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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Prius Brakes Do Last 100,000 Miles

I had a coupon for a reduced cost oil change at the dealer I use.

I wanted the oil changed and tire rotation.

While waiting for them to finish, the service representative came over and said he wanted to show me something in my car.

He andvthe mechanic slowed me that my brakes were getting thin.  3-4 mm of pad was left.  Nothing that required immediate attention, but good to know.  He said I’ll save you some money by turning the discs.  I said thanks.

I asked what the cost was knowing that I do my own brakes.

He came back saying that the front brakes would be $333 and the rear $364.  (They are disc brakes all around).  Then he said the engine air filter needed to be replaced for $48 and the cabin air filter too for 58.

I just smiled and said I wouldn’t be able to spend the additional $800 today.  I explained that Toyota was right that Prius brakes last 100,000 miles as my Prius has 98,500 miles.

They were right that in the near future I would need new brakes.  I decided to just do it this pm since it was going to rain and I could do it in the garage.

PS: (8/13/18) My friend David, who has much more knowledge about Prius maintenance than I do, wrote to me after my original post.

He cautions that some people who have changed their own brake pads have had problems doing it.  I checked online and did find some postings about getting error codes and one where the brake system activated pressure from sensing the fob.  Although I didn’t remove the 12 volt battery power before performing my work and I have not seen any codes or problems, it is good practice to remove 12 v power as the Prius is a sophisticated computer system and we know not what it all does.

End of PS

The rotors were in very good shape withvery little rust and heat disapating vanes are clear.  Turning wouldn’t hurt the but it wasn’t necessary.

I bought the disc pads for all 4 brakes.  It cost $120.
I took the calipers apart and checked the pins to make sure they moved freely.  I then replaced the front pads.

I then moved to the rear brakes.  I use a “C” clamp to push in the caliper piston on all other disc changes in the past, but in the rear this didn’t work.

I went to YouTube for direction to find that the rear pistons need to to turned back into themselves.  Below is the tool that is needed to put in my 3/8” drive socket wrench.

This tool cost $13.00 (below)

The tool is designed to adjust 6 different type of calipers as each side has a set of different placement and type of pins.

I used the tool and finishedvthecrear brakes.

I then checked the filters and both were in good shape and nothing that my airhose couldn’t address to clean them.

In the end I paid.

$120 for brake parts
  $13 for brake tool
$133 totalnpaid for about a $800 quote

The tools used are 
- lug wrench
- jack
- jack stand
- 14mm socket for 3/8” wrench below
- torque wrench
- bladed screwdriver (remove / replace brake pad guides)
- caliper piston adjuster
- 3/8” socket wrench and 3” extension 
- large “C” clamp
- possibly a hammer to loosen bolts

Prius dwellers have a choice in maintaining their vehicles.  Even if a small show was 1/2 the price you can save by learning g how to do it yourself.

Although, I have done brakes manybtime in many vehicles I have had my Prius since 8,000 miles and I knew that around 100,000 miles I would need to do them.

Always consult proper technical information before attempting repairs on your vehicle.  Ensure you have and use appropriate safety equipment.  When in doubt bring your vehicle to a trained mechanic.


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Vehicle Comparison including RAV4 & Highlander

Hi folks,

Since getting home from this year’s travels I have been very busy around the house getting many things done. My thoughts have been with vandwellers having linked up with two couples in MA.  I took a short trip for a long weekend getaway in ME too.

Some time ago, I was asked to include the RAV4 and Highlander in my blog.  The following is a reader of this blog’s question.

“I am interested in buying Rav4 or Highlander. Could you please compare these cars totally grade with your 3 cars ?
thanks a lot”

Below is the Toyota RAV4 I caught at an event.

Although I have never owned a RAV4 I have gone to the showroom many times to look at them.  Why?

Answer: For all the things I love about the Prius and all the things I don’t like about the Prius.  If I hadn’t my Tacoma or found a Fleet shell model I suspect I would be in a RAV4 today for my travels.  

First, is ground clearance and the RAV4 gives me better ground clearance over my 2011 Prius and the newer Prius that is yet again a bit closer to the ground.  

Look up Ruby, AZ on Google and see that I drive the road from Nogales to Ruby only to get there and couldn’t get over s cattle guard that had too large of a drop off on the other side.  My Prius would have hung and gotten stuck on top of the guard.  

Ruby Road is leftbto right at top of picture.  The cattle guard is on Ruby Access Rd.  (Brown rectangle) can only go over guard crossing.

So, follow the map from Ruby to Arivarca.  A few miles north of Ruby the road crosses a wash.  The water wasn’t high, but the ridges left in the road from moving water made it impassable for the Prius to continue to Arivarca 

Above this is the section of Ruby Road on way to Arivarca with pin drops in both sides of the road Prius couldn’t get through without hanging on sandbars.

Fail!  But the Prius does well in so many other ways but so does the RAV4.  For me it has to be the hybrid RAV4 to fill in for the Prius and it does.  Drawbacks of the RAV4?  Yes.  The current RAV4 hybrid has a battery bump to design around, but I can design compensat for that.  Any other issues? Yes. The RAV4 hybrid is not true all wheel drive.  After reviewing the design of the AWD it does not matter to me that the front wheels are powered by the engine and back are powered by the electric motor.  Heck the Prius doesn’t have AWD

Now to the Highlander and yes the hybrid version.

Below is a Toyota Highlander picture I took from a Google search.

I owned an older non- hybrid highlander and although nice and more room, I don’t care.  I’m good in my Prius for room and don’t need more at the cost of lower mpg that doesn’t make sense.

So, as you can tell.  I have an opiolnion.

This year at the RTR I met up with my friend Susan from Oklahoma and her new RAV4 and installed a solar panel that I would be proud to have on my RAV4.

You can’t tell it’s there and you passively charge lithium battery so you don’t have to run the engine.  Susan’s RAV4 is not hybrid and she gets all the solar she needs from 80 watts and can set up to charge her lithium battery when she drives if she wishes.

An additional testimony is directly from me as Susan followed me and my Tacoma with FWC camper up and down roads that were challenging.  Yes this is true and I was sold on the RAV4 since I left Utah at the end of March.

Am I still a Prius guy.  Yes I love my Prius but one day it will need replacing.  The RAV4 is the only vehicle I would replace it with right now