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Toyota Prius Basic Care & Maintenance

Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
Talk about Prius care and maintenance here.

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  • rfruthrfruth 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.
  • 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 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 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 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 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 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 San DiegoPosts: 31,179
    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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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
  • 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 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 San DiegoPosts: 31,179
    It's risky with any modern car, call AAA.
  • linda1linda1 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 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 San DiegoPosts: 31,179
    Put it on eBay you may get more for it than you paid and let someone else sort out the trouble.
  • 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 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 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 San DiegoPosts: 31,179
    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 LAPosts: 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.
  • 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 San DiegoPosts: 31,179
    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...
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