I have spoken with countless Toyota Prius owners, all of which are usually expressing concern to me about something they are worried about. I get it; if you are not someone who understands the modern automobile, it can be very intimidating, so when something could go wrong, it can cause panic.
I want to cover three items that many Prius owners become "worried" about after owning the car for a while. I will also include how to take care of them.
Issue Number One: Hybrid Battery Failure
Every hybrid owner I have ever spoken with is worried their battery will fail. Well, they are not wrong; it will. Your car will give you signs the battery is failing; you simply need to know what they are. For more in-depth information on this, check out another article I have here on hybrid batteries.
A failing hybrid battery is no joke, and if yours has failed, I feel your pain. Luckily, there are plenty of options for you, depending on what you want to do with your car over the next ten years. My take on hybrid batteries is that they should have a routine maintenance schedule like everything else.
If you need a new battery, there are plenty of options for you as well. Check out this article here that will give you more information on battery replacement. Learning to take care of your hybrid battery can keep the $1000 - $3000 replacement cost at bay longer.
Issue Number Two: Unforseen Fluid Consumption
Something scary that any hybrid owner can go through is fluid consumption. Engine oil and coolant are two fluids you do not want to go missing.
While this problem can be frightening, it can be mitigated by being more attentive to your Prius needs. Engine oil should always be checked at least every time you fill up your car. Watching the oil level over the change's life will help you understand if your Prius is consuming it. To know more on how to correct engine oil consumption, check out this article here.
Engine coolant consumption is an issue plaguing early generation 3 Toyota Prius models. Typically the fluid begins to disappear, and a knocking/shuttering on startup happens.
Coolant on gen 3 Prius is usually due to a failed head gasket. Changing the engine coolant and keeping the EGR system clean will help keep the engine sealed better, but it is not guaranteed. The head gasket design on the 1.8l will flatten out over time and leak. Many Prius drivers with high mileage cars have no issues, and some with less and 200k need a repair.
I repair head gaskets for about $2700 on these cars, which is less than the dealer but still a very costly repair. My advice to you is to keep your vehicle maintained, and it will take care of you.
Issue Number 3: Brake System Failure
Prius's braking system issue is the one that I feel would be the worst to deal with. At a steep repair cost of about $2000 - $4000, I would hate to get stuck with a failed brake system.
The brakes issue is that unless you are aware of the noises that it makes, you will not know what is happening. The brake system on your Prius is very different than other cars. They require hydraulic pumps to create the pressure necessary to activate the system under heavy braking.
The pump on these cars can fail due to the internal seals leaking excessively. Preventing this from happening is not likely, but flushing the system regularly (about every 60,000) will help keep debris from ruining the internal parts.
There is no vehicle out there that will last until the end of time, even well-built ones like Prius. Stuff wears out, and that is a fact of life. Learning the signs of pre-failure on your Prius systems can save you big when you know how to combat the issues they face.
Thank you so much for reading. I look forward to seeing you in the next story. Cat Security Releases Protection Shield For Toyota Prius V
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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. 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.