Deal Breaker No More - 2004 Toyota Prius Long-Term Road Test

2004 Toyota Prius Long-Term Road Test

2004 Toyota Prius: Deal Breaker No More

November 09, 2010

Arm rest of Prius After Cleaning.jpg

Scott Jacobs wrote a hilarious blog post about how the armrest in the 2004 Toyota Prius reminded him of a couch his college roommate had that they had nicknamed the "deal breaker." If a woman came to visit them, and had to sit on the couch, she would never come back. The armrest of the Prius was like that for me. It was the first thing I saw when I opened the door to get in. Looking at the evil, dark stains I imagined it was emitting the foul odors some editors had remarked on. After months of shrinking from contact with the armrest I snapped into action.

I took the Prius to our local car wash and asked about shampooing the interior. They said it would cost a hundred big ones and take an hour. I didn't have the money or the time so I let them do their usual vacuum and wash. While I was waiting for it to be scrubbed, I browsed the car care products and my eyes fell on a can of foam upholstery shampoo. The advertising said it could be used on "the toughest stains." But it didn't say anything about deal breakers.

On my way back to the office from the car wash I pulled to the curb and hosed the armrest with foam. It was like I was trying to extinguish a flaming jetliner on an airport runway. Foam went everywhere, billowing like cumulonimbus clouds. I scrubbed the arm rest with the brush built into the top of the can. Inky rivulets of grime steamed off the arm rest and down the door panel. I blotted the mess with tissues I found in the backseat. I kept foaming and blotting. The next day, I did it again.

I can't tell you how satisfying it was to have it dry, fluffy and fragrant. I kept looking at the before picture to remind myself of how far it had come. I still think it seems impossible that it could have come back from the dead like that.

Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 86,740 miles

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