Just As I Thought

The free ride is over

Back when I got my first Prius — way back in the mists of time, 2000; when a Prius was a leap of faith — I was happy to get free service on the car. It was nice — bring it in every 6 months for service, with nary a bill in sight.
My, how times have changed. Today I took my 2004 model in for it’s one year service, safety inspection, and a little computer reprogramming. The 2004 model does not include free service. Total bill? $297, including the $30 off coupon I got in the mail.
Technology is pricey, you know?
But there is good news for my fellow Prius drivers who are constantly annoyed by the wonky gas gauge that seemingly bears no relation to the amount of fuel in the tank: there’s finally a fix that involves both a fuel line gadget and a new computer. My parts have been ordered, and I’ll take it in next week to get the upgrade. Gee, and only 4 years after I got my first Prius with a wonky gauge… good things come to those who wait.


  • You were indeed very lucky with the free service on your first Prius; when I bought the current one, they offered me only the first oil change for free.

    Nice to hear about the fix for the gas gauge; it’s been driving me crazy. In fact, I’m due for my second checkup now, so I’ll schedule that for the next week or so. I had also read somewhere about a recall for brake lights on tens of thousands of Toyotas from the past few years, including Priuses, but have received no recall notice in the mail. Did you hear about this / did they say anything about it when you took the car in?

  • I didn’t hear anything about brake lights; but I didn’t look closely at the list of service bulletins as they went by on the screen.
    I did see a special bulletin about an update to the DVD navigation, and I ordered that as well — it’s a free update disc that supposedly fixes some problems. Maybe my car will finally be able to figure out where home is!

  • Just a quick note on the gas gauge fix: since it involves replacing the computer that runs the gauge cluster, it replaces the odometer. This means that the new computer must be programming with your car’s odometer reading, and you must leave your car at the dealer, undriven, until the new computer comes in — otherwise the odometer would be wrong.
    Be prepared to leave your car for up to a couple of weeks while they order the part. Yikes!

  • I got the car serviced last week, and got the brake light fix and the navigation DVD upgrade (and it has definitely fixed some problems I’d noted, including it insisting that one turn left onto Columbia Pike from Washington Boulevard instead of right to get to our condo). They didn’t say anything about the gas gauge fix, and I didn’t ask since I’m not willing to give up the car for that long. I’ll just live with it.

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