Dealer recommended service after 30k checkup

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by TryingToLearn, Sep 21, 2014.

  1. TryingToLearn

    TryingToLearn Junior Member

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    I am coming here as a matter of desperation. Hoping to find a third party with no vested interest in my car or making money. I have grown so incredibly distrustful of dealers and car maintenance people. Most of it stems purely from the fact that I have no way to confirm the veracity of their recommendations. I have little to no technical knowledge of cars.

    After taking my Prius for a 30k checkup (has 31k miles at the moment), my service rep said the mechanic did a vehicle inspection, and said it had the following problems:

    REC INTAKE MANIFOLD SERVICE OIL BUILT UP - 389.85
    WATER PUMP STARTING TO LEAK - 599.99
    BRAKE SYSTEM FLUID EXCHANGE- 159.99

    I was so livid as the rep read me the prices that I could barely stick around to hear the explanations, as I was also in a rush to an appointment.

    Is there any light that can be shed on these issues and their severity? I realize this may be vague as the terminology might be descriptive only to this particular dealership.
     
  2. Okinawa

    Okinawa Senior Member

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    Just my opinion only. I would be concerned about the water pump leak and nothing else. Watch your coolant level and observe if it is going down. Look for coolant leaks under the car.
     
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  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    welcome to priuschat! a car that old with so little use could develop certain problems i suppose. my daughter has my old '08 with 90,000 miles now and none of those services/repairs have been needed. i think you made the right decision. if it's running fine, i would try to find a triple a mechanic to get a second opinion. in any case, those prices seem way too high. all the best!(y)
     
  4. writes123

    writes123 Junior Member

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    for the issue #1 read Intake Manifold Service at 60k? | PriusChat
    simple and cheap

    for issue #2. there was an inverter pump recall, so make sure your car is up to date on recall work. if the engine pump, read: How to replace engine coolant pump and thermostat | PriusChat
    a little bit more work but doable

    for issue #3, it mostly recommended due to the age of the brake fluid. a simple cheap method would be to use a turkey baster type tool and remove old fluid from brake fluid reservoir and replace it with new Toyota OEM DOT3 fluid which costs $8-11 per bottle. 1 bottle should be sufficient. a real flush would require a techstream device (purchase over ebay/amazon) or a mechanic with techstream (either independent or Toyota).
    super simple

    also I would recommend a complete fluid change, especially the transaxle fluid (as easy as an oil change). i would argue to replace the coolant as well, both inverter and engine, due to the coolant's age (not mileage in your case).

    if additional help is needed, i might be able to provide some advice or help as I travel to the West Hollywood area on occasion.
     
    #4 writes123, Sep 21, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2014
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  5. writes123

    writes123 Junior Member

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    additionally, the brake fluid EXCHANGE is key, the dealer would only remove the reservoir fluid and replace it with fresh fluid. they wouldn't use the techstream device to bleed out the fluid in the lines. this is a definite DIY procedure of a max 15 dollars.
     
  6. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    ^ I doubt the dealership would only be replacing fluid in the reservoir. Very much more likely: they'll use techstream, and do it properly. The charge they quoted is a little high, but maybe 'cause it's more complicated, inflation etc.
     
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  7. writes123

    writes123 Junior Member

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    severity wise, issue #2 is more important due to coolant and engine overheating possibility.

    issue 1 would affect your mpg's and a simple 15-30 minute cleaning and replacement procedure.

    issue 3 is definite preventative maintenance a simple 5 minute procedure.
    as noted, a transaxle fluid service is a great preventative maintenance procedure as well. a 30-45 minute procedure.
     
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  8. writes123

    writes123 Junior Member

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    a key way to find out would be to see how much dot 3 fluid is used. it'd take more than 1 small bottle to do a service with techstream vs a simple "drain and fill".

    also, asking the service dept what they do is also good to know. provided they are honest.

    i remember an ericthecarguy episode on brake fluids stating that many of his old dealership service teammates would do a simple suction and fill as their brake fluid procedure.

    a better description of a complete service would be to not use EXCHANGE but FLUSH or BLEED of the brake system. exchange is a swap in its most basic definition.

    from the way they are quoting, i'd be leaning towards a turkey baster approach from service dept when seeing that a MAF, TB, air filter cleaning and replacement runs 390!
     
  9. exstudent

    exstudent Senior Member

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    If yes to either, you can do the 3 jobs yourself, w/ the right tools, patience, and through research on procedure.
    This is the EASIEST DIY procedure of the three you listed. There may genuinely be some buildup (little to a lot), but you can take care of it yourself.
    Simplified steps:
    1) Remove the Air Cleaner off the throttle assembly. HIGHLY Recommended so the MAF sensor doesn't get damaged from carb/throttle body cleaner.
    2) Clean the throttle plate and shaft.
    Use a clean rag that sheds no-to-little lint as possible (ie, old 100% cotton t-shirt, cut into pieces) and a long chopstick or screwdriver (runs the risk of scratching the inside if not careful). Some people use an old or new toothbrush, or pipe cleaner; your choice. One rag can stay at the bottom to absorb any excess carb/throttle body spray. If you use too much, just keep soaking up the excess, until all gone. Soak another rag w/ carb spray to wipe the actual throttle plate and cylindrical walls with the chopstick or screwdriver.​
    3) Clean MAF sensor.
    4) Reattach Air Cleaner.

    READ these links to understand more.
    ICE throttle plate cleaning | PriusChat
    TB cleaning
    Cleaning Prius Throttle

    WATER PUMP STARTING TO LEAK - 599.99
    Does your water pump look like this? LINK. Or do you see a line of white/pinkish dried fluid on the insulation of the hood? If so, then the water pump needs to get changed, ASAP. Even if its a very slight build-up of pink crust at the water pump, you can wait a little bit, but not too long. The pump is totally doable, just a little bit more involved compared to the throttle body cleaning.

    Many links on how people here have changed out their water pump.

    BRAKE SYSTEM FLUID EXCHANGE- 159.99
    You would want to get miniVCI cable to do this; buy the cheapest cable on Amazon cause you can find the latest Techstream version. You will also need a laptop w/ running Windows XP-32bit or Windows 7-32bit. Supposedly a Mac can emulate a 32bit XP or 7. Someone has found a traditional way to flush this brakes, but painful to read how he did it. Save yourself the pain. Get mini VCI cable.

    • $160 sounds like one hour labor w/ a GALLON of Dot 3 Brake Fluid.
    • Why would you want to take out so little of the old fluid, leaving a ton of the old fluid behind (wheel cylinders all the way back to the reservoir now containing new brake fluid)? Prius has almost 1 gal of brake fluid in it! LINK

    All brake fluid absorbs moisture, that's why it is recommended to be replaced at certain intervals. The Prius is very easy on the brakes b/c of the regenerative braking system. I was surprised how clean looking the fluid was when I did a complete flush of original brake fluid at all four cylinders (7 years old, 127k miles).

    Art's Automotive, makes a compelling reason to flush your brakes. Read: LINK
    "Oddly, Lexus (Toyota in a suit) *does* recommend flushing the brake fluid every 30K on their RX400h, which has a nearly identical brake system. Go figure."​

    Hobbit's brake fluid at 100k miles looked like mine. However, he used a copper test strip vs a moisture strip. I'm sure his brakes are still fine. LINK
     
  10. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Probably because Lexus competes with luxury European brands such as BMW and Mercedes, and those brands typically recommend frequent brake fluid changes because their owners are used to driving at high speeds and utilizing the brake system to its full potential.

    I own a Highlander Hybrid which is basically the same as the RX400h with different sheet metal, and there is no requirement in the maintenance schedule to replace the brake fluid at any point.

    Considering the OP's vehicle has only logged 30K miles, I suggest that s/he inspect the engine coolant pump for a leak, and check the fluid level in the radiator (not just the overflow tank.) If no leak is found then don't worry. The other recommended services are not necessary.
     
  11. rposton

    rposton Member

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    Problem: Engine Check Light.
    Seems to come on soon after car start when the weather is less than 70 deg F. If it comes on, it stays on, regardless of how warm the day gets, till the weather generally is above 70 deg. F.
    Dealer says: I don't remember the P code, but dealer says my thermos bottle needs to be replaced. Something about a sensor problem in it.

    My Question: Price is $1500 or thereabouts. Service writer responds, "you do have some miles on your car." Anyway, my question, there is no coolant leak. Everything else seems normal. Is it possible that there is an Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor that could be the problem and could be replace or does the whole thermos bottle need to be replaced like the service writer said?

    I have already searched this forum, and don't see any other comments on this subject.

    2006, has 427K miles on it.
    Reading other posts in this forum, it still has the original everything, including 12v battery, with the exception of headlights (HID), tail light bulbs, and the SB was performed on the converter water pump - I could not even guess how many miles ago - and I had to change the Catalytic Converter, earlier this year. And I am still running with the original plastic rings around the rims, even though I have read many comments from Prius owners that they removed theirs because they thought they were ugly.
     
  12. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Without knowing the DTC code I would not contradict the advice provided from your dealer. However even if the coolant heat recovery system canister is not keeping the engine coolant hot, as long as there is no coolant leak then you can ignore the issue indefinitely.

    The only problem with ignoring the fault, is that if another engine ECU DTC code is logged you won't know since the Check Engine light will remain on.

    If you invest in Mini VCI then you can retrieve the DTC from time to time to assure yourself that no new problems have occurred. You are basically doing a lot right if your car has logged 427K miles and remains operational.
     
  13. rposton

    rposton Member

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    Read your question, I am not a Toyota mechanic, and I have over 400k miles with my Prius.

    Basically, with a Prius, ask these questions for my experience with the dealer is that they have ideas which won't hurt your car, but will separate you from alot of money - unnecessarily.

    When you drive down the road, does the car feel reasonably smooth? Any strange noises? How is the mpg? If the mpg is about what is expected, and there are no trouble lights on the instrument cluster, many things are working fine. How about if you release the steering wheel for a second? Does the car continue to go reasonably straight?

    Ok, if yes to all the above paragraph, then;
    0 - 100k miles: generally an oil and filter change and tire rotation every 5k miles. Air filter every 10k miles. Do the cabin filter yourself - it is very, very easy. Replace tires and lights as needed.
    Costs me like $60 each time, excluding tires and lights.

    At every 100k mile interval;
    Oil and Oil filter and rotate tires.
    Replace engine and inverter coolant.
    Replace the 4 spark plugs.
    Do the "Brake System Fluid Eschange".
    I have the dealer do this, and they have been charging about $700 each time.

    Now to comment on each of your items:
    >REC INTAKE MANIFOLD SERVICE OIL BUILT UP - 389.85
    Probably from somebody adding oil to the Full mark or a little above. Just drive it, it will go away.

    >WATER PUMP STARTING TO LEAK - 599.99
    Yes, had that happen to me. I thought there was a service bulletin on it. Maybe that was the one for the inverter, and I had to pay for the other one. I can't remember now. If so, yes you need to have that done. I think somebody linked to a service bulletin in a reply before this one.

    >BRAKE SYSTEM FLUID EXCHANGE- 159.99
    Hmm.. Where do you live? The question is about water condensation. Tell you what. Look at your brake fluid. If it is a dark brown and moss is starting to grow inside the reservoir, then yes, it needs to be done. If it is clear and the inside of the reservoir is clean enough you can easily see in it like a new car - after you wipe off the dirt, then no, wait till you reach 100k miles.

    And I know how you feel. I go in and show them my owners manual, and they press a button and printout out a suggested maintenance thing that includes Transmission and Differential service, that looks like it should be for some other type of vehicle. They say do all these things at every 30k miles, my owners manual says do some of them at every 100k miles, and I do not have a transmission or differential to service.
     
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  14. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i think you can pick up a thermos bottle at salvage yard or ebay for cheap.
     
  15. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    are you saying you've never changed the tranny fluid?
     
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  16. rposton

    rposton Member

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    Patrick
    Thanks for the reply.

    Yes, I wish I had that DTC code. When I can get it, I shall be back to ask again.

    We have MARTA (Precondition for getting your plates renewed is that your vehicle pass emission inspection. A check engine light will fail a vehicle before any other checks are made.)
    My month for tag renewal and MARTA is Jan. And I live in Nashville, TN.

    I will admit haveing thoughts on how to beat the system, trying to get a friend to allow me to park the car in their heated garage before the MARTA check.
     
  17. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    It won't be easy to find a used unit because that is usually destroyed in any front-end collision.
     
  18. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    thanks patrick, sorry for the bad info.
     
  19. rposton

    rposton Member

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    Your funny :)

    The most expensive repair to date has been the $2k catalytic converter. 2nd to that, were those HID headlights.
     
  20. writes123

    writes123 Junior Member

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    Well, I serviced and swapped out some Toyota WS fluid from a transaxle on my Prius. Interesting how your Prius doesn't "have a transmission" to service. Must be specially built to operate without a transmission. Very cool.
     
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