PSA for 2nd (and 1st?) gen Prius owners - hybrid intake blower clean and filter

Mar 11, 2004
So the hybrid battery in my Mom's Prius faulted. Supposedly overheated and got the P0A80 code and the red triangle. If I'd had the time I would've tried to diagnose it more (the battery was still taking a charge, so I think it might not have actually busted, just overheated, and so would've liked to have cleaned out the blower, reset the codes, and then see if it would've held up for a bit longer). And then if it kept up from there checked as I'd guess it was just maybe one cell that was at issue. But I would've needed the reader, and a laptop with the Toyota software on it as well, and she couldn't go without the car for the length it would've taken to get all that sorted out.

Which I was planning on preparing to replace the battery anyway (just hit 175k, and its a 2006 so its about due for it), but was hoping it'd last a bit longer (was really hoping we'd maybe get close to 200k before having to do the battery). The dealer that's in Scottsdale (we're in the lower East Valley of Phoenix metro area, about an hour from there) actually sells the battery for less than the norm (but Toyota did fairly recently drop the price of the battery to $1950, Camelback Toyota will sell it for $1805; they used to offer free shipping too so some people were buying through them from elsewhere). And I wanted to do do it myself, but decided to just have the dealer do it (since we'd have to deal with the core charge on the old battery; but the dealer we used "Big Two" in Chandler is close to where my Mom works so if there's any problems she can take it there easily; their service department has been alright in my experience, but they are a dealer so they're not cheap).

Which for the $3K cost (yep, they wanted $1k for labor...), I considered just buying another car, but there's not great options and she didn't have fluid money to go above that (whole family has been a bit strapped on money the past couple of years, I want to save up and buy her something newer and reliable since she's getting close to retirement age; and either use the Prius as a daily driver or give it to one of my nephews for a first car). Most of the Prius have quite a bit more miles (seems like most in the $3500 range are over 200k) and if they haven't had their batteries replaced and just a matter of time til they need to, or have had them replace but most with remanufactured ones, which from what I read are prone to going out again within a few years especially if they just swapped one or two cells; while the Toyota one is effectively new and should last like the original - so should be able to get a good 100k+ and ~10 years if don't let it sit for extended period like months or otherwise wear faster). The rest of the car is in good enough shape (some door dings and paint chipped on the top edge of the rear bumper, engine seems to be sound and they didn't seem to find any other glaring things that need attention, sure probably suspension like struts might need changed) that It could probably hit 300k without much major work and by then it'll hopefully be a daily driver for someone where if something big goes we'll just buy something else. And the battery is back to like new (MPG is showing 56.5, was getting about 51-52 with similar driving on the previous one), so its a better option than most of the similar priced cars (so many of the other ones are even less reliable vehicles that get worse MPG, and would cost more for stuff like tires and other, and so you'd end up probably pretty quickly spending a lot more than on a Prius and we already know this car).

They wanted to charge $300 to put a filter on the intake for the battery (and I assume clean the blower out). Oh, which back to the PSA, so they have a service bulletin over this (since it leads to the battery being more prone to overheating) for the Prius which is to add a cover over the intake that's integrated into the seat, and then the filter is between those two and you periodically clean the filter out. With how easy it is to clean the blower motor, add the filter and plastic bit, I couldn't fathom paying $300 for it (I asked if it was replacing like the whole housing or even adding the filter and replacing the blower and the service person told me the blower would add "hundreds of dollars in cost in parts" which was obvious nonsense; I'm still kinda mad about paying them $1000 for labor on the battery swap as I know its not very difficult).

Here's the thing, we'd taken it to the dealer before and they did not do this service or even mention it (not sure when Toyota started it), but it clearly is a problem (and if you're within 6 years/100k miles or 10years/150k miles in some states, they'll do it for free), so I'm a little pissed off at them for not checking that (they allegedly did a full check). I might call Toyota and complain about it and see if they might do something (I'm doubtful, but sometimes you just wanna be able to bitch at them over it).

They also gave us some other things to change (typical stuff, belt on the water pump, which costs $20 for like the official Toyota OEM one, and takes like 15 minutes if you know what to do, they of course want $160 to do it). Looking at them, most I could do without problem (spark plugs, think drain and replace the inverter coolant - will need to double check and make sure there's nothing odd about doing that but I believe it uses the same coolant as the engine and there's no special handling but do need to use the proper coolant when you refill it).

So if you have a 2nd Gen (or 1st gen although there's is a little different, from what I've gathered 3rd gen on have the filter from the factory), check your intake blower, clean it if necessary, and see if Toyota will send you the cover and filter. If nothing else just the cover and then you can cut a filter to fit it. (its like 2-3 inches wide by maybe 6 inches tall).


Jun 2, 2000
Thanks for the heads up. I have a 2nd gen, 2008 model with 281k miles, original battery (have changed the 12 volt battery twice). Never even heard of this maintenance and I never have done it. Will have to check into this.

If you have any further info on how to do this I'd appreciate a PM.