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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm about to hit the 3,500 mark—which is where my dealer recommended the first service. However, I'm aware some don't believe it's necessary until the 5,000th mile (certainly would be easier to remember future oil changes if they all occurred every five).

What's the consensus amongst the well-informed?

Thanks, as always.

marlowe
 

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Oil Change

5,000 intervals are recommended in your manual as well as by most reputable mechanics. Personally, I'd also go with a synthetic oil as well!
 

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i asked this very question when I was at the 3,000 mile point and my dealer had recommended a change at 3,500. I decided to stick with the maintenance plan of 5,000 mile intervals after discussions at this forum. Among other reasons, I was reminded that the ICE does not always run so when the car has 5,000 miles the ICE may have only run for 3,500 or so.
 

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I agree with old habits being hard to break. I changed my own to Mobil One at 1000 miles. I'll let the dealer mess with it at 5000 miles since I couldn't get the filter off with the newly purchased three-fingered oil wrench since I couldn't find the "cap" one. :(

I suppose I could do it myself, but I'm now wondering if any TSB have been issued that the car may need.
 

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Note, about the less time the ICE runs and it's relation to oil changes. I've discovered since adding a tachometer that the engine runs better than 85% of the time. Granted at extremely low rpm but without the EV switch it is running well above what I had originally thought during my first year of ownership. The MFD isn't even close to indicating when the engine is running. True, it doesn't at full stops, but that's about the only time garanteed to be shut down. I've found it running at 1275 rpm when the MFD is showing 99.9 mpg and this isn't just at startup when it is running to get the coolant or converter hot. This thing is like a finely built watch and the MFD can't even come close with keeping up with it.
 

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Just because the ICE is spinning, doesn't mean it is running. Spin without combustion would not be nearly harmful to the oil as would be under combustion run.

Also, although I agree that the maintenance schedule is probably the best recommendation, those intervals are minimum to maintain warranty. That doesn't necessarily mean that's the best schedule. If the dealers tailored their maintenance packages to what was possible for a vehicle, they might have been right in their recommendations. However, since they get caught padding with blanket maintenance items that don't apply to most vehicles, these maintenance schedule recommendations can't be trusted.
 

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hyperion said:
Note, about the less time the ICE runs and it's relation to oil changes. I've discovered since adding a tachometer that the engine runs better than 85% of the time. Granted at extremely low rpm but without the EV switch it is running well above what I had originally thought during my first year of ownership. The MFD isn't even close to indicating when the engine is running. True, it doesn't at full stops, but that's about the only time garanteed to be shut down. I've found it running at 1275 rpm when the MFD is showing 99.9 mpg and this isn't just at startup when it is running to get the coolant or converter hot. This thing is like a finely built watch and the MFD can't even come close with keeping up with it.
So does this mean that in the Energy MFD, when the pink arrows are not showing (showing 99.9 MPG doesn't correlate to the pink arrows displaying), the ICE is running? If so, that surely diminishes the usefulness of this display. There's many times when the car is running that the pink arrows are off--I'd say a good 25% of the time. Maybe as DanMan states, it's a spinning vs running issue and the tach is reading the spinning even though the ICE isn't technically running.
 

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I can only say that during this socalled "spinning" operation the engine coolant temp never falls below 178 degrees. The power transfer case has got to be the controlling device in the entire hybrid and I believe from observation that the MFD is just an interesting thing to observe but it's not telling you half the story. It can't, as the power requirements vary by the "second".
As I've observed, below forty mph there seems to be very little relationship between RPM and speed. I'v seen everything from 1100 rpm to 2275. This seems to be the under fifty five mph parameter, and it does fluctuate continuously between these two indications regardless of speed.
I've had to disregard all my thoughts about how the internal combustion engine works in a standard car. An engine run light would drive you nuts in an 04 Prius as it would be in constant conflict with what you are observing on the MFD.
Engine spinning if not used for braking would be cutting into MPG so I would expect to see little of this unless going down hill. I don't expect a spinning engine can do more for less on battery charge than an idling engine.
I can see now why instruments were completely removed from the Prius but engine rpm, coolant temps and 12v voltage are neat things to know even if they don't seem to relate to motive power.
 

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I heard alot of horror stories when toyota said the sienna oil should be changed every 5000 mi and alot of reports of sludge build up and engines needed to be replaced. Toyota blamed the owners and claimed they forgot oil changes and let it go to 7 or 8000 mi.
I don't trust toyotas judgement about the 5000mi oil change.
since the prius ICE is always starting and stopping I think it is harder on the engine and I don't think even toyota knows what effect that will have on the engine.
I have always changed my oil&filter in my cars every 3000 mi so now with the prius maintenance light comes on at 4500 miles for the oil to be changed at 5000 mi. I decided to change my oil every 2500 mi so every other oil change will be in sync with the maintenance light. I do my own changes so it costs me about $8.00

Just giving you my 2 cents.
 

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Syncmaster, you are almost right. Toyota used to require OCI at 7500 miles (see maintenance specs on the classic Prius), but as you said, started seeing sludge problems so the OCI was reduced to 5000 mi. The sludge problem was probably more of a design problem, allowing oil to pool and stay stagnant at certain locations.

In Europe, from what I understand, the OCI is much much longer than ours. I have frequently asked why they can go longer, as the same combustion contamination occurs there as here (same engine). After repeated requests, it was implied, but not clearly stated that the oil absorbed and neutralized the contaminants better there than here.

CR did a study on engine oil life using NYC taxis. They found that 6000 miles was a sufficient interval, but going further yielded too much acid buildup due to combustion contamination, even with synthetic.

You can always change more often than required, certainly no harm will come to your engine unless it is done wrong. However, there is an impact to the environment, so a balance should be made.
 

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DanMan32 said:
Syncmaster, you are almost right. Toyota used to require OCI at 7500 miles (see maintenance specs on the classic Prius), but as you said, started seeing sludge problems so the OCI was reduced to 5000 mi. The sludge problem was probably more of a design problem, allowing oil to pool and stay stagnant at certain locations.
I don't recall Toyota ever saying why they changed the oil/filter and tire rotation interval on the US 2004-? Prius to 6 months/5000 miles from the Classic's 6 months/7500 miles. Same engine, only a different rev limit.

My personal speculation was that they wanted to keep things easy on owners, as they seemed to suggest that the tire rotations should be done more frequently (5000 miles), based on the rapid edge wear seen on the early Prius with the old-style Potenzas. (The interval in the warranty tire replacement letter for CHA/JDH DOT coded tires was 5000 miles, but the Passport to Performance schedule is 7500 miles.)

Yes, in the UK and other non-North American countries the oil/filter change interval is every 10,000 miles/1 year. Yes, it's the same exact engine. Only differences are in fuel quality, and the lack of the bladder tank, 3-way catalyst, and CHSS on the 2004-? Prius...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
RE: oil

Obviously this was a more complicated question than I realized, but I still haven't gotten clarity on this.

First change at 3,500 — with future changes at 5,000 intervals

or

First change at 5,000 — with future changes at 5,000 intervals

Just give me the number that's in line with your best thinking.

Thanks!

marlowe
 

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[quote="mrvYes, in the UK and other non-North American countries the oil/filter change interval is every 10,000 miles/1 year. Yes, it's the same exact engine. Only differences are in fuel quality, and the lack of the bladder tank, 3-way catalyst, and CHSS on the 2004-? Prius...[/quote]

Quality of fuel might make some difference to OCI requirements, but the bladder would have nothing to do with it (has to do with fuel evaporation into the air BEFORE it got to the ICE), and the catalytic wouldn't do much either. You still have to have an O2 sensor to properly burn the fuel, so there still is a warmup period that might yield a richer burn until closed loop combustion run is achieved. Even if it did affect it, I doubt it would allow it to be double. I thought though the OCI was much higher than 10K.

Admittedly, it was speculated that Toyota reduced the OCI to 5K because they got burned at 7.5K with other cars, mainly the Sienna. ALL their cars currently only require a 5K interval, not just the hybrids. i suppose I could look back to OCIs on a 2002 Corolla.
 

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OK, just checked a 2002 Corolla passport. They had a 5K AND a 7.5K interval, you chose which based on your vehicle usage.

So it does seem Toyota abandoned their 7.5K intervals they had at one time for ALL or Many of their cars, not just Hybrids, but abandoned it, probably because they got burned with the sludge problem.

Excerpts from a 2002 Passport:

Determining the Proper Maintenance Interval
Depending on your circumstances, you should obtain maintenance for your
Toyota every 5,000 miles or every 7,500 miles. Follow these guidelines to
determine which interval to use.
5,000-Mile Intervals
Use 5,000-mile intervals if you primarily operate your vehicle under any of
the following conditions:
• Driving on unpaved or dusty roads.
• Towing a trailer or using a car-top carrier.
• Repeated trips of less than five miles in temperatures below freezing.
7,500-Mile Intervals
Use 7,500-mile intervals if you primarily operate your vehicle under conditions
other than those listed above.

Cars and Sienna
If you choose 5,000-mile intervals, follow the instructions below the light blue
bars in the “Cars and Sienna” charts, such as this one:
5,000 Miles or 4 Months
If you choose 7,500-mile intervals, follow the instructions below the dark blue
bars in the “Cars and Sienna” charts, such as this one:
7,500 Miles or 6 Months
At 15,000-mile increments, the 5,000-mile and 7,500-mile intervals coincide.
Therefore, the colored bars appear together, as in this example:
15,000 Miles or 12 Months
15,000 Miles or 12 Months
 

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hyperion said:
They got to be kidding. Something is lost in translation. Maybe they don't have a hundred year history. (or then again, they have never heard of "common sense") Again, ...oil...and tires .... are personal. (Unless this is your first ever car) then you ask dad!
If you can ask your dad. :'(

Then again, I saw what happened with my first car, bought used, a haunted '84 Buick Century Limited. I don't know when/if the dealership had done the oil prior to my getting it. My father kept saying that he'd change the oil, but never did... I finally coaxed my neighbor to do it for me (since my father would forgive him, but wouldn't forgive me if I paid money at a service shop to do it!), but that was well past the recommended 3months/3000 miles... My neighbor had to break the rusted oil filter off, and the oil that came (slowly) out of the car was a dark black, and ran at the consistency of a heavy molassas... (When my father did do his oil changes, his preferred method of disposing of the oil was to leave it in the open oil pan in the backyard (any critter could get to it), and often it spilled in the backyard. Not too great, as we (and most of our neighbors) had well water...
 

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DanMan32 said:
In Europe, from what I understand, the OCI is much much longer than ours. I have frequently asked why they can go longer, as the same combustion contamination occurs there as here (same engine). After repeated requests, it was implied, but not clearly stated that the oil absorbed and neutralized the contaminants better there than here.

In Europe the OCI of the prius is 15.000 km = 9375 miles and this is considered to be very, very short for a new car. Most cars have intervals from 20.000 to 30.000 km (12,500 to 18.750 miles), some even go after a self-analyzing internal systems which, depending on usage, give you intevalls up to 50.000 km (31.250 miles).

In fact for many car related magazines this seems to be a highly criticized point (especially when comparing Japanese vehicles to European ones). Long intervals are favored in Europe. However most car manufactures ask for at least one oil change per year.

My wife´s Citroen C3 (a diesel engine) has an interval of 30.000 km, one of my bosses BMW 5 series tells you when to come for a pitstop (usually every 40.000 km he says).

Walter
 

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DanMan32 said:
In Europe, from what I understand, the OCI is much much longer than ours. I have frequently asked why they can go longer, as the same combustion contamination occurs there as here (same engine). After repeated requests, it was implied, but not clearly stated that the oil absorbed and neutralized the contaminants better there than here.

In Europe the OCI of the prius is 15.000 km = 9375 miles and this is considered to be very, very short for a new car. Most cars have intervals from 20.000 to 30.000 km (12,500 to 18.750 miles), some even go after a self-analyzing internal systems which, depending on usage, give you intevalls up to 50.000 km (31.250 miles).

In fact for many car related magazines this seems to be a highly criticized point (especially when comparing Japanese vehicles to European ones). Long intervals are favored in Europe. However most car manufactures ask for at least one oil change per year.

My wife´s Citroen C3 (a diesel engine) has an interval of 30.000 km, one of my bosses BMW 5 series tells you when to come for a pitstop (usually every 40.000 km he says).

Walter
 
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