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Hello!

I am nearing 75,000 miles on my 2004 Prius. The car is 4.5 years old, and has lived its life in sunny and hot Florida.

In the past (with other cars), it has been my practice to replace all of my belts and hoses around the same time that I replace the timing belt, usually about every three years or 60,000 miles or so. It saves on labor to have your typical service department replace all that stuff while they've got the front of the engine off anyhow.

But the Prius has a timing chain and not a belt, so it obviates a 60k interval. But I'm still concerned about being stranded by a failed belt or hose. I feel very strongly that it's safer to just replace-before-failure.

So I have some questions:

What do the rest of you think? Is it advisable to have the belts and hoses replaced every 3 to 5 years? After all, rubbery and plasticy parts eventually wear out and become brittle.

How involved is this maintenance for the Prius? It seems to me that that stuff is slotted between the passenger fender and the engine; not a lot of room to get a hand or tool in there without major disassembly.

What about (in general) Toyota water pumps? In your experience, do these things have longevity, or do they fail around 80,000 miles like water pumps from other manufacturers? Any Prius-specific experience in this area?

Thanks in advance!
 

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Inspect the belt. There is only one and it's a simple "V" belt. As it's small it should be inexpensive. As for the hoses, the coolant is supposed to be good for a very long time. Perhaps if you really want to spend money you could replace the hoses when you replace the coolant. Basically the Prius runs pretty cool compared to other cars, so I suspect the hoses would last a long time.

I haven't heard of a water pump failure yet. Most Toyotas go for several 100,000 mi on the original water pump. It's the coolant transfer pump that fails in the Prius. That's the one that transfers coolant back and forth from the thermos. Failure mode is usually just a seizure. So it doesn't leak, it just doesn't work anymore. You'd get lots of time to get it replaced without being stranded. Unless you panicked from the lights. ;)
 
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