I have seen fluid changes on Prius range from $53 up to $250. The thing is, changing the fluid on your Prius transmission is more straightforward than doing an oil change. No, seriously, it is that simple. So if it is so simple, why are Toyota dealers charging so much? Because they know people will pay for it.
I want to give you three ways you can do this service yourself and save big, even when investing in the tools to do it. Here are three tools you can invest in and how to use them to save big.
Prius Tool Number One: The Vacuum Transfer Pump
There are several options for these vacuum pumps. This one is similar to a larger name brand, one that is out there but for a much smaller cost. Made here in the USA, this fluid transfer pump is effortless to use.
The second-gen Toyota Prius uses 4 quarts of Toyota WS (world standard) automatic transmission fluid. The non-conductive additives in the fluid are meant for use in hybrids. The fluid needs to be changed to avoid problems. The simple part is draining; the hard part is refilling.
The good thing about this tool is that all you do is fill the container, pump it up with pressure, and stick the hose in the fill port. Once you see a slight trickle come out of the fill hole, you are good to go. Make sure you do this on a level surface or a vehicle lift.
This tool makes it simple and mess-free, plus the more you use it, the more cost-effective it becomes. If you want to take a look at getting one check it out here. This fluid transfer pump is a great tool to have for not only Prius but other cars as well.
Option Two: Electric Pump
This option is a great one and also very affordable. The only issue I see with this one is connecting power. The jump points on Prius should provide that source, though.
The other thing that is bothersome to me is the lack of a fluid container. You still have to drain, of course, but the filling I think could annoy me. You would either need to pour all the fluid into one container and then fill or swap out bottle after bottle during the filling process. I could see how this would make a mess. Still, if you think through your process, this tool is a win for sure.
Take a look at this article. It has secrets to cheaper maintenance to learn more about where you can buy fluid.
Option Three: Hand Transfer Pump
This manual pump is an option that I have used more than others, mainly because I was cheap. Now that I have made some money, I can afford a better tool. This hand transfer pump is usable, but it is awful. It creates messes on you, on the floor, and just about everywhere else.
The price is what usually sells people on the product, and it is one of several cheaper options. I think that if you are a real DIY person, you can see the value of having a tool that does a clean, precise job.
I am not telling anyone how to maintain their vehicle, but I am saying if you do, choose a good tool. Thank you for reading, and have a great weekend, everyone. Get your Prius ready to go for next week, and I will see you in my next story, Which Toyota Prius Generation Lasts The Longest.
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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