PRIUS Plug-in First Service
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Sunday February 17, 2013 Ė Prius Plug-in First Service Ė Itís hard to believe that I have had the Prius Plug-in for 6 months but this weekend my calendar indicated it was time for its first service. On Friday I called up Toyota Santa Monica and made an appointment to take the car in and get the service done.
On Friday evening my wife and I drove into Beverly Hills to do some shopping at Rite-aid and then stopped to pick up dinner from the hot food bar in Whole Foods. I parked in the city lot on Crescent that has chargers. The charger that I usually use was occupied by a Nissan Leaf but fortunately the other charger there had been repaired so I was able to use that. When we got back to the car I had accumulated 7.5 miles of range in just under an hour of charging.
On Saturday morning I left home around 7am to get to Toyota Santa Monica for a 7:30 appointment. I was driving a little aggressively and the range remaining indicator began to drop quite rapidly. I slowed down a bit and began to drive more efficiently and in the end I completed the 7.3 mile drive with exactly 1 mile of range showing on the range remaining display.
The service area was quiet at 7:30am and I only had to wait a few minutes before the service rep, Hollie, came over and took down the details for the car.
The first service is really quite simple it involves the following steps and is complementary.
Check installation of driverís floor mats
Inspect and adjust all fluid levels
Visually inspect brake linings/drums and brake pads/disks.
Since the Prius Plug-in uses synthetic motor oil there is no need to change the oil at this service unless the car is used in server conditions such as very short drives with many stops and starts.
Hollie told me that the car should be ready about noon so I left the car at the dealership and took the bus back home. I got a call around 10:30 am saying that the car was ready so I walked the six or so blocks to the bus stop and waited for the 704 bus rapid to take me back to Santa Monica. After a 20 minute wait the bus finally showed up but traffic was heavy so the bus ride took half an hour.
It took a while for them to bring the car around but when they did I found that they had also washed the car. The car had not been charged however and the remaining range was now showing .1 miles. This disappeared almost as soon as I drove out of the service area so I drove home in HEV mode and I returned a disappointing 47mpg for the drive home. To be fair I had not requested that the car be charged, I wanted to see if they would do that without being asked. Next time I have a service done I will ask the service rep if they would be willing to put the car on the charger while it is waiting for me to come and pick it up.
So, after 6 months of ownership of the plug in Prius I have driven it 3233 miles at an average fuel economy of 61mpg. I drive mostly surface streets in LA traffic so over that distance I have average just 17mph.
I am still impressed with the technology in the Prius. If I had the ability to charge at home I would be able to do most of my driving in EV mode and further reduce the amount of gas I use. Even with just a few small chargers on a weekend, and one full charge on Monday night while my wife is doing her physical therapy, I am able to manage on just one 8 gallon fill-up per month.
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