Any Maintenance Tips after buying a 2011+ Prius?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by SunnyPriusGA, Sep 6, 2019.

  1. SunnyPriusGA

    SunnyPriusGA Junior Member

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    Hi Prius Folks!

    I'm looking into buying a 2011+ Prius with mileage up to 175k (aiming realistically for 100k-150k for the right price).

    After Purchase maintenance wise, i'm trying to make a list of what to buy and change since I cant always trust what has been changed by the previous owner as well as, it will be peace of mind as well since i know the exact date and mileage XYZ item has been changed.

    Here's a list of purchases i think i'll need to be buying:
    - Before buying car...
    • use Torque App to see the status of all of the battery cells
    • Inspect engine, brakes, shocks, etc for obvious signs of odd wear like rust, rubbing, etc.
    - NGK Spark Plugs
    - Air Intake Filter / Cabin Air Filter
    - Oil Change & Oil Filter Change
    - Might need an Oil Catch Can?
    - I'm reading multiple reports of head gaskets being blown... how do i check for this and prevent?
    - Transmission Oil Change
    - Coolant System Flush, Maybe?
    - I think there is no more Serpentine Belt and it is replaced all by motors
    - AC Evaporator Cleaning

    ...Any other gotchas i should be looking at to avoid any major issues in the future for a high mileaged vehicle?

    Thanks in advance for your help and time!
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    welcome!

    you need to clean the entire egr circuit.

    i think a compression/leakdown test will find a bad head gasket. start by checking the oil for coolant contamination

    but it won't tell you if the gasket is already partially compromised, so be prepared to replace the engine just in case
     
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  3. Chrisgen1

    Chrisgen1 Member

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    try to go with 2014 or 2015 model years. They have the revised rings and pistons to prevent oil consumption.
    change all the fluids, check the brake actuator for funny noises.

    Check harnesses and make sure there is no rodent damage.
     
  4. CR94

    CR94 Senior Member

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    If you are still inclined to risk a pre-2014, at least check whether the inside of the tailpipe is greasy and sooty---a good clue you are looking at an oil guzzler.
     
  5. tonycd

    tonycd Member

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    IMO, the oil consumption problem is exaggerated by some on this site. More Prii have it than should, but Consumer Reports reliability surveys – and the cars' continuing popularity as a taxicab and Uber sled – suggest it's not uniquely bad.

    Remember that "changing all fluids" includes a coolant change for the inverter, which has a separate coolant supply. If you're not up for a full check of the EGR system, which I personally think is overkill unless there are general indications the car was subjected to dirty/dusty conditions or neglect/severe service, it's cheap and easy to at least replace the PCV valve, and it's a good investment of not much money.

    Simply because it's nearly the only component that could strand you at the roadside, I'd also pre-emptively replace the battery if you buy a 2010-12, simply because that's around its normal life expectancy. Be sure to buy a battery expressly made for the Prius, as ordinary batteries can emit gases into the interior and present acid hazards in a crash. In my explorations, Pep Boys has a good price on this item (I don't believe in that giant etailer because of its known issues with counterfeit merchandise).

    Some will disagree, but those would be my priorities.
     
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  6. Grit

    Grit Senior Member

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    I’m starting to miss those “Just drive it” folks.
     
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  7. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    The specd plug (in Owners Manual) is Denso, but NGK might have an equivalent. If it's a toss up, I'd stick with Denso. Also, I think Toyota has revised the plug spec, gone from 20 to 16, slightly hotter. Still a lot have done just fine with the original 20 version.

    BTW, both the Owners Manual and the Warranty and Maintenance Guide, are available in PDF format at Toyota Tech Info (just google).
     
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  8. The Critic

    The Critic Resident Critic

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    I would just buy the lowest mileage one you can afford. If you are only planning to keep the car to 175K, there is a very good chance that you will get there without issues.

    With that said, for what a 100-150k mi old Prius costs, you may be better off with other options.
     
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  9. kevifsu92

    kevifsu92 Junior Member

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    I just got a 2015 Persona a week ago and there are signs of mice having been there. A little bit of pee stains on the engine cover and droppings and the cabin air filter that I changed out.

    Where exactly should we look for damage? I'm not too familiar with the inner workings of the car yet

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  10. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    The 2014 had revised pistons only, 2015 the rings as well. I worked this up from info at McGeorge Toyota Parts site:

    upload_2019-9-15_9-55-57.png
     
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  11. Chrisgen1

    Chrisgen1 Member

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    Mine showed signs in the cabin... up the passenger side pillar by the dash. IT was internal and it had a bad smell that was masked up by the dealer. Also the dome light did not work. Had the dealer try and diagnose it but they wanted 800 just to drop the headliner. I also had a radio that would not pick up any stations consistently,. The antenna wires are up there too. Apparently its the soy based insulation that they go after.

    An Independent mechanic that I trust took the car apart and found a bunch of chewed wires in the pillar and airbag wires chewed. he also found signs of pee all over the blower motor. I had him clean it up and disinfect it. He made me aware that Honda makes a special tape that will prevent them from coming back. It has a chemical in it that acts like hot peppers. if you discover rodent damage, either repair it and use this tape in order to keep them away.

    Needless to say its someone else issue now that it was traded back to the dealer that I bought it from for a 2020 prius prime.

    I am sorry but I was not going to chase down electrical gremlins on a car with 55k on it
     
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  12. 2012 Prius v wagon 3

    2012 Prius v wagon 3 Active Member

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    If you really think there is a possibility of a head gasket issue, this tool:


    or others like it will let you do a pretty quick and definitive test for combustion gases in the coolant, which would indicate a head gasket leak (or head / block crack or similarly huge issue to avoid). That is not a car-specific tool. Works on anything that uses coolant to cool the block and heads.
     
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  13. 2012 Prius v wagon 3

    2012 Prius v wagon 3 Active Member

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    It looks like since I'm so new here, the URL I posted above is still not showing a day later.

    The tool I'm talking about is the
    Lisle 75500 Combustion Leak Detector

    Available at Amazon, etc. Also called a "block tester," although it tests for problems in the head, head gasket, and block that allow combustion gases from the cylinder to enter the cooling system.

    Other brands, etc. of course. Some of them, like that Lisle one, have a hose you hook up to a vacuum source somewhere so it holds a low pressure over the test liquid, sucking vapors through. Other ones have a hand pump that you have to pump continuously to maintain the vacuum. Since it may need several (like 10) minutes to get a reliable reading, the vacuum hose type may be more reliable.

    Some auto parts stores like PepBoys will rent those, but without the fluid, so you have to buy the fluid, and rent the tool (free rental).
     
  14. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    Just for the record, combustion gas getting into the coolant is one way a head gasket can fail, and the block tester will check for this, but there are maybe 7 ways in total the head gasket can fail, leakage between the various systems. Just combustion gas leakage between adjacent cylinders, for example.

    So the block tester might discover the problem, but if the car passes the block tester test, doesn't necessarily mean the head gasket is fine.

    Maybe leak-down test covers most of the ways a head gasket can fail?
     
  15. 2012 Prius v wagon 3

    2012 Prius v wagon 3 Active Member

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    Yes, good info. Passing this tool's test would rule out the HG from being the root cause in any cooling system issue. But passing this test does not rule out anything wrong with the HG.

    Leak-down test would be a deeper test. Considering how difficult that would be to do on these engines due to the spark plug accessibility, it may not be so practical for a pre-purchase inspection. Also, I think if there were inter-cylinder leaking, or some other HG issues, you'd get running issues, error codes, misfires, etc.

    But the cylinder-to-cooling-system leakage is easier to fly under the radar. The car may run PERFECTLY in this case. No codes, no noticeable engine issues. Just some mysterious coolant overflow ... not sure what that is ... you can just keep putting some more coolant in ... maybe it needs a new radiator cap ... please buy my car now ...

    The "block tester" above will very easily check for that issue.

    So if there are no noticeable engine issues, no codes, and this test passes, that's a good indicator of no HG problem, short of doing compression and leakdown tests.
     
    #15 2012 Prius v wagon 3, Sep 26, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2019
  16. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    Yeah, good points. I'm guilty of not rereading the OP's first post, this is car shopping checks. :oops:
     
  17. deletejunkemail

    deletejunkemail Junior Member

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    Wow this is great info!

    I appreciate everyone's posts, especially about the maintenance and things to look for and the horrible engine issues you CAN'T really find when checking out a potential car to buy fairly easily.

    Luckily its a number's game of when a major repair happens and always keep in mind to set aside funds to potentially replace an engine.
     
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