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maintanance before long, remote road trip on Alcan highway

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by janb, Mar 5, 2016.

  1. janb

    janb Junior Member

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    I'm planning to drive my 2005 Prius with 175k miles from Bozeman Montana to Anchorage Alaska on the Alcan highway in late April, and I want to make sure I take care of any needed maintenance now, where I have access mechanics. I want to minimize my chance of having any trouble miles from anywhere in Yukon territory!

    I bought my prius with 145k miles from a mechanic/dealer specializing in hybrids, so it had been thouroughly checked over and fixed up before I bought it. Since then, I have not had to do any major repairs. The car has been very reliable, but is starting to show it's age (mileage is closer to 45mph, runs a little loud).

    - what parts/maintenance tasks should I make sure get checked and attended to for a Prius this age, and considering I will be driving through places FAR from any repair shops?

    - should I take it to the Toyota dealer, or try to find an independent shop that does well with hybrids? And how would I even go about finding a good independent shop? In the past I've had repairs take longer/be more expensive than necessary cause a mechanic was not really familiar with hybrids and I would want to avoid that.

    - I have a chilton's manual, so I'm open to advice on what things I can save money on by checking myself and what things I should let a shop handle. I'm fine doing basic things like fluid changes and 12V battery changes but don't know enough about cars to tackle serious repairs.

    I already know that I should get a full sized spare tire and air compressor.
     
  2. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    1. Check/replace the engine and cabin air filters.
    2. Evaluate the condition of the tires and windshield wiper blades and replace if needed. If the tires have less than 6/32" tread, replace now as a preventive move.
    3. Replace the PCV valve and serpentine drive belt.
    4. Evaluate the engine coolant pump and replace if the pump bearing is leaking.
    5. When was the inverter coolant pump last replaced? If more than 80K miles ago, replace it again now.
    6. Replace the engine coolant, inverter coolant, and transaxle ATF.
    7. Replace the engine oil/oil filter.
    8. Evaluate the suspension, brake system and exhaust system and repair as needed.
    9. Buy a box of the correct-sized fuses from your local Toyota dealer and keep it in the glove compartment. 5A, 10A, 20A ratings. The fuses are a mini size which may not be available at a discount auto parts store.

    Do all of this work at least one month ahead of your departure so that you have a chance to drive the car around and make sure no problems were introduced by the repairs.

    If the potential independent servicer is not a hybrid specialist, I would not use its services. Problems could be introduced into the braking system, the engine and inverter cooling systems,
     
  3. exstudent

    exstudent Senior Member

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    A cheap torque wrench and a 21 hex socket for the tire lug nut. This will be for the spare.

    A tire plug kit.

    If the HV battery is the original, be prepared for it to possibly go bad on your trip.
     
  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    what happen to the guy you bought it from? a 12 year old car with 177,000 is not the best choice for a wilderness trip. all the best!(y)
     
  5. valde3

    valde3 Senior Member

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    Also check the 12V battery and maybe even have small jumper pack with you to be sure.
     
  6. janb

    janb Junior Member

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    Thank you all for the suggestions. I will make sure I buy the recommended fuses and repair items, and take Patrick Wong's helpful list with me when I take it in to get looked at. It will probably be going to the Toyota dealer, I doubt we have any independent shops here that specialize in hybrids. I already have a quality lugnut wrench that is long enough to give me the leverage needed to change tires.

    Bisco, I am aware that there are risks to taking long road trips in old cars, but I've done them in cars in much worse condition (my rusted out Nissan Sentra made it cross country five times, and one of my work vehicles we frequently take into remote places is an '89 suburban with numerous minor issues). A newer car is just not in my budget now, and given what I know of my Prius's condition and the road conditions I will encounter the risks are acceptable to me.
     
  7. jdenenberg

    jdenenberg EE Professor

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    Hey, I would take the trip with my 2004 Prius and it has 285k miles (barely broken in).

    Jeffd
     
  8. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    If me I would check the oil every morning before start up. This will show you the true level. Your car at this age & miles is undoubtedly eating oil and will consume alot of oil running 10 hours a day. You'll never know the oil is low till the oil pressure light comes on and then its too late. Motor is toast.
    Keep the oil at the full line everyday. Run Mobil 1 5-30. You can buy 5 quart jug at Walmart for $24 and the OEM oil filter at the dealer for $4 each. Buy 4 filters.

    I would buy a AAA membership. Its only $66. Lots of cool trip tics and roadside assistance.

    Since your in Bozeman you probably are already aware that big hills are not the cars strong point. Take it easy going up big hills with loaded car. Make sure Hybrid Battery is full. If the hybrid battery becomes flagged going up big hill pull over and give the car a rest and let it charge up. Always be aware of burning smell. Going down use B mode. Don't burn the battery up its probably the oem hybrid battery and super long hard roadtrip will reveal its age if not driven properly. Along those lines bring the car's title.

    Try to pick up a Scan Gauge X Gauge. It will read all the engine parameters and read all Hybrid Codes. Good Luck and pictures please.
     
  9. janb

    janb Junior Member

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    edthefox5, thanks for the advice on topping off oil and hills, I will attend to that.

    I am not going to buy the AAA basic membership. At that level towing is limited to 7 miles which is often not enough where I live now, let alone where I'm going. I might purchase a plus or premium membership, which ups towing to 100 or 200 miles, but I will need to look into whether they AAA/CAA has participating service providers along my route.
     
  10. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Excellent. Good Luck. Watch out for Tony Beets!