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Independent Hybrid Repair

Discussion in 'Gen III 2010+ Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubles' started by The Critic, Nov 19, 2011.

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  1. The Critic

    The Critic Resident Critic

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    Location:
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    2011 Prius
    Model:
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    Luscious Garage | Hybrid Specialists

    This shop is advertised to be an example of the future of automotive repair. Environmentally friendly, transparent, and being specialists on specific models. I think this approach may be the direction of professional auto repair in the future as cars grow more complex. It is simply too difficult for a shop to be extremely familiar with every make and model and its common issues. For this shop, their specialty is hybrids.

    Their prices seem to be fair considering the level of knowledge and their willingness to be pioneers in the field of hybrid service and repair. At $120/hr, their labor rate is average for the SF Bay Area. In addition, their prices for diagnostic work are much more reasonable from the dealer. For instance, one dealer that I went to had a sign on the wall that said any hybrid-related diagnosis requires an upfront authorization of 2hr labor, which is $240. In comparison, Luscious charges $60 I believe.

    However, the $110 they charge for a minor service is a bit high, but it does include some extras such as adjusting the emergency brake (which the dealer charges extra for) and the thoroughness of the inspection performed is more in-line with a dealer's "intermediate" service. In addition, this shop is actually familiar with our cars-- unlike my usual dealer who is afraid to change the transaxle fluid. :rolleyes:

    I am bringing my 2011 there today for the 15k transaxle drain and refill. Hopefully from this small job, I will see if they live up to the great reviews and to the outstanding shop that they claim to be. If so, I will be using them in the future for diagnostic work and for work that I am too lazy to do myself.

    I will keep everyone posted on how the visit goes. Hopefully this can become a great alternative for hybrid owners once our Gen IIIs go out of warranty and will be needing repairs.
  2. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    I would be curious too. I met the LG folks briefly at GDE. It was cool to see Carolyn in real life.

    Unfortunately, they're way too far away for me (~60 miles, one way) so it makes little sense for me to go there. It's WAY too time consuming and inconvenient unless it's for something where I think the dealer is screwing me.

    My closest Toyota dealer seems ok and in the past, others I've visited (Toyota Sunnyvale and Toyota of Kirkland (in WA)) seemed fine.
  3. The Critic

    The Critic Resident Critic

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    I actually live 100 miles from SF, so I am even further away from you. However I am in SF about monthly to visit friends so I just time my visit to be in the same trip.
  4. xs650

    xs650 Senior Member

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    Are you going to take an oil sample and get a UOA? 15k is earlier than most people get it done but I think about right. Early hours of operation are where healthy machinery sheds the most metal.
  5. The Critic

    The Critic Resident Critic

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    The service went well today. You get to talk to the person working on your car, which in my case was the Carolyn who started the business.

    The shop is clean and well-organized. They use all genuine parts and even stock the correct washers for drain plugs. All of the shop's operations and the building design itself were designed with sustainability in mind. I was able to talk to the mechanic while she was working on the car and it was clear that she knew these cars very, very well.

    The cost of the transaxle drain and refill was $98 total. $60 for labor (1/2 hr), $32 for fluid ($8/qt), $2 for washers (one for drain and one for fill), and the rest was for taxes and disposal fees.

    There was however, a slight misunderstanding regarding the price that I was quoted for the service by e-mail. I was quoted $80, but that was actually the price for their taxi program. So to make up for that, they did my oil change for no charge-- I already had the oil and filter with me. Since I originally planned to spend the $80 + $20 (or so) for the oil change labor anyway, it worked out in the end and was not a big deal at all.

    Overall, I would definitely return for future service. They are familiar with the cars, they do the job correctly, and do it efficiently.



    No, because other people have already posted similar UOAs.

    The old fluid was still red and had a brand new appearance at 15k. However, after the transmission service, I have noticed that the acceleration is smoother and the transitions are less harsh. Basically the drivability has returned to what it was when I drove it off the lot.

    I plan to continue doing the transmission service every 15k. For me, the goal is optimal drivability anyway. Also, Luscious did have a Gen III Prius taxi which had a transmission failure at 120k due to bearing failure, which rendered the entire unit useless. This is probably something to consider when deciding on a maintenance regimen.
    2 people like this.
  6. jdenenberg

    jdenenberg EE Professor

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    You would find that after the first couple of ATF refreshes, doing it at 15k mile intervals is overkill. Your early one at 15k miles is reasonable (I normally suggest 30k), but doing it each 15k thereafter is bordering on being a bit paranoid. Our ATF lab tests showed that 60k mile intervals is OK and if you want to be conservative go with 30k intervals.

    JeffD
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