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Toyota Avalon Brakes, ABS, VSC, etc.



  • I'd written before about my Avalon concerning the brakes and being told I had disk problems after recently getting new brakes, tires, etc. I was in Springfield, Va & took my car to the Toyota Dealer. He said there was nothing wrong with my brakes. There was still plenty of space on my disks. He said, there was no point in getting a brake job done or replacing the disks. You might as well keep driving it until they wear down.

    The car shimmys when I put on the brakes. I have 4 new tires. Will this not wear my tires out very quickly?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,403
    Well you should wait until a detailed report comes back from the body shop. Presumably, an actual catastrophic failure of the brakes would not heal itself and should be readily apparent.

    If the brakes check out perfectly, I'm afraid you'd have to at least consider driver error (hit the wrong pedal) or confusion.

    Also, they should check for debris under the brake pedal (old water bottle, etc.) and possibly a defective power brake booster---which would give you a very very hard pedal so that it might feel like there were no brakes (but there are if you push hard enough).

    Also, you might very well have hit something in the road prior to the crash, damaging the rear brakes.


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,403
    That's warped rotors. Sure that might result in some irregular tire wear over a long period of time. Probably nothing you'd notice unless this condition went on and on for an intolerable period.


  • I purchased my 2006 Avalon new and I have been the only driver. At approximately 24,000 miles I was told by the dealer that the pads were half worn; both front and rear. At 27,798 miles the dealer informed me that they needed to be replaced. I am the only driver of the car, I do mostly highway driving and I don't do any towing. It seems to me that this repair work for nearly $500.00 should not be necessary with such little mileage. In addition to this, the dealer informed me that my two rear tires are bald and they need to be replaced.

    I called Toyota customer service and was told that although I have an extended warrant, brakes are wear and tear items and are not covered. The agent could not care less about the fact that the mileage was only 27,798. She suggested that I take it to another Toyota dealer for a second opinion. Regarding the tires, she suggested that I contact Michelin, the manufacturer. She staterd this was "not a Toyota problem to resolve".

    Has anyone had this problem with the brakes and or tires? What might be the cause of this and what recourse should I take. My other car is a 2000 Avalon and I never had these difficulties. I was the sole driver of that car until I got the 2006 model.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • There seems to be questionable issues with your dealer. If the pads were half worn-out at 24K, how did they completely wear out in 3K? Tire issues do go back to the tire manufacturer, but "bald" rear tires only on a front wheel drive car certainly doesn't seem normal.

    I would find a reputable independent shop (maybe a Michelin dealer) for a second opinion, since brake pads and tires are not covered under Toyota warranty anyway.
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 588
    With suburban driving the brakes could be half gone (front) and the rear should be almost new. As above, how did 3k miles finish off the pads? Not likely. My experience, anyway.

    If the tires were rotated properly how do two go bald and two not? They should all be pretty close. Take the car to a Michelin dealer and ask the question...

    This whole thing sounds strange. Like the dealer wants some money you don't need to spend. Good luck, keep the forum posted :) .
  • I have a similar problem. Please read my post My 2006 Avalon need new brakes.
  • mermidonmermidon Posts: 1
    This morning I had a bizarre situation with my 2007 Toyota Avalon. My community received 1-2 inches of a dry snow overnight. I left my home prior to a snow plow showing up and needed to travel down several small hills to leave the development.

    To say the least, the road was slick. So I kept my speed to about 5-10 MPH. On four separate occassions while traveling this 3/4 mile stretch, my ABS system failed on me. On each occasion, the ABS kicked in and was pumping like mad. After pumping for what was probably several long seconds, the brake pedal would sink to the floor. During these events, my car did not feel as if it was decelerating at all. And of course, once the brakes hit the floor, I had absolutely no braking ability.

    Please note that I was not manually pumping the brake, but letting the ABS system do its job. In addition, I don't believe I lost the ability to steer the car, although steering was incredibly tough since the roads were so slick.

    I was finally able to get down the various hills by mainly hitting up against curbs (and fortunately missing mailboxes and telephone poles along the way). Once I got to the main road (which was plowed), my brakes appeared to work fine. So I continued to work since trying to head back to my house up those snow covered hills didn't appear to be a good option.

    The local Toyato dealer was kind enough to get me an appointment within the hour of my call to them. However, they were unable to find anything wrong with the brake system. They tried to simulate the ABS failure in a snow covered parking lot (which was several hours after my event...and thus the snow was at least starting to melt and turn into slop). Of course, they couldn't recreate the failure, but instead confirmed that the ABS system was working as intended. They also ran diagnostics, which showed that no ABS failure code was recorded in the system. Lastly, they called Toyota corporate who claims that no one else had reported a similar situation.

    Of course, my car was out of alignment due to my curb riding. So I left with a $85 bill for an alignment along with the "call us if it happens again". I asked the service manager if he knew what he was asking me to do -- wait until the brakes fail again and hope that I'm still around to talk to them about it.

    To say the least, I probably won't ever buy another Toyota. Not sure how long I'm going to hang on to this one either...which I also use to transport my family in. So much for their safety rating in my book.

    I appreciate all advice, tips and suggestions!
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The ABS' brake pressure sustaining pumpmotor is just a 12 volt DC fractional HP motor very much like your windshield wiper drive motor. This is the very same motor also used for TCS, VSC, EBD, and BA functionality.

    If you read the owners manual carefully you will find that these other functions have a time out delay to prevent overheating of this pumpmotor. What the manufacturers do not seem to be willing to say, admit, is the ABS functionality has this very same limitation, if the pumpmotor begins to overheat then you will lose ABS capability .

    If you happened to start out the morning with anything less than an absolutely FULL battery charge then even the WORSE. I would also clean and burnish the battery posts/terminals/connections as just a bit if additional insurance.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,403
    If you didn't lose hydraulic fluid I can't really understand how this could happen. I could understand a loss of vacuum to the power brake, giving you a very HARD pedal that might feel like loss of brakes.


  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    When ABS activates to prevent wheel lockup/skid it releases brake pressure fluid back into the reservoir at/from the individual brake calipers. If the ABS pumpmotor cannot keep up with the rate of brake fluid pressure depletion due to ABS then the pedal will go (slowly...??) to the floor since the "makeup" fluid pressure must now come from the master cylinder.

    That could be the result of a low battery, poor battery positive and/or negative connections, poor connections to the ABS pumpmotor, or a "tired" ABS pumpmotor. Most modern day vehicles have a time-out system to prevent the prolonged use of the ABS pumpmotor in support of other, ancillary, functions such as TC, VSC, EBD, and BA. Basically "reserving" some portion of the ABS pumpmotor for its primary purpose/use.

    If some of these ancillary functions were highly active just prior to the need for ABS it is entirely possible that ABS capability would be foreshortened accordingly. And given the conditions stated it seems highly probable that TC would have been in use and maybe even VSC.

    The ABS pumpmotor very likely has a permanent magnet rotor and it doesn't take many overheating cycles to compromise the magnetic aspects of the rotor. Therefore a weakened pumpmotor functionality.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,403
    Really??!! Are you 100% sure about this? I'm....shocked...that this could be a default position for an ABS failure. :surprise:

    Got any links for this? I need to know more about it.


  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    100% sure..??

    No, NEVER.

    The problem could also have been a bit of debris blocking one of the ABS fluid pressure solenoid relief valves open slightly. Debris "washed" away, nothing for the techies to find wrong with the ABS.

    But my experience has been that an ABS failure light indication is often the very first indication that I need to replace a failing 12 volt battery. The ABS pumpmotor self-test puts a VERY heavy load on the 12 volt power source and distribution system and if the battery is even slightly marginal.....
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 588
    You have answered your own question: ...but instead confirmed that the ABS system was working as intended. They also ran diagnostics, which showed that no ABS failure code was recorded in the system.

    So, it was working as intended and it failed..but... it passed! This example is more proof that modern auto electronic systems are simply far too complicated. Scary trip. This should not happen in a modern sedan.

    But then, you never lost control of the car. An ABS working well gives you control as the wheels don't lock. Same for skid control. You might not stop but you go where you steer. These systems generally override any manual input. The sinking pedal allows this to happen within the systems therefore no error code. Probably.

    It may be as *wwest* has described it above. Electrical current is critical to the modern auto. A voltage drop could slow the response time and maybe still not show an error. In any case, you are along for the ride. This might happen in any ABS/VSC car depending on the system settings, electronics, etc. ....Where is my 1959 Buick......? :)
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "...Where is my 1959 Buick....?"

    Either in the junk yard or already melted down as scrap..

    Exactly where it should be.

    The way I remember it cars of that era were more prone to brake pedal "fade" for a myriad of reasons. Blown master cylinder seal being the most common but not far above on eof the 4 brake shoe pistons.
  • amauhryamauhry Posts: 55
    But my experience has been that an ABS failure light indication is often the very first indication that I need to replace a failing 12 volt battery

    As wwest indirectly pointed out, if the system is over/short of voltage for whatever reason you should get a MIL in the dash along with a trouble code stored in memory. A MIL and corresponding DTC should appear for any abnormalities in the system (ABS, EBD, BA, VSC, etc.). What happened to “mermidon” was completely out of wack, especially for the fact that the tests done by the mechanic showed no symptoms at all. mermidon didn’t mention, however, if he noticed any warning beeps and/or lights in the dash just prior to the incident.

    My two cents: pay attention to the dash when starting your car. If any of the brake system icons don’t clear a couple of second after ignition, leave your car where it is and jump out of there!

    '08 Limited
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    MIL and/or CEL is reserved for engine problems/emisisons.

    ABS/EBD/VSC/etc will not cause an MIL.
  • New front pads, rotors, calipers and rear pads. This after the RF caliper locked-up on us during a trip. Did all the work myself. Now the brake pedal travels to far and is too soft. So I bleed the brakes RR LR RF LF. I did this 4 times, and went through 2 large bottles of fluid. Still have the same brake softness and pedal travel. Funny thing is...I noticed that if I pump my brakes once... the brakes work perfectly. If I just apply them as I should, the pedal travels too far and the brakes are soft. 120k on the car and it has ABS and toyota's version of traction control, forgive me I don't remember the System has been checked for leaks and the power booster is holding air pressure as it should... Any thoughts on how to get my brakes back to normal???

    Thanks!!! :cry:
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 588
    Not sure about the wheel sequence for bleeding air and otherwise purging the lines but the problem sounds like air is still trapped in the system. Air can be compressed, liquid cannot, so when you apply the pedal you are simply compressing the air and the brake does not function as designed. Make sure the master cylinder is always full and always close the cylinder bleed valve with pressure applied. Another possibility is a failing master cylinder. Hope this helps, others may have more ideas.. :)
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    There is usually an additional bleed valve on or near the ABS pumpmotor assembly/manifold.
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