3 Most Common Questions Toyota Prius Owners Ask About Their Cars
I am, first and foremost, an automotive technician. I have been working on cars, as my mom puts it before I was born. I have always had an innate sense of how to fix things when they break. It gives me a ton of joy to know that what once was broken now is fixed.
After I started driving hybrid cars, and especially after I bought my first Prius, I learned a thing or two. These cars were very different but in a good way. I began to learn that nearly every problem that I was facing, another Prius owner was also.
Over time as I have been covering the Prius and been involved in many chat groups with owners and repair shops, I have learned there are a few similar questions everyone asks. Here are my top three items I have noticed Prius owners ask and what to do about them.
What Do The Prius Dashboard Warning Lights Mean?
As generic as this question sounds, the reason this question is so popular is due to "those lights," meaning a trouble code has presented itself.
I hear this question a lot, and it is not because Prius has issues all the time, it is because many drivers do not know what to do when the check engine light or master warning lights come on. The first thing you need to do is take a breath. You are probably going to be just fine. Once you have realized that the trouble code has come on, you need to know why it came on.
There are several ways to pull your codes. If you have read my article on the Carista app, you can pick the trouble codes yourself, take those codes to the group and ask, or to a hybrid repair technician, you can trust. They can help you solve that mystery. Remember that without knowing what the codes are, you cannot ask for help, no one can telepathically tap into your Prius and understand what it is doing without those codes.
If you do not have the Carista or your OBD2 scan tool, take your Prius to the local Autozone or O'Reilly auto parts. You can have the codes pulled for free and then proceed to do as stated above. This process is simple, secure, and, most of the time, free.
My Prius Battery Is Dead What Should I Do?
Excellent question. First, we need to determine what battery you need to have replaced. Does the car not start or power on at all? Or is the car shooting trouble codes? Remember, Prius has two batteries, the low 12v system battery, and the main traction or high voltage battery.
Determining what battery you need is the first question you need to find out. If it is a 12v battery, you need to check out this article here on what 12v battery you should use. If you have trouble with the traction battery, there are many options. I have a few guides to choosing the right HV battery for your needs.
If you are someone who loves to work on these cars, check out this article on how you can get free training to fix your battery. When it comes down to it, do what is best for your situation.
What Does Everyone Get For Miles Per Gallon on a Toyota Prius?
I see this question a lot. Probably 2 to 3 times a day. The thing is this, where you live, what your climate is, how you drive, what condition your HV battery is in, and how fast you go are all factors.
In my area where I live, I average 40 to 42 miles per gallon. My friend, who lives in a different part of the country, averages 50 miles per gallon. We have the same generation of Prius. Both cars have about the same miles on them as well. The difference is where we live. I live in a very hill plagued area, and he lives in a flat area. The loads are different on the cars, and hence out fuel economy is diverse.
If you have been getting 40 and then see a drop to 30, then that is an excellent time to ask the question, what has happened. Most of the time, it is something simple like tire pressure or a dirty mass airflow sensor. Simple and usually free fixes.
There are many other questions that Prius owners ask. If you have one you would like to ask, drop me a line on Twitter @the_hybrid_guy. I would love to chat. See you in the next story. Three reasons the Toyota Prius is the best car to own.
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See you in my next story discussing 3 reasons why Toyota Prius is the best cheap car to own.
Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter is also an Instructor of Automotive Technology at Columbia Basin College. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporters.