Toyota Prius Maintenance

by Cleveland Van Cecil

The Toyota Prius is a hybrid electrical car, first introduced in 1997 in Japan before being internationally released in 2001. The Toyota Prius is a top seller in the U.S. market, according to the Auto Channel. The Prius is also one of the most fuel-efficient cars available in the U.S. That fuel efficiency is determined by how well maintained the vehicle is, as an engine that is working too hard will not give you the best performance possible. Knowing how to maintain your vehicle can save you money on gas and repairs.

Changing Fluids

One preventative maintenance measure to help keep your Prius running smoothly is to top up or change the fluids on a regular basis. Change the oil every 5,000 miles. If you run your Prius with the primary fuel engine off, oil will last even longer. If you are unsure as to when you should change the oil, take your Prius to a dealership. The Prius has an oil light that will flash at the 4,500 mile mark, then turn off, then flash at 5,000 miles and stay on. This will indicate the car is due for an oil change if the gasoline engine is being used regularly. Other fluids to check are for the windshield wipers, steering and brakes.


Perform monthly checks on your Prius tires. Check your tires to make sure they have the correct pressure per square inch (PSI). The correct PSI for your tires will be printed on the wall of the tire and/or on the inside passenger or driver's door. A Prius is heavier in the front, so you will need to fill the front tires 2 PSI higher in the back. According to the Prius manual, you will need to get the tires rotated every 5,000 to 7,500 miles so they wear evenly. When tightening tires, re-torque (tighten) to 76 pound-feet. If you are not comfortable doing this, have a technician do it for you. Tighten your tires every 100 miles.


If you are storing your Prius for more than three months, you will need to do a few things to maintain the battery and keep the engine in running condition. If your Prius has an SKS, otherwise called a built-in car alarm system, press the "Smart" button near the steering wheel to turn off the SKS. During the first 10 days of storage, the SKS system will drain the battery. It will turn off automatically after 10 days, but turning it off right away saves the battery on your Pirus a short amount of life. You can also detach the alarm system by disconnecting the 12-volt battery on the passenger side of the inside hatch. Have all of your fluids at the half way full point to keep the engine from seizing when you start it back up.

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

More Articles