500,000 km 2008 Prius Taxi

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by lucky1, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. lucky1

    lucky1 Member

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    I recently went over 500,000 km on one of my Prius taxi's. I have 3 2008 Prius and one 2010 Prius. With each car saving me 8 to $10,000 a year on fuel they have been a great investment.
    The car has been very reliable and gives me peace of mind that I don't have to worry about it breaking down. About the only part I have had to replace on a regular basis is the wheel bearings and mostly the passenger side. I quickly figured out that the bearings I was getting from Toyota were a poor quality bearing which really surprised me when you think that the Toyota would be the best. My mechanic would show me the toyota bearing side by side with the after market bearing I am using and you could see how much better the after market one was.
    The drivers side axel is a bit of a weak spot I have replaced it at least two times on the 500,000 km Prius and have replaced a few on the other 2008's. The cars do take a pounding in the city so I am certainly not complaining.
    The battery still gets fully charged at times every day much to the dismay of the non believers in the taxi business who refuse to go hybrid.
    I do the oil change every three weeks and use synthetic oil and the car does not burn oil. I found a store that was putting a new size jug of synthetic oil on for $15 (reg $35) so I was quick to grab about a 3 year supply. The look on the guys face when I said I would take the whole skid of oil was priceless.
    I change the transaxel fluid twice a year and hope that keeps the transaxel healthy. There are 30 Prius on our fleet with a couple around 750,000 km and no one has ever done any work on the transaxel . Meanwhile the North American taxi's seem to eat transmissions.
    I am about to replace the door hinges. After 500,000 km of customers opening and closing the doors so many times a day the doors no longer want to stay open and it sounds like a tin can when the doors are being closed.
    When I tell my customers that the car has over 500,000 on it they are always impressed with the ride and the way the car handles. I fully expect to have the car at 1,000,000km the way it runs now. Not only will it save me $8,000 + each year on fuel the car will last 600,000km longer than most N.American taxi's. Then you factor in the extra income from the car working more days a year then most cars it is a no brainer to keep running the Prius taxi's.
    Had to replace the fan that cools the hybrid battery about 50,000 km ago. The extreme over kill on the traction control is a real pain and my drivers have to be very careful where they go or else they get stuck where you would never think you would be stuck. My 2010 is much better in the snow.
    looking forward to buying the Prius V when I do replace the current cars. 50% more cargo space will be exactly what the doctor ordered for those of us using them for taxi's.
    It is great that I do not have much negative to report after 500,000km.
    Overall it has been a great investment and am looking forward to the next 500,000 km.
     
  2. seilerts

    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

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    That's great feedback, thank you for sharing! I have a few questions:

    Please share the make and model of the wheel bearing.

    The hybrid battery cooling fan is known to be problematic in 2004-2009 and 2010+ Prius. Toyota even has a TSB for 2010+ that recommends cleaning the fan every 25000 miles under taxi usage. Do you clean the fan regularly in your cars, or was the failure and replacement the first time that you were aware that it could be a problem?

    In the 30 cabs that have never had a problem, do they all get bi-annual transaxle fluid changes?
     
  3. lucky1

    lucky1 Member

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    I am not sure how often the other owners change the fluid but I can check. Keep in mind we put 120,000km or more a year on the cars so I am doing mine about every 60,000km. I will have to check and see what the make of the wheel bearing is. It cost me $50 more than the Toyota bearing (I get my parts at 10% over cost) but seems to last twice as long. I was wondering why Toyota price was $150 ($90 for me) and yet the aftermarket ones could be as high as $300. The toyota bearings dont have near as much meat to them. I was not aware that the battery cooling fan was a problem and now that I know I will be cleaning them regular.
    I will get back to you with the info on the what wheelbearing I am using.
     
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  4. Hal W

    Hal W New Member

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    Thanks for your report luck1. Ontario is not easy on cars especially winters and all the salt they dump on the roads. Hal
     
  5. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    What mileage are you on the 2010?
     
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  6. lucky1

    lucky1 Member

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    Grumpy----------- my 2010 has about 120,000 km. Love the car and the improved gas economy. Last summer I was pleasantly surprised when I checked the fuel consumption on a 75km trip on a secondary highway where i averaged around 90km/ht and I was burning 3.9l/100km. I was was used to my 2008's where the best fuel economy was always in the city. The 2010 is usually about 4.3 to 4.6 on the warm days. Of course this time of year running the heat and slogging through snowy icy roads I am usually 5.6 to 6.3.
    My 500,000 km Prius is usually 5.1 in the summer and can be 6.5 or higher this time of year.
    It used to be about 1/2 litre per 100 km better but I think the tough taxi km have hurt the economy as the car gets older. The 2010 is a much better car for getting around in the snow.
     
  7. uart

    uart Senior Member

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    Interesting post lucky1, and good to see that regular ATF changes seem to be paying off in transmission longevity. Up until recently we'd hardly ever see any Prius taxis here in Australia, I think most in the industry were pretty skeptical of them. Recently though I'm noticing quite a lot of Prius taxis, so the word must be getting around.

    Cleaning the battery cooling blower is pretty easy, take a look at the pictures I posted at reply #31 here : http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-ii-...ur-dirt-causing-major-battery-problems-4.html

    It's very easy, no need to remove the back seat or anything, just unclip the right rear interior lining panel in the hatch and everything is right there (see pictures in linked thread).
     
  8. lucky1

    lucky1 Member

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    UART--- thanks for the tip the Toyota mechanic told me to clean them regularly but never explained how but I knew I could come on this forum and find out. Thanks for the link
     
  9. agaisin

    agaisin Junior Member

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    x2 on the brand of the higher quality aftermarket wheel bearings.
     
  10. AussieOwner

    AussieOwner Active Member

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    Uart, you must be either Sydney or Melbourne based. Prius taxis are all over the place in Adelaide, Perth, Darwin and Brisbane, and Melbourne definitely has more than Sydney. Prius taxis are also all over lots of major country towns. I know of fleets in Cairns and Foster NSW, for example.

    From talking to other operators in Sydney, the fuel saving is not a consideration - in Sydney, the driver is responsible for paying for the fuel, so any saving on fuel only affects the driver, not the owner. Also, in Sydney, ex-government fleet LPG Ford Falcons can purchased after 2 years, low kms, for half the price of a new Ford, but still with 4 good years of operation as a taxi. For the owners, a low cost of the car is what they are interested in. Second hand Prius are few and far between.

    Fords in Sydney seem to follow their Canadian counterparts - they seem to go through transmissions regularly. The recommended maintenance costs as produced by the Taxi Council indicate a diff replacement at least once per year and a full transmission every 18 months. If the Prius can do without any of this, then the maintanance costs might convince some owners to rethink their position. Unfortunately, I am going to need a couple of years running of my taxi to prove these figures.

    Lucky1 had provided me with some of the details he posted above in a PM when I was setting up my taxi, and I have been using some of his information on maintenance when talking to other owners, but they are still skeptical on the maintenance.

    I have been trying to find out if and when the Prius v will be released in Australia. I think that this may be considered more favourably in the future by Sydney taxi owners, especially as Ford are no longer making the Falcon wagon, and Holden wagons are definitely not popluar - their maintenance is far worse than the Fords.
     
  11. lucky1

    lucky1 Member

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    AussieOwner----- I am heading to Australia next winter and will be starting the trip in Melbourne. I have a good friend who lives 20 min south of Melbourne. We will eventually make it to Sydney so I will have to request you when we are taking taxi's around Sydney. Not sure when we are going other than we don't want to be there when you are in the middle of summer. 25 degree temperature would be good traveling weather. Of course I do want to make it to an Aussie Rules game so will have to check the schedule. My Aussie friend is a Magpie fan.
     
  12. 2009Prius

    2009Prius A Wimpy DIYer

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    Are the shocks/struts replaced regularly?
     
  13. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    On a Prius? Not had any bother with mine. We have issues in the UK with speed bumps and many taxis end up replacing the rubber anti-roll bar bushes every year 30k miles. So far my Prius is still very tight on the suspension at 63k+ miles.

    It appears that wheel bearings are an issue but using aftermarket brands instead of Toyota's seems to reduce their replacement.
     
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  14. Rokeby

    Rokeby Member

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    How's the upholstery holding up?

    Do you have seat covers, ScotchGuard, etc?

    Are the rear hatch struts hanging in there?

    The wheel bearing matter is interesting. Back in the day, the late '70s,
    when I was riding a motorized skate board we found that the "standard"
    bearings (DK-somethings, IIRC) were crap. Upgrading to SKS was
    expensive but much improved speed and glide distance.
     
  15. cnschult

    cnschult Active Member

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    no front wheel drive car should ever be a taxi as they are not built to commercial standards.

    I've ridden in 'green cabs' prius and civic hybrid taxis whenever I'm too drunk to drive home and the ride is horrible. unfortunately there is a difference between reliability and toughness. Japanese FWD cars are incredibly reliable but they are not tough at all. the rear drive ford platform used as taxis and cop cars and lincoln 'black cars' weren't that reliable but could handle any abuse the driver threw at them and were easy to repair.

    its a shame ford has discontinued this platform, I think a strong V-6 with engine stop/start technology to replace the outdated gas guzzling V-8 would have been just what the commercial car industry needed.
     
  16. AussieOwner

    AussieOwner Active Member

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    Totally off topic, but......
    When you say next winter, I am assuming that you mean your winter. If that is the time, you will miss the Aussie Rules games. Aussie Rules is played in our winter - actually April to September. If you come in our winter, the temps in Melbourne and Sydney get down to low teens, but we do not have the snow or really cold days that you get in Canada - at least not in the big cities.

    Definitely drop me a PM whenever you get your schedule sorted out - more than happy to show you Sydney.
     
  17. seilerts

    seilerts Battery Curmudgeon

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    I know you are from Michigan, and I have a special place in my heart for Crown Vics.

    But, all we ever hear about from Prius taxi owners is how reliable the cars are, and how much more economical they are.

    I formerly owned a '95 Dodge stratus, and I would definitely agree, THAT fwd car was not built to commercial standards, with a transmission that died at 54,000 miles, just 4,000 outside of the warranty.
     
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  18. uart

    uart Senior Member

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    For Melbourne to Sydney and NSW coast you'll usually get very nice mild weather around April. :)
     
  19. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    The seats are holding up fairly well. There is a little bit of sag on the passenger side rear (where most customers get in), but it is hardly noticeable and in line with expectations. The passengers comment on how comfortable and smooth the car is.

    I personally didn't use seat covers as my customers are a civilised bunch. I did use ScotchGuard though and have the number of a good valeter (detailer) in my speed dial for the handful of times he has been needed. :eek:

    The rear hatch was used very very regularly as we had a contract with many of the supermarkets (freephone in exit) in town. Not had an issue with weak struts and if I'm fair they're still very strong to this day.

    Trying to think of a downside to the Prius. The drivers seat is starting to wear but again at 60k+ miles that applies to all cars. The bumpers are very good at absorbing low speed knocks ;) and yet still hold their shape. The rear tyres wear on the outside edge a little more than they should, probably because of the weight of the batteries in the back and the high speeds I take roundabouts at. Yes I have had the alignment checked and it was fine - just my driving apparantly!?!
     
  20. lucky1

    lucky1 Member

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    UART----- Not sure if I can talk my friend into waiting as late as April to go but I want to get to an Aussie Rules game it looks like fun. That will give me a year and a few months to plan.
    I replaced my struts and bushings at about 450,000 and the struts were not real bad but I figured I would change them at what I think is the half way point of the cars life.
    I recently had the seats in all four taxi's covered. I was tired of the Tim Hortons coffee stains on my seats. Well worth the $200 that the shop charged. The seats in the 500,000 km Prius were holding up well considering all the people that sat on them in a day.

    cnschult------- I thought they had snow in Michigan. After years of sliding all over the road in rear wheel drive and not making it up hills when the snow gets deep I was so happy when front wheel drive came along and I would pass the rear wheel drive cars that were struggling to get up the hill . Front wheel drive is the best thing that ever happened to someone who spends 10+ a day driving in the snow. ABS brakes save me several times a year by allowing me to steer away from the person who slides through the intersection during snow storms. Front wheel drive and ABS brakes have made life so much easier on my life when driving hack.

    The rear hatch on all my Prius is holding up nicely. Pretty impressive when u think of the number of times the hatch is opened between luggage and groceries.
    The real impressive thing with the Prius taxi's is there are over 30 on our 90 car fleet and no one has ever had to do any repairs on the transaxel and we have a couple over 750,000 km. A Impala taxi would go through three transmissions in 750,000 km. Ford Taurus would go through 4 transmissions in that time with the brutal tranny that they put in the Taurus. (everything else was good but the tranny was horrible)
    I will try to get to the mechanic tomorrow and see what we are using for a wheel bearing that seems to have more than double the life of the Toyota bearing. I was a little worried when the Toyota bearing was only warrantied for 30,000km but I know why now. Quite disappointed that Toyota would put their good name on such a lousy bearing.
     
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