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Discussion Starter #1
I haven't seen much in the way of high mileage service reports on this board, so I planned to post mine to help others anticipate costs. Since I got my Prius shortly after they were first available in the U.S., it's not surprising I'm one of the first to get high mileage scheduled service performed on my Prius. Hopefully there will be more posts following from other owners, since it will take many data points to get a good picture of maintenance costs. It would be a big statistics mistake to draw conclusions about expected maintenance costs from just a few reports.

Pikachu went in for his 90K mile service and the SSC 40G Hybrid Battery modification a week ago. I was hoping to have a report by now, but it turns out they needed to replace a "buss bar" in the battery pack and it has a 2 week back order. So far they've only notified me of one other unscheduled maintenance item, the front wheel bearings are being replaced at $450 for each side. :shock:

So it looks like this will be a pretty expensive service. At least the battery work is covered under warrantee. Since the battery modification is taking so long, they offered me a free loaner Corolla, but I opted to use my van instead.

If you're getting the battery modification done (2001-2002 models only), it might take a while to get parts. Note that not all batteries will need parts, only those where corrosion from leakage has been a problem.

I'll finish this report when I get the bill. :(
 

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Did you call someone like Pep Boys to check on bearing prices?

I would love to know how the dealer price compares...

I thought that used to be a $20 part, last time I changed one.
Really minimal labor.

Robert
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So what's the appropriate strategy to get parts after they tell me what the problem is? Is it ok to say "I'll call you back on that after I do a search of the internet". Will they still do a good job? Or will "the cook spit in my food"? Or is there another way to approach this?

Since they've already done the repair, can I challenge them on the price when I go to pick it up? For example, show them a printout of the autopartsauthority.com page referenced above? Or should I just try the Toyota dealer that's about the same distance in the opposite direction next time I need service? Do dealer service prices vary much or do they all take you for everything they can?

In any case, I'm now interested to find out how they split the $450 between parts and labor.
 

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Sorry I have no answers, but we are all interested in how the charge
was broken out. I do regret causing you stress.

One thing that always works on an unexpectedly high charge is
"Not now, let me think about it". No dealer takes offense at this.

Toyota has us on a lot of things, like the MFD and computers,
but there are a few parts I would always check parts stores for.
Bearings, brake pads, and the 12 volt batterry ($184 !!) come to mind.
Of course light bulbs, windshield wiper blades, air and oil filters too.

Also, if the dealer wants $450 to unplug the high voltage battery,
(collision repair) question that too. That was reported by another owner.

Robert
 

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One additional note - the Toyota Platinum warrantee is 7 years,
100,000 miles. Wheel bearings are covered under this warrantee.
You might double (triple) check the coverage you have.

And this is another reason for the rest of us to get the extended
warrantee... ($985 from the Priuschat forum)

I had not even been thinking about the 90,000 mile service.

Robert
 

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And another reason to deal with a reputable dealer and certainly not like one charging over MSRP for their cars. I would be highly suspicious of prices quoted by these folks service departments. Usually a good dealer has a "set book" cost for fixing every individual componant on the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well, I'm not sure this experience justifies a platinum warrantee. It sounds like I'll be charged $900 for the two wheel bearing replacements, so if nothing else goes wrong in the next 10K miles, I'll be even. Presumably not everyone's wheel bearings will go out.

I'll definitely post as many pricing details as they provide me (hopefully next Tuesday).

Also, Robert (rmm20), you didn't cause me (very much) stress. I'm quite grateful for the information. Even if it doesn't help this time, it may help next time. Normally, by this mileage, I would have switched over to an independent service mechanic. Unfortunately, my favorite retired and sold his business to another lead mechanic that didn't do as good a job but charged a lot more. Also, the computerization of modern cars has given the manufacturers a great opportunity to create huge difficulties for independent mechanics to be able to do a good job. Toyota seems to have taken full advantage of this opportunity based on the difficulties people have had just creating independent diagnostic equipment. So for me, the path of least resistance has been (and may continue to be) to get service at my Toyota dealer.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
av_in_bc said:
Note that not all batteries will need parts, only those where corrosion from leakage has been a problem.
how can you tell if you have this problem?
can i do a visual or does it have to be taken in?
If you received a letter from Toyota directing you to bring your car in for inspection, then your dealer will inspect for problems. If you did not receive a letter (if your Prius is model year 2003 or later), then your battery has a better seal and won't develop the problem.

Inspecting the battery yourself will expose you to hazardous voltages, so it's not recommended.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I finally got Pikachu back from the 90K mile service + HV battery modification campaign after 3 weeks less 1 day. As I mentioned, the front wheel bearings needed to be replaced. It turned out not to be as easy as they planned. They said there was a lot of rust and they were unable to remove the bearings even using a blowtorch! They wondered if I left it parked in standing water for some period (no!). Anyway, they were nice enough not to charge me for the rusty steering knuckles that needed to be replaced in order to repair the damage. The parts I was charged for included hub sub-assemblies in addition to the wheel bearings and these were the bulk of the parts cost. The total for the bearing work, including tax came out to just under the $900 estimate.

The invoice items are listed below, both the invoice I had to pay ($1503.94) and the invoice covered by Toyota and the dealership. Oddly, they really did list boric acid as one of the parts used for the HV battery modification. I'm going to guess that they used it for cleaning rather than for filling the batteries as the customer representative told me when explaining that I had to wait an additional 2 weeks for it to come in. I'm pretty sure that NiMH batteries are filled with an alkali and adding acid would be a bad thing.

Code:
Invoice items:

90,000 mile service
  $300.00 labor
    85.05 parts
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  $385.05

Replace front left and right side wheel bearings
  $513.00 labor
   238.18 2x Hub sub-assy, fr axl
    90.76 2x Bearing, radial ball
     3.32 2x Ring, hole snap
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  $848.58

Cabin air filter replacement
  $ 42.75 labor
    45.95 parts
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  $ 88.70

Wheel Alignment
  $ 89.95 labor

Other
  $  6.93 supplies
  $ 84.73 state tax

Grand total $1503.94


Additional invoice items, not charged to me:

Goodwill parts only, left and right side knuckle assy
  $353.84 parts

Prius HV battery modification (per Toyota campaign)
  $376.20 labor
  $ 89.51 junction block kit
  $165.89 bond 7
  $ 12.88 boric acid
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  $765.21 (or $644.48 by my calculator)
 

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$45 a bearing, from the dealer, sounds really good to me.
Labor was the killer, as usual. Out here the shop rate is $90 an hour.

Your experience makes me wonder if the underbody is coated with anything. I will have to look...

In a state where they salt the roads in winter, undercoat may
be worth it.

Robert
 

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One last note - heck if any dealer is going to get me for $90 to change
the cabin air filter. That is one I will plan on doing myself.

Anyone know if the air filter cartriges are available after-market?

Robert
 

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Discussion Starter #16
cactsbob said:
Other than the dealer telling you that you needed new bearings, did you have any other reason to replace the bearings?
Yes, they were extremely noisy. They had been getting noiser over time, probably started back around 70-75K miles, but I don't remember for sure. Still, the dealer never mentioned them until this time when I specifically asked them to check.

They are much quieter now, but I still hear the sound faintly, so I'm a bit concerned I haven't heard the last of this.

We do get a lot of salt in NJ in the winter, but none of my or my wife's other cars have done this. We tend to keep cars for about 10 years, so this is a sample of 1 in 5 with this problem. But I do know friends and neighbors who had wheel bearings replaced. I just didn't ask/note price or car age.
 

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Filter and bearings

I have a 2001 with 103,000 miles. I haven't purchased anything yet but I am now seriously considering the front bearings after reading this thread. For $63.56 I guess I really can't go wrong. The sound I am hearing sounds like growl almost like a bearing internal to the drivetrain however (yikes!). This sound just started within the last 2000~3000 miles (go figure with the warranty). The Prius technician at my local dealer told me to start with wheel bearings if I was too gunshy to take it in and have them diagnose it. Anyone else with high miles able to describe a similar sound?


http://www.drivewire.com/toyotaparts/ca ... prius.html

http://catalog.eautopartscatalog.com/dr ... el+Bearing
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Acelliott, your sound description could match what I experienced. It was a low frequency growl at slow speeds, and a high frequency whiny growl at high speeds. Very similar to the failing wheel bearing sounds I've heard in friends cars. So if it sounds like a bearing to you, it very well could be the wheel bearings.

Good luck with your diagnosis. If you fear your dealer's pricing structure, try an independent. There's nothing hybrid in the wheel bearings. As with me, you might need more parts than just the wheel bearings though. Also, if the sound turns out to be coming from the transmission, they can tell you this and then you can take it to the dealer.
 

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His bearing case was really special. The bearings were about
10 percent of the cost. Because the dealer was unable to remove
the bearings from the bearing housing, bearing housing and labor costs
really ran up the total. The labor cost would have been much
less if the dealer did not even try removal.

Most of us will never see a bearing problem that bad - I hope.

Robert
 
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