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Toyota Prius Basic Care & Maintenance



  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 6,371
    Current wisdom is to cross rotate radial tires as was done years ago with old-fashioned bias-ply tires. If you cross rotated directional tires, some of the wheels would wind up with tires rolling the wrong way (as far as the tread pattern is concerned)


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  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,911
    "If you cross rotated directional tires, some of the wheels would wind up with tires rolling the wrong way (as far as the tread pattern is concerned)"

    Does this mean that the traditional wisdom on radial tires was wrong, or have tires changed? What makes a tire "directional"? That is not a title I remember when shopping for tires.

    FWIW, I just checked my Ford Freestyle owner's manual, which says to rotate the tires - across... :blush:
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 6,371
    It's been so long since I had a set of bias ply tires, it's almost hard to remember :P though I seem to recall my Dad with some of the early radials doing the rotation differently than the bias ply tires. But as far as I can recall, "modern" radials have always been cross rotated, tires on the driving wheels moved to the other end of the vehicle, and tires going TO the driving wheels being crossed.

    I know that on 4WD vehicles, they recommend crossing both ways (RF to LR, LF to RR)

    Directional tires have a tread pattern that's designed to roll in a certain direction, like the Aquatreds, so if you crossed them to the other side of the vehicle, they'd be rolling in the opposite direction from the way they were intended to roll.

    Here's the Aquatred:
    And here's the Assurance:

    Note how the Assurance tread pattern is basically the same regardless of the direction the tire would be rolling. The tread pattern on either side of the center line goes in opposite directions.

    On the Aquatred, you can see the directional nature of the tread pattern. Call it rolling with or against the grain if that makes sense!


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  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    The Prius uses Goodyear Integrity tires (at least the 2004-06 generation), and these are not directional.

    When radial tires first became common the early 70s, they were not supposed to be crossed during rotation. But as I said, and pf flyer has concurred, today's radials (as long as they are not directional) are typically recommended to be crossed.

    Toyota recommends differently however, and I don't know why.
  • My husband and I are considering our first hybrid vehicle purchase, the Toyota Prius. We were wondering how the cost and convenience of maintenance and repairs compare to a non-hybrid small sedan? In terms of convenience, what I mean is if you have to go to a special mechanic for hybrid service, or if any good mechanic would be knowledgeable. Thank you.

  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    I helped my son buy a Prius this past July. I don't see any need for special service. The electric motor and other related parts don't require any maintenance. The gasoline engine needs to have the same maintenance as any ordinary car, such as oil and filter changes. Since the car has electric power steering, there's no power steering fluid or conventional pump to worry about.

    The chassis is also similar to a regular car, so items like the tires, brakes, brake and fuel lines, and suspension will require the same kind of maintenance or inspection.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    The only "special" items are special coolant for the MGs (motor generators) and invertor. You can get oil changes etc. done by anyone, but there are certain service intervals that should be handled by a certified Toyota Hybrid tech. These don't happen until you get a lot of miles on the car.

    If you have a problem, then you will want a Toyota certified hybrid tech working on the car. Most Toyota dealers have at least one. I hear the Prius is in the top ten most reliable cars so I doubt you will need the certified techs. help until well "down the road".

    Oil changes are a bit less expensive - less oil is used than most cars. Brakes aren't used as much as most cars and they should last a long time - due to the regen braking doing most of the work. If you get the HID headlamps they are very expensive if a "bulb" burns out ($250 each plus labour to install), but they also last 10x longer than halogen bulbs. I've never burned out a halogen bulb in 25 years of operation of vehicles equipped with them so I don't think the HIDs would be a concern.

    Other than the exceptions above it's "just a car", a Toyota to boot. So maintenance should be a very limited requirement.
  • boraboraborabora Posts: 16
    I shopped around LA area, seems the Prepaid Service Agreement are generally sold for 995 and above-for 4year/55000mile.
    Is that worthy? if i do it 5000/6month interval, that adds up to 8-9times, avarage 120/service. according to Toyota Maintenance Handbook, each service requires, just for oil change, air filter, and tire rotation. will that cost 120? doesn't look like a good deal.
    Is my calculation right? How much does it cost for routine 5000 mile service charged each time?
  • daepriusdaeprius Posts: 2
    Does anyone know how I can replace the cabin air filter myself? The dealer service manager thought I could and said I would access it thru the glove compartment but I don't see any screws etc. inside of it to undo. Or does anyone know of a service manual that will address this? The cabin air is smelling funky and he said it was because I usually keep the outside air vents closed (to keep out pollution) and the cabin air filter was not getting dried out.
    Thank you.
  • Hi go to
    Scroll down, just above the picture of his car is an article how to do it.
    It really is easy--the article makes it look difficult.
    Basically drop glove box and it exposes cabin air filter housing.
  • daepriusdaeprius Posts: 2
    Thank you very much for where to find out how to change the cabin air filter. My future passengers thank you too.
  • Hi,
    I am interested in purchasing the Prius. But when i was talking to my neighbor about her Prius, she said she gets it done by her regular Shell mechanic. But he charges twice as much for the oil change, apparently there are "accessibility" issues with changing the oil on a Prius. So she claims the mechanic told her it takes twice as long to change oil. Is this generally a problem with other routine maintenance too (ex. oil, radiator flush, transmission flush, tire rotations, etc..). Does this end up pushing the maintenance cost up for the Prius?
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Well, her Shell mechanic is fleecing her, because there's no "accessibility" issues with changing the Prius's oil.

    He does have a lift, right? I assume he's not crawling underneath the car on the ground. Here's a little tutorial on changing the Prius's oil yourself.

    Ditto for the other services, although personally I don't have my transmission flushed, just drained and refilled.
  • Hi,
    Have had mine serviced at the local "quick oil change" place I've used for years.
    If anything it's faster and cheaper account less oil.
  • So, is there any routine maintenance for which i HAVE to take it to the Toyota dealership. Or can they all be done by a regular mechanic.
  • Hi,
    My 2005 I took to dealer for 15K check. Really did not need to I found out later.
    Maybe for the 30K.--but really any good mechanic can check those things.
    Any warranty work, of course, get at dealers.
    These cars seem to be low Maintenance. The 2005 we just traded in had NO problems in two years and 23 K miles. The tires even looked good.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    As Carl said, you don't have to have the Prius serviced at the Toyota dealership. The routine service items are essentially the same as for any modern vehicle. If you have a trusted mechanic, by all means go to him (or her). But keep all of your receipts in case of a warranty issue.
  • For warranty or extended warranty repairs, can you take your Prius to any nearby Toyota dealer for the work? Or do you have to take it to the Toyota dealer that you purchased the car and the warranty from. The dealer that quoted me the lowest price so far is about 150 miles away, and am unsure if i have to take the Prius there anytime i have to get warranty repairs.
  • acdiiacdii Posts: 753
    It is a Toyota, you can take it to ANY toyota dealership to have warranty work done, just make sure they have a Certified Prius mechanic on hand when you do.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    Just to clairify, as long as it is a "Toyota Warranty", and not one offered by another warranty company. The Toyota warranty is honoured by any Toyota dealer. Most service departments should welcome you with open arms. It's how they make money - there is no cost to the dealership associated with the warranty, just profit.
  • Good luck with all that! Probly the smell u are smelling is cruddy mold growing in the heater/ac box. Smeels like a gym class locker room. Sorta "socky."
  • florida_wenflorida_wen Posts: 29
    In a few days we will be picking up our new 2007 Prius Touring from our local Dealer. With every vehicle we have always bought, whether it was new or used, we have always purchased a “genuine” factory workshop MANUAL. I’m not saying I am going to “tear-down” the vehicle or do major repairs, but it is just nice to know what is involved IF the vehicle had to be serviced and the correct way to perform certain tasks I can do myself, such as oil & filter changes, brakes, other adjustments and/or parts replacement, etc. During the past three decades we have been purchasing just brand new Acura or Hondas. Their manuals are available from HELM, Inc. and were expensive, but easy to purchase and very detailed and “smartly” written with plenty of illustrations. We must admit this new Prius is OUR FIRST NEW TOYOTA in over 30 years. I checked the Helm, Inc. book site and they do not print any Toyota manuals. I am thinking that once we pick up (next week) our new Prius, there might be a place in the back of the Owners’ Manual telling us where to purchase Factory Workshop Manuals…. Maybe not ??

    Any suggestions where to buy a “GENUINE” and well written 2007 PRIUS WORKSHOP MANUAL ??
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    From the dealer for one source; you could also try eBay.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    There are illegal copies on CD available on e-bay. Or you could download your own legal copy. You sign up on the Toyota site, I think it was around $5 per day or $25 for a month. You need a US address and a credit card. You can then download all the manual files, TSBs, etc. I haven't seen a printed version. Site is
  • florida_wenflorida_wen Posts: 29
    I looked on eBay for "legal" stuff and right now there are only 2006 (ALL FOUR VOLUMES) Prius manual set, presently going for over $201 and still one day left !! I bet it will get a final bid well over $300 !! Ya' gotta check it out !!
    I was also considering joining that Toyota TECHINFO for just ONE DAY and downloading all I can get my hands on........ I am sure it would take hours and hours..... the "monthly" join would certaily make more sense (and preserve some of the remaining sanity I have left) but I believe it was over $50 !! :confuse:
    I guess I was certainly "spoiled" with the $50 COMPLETE ACURA MDX Service Manual (one volume only) I bought for our 2003 (in 2003) !! Like I wrote, this is our FIRST Toyota and already I am a bit disappointed with the high cost of printed manuals.... :mad:
  • acdiiacdii Posts: 753 has 5 manuals for the Prius. Beware, they are not cheap, all 5 will run about $600.
  • I have been seriously considering a Prius for some time now. I currently drive a European car, and one of my biggest complaints is that I have to take my car to the dealership WHENEVER I need something done, at twice the cost. I go to a non-dealer shop to get something minor fixed, and the guy looks at my car and shakes his head...sending me on my way. :mad: What's even worse, I can't even change my own headlight without dismantling part of the engine. In the manual it says "To change a burnt out headlight, please take your car to your nearest dealership." I only know this because I opened the hood to change the headlight and was like...wait WHAT?

    I know the Prius is somewhat a "specialty" car, and I really don't want to have the same problems I'm having with my European car. Input?
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    You will not have THOSE kinds of problems. I assume you now have a Mercedes, BMW, or Audi, in that order of likelihood.

    As far as regular maintenance goes, the Prius is pretty much like any other Toyota. And you won't be visiting the shop much for things gone wrong.
  • I actually have a VW, and at 6 years old it's being real stupid...little stupid things breaking...and spending way to much to take care of it. There's some things I just said screw it...
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Oh yeah, VW! I've heard a lot of woes from my co-workers about them. I had 2 Rabbits myself back in the 70s. The first was really a lemon; the second one was better, but only in comparison to the first.

    If you get a Toyota, you'll not regret switching.
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