General Question

Snarp's avatar

Who should change the oil in my Prius?

Asked by Snarp (11176 points ) December 9th, 2009

I hate going to the dealer for service, they overcharge on everything. It’s also 45 minutes one way to get there. But when I open the hood of my Prius, it doesn’t even look like an engine. Is my local mechanic likely to be able to competently do the scheduled maintenance (including but not limited to oil changes) on this car?

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24 Answers

LKidKyle1985's avatar

hmmm you could call him and ask him? I’d imagine the oil change isn’t that different on the hybrid since its still a gas engine. You could probably youtube “oil change on a prius hybrid” and get a video on how to do it yourself.

stratman37's avatar

DIY all the way! Unless it’s so cheap that you couldn’t do it yourself for that little money…

LKidKyle1985's avatar

I just have to say that totally looks like an engine to me lol

Snarp's avatar

Let me clarify. Doing it myself is not going to happen. Partly because I have no desire to buy ramps or jackstands, and mainly because I don’t have time for that sort of thing. Also I am inclined toward having some official record of the service for warranty purposes.

@LKidKyle1985 Well engines didn’t look like that when I did my own car repairs. What the hell is that silver thing on the driver’s side?

stratman37's avatar

You mean the “710” cap?

Val123's avatar

ROFL! I’d say DIY to, but then I remembered a joke I read a long time ago! I found it—it’s great!

Oil change instructions for women v men:

Oil change instructions for women:

1) Pull up to Jiffy Lube when the mileage reaches 3000 since the
last oil change.

2) Drink a cup of coffee.

3) 15 minutes later, write a check and leave with a properly
maintained vehicle.

Money spent:
$20.00 for oil change
$1.00 for coffee
Total = $21.00

Oil Change instructions for Men:

1) Go to auto parts store and write a check for $50.00 for oil,
filter, kitty litter, hand cleaner and a scented tree.

2) Discover that the used oil container is full. Instead of
taking it back to O’Reilly to recycle, dump in hole in back
yard.

3) Open a beer and drink it.

4) Jack car up. Spend 30 minutes looking for jack stands.

5) Find jack stands under kid’s pedal car.

6) In frustration, open another beer and drink it.

7) Place drain pan under engine.

8) Look for 9/16 box end wrench.

9) Give up and use crescent wrench.

10) Unscrew drain plug.

11) Drop drain plug in pan of hot oil: get hot oil on you in
process.

12) Clean up mess.

13) Have another beer while watching oil drain.

14) Look for oil filter wrench.

15) Give up; poke oil filter with screwdriver and twist off.

16) Beer.

17) Buddy shows up; finish case of beer with him. Finish oil
change tomorrow.

18) Next day, drag pan full of old oil out from underneath car.

19) Throw kitty litter on oil spilled during step 18.

20) Beer. No, drank it all yesterday.

21) Walk to 7–11; buy beer.

22) Install new oil filter making sure to apply a thin coat of
oil to gasket surface.

23) Dump first quart of fresh oil into engine.

24) Remember drain plug from step 11.

25) Hurry to find drain plug in drain pan.

26) Discover that the used oil is buried in a hole in the back
yard,along with drain plug.

27) Drink beer.

28) Uncover hole and sift for drain plug.

29) Discover that first quart of fresh oil is now on the floor.

30) Drink beer.

31) Slip with wrench tightening drain plug and bang knuckles on
frame.

32) Bang head on floor boards in reaction to step 31.

33) Begin cussing fit.

34) Throw wrench.

35) Cuss for additional 10 minutes because wrench hit Miss December
(1992)

in the left boob.

35) Beer.

36) Clean up hands and forehead and bandage as required to stop
blood flow.

37) Beer.

38) Beer.

39) Dump in five fresh quarts of oil.

40) Beer.

41) Lower car from jack stands.

42) Accidentally crush one of the jack stands.

43) Move car back to apply more kitty litter to fresh oil
spilled during step 23.

44) Beer.

45) Test drive car.

46) Get pulled over: arrested for driving under the influence.

47) Car gets impounded.

48) Make bail: Get car from impound yard.

Money spent:

$50.00 parts
$25.00 beer
$75.00 replacement set of jack stands: hey the colors have to
match!!!!
$1,000.00 Bail
$200.00 Impound and towing fee
_________
$1,350.00 Total

stratman37's avatar

That sounds about right. Every time I start a DIY project around the house, my wife takes bets on how many trips I’ll end up making to Lowe’s! (“gotta go back and get THIS…”)

Val123's avatar

@stratman37 Yep! When I start a project I think ahead, plan ahead to try and figure out every single thing I’ll need to finish it. My husband thinks that just getting started is good enough! And we have to wait, and wait, sometimes months, to get this or that, or that or this so he can keep working on it….

stratman37's avatar

Months? Are you a missionary in Uganda?

Snarp's avatar

@stratman37 If I knew what it was called, would I be asking what it was? Driver’s side, very front, bright silver, has yellow warning triangle and some huge wiring harnesses coming out of it.

stratman37's avatar

yeah, stay away from the yellow warning triangle, many a men have lost their lives in those waters arr!!

gemiwing's avatar

Depending on how many people have them in your area- your local Jiffy Lube place can probably take care of it for you. I’d give them a call and ask how many they’ve done.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

The gasoline engine in a Prius isn’t any different in terms of maintenance requirements from any other engine. It’s got a drain plug, a filter, a dipstick, and an oil filler cap. It shouldn’t cost any more to get an oil change than any other car. Any quick-lube joint will do, and they’ll top off your washer fluid for free.

CMaz's avatar

Do they need oil?

Thought all you had to do was rub down the interior now and then.

proXXi's avatar

Toyota should.

I’m a honda person but the following likely applies to your toyota as well.

1. Toyota might use a disposable one use washer on the drain plug bolt. If the washer is reused the plug will not seal.

2. Toyota might use an oil filter made specifically to operate at the prius’ oil pressure.

3. Oil changing provides an opportunity to examine the underside of the car. Only a Toyota tech is best qualified to know what problems to look for.

4. Routine oil changes give you an opportunity to build a good relationship with a Toyota service advisor. This is a good thing to have when it’s time for big repairs that you wouldn’t dream of taking to the corner service station.

Fred931's avatar

@snarp You are being too hard on yourself. You wouldn’t believe how easy it is just to go pick up a few quarts of oil (and a filter, if applicable) from the store, grab a tin pan and a funnel from the kitchen, find a wrench (and a torque wrench [and if you don’t, buy one]), and get started. As long as you are calm and focused while you are doing the job, you’ll be very satisfied with the end result. I first changed the oil in my dad’s minivan when I was 14, and that was a piece of cake. Not to mention, having someone a shop do the job can turn bad for a variety of reasons. Just do it yourself; everything should be fine as long as you make sure you know what you’re doing, and even though changing the oil seems like a daunting task to someone who isn’t very hands-on, it’s just unscrewing, rescrewing, filling, untightening, rubbing, and retightening, in no particular order. You may even be so proud of yourself that you may want to do it on your other car(s).

There’s already a DIY posted on here, so follow that.

Snarp's avatar

@Fred931 Thanks, but I’ve changed plenty of oil. I did the maintenance on all four of my family’s cars from the time I was about 15. I have better things to do with my time.

that sounds testy, guess I’m just redneck enough to take the assumption that I don’t know how to change oil or am afraid to get my hands dirty personally

Fred931's avatar

@Snarp I didn’t realize that you understood how to do common motor vehicle repairs. Seeing that you just don’t want to do it because you have a choice, then, I think you should go to the local Jiffy-Lube or whatever you have in your area if you want to save a little bit of money. Of course, Toyota will have parts made for your specific car and usually sends you nice little coupons in the mail that would make the service cheaper than going to a general oil changer.

Fred931's avatar

Of course, I don’t trust my local lube station in the fact that they don’t like to pick up after themselves. In other words, here’s a story:

After we had left the lube shop about 2 miles down the road, we got a phone call from the guy that just did the job saying that he had not replaced the plastic engine cover. So, as we made a u-turn, we hear this rattling noise. At that point, I notice the bolts that held the engine cover down along with the wrench used to remove these bolts riding with the windshield wipers and sliding across the bottom of the outside of the window. Now every time we go to that shop, that shop attendant gets made fun of.

jerv's avatar

I’ve heard many horror stories from those quick-lube places, often involving the drain plug; forgetting to reinstall it, put it in too loose, or over-torque it and strip the threads out of the oil pan. Additionally, most of them don’t use the oil I need. Newr cars may handle 10W-30 at the thickest, but that is like water for my cars; my old Corolla recommends that only if it never exceed 60F, prefering 20W-50 or straight 30-weight. Full mechanic shops are more competent and more likely to acknowledge/honor “special requests”, though you pay a little more.

Personally, I’ve always done my own oil changes and for most cars I’ve had, I didn’t even need to jack them up or use ramps since I have long arms (thus can usually reach the drain plug pretty easily) and most of my rigs have has a filter I could reach from the top. But if I didn’t want to do it myself, I would rather go to a (reputable) local mechanic. Where I used to live, there were a couple who charged $35–45/hr for labor instead of $60–100, and I’m sure that there are some here (or nearly anywhere else) as well.

RocketGuy's avatar

I’ve had my drain plug so over-torqued that I could not remove it myself the next time. I’ve also had my oil pan threads stripped – that’s an expensive repair caused by a cheap oil change!

I would take it to a reputable local mechanic. Maybe look up Diamond Certified or Yelp.

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