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?Scheduled Major Maintenance? - How Important is it, and what?s a rough cost?

How important is the ?Scheduled Major Maintenance?, and what?s a rough ballpark for reasonable cost?

I have a 2001 Prius (first generation), that has been an absolute dream to drive and own. No issues, problems, and at 93,000 miles, everything seems to run very well.

I?ve been pretty good about getting the car to regular maintenance, always at the dealer. Costs have been ok so far.

Last week, I took my car in for regular maintenance and oil change, and they said the car was due for the 90,000 mile major maintenance, and that it would be $750. That seemed excessive to me. Below is a list of the items that are supposed to be done for this. Could you give me some guidance whether the price tag is a bit steep for those replacement items and an ?inspection? (not a repair/replacement) of a bunch of things? I?m just trying to get a second opinion. So far, I?ve had a decent relationship with the dealer (they tried to overcharge me once for work I hadn?t authorized, but I negotiated them down).

90,000 Miles Maintenance:

Replace air conditioning filter

Replace engine oil and oil filter

Replace engine air filter

Replace inverter coolant

Replace engine coolant

Rotate tires

Inspect the following:

? Ball joints and dust covers

? Drive shaft boots

? Brake lines and hoses

? Exhaust pipes and mountings

? Brake linings/drums and brake pads/discs

? Fuel tank cap gasket

? Differential oil

? Steering gear box

? Drive belts

? Steering linkage and boots

? Fuel lines and connections, fuel tank band and fuel tank vapor vent system hoses

? Transmission fluid

Scheduled maintenance is very very important. Failure to do so is likely to cost you far more than the cost of having the work done before there is a problem and you are far less likely to find yourself with a car that will not move in an area where things not moving don’t do well. Scheduled maintenance should be defined as the list in your owner’s manual with the addition of changing automatic transmission fluid and filter about every 30-40,000 miles. Manual transmissions, maybe a change every 100,000 miles or so.

I can't say much about the cost as it is dependent on the area.  NYC is going to be a lot more than Moscow KY. 

I?ve been pretty good about getting the car to regular maintenance, always at the dealer. Costs have been ok so far.

   Dealers are no better (or worse) than independent mechanics for almost anything you might need done on your car.  They will almost always charge more per hour and often more for parts and supplies.  They also tend to look at repairs a little different than the independent. 

A dealer may well recommend work that strictly may not be needed, but could be connected to the problem or maybe replace a part when a little repair would fix it ALMOST as good a new.  

There is no need to bring your car to the dealer for any service other than service that is going to be paid for by a recall or original warrantee.  During the warranty period be sure to have all required (as listed in the owner's manual) maintenance done and to document all maintenance work.

I suggest that most people would be better off finding a good independent (Not working for a chain) mechanic. 

Note: Never ever use a quick oil change place. They are fast cheap and very very bad.

Thank you for your feedback. I agree with you on the benefit of scheduled maintenance to avoid problems before they get significant/dangerous/expensive. Now I just need to get a couple of quotes and a feel for a good independent mechanic. Also, thanks for your thoughts on the quick oil change. I hear you.

An independent shop should be able to do all that for $300…Change the oil, 3 filters and and coolant, including the somewhat tricky inverter coolant…The rest is your basic “check everything under the car” inspection that takes about half an hour to perform…

If you decide on an independent shop, make sure they are familiar with changing the inverter coolant. They will probably have to make a trip to the dealer to get the factory approved coolant, unless you provide it…

Well, since you already replaced the oil and filter, no need to have it done again. Replacing the transmission fluid, coolant, filters and rotate tires is all that really needs done according to the list you gave(though I included the transmission fluid because it’s seldom ever listed for ANY vehicle to have it changed EVER). Also, cost should be around $2~400 depending on costs/labor.
I would argue Mr. Meehan’s point about independents for something like a Prius, the hybrid technology might be too foreign for them to work on.

A Saturday morning mechanic could do the above for around $100 for materials. The inspection items are typically simple to do; 30 or 45 minutes for a pro with a lift should cover them.

Yes, but the Prius doesn’t have an automatic transmission like you are thinking of. What it has is basically a differential between the gas motor and the electric motor.