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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings All,

My mother and her husband purchased a 2004 Prius after waiting close to a year for it. They were thrilled, very excited and proud to be helping the enviornment.

Things have since soured and they have asked me to try and find some answers for them (they aren't "web" literate).

After having a service preformed they noticed a significant decrease in gas milage. A recall was preformed during the service and a part replaced which they feel is responsible.

Toyota has rebuffed all attempts they have made to speak to someone and the dealership ignores them. They are in their 70's, sharp as tacks, but treated like they don't know what they are talking about.

How about it fellow Prius owners? Can anyone help?

Thank you!

Geo
 

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hmm, i think we're going to need more info.

what service was done? what part was replaced? how much did mileage drop?

there are tons of variables here when it comes to mileage on these cars. please tell us more so we can try to help ya out :)
 

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glgraham said:
Greetings All,

They are in their 70's, sharp as tacks, but treated like they don't know what they are talking about.


Geo
If you parents are as vague as you and in their 70's I am siding with the dealer so far.

We need some facts here to help you.

what is the milage on the car?
How long are their trips?
how fast do they drive?
What changes were made to the car?
What is the average MPG?


Please come back when you have the info!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sorry, I know it was vague, however, I am awaiting a call back with the rest of the info.

I'm sure we all know what it's like when mom wants something...I'll hear about it 10 times a day, so I kinda rushed my question out there.

More info to follow. I appreciate the help.

Geo

SYNCMASTER said:
glgraham said:
Greetings All,

They are in their 70's, sharp as tacks, but treated like they don't know what they are talking about.


Geo
If you parents are as vague as you and in their 70's I am siding with the dealer so far.

We need some facts here to help you.

what is the milage on the car?
How long are their trips?
how fast do they drive?
What changes were made to the car?
What is the average MPG?


Please come back when you have the info!
 

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There have been reports about the TSB service that is for the "prius gas engine stalling" problem causing a decrease in MPG. I had this performed on my car a few month ago. The MPG did decrease about 10%, but I also got 4 new tires at the same time, so I don't really know what caused the decrease. The TSB did not involve any new parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Additional Info...

Here's the additional info:

Replaced an ECU Valve after electrical problem. Warning light, check engine check light and about every other light came on and the car died. That was at approx 10k miles. Toyota kept the car for days and the ECU Valve was all they found.

Prior to the electrical problem the mileage was 44-45 MPG, now 32-34 MPG.

After repeated attempts by Toyota to troubleshoot and correct the problem Toyota had a rep test drive they're Prius. Toyota reported in at 39 MPG.

They now have 15,000 miles on the Prius (including the unhappy last 5,000).

They're average trip is 20 min to 1 hour and the husband is the most aggressive angry driver I have ever had the displeasure to ride with (he is a dead ringer for Mr. Burns from The Simpsons - not kidding and not being mean).

As I told him of the maximum oil fill rule (3.5 quarts) he pulled out the last service record and found they listed 5 quarts. Every oil change they have received has listed 5 qts. I'm thinking the car has been running with too much oil and he drives too aggressively while taking short trips.

Tomorrow he is going to the dealership and have the correct mount of oil put in.

Hopefully this will solve the problem.

Many thanks to all of you who have responded. If there are other issues please feel free to contact me.

Thanks again,

Geo
 

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I really question the "sharp as tacks" claim. If they were, they would have tried the following:

1) Call out the dealer on screwing up with 5 quarts. I believe that car owners should show some responsibility and know what their car needs (how many quarts of oil, what kind, etcetera). It's not hard to check the oil after you get it changed! I ALWAYS check the oil after an oil change to make sure it's not been overfilled. I say get the dealer to fix it, and check up on 'em for every oil change from here on out.

2) Check the tires, make sure the pressure is correct. You can lose as much as 8-10 MPG if you are driving on tires with less than 30 PSI.

3) Modify driving habits. It's that simple. The Prius is NOT a race car! Chill out and leave earlier.

Easily, any or all of the above issues can contribute to a decrease of fuel economy. In fact, at this point, I'm of the opinion that the car is not at fault.
 

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Re: Additional Info...

glgraham said:
Here's the additional info:


They're average trip is 20 min to 1 hour and the husband is the most aggressive angry driver I have ever had the displeasure to ride with


Geo
This over filling the oil will reduce the milage somewhat but the biggest MPG killer is 20 min trips and aggressive driving.

take him for a ride in his car(you drive).
First check the tire pressure , put 42lbs in the fronts and 40 in the back.
Drive like a normal person at 60MPH set the cruise control.
Let him watch the consumption screen. After 20 min of driving he should see 4 bars which shows the last 20min of driving (5min per bar) the first left side bar(assuming the engine was cold ar start) should read across to 41MPG
The second bar should read 48MPG. The third bar should read 52MPG. The 4th bar should read 52MPG.
THis is on a flat highway, no stopping.
Now drive it like a maniac 75MPH (watch out for the law) and accelerate alot DON'T use the cruise control and let him see the next 5min bar that comes up, it will probably read around 42MPG. Now say to him look at the differance!
Now you have done all you can.... some people can't be helped .

P.S. If you don't get the numbers above , there is something wrong with the car. Get on the dealers case because it should perform as I stated above.


Good luck
Don
 

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Some of you are looking at the usually obvious choice of blame--the driver. But the car averaged 45 mpg for the first 5000 miles when break in is supposed to bring down mpg. (I'd be happy with average 45mpg). Then, immediately after servicing and over the next 10,000 miles, the mpg has dropped by 10. That's quite significant and quite a coincidence, don't you think? The driving habits of the parents couldn't have changed that much from prior to servicing to after servicing.
 

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ECU valve? What the heck is that? ECUs don't have valves, though valves are controlled by ECUs.
There's only a couple of valves in this car that I can think of:
1. The coolant water control valve that controls the flow of coolant from the ICE to the storage tank, the heater core, or off.
2. The evaporative emissions valve that provides a vacuume to the fueltank assembly.

The earliest ECM recalibrations did have a significant drop in MPG, but later ones weren't as bad. ECM is the computer ocntrolling the ICE.

Many dealers stamp 5 quarts on their oil change reports. Consider it the max oil they'll put in a car before they charge more. But do check for an overfill.
I stressed to the dealer to put in 3.5 quarts and they did. FINALLY THEY LISTEN! Of course I also tacked on a large paper tied to the brake fluid reservoir to put only 3.5 quarts, not overfill, and not spill oil. The oil level was a bit below full; it could probably use 8 oz to put it right on full.
 

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Page 206 in the 2004 owners manual gives you a complete rundown on engine oil and it's importance for lubricating AND cooling the engine. Carries on to page 282 and stresses the importance of the 3.9 capacity being adhered to. Seems as if 4 quarts (which my Toyota dealer insists on adding when the filter changed) is much better for the car than anything below that unless you are extremely carefull about checking the quantity after every fuel fill. (for the 3.9) I would guess 1/10th of a quart over would be a lot better than 4/10's too little. A lot easier to service correctly also, and surely a lot less messy.
Adding that 1/10th of a quart too much, will cut down on your milage is also silly.
 

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I've yet to go to the dealer and have my tires rotated and then set to the correct pressures afterwards.
Most common is to rotate and not change the tire pressure. (so now handling is screwed up because of the higher pressures in the rear)
Then it's rotate and then try to reset the tire pressure to 35psi front/33psi rear. Problem there is that the tires are warm (I just drove there in them, or they have a heated garage and its below freezing outside), so when I go to check the pressures the next morning it's far lower than the factory pressures.
Then it's rotate them and reset them to whatever they feel like. (When my 2001 was delivered to me, it was 32psi all around!) I've also seen 28psi all around, as well...

Next morning after any service I have to go and reset my tire pressures back to my usual of around 40/38. Otherwise, handling is poor and my MPG is less than usual.
 

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Lots of technical points have been covered, however if this dealer is treating them poorly, regardless of any possible communication issues on either side, go to a different dealer. Even if they are 100 miles or more away. Just like a major medical procedure, get a second opinion before you proceed further.

When going to a different dealer, be sure to bring along all documentation of past work so that dealer can see what has been done. Contrary to popular belief. Toyota's vehicle service databases are not all linked together. Why? I don't know considering the modern era we are in, but the data isn't universally shared.
 

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:roll: From reading this thread... Seems like the "super agressive" driver is the problem, as it would be with ANY auto as regards fuel economy.

OffTopic: "Sharp as a tack....?" - and just as flat-headed..???

I'm nearing 76 y.o. and getting average mileage on my Prius: 42-45 intown mostly short trips - 50-55 freeway. The Prius has changed my driving habits a bit: anticipating traffic signals and stop signs as well as slowdowns in my path, using cruise control a lot. I never expected to achieve the EPA figures (read your window placard's disclaimer). Achieving fuel economy REQUIRES input from the "nut on the steering wheel."

At its worse, my Prius yields TWICE the fuel economy as our Camry, is *FUN* to drive, and pollutes the air we breathe somewhat less.
 

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Thread hijack!

So, some of this talk has me wondering... On Los Angeles' (or put your favorite smoggy city here) worst smog days, would it actually be HEALTHIER to breathe Prius exhaust?

i.e. Is it possible for Prius (or any PZEV, for that matter,) exhaust to be CLEANER than the surrounding air?
 

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ehurtley said:
Thread hijack!

So, some of this talk has me wondering... On Los Angeles' (or put your favorite smoggy city here) worst smog days, would it actually be HEALTHIER to breathe Prius exhaust?

i.e. Is it possible for Prius (or any PZEV, for that matter,) exhaust to be CLEANER than the surrounding air?
Um, there's almost no oxygen in Prius exhaust. I, for one, am rather fond of oxygen, and would far prefer smoggy LA air to Prius exhaust for my daily breathing activities. Of course, compared to either, NJ is a breath of fresh air :p
 

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Well, the manuals may say 3.9, but 3.9 puts it over the top by about 8 oz.
Or at least when the dealer fills it without instruction, it is 8 oz over.

So, assuming they did put 3.9 in, 8/32 is .25, so it really should be filled to 3.65 to be on the mark. I don't think the oil level being under full by .15 to .2 would affect engine cooling or lubrication. I would be more concerned about being over, as oil can get into things it shouldn't.
 
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