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.
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.
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.
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?
Watch this Toyota Prius truck with a nice little bed and click to subscribe to Torque News Youtube for daily automotive news analysis.
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