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Discussion Starter #1
I've searched and surprisingly can't find a definitive answer to this one. With all the technology in the Hybrid, can you take it to a regular mechanic after the warranty?
 

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Interesting question...

It will vary by territory. In the UK, for instance, ANY vehicle can be serviced by a bona fide garage even during the Warranty period. The Warranty period in the UK is 5 years for ALL Toyota cars.

However, none of the garages in the UK other than a couple in London have the necessary equipment to interrogate the Hybrid ECU. In London, this is a result of the huge number of Prius taxis, apparently.

So, we are bound to use the dealer during and after Warranty, particularly to retain the extended (11 year) Hybrid system warranty. I only keep cars for 4 years, so no issue for me.

My suggestion would be to contact Toyota HQ (NOT the dealer) in your country for a definitive answer. Only they can give you that.
 
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Thanks. I tend to keep cars as long as I possibly can (Current Corolla is 17 years old and still going strong), so it would probably be an issue for me if that's the case. I suppose I can understand any engine issues going to the dealer, but what about other parts of the car? Struts, exhaust, etc...? After my mechanic retired, I finally found a good and honest one to replace him, so I dread losing him and having to be gouged by the dealer.

Also, I tend to take a lot of road trips and would hate to scramble to find a Toyota dealership to address any issues that came up during the trip. I guess I'll be asking Toyota.
 

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There's an independent hybrid specialist shop here, but they charge the same hourly as the dealer and use the same estimate books.

For the most part you shouldn't be going to anyone who's not a Toyota hybrid systems expert. But more importantly you should disavow yourself from the idea that you're going to need a mechanic at all. Aside from brakes and fluid changes there's nothing much to do. And if you drive it like a hybrid you won't need brakes till well after 100k.
 

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If any problem occurs which involves the hybrid system including the engine (apart from routine service such as engine oil and filter changes), suggest taking the vehicle to a Toyota dealer's service department. For others such as mentioned in the post any reputable mechanic should be able to do the work unless it involves, for example, having to remove any part of the hybrid system for access.
 
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I bought a extended warranty just for this reason. I'm a mechanic and can do most work myself but draw a line with the hybrid stuff. A mistake can be very expensive and also destroys the reliability and the peace of mind of driving.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you all. I think your combination of answers have answered the question I had in mind. Basically, if it involves the hybrid part, the dealer should be handling it. If it involves something like the suspension system, a regular mechanic can do it.

But more importantly you should disavow yourself from the idea that you're going to need a mechanic at all.
I've been impressed with what I've read about the maintenance (or lack of) on the Toyota hybrids, so I really don't expect to have any troubles for the first few years. My Corolla's engine has been pretty maintenance free most of it's life and is still going strong. Keeping a car as long as I do, there's usually something that needs replacing eventually. I guess my concern was more about the future costs of the non-hybrid parts of the car. I don't like relying on the dealer unless it's necessary.
 

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Wonder if that Corolla engine is the same as the one in my mothers 2003 Toyota Echo. She is over 328,000 miles and still going strong. I did have to replace the AC compressor recently and the belt, but those are minor things that I took care of myself.

I am like you in that I do not like dealerships, but so far I am over 40k miles on the RAV4 hybrid and even the brake pads still look pretty good. Its the best car I've ever had in terms of maintenance as I've only had to do oil changes and tire rotations. I would say if the Prius and RAV4 Hybrid can make it as taxis in NYC, they have to be dependable.:smile

Thank you all. I think your combination of answers have answered the question I had in mind. Basically, if it involves the hybrid part, the dealer should be handling it. If it involves something like the suspension system, a regular mechanic can do it.



I've been impressed with what I've read about the maintenance (or lack of) on the Toyota hybrids, so I really don't expect to have any troubles for the first few years. My Corolla's engine has been pretty maintenance free most of it's life and is still going strong. Keeping a car as long as I do, there's usually something that needs replacing eventually. I guess my concern was more about the future costs of the non-hybrid parts of the car. I don't like relying on the dealer unless it's necessary.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Wonder if that Corolla engine is the same as the one in my mothers 2003 Toyota Echo. She is over 328,000 miles and still going strong.
Very possible. It's a little beast. It just took a 3,000 mile road trip up and down mountains, without missing a beat. Unfortunately, I live in a winter/salt area, so rust is just starting to take its toll and I suspect will eventually be the cause of death. I'm in no hurry to get a new car, but given its age and my penchant for road trips, I'd like to have the new car research done.
 
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