Maintenance Schedule: Miles Vs. Time

My 2005 Prius is three years old, but has only 10,000 miles on it. I have had oil changes and recommended maintenance every six months. Now, according to maintenance schedule, car needs 30,000 maintenance. Since that is $265 (rather than $35 for the oil change, etc.), I’m wondering if I need that. I have discussed it with dealer “service manager,” who responds, “Well, you can do it either way.” In other words, he offers no advice at all.

Thanks for your help.

Those “three years or 30,000 miles” statements mean ‘whichever comes first’. The reason is that may things on cars deteriorate with time OR mileage.

I agree. The car is three years old. Whatever is listed in the maintenance schedule for a three year old car should be done.

I agree in general. However, I also have a car which will likely only accumulate 20,000 miles in 3 years, and the car will always be inside when not in use, have the block heater plugged in during freezing weather, etc. Items that deteriorate with age should be changed by the time scale. This would include serpentine belts, and other such items. Cabin air filters can get dirty when the car is parked outside. I would do the time-based maintenance, as the others suggest, till the end of the warranty period. An exception would be the spark plugs, which have a life dictated by the number of firings, and I would replace them based on mileage, and checking valve clearance which is also distance-driven. Many of these maintenance items are “inspection” which your non-dealer garage usually does for nothing when you bring the car in for service. The dealer cannot force you to do these things, and an indepent garage, like my mechanic, has all the dat to perform Toyota service to keep the warranty valid. My Toyota manual calls it “Recommended Maintenance”, rather than “Thou Shalt” acitivities.

I agree. Pay the $265, especially since your warranty counts on it.

Post the specific requirements of your 30,000 mile maintenance schedule, point by point, here, as well as what part of the country you live in and what type of driving you primarily do. You will then get more intelligent responses from this forum. Chances are that some of the prescribed services would be appropriate while others would not yet be necessary.

I live in Norfolk, VA. Car is parked outside and does not “sit” for longer than a week without being driven. Most driving is in-town, but includes a 15 mile or so trip on freeway every week and occasional four hour trips.

Specific items included in 30,000-mile service:
Replace engine oil and filter
Engine Flush
Rotate and balance tires
Replace engine air filter
Inspect the following: ball joints and dust covers, brake lines and hoses, brake linings/drums and brake pads/discs, differential oil, drive shaft boots, engine coolant, exhaust pipes and mountings, fuel lines and connections, fuel tank band and fuel tank vapor vent system hoses, fuel tank cap gasket, radiator cores and condenser, steering gear box, steering linkage and boots, transmission fluid or oil,
Install Wynn’s Maintenance Kit

Thanks for your help.

That list is clearly the DEALER’s LIST, rather than the manufacturer’s list. Toyota would not specify either an engine flush or installing a “Wynn’s Maintenance Kit” (whatever that is). If you want to preserve your warranty, have everything listed in your Maintenance Schedule performed (the list should be in your glove compartment), and skip anything that is not listed there.

Better know as the Owners Manual. Like you said VDC, the list is NOT from the manual. But then, who reads THAT, eh?

Right you are! And good advice. I have searched my car file and found “2005 Prius Scheduled Maintenance Guide,” a Toyota publication–not a dealer booklet. Toyota guide has the same list except, as you noted, dealer list has “install Wynn’s Maintenance Kit.” And, it does note, “30,000 miles OR 36 months.” There is no mention of checking “belts” until 120,000 mile (or 144 months) and then only the “drive belt.”

I think I will opt for the $265 service, since that is what Toyota recommends and it is essentially the same as the “dealer-prepared” list. I assume that $265 is a reasonable price for that?

Thanks very much for everyone’s help with this. I feel much more comfortable dealing with the service manager now.

Yes, this is a dealer’s “make work list”. Engine flush is about as necesary as an “enema” prescibed by some doctors. Wynn’s maintenance kit appears NOWHERE in the Toyota MANUAL! My 2007 TOYOTA MANUAL says the following for 30,000 miles:

  1. Replace oil & filter
  2. Remove & inspect air cleaner element; replace IF REQUIRED
  3. Lubricate locks, latches & hinges
  4. Inspect lights, horn, wipers for proper action
  5. INSPECT coolant (strength), check other fluid levels, including HYBRID TRANSAXLE FLUID LEVEL
  6. Inspect steering gear and undercarriage (CV joint seals are most important)
  7. Inspect brake linings, drums, pads, discs, lines & hoses.
  8. Inspect exhaust system for damage
  9. Rotate tires & check pressure
  10. Replace cabing air filter.

As you can see, many items are “inspect” only, something an owner could do most of and your friendly independent garage would do for free in about 10 minutes, once the car is on the hoist. Rotating tires on a time basis rather than mileage is idiotic, as is taking the brake drums off when the car has really not gone anywhere. Some Toyota cars sit on the lot for 6 months; ask the dealer if they bring these cars in for service on a time basis, even if they don’t go anywhere. The cabin air filter is not on the dealer’s list; I suspect because it actually involves some work by a skilled technician! But it is on Toyota’s 2007 list. Again, the cabin filter does not affect your warranty. It is a personal comfort item, and unless you park near a steel mill in Gary, Indiana, the filter will go a long way before getting dirty.
So it looks like the $265 service is really a $265 oil change.