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Richard34

Prius - How Important Is A Toyota Service History?

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Following on a from a previous post, I'm still looking to buy a Gen 2 Prius and I've found one that might tick all of the boxes.

It's a T4 model that comes in 'Could-it-look-any-more-boring-Grey', with 74000miles on the clock. It's had 3 owners and the current one has owned for 6 months. The price is £4690 (probably due to it being a private sale).

BUT there's one problem. The service history started off as all Toyota but the last two services have been carried out by BMW/Merc specialist (?!). Now I've heard that with hybrids they really need to be serviced by the manufacturer.

So, is this true? Should I wait for a FTSH model, or would most of you not even bat an eyelid and see it as a good deal?

Thanks for reading.

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I wouldn't worry too much if the specialist has a good reputation and used genuine Toyota parts.

There's no user serviceable parts on the hybrid system until 100k so they shouldn't have touched that side, though if anything did go wrong then could Toyota weasel out of the 100k/8yr hybrid warranty if non-genuine parts had been used for standard Oil/filter servicing?

Two questions I would ask:

1) why are they selling after only 6 months?...any faults on it?

2) I would also ask Toyota whether that car was due the hybrid coolant pump change under recall - not really needed for UK but at least you know if it's been done

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I would not buy a Toyota prius that did not have a full Toyota service and repair history. Personally I do not think what you describe is a good deal and I think you could do better. Check out Toyota dealers on the internet for a better deal and a car with FSH etc. For the Gen 2 Aztec Gold is a nice colour.

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Its all down to personal preference.. I prefer a toyota FSH only because its easier to sell on the car with one. Any FSH does not in any way guarantee that you are buying a decent motor car however, some people who know little or nothing about cars do attach a tremendous amount of importance to the FSH propaganda promoted by the trade. If the car is cheap enough and smart enough with no signs of neglect, then a lack of FSH could be an option with most cars, however , with hybrids , there is more need for specifically trained persons to attend to the vehicle.

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I would ask myself why someone is selling a car after only 6 months and for what, I assume, is a low price. I think I would probably end up walking away, particularly if I didn't like the colour in the first place. At the end of the day it depends how much you want the car and how risk averse you are.

If you can extend the budget you may find a better deal through a Toyota dealer. You may not get a long warranty on an older car but at least the dealer has some sort of reputation to protect. I imagine that more older cars will soon be appearing at the dealers as they are part exchanged for the new registration.

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with a car as sophisticated as the prius, personally FSH and warranty are a must. i normally buy private, without warranty and service history from the car's manufacturer to save cost, but i thought if i did this with the Prius, i might fork out a lot more in the near future. Look elsewhere, there are a fair few around. when i bought mine, the dealer was actually selling cheaper than private sellers. so it was a bit of a no brainer.

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however , with hybrids , there is more need for specifically trained persons to attend to the vehicle.

Not to perform routine servicing. Same as any other petrol vehicle, certainly until to get to very high mileages when the inverter fluid needs changing.

If I have a fault with my vehicle, I don't wait until the next service to get it fixed. Just because a service history book has Toyota stamps for the routine servicing it doesn't mean repairs have been performed by a main dealer.

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however , with hybrids , there is more need for specifically trained persons to attend to the vehicle.

Not to perform routine servicing. Same as any other petrol vehicle, certainly until to get to very high mileages when the inverter fluid needs changing.

If I have a fault with my vehicle, I don't wait until the next service to get it fixed. Just because a service history book has Toyota stamps for the routine servicing it doesn't mean repairs have been performed by a main dealer.

Even a routine Oil change requires the mechanic to have that tiny bit of hybrid knowledge to know how to switch the car off properly!

The Toyota hybrid cars account for maybe 2% of the vehicles on the road. How many independents have the experience and have enough interest to research any gotchas of a Toyota hybrid before performing any routine service? What access do they have to Technical bulletins, in service updates, etc?

My view is in theory the main dealer mechanic is trained to a minimum level of incompetence but then fails to meet even that level. I think it is a safe bet to assume that the quality and thoroughness of even a main dealer service falls below what is required to maintain a car to a good standard in most cases.

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whether somebody is competent or not, my main point is that a service history in no way guarantees that faults have been diagnosed and fixed by the main dealer, all it does is verify that the standard routing servicing has been - which is the part most independent mechanics can easily perform. Any faults that have occurred could have been fixed by anybody.

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How often does routine servicing get given to the YTS trainee? (that's showing my age).

Servicing by a local drive-in type place would show a very very basic level of care that I would avoid.

What if their local Toyota dealer was a pile of pants? and they had a relationship with a specialist they trusted?

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whether somebody is competent or not, my main point is that a service history in no way guarantees that faults have been diagnosed and fixed by the main dealer, all it does is verify that the standard routing servicing has been - which is the part most independent mechanics can easily perform. Any faults that have occurred could have been fixed by anybody.

I don't think it even verifies that the standard service has been performed fully, only that the dealer stamped the book and ticked a few boxes on a sheet of paper. I agree that a dealer service doesn't provide any assurance that the car is being maintained properly or won't breakdown, but that's because I suspect the servicing of cars is generally poor. If Toyota (and probably this applies to lots of other manufacturers) can't even sort out something as simple as not overfilling the engine Oil...they are probably not doing many other things correctly.

Whilst I agree an independent mechanic could probably service many of the oily bits of the car, they still require just a little bit of specific hybrid knowledge not to be caught out by for example the engine starting up during an Oil change!

With the independent you would have to establish that they knew what they were doing for yourself and that they knew how to service the car to Toyota specs. I am guessing that they are also unlikely to have access to Toyota publications such as Service bulletins, in service updates, diagnostic tools with Toyota specific codes, etc.

OT: I have a theory that when motor cars are designed, the engineers also have to consider making them robust enough to cope with the damage and neglect inflicted on them by the motor trade.

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A stamp in the book is just that,a stamp that anyone can at a dealership can do,like salesman.

You get at sweetener from a salesman saying " we give the car a service for you sir before you pick the car up"

All you get is a Stamp in the book. no way is this sales person going to spend any money by paying a workshop to work on it and spoiling the profit of any deal he has done with you. Doubt to that a toyota approved car has had.all the work that this car should have done Its all about money, Its no fault of the work shop at the dealers but the crafty sales staff.

As said most services are done by trainees who should be supervised. Fully trained staff will do repairs. Thats how trainees learn.

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If a Toyota FSH guaranteed they would use the correct Oil...

but it does not.,.

As for knowing about hybrids, does anyone seriously think think that with the limited number of hybrids sold each Toyota dealer will have a hybrid expert who will spend his time changing Oil?

ROFL

(I used to work in the automotive industry. Garages bulk buy Oil.. And dispense it for most cars...)

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After my last Prius Gen 3 service the dealer gave the OW20 Oil container and there was some Oil in it which had not been used. I was guaranteed the correct Oil had been used and it stated it on the service docs. Proves the local toyota dealer here does not bulk buy drums of Oil.

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After my last Prius Gen 3 service the dealer gave the OW20 oil container and there was some oil in it which had not been used. I was guaranteed the correct oil had been used and it stated it on the service docs. Proves the local toyota dealer here does not bulk buy drums of oil.

Probably because they either cannot get it in bulk yet or they don't service enough cars that need 0w20. Give it a year or two ;)

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