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Toyota Avalon Rattles and Noises



  • I hava a 04 Solara that has driven me bonkers for 11 months. In cold weather (below about 40) I would get a rattle from the front right side of the sunroof (AKA moonroff on this board). Slight upward pressure on the glass would stop it. Problem would sometimes come and go suddenly. Sounded like a teletypewriter at times. Dealer pulled the head liner numerous times trying all sorts of fixes. Finally, I guess with Toyota's blessing, ordered, and intalled a new sunrrof,or at least new tracks and I assume frame. Told me they drove 300 miles and saw no problem. So far I have done 20 miles and no problem, but this is not a guarantee since after the last "fix" the noise returned after 70 miles. I have heard that the Avalon and Solara roof are not identical but have some similarities. Good luck with your car. If the new sunroof does the trick please confirm and knowing what it was about the sunroof that the dealer feels caused the problem could be very helpful in case my problem returns. I am keeping my fingers crossed.


  • gpciiigpciii Posts: 13
    Precisely the problem with my 07 Avalon sunroof. Exact same spot and scenario. Dealer has ordered and has in a new frame, housing and all. They will drop the headliner and install new parts. They have done this before to fix the problem. I plan to schedule running it in this week. Good luck with your fix holding. Will advise results. Am reluctant to do this, realizing it can cause other problems I don't have but when the noise comes it's nerve racking. gpciii
  • dan41dan41 Posts: 180
    I own an 05 Avalon Limited and most of my post during the past two years have been with respect to rattles. Most have been resolved, but the most annoying and loudest one continues to be the moon roof rattle, which occurs on temperatures below 40 degrees. As I posted last year, the rattle goes away when upward pressure is applied to the moon roof on the front passenger side.

    Since I took delivery, my car has been back to the dealer a number of times and, on at least two occasions, it was in the service department more than a week. Everyone, including the service director and the local Toyota rep have heard this rattle, yet they can't seem to fix it. Last Spring they replaced the moon-roof assembly, yet this did not fix the rattle. Two months ago, they removed the moon-roof, applied insulation and replaced the headliner. Well, still no fix!

    The dealership GSM has told me that they have done everything they can do and the GSM commented that all cars rattle ( inferring I should live with it ). That of course, is a response I would have expected from a US car dealer when they could not fix the problem, but not one I expect from Toyota, especially on a car with an MSRP of $38K+. This car has rattled every cold day from the time I took delivery. I again shared this comment along with my frustration with the GSM and service director and asked for them to set-up an appointment with the Toyota rep. That request was a month ago and I'm still waiting for that appointment. I spoke to the GSM this past week ( second call I had to make to him ) and he said the service director has a call out to the Toyota rep and I'll get a call once a date is scheduled. Well, I didn't receive a call on Friday and if I don't hear back tomorrow, I'll contact Toyota.

    This is the 4th new Toyota I purchased ( Celica, Solara, Lexus GS300 ) and, with no exception, the most disappointing experience I had with any new car purchase - this includes, new other new car purchases as well - Honda, Mitsubishi and even my Dodge.

    At this point, I'm not sure what the Toyota rep will offer to do. I certainly realize this does not qualify for a lemon law, but I want someone from Toyota to explain to me why this problem can't be fixed. This is either an engineering issue with the moon-roof or the service department is is unable to fix the problem. My guess it is the former and not the latter. In any case, I will no longer keep a car and cringe driving it every time the temperature drops below 40 degrees.

    I'll keep you updated!....dan
  • Dan... a question for say your rattle is coming form the moonroof. Is that the source of the rattle, or is that actually where you here the rattle. I ask because I have an 07 avalon xls and about 2 weeks back when the temperature dropped down in the 30's, I noticed this loud obnoxious rattle in my car. It sounded as if it was coming from the dashboard area, passenger side. Funny thing was as soon as the car interior warmed up, about 4 or 5 miles down the road, the rattle stops. We don't have alot of very very cold days in Louisiana but here's what I've noticed so far... on cold days, car's parked in the garage when I leave for work, no rattle... cars sitting in the parking lot on cold days, get in it to drive home, the rattles back, but goes away when it warms up. Like I said mine sounds like it's coming from the passenger side dash, but heck, it could be coming from anywhere. Keep me posted on how things work out with yours. Good Luck.

  • dan41dan41 Posts: 180
    Roland, your rattle sounds identical to my rattle and under the same cold weather exposure in which occurs. Both the dealership ans Toyota have been aware that my rattle occurs after my Avalon is exposed in the open cold for a long period and once the car warms up, the rattle stops. It is, at times, like a floating rattle that will occur on almost any type of car movement, under cold conditions.

    I am absolutely certain that the moon-roof is the source of the rattle. I know this because when the rattle is occurring, if I push upward on the front glass of the moon-roof, the rattle stops. The dealership service guys have also verified that doing this stops the rattle. I failed to mention it, but during my last service, the dealership also removed my front windshield and reinstalled it with some special anchors that were designed to address the flex & rattle problems that have been occurring on some of the Avalons. No luck!

    Unfortunately, the Boston area has many more cold days than Louisiana and I have had two years of living with this quite annoying rattle. The dealership has told me that they have spent over $2K in trying to fix this problem, supplying loaner cars, and they are now saying they are done.

    I am quite concerned that a manufacturers approved service provider seems to have a policy that, when confronted with a challenging warranty item that can not be fixed, the response is "sorry, we tried and tried, but we can't fix the problem, so you simply have to learn to live with it".

    My other concern is that this rattle may be a metal flex problem that the dealer now knows can not be fixed. That too concerns me and that is why I want to meet with the Toyota rep again.

    Regards: Dan
  • gpciiigpciii Posts: 13
    Again, the sunroof rattle was very annoying and occurred mostly if the car was out in 40 deg or below weather, and espcially if the car had been setting out. Upward hand pressure on the front of the sunroof would always stop it. The dealer just completed a repair that's claimed to solve the problem. The headliner was dropped and the track or housing for the sunroof was replaced. (One problem noticed right after the fix was that the AM didn't work-the wiring harness from the rear window antenna had been broken when the headliner was dropped as the wiring runs up above it. Required an extra 2 days to replace.) So far so good on the sunroof fix done this week. gpciii
  • gpciiigpciii Posts: 13
    Dan, see my Feb 3 post. Believe it's the same issue. Noise always sounding like it was coming from the passenger side-door, dash, behind passenger seat-always moving around until I started reading the owner feedbacks and then always stopped it with upward hand pressure. Then, my dealer confirmed that the source was the sunroof. My dealer actually subbed the work out to a nearby auto trim shop. Good luck, gpciii
  • gpciii,

    Re: My Message #22 and yours #23. I now have about 600 miles on the new moonroof, 300+ of which the dealer put on, with nearly 300 by me. The infamous cold weather rattle is gone for now (and hopefully forever.). Even though my car is a 2004 Solara, the symptoms have been identical to those reported for some Avalons, which supports the idea that the moonroofs are at least very similar. I am surprised the dealer outsourced the work. I hear that Toyota sometimes wants the removed components for analysis, so having a third party handle it invites potential loss of evidence due to handling. My problem first began at about 18K miles. This suggests that is was a failure of some sort, which changed the deflecions of the moonroof or loosened some component, such as a cable or clip that could then rattle around. The fact that my problem most likely first began in Dec. 2004 or Jan. 2005 also suggests a cold weather fracture. (Some plastics are brittle at rooom temperature, and one common one at about Zero deg. F. Aluminum is not temperature sensitive nor are the steels used in car bodies, but different rates of expansion could create large stresses.) There were some near zero days in December 2004 where I live. Another aspect of this was that the problem grew in loudness and the temperature at which it would occur over time. Early on it was below 40 deg. F. Most recently as high as 58 deg. F. The sudden appearance and disappearance of the noise under the same conditons suggests a loose piece. Pushing up on the glass would stop the problem; this suggests that is was a loose piece with limited travel in its rattling motion.

    I must say this for the record: The dealer has been absolutely great in trying to get this solved and for me it is a big selling point to buy Toyotas. I am surprised that some dealers that have been mentioned seem to have a "take it or leave it" attitude about persistent problems. They need to be culled beacuse that is not Toyota's attitude toward customers as far as I know.


  • Correction: My problem's origins relate to December 2005-January 2006. I was off by a year in my first reply to you.

  • dan41dan41 Posts: 180
    Based on recent posts, it seems that after two years, this annoying problem may be behind me. I spoke to the regional Toyota rep and the service Director of my local dealership yesterday and I my car is going in on 2/26 to be seen by the Toyota field technical rep. This is the same guy I met with two years ago and my second appointment with this guy and I'm hoping that they can finally fix the problem. I'll keep you posted!
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Unless snow traction was a big problem with the Lexus, you should have asked us first. The old Lexus quality, is much better. Never going to get that kind of quality for the new Avalon built in the states. Just not going to happen at any trim level.

  • We've all read about the rattle caused by the dreaded sun/moon roof in cold wx.. I've got one, but temps in Louisiana don't dip to extremes often, so I can live with the occasional 5 minutes of rattle now and then.. however, today my car is parked in a grocery store parking lot. It's raining cats and dogs, I mean a downpour with 40 mph the course of getting in the car, I of course brought some rain with me. Grab a towel, start wiping everything off only to realize that I have water coming in my car thru both stereo speakers located on the A pillars.. I mean water is running out of the speakers, onto the dash and into a/c vents on both sides of the car..took it to the dealership immediately only to find that the drains, which are connected to the "moon / sun" roof were never hooked up at the factory. I was so mad I talked to a salesman about trading in my car for an XL without a sun roof. They must have thought I was nuts. They offered my a trade in of 26K for an 07 XLS with 5500 miles on it..after paying off my car and adding some of the extras on the XL that it dosnt normally come with, they told me i would finance around 33K. No thanks, hell that's nearly 5 grand more than I financed on my current car. Oh, not only that, as I'm leaving the dealership in my car, I notice a big "ding" in the drivers side door.. it wasnt there when I took the car in..fortunetly for me, the serv. dept. manager was honest enough to admit that the blue paint in the ding, happens to be the same blue paint on their lifts, so it obviously happened while in their shop. So now I have to drop it off next week, get a rental while they outsource it to some body shop to fix the ding and paint. what a day... all because of the dreaded Moonroof/sunroof. At least the dealership is being standup and fixing the problem instead of denying they did it..

  • gpciiigpciii Posts: 13
    Toyota has lost it fast since 05 and the new body style of Avalon. Unbelievable. Factory and dealer quality and capability have slipped to the 1980s US level nearly. My 07 Avalon sunroof rattle was fixed so far by replacing the track and all. Outsourced of course to a trim shop who broke wiring the radio antenna in the rear window so the radio didn't work when we picked the car up. Kept the loaner while they ordered a new wiring harness from Toyota, returned the car to the trim shop, trim shop dropped the head liner again and replaces the wiring and all. I'm holding my breath on the sunroof holding water back since the replacement of items in it!
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    That would definitely make me angry. When they have to outsource their own warranty work to another shop, you know that something is very wrong with the whole thing. From the get go. Then the warranty becomes worthless, and the extended warranty becomes less than worthless.

  • I’m glad I found this blog. I just purchased a 06 Avalon XLS with low mileage. When I went for a test drive all was fine. Now the New England weather has changed and temps are around freezing. Got this annoying rattle that seems to be coming from the passenger side dash near the door. When the car heats up it goes away. Strange! Next cold morning I’ll push up on the sunroof and see if it will stop. Talk about counterintuitive. Considering what I paid for this car, it’s disappointing. I’ll be back to the dealer for a repair. I’ll let the group know how it goes.
  • dan41dan41 Posts: 180
    As you can see from my previous post, this "intermittent cold weather rattle" problem frustrated me, Toyota and the dealership for over two years. Finally, the problem was fixed last month. Long story, but the net is the noise was coming from a metal flex issue in the moonroof and it was addressed by removing the deadline and moonroof assembly and adding some kind of special sound proof material. This was also done last year, but it did not help. Obviously, this doesn't "fix" the flex issue, but as long as I don't hear it, I'm OK. Now, after two years, I have a rattle free Avalon.

    Good luck! Dan
  • lsilsi Posts: 2
    I have a 05 Limited & there is a clacking noise upon backing up or turning sometime (Sounds like bad cv joints)
    Took it to dealer & of course it didn't do it. Anyone have this problem? Help anyone!
  • dan41dan41 Posts: 180
    There was a TSB out for problems with the steering column related to noise and, I think, vibration. Although, I couldn't notice any issues with noise from my steering column, my steering column on my Limited was replaced last winter.
  • nc_acenc_ace Posts: 1
    I have the same problem (clacking noise in rear)when backing up and I also noticed it in front when turning right. The front noise is new but the rear noise has been there for a while. I need to take it to the dealer in the next two weeks for routine service and inspection and will let you know what I find out.
  • swa2swa2 Posts: 1
    Toyota dealer gave me two new front mounts. One was 48603-33021 recommended replacement for '98 OEM and the other was 48609-07010 a strut mount from a '95-96 Lexus ES300. The kid was lookign for the second mount and now I know why. He sis not tell me they where for different cars. Did not realize it until I had the assmbles down that they were different. I lived with the larger lexus support but needed to open the top strut area about 1/8" more at the top to accept the larger lexus supprt. I was not going to go back to toyota and wait a week to get the right part. Bottom line is wife said it was great for about a week and then a cold snap hit ht earea last week and wouldn't you know it the 48603-33021 started to make all kinds of noise again. The Lexus mount was perfect. I just went down and got a second Lexus mount for the other side and so far the problem is solved.
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