Keeping Your car in Top Shape
When asked, many hybrid owners may admit that one of the reasons they made the switch to a Prius or other hybrid vehicle is the cars low maintenance needs. Compared to ICE vehicles (internal combustion engines) a hybrid should have longer intervals between maintenance needs due to less wear on the engine and braking system. To ensure your Prius or other hybrid vehicle keeps running smoothly and lasts for years, try to stick to the manufacturers recommended maintenance schedule.
Let’s use Toyota as an example since they have the most hybrid vehicles on the road (and we like them the best). Toyota provides a handy maintenance schedule for the Prius, which is like a roadmap for keeping your car in great condition. Following this schedule not only improves performance but also keeps your warranty intact. You can find the maintenance in the owner’s manual that you hopefully have tucked away safely in the glove box.
Keep your engine running smoothly by getting regular oil changes. Check your Prius owner’s manual for the recommended interval, usually around 10,000 miles. If you have a higher mileage Prius that burns oil we recommend changing it more often and checking the oil levels regularly. And don’t forget to use high-quality synthetic oil for optimal performance.
Fluid Checks and Changes:
Don’t ignore the fluids! Regularly check and replace fluids like brake fluid, coolant, and transmission fluid. These fluids are essential for your car’s performance and safety. Check your owner’s manual for guidance on when to do this for your make and model hybrid.
Taking care of your tires is important for fuel efficiency and safety. Remember to rotate and align them regularly to ensure even wear. Keep an eye on tire inflation and tread depth and make adjustments as needed. Well-maintained tires not only save you gas but also give you better control on the road. If you’re not sure what psi your tires should be inflated to, the information should be on the drivers side door jamb.
Battery System Inspection:
The hybrid battery system is the heart of your Prius. Keeping the car garaged to avoid unnecessary extreme weather conditions will help your hybrid battery in the long run. We’ve noticed that HV batteries in cooler climates last longer than those in hot ones. Luckily, no matter where you live, your Prius has a specialized fan that’s sole purpose is to keep your battery cool. Over time, that fan can become clogged with hair and debris which will reduce the flow of air to the battery. If you have a Prius C we recommend having the fan cleaned every 25,000 miles. For all other models, every 50,000 miles should be fine. If you frequently carry furry companions or you are furry yourself (no judgement here) clean the fan more often. Here are a couple useful videos demonstrating how to clean the fans. Please use your best judgement when working near high voltage. If in doubt, hire a professional to clean the fan!
Air Filter Replacement:
Give your engine the clean air it needs by replacing the air filter at the recommended intervals, usually around every 15,000 to 30,000 miles. This simple task ensures your engine performs at its best and saves you money on fuel.
Brake System Maintenance:
Stay safe by checking your brake pads, rotors, and calipers regularly. Look out for warning signs like squealing noises or reduced stopping power. Taking care of your brakes promptly not only keeps you safe but also prevents more expensive repairs later on. Check out our blog on the dreaded brake actuator failure issue that plagues Prius owners: https://hometownhybrids.com/c1256-brake-actuator-failure/
Cleaning EGR valve
We recommend cleaning your EGR cooler system at 100,000 miles. The EGR can get plugged with carbon buildup and cause insufficient flow. This will affect the ability of the engine to release pressure, causing the head gasket to weaken over time. This is a slow process, which is why many owners don’t notice until it’s too late.
Owner’s Manual as a Guide:
Don’t forget to consult your Prius owner’s manual for detailed maintenance information. It’s a helpful resource that provides specific guidance tailored to your vehicle.
If you’re not comfortable with complex maintenance tasks or unsure about something, it’s always a good idea to seek professional help. Trained technicians can ensure your Prius gets the proper maintenance it needs and address any concerns you may have.
Regular maintenance is the key to keeping your Toyota Prius in great shape. By following the recommended maintenance schedule and paying attention to areas like oil changes, fluid checks, tire maintenance, battery inspection, and brake system care, you’ll enjoy a smooth and efficient ride for years to come. Remember, taking care of your Prius not only saves you money on fuel and repairs but also helps create a greener and more sustainable future. So, prioritize your Prius’s maintenance and reap the benefits of this incredible hybrid vehicle for many miles ahead.