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Toyota Prius Basic Care & Maintenance



  • whitey9whitey9 Posts: 138
    If "Mom" is afraid of the possibility at the prospective ownership of a Prius, then get her a Focus.
    Maybe she would feel more at ease with a "conventional" car.
    The fact is, most of the Prius is just like most other cars. It does NOT have a nuclear reactor, and one need not be a computer programmer to operate it.
    Unless she drives "a lot", she might be better suited to a non-Prius type of automobile.
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    Buy the 8 yr 125,000 warranty and she'll never have to take it to the local mechanic. They'll tow the car to Toyota if it ever breaks down.
  • I know this may sound strange, but one must treat a car like a human. If you go to the doctor and he says you need to have your spleen removed. You're more than likely going to get a second or third opinion. Same holds true for your car. Get a second or third opinion folks!! Ask friends for referrals about good mechanics. The internet has a wealth of information and you can find good mechanics online. I've learned from mistakes I made when I was very young. Do not EVER take anything at face value if you are unsure of what the mechanic is talking about. As an aside, I even questioned a Vet about an invasive procedure for my dog (they wanted to do a liver biopsy). I researched it and I declined. Long story short, my Pomeranian did NOT need the $1,200 liver biopsy. Trust NO ONE, question EVERYTHING. THAT is the world we live in today.
  • changed oil in car but cant get maintenace light off 2007 prius
  • First...Did you follow the instructions in the Owners Manual? If you did (as instructed) and its still on then it's time to see the service tech @ Toyota.
  • whitey9whitey9 Posts: 138
    Like you said. I cannot get mine to extinguish either. ( I CAN read. )

    A question: I was fooling around after vacuuming the floorboards and came across a "reader" beneath the driver's seat. I assume it is the DVD drive for the Nav system. I pushed the button and nothing happened, ie. nothing ejected, no DVD.

    Is that the way it is supposed to be? Or has someone swiped my Nav DVD?
  • cslasorcslasor Posts: 15
    I was getting my oil changed on my 2000 Accord at Firestone yesterday and since I'm considering getting a Prius in the next month or two I asked the mechanic if they could change the oil on those. I am a 52 year old woman who does NOT change her own oil so I just wanted to make sure it could be done at one of the quickie oil change places.

    Anyway, he said yes they could do it, but that it requires synthetic oil and it costs $50 to do it. As opposed to the $20 they charged for my Accord.

    I'm guessing this guy was either misinformed or outright lying, but I'd like to confirm that. So does the Prius require anything different regarding oil changes than other cars?

    Of course, the same guy also told me Mazdas all have rotary engines and the engines are half plastic. That's not true either, is it?

    Thanks for sharing your wisdom and experience!
  • whitey9whitey9 Posts: 138
    That's CWAP! My '07 requires 5w-30 engine oil. I DO use Mobil-1, and perform the change ( <5qts ) every 5K mi. You aren't required to use synthetic oil, but you can.
    Too many people know too little about the car.
    I once had a salesman tell me the brakes would not last on the Prius since Toyota used a "regenerative" braking system on the car. Crazy!!!

    Don't you worry ma'am, the guys at Firestone will be plenty able to drain the oil, overtighten the oil pan drain plug, and even overfill the engine oil level just like every other kind of car they work on.

    P.S. MANY intake manifolds on today's cars are made of plastic. It is too expensive, and too difficult to make the parts out of aluminum. Plastic works just fine.
  • Your (soon to be) EX mechanic is $$$$$$ motivated with a sprinkling of B.S. or perhaps lacking in honesty. I own a 6 yr old '04 Prius w/ 108K and have never gone over to "Synthetics". Oil still tried & true. Of course I change it myself @ a cost of $13 bucks EVERY 3-4 K miles. Last note.....Buyer Beware!! Why women are always looked upon as helpless targets is, in itself, a dilemma that some neanderthal men choose to perpatrate is besides me.

    ps...There was a lengthy study that found "Synthetics" were no better than oil over a 100K comparison. Cost difference was in excess of $300.00 per same 100K miles. Next time you see a car going down the road farting blue smoke like a mosquito fogger chances are that person neglected oil changes.
  • Mom and I had a good laugh over your oil change dilemma. I am 50 and she is 92. Neither of us had heard any mechanic as stupid as yours. Although I am going to be 52 soon, I intent to be changing my own oil long after I reach that golden age. I suggest that you also learn how to drop the old, dirty oil out of that tiny Prius engine. It is quite similar to opening the drain on your sink after doing the dishes, which you should also learn to do rather than using, as I suspect, a dishwashing machine that wastes energy and money.

    Buy 3 quarts of synthetic oil at any automobile parts store or most department stores or farm supply shops. Look in a parts book or ask a salesperson for a good quality oil filter to fit a Toyota Prius. If you do not have one, buy a socket wrench and filter wrench, a drive-up car ramp, and an oil drain pan. Buy a roll of paper toweling, too.

    Park beside your county oil recycling tank about every 6 months or 7,000 miles of driving. Set the drive-up ramps in front of your forward set of tires. Drive up the ramp. Set the drain bucket beneath the large bolt on the bottom of your engine. Use a socket wrench to turn the bolt counter-clockwise. Unwind it by hand until the bolt drops and oil runs into your oil bucket. Then, take your filter wrench and set it around the filter under your engine. Turn counter-clockwise until it drops and empty it into the oil drain bucket. Now, empty the oil bucket into the oil recycling tank.

    Replace the bolt, which is called a drain plug, into the hole on the bottom of your engine and tighten clock-wise. Wipe a little fresh oil on the rubber ring on the new oil filter and tighten it onto the filter threads in a clock-wise direction. Then, open the oil fill cap on top of your engine. Pour 3 quarts of fresh oil into your engine. Pack-up your tools. Back off your ramps. Drive home and wait approximately 6 months or 7,000 miles to do it again. You are now a Prius owner.
    Have fun! :)
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    As someone who has changed his own oil for over 30 years, you've covered all the basics nicely, but left out the "fun" parts.

    Like not being able to get enough leverage to remove the oil drain bolt. Or the oil filter. Or trying to fish the bolt out of your oil-filled drain basin. Or spilling oil (hot!) on the ground or all over your hands and forearms. Or even getting the car up on the ramps without overshooting it. Or backing your car off the ramps forgetting to remove the oil drain basin from underneath.

    Yes, all of the above has happened to me, except for overshooting the ramps. :sick:
  • cslasorcslasor Posts: 15
    Thanks for all the comments! Well, the detailed instructions on how to change the oil wasn't necessary. I do plenty of things myself but I will not change my oil. 'Nuff said about that. :)

    Anyway, I usually figure these guys may or may not know anything about cars and had already decided this particular guy was an idiot. But I did want to make sure oil changes for a Prius wouldn't cost $50. That would certainly negate some of the savings I'd expect to see from the mileage.

    I'm looking forward to my Prius test drive!
  • 63pro63pro Posts: 15
    Recently bought a 2010 Prius and really love the car so far. Recently had my little "ding" sound alerting me that I needed to fuel up. It brought to mind a question. If I literally ran out of gas, could I continue on electric only and if so, about how long or how many miles could I go without the system going totally dead. Would never like to try and push it that far, but was curious. Thanks, Jim :confuse:
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Only a few miles; I wouldn't advise it.
  • whitey9whitey9 Posts: 138
    Don't do it. You will be sorry. I ran out once when I should have known better. It was not a pleasant experience. I was driving on the freeway and the whole thing started SLOWING DOWN! I could only re-start the engine, not drive. Even the reverse wouldn't save me. When the warning beep sounds, make plans to stop within 50mi. My Passat gives me 100mi. The '07 Prius doesn't.
  • Expect a very bad outcome after a very brief duration. :cry:

    Also, I suggest carrying a spare battery charge pack that costs about $60 in automotive. When I took a group of union officials to the airport for a week-long conference, someone apparently failed to close a door or the rear hatch. Fortunately, I did not need to call for assistance when my starter battery was dead because I always carry an emergency charger. It usually has helped other drivers in hostile winter weather, but also provides power for portable air pump, lights, and other emergency equipment. :sick:
  • j345j345 Posts: 1
    I just did my first oil change on my wife's 2010 prius. This was different than any other car I've owned. The 2010 prius requires 0W20 oil. I was only able to find it in mobil 1 synthetic- $7.00/quart. The oil/ filter change is 4.4 qts. The oil filter is not a standard oil filter. It is a cartridge (cost me $8. at an auto parts store). I was able to get the cover off to change the cartridge but I think I might buy the right sized wrench before I do this again. You need it to tighten the cover - believe me. I haven't been able to find this wrench yet, it is an odd size. (A 65mm is close but too large.) Also - you have to drop the plastic cover that encloses the engine compartment to get at the plug and filter cartridge. This is 6 - 10mm bolts and about 10 plastic rivets. I bought an upholstery tool to do the center pins on the rivets but on another posting someone said a staple puller works also. So if a shop is estimating $50. for an oil change, they aren't that far off what it cost me to do this myself. I'm going to keep hunting for a better price on the oil but so far I haven't found it. I checked at two WalMarts, but they are always out of it.
  • whitey9whitey9 Posts: 138
    It sure would be a shame if you burned up your brand-new engine in your brand-new Prius while changing the oil. I do my own oil changes, but I have the tools, AND the time. I once had a client burn up his brand-new factory-rebuilt engine while changing the oil. The oil filter leaked. He had to "part out" the car to pay off his bill on his 220D crate engine. The car was rusted, but the engine was new. Except for the burned-up crankshaft. BE CAREFUL!!!
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    It wasn't widely publicized but the requirement is right on the filler cap and its inside the back cover of the owners manual, 0w20 oil.

    That mechanic back several posts was absolutely correct on the new Prius. Your $50 charge given synthetic oil is fairly accurate. Jiffy Lube here in SE VA charges $79.95 per change. This requirement concerns not only the 2010 Prius but all 2010 Camrys and several other new vehicles with new engines.


    Toyota is in the midst of changing the OCI for these vehicles. As in the past vehicles that use the less expensive 5w20 oil still need the 6 mo / 5000 mile interval. The new Toyota's that require the 0w20 oil are being changed to 12 mo / 10000 mi whichever comes first.

    Not all stores have received the offical notices but some have. Patience, soon all will be notified as the regions distribute the official word.
  • When I first bought my Prius in 2007, I ran out of gas twice. The first time, I was able to actually turn around and drive back to a gas station up the street on electric power. The car stopped in the driveway and a guy ran over and pushed me to the pump. Whew! The second time it happened, I was on the freeway. Fortunately, we have a towing company that contracts with our county and patrols the freeways looking for poor souls like me. He came to the rescue immediately with his can of gas. I was up and running quickly. I have never run out of gas again but, I have driven past that little "ding" sound many times. I am not sure if I have modified my behavior that much. But something changed.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    6 times. I always drive 'to the ding' then look for a station within the next 100 miles. However sometimes events intrude and suddenly 'Oh s*** I was supposed to stop back there...cough, sputter, cough'

    Then the nice Prius lady comes on...'Hey YOU!! Didn't I warn you back a hundred miles ago to stop and get gas?? Noooo, you were too busy to listen so now I'm going to make you crawl over the side of the road and call AAA.'

    I too am not sure that I've modified my behavior that much.
  • ph1972ph1972 Posts: 5
    Hello I own A 2006 Toyota Prius which has completed 60000 miles my mechanic at Firestone recommended me a automatic transmission fluid change The toyota recommends only inspecting and My knowledge is the The Automatic transmission fluid in Case of Prius is Sealed and cannot be opened to be changed

    60000 miles recommended service from Toyota website for 2006 Prius

    Replace engine oil and oil filter 1
    Rotate tires
    Replace cabin air filter
    Replace engine air filter
    Inspect the following:
    Automatic transmission fluid
    Ball joints and dust covers
    Brake lines and hoses
    Brake linings/drums and brake pads/discs 4
    Differential oil
    Drive belts 5
    Drive shaft boots
    Engine and inverter coolant 3
    Engine valve clearance
    Exhaust pipes and mountings
    Fuel lines and connections, fuel tank band and fuel tank vapor vent system hoses
    Fuel tank cap gasket
    Radiator, condenser and intercooler
    Steering gear box
    Steering linkage and boots

    Please comment do I need to replace the transmission fluid

  • With over 112,000 miles on my '04 Prius I will only tell you that the tranny and fluid level and/or replacement there of has been totally unecessary. The car has been the epitomy of perfection and reliability. Oil changes, filter changes, wipers and tire replacements were the only items in need of attention.
  • How important do you think it is to change the cabin air filter?
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    edited February 2010
    It's easy to change in the Prius -- no tools needed. Check your owner's manual for the procedure.

    It can get dirty rather quickly if you live in or near a large city, likewise in dusty areas like unpaved roads or deserts. I'd recommend checking it at least every 15K miles, and replacing it if it looks dirty. A dirty filter will hamper fresh air flow into the cabin.

    If you don't want to pay for a Toyota filter, I bet the aftermarket now supplies them for the Prius.
  • whitey9whitey9 Posts: 138
    It is mainly a dust filter. I got mine at O'Reilly's for about $9. I changed it myself. I have worked on cars in the past. If your are "handy" and have some patience, and a flashlight, you will be able to do-it-yourself. I like to make sure that no leaves get into my blower motor where they could cause a noise. If you smoke, or haul dogs/cats, it is worth it to keep it up, but it will only cause a problem if it somehow becomes clogged. Then the efficiency of the HVAC system become impaired. Like you trying to breathe thru a straw.
  • Thanks for the reply.What is the HVAC system? I do not smoke or haul cats,but I do take our dogs to the vet on occasion.
    I have managed to change the cabin filter on my Optima,so I guess I have some mechanical ability,but my Optima book has instructions in it, and I don't even know where the Prius filter is located.In the Optima I have to drop the glove box and after that it's easy.Is it anything like that?
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Same location as Optima except you also have to pull off the damper on the right side of the glove box lid (no tools); HVAC = heating, ventilating, and air conditioining system.
  • I have a '09' Prius I bought new. Does anyone know if the battery ever had to be replaced how much that would cost these days? Also, are their any recalls on any Prius other than the 2010? Thanks. I really like this site, people are so knowledgable. :)
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