What every newb should know

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by richard schumacher, Jun 8, 2008.

  1. richard schumacher

    richard schumacher shortbus driver

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    The wisdom of the ancients :_>


    Used buyers:

    If you are considering buying from someone other than a Toyota dealer, pay a Toyota dealer or an independent Prius specialist to thoroughly check out the car before you buy. For an example of the sort of pain you might have otherwise see http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-ii-prius-technical-discussion/75575-i-robbed.html

    If one did not come with the car, buy the correct year Owner's Manual from a dealer and read it. It's full of sometimes in-obvious stuff that you need to know (for example, #10 below).

    If you did not get a copy of Toyota's (not a dealer's!) Scheduled Maintenance Guide, see http://smg.toyotapartsandservice.com/guides.php

    Another helpful Toyota site: Toyota Parts and Service


    New and used owners:

    0. On a slippery surface a Prius:

    a. MAY TAKE LONGER TO BRAKE THAN YOU EXPECT! "Slippery" includes water, snow, ice, sand, gravel, oil, manhole covers, pavement stripes, speed bumps, and broken or pebbly pavement. Find a slippery empty parking lot and practice some panic stops before you ever have to make one.

    b. MAY TAKE LONGER TO ACCELERATE THAN YOU EXPECT! If traction is ever lost the hybrid drive protects itself by momentarily shutting off the drive wheels. If you are accustomed to spinning your wheels as you lurch into traffic, give it up before you crack up.

    The original equipment Goodyear Integrity tires are relatively cheap and allow good fuel economy but they are not very grippy. For increased safety replace the stock tires with something grippier. See many other threads for specific recommendations.


    1. When the last "pip" (pips = little rectangular lights) on the gas gauge starts to flash it means "buy gas right now, damn it".

    The fuel gauge is not perfect, and instantaneous MPGs are always varying because of the outside temperature, road conditions, driver technique, and other factors. Further, the North American 2004-2009 models have a flexible internal bladder whose capacity is not constant. Because of all that it's impossible to be certain how much gas is still available in the tank and impossible to predict exactly far you can still drive before running out of gas.

    The car might go as much as to one mile on the high-voltage traction battery after running out of gas. But, driving until you drain that battery can damage the fuel pump and/or the battery and void the warranty. It can cost thousands to fix these. If you do run out you must add at least three gallons of gas before the tank monitoring system will notice that gas has been added and allow the car to start again.

    Resist the temptation to "top off" the tank even if the gas pump stops before you think it should during a fillup. Topping off can damage the tank monitoring system (and the bladder in the 2004-2009 models) and cost hundreds of dollars to fix: http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-ii-prius-technical-discussion/30593-gas-bladder-exposed.html
    In all modern cars topping off increases hydrocarbon emissions; increasing pollution is not why we bought Priuses.


    2. If you try to jump start a Prius and get the polarity wrong it can do thousands of dollars of damage to the electrical inverter, the computers and the wiring harnesses.

    The owner's manual describes how to correctly jump a Prius. If you're not certain of how to do it:
    - don't do it
    - don't let some random tow truck guy do it
    - don't let some good Samaritan do it.

    Have it towed (on a flatbed or front wheels on a dolly; NEVER tow it with the front wheels on the ground!) to a Toyota dealer, or have a Toyota dealer send someone to jump it. If anyone else tries and does it wrong, from a warranty repair standpoint you're screwed. (This applies to most modern cars, not only Prius.)


    3. Always lock the car, no matter where you park or for how long. If it gives a long warning beep it means that something is wrong. For example, the car may still be ON ("Ready") or in ACC or IG-ON, because the smart key system allows you to leave the car running and unlocked. If it is ON anyone can then walk up to it, get in, and drive it away. Or you may have left a door or the rear hatch ajar, which can cause lights to remain on, which will quickly drain the small 12V battery.


    4. Don't leave the car in ACC or IG-ON or in Neutral for more than a few minutes, because it risks draining one or both batteries. If you want to sit in the car listening to the radio or whatever, leave it ON, as though you were about to drive away, and shifted into Park. If the car is not in a completely enclosed and unventilated space you can do this with no harm done until it runs out of gas.


    5. A Prius is not a snowplow. It has low ground clearance and does not have 4WD. If you get bogged down the car's computers will not let you spin the wheels to try to dig or rocket yourself out (again, it does this to protect the drive train). If you drive in snow you should replace the original tires with snow tires and avoid unplowed roads.


    6. Always check the oil level yourself before driving away from every oil change, no matter who does it. This can find simple mistakes before they become annoying or expensive.


    7. Fuel economy short-path zen:
    - Gliding (lightly pressing the gas pedal so that no arrows point into or out of the battery on the "Energy" display) is better than coasting
    - Coasting (foot off the gas pedal) is better than braking
    - Braking is better than stopping

    It may be counter-intuitive, but you maximize fuel economy by *minimizing* use of the big traction battery (the thing whose charge level is shown by bars on the "Energy" display). Conversions between forms of energy always incur losses by turning some of the energy into heat. Moving energy into and out of a battery is no exception. (So why does the Prius have a battery? Because, even with the conversion losses, it's still more efficient to use an electric motor for acceleration than to carry around a much larger internal combustion engine that spends most of its time near idle.)

    The Prius internal combustion engine, like all engines, is most efficient near full load, so you *do* want to accelerate briskly away from a stop. Combining the above leads to the "pulse and glide" strategy: ideally, accelerate quickly away from a stop, then glide all the way to the next stop. This ideal is usually impractical or impossible, but approximating it can improve MPGs in all cars.

    Cabin air, not outside air, is used to cool the battery and its management system; if they get too hot they work less well and can reduce fuel economy. In hot weather use the A/C as needed to keep yourself and the battery comfortable.


    8. Strange faults can happen when the 12V battery is near the end of its life. The 12V battery does not crank the engine, so, unlike other cars, you will never hear a slow "ur-ur-ur" cranking sound as a warning of a dying battery. Unfortunately some dealer's battery testers can give a false "pass" result for a Prius 12V battery; the voltage would be OK for a conventional starter but is too low for the Prius' computers. Fortunately you can easily check the 12V battery yourself with the built-in no-tools-required test procedure given here: http://priuschat.com/forums/newbie-forum/73400-weird-stuff-happening-mpgs-dropping-test-battery.html


    9. Vacuum or replace the cabin air filter as recommended, otherwise: http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-ii-...nal-cabin-air-filter-iassume.html#post1059304


    10. Don't try to jumpstart another car from your Prius! It is highly likely that you will blow a fuse, damage wiring, or destroy the inverter. If you know exactly what you are doing it is possible to use a Prius as a battery charger; I will not provide instructions :_>


    Pay attention to posts by Patrick Wong and qbee42. They are a wealth of helpful specific knowledge in all areas.

    cgraham has compiled further useful info here:
    http://priuschat.com/forums/gen-ii-...-compiled-list-must-know-info.html#post179814
     
  2. Neicy

    Neicy Member

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    Can't be repeated too many times it seems.
     
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  3. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human - Animal Hybrid

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    2. Is the reason that I carry a portable jumper unit. I am the only person that will ever be allowed to jump my Prius battery. Hopefully I will never need to.
     
  4. jdchappie

    jdchappie JD on RR2

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    Is there a personality that just has to push the gas to it's limits?

    I had a co-worker who constantly ran on the edge with a gas can in the back of his wagon, just in case. I would see his wife driving south and I knew he ran out of gas, again, on a Mail route. The same route he drove every day for years. Got me?
     
  5. Speedwing

    Speedwing Junior Member

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    With the price of gas changing almost every day, it does not make sense to let the tank get low. We fill-up at half tank most of the time.
     
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  6. confused

    confused New Member

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    Thanks so much for starting this thread! I have ordered my Prius and will likely get it sometime in July (fingers crossed). No doubt I will need a good orientation and will many questions. These two important pointers about jumping the car and keeping gas in it are great to know. If anyone else has some basic advice to the new Prius owner (some major pointers), it will be greatly appreciated.

    Such a different kind of car than I'm used to, so it no doubt needs to be treated differently.

    Thanks in Advance--I want to make sure I take good care of my new car!:)
     
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  7. freshmtt

    freshmtt Dachshund Addict

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    This is great advice.. I have never driven my Prius when it got below 3 pips, after reading all the horror stories about running out of gas. And now that the price of gas is just getting crazy, I decided to just fill up when it reaches a half tank, about 5 pips, no matter what. With a car such as this, that is NOT like the normal car, I will never ever test it with the gas gauge. There is just no sense in doing this. Thus I will never really be able to give figures or facts about the real MPG for a full tank of gas because I will never let my tank get down to empty ever...
     
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  8. LOVL1TE

    LOVL1TE New Member

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    I also fill up after I get down to about a 1/2 tank. I've heard that gas tanks acquire water and pieces of debris over time and that more and more of this ‘trash’ tends to get sucked into the fuel pump (and sent to the engine) as the tank approaches empty. Maybe this is an old wives tale, I don’t know. Filling after a ½ tank makes it difficult to average mileage per thankful, but for those of us who go by the MDF, it doesn’t really matter.
     
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  9. amm0bob

    amm0bob Permanently Junior...

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    The "buy gas now damnit" flasher sounds like a worthy light...

    I may never see it.
     
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  10. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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  11. Tardis Wannabe

    Tardis Wannabe New Member

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    Ok, I'll bite. Should you only have a Prius towed on a flatbed? Sorry I am just learning in preparation for Prius ownership.
     
  12. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human - Animal Hybrid

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    Yes. Because the drivetrain is always mechanically engaged, you should not tow the Prius very far on all 4 wheels. The owners manual recommends lifting the front wheels or flatbed towing.
     

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  13. hiremichaelreid

    hiremichaelreid New Member

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    Every newb owner should read their owners manual, IMO. :) ( I'm only halfway through mine at 11 days.)

    Since you don't have an owners manual (or Prius) yet:

    No flatbed is not necessary. There's one type of towtruck that should not be used, but I don't recall what it is right now...
     
  14. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human - Animal Hybrid

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    They don't want you to use a sling type because it is likely to cause body damage.
     
  15. morpheusx

    morpheusx Professor Chaos

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    make sure to share this information with spouse or others who routinely drive your car. I went ahead and told my wife the other day after reading the inverter story. If the Prius for whatever reason will not start, and you suspect it is the battery under no circumstances do you let anyone try to help you jump it besides me. Then also made sure to let her know the consequences, if they don't know what they are doing they could cause about $5000 damage to the inverter.
     
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  16. theoriginalwheelstv

    theoriginalwheelstv New Member

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    When you fill up with gas set the trip odometer to zero. The the next time you fill up you will know just how far you got with how much gas.
     
  17. Tomes

    Tomes New Member

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    The trouble with this is that the gas tank is not necessarily the same size as it was when you filled it up the last time. It contains a bladder that can change size. the more tankfuls you average your MPG over, the more accurate you will get.

    Me - I have given up on figuring that way and just use the display. If you do not use the reset button you get the calculated MPG over as many tankfuls as you can not use that button for, even though it does reset the miles driven number once you start moving along again.

    Perhaps it is not perfectly accurate, but it is all I have, really, due to the bladder thing.
     
  18. Prius77094

    Prius77094 New Member

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    The nice thing about filling up to a full tank of gas and then refilling at half a tank is, you don't get the price shock like every other guy at the gas station gets. My friend said he had to fill up his medium sized pick-up truck yesterday and it cost him $90.00!!!!
    That is why I bought the Prius.
     
  19. richard schumacher

    richard schumacher shortbus driver

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    That will tell you how far you *went*, but that *does not indicate* how far you can go the next time you fill up, even if you buy the same amount of fuel. That is the crucial point. Throw away your expectations and instead watch the fuel gauge.
     
  20. Putt

    Putt New Member

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    I have had my 2008 Silver Pine package 6 for 4 weeks and have filled it up twice, each time I let it get down to 1 pip, It took 9.4 gals. each time. We love this car. Has any one purchased the Heatshield sun shade? Would love to hear some comments.
     
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