New owner's of used Prius C questions

Discussion in 'Prius c Main Forum' started by Septim, Sep 10, 2020.

  1. Septim

    Septim New Member

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    Hi everyone, it's nice to start belonging to this active community. I've been reading this forum since I started thinking about purchasing a used 2012 Prius C (150k miles on it) several weeks ago and surely already learned a lot of things about them to be quite confident about my purchase which I concluded earlier this week.

    But I haven't found answers to all my questions and with my car being my first own car on top of being my first Prius I hope I could get some answers to my own inquiry. I apologize if some things I ask about are readily available at the owners manual which I plan to read but think that some questions might be more urgent.

    My first question relates to changing fluids in sealed units. Before completing the purchase I had the car inspected in a Toyota dealership. They didn't find any issues but warned me that some of the fluids (namely engine coolant, hybrid inverter coolant and transmission fluid) are in sealed units so they won't inspect them until they are due to be changed. According to the dealership these fluids are due at 100k miles first and every 50-60k miles afterwards. So my car being at 150k miles it's due soon. They quoted the services about 200$ each, bringing it to the total of 600$. I understand that since it's the dealership it's probably way overpriced but by how much? Would you say I should be fine with an independent mechanic changing these fluids or is there something about the Prius that should make me careful about going to local mechanics (or maybe for this particular service)?

    Another question related to the previous one, as I mentioned in the dealership they said that these fluids should have been serviced at 100k miles. I have access to all the service records of the previous owner and though it seems that they were responsible about regular maintenance I found no records of these particular fluid services being ever performed. Would you say these services are a must do and it's strange that they were omitted? In that case should I be fine just replacing these fluids right away or there is something else I might need to check/do to make sure no harm was done? Or did the dealership provide a more cautious maintenance schedule than really required?

    My third question is (of course) about the hybrid battery. The dealership refused to inspect it thoroughly with no error codes showing and said they typically last till 200k or more. Still, it being a costly repair, I wondered if I needed to do some extra hybrid battery maintenance to keep it alive as long as possible. I've already read the advice about cleaning the battery fan often. I also read about some battery life prolongation techniques but didn't quite get it. If you could elaborate on using these techniques and devices (maybe with some personal experience) I would be very grateful.

    I would of course also greatly appreciate any other general advice you have for the new Prius C owner :)

    Many thanks!
    David.
     
  2. dubit

    dubit Senior Member

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    Congrats on your purchase!

    As for the fluids... I just had the inverter and engine coolant changed and it was only $260. That's at the Toyota dealership. Keep in mind, our locations are very far apart. What you pay for in New York, probably isn't anywhere near what we pay here. As for an independent shop doing the work. Should be fine as long as you trust them. My own son is a Honda tech, but he didn't want to do the inverter coolant on my Prius. He was concerned he'd leave some air in there and then fry my inverter. Hence the reason I went to the Toyota dealership for the service.

    Should you get the fluids changed? Yes. Is it strange that if the previous owner was responsible for maintenance but failed to "log" this service - nope. I don't record any of it and I do maintenance more often than I should. Having worked at a dealership most of my life, I can tell you it's not very common that people record their maintenance. Even fewer still do it at the dealership.

    As for the hybrid battery. There isn't a whole lot they can inspect if there aren't any codes stored. That "Prolong" device or whatever it's called. I'm not the one to give any advice there. Never used one & no plans to do so in the future either. I do know when the inevitable happens and it's time to change that battery - don't go with a rebuilt one. Get a new battery from Toyota.
     
  3. Septim

    Septim New Member

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    Thank you for the advises! I'll make sure to only deal with mechanics who know their way around a Prius.

    What's slightly strange to me about service records - almost every 5k service record is available, so I believe the previous owner actually kept every record they got. But yeah, I can't be sure about it.
     
  4. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    congrats and welcome!
    check your maintenance schedule for fluid change intervals, never listen to a dealer.

    is your access to the service records at toyota.com/owners?

    prolong charger is available from hybrid automotive
     
  5. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Transmission fluid replacement is not strictly necessary (really! read your maintenance manual) but it's not a bad idea. Any corner mechanic can do it, but buy the fluid from the Toyota parts counter. No substitutes.

    Coolant changes are to be taken seriously, both for engine and inverter.

    Your car is just barely old enough to start expecting hybrid battery trouble- but it's also one of the oldest c's on the street, so we are all still learning the failure curve for that part.

    I'm of the mind that the smaller size & easier access to the c battery means there's no point to using a balance charger etc to stretch it out. When it goes bad, put a whole new pack in there and reset the alarm for another 8-10 years.
     
  6. Septim

    Septim New Member

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    Thank you for the advice! Maintenance schedule on the website indeed partially contradicts dealer's statement, but the aforementioned services are still required at this moment. I have access to the service records through Toyota owners and they match what I have on paper.
     
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  7. Septim

    Septim New Member

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    Thank you for outlining the difference between the services so I could get a feeling of where I should go to the dealer and where I don't need to.

    By smaller size and easier access do you mean that both replacement battery and labor costs should be lower for the C than full-sized Prius?
     
  8. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    There's a bit less disassembly involved in getting at the c battery as it is directly beneath the rear seat cushion rather than hidden behind the seat.

    The pack is smaller and lighter, so there's less chance of needing a helper for lifting, and shipping costs will be lower.

    As far as the cost? Right now, in the Toyota parts book it lists for more than the larger liftback battery.

    That liftback battery used to be even more expensive, but it came down a couple of years ago. This has been sort of attributed to the idea that people are starting to buy them in volume as the fleet ages.

    Meanwhile the c model didn't even come out until 2012, so the very oldest of them are just getting to the age where they'd need it. Sales volume for that corresponding replacement part has yet to grow, but once it does I think it's likely that it will gain a better price. Up until this point Toyota has blindly carried the costs of keeping some in stock, fresh and ready to go even though nearly nobody needed one.

    So to refine my earlier comment- I predict that the future price of a replacement Toyota c battery will be low enough to negate the point of a balance charger, once the fleet starts needing them in volume.

    Just don't beat the rush and you'll be fine :)
     
  9. vvillovv

    vvillovv Senior Member

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