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Toyota Prius Basic Care & Maintenance



  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Don't sweat the battery (I assume you're talking about the big traction battery, not the small conventional one like all cars have). Hardly any have had to be replaced, and all were in older Priuses. The cost is about the same as a conventional automatic transmission last I heard, about $3000.

    Yes, there is a recall on the 2004-09 Prius. This is for the floormat/gas pedal interference. You will receive a letter. The fix will be to shorten the gas pedal and supply a new all-weather (rubber) mat if you have the latter already.
  • I have very carefully inspected my floor mats and their relationship with the accelerator pedal, and come to the conclusion that the whole deal is a red herring.The mat is attached to the floor with two hooks, and is virtually impossible to move accidentally.I tried to make the two interact,and without manually unhooking the mat,it's impossible.The acceleration problem,if there is one ,is in the electronics.
  • Toyota has always manufactured a superior product to GM and Ford. Since the inception of the recall efforts, I concluded that the safety issues are greatly exaggerated and much of the promotion is politically-motivated. If you want to analyze the safety hazards in a motor vehicle, begin with big contributors: cell phone and other distractions; exhaustion of the driver; inattentiveness; intoxication; lack of adequate driver training; poor response judgment of the driver; excessive speed for conditions. If you read a few of the reports of injuries from alleged unintended acceleration events, then you know that in many incidents it is likely that the driver was traveling at a high rate of speed before the situation arose. After reports began surfacing, I practiced responding to a potential unwanted acceleration issue by disengaging my transmission: corrective timespan of about one second. Similarly, when my Prius begins gaining speed on steep grades in the mountains, it only takes a moment for me to shift gears and engage the retarder. I guess that driver training should be conducted on manual transmission vehicles, so that drivers understand what makes their deadly weapons move forward. From my daily observations and near-miss accidents, many drivers need training in how to safely operate a motor vehicle. On every day with snow, I observe one accident for every two hours that I am driving. When snow has been less frequent or the storm is not heavy, the speed of travel and accident rate goes up.
  • How would you explain the ones where the driver claimed that she/he put the car in neutral,yet the acceleration continued.Either it's unexplainable,or they are lying.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Without a thorough inspection of the vehicle, it's not possible to know. When people make a claim, you're only hearing their version of what happened.

    I'd get the recall done if I were you. My son will do so with his 2006 Prius, even though there's also no hint of the secured, proper mat possibly interfering with the pedal.
  • rpaleyrpaley Posts: 8
    I have a 2004 and live in suburb of Washington, DC, but did not look at the cabin filter for the first 5 years. It was still fairly clean, but I changed it anyway. I guess the frequency mostly is affected by dirty air outside and dogs and cats inside.

    Fairly easy to change, mostly a nuisance.
  • rpaleyrpaley Posts: 8
    the 2004 (2nd generation) also had a recall because of sticking gas peddle.
  • mickeyrommickeyrom Posts: 936
    I agree...I think they came up with that to make more money for their dealers.
  • rpaleyrpaley Posts: 8
    Hello all. I have a 2004 with only 35,000 miles on it, with its ORIGINAL battery. Twice, on two different very cold periods (20 degrees F), and after sitting w/o starting it for 4-5 days. The following happened -- er, it would NOT START, or even try to start. Here are the details (if this was a standard car, I would surely think it was a dead or dieing battery, but this is STRANGE:

    (1st time) dim dashboard and clock; could not make the transmission shift out of Park and into any gear; could not get "brake engaged" indicator to go off, even when I DID disengage the parking brake; it took a FEW tries to shut down this dim displays (e.g., it did NOT turn-off on the first insertion of the "Start" button. I cycled through the normal start and shutdown sequence to no avail. I let the car sit for a few hours while the outdoor temperature rose to the mid-30's F. Then I inserted the Start button, the car STARTED IMMEDIATELY and it acted normally during the next few days, including the dashboard lights, etc. were normal.

    (2nd time) similar dim dashboard, including the warning light (big triangle with !! enclosed; seatbelt and shift location, gasolene level were all blinking; and brake engaged symbol would not disengage, even when I DID let the emergency brake off. When I cycled the car on and off about 3-4 times, and the above repeated. Then I pressed the Start button AGAIN (of course pressing the brake pedal this time AND each of the above times), and the dashboard lights came on brightly, and the car started and acted totally normally.

    A month or so ago, I checked the battery's strength and it was pretty good. I followed the instructions on this board

    Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

  • atef54joatef54jo Posts: 1
    hi . hru , i use my car r400h but now appear on screen maint reqd , alrady i changed oil and filter but ats still on and written . and i programmed oil and filter setting but still written . how can i solve please . thanks
  • guy1974guy1974 Posts: 119
    Is it possible to fit three forward facing child car seats in the back row. I have the narrower car seats that are 17" wide so am wondering if there is at least 51" between the doors?
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    The best bet is to take your 3 seats to the dealer and see if you can buckle all 3 in the back seat.
  • sas9sas9 Posts: 28
    Can someone tell me when I should do an oil change on a new car? I have 5000 miles at this point. Thanks,
  • shahanshahan Posts: 2
    my 2006 Prius has a 'maintenence required' light that comes on every 5000 miles. I use it for oil changes and tire rotations.
  • whitey9whitey9 Posts: 138
    edited March 2010
    It is is your maintenance booklet, or online at, then at the bottom of the page see "owner". Then go to "service maintenance guide", and download. Every 6mos or 5,000mi. when using "regular" oil. 0w-20 SYNTHETIC oil change intervals are doubled to 10K mi, 12mos. as per Toyota maintenance booklet ( "service maintenance guide" page 56)
  • sas9sas9 Posts: 28
    What's the deal with taking a Prius thru the carwash? I have a 2010 and haven't had a problem with doing this... thanks.
  • whitey9whitey9 Posts: 138
    There is nothing at all to worry about. Drive on!
  • Does the new 2010 Prius now use 0W - 20 SYNTHETIC ?? My 2007 uses 5W - 30 synthetic oil !!
  • whitey9whitey9 Posts: 138
    I was replying to a question about a model year 2010 Prius. Yours, you say, is an '07, as is mine. On the engine oil cap, as well as in the owner's manual, the recommendation for 5w-30 oil is made.
  • Toyota sent me a new maintenance book and letter explaining that the '10 Prius was certified for 10K miles between oil changes if using 0W-20 synthetic oil. I've now exceeded 5K miles since my last oil change and the maintenance banner is on every time I start the car. I don't intend on taking my car in for another 5K miles, is there a way to clear the banner or ask my dealer to reconfigure it for every 10K instead of 5K?
  • whitey9whitey9 Posts: 138
    So, did you have an "old" maintenance book that spelled out 5K mi oil change intervals? Was you car one of the early '10s sold soon after the May '09 introduction? The Toyota website reads 10K oil change intervals when using 0w-20
    oil. The car can use "regular" oil, but still have the "used-to" 5K mi change interval.
    I suppose the 10K mi interval can be selected, or programmed into the reminder system either thru your input, or the reprogramming by the dealer service personnel. The service advisor does mine on my '07. ( I change my own oil. )
  • I bought my Prius in early August '09, the original manual did say 5K for oil and it did not come with the USB/iPod interface. I don't recall seeing anywhere in my docs that you can use regular oil.
  • 2007 Prius, 30,000 mile service - dealer informed me that my starter battery was fine and had a 75% charge, despite several recent incidents where I needed to jump-start my vehicle. Dealer service technician told me that the starter battery is made from gel, rather than lead acid, due to proximity of the battery to the passenger compartment and toxicity of a lead acid battery. Cost of a replacement battery is $300, compared to standard off-the-shelf batteries at one-sixth the cost. Despite passing the dealership test, two days later, I had to jump-start my starter battery again.

    In past vehicles, I always replaced my lead-acid starter batteries every three years. I operate my vehicles at night and under cold weather conditions. I also always carry a back-up battery to jump start my vehicles.

    What is the lifespan of the Prius starter battery?

    What is the composition of the battery that makes it cost so much to replace?

    When should the starter battery be replaced?

    Why are service technicians unable to detect a weak battery?
  • whitey9whitey9 Posts: 138
    Possibly your car has a current draw. This would bleed down the batt and cause a no-start condition. It is really just a small batt the size of a riding lawn mower, or motorcycle batt. As for $300, well that sounds a bit high, but I have no experience with replacing mine yet. Anyway, if they say the batt tests "good" but you still have to jump start, and you are sure the lights are off/doors closed, etc. then the batt MUST be at least weak to give you the no-start situation. Replace the batt as they recommend, and then let them "splain" it when the car fails to start like it did BEFORE you had the batt replaced. I'll bet you get a whopper of a story. ( sunspots, ghosts, oil spills ) HA! ;)
  • Since moving to day shift a few weeks ago, I have no starter battery problems. Also, I have installed an electric inverter into my cigarette lighter that charges my emergency jump-start battery while I drive. Therefore, even if my starter battery fails to respond, my jumper is fully-charged. Without night drain with headlights operating and heater often required, the starter battery does not seem to fail. Furthermore, I am driving more in summer to reach trailheads for hikes up the 14,000 foot peaks in our area. I hiked 15 during the past 6 weeks, with a few more in the plan for this week. More frequent driving seems to improve the charge on the starter battery. During most of the year, I let the Prius sit in the garage and commute 16 miles a day by bicycle. With the savings, I can afford to pay $300 every few years for a new starter battery. :shades:
  • laughen59laughen59 Posts: 10
    I see that you said driving with the lights on, running the air or the heater drains the battery. I thought it charged everytime you brake? Also, I run with my lights on every day because I want to make sure I am seen. Should I not do that? Mine is a 2008 and I can't imagine paying 300.00 for the battery not to mention what I will be charged for the dealer to put it in. Scary! How long is the battery supposed to last?

    Thank you.
  • I've been having starter battery problems myself and discovered that the power related to the lighting and cigarette lighter ports as well as the CLA port in the console are directly tied to the starter battery. this battery charges like a traditional 12v battery not tied to the braking or other mechanisms used to charge the NiMH batteries used by the engine.
    Word of wisdom, dont charge multiple devices out of the CLA's or even leave your chargers plugged in as they draw amps at all times from the 12v. it costs $300 from the dealer to replace the 12v too as its special
  • Point of order: Good advise as to removal of battery charging cords. I find that the little 12V battery is, pound for pound, an amazing battery with likewise amazing longevity. 8yrs and going strong. What a powerhouse battery. F.Y.I... I suggest checking around for this special battery. It does cost more than a usual std battery but I found it at my local dealer for $179.00 approx. My '04 Prius has over 135,000 miles and one heck of a reliable hybrid. Winters here in N.W. Indiana are extreem and the Prius has proven to be worthy of the challange.
  • DO NOT leave your key hidden in your Prius car. It will continue to talk to your computer back and forth and drain your battery.
  • This must be pertaining only to the "Smart Key" fob cuzz my standard key fob is going on 8 1/2 yrs (original batterys) with no problems. I leave it in every night (in the garage of course) 136 K miles and lovin it!!
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