Thursday, October 15, 2009

New Prius Owner "Class"

A couple of weeks ago, I got this card in the mail.  Markquart, my Toyota dealer, invited me to their "new owner's celebration."   They promised refreshments, tips on how to care for my new Prius - and a coupon for a free oil change.

I signed up.

My vehicle also had a message for me ...

So, I made an appointment to do the 5,000 mile oil maintenance service for the same day.

How'd it go?  Well...  here's what Service Manager, Jeff Webber had to say:

Prius Battery life:  Despite all the talk about Prius batteries, this dealership has not replaced a big battery yet.

Tires:  The original Bridgestone tires will probably last 30-35,000 miles, depending on tire care and driving.  (Toyota does not recommend nitrogen).  The tire pressure sensor is on the wheel, so be careful when you get new tires.  Pressure sensors can break (and they're expensive).  Use the tire pressure rating on the door panel, not on the tire itself.  Check the tire pressure "cold," and while you're at it, check the wear indicator (in the middle of the tread).

Oil:  Ya gotta use the synthetic oil @$8/qt. every 5,000 miles.  Tire rotation is $5/tire.

Gasoline:  Use 87 octane only.  But you can use a higher octane once in a blue moon to "clean the jets."

Filters:  Change the oil filter every 5,000 miles and check the cabin air and engine air filters.

Warning lights:  There are a lot of them.  If any of them stay on... the system indicated by the light is not working properly (but it will not shut down while you're actually driving).   The dreaded "check engine" light indicates a problem in the fuel system - something as simple as a loose gas cap, or as complicated - and expensive - as a mouse nest in the air system, a dirty air filter or major fuel system issue. (When the check engine light lit up in my Honda CRV, I ended up having to pay for a $2,000 valve job - 2 times).  The master warning light means there's a problem with the hybrid system.  That's a very big deal.

The paint:  Tree sap and bird droppings will EAT YOUR PAINT.  Clean them asap!  Clean your wheels often too.  Even if your car is black (like mine), dings will show up "white."  Polishing your car will help fix them - I'm not sure how.  But I did buy some heavy duty car cleaner after my trip out west left scratches on the underside of the fenders (due to a combination of the low clearance,
road construction and pot holes - hear the scraping?)

underside of the front bumper on my 2010 Prius
which I will clean and polish as soon as possible

Floor mat:  If you don't keep the driver side floor mat "clipped in" properly, it could be fatal!  (It can slide up and jam your accelerator).

Jump Starting:  Yes, you can jump start a Prius.   I don't quite understand how to do it (I rely on AAA), but I did hear this:  when you disconnect the jumper cables, be sure to take the black negative off first.

When in doubt... 
READ the owner's manual

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