Hybrid Vehicle Maintenance, Repair and Concerns



  • tyler70tyler70 Member Posts: 82
    can anyone tell me if i need to "warm up " my prius engine before driving like a conventional veh? besides the oil change, is there any maintenance I need to do for the hybrid components? thanks
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Member Posts: 7,160
    No there is no special warmup period for a Prius. When you see READY on the dash just shift and go. Let the computer take care of everything else.

    The hybrid system needs no maintenance - EVER.

    Oil / filters every 5K or 6 mo's
    Engine air filter every 30K
    That's it for the first 100K miles!!!!!

    Wash, Rinse and Repeat for the next 100K miles!!!

    At 100K drain and replace the inverter coolant
    At 120K to 150K replace the spark plugs

    Your 2010 has no belts of any kind so these never need to be checked or replaced.

    Wear items as needed.
  • whitey9whitey9 Member Posts: 138
    Olde cars, like those with carburetors used to almost choke me when I went out in the morning to go to work. My many neighbors would start up their cars/trucks engines and they would be on the "fast idle speed" cam on the carburetor linkage. The street sounded like an airport, but with propellers, not jets. Also, an acrid smell of exhaust wisped over the neighborhood due to the choke butterflies being misadjusted, or sticking shut. Kind of like a bevy of fireplaces spewing their foul odor. This was especially bothersome on those cars that featured no/little exhaust emission systems, like catalytic converters and such.
    More gas has been wasted warming up the car for the kids, than I would care to imagine.
    Start it up, and take off....smoothly.
  • sodaguysodaguy Member Posts: 84
    You also need to rotate the tires (cross-rotate if the tires are not directional) every 5,000 miles.

    Then, you need to replace the cabin air filter every 30k.

    Lastly, the transaxle fluid should be drained and refilled every 60k with Toyota WS fluid. While Toyota considers it to be a lifetime fill, the gurus on the Priuschat forum have concluded that every 60k is a reasonable interval if you want to keep the car for a long time. It is a very easy job and the process is identical to servicing a manual transaxle.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Member Posts: 7,160
    The tire rotations are a personal issue. I do mine every 10K
    Ditto the cabin air filter. I do mine every 30K

    The transaxel issue concerns the Gen 1's primarily. There is nothing specified about the Gen 2s or 3s. I've followed the PC threads on the subject. It's not required but it can't hurt.
  • palomar1palomar1 Member Posts: 1
    the navigation system in honda is acting up, the map navigation stick in the corner no longer works. has this happened to anyone? my honda is a 2007.
  • jpeters1970jpeters1970 Member Posts: 82
    I'd have to agree. In the beginning when the 2004 was released and the Prius went mainstream all the naysayers were knocking the cost of the battery when it needs replacement. That myth has been put to bed as evidenced by the taxis in service in British Columbia. Some of them have over 300,000 miles (MILES NOT KILOMETERS). That in conjunction with long lasting brakes make a compelling argument that hybrids are indeed very reliable (at least the Prius hybrid). It is safe to say that hybrids are going mainstream and diesels aren't getting any traction whatsoever. Americans want hybrids and it shows.
  • whitey9whitey9 Member Posts: 138
    I couldn't disagree with you less. It's kinda like healthcare reform. There is so much misinformation, and disinformation it can scare those who are affected.

    Everyone thot I had to plug in my '07.
    Everyone heard the battery pack cost $3000.
    Everyone heard the battery pack wears out in 50-60K mi.

    One Ford salesman, whose dealership didn't handle hybrid Escapes, told me the brakes would wear out "twice as fast" because of the regenerative braking system.

    Although these days it is difficult to find ANY salesman who knows much of anything about the cars that are on the lot.

    Everyone was misinformed.
  • alocin412alocin412 Member Posts: 6
    so my shifter is stuck btw. Reverse and Park...when you depress the button on the shifter to move it fr. gear to gear nothing happens, i can't press it down so the car is stuck in the driveway, therefore my keys are stuck in the ignition. the steering wheel moves just a bit but that's it...
    has this happened to anyone? i'm thinking it's a transmission issue? ugh....the car is only a few yrs old....
  • kiawahkiawah Member Posts: 3,666
    Check to see if the brake light switch is working. If you put on the brakes, do the rear brake lights turn on, releasing the brakes the brake lights turn off.
  • alocin412alocin412 Member Posts: 6
    im not home at the moment but i will check that out...if the rear brake lights do come on?
  • kiawahkiawah Member Posts: 3,666
    There are interlocks on transmissions, which prevent putting into gear unless the computer has sensed that the brake is on. It knows the brake is on, based upon the brake switch. If your brake switch isn't working, big clue where to start and may be your problem.
  • alocin412alocin412 Member Posts: 6
    great, so if the brake lights don't come on then it could be the interlocks? possibly? i appreciate your time :)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I think what he means (if I may speak for him) is that the brake light switch is bad, preventing the interlock from working. Having no brake lights would suggest a bad brake light switch. That would be a simple fix. If you have brake lights, then the interlock solenoid itself might be defective, requiring a more involved repair at the gearshift area. Also the brake light switch is fuse-regulated, so check all your fuses.
  • alocin412alocin412 Member Posts: 6
    thanks, i appreciate your help...i'll check that out first thing!
  • alocin412alocin412 Member Posts: 6
    ok so my brake lights do come on and you can hear the "clicking" the solenoid makes...so what is the possibility of corrosion? how about a linkage issue? i live in massachusetts so corrosion would sorta make sense, salt air etc...
  • kiawahkiawah Member Posts: 3,666
    might be time for a flatbed tow to the dealership
  • alocin412alocin412 Member Posts: 6
  • marine24marine24 Member Posts: 1
    Looking for information on the maintenance needed at 85K. What do I need to check, and replace? What do I need to check on the braking and charging system? Is there a manual out for the car yet? Where can I buy the air filter for the battery cooling system besides the dealer? I'd like to do the work myself if I can. Any help would be great
  • bahrooksbahrooks Member Posts: 1
    I purchased my 2003 Hybrid, used, about 2 years ago. Since then, the IMA and check engine lines have gone on and off intermittenly. When I brought the car to Honda, they told me I needed a brand new hybrid system, at a cost of $4,000. Since the car is still getting well over 40MPG, that was not a cost I was willing to incur. Now, I recently needed to have my car pass emissions testing. They refuse to just hook the car up the old fashioned way, and actually test the output. Instead, they hook they read the computer, and have failed my car because of the check engine and IMA lights.
    When I hooked the car up to a computer, the mechanic asked if my A/C was working (A/C does indeed work just fine) because the external temp gauge was reading incorrectly. Clearly the car just has a ton of computer issues, but given the fact that it drives absolutely fine and my MPG is in the mid to high 40s, I see no reason to dump a ton of money into it to fix a computer problem that has affected nothing other than turning on 2 dashboard lights.

    I am located in CT, and have not been able to come up with any resolution, even when speaking directly to the head of the emissions dept. Has anyone else had a similar problem, or found a resolution?
  • kiawahkiawah Member Posts: 3,666
    Unless you want to have a gigantic un-inspected paper weight parked in your garage, you are going to have to get a mechanic to start fixing the errors that you have. For all you know, that last mechanic who read the computer and is seeing a bad temperature sensor might be the only problem your vehicle has......a sensor failing to provide input to the computer.

    You can't just ignore these errors, as at some point the computer detects so many errors it can't figure out what area is really causing the problem.....and then you get to the point where you fail an inspection, and have to throw many unnecessary parts at it.
  • whitey9whitey9 Member Posts: 138
    It sounds to me like those Honda guys are a bunch of _____ hanging around and waiting for some sucker to show up so they can fleece him. Or her.
    I would see about getting the fault codes erased and see if whatever was making the check engine light come on causes it to come on ....again.
    I wouldn't mess with those _____ any more than I had to. AND I wouldn't pay a whole lot to get the car diagnosed. BUT I WOULD get a list of the fault codes printed out prior to erasing them. And THEN drive the car about 100mi and see if any of them returned.
    For anyone to make a blanket statement that the car needs a $4000 "hybrid system" replacement seems ludicrous to me.
  • cauliecaulie Member Posts: 1
    Anyone have problems with the break. when you break it feels like its excellrating @ times? This car is only a couple of weeks old. Ant responses much appreciated. Thanks
  • kiawahkiawah Member Posts: 3,666
    You 'break' glass, you 'brake' a car to slow it down.

    It's a brand new vehicle, take it back to the dealership, that's what the warranty if for so you don't have to waste your time on problems.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Sounds like you aren't used to the CVT type of transmission they use. They feel quite different than regular automatics.
  • whitey9whitey9 Member Posts: 138
    I don't know what's with the constant complaints of "brake failure". I HAVE NEVER had ANY problems with the brakes on my '07.
    Now that I see the spelling of "brake", I am beginning to wonder about the relative "smartness" of those operators.
    Of course, I am aware that most consumers disregard the "Owner's Manual" in lieu of "live and learn", but if I just paid for a (new ) car, I would make damn sure I knew how to operate it. Especially a car that is as fundamentally different in its' drive system.
    Perhaps we are witnessing "buyer's remorse", or just plain ignorance.
  • charlespcharlesp Member Posts: 10
    You know, personally I get really irritated by snide comments in reply emails. I presume nobody has ever fat fingered a keyboard and not realized it until immediately after pressing the send key, and mispelling your boss' name :-)

    Anyway, in my O6 HH, nowhere in the manual was it made really clear that when braking, the gas engine will likely shut down and all the engine braking one has learned to appreciate in a regular gas-engine car, will go away. Net result, because you aren't fully depressing the brake pedal, the car will "accelerate" and unless you quickly react you could experience an unplanned, sudden stop.

    Likewise, the braking benefits of using the B mode in lieu of Drive, was not emphasized. (Not only does it charge the battery but "engine braking" is restored.

    So, let's not assume that the owner's manual is the be all end all of driver education for "new" car owners and anyone who can't find exactly what they need in a manual is stupid. Often I find knowledge from users groups is far more current and clear than any manufacturer's manual.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    B mode is for downhill, not normal driving. I think you just need to get used to the Prius. It feels really weird at first. At least I thought so first few times I drove one. Reminded me of an old Citroen.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Member Posts: 7,160
    Yes 'B' Mode should not be used in normal day-to-day driving. It's only to be used for engine 'B'raking going down long steep inclines, as specified in the Owner's Manual.

    As to the OP's original question about the sense that the vehicle is surging just before the brakes take hold, there are multiple discussions on this over at PriusChat. I frankly don't remember any surging sensation 4 yrs ago when I first took delivery of my 05, But if it's there I've certainly adjusted to it. The braking is as normal as the sun rising now.

    In fact I find the brakes a lot better in the Toyota hybrids than most other cars for one very simple reason. When you go to brake a non-hybrid the ICE is still running, still driving the vehicle forward. Braking a non-hybrid requires the operator to overcome the ICE. In the Prius and other Toyota hybrids when the foot comes off the accelerator at ~40 mph and lower the ICE turns off, no forward pull.....sudden stops are more common IMO.
  • partygalpartygal Member Posts: 1
    I have been searching Highlander Battery issues and most that I've seen are from having the vehical sit for extended periods of time. My issue is different. I own a Catering Business and frequently need to work out of the back of my car. I have been a toyota owner for many years and I purchased (Brand New) a Highlander Hybrid in April 2008. The first time the battery went dead was during an event and I was not aware that if you leave the hatchback open that the dome light will killl the 12volt battery after about 30 minutes. I could not figure out the problem until the 12 volt battery repeatedly died on me. After having the car checked several times by my dealership, they reported that the battery was fine. I was agdvised to keep the car in READY mode, thus having the car cycle between the gas engine and the Hybrid Batteries. This seemed to work after a while, but the car has died three times in the past two weeks for as little a thing as leaving the hazzard lights on. Toyota is telling me that I am the only person having this problem! They are replacing the battery right now(as the car died again this morning). Has anyone else had dead battery issues from leaving leaving the hatchback open, door open, hazzard lights on? By the way, I had learned after the first several times to make sure that all interior lights, radio, and anything that might drain the battery were off and unplugged ( IPod charger)!
    Thanks for any insight!
  • whitey9whitey9 Member Posts: 138
    I had my Prius' 12V battery run down after leaving the headlights on. I have not had this problem after realizing the battery is just about the size of a motorcycle battery ( tiny ). I do not leave any lights on, or doors open to prevent a reoccurrence of that type of experience..
  • bzymom2bzymom2 Member Posts: 1
    Did your check engine light shine and the car wouldn't start? This just happened to me, and I wasn't sure if this was a hazard of having a hybrid, or a manufacturer defect. Decided to nap with the kids in the car when we got home, rolled the windows down, and I know I turned the engine off. After you had your battery replaced, has this issue been resolved so far?
  • lew74lew74 Member Posts: 8
    In my 05 Prius the headlights turn off when I open the door to get out. How did your lights stay on?
  • whitey9whitey9 Member Posts: 138
    I didn't open the door, just reached in thru the open window and pushed the "off" button, and then locked the door at the door handle button ( "keyless go" )
  • bob49855bob49855 Member Posts: 1
    I just bought a used 06 Highlander Hybrid. I keep getting less than 20 mpg.s. Is something wrong? :( What can I do? :cry: This just doesn't seem right? :sick:
  • whitey9whitey9 Member Posts: 138
    2wd or 4wd??? www.fueleconomy.gov lists actual mileage results at from 21 to 30.
    The original window sticker had been rated at 33City/28Hwy. The "adjusted" window sticker now reads 28City/25hwy.
    What are you getting? Do you let the car "warm up" in the morning? Do you do a lot of city traffic "driving"? With lots of stops and starts? Do you drive faster than 60mph?
  • tomslycktomslyck Member Posts: 70
    Our 2006 2WD still gets around 26 mpg on average. When it's used just for short trips and hasn't warmed up much, it's more like 24. But when it's used for longer drives, we get closer to 28. We have 82K miles on ours.
  • johnwyojohnwyo Member Posts: 8
    Toyota is overcharging people. I put a regular 12 volt battery, that was small enough to fit. I had to change the battery connectors, or terminals to a regular size, to fit on the batt. post.Bought everything at Wall Mart.
  • whitey9whitey9 Member Posts: 138
    YOUR KIDDING! $300!! For a teeny tiny ( motorcycle-sized ) battery like that? I say B.S.
    At most it is an "AGM" ( Absorption Glass Mat ) battery. It's a CAR, not a SPACE SHUTTLE!!! It powers the electronic control units. I'll bet SOMEONE makes a good battery for a whole lot less. $300? Does that include diagnosis and replacement labor? And disposal too?
  • hybridhorrorhybridhorror Member Posts: 1
    Hi I leased an 08 highlander Hybrid in Dec 07 and have the same problems. I do a lot of short trips and will stop to unload. If i leave the trunk open or put hazard lights on or have any other accessory on, i cant restart the car without a jumpstart. I keep finding new ways to flatten the battery on this piece of junk!! I have been to my dealer at least 4 times and each time they tell me the battery is fine. I have 9 months left on my lease and cant wait to get a reliable car.
  • easternguy2easternguy2 Member Posts: 14

    I am considering buying a 06/07 HH with around 60k miles. 4x2. I had an 02 4cyl 4x2 model and consistently received 25 MPG. I loved it. I am looking to buy another Highlander and was toying with the idea of a hybrid. Never had one before and was a little concerned about maintenance, and if its really worth the extra $$ to buy, vs.just getting another 4 cyl. Some of the options I like are hard to find on 4 cyl, (sunroof, pwr seats, alloys). Can anyone share their experience with their HH as far as hybrid specific repairs past 50k mile range. Any special maintenance? Aside from the batteries which I thought are warrantied until 100,000 miles, is there anything else that could go wrong with the hybrid system that would cost an arm and a leg? If the electrical motor went out, or electronics, etc.
  • mp4mp4 Member Posts: 1
    I took my 2010 Prius to the dealer for its first oil change because I just hit 5k miles. The book says to change the oil at 5k miles but the dealer is saying 10k because of the 0w 20. Is that right or is the dealer trying to not pay for the oil changes he promised?
  • whitey9whitey9 Member Posts: 138
    !0K mi for 0w-20 equipped engines. Some "early" '10s were not filled with 0w-20, so they get the 5K mi oil change interval instead. Make certain you have the correct maintenance manual. Didn't the salesman tell you? HA!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well, once out of warranty, just about any modern car, hybrid or not, is going to cost a good deal of $$$ to fix if a major component fails---so be it Benz or Buick, Civic or Suburban, if you blow out a transmission after warranty, for instance, you're in the hole for thousands of bucks. The only disadvantage of repairing a high mileage hybrid is that you're pretty much stuck with taking it to the dealer, as very few independent shops overhaul hybrid power systems.

    Hybrid technology has proven itself to be just as reliable as any modern powertrain. If you are concerned, get yourself an extended warranty that specifically cover these electronics, would be my advice.
  • biomanbioman Member Posts: 172
    The reason the dealer told you that the next oil change will be at 10k miles after the current one is because Toyota updated the oil change interval if you are using synthetic oil. Of course the synthetic oil would be 0w-20.
  • upstateny5upstateny5 Member Posts: 62
    Not sure this question belongs here but hope I'll get a few responses. We may be leaving our 2010 Prius for a couple of months in NE winter (garaged). I was told when we got it that we could remove the battery for the time we were gone and everything would be ok. I am now getting nervous about doing that and wonder if others have experience with this.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    edited September 2010
    Well in a few months the battery will be dead anyway, so you might as well leave it in there and just unhook it (the 12V battery I mean, that starts the car). Best thing to do is buy a maintenance-type battery charger, also called a "tender", which has a computer in it that maintains proper charge and then shuts on and off as necessary. If leaving an electrical device on there unattended for a few months makes you nervous, (presuming there is no one you can ask to look in on the car now and then) then at least buy a battery charger to re-charge the dead battery when you get back. Do NOT attempt to jump start a completely long-dead battery!!!

    If the car will not re-activate itself, or start, even after you have recharged the 12V battery, you'll have to flat-bed it to the dealership.
  • kiawahkiawah Member Posts: 3,666
    Be sure to park it 'battery side out', so you can jump it if need be, or get a tow hook onto it and tow it if necessary.

    However, a trickle charger or 'tender' as shifty references is the way to go. I leave one on my motorcycle all winter long.
  • upstateny5upstateny5 Member Posts: 62
    Thanks - the battery would be stored in the house so it would not lose a charge (we have done this with other cars - no problems). Got nervous though when Toyota told me car would have to be reprogrammed if taking the battery out "lost its memory".
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I see no reason to take it out. Get the "tender" and it'll stay charged and this will also prevent freezing damage.
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