I recently worked on a 2009 Toyota Prius. The complaint was the air bag light was on. Our customer had the Toyota Prius at a local Grand Rapids, MI dealer prior and was told it needed a wiring harness. This information was not helpful in the least. There are numerous harnesses involved and these can be very costly, depending on which one. As it turns out, the Toyota Prius had been totaled by the insurance company and had a salvage title. The car had been improperly repaired before being sold to our customer, and this was causing the air bag light issue. The entire roof had been replaced using another Toyota Prius roof. They had cut the support pillars, wiring and anything else in the way to swap the tops. The wiring reconstruction was poor and potentially dangerous. The air bags will not deploy in the event of an accident if there is an issue with this system.
The point of this is: buying a vehicle with a salvage title is very risky. There is a very good reason the vehicle is totaled by the insurance company, and that is that it couldn’t be made safe for the road at an affordable price. In this particular case with the Toyota Prius, at any price. The sectioning off of a roof by cutting the support pillars greatly weakens the entire structure. Our customer Grand Rapids Hybrid customer has been properly educated and informed, but I suspect will continue to drive the vehicle simply out of necessity. We were able to locate wiring issue and properly repair that issue at a reasonable cost, but nothing can be done for the substandard body repairs. Please use extreme caution or avoid purchasing vehicles with a salvage title. It remains, true, buyer beware. Keep your wheels on the road, Eric.