My girl is DEAD! HELP!

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by Deepwatertree, Oct 13, 2017.

  1. Deepwatertree

    Deepwatertree Junior Member

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    OKay, I need some help from all of you experts out there. I have never been a car guy, and I don't know much about fixing things, but here is my situation.

    I have had my 2010 3rd Gen for a little over 2 years. I use her for work (Uber), and after putting over 50K miles on her since I bought her at 140K, she's starting to act up.

    It all started last week, when my tire pressure light came on. In my ignorance, and not knowing that it was the tire pressure light, I checked my oil first to see what was up...it was bone dry...at less than 9,000 miles since my last change (I have NEVER had to top off my oil before an oil change before). I took her over to O'Reilys to have them run a diagnostic, and to get a quart of synthetic. The read came back with a couple of hits on the spark plugs, and that one of my coolant reservoirs was low (even though it's right at the fill line, there is still at least a gallon of fluid in the damn thing). So I have been driving this past week, busy as hell, knowing that I need to probably change my plugs, and hoping I would have the time this week to do it.

    I got home at 3am today, and she was running fine. I went out at 3pm to go work, and she wouldn't start. She powers up, the radio works, windows, blower, etc, yet, most of my dash lights are all on, and I keep getting the "check hybrid system" notification. Also, my power button glows orange, instead of green. Everything powers on, but the engine won't kick in.

    I called AAA to come out to my apartment to see if they can see what's up. He checked the 12V, and it's fine. He inflated my tires, and the engine still won't come on (I thought maybe because the tires were low, it would trigger the computer to not engage the engine). He tried jumping her, but to no avail.

    Now, my questions are:

    1. If the spark plugs are that far gone, would it just stop overnight, and keep the engine from turning over?

    2. If not, what else could it be?

    3. I ended up going over to O'Reilys to buy a set of NGK iridium plugs to replace them myself. This will be my first time ever changing over my plugs, so what do I need to do? I have found videos on You Tube that show step by step instructions, though I have read that some people use anti-seize grease, others say not to use it. Also, are there any other connector lubes that I should be using as well. I hope that I have the right sockets for the job, though I really need to know what else I might need.

    $40 for a set of plugs to do it myself, versus upwards of $200 or more to get them changed at the dealer...it's a no brainer, though I just want to make sure I'm doing it right and not mess up anything in the process.

    Any help would be really appreciated, guys. Thanks.
     
  2. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    You have a "check hybrid system" light. We need the trouble codes from a dealer before we can advise further. Many generic auto code readers cannot read the Prius-specific codes. Dealer software can read them.
    Without trouble codes, there is only wild guessing.
     
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  3. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    It would help a lot if you could post the actual codes that were read. The O'Reilly person telling you what they mean is less useful. There aren't codes specifically about the spark plugs; there are some for the ignition coils, and some more generic ones for misfiring. Spark plugs could cause either code, but so could other things.

    Changing the plugs on a Gen 3 is a PITA amount of work ... just getting to the plugs is a PITA amount of work. It would probably save time to spend more think-time with the symptoms, codes, and repair manual, before diving into part-swap time.

    Also: if the car has been driven some significant distance with a bone-dry oil dipstick, you might also be thinking about how much effort/money you want to keep putting into it.

    -Chap
     
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  4. Deepwatertree

    Deepwatertree Junior Member

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    $125 just to have them look at it...no can do...
     
  5. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    You could keep a running total of what you spend flinging parts around until you have a solution or give up, and then compare the numbers....

    -Chap
     
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  6. fotomoto

    fotomoto Senior Member

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    Asheville should more than one independent hybrid specialist shop that (hopefully) charge less for a quick diagnostic.
     
  7. Deepwatertree

    Deepwatertree Junior Member

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    I moved to Atlanta in April...surprisingly not that many specialists here, and the ones I spoke with are charging more than dealership prices... :( ...I am more than a little freaking out right now. I can't afford to bring her in...I really want to try and change these plugs which fingers crossed that they are the issue...and I need my car so I can make money because I'm broke... ::(
     
  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    you say the oil was bone dry, but you only added one quart of oil?
     
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  9. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    A start would be to post the actual codes that already were read at O'Reilly. The store's opinion on what the codes mean is worth what you paid for it maybe, but the codes themselves could tell us something.

    -Chap
     
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  10. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Did you even check the oil level since the last oil change?

    If not, that was is a major violation of the Owner's Manual requirements. For all car brands. Even for a brand new car, let alone one with 190k on it.
     
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  11. RRxing

    RRxing Senior Member

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    If you decide to tackle this, be prepared to go down a BIG rabbit hole...
     
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  12. Sam Spade

    Sam Spade Senior Member

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    Well just suffer then. Honestly.

    If you don't get a proper diagnostic, you likely will spend a LOT more than $125 just taking wild guesses and shotgunning parts at it that do nothing. You are already out $40.

    And bottom line: From your post it sounds like you have SEVERELY neglected the routine maintenance on this car.
    Sometimes when you do that a simple LITTLE problem can develop into something major.

    Good luck. I think you will need it.
     
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  13. MelonPrius

    MelonPrius Active Member

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    Deepwatertree, this forum is pretty helpful, but you're not giving the board members much to go on. Specific codes are important.

    What's the plan if the spark plugs don't work? Would it be time to get the codes then?

    A couple mentioned the oil level. I hope you made sure that it is filled to the proper level, as per the advice here.
     
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