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Just a suggestion...

We took a 1,000 mile trip a few days after picking up our new Prius in 2002. Here is what we did, but you might want to get suggestions from others:/

Q: the gas in Helena is 85 and 88 I assume I put in 88?
A: I'd use the lower grade; it should be fine.

Q: I go over four mountain passes several with very considerable grades. Runaway truck pull outs and the rest. I hope a few of you are familiar with western mountain passes. Any advice?
A: Use the cruise-control as much as possible, and let the computer control the ICE. I have driven extensively in the Rocky Mountains, over Trail Ridge Road and up Pikes Peak (14,110 feet). You shouldn't have any trouble with the grades. And, don't worry about the battery level; the hybrid computer takes care of everything.

Q: The speed limit in Montana is 75 and that is a "guide" most folks go faster. I can go a bit slower but you can also become a danger if you go too slow. Any advice except putting on flashers?
A: For the first few hundred miles stay at or below 65mph and vary your speed every 5-10 minutes using cruise control; e.g., 5 [email protected], 5 [email protected], 5 [email protected], etc., then back down in increments. After several hundred miles of 65mph max., start incrementing higher up to the speed limit, and then back down to 60 or 65mph.

The ICE rpm is controlled by the hybrid system computer and will not stay at a set rpm like a normal car, where 75mph might be a constant 3,500rpm. At any given speed in the mountains or rolling hills, the Prius ICE rpm will be all over the place, from zero rpm (off) going down hill to over 3,000 going uphill. Using "B" on long steep grades will also help break-in. Don't be tempted to drive straight through at 75. While it probably won't seriously hurt the ICE in the short-term, it may affect long-term life and reliability, which is important if you intend to keep the car until it rots into the ground, like I do.

The entire car won't be completely broken in for several thousand miles, but you can probably safely drive it for sustained periods at highway speeds after 1,000 miles without worrying about causing any damage.

Also, remember it is OK to ride the brakes slightly on downhill grades as long as you aren't actually engaging the brake pads/shoes. Regenerative braking will help hold your speed down (up to a point) and charge the batteries. But, for long steep grades, use "B". Oh yeah, try to avoid panic stops. The brake pads and shoes need break-in, too. But, don't baby them either, as they can glaze up.

Q: Advice about pick up. I am going to take a tire pressure gage and check the oil. Any other major tips?
A: Since you are immediately hitting the road, I would check all the fluids (oil, transmission, brake, washer, etc.) and the spare tire and jack. The dealer is supposed to show you where all of these are as part of the delivery checklist. Use that opportunity to verify that everything is full. Then, just stop somewhere to pump up the tires. Mine were all at 24psi when I picked up our Prius. 44/42 or 42/38 are common pressures used by people on this board, but anything above 32 is preferable. Personally, I run 44/42; but I have a 2002.

Q: What else have I forgotten? Any other suggestions. It will be a 10 hour drive home.
A: Have a safe trip home and enjoy your new car!
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