2014 Toyota Prius Engine Bay
Peter Neilson's picture

How Long Do Toyota Prius Engines Last?

Believe it, people do ask this question, and they ask it a lot. Toyota made Prius for people who would help change the world. What does this mean for terms of longevity? You are about to find out.
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Toyota Prius. More than a car, it is a lifestyle and a movement that has been changing people since 1997. The Eco-conscious vehicle was a massive shock to the automotive industry. Many hated the car for what it stood for. Still, as time has gone one, many "haters" have now embraced the technology and found that the future is exciting.

Toyota built the Prius as a car that would last. They created it to be eco-friendly and in more ways than just a fuel miser. Prius takes less engine and transmission oil. The coolant is changed far less often, and the brakes last what seems to be like forever.

Please watch this video about the longevity of Toyota Prius engine and share your comments on how you maintain your Prius. Also, please click to subscribe to Torque News Youtube channel for daily automotive news reports.

Still, Prius is not without problems. Hybrid battery failure plague many owners, along with EGR problems, head gasket issues, and other things. Between Gen 2 and Gen 3 Prius, there are plenty of things that can go wrong.

While these issues exist in a mass-produced vehicle, there are many things that Toyota did get right. I want to cover why the engine in Gen 1, 2, and 3 Prius is better than most may think and why they should last longer than most give them credit for. I also want to share with you how you can get yours to last longer as well.

The Toyota Prius Engine 1.5 and 1.8L - Built To Last With Proper Care
I know some people will read this and say to themselves. Well, my Prius consumes oil, or my Prius had a head gasket failure, so this does not apply to me. Actually, it does. The reason for this is called consumer education.

I am an automotive technician, as well as an automotive instructor at my local college. Education helps dispel the ignorance we all live in one way or another. The "why" this applies to you is this. You have not been taught to care for your Prius properly.

Most people will buy a car off of a recommendation they get from someone who may "know cars" better than themselves. People may rely on a salesperson to tell them everything they need to know about the car before they buy it. But what most people fail to get from their buy experience is how to care for the darn thing.

Many consumers know that you need to change the oil, fill it with fuel if necessary and fix it if it breaks. But what about taking care of it before it breaks? Preventative maintenance is something I know many do not see the value in because they are unaware of the benefits of such services.

BG Hybrid Repair Kit Restores Toyota Prius Engines

For instance, oil consumption is a significant problem with Gen 1, 2, and 3 Prius. Many consumers are going to places like Wal-Mart or Jiffy Lube for "cheaper" than the dealer oil changes. What they are doing is causing more harm than good. These places do not use the same quality oil and filter that the dealer does.

The second part of this is what lands on you as the consumer. You are not changing your oil when it is needed. Here is why. Prius goes through a lot of starts and stops scenarios. This action is one way Prius achieves high fuel econ ratings. What you are not told, is that this action wears your oil down, heavily. Couple that with short trips where the oil does not get to operating temperature, and you have a recipe for sludge, varnish and oil consumption,

When oil breaks down, it turns into hardened carbon and chokes piston rings keeping them from pulling oil away off the cylinder walls. The oil gets burned in the combustion chamber and thus consumed over time.

Toyota makes an impressive engine, even if there are some flaws. These flaws mainly come out when the engines are neglected by the owner/operator of the Prius. There are plenty of Prius on the road today with hundreds of thousands of miles on them doing just fine. The engines are ticking away perfectly, and why? Maintenance. Do it, learn it, become one with it.

Toyota often does not make junk. There is a reason behind the following they have and the loyalty of the customers that keep buying their products. Think about it. When the MK5 Supra was being designed, even though it was using a BMW engine, Toyota engineers still went through it with a fine-tooth comb. Why? Because they believe in giving their best work into all they do. Prius is no exception to that.

If you want your Prius engine to last, take better care of it. In an upcoming video, I will be explaining oil and filters along with what you need to know when changing your oil.

Conclusion
Toyota makes a great engine. Prius is meant to last, but you need to do your part and take care of it. Do the right thing and put only quality filters and oil in that are meant for your driving habits.

Prius has given many owners hundreds of thousands of miles. I see many post all the time of 300, 400 and over 500 thousand miles on their cars. So to answer the question, can the engine last forever? I think that Prius is well on the way to proving that statement true.

Thank you for reading, and I will see you in the next story. What are the differences between the 2nd and 3rd Generation Toyota Prius?

Watch this Toyota Prius truck with a nice little bed and click to subscribe to Torque News Youtube for daily automotive news analysis.

Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter is also an Instructor of Automotive Technology at Columbia Basin College. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporters.


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Comments

Every car has some period of lemon. You got 2010-2012, the worst Prius time because of oil burning issue and head gasket. Many cars cannot even reach 150k miles. It is still a good car although burning oil 1 quart per 1000 miles. Toyota redesigned the piston and piston rings in 2014, 2015, the head gasket in 2013. I have 2015 Prius and with 15 000 miles oil change interval, it burns 0 oil/ never notice any change on oil level even after 140 k miles. I know I need to clean the EGR valve cooler soon. As long as you change the oil regularly with full synthetic 0W-20,every 5000-15000 miles, depends on how and where you drive, change brake fluid every 3-5 years, clean HV filter, and ATF every 60-90k miles. This car last really long.
The author did not answer the question - "How long do toyota prius engines last?" as it says in the title. Waste of time to read it.
The answer you are looking for are in the posts Real info from real life experience that in most cases are unbiased.
I've got a Gen 2, 2008, with 180k on the clock. Never been serviced anywhere but the dealer and always had service as recommended, never not than the 5k cycle. It has started consuming oil over the last 20k miles or so.
I just traded in my 2012 Prius V which was so sad to me. Had to do it when it just had less than 160000 miles. I had it serviced regularly by the dealership and got my oil changed every 5000 miles. I drove this car across country from Maine to Washington State and every other state twice. The last two years it started knocking hard when I started it. Not every time but often enough to make me concerned. I took it in to be checked and they couldn't find any issue and claimed it didn't do it for them. The week. Efore I traded it did it and my check engine light came on. Still they couldn't find any problem and at my husband's insistence they changed a coil. I drive about 300 miles a week on highway. My check engine ugh came on again and I thought the .otor was going to shake out of the car. At this point I took it in again and they told .e it was a head gasket and it would cost approximately 3000 to fix. But, they advised that they have had at least 3 others with same issues and that the engine would need to be replaced at a tune of over 8000 dollars. They offered me 500 as the trade in for a new vehicle. I went elsewhere and bought a Toyota Rav hybrid and got 5500 for the Prius V. I really wanted another Prius but just was too fearful with what they told me about the engines at the dealership gsrage.
Think about it. everybody's a salesman. Can you trust a mechanic? How many mechanics have experience buying new cars? Have they ever owned a vehicle and not followed the recommended service? Then how can you be sure service or not following the service guide is essential? In my opinion and expierence owning series 2 Prius"s I have found they are a technological marvel. In the last Six years I have logged nearly a half million miles on six used Prius's. Each Prius was purchased with over 150,000 miles. I purchased half from private parties the others purchased sight unseen at auction All were purchased without inspection and all reached over 200,000 miles without changing fluids (not counting oil & gas), brakes or exhuast components. i have never followed maintenance having driven 200,000 miles in a 2004 Infinity FX -35 that received no other service beside brakes and 4 oil changes before sold With the prius service considted of nothing till I reached 200,000 miles except head lamps that eventually I became an expert at buying and installing At over 200,000 I lost three water pumps that cost about $44 ea. A problem with the dash cluster (no dash lights) including gas guage cost $200 to repair on only 1. I was able to sell all for very near what I had purchased them for. I had one bad hybrid battery completly dead at purchase that I swapped (with know auto mechanic expierience) from another that I owned. The battery I used had 100,000 - 259,000.miles on her at swap I dtrove it another 40,000 before I sold it My first Prius had nearly 400,000 when a drunk driver totaled it. 4 of the cars have operated with only one quart of oil long enough to reach a gas station to perform emergency add of over two qts cheap oil ,All burned a qt of oil every 1500 miles all got over 44 miles per gallon.
2012 145000 miles burns 1 quart per 5000 miles. Dealer wants to change pistols and rings for 2500 or new engine. Also warned just adding oil will foul the catalytic converter. I am a skeptic about all this. What am I in for?
You should worry more about your CC being stolen than burned out from burning oil. Check and if needed add oil every time you fill up. I’ve had three Prius’s that burned a qt every 1,000 miles. 2 others that burned less and have got over 200,000 miles on all of them with original CC.
Have a 2016 Prius C. 190,000 miles. Gets up to 65 mpg. Never a single engine problem. I take it to Toyota dealer for every maintenance. The money I save on gas is more than enough to save for new future battery if needed. Went to mid Florida from S Carolina to see my parents for 24 bucks. For me super reliable. In the old days my cars were dead after a lot of repairs at 100,000 miles or less. Also save enough gas for maintenance cost and then some.
I recently purchased a 2012 PriusC with 52k. I know it’s low on miles but lately I am concerned if I made the right decision on its age and how many more years of life it actually has. What’s your thoughts on how many more years and or miles do you think I have with this one? Thank you in advance.
You have one of the most reliable proven Prius with a 1.5L engine. This engine has no problem pasts 500k miles if you do oil change with full synthetic 0w-20 every 6months/8000 miles unless you drove in the highway regularly (1 year/15k miles is fine). Change your transmission fluid every 50-60k miles in Prius C. It has no water cooling, only ATF cooled using Toyota WS fluid, just drain and refill for about 4 quarts. Prius C is cheaper than Prius but historically it is more reliable because of well-proven 1.5L from 2nd gen. So, do the oil change, ATF WS change, and coolant change on time. You may need to replace the water pump at some point around 200k miles but everything else is almost bulletproof on Prius.
at 165000 engine was shaking & replacement was $6000 so I traded for a Honda Accord.
Is it too early to tell how well the Prius Primes are holding up? Really like the 2017 version that gets first 25 miles all electric. Never owned a Toyota. I’d hope the Primes are good for at least 200k with good maintenance?
I have a 2008 Prius T-Spirit. I bought it when it was 3 years old, with approx. 80,000 Miles on the clock. I've had it about 10 years. Nothing had ever gone wrong with it. My wife and I are in constant amazement at its longevity and reliability. Every year it breezes through the MOT, and had only every needed tires and windscreen wipers. For the first 2 years I serviced the car, but after that I didn't bother. I just to up the oil whenever it needs it. We drive around the city (London) a lot in the car and regularly drive up to Birmingham to see family. It just will not get sick or die! As soon as it does in going to get a Lexus Hybrid.
I own a Prius 2015 with 179k miles on it. I've changed the oil every 10k miles as recommended. So far, it doesn't consume any oil and the traction battery is still strong. I changed both engines and transmission fluids at 90 k miles, egr valve cleaning and front brakes at 150k and last, the gas engine water pump at 167k miles. This has been the most reliable vehicle I've ever owned from a long list.
After the hybrid battery died, and was replaced, the ABS unit replaced the EVR unit replaced 2 cylinder misfires and now a catalytic convertor problem, in the space of 2 years, with servicing done every 6 months, driving 10 000 km a year, i dont know if I can relate to this story
Nice article and thank you for this valuable information
My 2011 Prius had a major engine repair costing $2000 at 120,000 miles as it began burning oil. It lasted to 161,000 miles when it started shaking & needed a new engine. The last 41000 miles it had oil changes every 5000 miles and a quart of oil added in between changes. I wish I had known to change the oil more frequently. I was hoping to get 300,000 miles but gave up & traded it for Honda rather than spend $6000 on a 10 year old Prius.

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