I bought my 2010 Prius II brand new for about 24k. My profession required a lot of driving, so I thought the 40mpg would be perfect (which, btw, it really only got about 30). I test drove 3 before I bought one, but honestly, how much can you realize about a car just going around the block (or, well, 3 blocks) once. To be safe, I even purchased the complete care package, theft proof windows etc., etc. which racked up a hefty monthly payment, but I thought better safe than sorry.
So, where do I even start? First, there was the windshield. Out of the blue, just 3 months into ownership, right before my eyes while driving, a huge crack just rips out from under the front hood all the way across the entire windshield. So, I paid 500.00 (tragically the same amount as my insurance deductible) out of pocket to replace it and took 2 hours off of work to do it (this happened on a Sunday, so I had to get it replaced Mon morning). I asked the tech at Safelite (yeah, not Toyota b/c apparently the total care package only covers scheduled routine maintenance) if there was any kinda impact damage from a rock or whatever that had somehow gotten up under there and he told me there hadn't been. He told me he couldn't find any direct cause, but it wasn't totally unusual.
I called Toyota just to see if maybe I could get a little gratuity kickback for spending 1/3 of my hard earned (and as a homecare nurse working in one of the worst neighborhoods in the US at the time, I mean, hard earned) paycheck to fix something on a brand new car, and they basically laughed me off the phone. So ok, I told myself, can't blame a girl for trying, and chalked it up to force du jour. Then, there were the tires. And when I say tires plural, I mean I must have replaced all four tires about 3-4 times in the 3.5 years I owned the vehicle. If you think about the average cost of a tire being about 70-100 bucks a piece, then I spent about a grand plus on tires alone. Of course, that wasn't covered either.
Then there were the brakes. I noticed I had a lot of trouble coming to a complete stop on uneven ground such as gravel or a pothole even when it wasn't icy or rainy, like the service guy at the dealership told me. Again, they blew me off. I learned to compensate for the brake issue by braking way before a red light or stop signs, but there were some hairy moments when I thought I might rear end someone, or just skid out into oncoming traffic (for instance when I didn't see said pothole until the very last minute).
Then, there was the plastic piece under the front of the car that always got snagged on things like those cement parking markers, speed bumps, curbs etc. that one day, during the winter, after it had snowed about a foot, just fell out from under the car to the shock of my neighbors. But wait, it didn't completely fall off. While I was driving to a job in Baltimore, the remaining chunks went flying off my car, piece by piece, onto the highway, making this ungodly noise. I had to stop every so often to pull more of it off so no unsuspecting motorist would be surprised by a chunk of my undercarriage smacking their windshield. And because the plastic part of the front of the car fell off, the grill would then partially slide out causing it to drag on the ground creating this horrible scratching sound.
One winter, I drove through a patch of ice at 20 mph and ended up on a high curb, and I heard something break. I got off the curb and parked the car thinking it was a headlight, or part of the body, but to my amazement, I couldn't see any external damage. I was so puzzled, wondering what the heck happened. It wasn't until I started moving again and noticed this horrible pull to the right that I knew something was really off. I mean, the car always seemed to pull a bit to the right, but this was really bad. I took it to the dealership who said the axle (I think) was bent and it wasn't safe to drive, but still insisted I drive it to their affiliated body shop around the corner (huh?) to get it fixed.
The service guy there said whatever it was that was bent was certainly bent, which he couldn't believe I could have done at 20mph, but regardless, he could tell it had already been slightly bent (and said it probably had been since I purchased the car) because after I told him my tire woes, he noticed I had way too much wear on a tire he could tell was brand new.
On a less dangerous note, the 2 car chargers simply stopped working. I had to buy a DieHard battery with a 12 volt outlet just to charge my phone while I was on the road. The tires, even though I replaced them about every 3 months, had absolutely zero traction in the snow and it took me an hour, sometimes, just to get out of my back driveway even if there was only a few inches of accumulation on the ground. My neighbors must have thought I was nuts as I would vehemently fight for a space in the street in front of my house on snowy days.
Then there were the dents, scratches, and dings caused by a few parking snafus which usually entailed me bumping into a plastic pole or some other inanimate object (no damage to the object mind you) at 2 mph, or sometimes for just some mysterious cause. It seemed like if you sneezed near the car, it would produce a blemish. Parallel parking in a busy city with tight spots was always nerve-racking. I think the last straw was when I took it to be inspected in March of this year, and the service person told me I needed new brake pads (totally expected at around 50,000 miles), but he also said I had to replace a tire I had just replaced in Jan. (What?!)
I was looking online to find the cheapest place to replace the brake pads on a 2010 Prius when I found out about the 2010 recall on the brakes for the very problem I had already described here. Then, with a little more probing, I found out about the Feb 2014 recall for an electrical problem that could cause the car to stop operating while you're driving it. No one notified me of either recall. I thought that's it. I'm done paying 500.00/month for this! I took it back to the dealership and told them I was not leaving in that car. I traded it in for a used car- which is not a Toyota. Why a used car, you may ask? Because it doesn't depreciate drastically by simply driving it off the lot, and hey, it can't be any worse than the one I bought brand new.
I'm writing this now, not as an effort to talk smack about Toyota, but rather, to let others know that if you bought something and you truly believe something is not right about it - trust your gut and don't let them brush you off and tell you it's whatever their manager told them to tell you. See the GMC recalls. It might just save your life.