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 ~ Falconworks Prius Hut home

Falconworks' Intelligent Auto Repair

 Prius FAQs


Q:  I want to come to an intimate shop like yours, where I know you care about me, but I heard that a lot of parts of my Prius are proprietary, and only the Toyota Dealers are allowed to work on them.  Is this true?

A:  No.  Urban legend.  Too much screen-time.  We can care for any part of your Prius.  Further, getting our high-quality Services in no way affects you car's warranty(s).  We even use the same genuine diagnostic computer they do.  We are only limited in that we cannot perform recall actions, nor repairs covered under the car's original factory warranty.

Q:  My car's red 'traingle-of-doom' light came on, and on the screen there's a picture of a little car with a line through it.  What does this mean?
A:  No car.
Q:  No, really, does it needs a new hybrid battery?
A:  Not necessarily.  The red traingle just means that something important has gone wrong. It could be that the car is in "drive" and the driver's door is open, or it could be overheating for example, or it could be suffering a low brake pressure problem, etc. Many things can turn on the triangle.

Q:  Car I drive the Prius to the repair shop when the triangle is on?  It seems to run just fine.

A:  Really shouldn't.  It could be overheating ... or have a brake problem.

Q:  My  car's red 'triangle-of-doom' warning light sometimes comes on for a moment when I first push the power button.  Is this ok?

A:   Yes and no.  It often indicates that the service-battery is weak.  For now the car will work just fine.  Eventually it will just stay on, and the car will not go to 'ready' mode -- you will be stuck -- and the solution is usually just the replacement of the 12-volt battery.  We test this little battery at every Oil Service, in an effort to make sure you don't ever get stuck, but ours is a premium Oil Service ... one which even the dealers don't offer.  

SO: what the red triangle on boot-up actually means is that your car probably hasn't been getting Falconworks' type of loving care.

Q:  The Prius does not require premium fuel, but isn't it better if I use it sometimes anyway?

A:  No.  Absolutely not.  Please save your money for better motor oil, more frequently, and for better tires.

Q:  I am so afraid my Prius hybrid battery will fail.  The Dealer says it will cost thousands when it happens.  Should I worry?

A: The Hybrid battery in a Prius seems to fail at about ten years, irrespective of mileage. When it does, at Falconworks we offer a rebuilt unit for much less, with a warranty far better than what the fat-cat Toyota Dealers are offering.  Alternatively, we can provide a new genuine Toyota battery for less than a Dealer will charge.  Please feel free to call our Service Manager who can help clarify whether your situation better justifies the one or the other option.

Q:  How much is an oil change?

A:  This is our least favorite, but very frequently asked question.  The least expensive we offer is a 5k mile Service, which does include changing the gas engine's oil.  We only use top quality oil from sealed containers, and never use bulk oil.

If price-shopping absolute survival-level maintenance for your car, a quicky-lube place is for you, not Falconworks.
Also, you should NOT plan to own that car when it has over 100k miles: It will eat your lunch.  We only sell quality, which costs more in the short run, and less over any extensive period.

Q:  For an oil change I pay less at the Toyota dealership: what are you giving me which they don’t?

A: By premium Service we mean genuinely attentive mechanics with a wealth of experience and no motivational climate to sell you anything.  All our oil change Services include the additional Toyota-recommended safety-checks, tire inspection, and then we do more.  But please please, even when our price is better, don’t come to us for a cheaper product, so much as a better value!

Q:  Brilliant!   Here is an independent Prius service shop for Tucson ... but I am perfectly happy with the Toyota Dealer ... why on green-earth would I BOTHER??

A:  Folks come to us, and loyally have been for many many years, for various reasons:

•    Our philosophy on service differs from that of Toyota.  One such crucial way is that it is not our goal to sell you a new or used vehicle.  Not even eventually. 
•    None of our crew receive commissions of any sort, unlike the Dealer or most independent shops.  At Toyota, your "service adviser" gets a commission on everything they can convince you to buy, and then your "mechanic" gets paid based on every 'recommendation' you approve that he gets to perform.  We do not believe in creating motivations in the folks serving you, to take advantage ... even a little.
•    We care about you: Unlike so many in repair, your high standards are the reason we’re here.  So we bring you the total honesty, without their showmanship.  We believe this is imperative in order to earn your trust: a necessary prerequisite to holistically maintaining your car, to meet your varied goals.
•    We’re a small shop, and we work as a single team.  When deciding the details of wise advice, or intelligent repairs, at Falconworks you get at least four good brains with at least one excellent pair of hands. 
•    Our standard of quality requires slow and methodical workmanship, something the dealerships would like you think they provide, but really can’t afford to.

Q:  Now, I do understand why dealership service is not in my best interest.  I know the choice is mine.  But I also want my car cared for in ways the big-box brake shops and quicky-lube places are wholly unqualified to.  Where do you fit in?

A:  Trained, experienced mechanics; not rushing through the job to earn more commission.  We offer the path to premium repair and service because it ultimately helps people, a road seldom traveled in auto shops, and one we feel very good about.

•    We are a specialty shop.  We are not, and never have been a neighborhood garage. Specialty shops are a different animal.  This approach allows for investment in specialized tools, training, experience, and documentation not applicable to generic cars. It also means we see an unusual number of particular beasts, and learn their peculiar needs.  We have offered specialized work for other makes such as Land Rover and Jaguar for many years, and have added Prius a half-decade ago.  Specialization is what we do.
•    We speak “car” in plain English.  In fact we endeavor to explain to you ALL that we do, and will happily involve you in decisions in the care of your jewel, if you like.  Our invoices provide detail of work completed and future needs, otherwise unprecedented in the business, because...
•     We sincerely care.  We care that your car has the correct brake parts, and the best lubricants in all the right places; that it runs as cleanly and cost-effectively as possible; that all service waste is properly recycled, not just chemicals, but paper, cardboard, and plastics.  

Q:  Unless we feel strongly compelled to do otherwise, we all go the path of least resistance ... the easy way.  You require appointments, weeks out sometimes, and then you're located all the way down I-10 --- most of the way to El Paso:  you are certainly not the easy way, why should I trust you?

A: Good Karma and brutal honesty??   But really ...

•    If when you pick up your car after a Service or repair at some other place, and suspect they are over-charging or under-serving, then we may be what you are looking for.
•    We take care of things, like making sure your car gets new wiper blades and tail light bulbs, without you remembering to ask about them.
•    Small specialist-garages like us offer the highest commitment to quality and accountability: this is why so many are rejecting the big-chains, the Dealers, and venture off toward the airport to get the comfort and security we provide.

Q: Can I go to my neighborhood independent repair shop for routine stuff?  They’re honest and I can walk to the shop.  Then I could just see you specialists for bigger Services, like the 60k?

A: Very good question!  Yes you can!  But there are costs.  The downside:

•    When we see your car for all its Services and needs, we are in an ever-increasingly better position to offer beneficial advice regarding your unique driving habits, and to monitor you car’s needs.  It is much like your kids growing up seeing different doctors all the time ... it sort-of works, but not with the secure feeling and assurance a single practitioner will offer.  Indeed we have families who have been with us for decades for this reason, through one car-brand after another.  That is the sort of continuity of service we strive to provide, given the opportunity.
•    We specialists know the symptoms, early warning signs, and easy cures associated with, in this case, Prius hybrid systems.  Often it is more cost-effective to pay a bit more or drive a bit further for an earlier --- or more accurate --- diagnosis.

Q:  My Prius gas mileage is now dropping below 40mpg.  Is that a problem?

A:  Depending on conditions, climate control, length of drives, and your habits, expect 42mpg to 52mpg (Gen2 cars, 2004-2009).  Down around 40 we'd advise having the car inspected by a Prius-specific independent shop like Falconworks.  Also, see our page on Prius driving style to grow a few MPG.

Please use the top link to learn more about us and our intimate Tucson workshop.

*We offer only mechanical services.  We sublet out our paintwork and upholstery repairs*

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9 to 5 weekdays
5603 S Palo Verde Rd.
Just south of I-10
Tucson, Arizona

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