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Toyota Avalon Basic Maintenance Questions



  • moimeme1moimeme1 Posts: 1
    I have a Toyota avalon 98 and the air bag light is blinking. Is there something I can do to reset it?
  • gilseidmangilseidman Posts: 19
    I have the 2008 Avalon Limited and there is no schedule for brake or transmission fluid. There is also no dipstick for the transmission. I would follow the instructions in the manual and leave those things alone. You could check the brake reservoir visually and add fluid if low for any reason but it is not likely. It may become lower as the brake pads are used up and should be checked when you do a brake job. I have never drained and replaced brake fluid in my 1995 Avalon and I have 160,000 miles on it.
  • bigroz8000bigroz8000 Posts: 10
    Hello. I am going to be replacing the struts on my 2002 Toyota Avalalon XL. I am trying to decide between the Monroe Sensa Trac strut and the KYB GR2 strut. The car has a lot of shimmy at high speeds. I prefer a more comfortable, smooth ride. I am older and not looking to make this in to a sports car. Just want to restore the ride to the way it was when I bought it. Any help with this decision is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,644
    Before you start, what do you mean by "shimmy"? If you mean you can feel the steering wheel moving back and forth, that's not struts, that's wheel balance most likely, or a bent rim, or out of round tire.

    if you mean the car wanders around the road, new struts might help that but this is often an alignment or front end bushing issue.

    Bad struts will give you a "wallowing" feeling (pitching, moving side to side, bouncing up and down) when braking, going around turns, or over bumps. In other words, bad struts show up when the suspension is under some stress.
  • bigroz8000bigroz8000 Posts: 10
    Thanks for the response. It is much appreciated. I don't feel the steering wheel moving back and forth. It is more like the car wanders around the road. I notice it the most at high speeds on highways that are not smooth or have a lot of pitch to them. Also, the car does not handle the bumps very well. The problem started at around 50,000 miles on the car and never really got better with new tires, alignments, and balancing. It now has 93000 miles. Have had it looked at by Toyota, Tires Plus, and an independent mechanic but nothing was found wrong with any aspect of the suspension. I am not really sure what to do. Don't want to play hit or miss with fixing it but the car seems to be all over the road and I am worried that I am damaging something by driving it. Let me know what you think and thanks again for the help.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,644
    Okay given the description of symptoms and the mileage on the car, new struts would not be a bad decision in any case. But I think an alignment should be done as well. Normally you don't have to do an alignment when replacing struts but in your case it might be good to at least check it. If you can get Bilstein shocks for your car, they are really great---but probably more $$$ than the other two you mention.
  • bigroz8000bigroz8000 Posts: 10
    Thanks again for the help. I just checked but unfortunately they do not make Blistein struts for an 02 Avalon. Just a few more questions for you. Is there much of a difference in ride comfort between the Monroe and the KYB. Also, would you recommend that I replace my strut mounts as well. Any ideas on what a reasonable price would be for this. I will definitely get the alignment. Thanks for all the great information. This is the first time I have used this forum. I will definitely use again. Thanks for making it a great first experience. Your help is very much appreciated.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,644
    I'm not real keen on KYB or Monroe. Why don't you research Boge and see if they make a shock for your car.

    As for strut mounts, they can be inspected when the strut is off. In the rear, I'd look for rusted mount bolts or cracked rubber. If the rubber mount and studs look clean and healthy,you are good.

    In the front, there's the addition of not only rubber and studs to look at, but a BEARING in the mount that lets the wheels turn on the strut. Here, too, I'd only replace these based on some visible defects---or in the case of the front strut, if you get "memory steering", which means you turn the wheel and everything's fine but when you expect the wheel to come back to the straight position after the turn, it may hesitate to do so and feel stiff. That's usually a bad steering mount bearing.

    Boge or Bilstein is 2X the shock of the other too, and worth the price.

    If you have no choices, I'd go with the KYB GR2s.
  • bigroz8000bigroz8000 Posts: 10
    Thanks for the great advice. I am going to look in to the Boge struts. Have a great weekend.
  • gohawaiiangohawaiian Posts: 76
    Has anyone experienced several malfunction/warning lights coming on at the same time, without any prior event that might have caused this (such as a panic stop, etc.)? I started my 2005 Avalon one morning last week, after it sat unused overnight, and found that the "check engine", "VSC" and traction control warning lights all illuminated. The same warning lights continue to come on since then and I have since discovered that the adaptive cruise control is also not working ("E3" code displays when attempting to engage cruise control). Car is being serviced today, by dealer - technician seems clueless at this point about what would cause this and wants to charge me for the electronics diagnosis which they claim is not covered under the Toyota extended warranty (7 years, 100K miles) I have. Anyone else have this happen to their car?
  • tjc78tjc78 JerseyPosts: 5,023
    Can't tell you what is wrong with your car.... however I can tell you that if a condition arises that triggers the check engine light the VSC/TRAC system is disabled and turns those lights on as well. Since the laser cruise uses those systems it probably is disabled as well.

    As for the charge to diagnose, isn't this deducted from the bill if you choose to have it fixed?

    1999 Chevy S10 / 2004 Merc Grand Marquis / 2012 Buick LaCrosse

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Could be something as simple as a gas filler cap not fully tightened or someone removed the cap with filling the tank.
  • gohawaiiangohawaiian Posts: 76
    Thank you tjc78 and also wwest for your help (Responses #278 & 279). My problem turned out to be a defective gas cap seal. They replaced the cap and everything seems OK now. I gave the service rep a copy of your response (#278) and asked why the dealer's technician didn't know what you knew: namely, that all these other systems (VSC, Trac, laser cruise) would be affected and display warning lights/error codes if the check engine warning was activated. Didn't really get an answer to that, altho he said that their service manuals don't mention that (!) - so they thanked me for showing them your reply and said they would share it with the service technician who worked on my car. Sounds like you helped not only me, but my dealership's service department too! So thanks again!
  • I have a 2002 Avalon and we've owned it for several years now. Last year we experienced the engine not idling like it should or at all, would stall at stop signe and traffic lights too. Anyways, I took it to a friend and he blasted some SeaFoam through the intake and since then the car has been running like new until recently. The check engine light and the VSC lights came on as well, just like last time. What could be causing this and how can I fix it without a really big expense?
  • ds2ds2 Posts: 1
    Had exact same problem about a month ago with idling issues on an '02 Camry 130k miles. I had to have car towed because I could not keep it running. No warning lights however. Turns out the idling valve needed to be cleaned out - My mechanic found issue quickly cost $100. Runs like new again with no problems since. They only real issue that I have had on the car for 6 years was this.
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    The idle air flow bypass port, bypassing the throttle plate, is fairly small and easily plugged up if the intake filter is not changed out often enough, or if someone (read: IDIOT..!!) switches in a "free-flow" K&N instead of staying with OEM or equivalent air intake filters.

    Newer DBW systems do not use/need the bypass port so the only real damage a K&N can do is contamination of the MAF/IAT sensors.
  • Sounds like an IAC (search in this forum and Google for it with Camry's as well) issue at least, there are posts in cyberspace with descriptions for DIY'ers.

    Once cleaned, you could try to reset the error lights, but if they come back you may have to check/clean and or replace your MAF and oxygen sensors.
  • 03avowner03avowner Posts: 1
    Hello, thanks for everybody's enlightening responses.

    I have a quick question:

    I have an '03 Avalon, 59,000K, upto date on maintence. Over the last few months, the airbag light blinks. It will only blink for a few days and not light up again for a 1-3 wks, followed by a repeat of this cycle.

    It is hard to arrange my schedule and sched a check up while the light is on during that short period of time.

    1. Can this issue be trouble shoot while the light is off?

    2. Given the obvious importance of an airbag, should I only go to a dealer?

    3. Any suggestions on Toyota recall websites?

    Thank you!
  • stan600stan600 Posts: 2
    can someone tell me were the cable ajustment is :mad:
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,644
    remove the hole plug in the rear hub
    Turn the adjuster and expand the shoes until the disc locks.
    Return the adjuster 8 notches.
    Install the hole plug.


    1. Depress the parking brake pedal with 147 N (15 kgf, 33 lbs.) .
    2. Drive the vehicle at about 50 km/h (31 mph) on a safe, level and dry road.
    3. Drive the vehicle for about 400 meters (0.25 mile) in this condition.
    4. Repeat this procedure 2 or 3 times.

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