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Toyota Prius Basic Care & Maintenance



  • ksutphen1ksutphen1 Posts: 1
  • mmcar2mmcar2 Posts: 6
    I had the same concerns/questions. Thanks for the info.

    If I buy the Prius I do not want to take it to Toyota for maintenance. I have a mechanic that I like and trust. I asked him this question just to make sure. He agreed that maintenance on a hybrid is pretty much just like any other Toyota, however he did say if something uniquely hybrid related goes wrong, I may have to take it to Toyota, which I would expect anyway. He also said I might want to consider taking out an extended warranty, just in case. I also don't have too many concerns since from what I have read this car looks super as far as reliability is concerned, people seem to be having very few issues.
  • Yeah that's what I've heard too. And I've made the decision, I'm trading in my VW for a Prius the first week of June when my car gets here from Japan. Yay! I'm pretty excited...I'm glad that I can get a nice "specialty" car and have cheaper maintenence and repair bills now. :shades:
  • miltemilte Posts: 1
    In Feb. 2001 we took delivery of a 2001 Prius. Due to the newness of the Prius in the USA (then 5 yrs. Japan) we bought a Platinum extended warranty for $1200. Last February it ran out, just after we finally got a small pittance benefit out of it, after $50 deductable. (Had a torn steering link cuff). Wouldn't do it again.

    While we only have 22,000 miles on it, going 2-3 miles each multistop trip in the city, our problems have been front tire wear (before they raised the recommended air pressure), and replacement of the 12 v. battery three times to correct dead battery problems - twice on warranty and the last time to a larger battery. Since then, no problem. We've done the handful of recalls the 2001 Prius has had. Get 42.5 MPG consistently except 2-3 less in near freezing weather that we can get here. Best millage is in hilly trips.

    We added a side strip to reduce door dings. The only ones we got are front higher truck doors. Have about three hood paint dings from thrown stones. (The car is bra-less).

    The 2001 model brakes come on strong as the generator kicks in. I drove a 2007 Prius and they seem to have corrected that problem. I'd buy another Prius if I needed a new car.
  • rcinmdrcinmd Posts: 139
    It's time for me to perform my first tire rotation on my Prius. I found it odd that the recommended pattern is front to back, same side, but I guess that's what they deem best.

    My issue is being able to jack up the car on the one side so that both tires are in the air. I am not sure that the front jack point which is the one I would use for a single lifting point would be capable of that.

    It does appear that if I use the rear jack point to lift there, then there looks to be enough "frame rail" immediately behind the lift point to place a jack stand. I would then move to the front lift point with the floor jack.

    Has anyone done this with their Prius?

    My huge beef is that while looking for the jack points and studying the layout, I found that the driver's side rear had already been deformed by improper lifting, and that was ONLY done by the selling dealership. That might actually be another part of a puzzle regarding my car, since it also had a scuff on the front valance panel, driver's side, and there is a 'rattle' that occurs primarily when the left front wheel hits a bump. So this might be yet another clue. I'll be sure to point out the bent metal when I finally do bring it in for the rattle.

    Anyway, since the jack points are nothing more than a double notched strip of metal, does anyone also know of some sort of adapter that might be used with a floor jack so that the lift point is not bent, as was done at the dealership?

    Any pointers on lifting the car at home for tire rotation would be greatly appreciated. I hate bringing a vehicle to a dealer or garage for any work, and my new vehicle is prime examale why.
  • In the Toyota Prius workshop manual they illustrated proper locations of where the jack arms contact the frame and show rubber blocks that go betweeen the underside of the Prius body and the lifting jack. They give dimensions of 7.87" long, 3.94" wide, 2.76" thick for each block and again, show exactly at what (six) possible contact points to locate the jack arms and blocks (or hand pump jacks) to the Prius frame. If I had a way I would attach the three illustrations from the manual for you.
  • rcinmdrcinmd Posts: 139
    boy, that would be great if you could.
    Shortly after I bought a Honda Accord in 1999 I contacted Honda asking them about jack points, and they did fax me what sound like similar pages from a workshop manual. Maybe I'll try that again. Interesting that it shows six points.

    At work I'd be able to scan them....

    I kind of thought that there would be some sort of block.

    Thanks for your input.
  • When I took my Prius to the dealer for its 95k maintenence they recommended some expensive services which I declined. I said I wanted to think it over. This is what they recommended:
    - $249 Fuel Injection service
    - $452 valve adjustment service
    - $160 Brake flush
    My car runs fine. Are these services truly justifiable?
    Thanks, Eunice
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Typical dealer ripoffs.

    1. Completely unnecessary.
    2. Might be needed, but only if the gasoline engine is not running smoothly or making unusual clattering noises, especially when cold. If you have no symptoms, do not bother. Way overpriced though for what you've quoted.
    3. Not a bad idea, but again way overpriced. I just had it done for my Nissan Frontier pickup at my local independent shop. They used synthetic brake fluid, and it still cost only $69 total (central Virginia).

    My advice -- run, don't walk, away from this dealership. There's a reason they're called "stealerships," you know.
  • I have been considering buying a brand new 2008 Prius. I have noticed that the 2007 models cost about the same price, so may as well go new! However, I put on about 30,000 highway miles/year. Do you have an opinion as to whether or not the gas savings is worth it? I now get about25 mpg with my current Honda. Just looking to get something newer and with great mileage.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    You -may- get twice that mileage with the Prius (once you learn how to drive it), it's rated EPA 48 MPG and you can do better if you drive it correctly. So you could save about $2000 per year on fuel costs alone. Putting that much mileage on a car makes the Prius an easy choice. Add to that producing about 1/2 the emissions of most other vehicles, and you can be really happy with the results. Oh, and you also cut the CO2 emissions in half, as you will be burning 1/2 the fuel.

    But go look at one. Sit in it. Check out the room inside, yet the small size outside. Check out the many storage bins inside. Test drive it. If you are still wondering, wait. If you really like it, you can't really go wrong getting one with the mileage you drive. Service for the first few years is just oil and filter every 5000 mi. At 60,000 mi HSD fluid replacement is a good idea. Still not expensive. Brakes last most people three times as long as "normal" cars. So it's a low maintenance car.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "Do you have an opinion as to whether or not the gas savings is worth it? I now get about25 mpg with my current Honda. Just looking to get something newer and with great mileage."

    If you like the style and size, you might consider a Honda Fit. It gets about 38 MPG (highway) without any hybrid components. The Sport model is better for highway (cruise control), and the price is under 18K, at least in LA.
  • bob104bob104 Posts: 94
    Here's a good resource to make your decision. I have found Consumer Reports mpg testing to be spot on: 6/index.htm?resultPageIndex=1&resultIndex=1&searchTerm=most fuel efficient cars

    If you compare the "150-mile trip", which is mostly highway travel and probably the best comparison in your case, you'll find that the manual Fit or Yaris and the Prius rate 40 mpg, 41 mpg and 48 mpg, respectively. That means that in 30,000 miles you'll use about 750 gallons in the Fit, about 730 in the Yaris and about 625 in the Prius. Currently that 125 gallon difference is costs about $400 in California. That difference is bound to go up. It could easily be $600 by next summer.

    Comparing purely "hwy mileage," they rate:
    Fit 43 mpg = 700 gallon/year
    Yaris 44 mpg = 680
    Prius 50 mpg= 600
    That's only an 80 gallon difference.

    But the rub is that the Prius costs a lot more. Also, putting on that kind of mileage you'll be using up your critical battery warranty in just 3 years or so (depending on your state). You can check to compare depreciation. Remember that a car with 100k miles on it is considered perhaps 8 years old, regardless of its actual age.

    As the Prius uses a lot of toxic nickel and is heavier (more materials) the environmental difference isn't very significant IF you are doing mostly highway driving. I'd be very tempted to get a Fit, preferably manual, for the particular kind of driving you do. Resale on the Fit should be very good if you feel like need to get the ultimate available mpg--Prius. But remember, you make your money buying smart, not selling smart.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    Nickel isn't toxic. You cook food in pans made mostly of nickel, with no ill effects. Cadmium is toxic but the Prius battery doesn't use any of it. Further, the nickel used in the Prius is fully recycled once the car or battery is dead. Mining of nickel -was- environmentally destructive in the past. Before the NiMH battery was invented, so blame kitchen sinks on that. They've cleaned that up now. The Sudbury mine in Ontario Ca. is one of the cleanest in the world (the mine used in many bogus internet stories about the Hummer being more environmentally benign than the Prius).

    We should be careful not to spread bogus stories about hybrids, whether intentional or not.

    Note that there will be a hybrid Fit coming out next year (according to rumours). It is actually a cross between a Fit and another model not sold in North America. Please do compare the interior size of the Fit and the Prius, to be fair. They are actually not in the same size class.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "Please do compare the interior size of the Fit and the Prius, to be fair. They are actually not in the same size class."

    No one is comparing the sizes. The original post was asking what might get good MPG on the highway. Size was not mentioned as a driving factor in that post or the responses. For a commuter car, the Fit is very good, and there are some advantages to ICE vehicles in certain situations.
  • Thanks everyone for your help. I still haven't quite decided, but I think I will be looking at other options. I also heard that the Prius for next year might have improved hwy mileage - might be worth waiting if I really want a Prius.

    One thing...the Fit seems much smaller to me than the Prius. Don't know about the actual size, but sitting in both of them convinces me that the Prius is more like a Camry size, and the Fit is quite a bit smaller feeling. Also lower to the ground.
  • In May I bought 2005 used Toyota Prius. In October I bought brand new cooper tires for the car, since then I have noticed low mileage. The mileage drop to 36mpg, then in cold weather, now I see 26 mpg. I called the dealer and they told me that it is very normal for cars to give such mileage in winter. Also I work only one mile away from home, so the car does not get time to warm up. Any thoughts?
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    There's no question in my mind that your very short commute is the culprit, especially now that the weather's cold.
  • I have 3 months left on my 36 month warranty. I have a '05 Prius. I am not sure whether to sell/trade it, or buy an extended warranty. It has 23,000 miles and no
    obvious maintenance problems. What has been the history of aging Prius cars?
    Where, if I go that way, would I go to find a reputable extended warranty?
  • acdiiacdii Posts: 753
    If you like the car and want to keep it, visit priuschat and look for the warranty. You can buy one for your car at a very low cost. Less than $1000 for a 100K warranty, same as you get from the dealer. When I bought my car I purchased the 100K warranty from the dealer knowing I had 30 days to get it refunded, a few days later I found the one on Priuschat and called to cancel it, well they decided to instead give it to me for $726 and refund the difference. I dont think you can find one for that price, but the one you can get off the forum is not much more than that.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    Consumer Reports has rated the Prius the most reliable family sedan.

    The extended warranty you can get -through- Priuschat is from a Toyota Dealer. It is honored anywhere in North America. You can get a price quote from them, then go to a local dealer and see if they will compete. They still make lots of money at the price you can get through Priuchat. Just don't spoil it for others. Don't tell your local dealer who is quoting you that price. Just say "another Toyota dealer".
  • I did a search for an already existing post related to my problem and found one by "Foxwalker" back in December 2007 but no one seemed to reply to him.

    The question posed by Foxwalker was "The Climate control constantly decides when the air should be from the outside or recirculate. Even when I turn off Auto and do manual it changes back to outside air seemingly arbitrarily. I want it to stay inside except when I want the air to come from the outside. I change it to inside and I will be driving along and suddenly I will smell the road exhaust o the truck just ahead! "

    My question is the same...How can I get it to stay where I put it? I want the vent closed and to stay closed unless I manually change it. I am really tired of suddenly breathing in exhaust.
  • I am in the process of purchasing an 08 Prius. Could you please tell me more about the extended warranty through Priuschat? The dealer presently wants $1500 + tax for a 7 yr/75000 mile warranty, bumper to bumper, $0 deduct through Toyota. I do not believe that I need to purchase the Toyota warranty at the time when I will make the final purchase this week.

    Where do find this extended warranty mentioned and what it covers?
  • vu2000vu2000 Posts: 58
    For those with 04 or newer Prius. Does this car have a timing belt? And what is the change schedule for it. Also how often does the transmission fluid need to be change?
  • scott102scott102 Posts: 2
    I recently purchased an 08 Prius. I can't find any manufacturer warrenty info on the starter battery in the luggage compartment, other than it is maintenance free. How long does it normally last? How do you disconnect the solenoid (?) unit attached to the left side of the battery in order to remove it - or do you even have to?
  • I own an '04 Prius with 77K miles still useing the original battery. Local "Auto Zone" quotes prices of $75.00 & $85.00 for a replacement battery w/ 7yr warr. & 8yr warr. 1st one has 450 cold crank'g amps 2nd one 625 cold crank'g amps. By the way...Great troublefree car. :)
  • downinbhdowninbh Posts: 7
    I have a 2003. I just had the battery, computer, and fuel tank replaced. The computer and battery was covered, but not the fuel tank. The fuel tank had to be replaced because they were all part of the same unit,(is what they told me) but the fuel tank wasn't covered,(go figure). I had to pay $500. I think the warranty is different on later models.

    I'm pretty disappointed in Toyota overall. When I picked up my car there was 272 extra miles that were'nt there when I dropped it off. They completely denied responsibility for the miles, like it was my imagination.

    I miss my regular old mechanic!
  • With privious vehicles, I changed my own oil. However, I do not think that I can get my swollen head [from getting better gas mileage than anyone I know] under my Prius. I live two hours away from my nearest Toyota dealer. One of my cousins did the old concrete cinder blocks, drop the vehicle on your forehead technique years ago while working on a junk car. Should I block the tires and use the tire jack for clearance or is there a better technique for an oil change? :blush:
  • I have changed oil & filter (and don't forget a new drain plug gasket) in my 2007 Prius three times already using "Rhino Ramps", those black molded plastic ramps available for not that much money in almost any auto parts store. They are the correct height to "lift" the Prius for easily working under the engine, yet they are not too tall that would allow the bottom of the front fenders to scrape the ramps as the old fashioned metal ones would do. They are safe, easy to lift and store as well as inexpensive. A very worthwile investment. And don't forget to purchase a KD Tools oil filter "CAP WRENCH" for the Toyota, I forget what size (65mm?) at the moment, just bring an oil filter with you when you go to purchase the wrench and make sure it fits. Buy some genuine Toyota oil filters and drain plug gaskets from either your Toyota Dealer's Parts Dept. or many other internet sources, just get "genuine Toyota" to keep warranty in effect, not junk like Fram. I have been using MOBIL1 synthetic motor oil in my Prius ever since the first oil/filter change, and remember NOT TO OVERFILL the oil capacity. The manual says 3.9 Qts. with new filter which is too much.... it's more like 3.5 Qts.
  • Did anyone ever reply to "socalred"'s question about how to set the climate control to stay on "inside air" so it stays on inside air instead of the car changing the setting to let outside air in whenever it seems to take a notion?
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