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Must I take my Prius to a Toyota dealer for routine maintenance?

Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by priusunum, Dec 6, 2006.

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  1. priusunum

    priusunum priusunum

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    I got my new 06 Prius in late September. I love the car! I typically drive about 500 miles a month, mostly in town. So I expect I won't need to take my car in for its first routine service until March (figuring I should do it at least twice a year even though the mileage will be low). For my previous car ,a Subaru Legacy, the dealer rarely saw me: routine service was done at fast lube places or other local garages(for oil changes, air filter and anti-freeze replacement etc.). I only went to the dealer for major repairs, and for the 30,000 mile and 60,000 mile service. This worked just fine for me.

    When I took possession of my new Prius, the first thing I did,after reading posts on this site, was to replace the OEM tires with Michelins. I went to a tire dealer which not only sells tires but also does all the usual maintenance for cars: oil changes,alignments, brake work, etc. It's a reputable, clean, good-sized place, with maybe 10 car bays and mechanics that did some standard-type work for me in the past, and did a decent job. I asked the customer rep if they did maintenance work on Priuses. He said yes, and they felt they were competent to do so.

    I've been thinking over whether I should trust my Prius--much more complex than my old Sub--to this local place. Despite what the customer rep says, I'm inclined to stick with the Toyota dealer because they have Toyota factory- trained mechanics. On the other hand, it would be soooo convenient to
    take it to this local place where I can get in and out much faster than at the local (and huge) Toyota dealership, which I know from experience is more of a hassle.

    So I'd love to get some feedback from other Prius owners: has anybody used a local garage(non Toyota dealership) to have routine maintenance done, and did they do ok? Do you think I'd be taking a risk using a non-dealer service place? From reading the owner's manual, I don't believe I have to take the car to a Toyota dealer to keep the warranty in force, as long as I have proof of the work done.
  2. derkraut

    derkraut Member

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  3. galaxee

    galaxee mostly benevolent

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    regular maintenance isn't anything more than on a "regular" car. however, for repairs/check engine lights and the like, it needs to go to a dealer.
  4. efusco

    efusco Troll Slayer Staff Member

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    I third the others...if you have a good place you trust and that has experience w/ Prius (ie they know how to start it and put it in drive and park) there's nothing on the routine maintence they can't do...in fact nothing you can't do yourself.

    I've taken my Prius to Toyota since the beginning in '03 nobody else knew what it was, how to start or drive it, and I certainly didn't feel comfortable with non-Toyota places touching it. Today I would. I'm at ~53k miles now. I'll probably stick w/ the Toyota dealer through the 60k schedule maintence and then start doing it myself or letting Jiffy Lube do it.
  5. daveleeprius

    daveleeprius Heh heh heh you think so?

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(efusco @ Dec 6 2006, 11:22 PM) [snapback]358741[/snapback]</div>

    I dunno, Jiffy Lube uses the cheapest oil filters they can get their hands on, they don't fit as well as OEM Toyota Parts and you're liable to lose an engine. Happened to both my cars and I *always* take them to the dealer for oil changes ever since. It's the same price really and a lot lot safer if you care at all about your car.

    Dave
  6. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(DaveLeePrius @ Dec 6 2006, 09:06 PM) [snapback]358759[/snapback]</div>

    (not trying to defend Jiffy Lube as I've never used them but I've heard all sorts of random negative tidbits about them)
    So, these filters leaked or came off causing you to lose a lot/all your oil and engines to seize? If that happened, I'd be suing Jiffy Lube if I were in your shoes.
  7. subarutoo

    subarutoo New Member

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    My car's never seen the dealer in 22,000 miles. Oil changes are easy to do, and rotate tires a little more work, unless you have a floor jack. I also have Subarus and in a combined 180,000+ miles have rarely seen the dealer, mostly for recalls and warranty work. Never been hassled for doing my own work, or using an independent shop.
  8. PriusRos

    PriusRos A Fairly Senior Member

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    I have a similar question but a little different.

    The Toyota dealers give you a list of scheduled maintenance to do at frequent intervals, like every 5, 10, 15 thousand miles. For example, at 5K miles you are supposed to do the 5,000 mile checkup. In addition to changing the oil -- a $20 value, they rotated the tires, checked this thing and that, and the service came to over $100 after a "discount"! I still had to inflate my tires to the pressure I wanted in spite of telling them what I wanted.

    I am not a do-it-yourselfer when it comes to car maintenance, except to clean and polish it, so I don't really know what really needs to be done apart from changing the oil. How much of this "scheduled maintenance" is really necessary and how much is just part of a grand scheme to get you for all you're worth?

    What do you have to do in order to ensure you stay within warranty?
  9. MadHungarian

    MadHungarian Member

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    PriusRos' last question is a good one. I have the extended warranty which "requires" service every 5000 miles or 6 months, which ever comes first. I just had my 18 months service done--with 7500 miles on the odometer. I hate to change the oil and filter on the average every 2500 miles. Do I REALLY have to do this to stay in the reguilar and extended warranties?
  10. eagle33199

    eagle33199 Platinum Member

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    As it's been said before in reference to modding - they can't just invalidate your entire warranty. However, if the oil sludges and ruins the engine because you didn't change it often enough, they can trace the root of the problem to you, and not have to pay out on the warranty for the associated repairs.

    The official maintenance booklet from Toyota (NOT the dealers) recommends an oil change and tire rotation, as well as a general inspection (check fluid and tire levels, cabin air filter, etc) for most of the service. There are some of the services where they recommend certain non-normal checks, but i don't recall what these are.

    Dealers try to get you by having items they call "10k service", etc. they include lucrative items that you don't need. When you go in for your service, check the official book (or ask on here if you don't have it), and ask for exactly what you want - you'll pay less, and be completely covered.
  11. aaf709

    aaf709 Ravenpaw of ThunderClan

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    One thing that I couldn't find in this thread is that if you take it to a place other than Toyota to do your maintenance (or DIY), it's a good idea to keep the receipts to show it was done.
  12. galaxee

    galaxee mostly benevolent

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    dealer services are often inflated way beyond what you actually need. that's a real profitmaker. most of it is pure BS. there are a few things they might recommend that would be a good idea, but they often recommend services that are downright ridiculous as well.

    if you're unsure you can always ask here :p
  13. derkraut

    derkraut Member

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    "PriusRos' last question is a good one. I have the extended warranty which "requires" service every 5000 miles or 6 months, which ever comes first. I just had my 18 months service done--with 7500 miles on the odometer. I hate to change the oil and filter on the average every 2500 miles. Do I REALLY have to do this to stay in the reguilar and extended warranties? "

    Change the oil/filter every 2500 miles? You are being ripped off big time! :angry:
  14. jmccord

    jmccord New Member

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    With access to a hydraulic lift I find DIY oil changes and tire rotations pretty easy to manage. However, the "inspections" have me stumped. Other than looking for tears in the cv boots and brake and coolant fluid levels, what are you supposed to inspect? :blink:
  15. PriusRos

    PriusRos A Fairly Senior Member

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(galaxee @ Dec 7 2006, 09:32 PM) [snapback]359111[/snapback]</div>

    That's pretty much what I suspect. However, if I take the car to a service station to get the oil changed and tires rotated, I have the concern expressed by others that they might not know enough about the Prius. If I take it to the dealer, even if I tell them I just want the oil change and tire rotation, they will probably tell me "but I see it's time for your [7,500] [10,000] [12,525] mile service" and I end up paying $120 bucks more for them to "inspect" that list of things that probably do perfectly all right without anyone looking at them for 100,000 miles.
  16. MadHungarian

    MadHungarian Member

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    derek: Getting ripped off big time is the point of my question. But I'm trying to avoid an even bigger rip off; that of being denied warranty repairs because I DIDN'T have the car serviced every 6 months, even with the low milage, and therefore failed to meet warranty requirements! Is it possible to get around this first (real) rip off and still avoid the second (potential) rip off???????????????
  17. daveleeprius

    daveleeprius Heh heh heh you think so?

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    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(cwerdna @ Dec 7 2006, 03:29 AM) [snapback]358787[/snapback]</div>

    It wasn't an actual Jiffy Lube business, but a similar small oil change shop I used to go to all the time. One of my cars had a leak, and then when driving home from dinner one night the oil light came on. I had it towed to the dealer and they said the filter didn't fit right. The other car just had a leak and was way low when I checked it, so I took it into the dealer as well.

    If I had my own garage I'd buy ramps and do my own oil changes, brakes, etc, but I live in a condo with a carport and we can't work on our cars there. Plus with the Prius I will just take it in to the dealer for oil changes anyway.

    I didn't know the extended warranty through Toyota had all these mandatory maintenance stipulations. That drives the price of the extended warranty up quite a bit and makes me think I probably won't get it.

    Dave
  18. hobbit

    hobbit Senior Member

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    I always think I have to balance comments about independent techs
    vs. the possibility of taking business away from galaxee's hubby...
    but really, as the number of hybrids on the road climbs, someone's
    got to shoulder that servicing load! Independents absolutely have
    to get on board with the hybrid thing, quit being afraid of high
    voltage systems, and understand the cars. Any of them with a
    sufficiently capable scan-tool and access to the Toyota site or
    Mitchell or Alldata or any of the other service-info outfits *can*
    do an equivalent diagnosis/repair even if it's a hybrid-driveline
    issue -- they just need to take the time to understand it. They'll
    be buying new parts from Toyota, of course, but being able to
    undersell dealer-tech rates and maintain those "great local shop"
    relationships with their customers is ... priceless.
    .
    There are shops out there whose response to "can you ..." is a curt
    "sorry, we don't do anything with hybrids." WRONG WRONG WRONG, and
    I hope to spend a good chunk of the coming year helping in some
    small way to turn that around. Just like the grudging but inevitable
    acceptance of computer brain-boxes handling engine management, the
    hybrids are here and ignoring them isn't going to make them go away.
    .
    So if your "local guy" isn't up to speed on this stuff yet, sit 'em
    down in front of google output for "hybrid auto tech training" and
    urge them to dive in.
    .
    _H*
  19. Prius313

    Prius313 Member

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    Said before, but routine maintenance doesn't have to go to the dealer, just keep the receipts. For issues with the scan-tool, I would go to the dealer during warranty. I have a 2003 and not a problem till recently when the warning lights came on suddenly. That exclamation point nearly stopped my heart! Went to the dealer. It was covered since it was an emission component.

    Toyota dealers can be aggressively slimey. (So can Nissan dealers).
  20. SW03ES

    SW03ES Senior Member

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    There is absolutely no reason why you need to have routine maintenance done by the dealer for your warranty to remain intact. Now, that said I typically use the Lexus dealer for mine because they provide a free loaner and its no hassle for me which taking it to an independent shop would be, and generally do with the Prius too because its no more expensive really.

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(MadHungarian @ Dec 8 2006, 12:02 PM) [snapback]359328[/snapback]</div>

    You just need to change the oil every 6 months if the mileage is low. Thats just proper vehicle maintenance. An oil change is $30, if you can't pay $60 and be troubled to get the oil changed twice in a year, then the warranty company SHOULD deny your claims.
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