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Why You Should Spend About $1000 For Maintenance On Your Gen 3 Toyota Prius

Take this advice from a hybrid shop owner and keep your Gen 3 Prius on the road longer using these tips.


I know quite a few people in the automotive industry and even more on the repair side. I have many friends who are shop owners, trainers, or salespeople. I keep these contacts because it helps me provide better information to all of you who are looking to take care of your car, buy a new one, or know a few things about it.

A rather hot topic that I have been discussing with a friend of mine is hybrid maintenance on Gen 3 Prius. As a shop owner, he sees these cars all the time. His customers know that when they have an issue, there is a no BS answer, and their Prius will always work the way it is designed.

So when this guy speaks, I listen. His numbers, along with customer satisfaction ratings, tell me this shop knows what they are doing. The latest topic we discussed is Prius Gen 3 maintenance. I want to share with you why this shop owner insists that his Prius owners spend $1000 at 120,000 miles.

Electric Water Pump For Prius
Prius was completely redesigned for the third generation. The engine was a completely new design for Toyota this year, and it featured a new cooling system enhancement. An electric engine water pump replaced the old belt-driven one from the previous generation. When this fails, it is a much different problem than a P0A93.

Gen 3 Toyota Prius Failed Water Pump

The water pump now features a plastic impeller integrated into an electric motor. The issue with these pumps is that throughout the first 120,000 miles, the impeller can become damaged, and coolant flow can decrease significantly.

Overheating leads to head gasket failure, and we all know how that story ends. So, if we can stop a bad situation before it starts, it will be more cost-effective in the long run. Replace that water pump before it fails, and you will have a Prius that goes a lot longer.

Spark Plugs On Your Prius
Many are still unaware that Prius requires spark plug replacement. The spark plugs are meant to be changed every 120k. This recommendation is set forth by Toyota. Iridium spark plugs were designed to last about that long and, in some cases, can last longer.

Toyota Prius spark plugs

However, I have never met anyone who has said they love it when their Prius breaks down. I am confident that people enjoy their car most when it is functioning as designed. Then again, maybe I am the strange one. Either way replacing the spark plugs is another often overlooked service that should be done to keep that Prius running right.

Change The Transaxle Fluid
If I could, I would heavily consider punching the person in the face who came up with the term "lifetime." I absolutely hate that term. It is incredibly misleading to everyone; even service writers at the dealers do not often know.

Here is the real deal. Lifetime fluid has a life that no one wants to say what it is. The typical car owner will have their car for about 5 to 10 years or around 150,000 miles. This is where "lifetime" comes into play.

Toyota Prius Transmission Fluid

If you are a Prius owner, your idea of a lifetime could be very different. For me, lifetime means till my wheels fall off or I die (whichever comes first). The idea that you never need to change trans fluid is absolutely ludicrous.

If you want your car to function for a lot longer than "lifetime," do what is required and change the fluids.

The price he charges for all of these services is right at about $1000. That is peace of mind you cannot get just anywhere to know you Prius is good for many more miles of use.

It comes down to this if you want to avoid many of the expensive problems the car could have, listen to the pros. These shops like this one are looking out for your best interest. A car is the second most significant investment most people make outside a home. Treat it right, and it will treat you right as well.

That is all for today. I hope to have more wisdom than you did yesterday. Stay safe, and I will see you in the next story.
Can You Have No Codes And Still Have A Problem With Your Toyota Prius Battery?

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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


jabusse (not verified)    June 30, 2020 - 12:22AM

I don't buy cars that often and have a Gen 3 prius with 80K on it. I only drive 5K per year. .I bought it used 70K miles a couple years ago. It is 90% driven within the 12 mile EV range. In two years only 2 tanks of gas. Today I changed the trans fluid, engine oil, filter, and plugs. It had the original plugs. Maintenance is very easy. I cut my teeth on 1950 cars. Now I am thinking of replacing the coolant, inverter coolant and electric water pump. (as long as I am replacing the coolant why not the pump, looks like a very easy job.) I have all the stuff. Is 80K too early? I may be too old to do the work in 5 more years.

Neil (not verified)    October 22, 2020 - 1:17PM

I have a 2014 gen 3 and I've done additional maintanence in addition to the article. I bought the car with 100k Miles and it is at 170k now. All maintenance addressed in the article is a must. Based on my experience I recommend changing the strut assembly, inverter coolant, engine coolant, cleaning the fuel injectors at 150k as well. Happy driving!

Rob (not verified)    November 3, 2020 - 8:43AM

I wish I had known this. My Gen 3 started acting up at 98K now at 99.3K I need a new head gasket. If I had known about this part I could have changed it.

Steve (not verified)    March 20, 2021 - 5:01PM

On a gen 3 if you want to be on the safe side, definitely change the spark plugs, water pump, thermostat, brake fluid, engine coolant, inverter coolant, clean the egr, clean the throttle body, change the transmission fluid, recharge the ac if needed, change pcv, change shocks/struts if needed, all by 100k miles or before.

2012 prius 3 (not verified)    April 27, 2021 - 8:06AM

In reply to by Steve (not verified)

87k. Just removed and cleaned egr cooler, valve, pipes, intake manifold, and installed an oil catch can. Was partially clogged with black carbon soot. Tough to remove but doable. New pcv valve. Changed trans. Fluid. Changed coolant; now thinking I should have done water pump also. I have changed oil every 5k since new, always to the full line. Will fill to half full level from now on to reduce oil going thru pcv

Anthony Abela (not verified)    May 11, 2021 - 11:50AM

I was looking at a Lexus SUV manufactured in 2007 with some 250,000 km on the clock

The seller is replacing a shattered windscreen and yellow leather front seats at his cost.
The asking price is €9,500 an import from the UK.
The seller also let me take it to Toyota for a check up which cost around €100.
The seller does know how long the Hybrid battery has been in the car and I'm hoping that Toyota could chek it in Malta I've been told it'll cost around €4,000 fitted.

Please, do you think it could be a good but or better to look at a latest model ?

Kindest regards

Anthony Abela
T - 00356 994 994 00
E - [email protected]

Hiward (not verified)    October 27, 2021 - 10:21AM

In reply to by Anthony Abela (not verified)

We have a 2011 Prius with 278K on the original engine and transmission and water pump. Pretty much nothing was ever changed. Except the battery about 2 years ago. A 1800 cost. Other than that brakes, rotors, tires. The car is the best Maint free vehicle we drive. The engine starts to shake a little now on cold starts and we see a little oil leak behind the timing cover. However I'm not going to put it down. It still runs like a champ. I will always buy a prius

Nadine Kary (not verified)    August 11, 2022 - 8:16PM

In reply to by Hiward (not verified)

Glad to hear you are still going strong at such high mileage. I have a 2012 Prius bought used with 43,000 miles on it. Fully loaded and spotless. I have never had to replace anything other than the 12v battery and oil changes. The brake pump had a recall so that was replaced no cost to me. I’m at 136,000 miles and just today replaced spark plugs and engine coolant exchange. I have a list from Toyota of other maintenance to do but for now this is what my budget allowed. Highway driving today was smoother and pickup better than ever. Not sure what on the list I should do next but one by one I’ll do it. Talk about the lowest maintenance car I ever had is an understatement. Never thought I’d buy a Prius and after this one I always will. Hope with care I make it over 200k like yours.

Tom (not verified)    January 1, 2022 - 11:30AM

Great article about gen 3. I have owned and worked on gen 2 and 3. As someone who has replaced two gen 2 coolant pumps, that they are electric like the gen 3. In fact there are two coolant pumps, one for the engine and one for the inverter. As far as I can tell they are identical except for the mounting plate.

Sam (not verified)    January 29, 2022 - 3:10AM

In reply to by Tom (not verified)

I have checked the water pumps, they
Are not identical.
Inverter pump costs less.and looks different.