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According to my maintenance manual, my first service should be due at 5,000 miles. My dealer says they recommend doing oil changes sooner than that. Why should I do it sooner than the manual recommends? How do I know the dealer isn't just trying to get more money out of me?
 

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They dealer's only reason is to make money; it's how they stay in business. The more work they do for you, they more money they make. And that's fair.

When it's not fair, is when they start pushing things that you don't need. That's called cheating, and should be a red flag as to how the business is run.

Anyway, to answer your question: avoid warranty hassles by keeping a written record of the work done. Make sure the work done is, at least, what is specified in the "passport to service" booklet. That will more than cover you. Note this applies no matter who does the work. You can not be denied warrant coverage because you did not do the service at a dealer, provided it was properly done.

Even if you had done *no* service, the dealer would have to show the lack of service caused, or is likely to have caused, the problem. Thus, if your radio malfunctions, it doesn't matter if you changed the oil or not, but if your engine freezes up and you can't prove you've changed the oil in the last 48000 miles, well....

Thanks,
Shawn
 

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Follow your Prius Passport to Performance scheduled maintenance guide. (Unless you like paying for and disposing of more oil, anyways.)

http://smg.toyotapartsandservice.com/ for the US booklet.

I'll note that for the same engine, the US 2001-2003 Prius has a 6 month/7500 mile service schedule, while the US 2004-current Prius has a 6 month/5000 mile service schedule, while the UK Prius has had a 1 year/10,000 mile service schedule throughout...
 

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However don't blame a salesman for trying to "fleece you". He may just be a car person and it has always been a good idea when purchasing a new car to have your first oil change a lot sooner than at the 5,000 mile mark. I had my first done at 2500 (skipped the tire rotation) and had the second done at 5,000 and then on as specified in the maintanance schedule.
Manufacturing process is a lot better today than it once was when the first oil change was recommended at 500 miles to make sure any metal particals caused in engine assembly were removed.
As good as it is today you have to realize your engine was made and assembled by a machine.
The first oil change should be done at any interval that "suits" you. After all, you plan to keep this car a long time and one "extra" oil change should not be an enormous expense, "and it couldn't hurt!"
 
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