Best Shop Near Bremerton/Tacoma

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by Organfreak, Feb 22, 2020.

  1. Organfreak

    Organfreak Junior Member

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    I'm only posting in this forum because it has the most users/posts. I just acquired a beautifully maintained 2008 Type 2, and I live equidistant between Titus-Will Toyota in Tacoma and Heartland Toyota in Bremerton, WA. It's a complete tossup as to which one I should use for ongoing maintenance. Have heard good and bad about both shops and Yelp is no help: they don't distinguish much between repair and sales. I've never asked this on any forum before, but tell me where to go!
     
  2. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Congrats on your new ride... Car dealerships are warranty repair specialists... And because Toyota pays for warranty repairs, the dealership are also specialists in making them as expensive as possible, which Toyota then negotiates with the Dealership based on all their many transactions. And much like the difference between a person paying out of pocket for an emergency room visit vs. their health care provider negotiating for their own prices, the out of pocket payee is robbed.

    If you were to take your 15 year-old Prius into a dealership with the most minor of warning light related to Hybrid battery, for example the known problem of corrosion in the hybrid battery cooling fan circuit. The dealership would tell you whole system needs to be replaced and offer you an estimate that's more than the price you paid for it and then try to sell you a finance package for a newer car. That's why we call them Stealerships...

    Whereas, I live a 1/2 hour south of you and myself and two of my hybrid mechanic friends that work on old Prius & Insight cars together would do the diagnosis and repair and have you back on the road in less than a 1/2 hour or $20 because we don't have a shop and employees / overhead so we can charge $40 an hour.

    Or, alternatively find a local mechanic that you trust who specializes in making the least expensive repair because customer loyalty is more important to them than overcharging.

    If you do a search on here you'll find endless stories of people giving up on their Prius after going to a dealership to get something fixed because they found out it's too expensive. Then we help them fix it for a way lower price... Happens all the time...

    I warn people constantly, dealerships are for warranty repairs, free maintenance and recalls. They aren't in the old car repair business and they're only required to have one hybrid mechanic per dealership so quite often the person working on you car will have no hybrid training or certification.

    As for your vehicle there's a bunch of preventative maintenance work you can do if you'd like to learn more, let us know or do a search on the subject.
     
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  3. Organfreak

    Organfreak Junior Member

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    II
    Thanks for this wealth of wise advice! I knew I should stay way from the dealers but I haven't yet found the local person who fits the bill. One shop here on Key Peninsula will work on anything Prius as long as its not electric. (!!!)
    Another shop nearby, since OOB, replaced this car's (before I bought it) Front Header/Cat Converter for around $700, dealer quoted $2,500.
    Yeah, I have watched a lotta videos, but I'm a lousy mechanic and getting arthritis; don't care to do anything very difficult. I'll hang around here and read lot more posts, thanx.
    Correction: this car is only 12 y/o, not fifteen, haven't figured-out yet how to change the "2005" on my profile (Didn't buy that car, thanks to advice I got here.)
     
  4. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    I'm on here at least briefly every day and I'm in Olympia, so not far from you. So if you have any problems, let me know? I also have loaner hybrid battery packs and only takes an hour to swap one out.
     
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  5. Organfreak

    Organfreak Junior Member

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    Very nice of you to offer, "Campy" (sorry, I don't know your name). I'm actually 60 miles by road from Oly, but only 8 by water! The batteries seem OK for now, but that is something I'm worried about, having gone about 180000 miles. I'm gonna run a test I found here to judge the condition of the batteries. I'm suspicious of them b/c of the mileage I'm getting so far, and yes, have read many threads on getting better mileage.
     
  6. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Almost everything you want to know about your hybrid battery pick is here: Frequently Asked Questions; Hybrid Automotive
     
  7. Organfreak

    Organfreak Junior Member

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    Thank you much. It appears that I am in his first stage of battery deterioration, with sluggish acceleration and the car's refusal to stay in EV mode for very long. The seller actually admitted that to me. So, you recommend that product, evidently? Would I need the full monty, for $700+?

    I read in another thread here that, of the three options available for replacement batteries, only one brand was recommended. Have forgotten which brand for now, but will find it again when I need it. The other battery test I saw involved measuring MPG while on 3-4 mile of straightaway, which is something hard to come by in my neighborhood.
     
  8. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    I'd recommend buying a wiring harness for $150 from the Hybrid Automotive. The charger and discharger are more expensive and can be found used on Ebay at times. We have a charger that we share with each other, so we could also share it with you too... It's a great tool to have in the tool belt... Sometimes when a pack goes bad, especially from sitting unused for a long time you can simply charge and balance with Prolong, which is essentially a high voltage trickle-charger... Of course if you get a bad 8v module then you want to pull pack and do a full diagnosis of each individual module which requires a RC type charger. Such as IMAX SKYRC V2 charger
     
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  9. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    I don't know if I always agree with the default idea that dealership service is inherently evil.
    It's usually not the cheapest route. And I think the idea that in some specific cases, they will tend to go the replace the WHOLE system route as opposed to looking at other options. -But then that's what second opinion are for.
    BUT...I think it really depends on what you are looking to be done, or what problems you are having, or lack of problems.

    An independent can be cheaper, can be better, but also? Sometimes not. You need to find one you can have confidence in, and whether that is a Toyota Dealership or a independent shop, the challenge in finding that is the same.

    IMO, whether we are talking dealership or independent I would seek someone or someplace willing and knowledgeable about Hybrids/Prius as a WHOLE.
    I don't like someone saying their willing to ONLY work on the Non-Hybrid aspects of a Prius. You own a hybrid, IMO there is just too much integration between systems.
    Even stories of simple Oil Changes going awry because the technician/mechanic was unfamiliar with how to shut off a Prius, and the engine suddenly starting up while the oil was drained.

    So I'm not really championing either independent or dealership, but I am championing someone or some place that is knowledgeable as a WHOLE on dealing with Prius and Hybrids.
     
    Mendel Leisk likes this.
  10. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk 'Orrible Oracle

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  11. Organfreak

    Organfreak Junior Member

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    2008 Prius
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    II
    Maybe this car is OK! I drove home from Gig Harbor last night with headlights, radio and cabin fan on, paying close attention to the indicators. Got 47 MPG over hill-and-dale, that is, about 17 miles on hilly 50 MPH highway, and then 4 miles of very hilly country roads. Perhaps I need to just relax and drive?
     
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  12. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    Do you own more than one Prius?
    Your profile say's 2005? But we seem to be speaking about a 2008?

    In any case, as either an owner of 15 years old, or 12 years old, Prius, even if it appears to be working, I would place value on determining before it's immediately needed a technician, repair shop that you feel confident in.
    In that age range, needing repair is simply a matter of time.

    Research, conversations with the various candidates, gut feeling, and perhaps testing how you feel about the service with easier operations such as Oil Changes, hopefully can lead you to connecting with repair and maintenance option you are comfortable with.
    Sometimes unfortunately, it can be a process of discovering what you absolutely do NOT like as an option. But it's a lot nicer and easier to go through this process when your vehicle is more or less working correctly as opposed to when it is not working and undeniably in need of extensive repair.
     
  13. Organfreak

    Organfreak Junior Member

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    Location:
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    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
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    II
    I registered here as a 2005 owner when I was planning to buy the car from a devious dealer. After consulting this forum, I changed my mind and bought the 2008, I thought I had changed the year of the car in my profile, but the change didn't take. I guess I need moderator help to effect the change. [edit] Looks like my change went thru this time 2008
    I did find a shop 30 miles from me which claims to do battery replacements on these cars., and they charge $2100 for the new Toyota battery. I will take your advice and try them for less drastic repairs and see how it goes. Thanks!
     
    #13 Organfreak, Feb 26, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2020
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