2012 Toyota Prius C Maintenance Service
Mark: Hi, it's Mark from Top Local. We're here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, BC, Canada. 21 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver. 21 times. How do you do that?
Bernie: Got a lot of good customers.
Mark: Your customers must love you because they're the ones who are voting for you, and that's awesome, vote for how good your company is. Plus all the five star reviews I'm noticing.
Bernie: Yeah. I feel very privileged.
Mark: So today we're talking about a 2012 Toyota Prius, which is a hybrid vehicle and came in for maintenance service. What was going on with this Prius C?
Bernie: Yeah, basically the vehicle just do for a basic maintenance service. And the customer did have one complaint, which we'll talk about a little later. But other than that, it was just due for basic maintenance and based on the schedule, it was due for a B service.
Mark: So what's involved in a B service on a Toyota Prius?
Bernie: Well, essentially it's the same as pretty much any other vehicle. It's an oil and filter change, unless of course it's a pure electric car. I guess I'll have to take away the term B service, as time goes by. So it's an oil and filter change, a full vehicle inspection. So we look at the brakes, steering, suspension, you know, the under carriage of the vehicle, visual inspection under the hood and under the car. Test the 12 volt battery and what one thing you know, we also do with this vehicle is scan the vehicle. We do it for a lot of B services on newer cars, but especially important on a hybrid because there could be some hidden stored trouble codes. It might be worth alerting the owner of the vehicle to, for issues that may be upcoming or something that could be occurring.
Mark: So what, are there different items that you would specifically check for because this is a hybrid?
Bernie: There's not really a lot of you know, the whole hybrid system is pretty much hidden away. There's not a lot to, you know, like for instance, the high voltage battery is under the seat or in the trunk, depending on the model of the car. On this particular one, it's under the seat, so there's nothing really to look at there. You know, on all the high voltage cabling, of course, and, and inverter transmission, all that kind of thing is all sealed and hidden away and really just keeps on functioning until there's a problem. But visual inspections, of course, are important.
Mark: So I think you mentioned this car had over a hundred thousand kilometres. Any special items due at this time? Wasn't 96,000 kilometres, like time for most Japanese cars for a major service?
Bernie: Yeah. The 96,000 kilometre thing is kind of old now. I think in the eighties and nineties, that was a big service interval for Japanese vehicles. Timing belts were due to be replaced, spark plugs, tune-ups. All those kinds of things. It was a time for an expensive service. A lot of, you know, I remember too, a lot of vehicles, the CV joint boots would be about ready to rip apart, so you'd change those. And so it could make for a pretty big service.
But nowadays, a 96K service is pretty much history. And on this particular vehicle, there wasn't really anything due, you know, this is just over a hundred K. There wasn't really anything due at this particular time. There's a coolant cooling system, flush, due I think it's around 168,000 kilometres and spark plugs are up there, maybe a little further down the road.
So, you know, those are a couple of maintenance items that are on the list. But other than that, you know, until you reach those intervals, from Toyota's perspective, it's really, oil changes and inspections. It's pretty much it.
Mark: So were there any other service items that you might recommend on hybrid vehicles?
Bernie: Yeah, there's a few things. And then a lot of these apply to, you know, an internal combustion engine vehicles in general. But let's just have a look at some pictures of the car first and then and we'll talk about some service.
So there's our Prius C, nice little compact car. This is based kind of based on a Yaris platform, but, anyways, it's a little compact. It's a compact version of the Prius. The C stands for city. So where do we have here? Okay. There's our under the hood view. So there's the internal combustion engine on this side. It's a 1.5 litre engine, so it's smaller than a regular Prius uses a 1.8. This one uses the 1.5 litre, so it's smaller. This vehicle, when it came out, had the highest fuel economy rating of any vehicles sold, except for a plugin hybrids or electric vehicles at the time.
On this side we have our, this is the inverter, this unit here. And we'll just go into some closer views of each side of the engine compartment.
So this is to me is like the height, kind of the hybrid side of the vehicle. So the orange cables of course, anything with orange cabling is high voltage, this is dangerous. You don't ever want to touch this stuff without high voltage gloves, unless the system, of course, is discharged. You can see the shielding around these wires to, its protection, also protects from electromagnetic fields as well, being dispersed to the vehicle. But there's again, there's the inverter, the high voltage plugs and underneath way below, this is the transmission with the motor generator units that drive the vehicle. So there's a lot of complexity inside here. Almost all electronic until you get down below, and then you get your mechanical devices, your motors, and some gears.
Internal combustion engine, 1.5 litre with no timing belt. So that again, that 96 K interval we talked about, it's not applicable. And of course, most timing belts are usually get almost double at lifespan now. So they improved things. But, there's your, yeah, basically under hood view, cooling system. There's two cooling systems on these hybrid vehicles. One for the, one for the hybrid system and one for the internal combustion engine. And I think that ends our picture show for today.
Mark: Now we don't see that there's actually two motor generators in this vehicle?
Bernie: There is, yeah. And well, I can just get back to the picture again just real quick. We don't have pictures of them in this show and we'll get some in some future slides so you can see the inside of one of these units. But the motor generator units are below this, this thing, it says hybrid synergy drive. This is the inverter. The inverter by the way, converts the DC voltage from the battery to AC for different accessories, as well as for the actual hybrid drive. So there's a lot going on in this thing. It's all electrical and electronic of course. But a lot goes on in this unit converting AC to DC and DC back to AC and for a variety of different items. You know, it powers up the 12 volt. With the DC converter powers up to 12 volt electrical system, which runs all your lights and everything else. Plus the air conditioning is also run on an electric as well. So the hybrid inverter works for that too. Tripping over my tongue here. Anyways. Yes, there are two. So the two motor generator units mounted below this thing and they sit inside the transmission and surprisingly the transmission, I've dismantled a few of these units there. They're not very complicated that you'd think there'd be a lot to them.
There's one planetary gear set in between the two units and the rest of it is basically two large electric motors. So it's actually quite simple. Surprisingly.
Mark: And why do they use two different electric motors?
Bernie: Yeah, so on this particular motor generator two, which is the larger one and sits further outside, like the motor generator two is sort of on this side, motor generator one would be over here next to the engine.
The MG two drive is actually what drives the vehicle and MG one starts and stops the internal combustion, well it starts the internal combustion engine. It's also used for regenerative braking as well. So they kind of share the work. So that's the kind of simplest explanation for it.
Mark: Sure. So the regenerative braking is what, where the brakes are, the car is actually slowed by that MG one, and then that energy that's generated in the generator from the slowing the car down, is actually a recharging the battery, is that right?
Bernie: Yeah, exactly. And that is really, the biggest advantage of a hybrid vehicle, it's not that it's the vehicle's driven on the road by an electric motor, it's the fact is that breaking energy is captured. It's put back into the vehicle and it's not wasted like it is on every other car. So this is why a hybrid, when you look at the fuel mileage specifications, city mileage is higher than highway, whereas on a normal internal combustion engine, it's always the opposite because it's much more efficient on the highway, but a hybrid is much more efficient in the city.
So this is where it's important. Before you buy one to go, where am I driving my vehicle? If all you're doing is highway driving a hybrid is a waste of money. But if you, you know, you're doing city driving like most people do, then there's a definite efficiency improvement. Enormously.
Mark: And that's distinctly different with a pure electric vehicle.
Bernie: Yeah, exactly. But you know, the thing about a pure electric vehicle, is you're also recapturing the energy of braking and that's going back into the battery as well. So you know, again, an electric vehicle is more efficient in stop and go traffic.
Mark: Right. So it's just overall more efficient.
Bernie: Yeah. Yeah because you're recapturing that wasted stopping energy, which is something that we've just dispersed out into the atmosphere in terms of heat and dust for, you know, since cars have been invented.
Mark: So did you find any other issues with this car?
Bernie: The only other issue that was going on with the vehicle, the owner had a complaint of a, there was a noise coming underneath the engine or underneath the car. And so we, it was pretty apparent, we figured ah that it sounds like an exhaust rattle because it only happened when the internal combustion engine turned on. It turns out there was a loose heat shield, which we removed and solved the issue. So not bad for, you know, the only problem we found an eight year old vehicle was a, it was a loose exhaust shield.
Mark: So what's different about the Prius C from the other Prius models?
Bernie: Yes, as I'd mentioned it's just a compact version, like a Prius C is like a Yaris. It's a tiny little car, whereas..
Mark: It's even tinier.
Bernie: Even tinier. Yes, exactly. Well, I tend to think of a Prius is kind of like a Corolla sized vehicle and the Prius C is kind of like a Yaris size vehicle. So it's got a smaller engine, a 1.5, the regular Prius, Prius V, the larger ones, they use a 1.8 litre engine.
So, you know, and they have more power, but it's, it's a larger car. So it's compact, you know, and if you want a nice little economical car to bomb around in, this is it. This is the one.
Mark: So three motors, three different, drive trains essentially, or one drive train, but three different, powering mechanisms. rHow are the Prius C for reliability?
Bernie: Super good. You know, Toyota is a, you know, I've said this before, you know, and when hybrids first came out I thought, Oh my God, this is like the worst idea ever because it's so complicated because you basically got two systems. And it's true. There's a lot more to go wrong. But Toyota's proven, you know, that things are really reliable. There are, you know, a few models that have had some issues, but really. It's pretty minimal. Like they're really reliable. I mean, you get taxis that have been running and they run them all the time and run them for a long time, and they're, they're very reliable. So, I mean, that's proof right there.
Mark: Yeah five, 600,000 kilometres is standard.
Bernie: Oh yeah, even a million. No problem. You know, and the thing that taxis like about them is that the brakes don't wear out as fast as they would. I mean, normally like a, I think a lot of taxis, I've heard, we don't service taxis, but you know, a set of brakes on an average taxi cab would have lasted one or two months where they can get a year out of them on a hybrid, which is pretty, that's a pretty substantial amount. Now for an average...
Mark: 12 x difference.
Bernie: Oh yeah, exactly. And for an average person driving, and we have customers with hybrids that are over 10 years old. We've never done anything other than a brake service, which is basically cleaning and lubricating the brakes so they keep lasting. So you know, that's, I mean, that's, again, another advantage less wear out. Overall, you know, they're excellent cars. I don't hesitate to recommend them. They've got a really good track record, so.
Mark: So there you go. If you're looking for service for your Toyota Prius in Vancouver, and you want experts who actually have training and have deep knowledge and experience in fixing these vehicles, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at (604) 327-7112 in Vancouver, BC, Canada. You have to call and book ahead. They're busy. They're always busy. Or check out the website, pawlikautomotive.com, hundreds of articles on there. The YouTube channel, Pawlik Auto Repair. Of course, if you like the podcast, give us some star ratings, some love, check us out on the socials. And thanks so much for watching. Thanks Bernie.
Bernie: Thanks Mark. And thanks for watching. We really appreciate it.