Toyota Prius Basic Care & Maintenance

Karen_SKaren_S Member Posts: 5,092
Talk about Prius care and maintenance here.


  • rfruthrfruth Member Posts: 630
    Special Service Campaign 40D fixes a programming error on about 23,000 Priuses built between August 2003 and February 2004 that can cause the On Board Diagnostics to not report the causes of certain failures. It only becomes a problem during service after the car suffers one of these failures. Owners of affected VINs will get a letter from Toyota asking them to visit any dealer for the required free upgrade. Toyota has not made public a list of VINs, but one can call their customer service center with a VIN to confirm whether it is affected.
  • luvbeingreenluvbeingreen Member Posts: 5
    Hi! I am a soon to be proud owner of a 2004 Prius.
    I am in need of finding out what the base cost of a Platinum warranty for the Prius actually costs the dealer. I am already paying sticker price and really would prefer a reasonable deal on some part of this vehicle purchase. The dealer has been pretty good (read as, not selling the vehicle over the sticker's invoice), but I got a quote of $2552 (most likely this is a before tax price) for the combo 'deal' of the Platinum warranty and the environmental protection plan(also known as undercoating, scotch-guarding and paint protection). Supposedly it was a "really" discounted price, not sure if that will be the same if I finance with my primary financial institution rather than theirs.

    Please, if anyone has any info on this subject, I kind of need to know asap (as I need to call the dealer and finalize the financing and registration tomorrow (Th) morning.)

    Thanks so much for your assistance on this topic!


  • jdvaladezjdvaladez Member Posts: 2
    I just purchased an '04 Prius with the AM package. In closing the purchase the finace person sold me a Platinum repair contract for $1,200. This was described as under his "dealer cost" of $1,475. I suspect that your dealer is attempting to double pad your purchase price on top of a "paint protection" that is also a phantom item. Cars are undercoated and sealed at the factory and scotch-guarding is unnecessary. They are selling you something that the car already has.
  • talleyidtalleyid Member Posts: 34
    If you search the other discussions and check the Yahoo groups there was a dealer offering it for aprx. $980. You can purchase from any dealer. Several people purchased from him and reported no problems with the transaction. Now that I think of it the post may have been on or

    If you want to email me directly I'll look for the info. I printed it out but it's at home.
  • ragueroraguero Member Posts: 60
    When we picked up our 2004 back in Dec. the dealer Santa Monica Toyota in CA) sold us the Platinum package for $750. We just wouldn't go any higher. We paid cash for the car though. That might have had something to do with they're coming down on the price. It started out at $1200. Haggle. It won't hurt to ask.
  • rfruthrfruth Member Posts: 630
    Antivirus software/firmware included (or needed) ? Not that i'm paranoid about viruses/worms/trogan horses but does the proprietary nature of the Prius (or any hybrid) make it immune ? - snip - Nokia cell phone contracts virus - One of the first viruses to strike a cell phone was reported this week by Kaspersky Labs in Moscow and closer to home by Symantec. The virus struck a Nokia Series 60 phone that uses Symbian OS. Dubbed EPOC.cabir, the virus transmits its code via a Symbian OS distribution file disguised as a security manager utility. It spreads itself through Bluetooth devices and when it finds one it will ask you do you want to install. You have to say yes to get it on your system.
  • linda1linda1 Member Posts: 11
    Hi, My car wash in w. Los Angeles says it can't put the P.2004 on it's track or "major damage" is done to the car. I really don't want to pay for true hand wash or wash it myself. Any suggestions? Toyota says to basically turn the power off and on afew times; turn t he parking brake on and off, and put the car in neutral. I could follow there instructions but I doubt any car wash guy would. Linda
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I guess you will have to wash it in the driveway. be careful not to get electrocuted when you start to scrub it down... Just kidding. It is small enough it should not take you long. I find it is the best way to find all the little scratches and dents. You saved a few more dollars for gas by doing it yourself.
  • oldboyoldboy Member Posts: 59
    Besides washing the Prius yourself, you could use a drive-thru car wash. That way you could be sure to follow Toyota's instructions about turning the power off and on, etc. since you would be doing it yourself. It should make for an interesting ride going through the car wash, wondering if the power is indeed turned off, or if there is any danger of electrocution! (Sorry, I just couldn't resist that. No real danger, but it would make for an interesting rumor!)
  • juliajjuliaj Member Posts: 8
    I've taken my 2004 Prius through the car wash many times without a problem. I leave the power on and just put it in neutral and that's it. Be sure to visually doublecheck that you see that the "N" is highlighted. The first time I had it washed I lost the back windshield wiper. Now I make sure that a bag is put over it.
  • little_pogilittle_pogi Member Posts: 149
    Has any 04 Prius owner out there received a letter from Toyota re this Special Service Campaign. I got one today and it ask me to go to any Toyota dealer "as soon as possible" so they could "reprogram the HV & Battery ECU's". It is not a vehicle problem but more of a possible diagnostic miscommunication between the Prius and a repair facility OBD scantool should you bring in your Prius in the future for a service check. Toyota consider this reprograming recall part of proper care and maintenance of affected Priuses. I do not know what VIN are affected. Mine is in the 40014xxx area so probably, anything below may need reprograming. This service will be done at "no cost to you".
  • tempusvntempusvn Member Posts: 119
    If you mean SSC 40D, it affects a wide range of VINs including most much newer than yours.

    Your VIN looks like it was in the range for SSC 40A. Did you have that done? If so, it's the same process, they are just basically re-flashing those two ECUs.

    The problem is that the diagnostic tools weren't getting correct info when an error occured. Some folks have also reported that the Techs told them that the car was, in fact, reporting false errors to itself also, resulting in warning lights popping on incorrectly. But, there hasn't been any Toyota confirmation of that, and I really wouldn't expect any, hehe.

    It's a "SSC" not a "Recall", but by telling you they consider it to be part of the proper care and maintenance they are saying that if you don't do it, you risk your warrantee.

    If you live in a CARB state, this apparently has emissions ramifications, and I think CA is going to want a reciept showing this was done next time you re-register the car, or get it inspected. I don't really understand how they do things out there, but keep the paperwork.

    If your dealership has done ECU reprogramming before, it's not a big deal. If they haven't, there's a risk they could brick it if they don't follow all the procedures correctly, but if they do, they'll fix it.
  • linda1linda1 Member Posts: 11
    well, no one seems concerned or has a problem about the auto. car wash. My c.w. has a reprint
    from a c.w assn newsletter. They say that the car slips from neutral into power on the track and can cause major damage. I don't mind sometimes
    washing the car myself or going to a drive through if I can find one. I just want to avoid problems. Linda
  • eyemaneyeman Member Posts: 2
    I have owned an '01 Prius, and traded in for an '04 model, fully equipped last November. Love the car, but now dealer service has become an annoyance. As a result, I just had the 5000 mi oil change done at a local lube center--however they are unable to reset the Maintenance Required light. Any suggestions on how to do this without returning to the dealer? My other alternative is to wait 3 weeks for an appointment I made to have 40D SSC performed.
  • juliajjuliaj Member Posts: 8
    John 1701a tells you how to turn off the maintenance required light in his web site. I've used his directions and they work perfectly. He also tells you how to turn off the beeping when the car is in reverse.
  • eyeman2eyeman2 Member Posts: 5
    to Juliaj: I visied and couldnt find direction to reset the light or to eliminate the annoying reverse-beep. is there an easy search tool for the site? If so, I didnt see one. please help.
  • eheadingeheading Member Posts: 26
    Yesterday I just went to the dealer and had my "free" oil change, filter change, tires rotated, and AC filter changed. It was certainly nice to have that all included in the original $19300 we paid for our classic Prius. that is certainly a nice touch and leaves a good taste in your mouth.

    Six months for now, when our Prius is 24 months old, they will also change the engine coolant and the inverter coolant in the complimentary service maintenance.

    Ed Headington
  • jimdoyle56jimdoyle56 Member Posts: 1
    If my wife's battery dies in the cold, how can I use my Prius to jump her battery? Dumb question, I guess, but I really want to know.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Member Posts: 1,897
    Jumping any vehicle is never truly safe, there is always a risk of frying the electronics in both vehicles. So you are always better off using a portable-jumper/inflator/light/battery device (around $59) rather than a second vehicle.

    But if you absolutely had to use a Prius (to send electricity), you'd just connect the cables to the 12-volt the same way you would with any other vehicle. (Note: it's in back corner, rather than under the hood)

  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    It's risky with any modern car, call AAA.
  • linda1linda1 Member Posts: 11
    ok here's the situation: my lovely 2004 silver #3 is 1 month old with apx 570 miles and I get putrid mileage ave. 30mpg. I do mostly city driving with about 1/4 freeway.

    now, that's an annoyance but here's the biggie: while driving in stop and go traffic - 5 SEPARATE TIMES - the transmission slipped from drive into neutral. The gear shift was still in drive but the dash showed N as selected. I was able each time to pull over and put the car back into D. No warning lights or buzzers. The last time was on the freeway to take
    the precious auto to the dealer ( Marina del Rey toyota in L.A.) So said dealer had my baby for 4 days - drove it 70 miles - but "could not duplicate the problem" I've also contacted the main office about this scary car as did the dealer and Toyota has no suggestions and has no record of this having happened before. So any ideas out there? Linda1
  • john1701ajohn1701a Member Posts: 1,897
    > The gear shift was still in drive but the dash showed N as selected.

    When in Reserve, Drive, Engine-Braking, and Neutral the "gear shirt" always returns to the default position. So your "still in drive" reference is impossible. Sorry. It's like clicking the button on a mouse. The device is electronic, not mechanical. So it is always in a ready position, not the state in which your action placed on it.

    Odds are, you are inadvertently bumping it while driving.

    As for the MPG, if all you ever do is short trips and you haven't followed the efficiency tips (check: tire pressure, oil level, minimal A/C, etc.) that is normal. Pressing reset before taking a drive on the freeway or a minimal-stop drive through the suburbs will reveal a much higher MPG.

  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    Put it on eBay you may get more for it than you paid and let someone else sort out the trouble.
  • little_pogilittle_pogi Member Posts: 149
    It may be possible that the neutral switch is shorting out. Remember these are shift by wire technology. There is no direct mechanical linkage from the transmission lever to the trans gearbox. Try to make a written record on every event the tranny indicator shifts to N by itself. Note at what speed and road condition your were in. Your service tech will have a written record to start with and maybe refer to Toyota tech support for help. You should be able to shift back to D while you are coasting on the road or freeway. You do not need to pull over. I once tried going to N from D on a downhill stretch and shifted back to D or B to do some engine braking.
  • linda1linda1 Member Posts: 11
    Hi John, thanks for your imput. Of course you're right, the gear shift always reverts back to neutral after selecting drive BUT the dash selection shows D when in drive which mine did each of my 5 occurances when it slipped into N and there I was unable to accelerate while intraffic. I don't see how I could bump it (the gear shift?) as I've been driving with both hands on the steering wheel. Lindna1
  • linda1linda1 Member Posts: 11
    And thank you too for your reply little_pogi, Believe me Toyota knows every breath I've taken in this car. When you shift from N to D don't you have to brake to do so? That's why I've been pulling over, and also because the traffic behind me is going dangerously faster than I am when this happens. Linda1
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    You are lucky you live here in CA. They have a Lemon Law with teeth. Keep all your documentation and invoke it to get a different car. Although if I have trouble like that I would go to a different brand altogether. You still have the eBay choice find someone that thinks life starts when you get a Prius. Let them be the lab rat.
  • stevedebistevedebi Member Posts: 4,098
    As I recall, the lemon law requires that the problem be duplicated 3 times in 12 months, or the car is out of service for 30 days in 12 months.

    One incident will not do the job.
  • little_pogilittle_pogi Member Posts: 149
    I did not have any problem when shifting from N to D (and vice versa) while the car was running. I also did not have to step on the brake. It is only when you have it on P that you that you need to step on the brake first.

    I was once a juror where CA lemon law was being applied in a lawsuit. The lemon law, I learned, is not as simple as a 3 defect in a year scenario. There is also some calculations involved in determining the actual amount you can get from the car manufacturer assuming the law was applied to your favor. It's not a simple "I get your car back and I give you a brand new car". In the case I was in, the guy did have a bad vehicle. He decided to go to court and wanted to have his vehicle replaced under the CA Lemon law. After hearing the arguments and how the law works, the jury ruled in favor of the car manufacturer unanimously. All of us jurors had to apply the law and just felt sorry for the guy.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    Interesting. I thought it was a simple procedure if you had the same trouble 3 times in a year and they did not fix it. I guess it is back to selling it on ebay...
  • pripri Member Posts: 9
    Warning: Make sure you never break your radio mast antenna base. It costs $683.94 (parts and labor) to replace! The cabin ceiling liner must be removed and the base also contains an amplifier. Poor design IMO.
  • rfruthrfruth Member Posts: 630
      Whats a good way to not break the base ?
  • ragueroraguero Member Posts: 60
    I had my 04 Prius in for it's 15k oil change yesterday. The service rep. tried to get me to do the 15k minor maint. on it also. I looked at the list of what they do and most of it was "checking" things. The only thing they replace is the A/C filter. For this they wanted $189.00. Thanks to this board and others, I knew that the A/C filter wasn't hard to replace (you have to take the glove boxes off though) but the filter itself is only $30.00. I just thought people might want to know what to expect at 15k.
  • azstanazstan Member Posts: 74
    Yesterday I took my '04 Prius in for 15k maintenance. They charged me $113 for it. Also threw in a "car wash". Will not let them wash it again...but it was a nice gesture on their part.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    It amazes me at the variation in Dealer charges for parts and service. I was looking for a little bottle of touch up paint and it varied between 3 dealers in San Diego from $2.85 to $10.

    AZSTAN: I thought you were not supposed to wash a Prius or it will quit running, or short out ;->
  • little_pogilittle_pogi Member Posts: 149
    The scheduled maintenance guide that came with the car shows you a check list on which ones to look at. Replacing the engine oil and oil filter, and the tire rotation are the two important things to do. The others are just inspections. For somebody who does not know anything about cars except to drive it, $189 may be worth it just to have that peace of mind. To me, paying someone $100 to look at the underside of my car is a rip off. I do my own maintenance so that saves me on labor cost. I do received discount coupons from local dealers on regular maintenance items. Toyota oil filter (90915-YZZA2) is $3.99 and the cabin air filter (87139-47010) is $18.97.
  • rfruthrfruth Member Posts: 630
    About a year ago I needed a crush washer for my Civic's oil drain plug, the person at the parts counter gave me two of them at no charge, I went to the same Honda dealer a few months later and they wanted 35 cents each for the same washer (30 cents for the paperwork 5 cents for the washer ((they didn't say that))) maybe Toyota dealers are different but I doubt it.
  • rfruthrfruth Member Posts: 630
    From what I've seen Toyota dealers aren't any different, heck one of um near me (Fred Haas)sends out various e-mails & they all say about the same thing, Driftwood Pearl 2004 Prius option code BG asking 31.5 special internet price 24.9 (the "special" price is always MSRP) Someone who doesn't have access to the internet a magazine rack or newspaper might fork over the 31.5 (Fred Haas Toyota hopes so) but the rest of us are going to shop around, and I remember a 35 cent washer ?
  • cargal2cargal2 Member Posts: 36

    I've several discussions about problems with the Prius going through the carwash. I am about to have my hands on a 2004 Prius, package #9. The dealer wants $2,000 over MSRP.

    A. The sticker says that the car is equipped with a security alarm. However, the salesman (who has been very nice to me, hiding the car while I make up my mind), says I will need a further alarm system to ensure that nobody can jimmy the doors, or try to break the glass....

    I don't quite understand what type of alarm that Toyota has already equipped the car with.

    B. I see that a number of people are talking about this carwash problem.

    I also see that a number of people who are involved in posting are from either California, Texas, or almost "snow-free" states.

    I am in the NY Metropolitan Area. Usually the weather has been mild, during the winter. However, last year, it was pretty bad. Sometimes, the driveway for the complex wasn't even plowed in a timely fashion.

    So my question is, is whether anyone has had any experience using the 2004 in bad weather, and heavy snow.

    I figure if there are problems going through a car wash, how can you drive through a blizzard, slush, hail, salted roads, and whatever other brimstone.

    I am not sure also how the traction control/vehicle stability system would also handle in snow, too, because of its lightweight.

    Anyone have any experience, or problems dealing with winter weather with the Prius?

    The dealer insists that this car is like any other front-wheel drive car....

    I also live by major power lines, and didn't know how that would affect this car, too, on a regular basis?

    Thanks for your help. I found it enlightening to know about that Platinum extended warranty. Another dealer told me that it cost $2,200 with no deductible. Didn't know it was possible to haggle.

  • little_pogilittle_pogi Member Posts: 149
    There was a lot of discussion last winter about the Prius handling in snow. A lot of them posted positive feedback on the its performance.

    The salesman is just trying to squeez more money from you on installing a glass breakage sensor. This is an accessory that you can purchase separately and install yourself.

    Worried that your Prius will get zapped by overhead power lines? Absolutely not.
  • jofam1jofam1 Member Posts: 21
    Hi, I just got a Prius 05 and am curious about the service maintenance costs.
    1. How much do the Toyota dealerships charge for regular 5,000, 10,000. 20,000 miles etc. services?

    2. I have seen posts of $113-189 for 15,000 miles services. Anyone going through a 30,000 miles service for a 04 yet, and if so, how much does it cost?

    3. I guess I don't have to bring it to Toyota for the 5,10,20,000 miles service, but should I bring the car to an outside shop for the 15,000 miles service?

    Just trying to make sure that it's not worth it to pay $895 for prepaid maintenance for 4 years/55,000 miles.

    Thank you all.

    PS Anyone having trouble programming the garage openers? Also, does the car beep non stop as long as you are on reverse? Thank you.
  • jofam1jofam1 Member Posts: 21
    Isn't the Prius supposed to get better mileage in city than in highway driving ? Jjust curious.
  • railroadjamesrailroadjames Member Posts: 560
    After 12,000 plus miles and an intense interest in everyones experience with milage, Ive come to a couple of conclusions. City and hiway milage depend on several circumstances. First, if you drive hiway miles at steady 50mph and use the cruise as much as possible, milage can be a de-cent 48-56. If you go 70mph and up it drops to 40-46. While on the other hand, city milage is usually at about 42-45 for short runs and 44-56 long runs. Driver's impatience or patience can make the figures vary significantly. Hills and/or plains also come into play. Are all PRIUS's equal?
    That might be something TOYOTA can and should answer. It be a complex vehicle. I've had days when my PRIUS seems ever so thrifty getting 56-57mpg and two days later I get 40mpg for no appar-
    ent reason. I have noticed very consistant miles per tankfull (450-500). That still makes for a pleasant fillup. I've yet to spend more than $16.00 for a fillup and I've yet to squeeze more than 8.8 gallons in a supposedly 11.9 gallon tank. Lastly I'll share with you one fillup I had. I pulled in while a woman was filling her HUMMER and as I left ($14 lighter in my wallet for a fillup) she was still pumping @ $75.00. I SMILED!
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    "I pulled in while a woman was filling her HUMMER and as I left ($14 lighter in my wallet for a fillup) she was still pumping @ $75.00. I SMILED!"

    Welcome to the forum. It is the little things in life that make us Smile. Keep us posted on your mileage experience.
  • stevedebistevedebi Member Posts: 4,098
    "I pulled in while a woman was filling her HUMMER and as I left ($14 lighter in my wallet for a fillup) she was still pumping @ $75.00. I SMILED!"

    Hmmm, she probably didn't even notice the amount paid, just put in the credit card and filled it up... a lot of people just view it as the cost of daily living... expecially those who can afford a hummer H2.
  • little_pogilittle_pogi Member Posts: 149
    Anyone who could afford a Hummer dosen't care about the price of gas. Fortunately, our Hummer riding governor does care about our environment by signing that HOV hybrid bill. Eventually, that Hummer driving lady will notice those Prius zooming past by her on the HOV freeway lanes while she's moving slowly in traffic.
  • stevedebistevedebi Member Posts: 4,098
    ". Eventually, that Hummer driving lady will notice those Prius zooming past by her on the HOV freeway lanes while she's moving slowly in traffic."

    Nope, the carpool lanes won't be moving fast enough to call it "zoom". During rush hour they fill up as it is. Some people in Orange County (CA) have suggested requiring 3 people per vehicle, to clear congestion in the HOV lanes.
  • iabendscheiniabendschein Member Posts: 2
    Does anyone know what to use to clean the upolstery in the Prius 04? The upolstery is beautiful but it does get soiled very easly especially where I rest my amm on the center consul.
  • railroadjamesrailroadjames Member Posts: 560
    All around the WINDY CITY you can figure on a daily diet of stalled -standstill-goin nowhere, traffic jams. One more time I pleasantly SMILE again toward the young lady in the gas guzzling
    "HUMMER". I'm in electric mode using no gas while she's well...she's making OPEC "SMILE" & very, very happy.
  • engin2engin2 Member Posts: 8
    I've found mixing a half cup of ammonia and one gal. of water cleans up just about anything on the car. It's used in windshield reservoir, bird droppings, inside windows, and yes, even upholstery.

    Good luck............Engin2
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