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Toyota Avalon Tires and Wheels

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  • Thanks for the advice. I just had it in again for another wheel balance, and a mechanic found that a tie rod was bad on the passenger side. I had it replaced, the extended warranty paid for it. I got under the car and looked at the suspension, which i know nothing about. I talked to them about the control arm bushings, and most of them said they thought it would rediculous replacing them in a car this new. You know its funny, the car really only hits the bumps hard on certain roads. It really rides nice on smooth roads. Im about to give up on it and live with it. They told me the labor for the control arm bushings would be around 400, stating that they charge 1.5 hours per corner? Does that sound right. I think i remember you stating that is was easy to change? I know I cant do it. Thanks again. Where do you live, i'll drive it to you and have you do it. LOL. Happy New Year. Alan
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    alanmui:

    Do not give up on a relatively good car. Not great, but good, acutally very good. Replacing rubber bushings that are bad and rotted, are a reasonable idea, ridiculous means they are either in decent shape or really don't want the work. Either way, the struts/shocks are usually the way to go first as they are more of a wearable item. The bushings are usually bad at about 100K and 6 years but it depends on the region of the country you live.

    I had the bushings changed by a qualified mechanic and had the shocks changed some time ago by a spring and alignment shop. Theses are the guys that do this type of work best. I did the sway bar bushings myself. They are easy and you don't need a press or lift.

    The labor charge seems fair. The parts are cheap, it is the labor that is expensive. Always. But the ride is where your "chief complaint" is, and I would start with the struts, since I beleive you said you got very good tires.

    My car, 02 Avalon XL at 87K now, even with premium shocks and all the PU bushings they make, wallows just a hint, but allows corrects itself right away, on any road imperfection. Hallmark of good control and decent ride. Owed to a premium strut/shock. The PU help even more, although they transmit vibration into the cabin, sometimes more than I would like, they work effectively IMO, hold the suspension geometry, AND do NOT rot like rubber so do not have to be replaced again, ever, supposedly.

    I really like the car and use it for an everyday beater. I don't beat it up, but it is a winter car, I use it for light towing. During the late spring and summer months I get out the BMW, use that and work on the Avalon to get it ready for the next fall/winter. With the bench seat, it is hard to beat the comfort of that car, Avalon I am talking about. Not as engaging as the bimmer but just a nice reliable capable car, without the need for a Big SUV, which I personally dislike.

    Plan to get 300K on this Avalon. I live in way upstate N.Y. near the Canadian border. Any good wheel and axle, suspension and alignment type of shops near you, should have a handle on this stuff. KYB GR2's or TOkicoHP's are the premium stuts to get. Energy Suspension is the only company that makes PU bushings for the Avalon. I would do the struts/mounts(Toyota OEM)and see how that goes. Should be with an alignment around 1K, seems like alot, but not if you are going to keep the car another 100K, then it is small change. See how that works. Not that I want to spend anyones money, but the new cars are not worth it. And I guarantee the ride will change in your vehicle.

    Let me know how things turn out. The Toyota seems to have aged nicely now although it has the advantage of a heated garage. As things wear, I will just replace/repair them.

    abfisch
  • Abfisch, Thanks for the advice. The thing I worry about in strut replacement is this: what if it still hits the expansion joints in the roads the same way? I do notice a skip, i think in the rear when going around a corner at around 40 mph and hitting a man hole cover. The car jumps or hops sideways. I think the new struts would correct this, but I really wonder about the hard frond end jarring when going over expansion joints on certain highways. I was kind of disappointed when I spent 700 on new tires, only to find it rides the same as it did, and the old tires had some more miles left on them. They are no quieter than the old ones. Like I said, I am beginning to accept that Avalons just dont ride like I thought they would. I dont know if I told you this also, but Im also coming from driving a Sedan Deville as my daily driver, which floats over bumps. It is in immediate need of struts but I turned the car over to my son who is a new driver. We cant afford to replace the struts in the caddy. They are $$$, air ride suspension controled by a computer. They do have a gas strut replacement, but it is still pricey, like 1500 to 2000 bucks. I have replaced so many parts on the caddy so it will be dependable and safe for my son. New brakes, tires, water pump, alternator, radiator, a/c clutch, tensioner pully... I think he can take a bit of a bouncey ride here and there. The body is in great shape, and has alot of metal protection for a new driver. So any way, thanks again for your posts. I may decide to do the struts on the Avalon someday soon. One further question, is the sway bar bushings the same as control arm bushings? You said you had some of the bushing changed by a mechanic, and some on your own. The guy I spoke to at Firestone said that control arm bushings would be very difficult for a novice. Alan
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    alanmui:

    Everything you said above makes sense. I would want my son in a big chunk of metal, and a old caddie is a big chuck of metal. Nice. They are a bit problematic with the electronics as they grow old but nevertheless, a good car IMO for a young son to learn on. I had a Pontiac Catalina as my first car, and it was great.

    Those shocks I talked about will give you the OPPOSITE RIDE of the Cadillac, so it you are looking for a floating ride, those are the wrongs struts to put in the Avalon. The car hoping sideways, over undereven surfaces during cornering is most likely the struts. My vehicle does none of that. Or you would have to be pushing it pretty hard through a corner, say over 70MPH, not likely for most Avalon owners.

    NO. The sway bar bushing, hold the sway bar to the chassis. The CAB(Control Arm Bushing and Rear Suspension Arms)link the chassis to the wheel hub. They are different bushings at different locations on the front and rear suspension. The later are impregnated into the stamped metal parts and are difficult to get out, either by cutting or melting out. The sway bar bushings are much easier sliding off after you take off the bracket that holds them in place. They are all relatively cheap, $50 or less per pair, but the labor costs and then the 4 wheel alignment add up.

    Nevertheless, for your purposes, the struts should like they need to be addressed if you have higher mileage on the car and you are unhappy with the handling characteristics.

    You should also know, that worn shocks or struts, your car or someone elses, Cadillac or Toyota, are less resposive and less capable of controlling the vehicle in "Emergency Manuevers", one of the criteria CR(Consumer Reports) uses in their evaluation with vehicles. That is why the new ones come with those electronic stability control. I am not a fan of this but this is the new thing.

    Premium shocks makes electronic stability control less mandatory with a reasonable mature driver. Just my opinions.

    Let me know what you do with your Avalon as time goes on. Good car.

    abfisch
  • Abfisch, This posting has gone on and on, and I guess i've gotten off the original concern, which was I can't stand how the front tires travel over the expansion joints in the road. It is loud in the car. I have Bridgestone Turanza LS-H tires on the car (brand new). They have made no difference. The car rides very smooth on the interstate or other smooth roads. A friend of mine has a 01' Avalon and we are going to go over the bumpy roads together in each others cars and see if there is a difference in his compared to mine. A lady I work with has a 01' and she complains about the same thing, so mabey this is what its like. How does yours travel over a heavily lined road or bumpy road with uneven pieces of concrete sections? Does it hit hard in the front end? Not really a clunk, but just a hard pound or knock, its so hard to explain. Let me know how yours rides. What other struts would you recommend for the Avalon for a floating type nice ride? Alan
  • I need to replace the tires on my 05 avalon and was thinking about an upgrade to 18" wheels. Anyone have experience with an upgrade? I know it would improve the appearance but most likely not have much effect on handling.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    alanmui:

    Mine on concrete transmits a bit of vibration. You would not like it I don't think. But except for one portion of the roadway up here, it is blacktop and much smoother. I presume your tire pressure is correct and not overinflated. I have no experience with "softer" aftermarket shocks. Perhaps someone else on the forum does. Other than those items, I have nothing else. Mine does not hit "hard" in the front while going over concrete. That statement makes me suspicious of the struts bottoming out of their suspension travel. Compare it to someone else's is a good thing.

    My 02 rides a little stiff, very controlled and does not dive at all when braking hard. But does very little floating anymore as it did when I bought it.

    I hope this helps.

    abfisch
  • This winter it's really snowing in Vancouver. With my 2005 XLS Michelins at over 36K km, I'm ready to get winter tires.

    Last winter denali1 recommended Bridgestone Blizzaks as superior for snow and ice, if pricey. CR Nov 2006 rated these highly, in 4th place after Goodyear Eagle Ultra Grip, Nitto and Continental models.

    Are all these winter tires available for the 05-07 Avalon? What other experience can owners share?
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    havalon:

    I have winter tires, Dunlop M2's on steel wheels with Toyota wheel covers. I have been running them since I bought the car in 02. I have 4 of them. Makes a big difference in the winter, although this winter in the NE they were rarely necessary. Couldn't think of going through winter without them. Same size as came on the car. I would use CR as your guide. I have found in the past that both Bridgestone and Goodyear, while excellent tires are over priced along with Michelin. I have found the other brands as good, and more reasonably priced.

    abfisch
  • Thanks, abfisch. Here in Vancouver, most CR top-rated winter tires are sold out, right now. We have been getting all the snow that you didn't, so far! I can get Dunlop SP Winter Sport M3 V's. CR rated them tops for snow traction, but I'm concerned that they rated them below average for ice and dry braking. This is important in our hilly terrain and winter temperatures hovering around freezing. What is your experience with the Dunlop M2 braking performance?

    My other question is what winter tire size to choose. The 2005 XLS comes with 17" wheels; winter tires in this size can cost 50% more than 16" tires, here... I am considering getting 225/60/16 on steel rims. Any comments on how these would fit on the 2005 XLS?
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    havavalon:

    I like the Dunlop's that I have, and have had them for 4 seasons now. If your terrain is alot of ice and dry, then I would not get the M3's. I would have to look at the last report but if there is not a great difference, most of the winter driving is on snow, ice and wet roads. Plus, as you mentioned, at this point in the year, your choices are limited.

    As far as size goes, there is absolutely a difference. Both in snow traction and price, something CR does not really focus on. They focus on more of the same size on the same car on same conditions. Reasonably, objectively so.

    I would do this. Look at what comes on the Avalon XL, standard model, not the XLS, Limited, Touring, etc. Whatever that size is in the steel wheels, that is the size I would get, 16". On a 17" rim, which is usually taller, the profile of the tire is lower and usally the tire is slightly wider, both of which, are mirror opposites from dry sporty conditions. You want a high wall, thinner tire in other words without changing the handling of the vehicles too drastically.

    abfisch
  • abfisch,

    Yes, that's exactly what I'm considering for winter tires -- 16'' rims and higher wall tires, same outer circumference as the XLS all-weather tires on 17" rims.

    I just would like confirmation that putting XL 16" rims on a 2005 XLS is OK. Are the core wheel size, brakes, etc. the same in the XL and XLS? Is the only difference the rim & tire size that Toyota puts on each model?

    Thanks,

    havalong
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Havavalon:

    As far as I know, and I am 99.5% sure, Toyota uses the same rotors diameter, caliper, pads etc and there is NO difference in mounting a 16" or 17" wheel on the vehicle. To double and triple check me, call the dealership and go to www.tirerack.com and plus in your spec. for your Avalon. If all the answers are like mine, then I am very sure.

    Getting the size that comes on the XL would ensure min/neglible speedo error, and very close or exact number of revolutions of the tire per mile.

    I did the same with mine, as I said in 2002. I run 205/65 H 15" in the winter, and actually the same or a third (have a third set of rims) 215/55 H 16 in the summer. No speedo error. Slight diff. in ride comfort versus handling but miniaml.

    abfisch
  • jcalsonjcalson Posts: 1
    I have considerable corrision on three of the four alloy wheel. One is extensive, two are moderate and the last one has very little if any. My issue is that on the wheel with the extensive corrision, I am now having trouble keeping the seal on the tire. Have had the tire removed and resealed at least 4 times in trying to stop the slow leak. Has anyone else experienced this extensive corrision on their alloy wheels. By the way this is the only complaint on my car. Going strong with only 73,000 miles on it.
  • glewglew Posts: 2
    Has anyone had a decent experience increasing the tire size on a 05/06/07 Avalon? Car comes with 215s, 17" wheels, which are so wimpy. I saw an Avalon with 20" wheels and 245 width tires in Oakland, CA, but they couldn't possibly clear the fender wells? Tire Rack will only recommend up to 225s on 17s or 18s, which isn't much of an increase.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    I got to add to your comments on the opposite side of the fence, just for forum edification, not to start a conflict. Don't take this personally.

    Increasing wheel and tire size has its limitations, some which are dramatic. Although some may think the 20" or 22" wheels look good, there are many problems that they cause. Bubbling of the side walls is a frequent one. Balance is another. Wet weather traction diminishes as well as ride quality. Cost for replacement is considerably more. Speedometer error is yet another.

    Consumer Reports did a review along time ago it seems now. The two cars they changed tire and wheel size were a Honda Accord and I believe a BWM 5 series. In summation, increasing the wheel/tire size plus one, or 1" along with lowering the profile, gives the best advantage for handling, response, ride quality, etc. Anything more than that, and the benefits do NOT outweigh the disadvantages.

    If you are looking for an increase in sportiness, 18" wheels might be the answer, along with the touring model. Otherwise, changing the shocks to sports shocks, and the use of PU bushings will "tighten up" the ride considerably without giving you the inherent disadvantages of going to larger tire/wheel sizes.

    I have an older Avalon with sport shocks, PU bushings, and stock wheels. You cannot get the tires to squeal under 50MPH in a 90 degrees turn. And this is with OEM size tires although the tires are not the ones that came on the car. Still the ride is quite compliant, the car is quiet, solid, and comfortable. A show car, no. A BMW no. A quality daily reliable driver, yes.

    abfisch
  • glewglew Posts: 2
    Thanks, abfisch; I agree 20 inchers are a little silly. Just that I saw it on a new Avalon, and couldn't believe they got it to work!

    What are "PU" bushings?
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Glew:

    Sorry. PU bushings, stands for polyurethane bushings. Ummm...I am not sure if you work on your car alot, so I will keep this short and simple. I like short and simple for me anyway.

    Bushings are the rubber round pieces that hold your front and rear suspension pieces together, along with the bolts. They let the pieces fit with one another and provide an interface between the parts to hold them together and keep them from wearing, vibrating, making noise, etc. The ones that come from the factory are usually made of rubber. Like wiper blades, they are exposed to the elements alot, and decompose and compress with time, causing the car's suspension to become less "tight", loss geometry, and create what used to be a new car feel like an old car.

    While any new bushings are better than old, PU are different than rubber. There are trade offs but it is more positive than negative.

    go to the "energy suspension" website for a better description than I can provide. They are cheap enough, fit precisely, and renew any old ride into a new ride. You would get much more enjoyment out of a set of PU sway bar bushings for the front and bar, cost no more than $75 and a couple hours of your time, versus new wheels and tires over 1K. And they will last the lifetime of the vehicle, at least 10-15 years worth, more than most people keep there cars.

    They made them for the Avalon for the sway bars and the control arms. The sway bars you can do yourself if you are mechanically inclined. The control arms better left to a mechanic that has the right equipment.

    abfisch
  • I leased an '07 Avalon XLS in April of this year. It has stock Michelin "Energy" tires. I have noticed (what I consider to be) excessive slippage on wet roads, particularly from a standing start on upgrades. Has anyone else experienced this? And, as we are heading into winter, what should I expect for traction in snow?
  • 5539655396 Posts: 530
    "It has stock Michelin "Energy" tires."

    I had them on our 97 Camry. Seemed to work fine in snow. Didn't have the torque of your Av on start though. Keep a feather foot.
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