Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Bolton, Connecticut
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Re: Fuel Injection throttle body/pre-paid service comment
Depending on if your 17,000 miles was in dusty/dirty driving conditions your engine air filter may or may not need changing. That's easy enough for you to check yourself by unsnapping 4 clips & tilting the filter cover back towards the windshield before lifting it up [you have to remove the cover all the way because you have to lift the filter out & turn it over to look at the bottom side (that's where all the crud gets trapped because the air inlet is under the filter)]. Pay special attention before/as you remove the filter for the original position [there is a tab that is a little off-center at the back edge that is there to help you re-position it properly (some owners didn't notice the tab & tried to flip the filter over right end to left end or front edge to rear edge & then complained here that they couldn't get the cover to go back on & lock down)]. Remember, the bottom side is the side you look at (not the clean top side). If it needs changing you can do that yourself & probably save $10 because at most dealers that replacement filter costs around $20.
The cabin air filter you can probably do yourself too & save a bundle there because that filter is in the $20-$25 range at most dealerships. Changing it involves a little more work [you have to empty your lower glove box (for some people that is a big job depending on how much "junk" they store in there)]. Next you pop the little piston/damper off of the right side of the glove box (just the glove box---leave the piston attached at the upper end of the piston). Then gently squeeze the sides of the glove box together until the tabs on the sides release from the holes on the sides of the glove box housing (which is part of the dashboard) & gently ease the glove box all the way down towards the floor mat. You will see a grayish white plastic assembly in back now. There are tabs at each side of that plastic assembly that don't need to be pushed inward or outward (just grab them & give a gentle but firm tug on them & the whole tray will slide out towards you). Take the tray all the way out & you then just slide the filter element out from under the tabs that hold the element in place. The filter can be very dirty with lots of garbage (fluff, maple keys, pine needles, berries, nut shells, etc.) sitting on top of it as you try to slide it out, so be careful not to let any of that "junk" drop off of the back edge of the filter down into the heater blower motor housing. That filter has nothing to do with whether you are a smoker or not, but all the "junk" I mentioned (that you may or may not see) gets in there through 5 big holes in the firewall that are hidden behind the black plastic louvered panel that sits below the windshield wipers. Some of the stuff gets blown in there & trapped by the filter, but a lot of the other things get brought in by mice, so it's a good idea to screen the 5 holes off if you start finding berries & nut shells (do a search for "mouse hotel" or "mouse problem" & you will find how others have gone about removing parts to screen off those 5 holes). To re-install the cabin filter, just reverse the removal procedure steps.
I would think the filter changes should be covered under your pre-paid service contract, but only at the mileage intervals mentioned in your "Passport" maintenance schedule booklet. The throttle body cleaning wouldn't be, but if it is really that dirty then it's probably because the dealer previously over-filled your engine oil. I have 89,000 miles on my 2005 Prius & I've never needed a throttle body cleaning. If it gets "crudded" up from oil over-fill then probably yes, but at most dealerships it's just a scam to make more money for them (same way with their "injector cleaning service" that usually does more harm than good). Always check your dipstick before you start your car after your oil changes & if you find it overfilled then bring the service manager out to show him & ask that they remove some of the excess oil to bring the level down to the proper amount. It sometimes may be necessary to insist ahead of time that it gets written on the work order to only put 3 or 3.5 quarts in at the dealership & that you will add the extra yourself later to bring it up to the proper point on the dipstick.
Now, as for tires: yes, the Goodyear Integrities do seem to wear out pre-maturely for some owners, but they can be made to last till around 55,000-60,000 miles. Mine showed extreme wear only on the inside & outside edges of all 4 tires (NO wear in the middles) & this was with rotations every 5,000 miles as specified in the maintenance book. The problem seems to be that the guys that do the oil changes & tire rotations are not Prius techs & probably not even techs(mechanics) at all (they do nothing but the oil & tires on all the Toyota's & don't even bother to check the data plates on the door openings for the proper tire pressures of each different model Toyota. At 5,000 miles I found my tires at 24 lbs all around (data plate says 35 front/33 rear) & at 10,000 miles I found they had set them to 28 lbs all around,so at 15,000 miles I requested they adhere to the data plate (which they finally did). My tires had almost no tread on the inside & outside edges (worn but not cupped---so no alignment issue), but they were like new in the middles (classic symptom of under-inflation). So at every 5,000 mile service after that I demanded 42 lbs front/40 lbs rear even though they gave me the argument that the tires weren't rated for anything over 35 lbs (WRONG--- the Integrities are rated for 44 lbs max). Each time I got that argument I had to point out the max rating right there on the tire sidewall & then they set my pressure to 42/40 & I started wearing down the middles (no detectable additional wear on the edges after that) & that's how I got to 55,000 miles on them. I probably could have gotten to 60,000 miles if I hadn't gotten a flat & got all kinds of static from the tire shop about not repairing tires with "illegal" tread (my tires were still NOT down to the wear indicator ridges across the middle of the tread, but they were not liking the wear on the inside & outside edges). The tire shop even went so far as to lie & tell me the reason that my tires wore the way they did was I over-inflated them according to the specs in their computer for a Prius equipped with the Goodyear Integrity tires & I told them "NO, they got that way from being under-inflated for the first 15,000 miles". When I got the Continental Premier Contact tires from them & requested the 42/40 pressures, they said "NO,the car & the tires can't take that pressure", then I pointed out the 51 lb max rating on the sidewalls & they filled them to 42/40 but said the car wouldn't handle right at anything above the data plate's 35/33 lbs. I've had no problems at all with mine set to 42/40 up to this day. I hope this all has helped you.
Ken (in Bolton,Ct) 2005 Pkg #4 (AM)