Skip to main content

The Once in a Lifetime Toyota Prius Maintenance You Will Ever Have To Do

Just how long can you expect your brakes to last on a Prius? Find out now when you can expect to have them serviced; or, how to do it yourself and save $500 or more with this easy to follow comprehensive guide on replacing the front brake pads and rotors on 2004-2009 Toyota Prius models that you will likely ever have to do just once during the lifetime of your Prius.

The Power & Magic of Owning a Prius

There’s no doubt about why Prius models over the years are a hot ticket item for used car shoppers. Look at any online listing on why you should own a Prius and “fuel efficiency” is almost always at the top of the list.

However, there's much more to it than that: reliability and ease of repair---both of which make the Prius a good economical choice if you are fortunate enough to find one for sale new or used in today’s current market.

Related article: How Long Do Toyota Prius Engines Last?

So, just how reliable is a Prius; and, how easy is it to do repairs on a Prius?

A good example on both counts is highlighted in two Toyota maintenance-related YouTube channel videos posted (the first, very recently) that illustrates the power of regenerative braking when it comes to brake life as shown in a 2004 Toyota Prius demonstrated by the Toyota Maintenance YouTube channel hosted by the ever-popular “Peter.”

The second video---although a little older---is relevant as a good demonstration of how easy it is to change the front brake pads and rotors of the same model of Prius discussed in the first video.

Related article: How to Inspect The Transmission Fluid on a Used Prius

That said, here are the two videos that you are encouraged to watch in their entirety and possibly even begin to become a Prius convert after watching and learning why Prius might be a better choice for your next car.

Toyota Prius Brakes After 196,000 Miles

2004-2009 Toyota Prius Replacing Front Brake Pads & Rotors

And finally…

For additional articles about good vehicle models that make excellent used car choices, be sure to check out these useful articles titled “Best Used Cars and SUVs for Less Than $5,000” and, “Consumer Reports Used Car Pick Finds From $40,000 to $7,000.”

The Biggest Mistake Consumers Make After Finding a Car Insurer They Trust

Timothy Boyer is Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily new and used vehicle news.

Image by Davgood Kirshot from Pixabay 


jg (not verified)    November 9, 2021 - 10:39AM

I bought a 2001 new (had to order online) with 330,000 miles when I traded it in 10 years later because it quit maintaining highway speeds (I would have kept it but the dealer's computer would not talk to the car and they wanted me to pay thousands to replace components they were guessing were bad). I never did any brake maintenance on it and had plenty of lining material remaining. Once you learn how to maximize the regenerative braking (I used to apply then let up a little which actually made it brake harder) then the physical braking gets used only a small percentage of the time and only when the vehicle is already traveling slowly. So in my case, this "once in a lifetime" maintenance ended up being "never".

Margie L (not verified)    December 1, 2021 - 12:00PM

I inherited a 2006 Prius from my mother and passed it on to my nephew a couple of years ago. It's still going strong on original batteries at 270,000 miles.

I did have to do brakes a couple of times as well as exhaust. The front wheel bearings both went at around 200,000 miles. And I broke off the rear plastic trim on the tailgate in super cold weather. But that's it. No major maintenance issues at all. I now recommend the Prius as an affordable and fuel efficient choice for almost all circumstances. If it had more clearance I would have probably bought a Prius AWD to replace the '06. Instead I bought a RAV4 Prime. I was willing to take the risk of buying this 1st gen vehicle because of my experience with the Prius.

drugDawg (not verified)    December 1, 2021 - 8:09PM

Yes. Prius was great, except when the brake booster fails and stealership want 2 k for actiator, you want the remodeled updated actuator flat topped cylinder than the original. The o rings that retain maintain brake pressure go bad. Brake barking. Also the inner gas diaphragm fails. So collapsed inside tank. I was limited to 3.6 gallons per fill up. A commuter prius

k.s. (not verified)    November 12, 2022 - 2:14PM

The Prius front brake pad change video featured here did a good job of showing the basic steps but left out a lot of details. In no particular order:
- Pad replacement should include checking/clean/relubeing caliper sliders with high temp disc brake lube, I've seen them get stiff in as little as 3 years, leading to uneven pad (and sometimes disc) wear - one never knows how much lube the OEM applied or whether the last mechanic checked them. Replacement sliders and boots are available if needed.
- One doesn't want brake fluid flowing back into the system where there is a risk of it overflowing the reservoir, especially if fluid has been made up as the pads wore. Another risk is that particulate or gunk that formed in the calipers or flex hose might get into the anti-lock brake block or master cylinder and cause problems. Better to open the bleeder and run a tube to a catch bottle while doing this. Also remove some fluid from the reservoir before starting the process. After (and only after) the new pads are in place, follow this with a bleeding procedure to purge any entrapped air.
- Pad replacement is a good time to flush the system with new fluid if this hasn't been done within the past few years.
- Unless the backs of the new pads and/or shims came with a low-friction coating, it might be good to apply a thin coat of high temp. brake grease to then to help prevent squeal - keep it thin so it doesn't subsequently end up on the lining.
- After cleaning up the hub (and disc if it's being reused), apply a thin coat of a high temp. anti-sieze compound or high temp. brake grease to the mating surfaces to inhibit corrosion, easing the next disassembly. Again, keep this this thin.
- When tightening caliper bolts and lug nuts, best to bring up torque in several intermediate steps (he did this with the wheel nuts but didn't mention it). I like to use a torque wrench for the final tightening of lug nuts - over torquing or unevenness, if extreme, can lead to disc warping.
- New pads benefit from a break-in procedure. Follow the suppliers directions but if there are none, a series 8 or 10 medium firm stops from ~ 30mph, spaced 2-3min. apart for cooling, will help bake the resins and reduce chances of glazing.