How many miles can a Toyota Prius last? When you’re in the market for a new or second-hand Prius, that’s a very reasonable question to ask. After all, you’re probably looking to get the most bang for your buck. In this blog, we’ll look at this question in great detail but first, let’s start with a quick answer:
On average, a Toyota Prius lasts between 270.000 – 290.000 miles. A Prius needs to go to the garage for unscheduled repairs about 0.52 times per year, with an 11% chance of severe problems. Furthermore, Prius owners spend an average of $408 per year on repair costs.
Having said that, we’re certainly not done. Below, we’ll explain in more detail how many miles a Prius can last. After that, we’ll also show you how much a Prius costs annually and which production years are the most and least expensive. Furthermore, we also discuss the common problems that the car can have. Read on!
How Many Miles Can A Toyota Prius Last?
How many miles a Prius can last generally depends on how many miles its battery will last. Owners often sell their Prius when the batteries need to be changed (after 100,000 – 150,000 miles). The reason behind this is the expensive battery pack.
Suppose you are not concerned about the batteries that last about 8-10 years of regular use. In that case, you can assume that the Toyota Prius can last you longer than many other vehicles. This is because the wear and tear of the engine are much more minor than other gasoline-only or diesel-only vehicles.
To understand how many miles a Prius can last, we first went to Autotrader.com. Here, we found 2.528 Prius units for sale in the United States. Then, we divided these units into groups depending on their mileage, and the results are displayed in the table below.
|Amount Of Miles||Percentage Of Cars|
|Cars With 150.000+||20.68%|
|Cars With 100.000 – 149.000||25.67%|
|Cars With 45.000 – 99.999||34.41%|
|Cars With 0 – 44.999||19.24%|
By themselves, these numbers don´t say a lot. However, we have written well over a hundred articles like this. Because of that, we know that we typically expect a sedan to have a percentage of 3-5% crossing the 150.000 miles mark. The fact that well over 20% of Prius cars fall into this group indicates that the Prius is a car with a long lifespan.
However, we have to say these numbers are skewed slightly. That´s because Toyota sold many more Prius units ten years ago than they know. Therefore, the units we use to get these results from have had a lot of time on the road, whereas there´re no newer units to drag the number down.
The main reason for this is that the Prius was one of the first hybrid vehicles ever to become successful. In the meantime, other gas manufacturers have caught up to this trend, pushing sales of the Prius down. However, overall the numbers do seem to be positive at first glance.
In the table below, we provide results for competitors of the Prius following the same procedure as we did in the case of the Prius. To our surprise, no other sedan achieved reliability scores even close to what the Prius achieved on our test.
In the table below, it becomes clear that the Prius achieves the highest expected mileage and one of the highest recorded mileages. The only vehicle that comes close is the Toyota Camry, with the Accord and Malibu giving out 30.000 – 40.000 miles before the Prius will.
|Model||Sample Size||Expected Mileage||Highest Mileage|
However, there´s one catch to these results: the battery pack. Typically, you´ll need to replace the battery pack of a Prius every 100.000 – 150.000 miles. To achieve 280.000 miles, you´ll need to change the battery pack at least once.
Other vehicles don´t need a complete engine replacement in their lifetime. Therefore, the numbers are skewed, which must be considered when you´re in the market for a Prius.
We took several Toyota models and examined their reliability based on the same data. We took the mileage numbers of these models and compared them with the mileage numbers of the Toyota Prius.
What becomes clear from this table immediately is the fact that Toyota builds vehicles with an incredible lifespan. Typically, car brands have vehicles that last between 200.000 – 250.000 miles, and anything above that is very rare. However, Toyota has many cars with an expected mileage of 250.000 or higher.
The Prius does hold up well; however, it isn´t the longest-living Toyota out there. That honor mainly goes to the trucks and larger SUVs that Toyota sells (Tundra, Sequoia, Tacoma, 4Runner). Overall though, we have to conclude that Toyota builds vehicles with a very long lifespan, and that´s a plus for the Toyota brand.
|Model||Sample Size||Expected Mileage||Highest Mileage|
The maintenance cost must be as low as possible for a vehicle to be truly reliable. Any unreliable vehicle can achieve high mileage if money is put into the repairs. But a reliable car does not require those expensive repairs. In the table below, we´ve gathered the maintenance costs for many model years of the Prius. This data was acquired from Repairpal and Caredge.com.
On average, we expect to pay $408 in annual maintenance costs for a Toyota Prius. Let it be clear that this is an incredibly low number. Typically, it costs a car owner $526 per year to keep a midsized sedan like the Prius on the road. Therefore, the Prius is $118 cheaper yearly than its competition.
However, there´s a catch, and that´s, of course, going to be the battery pack. According to Repairpal, replacing the battery pack will set you back $1,150 – $1,300. Assuming you need to replace the battery pack after ten years, that´s an extra $115 – $130 per year in maintenance costs. Therefore, the maintenance cost of a Prius, including replacing the battery pack, is very average. Of course, it does help that the mileage is excellent (thanks to that same battery pack) and the Prius only need affordable 87 octane.
|Model Year||Annual Maintenance Cost|
Even with the need for a battery pack every 10 years, a smaller Sedan will still be significantly cheaper to maintain than larger vehicles like the Tundra or Tacoma trucks. However, both those trucks typically last longer than the Prius with the Tundra holding up for more than 300,000 miles in many cases and the Tacoma staying strong up to 350,000 miles in some cases.
Owners’ Reviews Of The Toyota Prius Reliability
Besides knowing all the data, it’s, of course, also essential to see how owners experience the Prius. For this, we went to Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, and Cars.com. All three platforms have gathered hundreds of reviews from actual car owners. We summarized our findings in the image below.
After looking through the reviews of the Prius on these different platforms, we can do very little else than conclude that the fourth generation is an absolute crowd pleaser. All model years in this generation receive 4+ star ratings and few negative reviews.
The main reason is that the Prius does precisely what it´s designed for: basic, comfortable transportation with incredible gas mileage. The quote below sums up the sentiment about this generation quite well:
Not only is my Prius Hybrid beautiful and enjoyable to drive, it uses way less gasoline than a regular car. I have driven my Prius all over California and the only issue I’ve ever had is a flat tire. Also the hatchback makes it easy to transport groceries, suitcases and other items. I LOVE the sensors the car has — it helps me drive safely and avoid accidents and fender benders.Source, 2021 owner
Toyota Prius Common Problems
Besides knowing the factors we´ve already discussed, it´s also vital to understand the common problems the Prius has had throughout the generations. This gives us a complete understanding of the vehicle as a whole. If you want to read more about the problems of the Prius Prime, check out this article we wrote on that.
NOTE: Before buying a used car, I always like to make sure the vehicle isn´t having any problems that you should be aware of. The easiest way to do this is by buying an OBD2 scanner. These scanners can easily be plugged into any car you’re interested in, and they’ll give you a rundown of potential problems.
Fourth Generation (2016 – Present)
Loss Of Power
A loss of driver power was an issue faced by owners of the 2022 Prius and Prius Prime. Although it’s alarming for this problem to occur in such a new vehicle, the problem was traced back to a simple software issue. The Engine Control Unit (ECU) software would incorrectly detect an error and shut down the hybrid system resulting in a loss of driver power. Updating the ECU was all that needed to be done. Recall number 21V734000.
A rollaway risk has been associated with the 2016 – 2017 Prius models. This rollaway risk is caused by a faulty parking brake cable that unfortunately disengages from the mechanism. Toyota’s recall for this issue fixes it by installing a clip at the parking cable end to prevent it from disengaging. Recall number 16V741000.
A wire harness problem in the 2016 – 2018 Prius could result in an electrical short that increases the risk of a fire. The connection between the engine wire harness and the hybrid power control unit could contact the cover, causing wear that could lead to an electrical short circuit.
Loss Of Stability Control
The 2019 Prius and 2019 – 2020 Prius Primes were included in Toyota’s recall to fix the loss of stability control and brake assist. The loss of stability control and brake assist can be traced back to a failing brake booster pump. There may be a malformed part within the booster pump that causes an electrical connection failure resulting in multiple dash lights illuminating—recall number 19V544000.
Easily Cracking Windshields
The somewhat easy cracking and shattering of windshields has been a problem for Prius Prime and Prius owners alike in the 2016 to 2018 models. The windshields of the Prius are made to be lightweight, but unfortunately, this resulted in a reduction in strength. Toyota never issued a recall, but many owners had to have their windshields replaced.
Third Generation ( 2010 – 2015)
Hybrid System Shutdown
In some 2010 – 2017 Prius models, an issue with the hybrid system forces it to shut down, resulting in vehicle stalling. The root of the problem is the faulty Intelligent Power Module (IPM) inside the inverter of the vehicle, an excessive voltage in the IPM can cause the inverter to fail and the hybrid system to shut down. Toyota issued several recalls for this problem between 2010 – 2020.
2010 – 2012 model years of the Prius have received well over a thousand complaints concerning braking or ABS failure. The 2013 – 2015 model years had fewer problems, but they certainly weren´t fixed. The problem is that all these model years had a faulty master cylinder and brake booster, which resulted in trouble codes C1391, C1252, C1256, or C1253. Replacing these parts was often expensive ($2000 – $3000). Toyota did extend the warranty on these parts.
This was specifically a problem for the 2006 – 2011 model years. The manufacturer’s defect was that the engine piston would eventually start leaking oil into the engine, causing excessive oil consumption.
This also resulted in blown head gaskets. In August 2011, Toyota issued a technical service bulletin (TSB) about the defect, stating it was explicitly the 2AZ-FE engine that was having problems. However, the recall was minimal, and lawsuits were started against Toyota.
While it isn’t related to the exact same cause (and can vary in severity) we’ve seen excessive oil consumption as a common problem in other Toyota vehicles including the Camry, Sequoia, and Tundra.
Specifically a problem in the 2010 – 2012 Toyota Prius models. A weld in the curtain shield air bag inflator may crack, causing one or both portions of the inflator to eject into the passenger cabin. This resulted in various warning lights—recall number 16V487000.
Finally, we have to discuss whether the Prius is a vehicle worth buying. As we saw in our research, the Prius does have a very high expected lifespan. We would expect a Prius to last around 280.000 miles which is very good for a sedan. Furthermore, it beats the competition in this department.
Moving on to the annual maintenance costs, we see that these are lower than average. However, when we consider the replacement of the battery pack, it becomes clear that the Prius has average maintenance costs. This is neither a positive nor negative point for the Prius.
When we look at the owners´ ratings of the Prius (specifically the fourth generation), we see these are very positive. Across different platforms, the Prius scores 4.5/5 stars, meaning owners are more than satisfied with the vehicle and that it´s causing few issues.
Finally, we looked at the problems of the latest two generations of the Prius. Here we see that the fourth generation of the Prius did have some recalls that are worth noting. However, there were very few serious issues that Toyota didn´t address adequately, which is one reason why this generation has had such good ratings.
Looking at the third generation, it becomes clear that the 2010 – 2012 model years were very problematic and that especially the problem with the brakes caused a lot of headaches. We advise you to stay away from these model years. Considering all this, it´s probably best to opt for a fourth-generation Prius (from 2016 onwards).
Don’t underestimate the significance of buying the best year for any vehicle whether we’re talking about the Prius, the Sienna, or anything in between.
- Replace the engine oil. Normally we advise replacing the engine oil at about 5000 miles, but because the engine on Prius does not work as much as the rest, you can replace the engine oil at 10k – not more than that. Although, it is better to change it at 5000 miles or so.
- Replace the oil filter
- Check all the electronics along with the battery health
- Replace the cabin air filter
- Replace the brake fluid if necessary
- Scan the computer with a scanner tool to see if there are issues regarding the sensors
- HEV battery cooling system should be checked and cleaned thoroughly
- Replace the transmission fluid
- Replace the brake pads, rotors, calipers, etc., if they are worn out and need replacement
- Replace the spark plugs
- Check the PCV system
- Check the exhaust system
- Inspect the fuel pump and fuel injectors lest they are filled with carbon debris
- Check for any oil leaks
- This is where you would have to spend the most – the battery pack replacement
- Replace all the fluids
- Detail your Prius; it will give it a fresh look and protect its paint from environmental damage.
The Toyota Prius can be an excellent choice for those seeking a reliable and fuel-efficient car. Its impressive average lifespan of 270,000 to 290,000 miles, paired with minimal unscheduled repairs and reasonable annual repair costs, certainly demonstrates the value this vehicle can provide over time.
Keep in mind, however, that maintaining this lifespan and minimizing repair costs involves staying aware of common issues and addressing them promptly. Equipped with this knowledge, you’re well-prepared to make an informed decision about purchasing a Prius, whether new or second-hand. Happy driving!
Hi! My name is Stefan; I’m the owner and lead writer at TheDriverAdviser.com.
I’m an active writer on this blog myself, as well as a novice car mechanic. For the really technical stuff, I find writers with experience as a mechanic or who have studied mechanical engineering.
Read more about our fantastic team on our about page!