan over the Suburban — at least the tank is actually safer.

So, if you’re a mother looking for a new car for that family you love, maybe you should put the ego aside, look at your facts . . . the minivan (like the Odyssey) will cost less to own, is safer, and more reliable.

And, if you’re worried about image . . . here’s one last little tidbit that the auto industry itself says about the average SUV buyer based on its numerous survey to understand their core demographic . . . are you ready?

Their conclusion is this: SUV owners are usually “”less giving, less oriented towards others.”  and that they are insecure.

So, if you want to come off as self centered . . . buy an SUV . . . if you want to look like a good mother, buy a minivan.

That’s my 2 cents.

Hell Has Frozen Over . . . Korean Cars Are on Top?

What are your thoughts about driving a luxury 375hp V8 Hyundai?
Normally, in the past,  I would laugh at the though of a upscale Korean car that would take on BMW . . . but now laughing at this thought has been made very difficult by my jaw being dropped wide open.
Get ready . . . you may not believe this. . .

In Consumer Reports latest review of “Upscale Sedans”, the Hyundai Genesis topped its list, beating out competitors like the Acura, Lexus, Audi, and even BMW. It’s unbelievable enough that Hyundai makes a car that can cost $40,000. It’s even more astonishing that it’s actually good. I don’t want to believe it, but the brand best associated with Rodney King and pizza delivery’s finest professionals seems to have cracked it and made something worth considering. Question still remains, would you drive a Hyundai?

As for me, I’m feeling the pull of the dark-side — and it speaks Korean.

So . . . who’s raffing now?

I’m not.

So what are your thoughts on Hyundai’s these days?

Should we finally take them seriously?