One benefit of Toyota hybrid and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles like the legendary Prius and hot-selling RAV4 Prime is brake life. All hybrids and electric vehicles use regenerative braking to generate electricity that can charge the vehicle’s traction battery. Since the electric motor is slowing the vehicle, the brakes do not need to work as hard. We polled Prius owners in the Facebook Prius Club to see how often they have had to change brake pads and rotors. What we learned is that owners typically go more than 100,000 miles before needing to perform this maintenance.
How Long Do Brakes Last In a Toyota Hybrid?
In our poll, we asked that only original owners reply. We posted up various mileage numbers for owners to choose from. 60% said that their brake rotors and pads had lasted over 100,000 miles, 20% said that the brakes had lasted over 200,000 miles, and 6% said the brakes had lasted between 160K and 200K miles. No owner chose any option under 60,000 miles.
One owner of three Prius cars offered this comment: “Brakes? What’s that? 250,000 miles on two Prius cars 95,000 on the third.” Another member posted a comment saying, “Just had mine checked at dealer.... 160,000 miles on original pads and rotors with 50% left! Amazing!”
Hybrids Rival Battery-Electric Vehicles For Total Cost of Ownership
As we recently detailed in a pair of stories, Toyota Hybrids have low maintenance costs that rival all-electric vehicles' (BEV). Since Toyota hybrids have no starter, no alternator, no power steering pump, no accessory drive belt, no engine timing belt to change, and a spark plug service of 120,000 miles, it is rare that a Toyota hybrid or plug-in hybrid requires repairs or expensive service. Toyota also makes filter changes for the cabin super easy and inexpensive. You can do these yourself for under $20 and without using any tools.
Toyota Hybrid Powertrain Maintenance
Even Toyota’s hybrid vehicle transmissions are unique. Since there are no gears and no CVT belts, Toyota’s transmissions don’t require routine fluid changes. The transmissions have proven very reliable. Toyota Prius, Highlander Hybrid, RAV4 Hybrid, Venza, Sienna, and RAV4 Prime are all available with all-wheel drive. However, Toyota eliminated the transfer cases and rear differentials. Instead, Toyota uses zero-maintenance electric drives.
The Prius ranks at the top of all vehicles overall for reliability on Consumer Reports’ most recent list. However, it isn’t just a lack of unexpected problems that make Toyota hybrids and plug-in hybrids so popular. It is that Toyota has designed-out most of the common failure points associated with traditional internal combustion engine vehicles.
If you own a Toyota hybrid or plug-in hybrid, feel free to comment on your ownership experience in the comments below.
John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. Following his engineering program, John also completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin