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Toyota Avalon Basic Maintenance Questions



  • john609john609 Posts: 10
    Replaced several bulbs (over 8 years) with non-Toyota bulbs - no problems. Just match the light bulb with the part number. Auto part store can give you the generic equivalent.

    Never had to change a fuse.

    FYI - when you are replacing the tag light bulb - be careful pulling out the clips holding the trunk liner in place. The clips break easy.
  • Anyone have any online service links for the Avalon. I had been pretty handy in the past with self auto maintenance, but with the demands on my time have been inclined to take my autos to the shop for the last 10 years or so. My wife's 2000 Avalon is in need of 60k service and the dealer is quoting about $400 for it. She is out of town and will not be needing it for a few weeks. It only includes plugs, oil change and filter, air filter, and cabin filter, and possibly the tranny fluid change. The air filter is a piece of cake. I don't think the cabin filter will be that difficult, but the plugs on the other hand could be a problem. I couldn't even see the plugs tonight when I looked. Of course it was dark out. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
  • Can anybody tell me the correct part number for the Toyota OEM oil filter for my 1996 Avalon? It should begin with "90915."

  • nomad56nomad56 Posts: 134
    The actual filter is/was 08922-02011. 90915 series are compact replacements and TRD parts. Those are: (TRD)00602-90915-004 & 90915-20003, 90915-YZZB5. This filter series goes in a lot of Toyo's.
  • Thanks, nomad56.
  • nsx603nsx603 Posts: 1
    I have a 1997 Avalon XL with 112000 miles on it, and I am concerned about the work that needs to be done on it. The local mechanic said that he advises a timing belt and water pump change, but the owners manual says to only perform this if you drive under severe conditions, which I do not. This car is mostly used on the freeway for a round trip of 20 miles a day. Is it advised to perform these repairs? Also recently a check engine light has come on and the code states that the oxygen sensors are going bad. A pair of new ones costs 300+ dollars, what is up with the Toyota quality.
  • kuolkuol Posts: 7
    Anyone can share his(her) experiences to change Air filter and Cabin filter on 96 Avalon XL?

    Please describe it clearly. I tried but it is not as easy as Honda Accord. The owner's manual doesn't have a page about it. I have searched this forum but just some general descriptions. Hope someone can help. Thanks!
  • Cabin air filter? My 96 doesn't have one.


    Engine air filter cover has four thumb clips. If the filter cover doesn't come up enough, after releasing the clips, to slide the filter out you will need to remove the small hose/wire guide from the side of the cover next to the engine (one 10 mm bolt/screw just above the rear inside thumb clip). Removing this bolt allows the cover to come up enough, without removing the air hose or anything else, to replace the filter.
  • berobberob Posts: 35
    I am unclear as to the recommended interval for changing the automatic transmission fluid in my 2000 Avalon. I checked the Scheduled Maintenance Guide that came with my car, and the only mention I see of it are under "Additional Maintenance Items for Special Operating Conditions". It says to inspect the fluid at 15,000 miles and change it at 30,000 miles and it then repeats this cycle. Again, inspecting and changing the tranny fluid is only listed as maintenance whe the car is operated under the Special Operating Instructions. I see absolutely no mention of it under the regular maintenance schedule. Can someone please explain/clarify this? Thank you.
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 586
    Here's my opinion:

    After 36k miles (or 3 years) of regular driving, the fluid is worn out. The high operating temperatures have reduced the fluid's ability to do the job. Change it. I overmaintain mine by having it flushed and refilled, not just refilled. (With no flush, about 70% of the fluid remains in the transmission.) Always done at a Toyota dealer as I am not a DIY person.


    A Toyota transmission should last 200k miles if properly maintained. Several who post here have had them last longer. When you consider the cost of a transmission failure, the flush-n-fill is fairly cheap.


    Synthetic fluid is different but I don't use it so I don't know anything about it. Most who use it seem to like it. You might ask around..or someone here may post a comment on synthetics again. We had a long discussion last year on this in one of these topics.


    Hope this helps..Avalons are great cars. Enjoy.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591


    Here you go. No mention is made in the service manual for normal operations. In my wife's Honda Civic 03 service manual (not owner's manual now), it goes like this. The first transmission change, is at 60K, then 30K thereafter.


    Secondly, no mention in here or the Toyota manual in regards to flush. Just empty and replace. I do mine every 50K, since I coincide it with an oil change. I know this is a little long, but I only plan to keep the car 250K. My last car, a Honda Civic, manual tranny, I replaced every 30K, NO FLUSH, and it was running strong at 236K when I sold it to another soldier.


    Thirdly, I put in Synthetic Dexron III, yes, they make. It is more important, that you put in the correct type of fluid in regards to viscositiy and thermal breakdown, then if it is synthetic or organic. Nevertheless, I put in synthetic. I really don't notice a difference but I know it is there, cause I did it myself.


    Four, the power steering, something that goes broke in OLD Avalons, takes the same fluid, Dexron III, as does the tranny, at least in my 02. Double check for your year. Look in the Shop/Service Manual, it is there. That would be an excellent thing to do at the same time, since the racks have gone out on these cars after 125K. This is also expensive. Think about this. It takes an extra 10 minutes cause you have the fluid there already and is very easy to do.


    Five, the most important thing besides just changing the fluid, is to get in a habit of letting your foot off the accelorator slightly when the car is about to upshift. Try it. You will see that it takes the pressure of the unit, and over time, if you get into the habit of driving like this, when it upshifts, will save demonstrable wear and tear on the unit. Probably getting it to at least 250K.


    How many of you have had a car and tranny, especially an automatic go over 250K without an overhaul??????????


  • my 2002 Avalon XLS is coming up on 100K miles.


    what should I think of in terms of preventative maintance.


    The only problem that i have notices is that last year the A/C started acting strange...then fixes itself then acts Strange again....the little light would blink too. I did not have anything done with it as it was towards the end of the season and I have not had any problems with the heat. I am hoping this is a belt slippage???? I have heard the belts slip a little.


    Anyway...any suggestions? I think I would like to get 150K out of this car.
  • dave210dave210 Posts: 237
    Hi, I have a 2000 Toyota Avalon with 73,000 miles, which I'll probably be trading in this upcoming fall, but I haven't replaced the spark plugs or battery yet. The car is five years old, and I know Toyota recommended the spark plugs be replaced at 60,000.


    Is it wise of me to put money into the car before I get rid of it in 6 months, or are changing the spark plugs pretty vital, even though I've gone 13,000 miles over the "Toyota Limit?"


    I've had all the other maintenance done (transmission fluid, filters, brakes checked etc.), so this is the only thing that I'm a little concerned to wait around about.


    Also, about how long do the batteries last? Again, I'll be trading the car in soon, but it is the winter and am skeptical how much longer it can really last.


    One other thing I found peculiar is my son's Honda Civic and my wife's Acura MDX both are Hondas and both recommend changing the brake fluid every 3 years, yet I could find no mention of that in my maintenance guide from Toyota, so I've never done it. Does the Avalon require the brake fluid to be changed?


    Thanks in advance!
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 586
    Here's one opinion:

    The spark plugs are worn out. They work, yes. But at $2.00 a gallon for gas why not change them and begin to recover the cost of the new plugs immediately from better gas mileage.

    Original equipment batteries go from 2 years to 8 years, maybe. If it starts the car quickly, the lights don't flicker with the heater on and the case is not wet (leaking), it will last a while longer so leave it alone. Ultimate life is unknown.

    Brake fluid absorbs water, and water, like air, in a fluid brake system will not work. Changing the brake fluid will help make the car safer as the brakes will work better and internal brake parts will be less likely to rust, clog or fail. Absolutely necessary now..? Probably not. But, what is your tolerance for risk? How much safety do you need? Think about it.

    Hope this helps....
  • dave210dave210 Posts: 237
    Thanks for the input, but for the general driver, how am I supposed to change the brake fluid if Toyota doesn't say to do so even in their owners manual.


    If it wasn't for my Honda and Acura owners manual saying to do so, it never would have crossed my mind. I'm no mechanic so I just do what's written down in whatever brand car maintenance guide I have.


    But in any event, I'll get all 3 checked out.
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 586
    I agree..and there is nothing in the owner's manual of my 2003 XL about brake fluid changes. Both my wife and daughter drive V6 Hondas. It is in their manuals. Both are over 3 years old and have the original fluid. They stop fine. But no brake fluid lasts forever. Good luck....
  • Save your money. If you are really going to get rid of the car (trade in) this fall there is no dollar value in doing any more than necessary to keep the car running okay.


    Platinum plugs usually last well in excess of 100,000 miles. As long as the car is running well, why not leave them alone? Except for Toyota, don't most manufactures call for plug changes at around 100K?


    My Avalon has 71K on the OE plugs. Mpg, how the engine runs, and acceleration are virtually the same as when new.


    Have a Honda product too (MDX) and agree that it is a good idea to flush brake fluid from time to time, however have never done it on cars under 10 years old and have never had a problem. Yes, the X will get a flush to keep the warranty people happy.
  • petras2petras2 Posts: 104
    i'm considering replacing the power steering fluid on my 98'avalon/81k wants around $100, how hard is it to do it yourself? would replacing just most of the reservoir fluid only, help? is there anyone out there that has NOT done these fluid changes on their higher mileage avalons and had not experienced problems in these areas?..thanks
  • General rule of thumb is changing fluids increases time between repairs. However, before the recent change everything push by dealers, did many (I was going to say any) change power steering or brake fluids? At a little over 17 years of continuous use my 1984 Toyota Van still had the OE brake fluid except for a top off once and the PS fluid was OE too. Rear end fluid was OE. Radiator fluid was changed when the water pump started leaking during year 12. Transmission fluid was changed at 60K miles and again at 110K.

    I did replace the brake master cylinder when the van was 18 years old, but I doubt changing brake fluid would have prevented the reason for the replacement.

    Changing only part of the fluid will help, but is not as good as flushing and having 100% new fluid.

    I'm planning on changing all of the fluids in my 96 (72K miles) this summer.

    NOTE: Finally put new tires on he car this week. Have had OE type Dunlop SP4000 tires on the car since new. Had needed to buy only two tires in 72K miles because three were replaced under warranty along the way.

    Installed CR's top rated Falken 512 tires. I do not recommend them in the 205-65x15 size that is standard on my 96 Avalon. They sing a bit and are in general noisier than the Dunlops. They don't 'turn in' as well as the Dunlops nor do they ride as well at low speeds. Freeway ride is good however. Cornering grip is okay, like the Dunlops, but the slow steering response was not expected. They seem good in the rain.

    The primary driver of the car, a teen, listens to music so the added noise is not a problem and the harsher low speed ride is actually perceived as better road feel (ah, youth).
  • tnbtigertnbtiger Posts: 1
    thank you so much ... this forum regarding replacing the air filter on my 1996 avalon was very helpful. i still owned the vehicle since day 1, and its being very good to me, currently i have 166,000 miles on it. ohh the one thing i want to mention is if you have to replace your valve cover gasket, the dealer will charge you an arm and leg for it. my local dealer quoted me a price of close to $500 and the parts were only like $10 or something. i checked on the web and the part was minimal. i checked around the local mechanics and they replaced the valve cover gasket for me at a total cost of $200.
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