October 31

2006 Toyota Prius Premium Service

Toyota

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Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Remarkable Speaking. I'm here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, Vancouver's best auto service experience, and we're talking cars. How you doing Bernie? 

Bernie: Doing very well today. 

Mark: So today's victim is a 2006 Toyota Prius, premium service. What's the premium service? 

Bernie: So the vehicle was in for maintenance service and we have a premium maintenance service that we offer for hybrids, which is either an A or B service. This one was here for a B. The B service is the larger service with the full inspection, wheels off brake inspection, lubricate door locks, hinges, latches, et cetera. Thorough inspection. But the premium part of it is that we use a fuel system and oil system cleaner in the process, it's a BG kit, three part kit that basically helps clean the engine a little more than just changing the oil. So that's our premium hybrid service. 

Mark: And what's the value? What does that do? 

Bernie: Excellent question. So there's a couple things. First of all, the actual chemicals and I'll show a picture of things in a minute, but the actual chemicals, the first part is an oil system cleaner and oil flush. So what that does is it basically softens up carbon deposits that may accumulate on the piston rings. That's kind of the most important part, I think, of the cleaning service. What happens is piston rings, over time, they'll gum up and they won't be so effective at sealing the cylinders. Oil can escape and burn oil. You start burning oil, it just adds a whole bunch of problems that, you know, there's more oil going to the catalytic exhaust system and catalytic converters. The valves start to gum up. A whole bunch of things happen. So, if you can prevent that, that's kind of the important thing.

And a lot of hybrids, Toyotas, I mean a lot of modern engines, they use low tension piston rings, they don't have that kind of springiness that an old piston ring had. The reason for that is the lower the tension, the less friction, the engine moves easier, burns less fuel. And that's the whole idea of of course with the hybrid is to maximize fuel economy.

So there are issues that happen and that's basically what the kit does. So the first part, of course is to run the cleaner through the engine for 10 to 20 minutes. And then from there we drain the oil, change the oil, and then there's an additive that we put in afterwards that kind of helps keep everything clean and it's an added treatment to the oil.

We use good synthetic oils most of the time. Depends on the engine. Some use regular oil, but this just adds a little bit of fortification to the oil. The third part of the kit is a fuel system cleaner, which we add to the gas tank, helps clean the fuel injectors over time. Let's just have a look at some pictures here.

Mark: So why would you offer this on a Prius or any other hybrid even? Do they need this kind of stuff? I thought they're part electric. 

Bernie: Yeah. Good point. So The engine isn't run all the time, and that's actually even more critical. You know when you start in a normal internal combustion engine vehicle, gas or diesel, you start the car, the engine warms up, it's a full operating temperature. With these engines, of course, they switch on and off all the time. And once you switch the engine off, of course, you know, things start to cool down a little bit and deposits and things can just occur a little more frequently. I mean, of course these are considered in the design and engineering in the vehicle and done a remarkably good job. But just, you know, doing this kind of service just ensures that it just keeps everything in better shape, keeps that clean. That answers the question? 

Mark: Sure. In other words, burning dinosaurs is really dirty. 

Bernie: It is dirty. I mean, we've done it as cleanly as possible, but it's dirty. So there's a view of our 2006 Prius. This big thing here where it says Hybrid Synergy Drive is the inverter, and below it is the drive motor unit which essentially would be a transmission in an internal combustion engine car. And then the internal combustion engine is located over here where I'm kind of swirling my mouse pointer around. Air filter located here. A few things while we go over the hood. The windshield washer fluid here. Brake fluid, cooling system. There are two cooling systems on these usually. A lot of hybrids use two one to do the internal combustion engine, one to do the hybrid system and the battery.

2006 Toyota Prius Premium Service

You might notice this engine's a little on the dirty side. It's not the prettiest looking engine. This looks to me like a leftover rodent poop. There was probably a rodent that made a home under the hood of this vehicle, which they do from time to time. We run into it. Someone's cleaned it off obviously, but not as nice as it could be. A good engine shampoo with a light pressure washing would probably take that off pretty good. And I did notice under this hood of this vehicle, it's kind of off the frame past the window washer bottle where I'm moving the mouse pointer, I assume the owner had put a couple of some dryer sheets. The kinda stuff you put in a clothes dryer, zap strapped to prevent rodents from getting up. That's a way to keep them away. So if you do have a rodent issue, you can always try that. 

As far as our other picture, the only other shot we've got here, this is our BG chemical premium service cleaners. We've been using BG chemicals for a while. They're really good. So these are supposedly formulated for hybrids. I don't like to be cynical, but you know, it says for hybrids they sell a kit. I don't know whether they actually change the formulation, the chemicals or not. When you put this EPR in, this is the cleaner, it smells the same as the cleaner we use for regular engine oil flushes, but you know, who knows? They may formulate it slightly different for hybrids. But anyways, that's the kit. And I'd say well worth doing.

2006 Toyota Prius Premium Service

Mark: So is that for maintenance only or can you bring your poor performing engine back to life, quote unquote? 

Bernie: Yeah, so I'd say this is really a maintenance service. Not only, but you know, the thing about poor performance is it's important to go, what's the cause of it? If the engine's running rough, of course, and it's got a bad spark plug, you're not gonna fix anything with this.

But if you had an engine that I would say, burning some extra oil, excessive oil consumption, it might be worth doing one or two treatments like this. You know, it's like about a hundred dollars is the cost of this chemical, you know, plus a little bit of labour charge to do the service with the oil change, but you know, it's probably worthwhile doing that as opposed to, Hey, let's just change the engine. Because of course you can imagine that's a very expensive job and maybe on a 2006 Prius not worth the money. Even in a newer one, the cost of the engines are kind of high. Now they are really reliable engines, from time to time they do go bad.

But I would say, you need to know specifically what the problem is. You could try it. But really this is more of a preventative maintenance service kit and it's a good thing to do. You know, I'd say every year, or maybe two at the most if you have one of these cars. Usually for Prius, most people, we do a service once a year on it, because the engine doesn't get a lot of mileage and they tend to last. But, you know, it depends on how much you drive. So either every service or every second service. 

Mark: Every second service, then you would do this cleaning. 

Bernie: Yeah. 

Mark: So every couple years on a Prius. 

Bernie: Yeah, exactly, depending on the mileage, it depends on what you drive. I mean, you know, taxis, they do an awful lot of driving, so you'd probably wanna do that maybe every third or fourth service if you had something like a taxi, because it's running warm a lot more often, but, you know, they get a lot of mileage.

Mark: So are there any other important engine maintenance things that are important to consider if you have a Prius? 

Bernie: Yeah. The other thing that we recommend, you know, and this would be probably about every three to four years, is to do a motor vac fuel injection system cleaning. We do these on internal combustion engines. Same kind of recommendation every, you know, about every three years. What that does is that really cleans the fuel injectors and really cleans the valves much more intensely than a cleaner that you would pour in the gas tank. And so that again, kind of keeps the engine in, by removing the carbon deposits from the valves, it kind of keeps the engine in as new shape as you can. And that will do something to clean the top of the combustion chambers as well, but it doesn't really get into the piston rings like an oil based cleaner. So again, probably every three years on that is a good thing to.

Mark: Any other things that are specific to a Prius that need to be looked after or maybe that are a little different than a regular internal combustion vehicle?

Bernie: Nope. I mean, that's really kind of it. I mean, there is fluid in the electric drive motor. I mean that does need to be changed every once in a while, but it's not under the same pressure and intensity as an automatic transmission and heat wise. But it does need to be changed every few years. Same with the cooling system. Flushes are important again, every once in a while. But yeah, other than that, the rest of the maintenance on the vehicle is pretty much standard for any internal combustion engine. 

Mark: And what about the battery system?

Bernie: Well, you know, the only issue, I mean for the actual hybrid battery, there's not much you can do to that. I would say though, if you're planning on parking your Prius for a while, make sure you do start it up every once in a while and drive it just to keep the hybrid battery. And I say every once in a while, like probably monthly, if that battery gets down too low, that vehicle won't run.

And we have a way of, what's the word, resuscitating if that happens, but Prii are pretty good. I mean, you can leave them for a while, but it's a good idea to start them. It has a 12 volt battery system that basically powers the car up and does all this sort of other regular stuff. Those do fail fairly frequently. But again, there's not much you can do about it. It gets charged as soon as the vehicle's running. So basically you just replace it as needed. 

Mark: And how are Toyota Prii for reliability? 

They're excellent. I think they're really good. I've probably said this before many times. You know, when they first came out, I thought, what a stupid idea. I mean, it's way too complicated having that electric drive system and all the things that go along with it and the motor. They made them very reliable and we service them quite frequently. We do some repairs. I mean, we've done batteries, we've done inverters, we've done all sorts of things on them.

But generally they are very well built, very reliable cars. It costs more money to buy than your internal combustion engine car. But, you know, under the right circumstance, they can save you a lot of money on fuel as well. So I think they're a very good car, you know, as far as hybrids go and any of the Toyotas, are really good.

The Prii especially are excellent. 

Bernie: And one thing to remember though, is that they do need to be maintained. You just don't forget it and drive it for 10 years without changing the oil . 

Mark: Exactly. That's the important thing. I mean, if you have a pure EV you can probably actually forget it and drive until some warning light comes on or something happens. But you know, with a Prius in any hybrid vehicle, you've gotta service it just like an internal combustion engine car. It needs a little less service and things I was gonna mention, I mean, another area we're diverting off the engine, but things like brake services are something that need to be done.

We can talk about that in a different podcast, but yeah, you do need to maintain the car for sure. And being a Toyota, one thing they do need their oil changed on a regular basis. I've changed many Toyota engines because people don't change the oil for some reason. They think they're a little more reliable than they are and they're not tolerant to bad service. 

If you're looking for service for your Prius in Vancouver, the experts to see are Pawlik Automotive. They're trained up in all the electrical systems. They're experts in it. They're trained up in the hybrid systems. They've dealt with lots of this stuff for almost 20 years now. Yep. Pawlik Automotive, You can book online at Pawlikautomotive.com. Or you can call them (604) 327-7112 to book your appointment. Thanks, Bernie. 

Bernie: Thank you, Mark, and thanks for watching.

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Mark Bossert

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