4k Mile Road Trip in a 2005 w/ 72k miles - Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Diotima, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. Diotima

    Diotima Junior Member

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    all!

    In a couple of weeks, my darling Prius, my family and I will be embarking on a 3-week, 4,000 mile road trip. On Monday, she's headed to the dealer for a scheduled 'major service.'

    Does anyone have recommendations on what to ask them to check, what to watch out for, stuff I should do myself, etc? We'll be hitting just about every terrain possible, from California coast, to mountains to the Mojave in August.

    Big question: My AC has never been recharged. Is there a way to tell if it needs it *before* it gives out? The Mojave in August is not where I want to be when the AC dies. :)

    For the curious, here's a rough itinerary. We're calling it the "Bear Bait" road trip:
    Start in SoCal
    Coloma, CA (whitewater rafting - Prius can't come, lifejacket won't fit)
    Lake Tahoe
    Salt Lake City
    Grand Teton Nat'l Park
    Yellowstone
    Mt. Rushmore
    Denver
    Dinosaur Nat'l Monument
    Arches Nat'l Park
    Vegas
    Home

    Thanks in advance!

    Dia
     
  2. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    I suggest that you check tire condition and buy new tires if the existing tire tread is marginal (4/32" or less depth.) You'll most likely enjoy a better selection of models and lower price at your local tire stores vs. the Toyota dealer.

    You can save some money by replacing the windshield wiper blades, and engine and cabin air filters yourself.

    I also recommend that you have the transaxle ATF fluid and 12V battery replaced if they are original.

    Regarding AC performance, a non-technical evaluation would be to set the temp to MAX COLD and turn the fan speed to the highest position. Evaluate the volume and temperature of the cold air that is produced. If you find that the air is not uncomfortably cold or the fan is not blowing at full blast, then you should have the system checked out.

    Utah and Colorado both have a great collection of wonderful national parks and monuments, so you may want to allow more time to visit others which currently are not on your list.
     
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  3. Diotima

    Diotima Junior Member

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    Thank you, Patrick. :)

    I have already ordered the wipers and air filters. The 12v battery is an Optima we installed ourselves. Tires are new about 5k miles ago. Brakes (pads) have been done twice in the car's lifetime, but I'm wondering about rotors (I don't know much about brakes).

    Re: Utah and CO - We're thinking March or so for a trip involving the Grand Canyon and places like Bryce and Zion.

    Re: Transaxle/ATF - got it, thanks!
     
  4. Michgal007

    Michgal007 Senior Member

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    I have never done this, but may be you want to have the spare tire inflated properly. Visit Antelope island near Salt Lake (on the way to Teton) for a couple of hours.
     
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  5. RRxing

    RRxing Senior Member

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    Skip Mt. Rushmore and go to the Crazy Horse monument instead. Larger and more majestic, in my view, and it's nowhere near complete. Plus - no John Philip Sousa music over the loudspeakers (This was almost 30 years ago. Don't know if it's still true.)
     
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  6. Diotima

    Diotima Junior Member

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    Thanks for the Antelope Island tip! I'll check it out.

    P.S. I'm a former Michigan girl myself. :)
     
  7. Diotima

    Diotima Junior Member

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    Ok, will have to Google that, thanks. :) I remember hearing that construction was stalled. I wonder what the status is now?
     
  8. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Actually, with 72K miles and considering your southern CA location, I would not have expected that the brake pads would need to have been replaced once. I have 124K miles on the 2004 and the original brake pads still have a reasonable amount of remaining life.

    Regarding the rotors, if you do not feel pulsation when you apply the brakes, then do not worry about them.

    Yes, 60 psi is the correct pressure for the spare tire and this should be checked at least at six-month intervals if you want the tire to be ready for use when you need it.
     
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  9. Diotima

    Diotima Junior Member

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    Hrm, maybe I am thinking of adjustments of some sort then? I had them looked at a little over a year ago because they felt soft. And as for twice, oops - no, that was tires. She's on her third set of tires.
     
  10. M8s

    M8s Retired and Lovin' It

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    Jackson Wyoming: The Cowboy Bar and daily shootout on the main square are fun. Take the ski lift to the top of Snow King (take your camera). Anthony's Italian food is good. There's a little playhouse which, last time we were there, did a really fun version of Oklahoma.
    Grand Teton Nat'l Park: Jenny Lake is super scenic as is the little chapel. Be sure to drive to the top of Signal Mountain on your way to Yellowstone.
    Yellowstone: Take an ice chest with sandwich fixings, drinks and fruit. The cafeterias there are terrible and very crowded. There's lots of obsidian on the ground at the picnic area near Obsidian Cliffs.
    Mt. Rushmore: I would skip it and just go South from Jackson through Rock Springs, WYO and down through Steamboat Springs, CO. Mt. Rushmore is pretty underwhelming IMO. If you do go, in Custer, don't miss Jewell Cave (take light jackets for a 2 hour tour - you're 350 feet underground).
    Denver: If you go through Steamboat Springs, CO then there's no need to go to Denver - just head West to Dinosaur. Or go South to Silverthorne and take I-70 to Moab. If you do go to Denver, Mt. Evans (highest auto road in the US) is only 50 miles west of downtown and really scenic.
    Moab/Arches: Just 6 hours or so from Denver. Take the turnoff from I-70 that goes past the Sorrel River Ranch. Take an ice chest and have a picnic at Arches (at the far end of the loop road). It is VERY hot in the summer so take lots of water and ice. Moab Brewery is pretty good and fun.
    Grand Canyon: Just 6 or so hours from Moab, even stopping for breakfast. Go due South out of Moab (leave early - 6 or 7 am - to really enjoy the sunrise in a scenic place). Have breakfast in Twin Rocks (good food and modern place), then hit Monument Valley (you drive right through MV and the ranger station is just just 4 miles off the highway). I wouldn't take a Prius on the dirt road (separate fee) through the valley, though. Keep going South and, after Kyenta and Tuba City, you'll hit Cameron, which is the East entrance to Grand Canyon Nat'l Park. Have a picnic on the rim. Try to get a 2d floor, canyon view room at the Kachina Lodge (just keep checking at the desk in the Bright Angle Lodge for cancellations). The Arizona Steak House (on the rim) has pretty good food at fair prices.
    Las Vegas: Feh.

    As for the Prius, it'll do fine. Be sure to check the spare tire pressure before you leave.
     
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  11. seilerts

    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

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  12. MJFrog

    MJFrog Active Member

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    My dad and his wife were out that way late May/early June. Check the end of his blog entry.
     
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  13. Diotima

    Diotima Junior Member

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    Woo hoo! Thanks for all the travel tips!

    Denver - necessary because hubs has to fly back to work before the end of the trip, plus I'm touring the HQ of the company I write for.

    Water pump was replaced after my sandwich accident (Grrrr!).

    I got her all cleaned out and vacuumed last night. The rear seat really needs a steam clean - kids and drinks. *eye roll*

    Cheers,

    Dia
     
  14. Diotima

    Diotima Junior Member

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    The KOA - was it Palmer's Gulch? We have reservations there. :)
     
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