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Would You Drive A Toyota Prius In Unknown Condition Across Country?; I Would.

Some of us are more daring than others. Me, I may be crazy. Here is why I would jump into a Prius and drive it across the country.


Few things scare me anymore. Now in my life, I look for things that give me a challenge. As I was browsing the internet, something caught my eye. A question was asked in one of the Prius groups if anyone would drive their car across the country. I thought for a moment and wondered, under what circumstances.

I then thought about my car, a 2008 Toyota Prius with 208,000 miles on it. I am not the first owner, and the vehicle has for sure seen better days. It was then, I thought would I dare to find a car similar to mine and drive it across the country?

The answer is a resounding yes, and here is why.

Prius Is Well Built Even After Years Of Use
Part of the reason I would do this challenge is I understand how well these cars are built. I know that all generations of Prius have their own weaknesses, but those weaknesses have call signs.

For instance, a 2010 Prius may be the highest risk one of all. Plagued with head gasket issues, inverter recalls, and brake actuator failures, an early Gen 3 Prius is a much higher risk. I would still do it, though. Asking a few basic questions to the car owner before buying would help clear up any potential severe failures on the road home.

2008 Toyota Prius Red

Checking for things like coolant loss or permanent DTC's will also help you know if there could be trouble on the horizon.

However, no matter if it was a gen 1, 2, 3, or 4, I would do it. Prius has a somewhat proven track record for being reliable and trustworthy. I have owned quite a few of these little cars and each one has always been a winner.

I Have Made Similar Trips With Many Unknowns
A journey like this to me is more familiar than most realize. I have acquired cars over 12 hours away and bought them sight unseen.

While this seems like a considerable risk (and it is), I feel that because Prius has such an excellent track record, more than likely, I would be ok. Every time I have made a trip like this, I have been ok.

My Background Keeps Me Calm
The last reason I would make this trip is because of my background. I have been in the auto industry for 15 years now. I have been focused on hybrids exclusively for the past 3. I know these cars very well and how to work on them.

2010 Toyota Prius

If I did have an issue, I am sure that I would be resourceful enough to find a way to fix it. Now, if I am miles away from civilization with no cell service, that is another thing entirely.

Driving an unseen Prius across the country seems exciting to me. I think now, knowing what I do, this would be a next-level challenge.

Toyota built the Prius to take a beating. Quite honestly, with some of them that I have driven, that idea proves true.

Thank you for reading. I look forward to seeing you in the following article. Want to turn your Prius into a generator, check this out here.

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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 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.


Hunter (not verified)    March 20, 2021 - 10:56AM

Hey man - local 20 year old idiot here. I actually did this! I got a Prius, 2007, labeled as "for parts" for 1k on Facebook marketplace on August 2020. I took the car, drove it home (seller has no idea what the cars deal was) and swapped the oil, filters, a dead ignition coil and dead 12v battery, along with the coolant. After that it was still throwing a couple check engine codes, so naturally I took the car in December during massive winters and blackouts and drove it from Columbus Ohio to salt lake city and back, getting buried in the snow and being unable to continue driving until the weather cleared half a dozen times. The priuses are units.