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The Key to a Healthy Toyota Prius: Regular Oil Changes Unveiled!

Regular oil changes are an essential part of car maintenance, and the Toyota Prius is no exception. As a hybrid vehicle, the Prius is known for its fuel efficiency and eco-friendliness, but it still requires proper care and attention to stay in good condition.

In this article, we will explore the importance of regular oil changes for the Toyota Prius, and answer the question of how often you should change the oil.

Why Regular Oil Changes are Important for the Toyota Prius

Oil is the lifeblood of a car’s engine, keeping it lubricated and preventing the buildup of harmful contaminants. In the case of the Prius, which has both an electric motor and a gasoline engine, proper lubrication is even more important.

The internal combustion engine in a Prius runs at very high temperatures and operates differently from a traditional engine, which means that the oil needs to be specially formulated for the vehicle. Regular oil changes help to prevent engine wear and prolong the life of your Prius.

When oil gets old, it can become thick and sludgy, which makes it less effective at protecting the engine. This can lead to decreased fuel efficiency, reduced power, and potential engine damage.

In addition to protecting the engine, regular oil changes can also help to improve the performance of your Prius. Fresh oil helps to reduce friction in the engine, improve fuel economy and reduce emissions.

This means that your car will run smoother and more efficiently, which can save you money on gas and reduce your carbon footprint. How Often Should You Change the Oil in a Toyota Prius?

The recommended oil change interval for a Toyota Prius varies depending on the year and model. For newer Prius models, Toyota recommends changing the oil every 10,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first.

However, older Prius models may require more frequent oil changes, typically every 5,000 miles or 6 months. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s recommended oil change schedule to ensure that your Prius is running smoothly and efficiently.

Neglecting to change the oil can lead to decreased performance, reduced fuel efficiency, and potential engine damage. While it may seem like an unnecessary expense, regular oil changes can actually save you money in the long run by protecting your car’s engine and improving its performance.

Some Prius owners may choose to change their own oil, while others prefer to have it done professionally. If you decide to change the oil yourself, make sure to use the correct oil grade and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

It’s also important to dispose of the used oil properly, as it can be harmful to the environment if not disposed of correctly.


Regular oil changes are a vital part of maintaining the health and performance of your Toyota Prius. By following the manufacturer’s recommended oil change schedule, you can ensure that your car is running at peak efficiency while prolonging the life of your engine.

Whether you decide to change the oil yourself or take your Prius to a professional, it’s important to prioritize regular oil changes as part of your car maintenance routine.

What Type of Oil to Use in a Toyota Prius

Choosing the right oil is essential for maintaining your Toyota Prius’s engine and performance. The Prius requires a synthetic blend oil that meets Toyota’s specifications.

The type of oil you use will affect your engines performance, fuel economy, and overall lifespan. In this section, we will explore the different types of oil available for the Prius and what to consider when choosing the right one.

– Synthetic Blend Oil: Synthetic blend oil is a combination of synthetic and conventional oil. It provides better performance and protection than conventional oil alone but is not as expensive as synthetic oil.

Synthetic blend oils are specially formulated with additives that help to reduce engine wear and protect against sludge buildup. Most Prius models will require a 0W-20 synthetic blend oil, but it’s important to check your owner’s manual to be sure.

– Full Synthetic Oil: Full synthetic oil is made entirely of synthetic base stocks and is the most expensive option. It offers superior protection and performance compared to conventional or synthetic blend oil.

Full synthetic oil also has better resistance to extreme temperatures, making it a popular choice for Prius drivers in colder or hotter climates. While full synthetic oil provides the best protection for your engine, it’s important to note that it may not be necessary for all Prius models.

– Conventional Oil: Conventional oil is the most basic type of oil and is derived from crude oil. It is less expensive than synthetic blend or full synthetic oil but does not provide the same level of engine protection or performance.

Conventional oil is suitable for vehicles that don’t have high-performance or advanced engine technologies, making it not ideal for the Prius. It’s also worth noting that while conventional oil may meet the minimum requirements of a Prius, it’s not the recommended type of oil.

– High Mileage Oil: If your Prius has over 75,000 miles, you might want to consider using high mileage oil. High mileage oil is formulated with seal conditioners and additives designed to reduce oil leaks and engine wear in vehicles with high mileage.

It’s especially useful if your Prius is starting to show signs of engine wear, such as burning oil, leaking oil, or exhaust smoke. However, it’s essential to note that high mileage oil is not suitable for all Prius models, and it’s best to check your owner’s manual to be sure.

Step-by-Step Guide to Changing the Oil in a Toyota Prius

Changing the oil in your Toyota Prius is a relatively straightforward process, even if you have little to no experience doing it yourself. Regular oil changes help keep your engine running smoothly and efficiently, and it can save you a lot of money in the long run.

In this section, we will go over a simple step-by-step guide to changing the oil in your Toyota Prius. Step 1: Gather Your Tools and Supplies.

To change the oil in your Prius, you’ll need the following items. – Oil filter wrench

– Drain pan

– Funnel

– Ramps or Jack Stands

– New Oil Filter

– New Oil

– Socket Set

– Oil filter wrench

Step 2: Prepare Your Prius for Service.

To begin, park your Prius on level ground and turn off the engine. Place the ramps or jack stands under the car to provide a stable and secure working environment.

Step 3: Drain the Old Oil. Locate the oil drain plug, usually located on the bottom of the engine’s oil pan.

Once you have located the drain plug, use your socket set to remove it. Next, place your drain pan underneath the oil pan and let the old oil drain out.

Be careful not to burn yourself as the oil may be hot. Step 4: Change the Oil Filter.

Once the old oil has been drained, locate the oil filter, which should be located near the drain plug. Use your oil filter wrench to remove the old filter.

Open your new oil filter and put a small amount of oil around the seal. Screw the new filter in place by hand then tighten it with the oil filter wrench.

It’s important not to overtighten the filter, as this can cause damage. Step 5: Fill with New Oil.

Insert the oil funnel into the engine’s oil filler port, located on the top of the engine. Refer to your owner’s manual to find out how much oil your Prius requires.

Once you have added the necessary amount of oil, replace the oil filler cap and run your Prius for a few minutes. Step 6: Check Oil Level.

Turn off your Prius and let it sit for a few minutes to allow the oil to settle. Check the oil level using your dipstick.

If the oil level is low, add more oil as needed. Step 7: Dispose of Old Oil.

Place the used oil into a sealable container and dispose of it properly. Used engine oil can be toxic and harmful to the environment if not disposed of correctly.

In conclusion, changing the oil in your Toyota Prius is a simple process that can save you time and money while keeping your engine running smoothly. By using the right type of oil, you can prolong the life of your Prius and improve its performance.

Follow the recommended oil change schedule and remember to use caution when working with hot liquids and car parts.

Necessary Tools Needed for Changing the Oil in a Toyota Prius

Changing the oil in your Toyota Prius requires a few specialized tools that make the task easy and straightforward. Having the right tools before you begin the process is essential to make the oil change process smoother and safer.

In this section, we will explore the necessary tools required for changing the oil in a Toyota Prius. – Oil drain pan: This is a container used to collect used oil and prevent it from spilling on the ground, keeping the work area clean.

– Socket wrench set: This tool set helps to loosen and tighten bolts and nuts that hold various parts of the oil system together. Having a socket wrench set with various socket sizes is essential to tackle different bolts and nuts sizes.

– Oil filter wrench: It is a particular type of wrench used to remove the oil filter from the engine. Prius models have a specific oil filter, and as such, using an oil filter wrench that is specifically designed for your Prius ensures that it can be removed easily with less hassle.

– Engine oil: This is the oil required by your Prius engine in its oil system. Choosing the appropriate oil for your Prius, whether synthetic or conventional, is important to enhance the efficiency of the vehicle.

– Oil filter: Like the oil, your Prius requires a specific oil filter. It is recommended to purchase the genuine OEM Toyota oil filter as it is compatible with the car’s system and functions efficiently.

– Funnel: This is used to refill new engine oil into the engine without spilling. – Jack stands or Ramps: Depending on the method, you can use a ramp or jack stand to lift the vehicle.

With these essential tools in hand, you can efficiently change the oil in your Toyota Prius and maintain its engine’s longevity.

How to Safely Lift a Toyota Prius to Access the Oil Pan

Raising your Toyota Prius before changing the oil filter is essential to access the oil pan from underneath the vehicle. However, there are several safety considerations to take into account when lifting your Prius.

In this section, we will look at a safe and straightforward way to lift a Toyota Prius to access the oil pan. – Use a ramp: One of the easiest and safest ways to lift a Prius is by using a ramp.

The ramp should be made of rigid plastic or steel, and large enough to accommodate the vehicle’s wheel width. Place the ramp on a flat and stable surface and drive the Prius onto the ramp.

The front wheels should sit on the ramp and leave the back wheels on the ground. This slope exposes the oil pan for easy access.

When placing the ramps, ensure that you put the emergency brake on before driving the car forward. – Use jack stands: If you prefer to use jack stands instead of a ramp, start by parking your Prius on a level surface.

Pop the hood and locate the recommended jacking points illustrated in your owner’s manual. Then, lift the front end of the vehicle using a hydraulic floor jack or scissor jack.

Place the jack stands next to the vehicles front jack points and lower your Toyota securely onto the stands. Double-check that the car is secure and stable before going under it to change the oil and filter.

– Never use a cinder block or other home-improvised devices to support the car, as it is unstable and can lead to injuries. – Avoid wearing loose clothing or jewelry while working on the vehicle as it might get caught in car parts, leading to injuries.

In conclusion, using ramps or jack stands is an effective and safe way of lifting your Toyota Prius to access the oil pan, making it easier to change the oil and filter. Always prioritize safety precautions, wear protective gear, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the vehicle’s recommended lifting points.

With the right tools and techniques, changing the oil in a Toyota Prius can be a quick and straightforward task.

How to Properly Drain the Old Oil from a Toyota Prius

Draining the old oil from your Toyota Prius is a crucial step in the oil change process. To ensure that the maximum amount of old oil is removed and minimal mess is made, it’s important to follow the proper procedure.

In this section, we will guide you through the steps of draining the old oil from your Toyota Prius. Step 1: Preparation

Before getting started, make sure your Prius is parked on a level and stable surface.

Safety should be a priority, so engage the parking brake and chock the rear wheels to prevent any accidental movement. Additionally, it’s a good practice to let your Prius cool down for a while to avoid any potential burns from hot oil.

Step 2: Locate the Drain Plug

The oil drain plug is usually located on the bottom of the oil pan. You may need to slide underneath the vehicle carefully to access it.

It’s important to have the correct size socket wrench or box-end wrench that fits snugly onto the drain plug to prevent any stripping or damage. Step 3: Place the Drain Pan

Position your drain pan directly beneath the drain plug to catch the old oil as it flows out.

Ensure that the pan is large enough to contain the entire volume of the old oil. Step 4: Loosen the Drain Plug

Using your wrench, turn the drain plug counterclockwise to loosen it.

Be prepared for oil to start flowing as soon as the plug is loose enough. Slowly remove the drain plug while keeping a firm grip on it to avoid dropping it into the drain pan.

Step 5: Allow the Oil to Drain Completely

Let the old oil drain completely into the drain pan. You can gently wiggle the drain plug if necessary to ensure that all the oil has been removed from the oil pan.

It’s recommended to wait a few minutes to ensure that the majority of the oil has been drained. Step 6: Inspect the Drain Plug and Gasket

While the oil is draining, take the opportunity to inspect the drain plug and its gasket for any signs of damage or wear.

If you notice any issues, it’s best to replace the gasket or seek professional assistance to avoid potential leaks. Step 7: Reinstall the Drain Plug

Once the old oil has finished draining and you have inspected the drain plug and gasket, securely reinstall the drain plug.

Turn it clockwise by hand until it is snug, and then use your wrench to tighten it further. Be careful not to overtighten, as this can damage the threads or crush the gasket.

With the old oil properly drained, you can now move on to the next step: removing and replacing the oil filter.

How to Remove and Replace the Oil Filter in a Toyota Prius

The oil filter in your Toyota Prius plays a critical role in keeping the engine clean by capturing impurities and contaminants. Changing the oil filter regularly is important to maintain optimal engine performance.

In this section, we will guide you through the steps of removing and replacing the oil filter in your Toyota Prius. Step 1: Locate the Oil Filter

The oil filter is typically located near the oil pan on the engine block.

In a Toyota Prius, it is usually accessible from the top, underneath a plastic engine cover. It may be necessary to remove any necessary components, such as air intake ducts or engine covers, to gain better access to the oil filter.

Step 2: Prepare for Oil Spillage

Before removing the oil filter, be prepared for oil spillage. Place a suitable container or absorbent material beneath the oil filter to catch any excess oil that may spill during the removal process.

Step 3: Loosen and Remove the Oil Filter

Using an oil filter wrench specifically designed for your Prius model, grip the oil filter firmly and turn it counterclockwise to loosen and remove it. If the filter is difficult to remove by hand, the oil filter wrench will provide an extra grip and leverage to loosen it.

Step 4: Drain Excess Oil from the Filter

Once the oil filter is removed, turn it upside down to allow any excess oil to drain out. This helps prevent oil from spilling inside the engine compartment or onto other engine components when you dispose of the used filter.

Step 5: Prepare the New Oil Filter

Before installing the new oil filter, apply a small amount of fresh oil to the rubber gasket or O-ring. This lubricates the gasket and helps create a better seal, ensuring a proper fit and preventing oil leaks.

Step 6: Install the New Oil Filter

Carefully thread the new oil filter onto the engine by hand, turning it clockwise. Once the filter is hand-tightened, use the oil filter wrench to give it a final snug quarter-turn.

Be cautious not to overtighten, as this can damage the filter or its housing. Step 7: Clean up and Dispose of the Old Filter

Wipe off any oil residue from the filter housing, ensuring a clean and dry surface.

Properly dispose of the old filter in accordance with local regulations. Many automotive parts stores or oil change centers accept used oil filters for recycling.

With the new oil filter securely installed, you have completed the process of removing and replacing the oil filter in your Toyota Prius. You are now ready to move on to the final step: refilling the engine with fresh oil.

How to Check and Refill the Oil Level in a Toyota Prius

Checking and maintaining the proper oil level in your Toyota Prius is essential for the continued performance and longevity of your vehicle’s engine. In this section, we will guide you through the steps to check and refill the oil level in your Toyota Prius.

Step 1: Preparation

Park your Prius on a level surface and ensure that the engine has been turned off for at least a few minutes. This allows the oil to settle and gives you an accurate reading of the oil level.

Step 2: Locate the Oil Dipstick

Open the hood of your Prius and locate the oil dipstick. The dipstick is usually located near the engine towards the front, and it typically has a brightly colored handle, often yellow or orange, making it easy to identify.

Step 3: Remove and Clean the Dipstick

Pull the dipstick out of the dipstick tube and wipe it clean with a lint-free cloth or paper towel. Ensure that there are no debris or oil residue on the dipstick before reinserting it.

Step 4: Check the Oil Level

Fully insert the dipstick back into the dipstick tube, then remove it again. Observe the two markings on the dipstick: the low level mark and the full level mark.

The oil level should be between these two markings. If the oil level is below the low level mark, it indicates that you need to add oil.

Step 5: Refill the Oil

If your oil level is below the low level mark, it’s time to add oil. Open the oil filler cap, located on top of the engine.

Using a funnel to avoid spills, carefully pour oil into the opening. Be sure to add oil gradually and periodically check the oil level using the dipstick until it reaches the full level mark.

Step 6: Recheck the Oil Level

After adding oil, wait a few moments to allow the oil to settle and then recheck the oil level using the dipstick. If the oil level is still below the low level mark, add more oil until it reaches the full level mark.

Avoid overfilling the oil, as this can potentially cause damage to the engine. With the oil level checked and the proper amount of oil added, your Toyota Prius is now ready for the next journey.

However, it’s important to dispose of the old oil and filter properly to maintain environmental sustainability.

How to Properly Dispose of Old Oil and Filter

Proper disposal of used oil and oil filters is crucial for protecting the environment. Pollution caused by improper disposal can contaminate water sources and harm wildlife.

Thankfully, recycling centers and service stations make it easy and convenient to dispose of old oil and oil filters responsibly. Follow these steps to ensure the proper disposal of old oil and oil filters.

Step 1: Drain the Old Oil

After draining the old oil into a suitable container, make sure to place a lid on it to prevent spills and keep it secure during transit. Step 2: Check Local Regulations

Before disposing of used oil, check your local regulations to find out where and how it should be recycled.

Many communities have designated collection centers, automotive stores, or service stations that accept used oil for recycling. Step 3: Prepare for Transport

Transfer the used oil from the container into a clean, sealable, and leak-proof container.

Empty oil bottles or containers specifically designed for storing used oil are suitable for this purpose. Make sure to label the container “Used Oil” to avoid confusion.

Step 4: Find a Recycling Center or Certified Collection Point

Research local recycling centers or certified collection points that accept used oil. These locations often have designated drop-off areas for used oil that is free of contaminants.

Some automotive stores or service stations may also accept used oil and oil filters, so it’s worth checking with them. Step 5: Transport and Deliver

Safely transport the container of used oil to the recycling center or certified collection point.

Ensure that the container is securely closed and placed upright to prevent any leakage during transit. Follow any specific instructions given by the recycling center or collection point for drop-off or delivery.

Step 6: Dispose of the Oil Filter

To dispose of the oil filter, place it in a sealable plastic bag to prevent oil from leaking out. Check with the recycling center or collection point whether they accept used oil filters and any specific requirements they may have for disposal.

Some centers may also ask you to puncture the filter to drain any remaining oil before disposal. By following these steps, you can ensure that your used oil and oil filters are disposed of correctly and environmentally responsibly, contributing to the preservation of our ecosystem.

In conclusion, it is important to check and maintain the oil level in your Toyota Prius regularly. Proper disposal of used oil and oil filters is crucial to protect the environment.

By following the steps outlined above, you can easily check and refill the oil level in your Prius and dispose of the old oil and filters safely and responsibly.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Changing the Oil in a Toyota Prius

Changing the oil in your Toyota Prius is an essential maintenance task that helps to ensure the proper functioning and longevity of your engine. While it may seem like a relatively straightforward process, there are some common mistakes that people often make when changing the oil.

In this section, we will highlight these mistakes and provide guidance on how to avoid them. Mistake 1: Using the wrong type of oil

Using the incorrect type of oil is one of the most common mistakes people make.

The Toyota Prius requires a specific type of oil, typically a synthetic blend or full synthetic oil in a specific viscosity, such as 0W-20. It’s important to consult your owner’s manual or contact a Toyota dealership to determine the appropriate oil for your specific Prius model.

Using the wrong oil can lead to decreased performance and potentially engine damage. Mistake 2: Overtightening the oil filter and drain plug

Another common mistake is overtightening the oil filter and drain plug.

While it’s crucial to tighten them sufficiently to prevent leaks, overtightening can lead to damaged threads, a stripped oil pan, or a cracked oil filter housing. It’s best to use the recommended torque specifications for your Prius model and to tighten the drain plug and oil filter by hand or with a wrench, ensuring they are snug but not overly tight.

Mistake 3: Not replacing the oil filter

Some people overlook the importance of replacing the oil filter during an oil change. The oil filter is responsible for removing contaminants from the oil and plays a significant role in maintaining engine health.

Neglecting to replace the oil filter can result in reduced oil flow, decreased performance, and potential damage to the engine. Always replace the oil filter with a new one during every oil change.

Mistake 4: Adding too much or too little oil

Adding an incorrect amount of oil is another common error. Adding too much oil can lead to excessive pressure, increased friction, and may cause leaks.

On the other hand, adding too little oil can result in inadequate lubrication, increased wear, and potential engine damage. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for the proper oil capacity of your Prius and to check the oil level using the dipstick after adding oil to ensure it falls within the recommended range.

Mistake 5: Improperly disposing of used oil and filters

Improper disposal of used oil and oil filters is not only harmful to the environment but may also be illegal. Pouring used oil down the drain or throwing it in the regular trash can contaminate water sources and damage ecosystems.

Similarly, tossing used oil filters in the garbage can contribute to landfill waste. Always follow proper disposal guidelines and take used oil and oil filters to recycling centers or designated collection points that accept them.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure a successful oil change that promotes the longevity and optimal functioning of your Toyota Prius. Signs that Indicate It’s Time to Change the Oil in a Toyota Prius

Knowing when to change the oil in your Toyota Prius is crucial for maintaining the health and performance of your vehicle’s engine.

While following the recommended oil change intervals is essential, it’s also important to be aware of certain signs that may indicate the need for an oil change before the scheduled interval. In this section, we will discuss several common signs that indicate it’s time to change the oil in a Toyota Prius.

1. Dark, dirty oil: When checking the oil on the dipstick, if you notice that the oil is dark or dirty in color, it’s a sign that it’s time for an oil change.

Over time, the oil can deteriorate and accumulate contaminants like dirt, debris, and engine sludge. Fresh, clean oil is vital for optimum engine performance.

2. Engine noise or knocking: A common indicator of insufficient or degraded oil is engine noise or knocking sounds.

If you hear unusual noises coming from your Prius’s engine, it may be a result of inadequate lubrication, indicating that the oil needs to be changed. The engine components rely on proper lubrication to operate smoothly and quietly.

3. Decreased fuel efficiency: If you notice a significant decrease in fuel efficiency, it could be a sign that your oil needs to be changed.

Old or dirty oil can cause increased friction and decreased engine efficiency, resulting in higher fuel consumption. 4.

Check Engine or Oil Change Indicator light: Your Prius is equipped with an Oil Change Indicator light that illuminates when the oil change is due. Additionally, if you see the Check Engine light on your dashboard, it may indicate a problem with your engine, including the condition of the oil.

It’s important not to ignore these warning lights and to address them promptly. 5.

Smell of oil inside the vehicle: If you detect a strong smell of oil inside the cabin of your Prius, it could be a sign of an oil leak or excessive oil burning. This warrants immediate attention, as oil leaks can damage engine components and even pose a fire hazard.

6. Sluggish performance: If your Prius is experiencing a reduction in power or is not performing as well as usual, it may be a result of old or degraded oil.

Insufficient lubrication can hinder the engine’s ability to perform optimally. Changing the oil can restore power and improve overall performance.

It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s recommended oil change intervals for your Toyota Prius. However, paying attention to these signs can help you identify when an oil change may be necessary before the scheduled interval, allowing you to address any potential issues promptly and maintain the health of your Prius’s engine.

Maintenance Checklist for Toyota Prius Owners

As a Toyota Prius owner, regular maintenance is key to keeping your vehicle running smoothly and efficiently. Following a maintenance checklist can help ensure that you address all the necessary tasks to maintain the optimal performance and longevity of your Prius.

In this section, we will provide a comprehensive maintenance checklist for Toyota Prius owners. 1.

Regular Oil Changes: Follow the manufacturer’s recommended oil change interval for your specific Prius model. Changing the oil at regular intervals is crucial to maintain engine lubrication and prevent damage.

Use the proper oil type and replace the oil filter during each oil change. 2.

Tire Maintenance: Check tire pressure regularly and ensure it matches the recommended pressure outlined in your owner’s manual. Inspect your tires for signs of wear, such as uneven tread or sidewall damage.

Rotate your tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles to promote even tread wear and extend tire life. 3.

Battery Health: Prius models have a hybrid battery that requires maintenance. Check the battery for any signs of corrosion or leakage.

If you notice significant battery performance issues, such as reduced fuel economy or warning lights, have it inspected by a qualified technician. 4.

Fluid Levels: Regularly check and top up all vital fluids, including coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and windshield washer fluid. Low fluid levels can lead to component malfunctions and reduced performance.

5. Brake Maintenance: Inspect brake pads and rotors regularly for wear.

Replace brake pads when they are worn down, and have the brake system checked by a professional if you experience any unusual noises, vibrations, or decreased brake performance. 6.

Air Filter: Check and clean or replace the air filter as necessary. A clogged air filter can restrict airflow, decrease fuel efficiency, and affect engine performance.

7. Wiper Blades: Inspect windshield wiper blades for any signs of wear or cracking.

Replace them if they are not effectively clearing your windshield to ensure optimal visibility during inclement weather. 8.

Drive Belts: Regularly inspect the condition of drive belts for signs of cracks, fraying, or excessive wear. Replace them as needed to prevent failure.

9. Exterior and Interior Cleaning: Regularly wash and clean the exterior of your Prius to maintain its appearance and protect the paint.

Clean the interior and vacuum regularly to keep it free of debris, which can help prevent p

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