What maintenance do I need? - Female seeking advice!

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by sosarahsays, Mar 27, 2023.

  1. sosarahsays

    sosarahsays Member

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    Hi friendly folks of Prius Chat, hoping someone can help me determine what maintenance I need at my next service. (I'm a female, so always worried about being taken advantage of + I don't have a garage where I can do any of my own servicing, unfortunately.)

    I have a 2010 Prius IV and I'm coming up on 110k, so planning to get a standard oil change and tire rotation. Here's what else is on the list of "services I've previously declined" and the estimates:

    - Cabin Air Filter (Standard Pollen/Electrostatic) - Replace, $56.03 (I had this done when I had my car detailed in January, so planning to skip this)
    - Spark Plugs - Replace, $341.70 (thinking I'll do this one since it seems most people recommend it before 120k)
    - EXCHANGE RADIATOR AND INVERTER COOLANT., $339.48 (should I do this?)
    - PCV Valve - Replace, $187.05 (should I do this?)
    - Transmission Fluid Exchange - WS, $280.03 (should I do this?)
    - BG BRAKE FLUID EXCHANGE, $156.00 (should I do this?)

    Car seems to run fine and not sure how long I'll keep it, if it matters (I'm thinking I might put my name on the list for a Hybrid Rav-4 soonish, but I know the wait is months long). Thank you in advance!
     
  2. Tombukt2

    Tombukt2 Senior Member

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    Then so plugs are about 12 to $14 a pop The Asian radiator and inverter fluid is I don't even remember $13 a gallon something like that The cabin air filter the fram nicer blue unit is I think $11 and most of the rest of the stuff there is all labor I mean to flush not flush but to change the transmission fluid pretty easy couple wrenches a couple sockets. The inverter fluid and the radiator fluid at the jugs are showing nice clear pink leave them alone That's the best advice I can give the stuff doesn't really just go bad and it's in a pretty much kind of clothes system so it should be doing well If I would do anything if everything was perfect like we're talking about you could take the drain plug out of the bottom of the radiator and drain off whatever will come out of that which will not be near all of it and just add a half a bottle and let that mix with the stuff and you should be good for longer than you want to be No need to go overboard with this stuff they're just isn't any need this car doesn't get taxed that hard normal use.
     
  3. Tombukt2

    Tombukt2 Senior Member

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    You're brake fluid should be almost water clear leave it alone these modern cars the brake rubbers and everything internally Don't get broken down by the modern very clean brake fluid generally speaking so if the bottle looks good and the brakes are working well and maybe leave them alone have them have someone check the pads someone who's astute can do it by looking through the wheels with a flashlight generally speaking and get a pretty good idea of where you are in this situation it should be about every $140,000 mi comes to mind I would want to change them by then just because break blocks pads whatever they get old heat soaked they crumble like soft rocks and 140,000 mi the most people is 10 years just put on a set of brake pads front and rear it's nothing to it It's not going to be that 346 and get the kids up the street to do it for a six pack and 30 bucks or something or what have you The two sets of pads getting some of the nicest stuff you can buy will be like $66 to.86 maybe
     
  4. sosarahsays

    sosarahsays Member

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    Thanks, @Tombukt2! I had some of the brake pads (I can't remember which -- front or rear, but I want to say front) a few years ago, and at my last service in December they said all the pads were all in good shape.

    Unfortunately, I don't have space (or really the time/patience) to change the transmission fluid on my own.

    So in the end it sounds like you're suggesting just:

    - Spark Plugs - Replace, $341.70 (thinking I'll do this one since it seems most people recommend it before 120k)
    - Transmission Fluid Exchange - WS, $280.03 (ideally, I'd do this myself, but see above - haha)

    + standard oil and tire rotation. Is that right?
     
  5. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    You can do all those things yourself with a few tools, and patience.
    There are MANY video's on how to do it. Good idea to watch several of them to
    get the best way to do it.

    You should also look into doing the EGR system cleaning... cooler, intake manifold...

     
  6. Brian1954

    Brian1954 Member

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    I would also get the engine coolant and inverter coolant replaced if it has not been replaced before.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  7. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Hi there,

    Does your 2010 still have the Warranty and Maintenance Guide in the glove box? If not, you can download it here. Then you can see what maintenance is recommended for this milestone (and any previous ones you may have declined at the time).

    You are kind of getting around due for new coolant (the engine and inverter cooling systems are separate, but the same type of coolant is used in both). It should not be neglected forever: coolant is mixed with anticorrosion additives, but they lose effectiveness over time. Eventually, aluminum parts in the inverter and engine can start to corrode.

    The corrosion product of aluminum in coolant is a kind of jelly that can glop up the fine finned cooling passages it has to circulate through, and then the inverter is at greater risk of overheating and damage. In the engine, there's a school of thought that connects corrosion from old coolant to failure of the head gasket, an expensive event.

    If you'd rather not just blindly replace coolant because of a schedule, there are test strips available for checking its condition:

    [​IMG]

    You can see two separate swatches on the "coolant" end of the strip. One checks that the coolant still has the right amount of glycol for the intended anti-boil/anti-freeze properties, and the other checks its pH/corrosion protection level.

    Some people also recommend a complete replacement of brake fluid at some point. It seems to hold up for pretty long in a Prius, with its reduced use of the brakes. I kind of settle for occasionally bleeding some old fluid out when I happen to do some other work, and pouring some fresh in. Again, if you'd rather test its condition than just make time-or-miles assumptions, you can see the test strip pictured above includes a brake fluid swatch at the other end.

    Pretty much all the above jobs can be done for just the cost of parts or fluids if you're handy with tools (or would like to become so) and have some basic ones. But if you'd be paying someone else to do it, a few hours at their hourly shop rate wouldn't be unreasonable.

    I'm not sure how often PCV valves actually go bad. I don't think the warranty and maintenance guide has any recommended time to replace it.
     
  8. JohnPrius3005

    JohnPrius3005 Active Member

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    At the risk of incurring the wrath of many members of PriusChat, if it was me I would do absolutely none of the things on your list. Any time a mechanic or someone you do not trust to be 100% meticulous touches your car you risk them messing something up. I learned this the hard way. My best car (a VW) got to 500,000 plus miles before it died - original engine, trans, and clutch. The only repairs I ever had to do were to fix things mechanics had done badly.
    Instead of getting this "service" done at a dealer spend a few days finding independent Toyota shops. Go and visit them, check them out, ask if they can give you references. Call all the references.
    That way when/if something breaks on your car you will have someone to turn to.
     
  9. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Amen brother. That's a very real risk any time somebody works on your car, and that's a big reason I DIY as much as possible, as much as the cost savings. It's not that I never make any mistakes. But I know myself to be more meticulous than most people working in auto shops, plus I know it's the car I have to drive home in, and they know it isn't theirs.

    But there's no law of nature that says the mechanics at an indy shop will be more meticulous than those at a dealer, or vice versa. It's really down to the individuals doing the work, and you don't always have much chance to meet or evaluate them. I had an engine royally messed up during a rebuild when I took it to one of the best-regarded machine shops in town. They had an absolutely outstanding machinist there I'd worked with before. He was still there, but unbeknownst to me, they had recently hired another one who was outstanding the other way, and my engine job went to him.

    So I prefer to do a lot of the work myself, but that won't be everyone, right? If someone who's already an adult and has other demands on her time isn't already practiced at wrenching on cars, the Prius might not feel like the one to start on. I had the benefit of getting a lot of early practice as a teen, on a car that had been sold to me for $1. Mistakes along the way weren't big setbacks.

    If the OP wants to learn enough wrenching to do the sort of basic jobs listed here, I'd be absolutely in support of that. But if not, some of the jobs on the list are still probably worth doing, so it will be worth finding a mechanic who seems trustworthy enough, either at the dealer or another shop, and taking the leap of trusting them.
     
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  10. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Patron saint of newly poured sidewalks

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    I’ll just pick one thing, and this one is very telling. A transaxle drain-and-fill is very easy, about on par with an oil change, for the fluids and labour. Anything over $100~125 is too much.

    In my signature (on a phone, turn it landscape to see signature) there’s a link regarding DIY’ing this. Even if that’s not practical for you, worth a read, just to see how simple it is.

    Sounds like a pretty predatory place; any other dealerships in your area?
     
  11. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    sarah, i agree with chapman that you should familiarize yourself with the maintenance guide.

    deciding what to do or not hinges a lot on whether you're going to swap cars soon.

    if you're not sure, you should follow the maintenance guide, and the only thing i would add is egr circuit cleaning as asr mentioned above. (it won't be cheap, but your head gasket might depend on it)
    if in the event you decide to keep the car longer term, add the tranny fluid.
    all the best!
     
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  12. ColoradoBoo

    ColoradoBoo Active Member

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    Yes you should get all those done but not at those high prices. (Is it that hard to replace a PCV valve in a Gen 3??)
    Do you have the NextDoor app? If so, post a similar post there and I'm sure you'll get lots of local recommendations. Those, search on Yelp for reviews on them.
     
  13. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Patron saint of newly poured sidewalks

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    Here's a spreadsheet (and pdf) summary of the Toyota USA maintenance guide, a lot easier to read than Toyota's event-by-event format, in the Warranty and Maintenance Booklet.

    Cobbled by me, but stuck to the book. There are worthwhile extra items, but I just wanted a readable copy of what Toyota says.
     

    Attached Files:

    #13 Mendel Leisk, Mar 28, 2023
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2023
  14. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    looks like just inverter coolant if it wasn't done previously?
     
  15. douglasjre

    douglasjre Senior Member

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    How do I know you're a female?
     
  16. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    :LOL: I will admit that often, if I'm reading a post from someone emphasizing being female, or using a very feminine avatar, I get a mental picture sort of like:

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Kenny94945

    Kenny94945 Active Member

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    Well, I might agree with Mendel when he writes the trans fluid example is expensive.
    But...... what is the local labor rate?
    If $200 per hour with $80 for parts materials...well it might be an in-line/ okay cost.
    Yes, finding a great mechanic shop is ideal.
    Best advise, follow your owner's manual guidance.

    To answer your questions, with a 13 year old car and no service records:
    1 - Brake fluid flush, yes.
    But, if on a budget, the option to do this when you change your brake pads.
    I think the Toyota recommendation is flush every 3 years.
    Me? This is generally an every two-year maintenance, with me writing that a gear-head LOL.
    2 - Spark Plugs, yes.
    The Toyota schedule is every 100K miles or 5 years, yes?
    Me? Yep,100K miles plug time.
    3 - Radiator and Inverter fluid, maybe.
    The test strips for the radiator coolant are a very good idea and it seems you have some mechanic skills.
    Some rad coolants have a five-year life, not sure about Toyota OEM fill.
    The inverter coolant; others on this forum may have some insights.
    I'd follow the owner's manual for these two maintenance items.
    4 - Transmission Fluid, yes
    This is easy to do and takes an hour.
    5 - PCV Value, no
    Wow, I am unsure about that.
    But.....others on this forum may have insights.
    Me? I'd say no without more information.

    Bottomline:
    Without knowing your local labor rate, your price examples may be high.
    Changing all fluids (and spark plugs) at 100K mileage is good preventative maintenance.
    Other members may comment on the PCV valve, but I vote no, skip that.

    FWIW:
    Then there is the EGR mentioned above with many coking examples on this forum, and maybe relate to that PCV change recommendation, but I'd vote to wait on that.

    Good luck
     
  18. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    I don't think there is a brake fluid flush recommended in the US Warranty and Maintenance Guide at any age or mileage. Nevertheless, people will often choose to do it at some age or mileage ... and if a person prefers to decide based on condition, there are test strips or testers available.

    120,000 miles or 12 years. The OP was already given a link to the Warranty and Maintenance Guide above, so there's no real need for us to bandy about things that it might say but doesn't.

    Both systems use the same Toyota SLLC coolant. The Warranty and Maintenance Guide is kind of funny about the schedule. At 100,000 miles or 10 years, it says out loud to replace it. Meanwhile, at every 15,000 mile / 3 year interval, it says to "inspect" it, with a footnote, that leads to a section in the back, that tells you to "inspect" it by draining and refilling.
     
  19. Montgomery

    Montgomery Senior Member

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    Sosarahsays, I would gather the recommendations in this thread and find a friend (male or female) who has done work on cars and has a place where they can work on it and buy them pizza or whatever dinner they would like. I have done this for my friends who needed something like an oil change, transmission fluid change, tire rotation and the occasional brake job. You have to know someone (work, gym, yoga, art studio, worship, school, etc) who has either done the simpler repairs needed or is mechanically inclined. Someone within your sphere of friends would love to assist you. Good Luck!
     
  20. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Patron saint of newly poured sidewalks

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    With 110k miles, I’d vote to do the EGR cleaning (including intake manifold) ASAP. First two links in my signature has info (if on a phone turn it landscape to see signature). DIY if humanly possible; you do not want the dealership doing it “their way”, 100% parts replacement, and sure as shooting miss something.
     
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