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Mechanics not recommending major maintenance?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by catcatcat, Mar 26, 2022.

  1. catcatcat

    catcatcat New Member

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    Hi all,

    Please be kind. I am not a mechanic.

    My mechanic in socal is a former Toyota Certified Master mechanic, nicest guy in the world and his tiny shop has hundreds of five star reviews. I took my car in at 100k miles for an oil change and to ask about maintenance and he was convinced that due to LA's temperate and dry conditions I wouldn't need anything until 150k. At around 120k I had to take my car to him again (for non-milestone oil changes I visit PepBoys), this time to get ABS replaced. He reassured me everything looked fine, told me again to come back at 150k. I had a road trip coming up at 145k but he couldn't fit me in, so to PepBoys I went for an oil change. I topped off my own fluids before leaving and I'm across the country now. To my mechanic's credit, my car has been running pretty much as expected, aside from unspectacular MPG (I don't really break 40mpg avg).

    Now I am in the southeast and at 154k. I brought my car to a local hybrid specialist (with Toyota in the name) also with hundreds of five star reviews, for an oil change and to check on some new but subtle sounds I am hearing. I also let them know that the car has not had milestone maintenance and is probably due for the ~100-150k?? services. (For example, I bought the car used at 70k miles and as far as I know the spark plugs are still the OG plugs.) This mechanic seemed completely unfazed by the fact that the car has not had a major maintenance and the plugs are likely original, reassured me that the sounds are just because the car is old, and sent me on my way.

    With every other car I've had, mechanics have been-- if anything-- overzealous about performing maintenance. I'm getting very nervous about the fact that my car has not really had any milestone maintenance beyond oil changes and fluid added in 80k+ miles. I don't want to suddenly break down, nor do I want to compromise the longevity of the car. Thoughts? Is there anything I should do right now? Anything I should look out for? I'm sure maintenance schedules are conservative but 50k+ miles conservative seems absurd.
     
  2. Tombukt2

    Tombukt2 Senior Member

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    Generation 2 like a tank 04 to 09 gen3 to me not so much . My Gen2 boring till 230 ish hybrid battery new. Up to that tires a 12V an I pod adapter. Oil. Nothing . I changed CVT fluid but left brake alone looks clear and clean left inverter fluid and put in one inverter pump all cheap stuff to do. I generally leave mine unlocked so that any person on the street can just try the door and if they need a place to sit or whatever they don't have to destroy the car to do it and usually I'm right where I can see it all the time on service calls or it's at my house in the country so no broken door locks or smashed windows or any of that kind of stuff
     
  3. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    I'm not sure why a mechanic in Los Angeles would advise you not to do anything until 150k miles. Although the car is really reliable, it would need services.

    Like the following
    120k - spark plugs, PCV valve
    100k - coolant changes (every 50k afterwards)
    100k - at least 1 time transaxle fluid change
    100k - EGR cooler and circuit cleaning/intake manifold cleaning
    Also check filters

    I'm wondering why you replaced the ABS unit (should be over $2000) and skipped all those services. It was open heart surgery at that point.
     
  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    service schedules are arbitrary, i can understand his point of view. but for my own peace of mind, if i'm hanging on to a car, i follow the booklet that came with the car. see jc's recs above.
    how many miles until you're home?
     
  5. catcatcat

    catcatcat New Member

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    Thank you both for your responses, and for being so neutral.

    Re: 150k rec, I'm not sure either, to be completely honest. Something about since it's flat and temperate with no rain, things don't wear down as much. (I also don't feel confident enough about my knowledge of the car + maintenance to argue with any of the mechanics which is why I'm only now getting antsy). The ABS (actuator? pump? something) was $1600 and my car was starting to show signs of major failures and misbehaviors as a result-- reduced braking being the most alarming. The pump was going about every 10 seconds, so that's what he recommended at the time in addition to new brake pads, again insisting that all of my other maintenance could wait. (Replacing the ABS did fix all of the problems I was having previously.) Maybe he thought the ABS was a big expense so might as well wait for the rest? I didn't give him any indication that money was tight.

    The spark plugs have been an ongoing question for me (which I ask about every time). He did indicate that he intended to do those plus a couple of other things (likely on your list) at 145k but he didn't have time before I had to leave. That's part of why I felt like I needed to ask-- I mentioned trans fluid change to the mechanics here in the southeast and they essentially shrugged and said, "You could." That was way too flippant for me and I started to get suspicious.

    Luckily, I found that hybrid specialist here with good reviews, so I can really do the maintenance at any time. (I figure before a long haul is better than after.) I definitely plan on hanging onto this car so I will call them tomorrow and ask about the services JC mentioned. Otherwise I'd probably be around 3k mi. away from getting back to my socal guy. As I mentioned in the original post, I'm starting to hear some subtle but definitely new noises... from my googling it sounds like they may be symptoms of end-of-life spark plugs.

    Thank you guys again.
     
    bisco likes this.
  6. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Patron saint of newly poured sidewalks

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    Ok, it's your car, not the various "master mechanics". Some ideas:

    Change both coolant circuits, they're overdue: (in the States) it's engine coolant at 100k miles (or 10 years), and inverter coolant at 150k miles (or 15 years).

    Do a brake inspection, it's WAY overdue: Toyota USA recommends tri-yearly or 30k miles

    Consider a brake fluid change: Toyota USA says squat on the subject, but Toyota Canada says tri-yearly or 48k kms (30k miles)

    Consider a transaxle fluid change: Toyota USA (and Canada) say squat, but it's worthwhile. ONLY use Toyota ATF WS, from newly opened bottles, and replace the fill/drain bolt washers.

    Clean the Exhaust Gas Recirculation components, AND the EGR passages in the intake manifold. Consider an oil catch can install too. At 150K, you're getting very close to head gasket failure, without the EGR cleaning.

    More info on much of the above in my signature.

    No offense, but you seem very vague as to specifics of required maintenance. The US maintenance schedule is event-by-event, which doesn't help. Attached is a spreadsheet summary of the US schedule I cobbled.
     

    Attached Files:

    bisco likes this.
  7. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Sounds like your problem is you've done the rarest of rare and found two mechanics in a row that are actually honest and intelligent and are correct in saying replacing plugs, throttle body and sensor cleaning is no rush. So much different than all the swindle-driven mechanics that dominate the industry.
     
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  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    spark plugs are the last thing that need attention on a prius. most people who pull them at 120k say they look fine.
    if the egr circuit hasn't been cleaned though...
     
    Mendel Leisk and mjoo like this.
  9. catcatcat

    catcatcat New Member

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    Hi Mendel,

    Thank you for this detailed response, and for the much clearer maintenance spreadsheet. I've completed all "general" maintenance items (oil, filters, brakes, rotations/tires, topping off fluids) and am only referring to "major maintenance" items (replacing plugs, changing fluids, etc.) when I talk about what I've pestered the mechanics about, and I know nothing about EGR/things not on the schedule. The schedule I received originally delineated between "minor" and "major" maintenance items and was rather simple, the latter including spark plugs, replacing transmission fluid, etc. Maybe this maintenance schedule is from my dealer and not Toyota itself.

    I had a thorough inspection done for brakes when I replaced the ABS & brake pads, but I'm unsure about replacement of brake fluid. I'll have to check with my LA mechanic.

    I watched the videos from Nuts about Bolts re: EGR... I would certainly like to avoid a blown head gasket. (Would cleaning EGR resolve this risk? Or just reduce it?) Given I am due to completely replace the coolants as well, would it be unreasonable to drain coolant, complete EGR cleaning, and then replace coolant afterward? (I know that might seem like a ridiculous question, but like I said I am not a mechanic so I would not want to make any assumptions at all.)

    Thank you again for your response and links; I am reading through all of it.

    - C
     
    Mendel Leisk likes this.
  10. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Patron saint of newly poured sidewalks

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    Yeah I’d clean the Exhaust Gas Recirculation as soon as possible; in conjunction with change of engine coolant change is good.
     
    catcatcat likes this.
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