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Toyota Avalon 2004 and earlier



  • my 2001 Avalon wandering at higher speeds on the highway (65+ mph). I've had this car now for about two months, and have been warming up to it, enjoying the many nice features, etc. At high speeds, though, it requires work to keep it in a straight line...seems to be too much play in the wheel, almost over boosted. The tire pressure is correct. I have General Tires, and am wondering if, say, Michelins or Dunlops, or some other brand, would help. Has anyone out there changed tires and found an improvement?
  • boordboord Posts: 27
    I have a 2000xls with about 4000 California highway miles on it. In gal 75-80mph is normal highway cruising speed. I have not even begun to experience drift or difficulty in keeping it on a straight line. I have Michelin MX4V Plus tires on 16" rims (part of the original equipment).

    On previous cars I have noticed tremendous differences in performance between tires. I've never had a problem with Michelins.
  • mtpysmtpys Posts: 4
    To Cliffy, for standing him up the other day. The wife decided that we needed to get back home rather than look at new cars. I'm sorry about that Cliffy.

  • Just purchased a 95 Avalon for our son. Nice car!!!!Does any one know of any specific problems with this year model? The car is an LX with the 3.0 V6, cloth interior, moonroof. Seemed to notice a bit of windshield wind noise coming from corner drivers side. Anyone know of a possible fix? Any info. would be appreciated. Thank you.
  • I have been finally settling in on the XL model
    after a great deal of comparing. I would like
    to get the XL with the following options:

    - Convenience Pkg
    - JBL 3 in 1 Premium Combo
    - Leather Pack 3 (leather trim, seat trim, shift,
    wheel, power seats, keyless entry, and alum
    alloy wheels)
    - Carpet/Cargo mats

    I have a couple questions:

    1. I wanted the auto-dim mirror with compass,
    is that what is in the convenience package
    or is it without the compass?
    2. Can you get heated leather seats in the XL
    packages? It does not indicate it has heat.
    3. Does the XL JBL option have a 250W stereo just
    as the XLS?

    Does anyone know the answers to the above? Any
    help is greatly appreciated.

    Also I have been putting together the pricing and
    want to pay invoice+300 (or less). I am in the
    Chicago area, does anyone know of a place that will do deals like this?

  • Considering the various options you are wanting on your XL, I would reccomend getting the XLS. I did and have not been disappointed. I figure if I'm going to pay that much for a "hunk of metal", I want to get it just the way I want it. I did not want a moon roof. I saw it as an expensive toy that I would not use very much especially in the climate in which I live (IN). Since 95% of the XLS's come with a moon roof, I had to order mine. I had to wait about 4 weeks but again, I have not been disappointed. I was able to get mine for $300 over invoice. By getting the XLS you may get a few more things than you wanted but when you do, you'll become quite accustomed to them. Hey, go for the gold!
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    No problem and thanks. Just let me know when you are ready.
  • rzepa2rzepa2 Posts: 24
    I'd agree with #607, you are getting very close
    to XLS.

    I purchased 2001 XL last December. I would recommend
    Toyota Dealer on Odgen, in Naperville (right next
    to Cadillac Delear). I paid 25.2 , probably around 500-800 over invoice. I went there over lunch
    and they gave me a Avalon for the reminder of the
    day to "drive around". I came back at 8 pm and within hour I was done. With slowing economy
    you should be able to get 300 over invoice. But
    who really know what the invoice is.

    I would not recommend, Toyota dealer on Odgen
    by 83 (I think it is Westmont or Hindsdalle). I did not like the way I was treated. They simply did not care about me as a customer.
  • I have a '2000 XLS (Silver Spruce) with every option. I have the Michelins and have no drift, wandering or problem in cross winds at any speed (and I drive 80+ on alot of our roads here).

    I have seen the reflection but adjusted the seat and now it is fine....non existant. I still have the lights at full power.

    Good luck...and I agree, great car!
  • mm04mm04 Posts: 16
    Just wondering if anyone knows if or when the Avalon will have high intensity headlights available? Thanks
  • djdjdjdj Posts: 111
    I finally test drove an Avalon last Sunday. A loaded XLS, beige with ivory leather. Beautiful interior to look at (but I wonder how clean it stays).
    As soon as I started out the dealership driveway I could tell how smooth this car rode, then I noticed how quiet it was. I enjoyed the ride, the power, the silence, the stereo for about two miles and then I realized how much pain I was in. I have never driven a car that hurt like that, especially so quickly. I had to stop to find the little lumbar support buttons to fully extend that forward.
    There is a fixed horizontal bar in the middle of the seatback that sticks out forwards. If the lumbar support isn't also pushed out the lower back isn't supported and you rest against this fixed bar.
    Once I deployed the lumbar support, the point of aggravation seemed to ease but I was still so sore I couldn't tell if the problem was solved.
    Then, all the back to the dealership I kept noticing how far I was from the steering wheel and kept inching the seat up.
    The two complaints I have read about the Avalon are about the seatback and the need for a telescoping steering column (or maybe adjustable pedals like Ford offers).
    It should be a great car but definitely testdrive the one you'd buy to make sure you are comfortable.
    After the Avalon I test drove the Chrysler 300M and LHS. If I hadn't experienced the quiet and ride of the Avalon I might have liked them more, so now I don't know what to buy.
  • hmannhmann Posts: 3
    I recently took delivery my my second XLS, buying a 2001 to replace the 1998 that came off lease. I'm a tall man who frequently drives with tall or big people sitting alongside or behind me.

    I chose the XLS because I wanted comfort -- maybe even luxury -- and dependability.

    My experience is that both the 1998 and the 2001 deliver great comfort to a tall driver. I give both cars an "A" on this topic.

    Dependability is an "A+"! The 98 was NEVER in the shop for anything but routine scheduled maintenance. I would have bought it off the lease, but the residual value had been set too high. Great lease but a bad purchase option.

    So -- Comfort: A, Dependability A+. With that report card, how could I buy anything else?
  • Chibuyer, keep us informed on your possible Avalon purchase. I'm in the same area and considering an Avalon for the better half.

    rzepa2, thanks for the input. Have you used the service Dept at the Naperville Dealer yet? How were you treated?
  • rzepa2rzepa2 Posts: 24
    Yes, I was there twice (with my Avalon):

    1. 2-3 days after taking delivery, I noticed
    trans fluid stain underneath the car. I took it
    right back (~1pm). They fixed while I waited,
    ~45 minutes. Some trans line was not tight enough.
    Have not had problem ever since. I would recommend
    bying car close where you live. Since I spoke
    to service person the same day I bought the car,
    she already knew me and took care of me on this

    2. Came back another 2-3 days later as part
    of the "purchase deal" was that I would get
    auto-dimmin/compass mirror. I left the car
    with them and took the shuttle to work. There
    was also a woman who was their customer for a long
    time (this is my first Toyota with them) and
    she told me that she had no problems with them
    at all. She mentioned something that she did not
    like the one North Av (Lombard ?).
  • I'm in the used market for an Avalon. I drive a 96 Avalon with 80k miles and I really like the Toyata quality. Now my question, what year did the current Avalon Design begin selling? And what would be a good year for a used one? I'm looking for one thats under 30K miles and is 1-3 years old of the latest design. Sorry for being a little off topic but I can't afford a new Avalon.

    Thanks in Advance
  • I found your comments very interesting. I have been strongly considering the Chrysler LHS, but know that the Avalon was probably a more dependable car because it's a Toyota. I noticed you said you drove a 300M and LHS, you actually could tell a difference in the quietness of the ride? I would be very interested to know what you decide on!! I haven't driven the Avalon yet but after reading comments above I don't think I am in a big hurry to do so, not to mention the assumed price difference. I found a used LHS last week, silver 99 with only 36K, probably a lease turn in. Very nice but I'm holding out for them to come down a little on price so that I can get my payment where I want it. The other problem is my lease isn't up till 4/01 and I don't want to add remainder into new loan which would be crazy I know, but I've found their are a lot more 300M cars available out there than LHS and I love that car and don't know how hard it will be to find another one in as good of shape as this one. I have already let one slip through my hands, it sat on lot for 2 months, we test drove it again on a Friday, wasn't able to make it back Sat. went back Sun. afternoon and it was sold the night before. Maybe I'm shopping to early and I should just trust that I will be able to find the LHS I want when my lease is up. I think you should go over and read comments on LHS's and consider them again. Would love to hear from you.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    The current body style came out in the 2000 model year. The current design will be unchanged until the 2003 when it will get a "face lift" and then a complete overhaul in the 2005 model.
  • djdjdjdj Posts: 111
    I really wanted to love that Avalon once I saw the interior. With that price I figure you need to love it if you hadn't owned Toyotas before. If you owned one before you are probably sold on the quality but it gave me sticker shock.
    I am not sold on the value of Japanese cars because my worst car ever was a 1986 Honda Accord DX (even worse than my Mustang 2) that I bought new and had serviced at Honda dealerships. The transmission was shot at 66,000 miles and the dealer I took it to after I moved said the last person who serviced the brakes (he didn't know it was another Honda dealer) did it wrong and they were shot. He said the car needed over $4.6K of work (and it worse $4K at the time.)
    After I sold that car I met a used car dealer who told me that Honda's have weak transmissions and if you rock them 3 times back and forth in the snow the trans will be shot. A friend at work told me his Honda needed a new trans and I asked him if he rocked it in the snow that weekend 3 times and he said "yes, how did you know?"
    My friend in the business said Toyotas and Nissans have much stronger transmissions. He said full size GM cars are good for about 200K miles; that Subaru's with sticks are good for about 225K but automatics about half that; and his favorites are Lincoln Town Cars. There is nothing fancy or sophisticated about their drivetrains and he used to get them with 300K miles, drive them and then sell them! (My wife says I am too young to own one.)
    I traded the Honda in on '94 Pontiac Grand Am GT which has been great. They do go through front brakes because of the design and I replaced the driver's power window motor. It just rides rough, lacks a CD and I 'want' a new car, not need one.

    I want to test drive another Avalon at a different dealer. I will probably drive an XL with cloth this time (my wife and kids hate the smell of leather) because that without a sunroof will be about $5K cheaper than the loaded XLS and this is only a commuter car for me. My wife wants me to get the Toyota Sequoia (because she thinks the Avalon is boring) but who needs that to go to work in.
    I love the looks of 300M, especially in the Sapphire Blue with the Taupe interior and luxury package, but the quality concerns me. In the bulletin boards here and at Yahoo, it seems people only love or hate the car. I want this car to last for 10 years/150K miles.
    I drive the LHS right after the 300M over the same roads and it seemed the 300M was rougher and louder. Unfortunately, neither compared to the Avalon and the 300M wasn't that much better than the Grand Am I am looking for an excuse to ditch. (Its only got 40K miles and I figure I need to either indulge myself or keep it.)

    I want to look at the new Sebring LXi sedan to see if that is a smaller version of a Chrysler
    or just a cheaper one. I also want to check out the Infiniti I30 because I read they are bringing out a new one and Infiniti discounts the hell out of stock right before new models come out. Camry is also due for replacement for 2002 so I will consider that if I don't buy something else by then. I drove the Buick LeSabre on a business trip and was impressed by the smooth quiet ride and power, but its such a yawner to look at. I definitely recommend you test drive one if you want to big sedan. (What are you driving now?) I still toy with that for me when I see one in a good color. I also drove the Ford Escape but can't get excited about living in an SUV. I loved the 2000 deVille I rented when we house hunted here but my wife just rolls her eyes at that one, plus its way too expensive for commuting.

    You must live in the Midwest if you found used LHS's. I just moved to Ohio from NJ. There are no LHS's on the roads back there, but a fair number here and some interesting used ones. They also tempt me but then I look at new ones and ...

    If I were logical about this, I'd keep the Grand Am three more years and then start test driving 2 year old Avalons and 300M's, but by then my wife will want a new van and I'll never get anything nice for myself.

    Tomorrow is Sunday so I'll cruise the dealers again.
  • I am presently an owner of a 1998 Avalon, XLS purchased in 1998. Previously owned a 1995 XLS purchased in 1995. After driving the 1995 for 3 years, I probably should not have purchased another again in 1998. I have been a Toyota customer forever or so it seems that way to me. I starting out with the Camry LE purchased in 1995. This car was stolen, I felt so sad and so bad that I believed the 1995 Avalon would make it all better -- and it did for 3 years. The car handled beautifully, a definite difference from my Camry LE w/options. I truly did enjoy this vehicle.

    After much thought,(Lexus ES300, Infinity I30), I purchased the Avalon in 1998. Shortly after the purchase I began to feel that I had made a terrible mistake. I missed the little things that my 1995 had to offer such as the power antenna, the lighted power window controls, the seperate CD player with the pause control - great for driving through fast-food restaurants, o.k., maybe I'm a little spoiled. Toyota made 11 new changes for the 1998 model year, but they kept cost about the same so other little pleasures were taken away.

    My 1998 Avalon is nearing its' lease end and I'm spending more time than I want looking for a new car. I'm trying really hard to not purchase another Avalon. The new model is a definite change in interior design. The longer door panels and other minor exterior changes make an attractive package overall. Saftey and reliability of course, is without question from Toyota, however, the Avalon is missing the Telescoping steering wheel, which even I at 5'2" would still appreciate. So again I am faced with the big question? - Lexus ES300, Infinity I30 or something else. I think the Avalon is a beautiful vehicle, stylish, reliable, with enough interior room for those long drives. A plus my fiance has enjoyed but would never admit to, afterall, he drives the Infinity Q45,(the big-boy car), but is always trying to get in my Lexall, (which is what he calls my Avalon to tease me) for the long trips we take that demand comfort as well as reliability.

    If anyone is thinking about purchasing an Avalon, go ahead get it, you'll enjoy it, check out the Pearl Diamond White - this one is in a class all by itself.

  • Has anyone experienced difficulty gasing up or with the fuel gauge. I have a problem topping off the tank and it appears there is a large air pocket for if I shake the car side to side I can get an extra gal+. It doesn't matter what angle the car is at I have the same problem. Further, my fuel gauge comes off empty after travelling around 16 to 25 miles. When it is at 3/4 full I can only add about 3 gal and it is full. Is this common for the Avalon? Would like to hear you. Chicutah 15:24mst/2-15-01
  • Is the Vehicle stability Control option really worth the extra money - how difficult is it to find an XLS model Avalon without it? Any thoughts on this would be really helpful. Thanks all.
  • My mom has a 2000 Avalon with 20,800 miles and we love it. However, I noticed something last night. I was riding with her and had the map light on since I was reading. It's VERY hard to notice, but while I was reading, I saw that the light flickers just a bit. It's almost like someone has a dimmer switch and is quickly turning it up and down. I'm wondering what this could be. The same thing happens when the door is open with the car running. The strange thing is that I've never noticed this while the ignition is off. Do any of you know what this could be? Also, I, too, have noticed a slight difference in the radio's volume. I am wondering if our problem is reception; I have never noticed it on the CD player. Has replacing the stereo alleviated any of the problems that you guys have had with this? Is there a TSB for a popping sound under the driver's seat? Someone else had mentioned the popping sound. I was just wondering. Thanks a bunch.
  • We purchased a '01 Avalon XLS in November to replace a '94 Dodge Intrepid that we loved. The salesman tried to justify the 50% difference in price by pointing out what he considered all of the extras on the Avalon. The bottom line is we got a moon roof, leather interior and a CD player that we did not have on the Intrepid. Dodge had all of the other bells and whistles 8 years ago, plus several that the Avalon does not have today. We chose Avalon based on the comments on this site, the Toyota reputation for quality and its size (1 foot shorter, which is an advantage for parallel parking). We test drove a '00 and a '01 and were impressed with the quietness, comfort, interior space, and engine performance. Although we have not experienced any of the mechanical problems noted here, our vehicle
    was delivered without a coin holder and the GBS does not work. We have taken two trips of 5 & 10 hours each way and found the ride and handling exceptionally smooth. The Intrepid was better, but it had a longer wheel base and was wider. We have not experienced the problem of uncomfortable seats, although I am over six feet and weigh 185, because there are enough adjustments that you can eventually find one to your satisfaction. On long trips changing the seat settings periodically will also relieve that tired achy feeling. We gave up on Dodge because of poor service after the sale. The performance of our local dealer thus far has also left a lot to be desired and we hope we don't live to regret our purchase of the Avalon.
  • Just took delivery of a 2001 Avalon XLS with split-bench front seat option, cloth, and was surprised to find no lumber support control. This is contrary to the specs listed here on Edmunds site. Toyota site only seems to say "multi-adjustable seat". Anybody out there know what's up?

    Thanks much.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    There isn't one. Even on the XLS, there isn't a lumbar support on the bench seat. Talk to Edmunds if they misstated this. They also claim you must use premium fuel and you don't.
  • I've been reading this forum for quite a while & have enjoyed it tremendously & have learned a lot as well. I'm very seriously considering an Avalon as my next car purchase in the next few months. One question: is the white diamond pearl truly a pearl color? There's a beautiful pearl color on Cadillacs & I'm just wondering if it's similar to that or if it's more of a true white.

    Also, does anyone have any recommendations for dealers in the northeastern or central NC area?
  • memphmemph Posts: 1
    We recently purchased a black 2001 Avalon XLS with everything. We love this car. The JBL stereo is awesome. The cabin is quiet and wood looks real. I think the seats are very comfortable, but for the price the head rests should articulate. I think they could have done better with the message center--the type is too large and the information is too basic, i.e., I don't really need the date spelled out. One thing, though, it makes a bit of a rumph, rumph, rumph sound up to about 60mph. You can only hear it if it's quiet in the cabin and you're really listening.
  • mbt1mbt1 Posts: 33
    I bought a 2000 Avalon XL last year and on my first oil change noticed that there was rust surrounding the four bolts on a structure near the engine and the engine oil dipstick. The dealer told me that because that stucture, whatever he called it, is made of cast iron and therefore the rust is quite common even though the car was brand-new. I believe the car was assembled in the U.S. and I live in the middle of California, so there is no reason to attribute the problem to the climate. Is it true that cast iron will rust even so early in the car's life? Do I need to be concerned about the structural integrity of that part over the long run? Thanks for the advice or comments anyone can provide.
  • It could have been around for some time. (see manufacture date on door) and if it was in a humid area there well could be rust on cast iron. It's hard to tell unless one actually sees the part.

    I'm driving a 2k Avalon and I haven't looked to see if there is any rust discernable, but the car seems to run well.
  • I am a twice avalon owner also. But no more.
    95 and 97 Avalons. I liked the new one but the prices are now too high for what you get. Lexus country. Base stripped xl's are $28K and xls's are $34K. Experience was better with the 97 than the 95 in the reliability area (reason for change). I tried to buy a 2000 when first introduced but they wanted sticker and they said my old body style caused the trade-in value to drop dramatically. I tried again to replace with a 2001 this year but Toyota did nothing to retain my business. Dealers are very tough and hard to deal with. Bad experiences were had at several dealers.

    I branched out and looked at all the usual supects. Maxima, Acura, Honda ex v-6, and I even toyed with the 300M. All were clones of the toyota except for the 300m. I was looking for something with more appeal. The toyota has very conservative styling and the new interior is inferior to the old IMO. I actually like the old body style better. The sides and door panels are too flat looking and plain IMO. I hate the 2 layer look of the dash, reminds me of an old Cadillac. Puts all the gauges too far away. Also evidenced by complaints from others about the dash panel reflection problem.
    I looked at Edmunds and CU and they recommended the PASSAT. I drove this car and loved it. The drawbacks are not as quiet, smaller trunk, smaller backseat, and weak B2B Warranty I don't drive a lot of people around so a big backseat is not important to me.
    The PASSAT's pros are:
    Much better drivability: no wandering numbness.
    Holds the road drives very precisely unlike the Avalon. Firmer ride but compliant.
    Lumbar Supports on both seats are very comfortable. Seat cushions are not squishy but firmer.
    Power memory seats are good for short and tall drivers combinations.
    Tilt and Telescope adjustable wheel which adjusts very well for both tall and small drivers. Avalons wheel does not telescope a very useful feature.
    High roof line accomodates tall drivers.
    Five speed tiptronic transmission compared to 4 speed.
    Real wood trim not plastic glued on stuff.
    Leather is thicker and appears more durable IMO.
    Safety features: Side air bag curtains N/A on Avalon.
    Equal or better crash test results especially bumper tests. SEE NHSTA site.
    Can get a fully loaded 4 wheel drive optioned car MSRP $31,560 - 4 wheel drive N/A on Avalon
    Price is much lower. MSRP GLX 29,810 fully loaded model. Can get lower trim lines for much less.

    Transmission does not require service for 100k. Tranny Fluid is sealed unlike Avalon which must be changed every 15K and flushed every 60K.
    All maintenance services covered under warranty for 24K.
    Can be had at price of moderately equipped XL.
    German engineering vs. Japanese. Different philosophies.
    The only downside to this car that I have found may be the reliability record compared to the Toyota. But I believe this is improving in the current years. Major components are well covered under the 10Yr/100K warranty.

    Very powerful engine really pulls well. Feels much quicker stronger than the Avalon. Especially at accelerating.
    Top notch materials in the interior and build quality. Definitely looks like BMW or Audi materials.
    Longer power train warranty 10 years 100K.
    Dealer Service:
    They also treated me very well at the dealers. You could tell they wanted to convert me to a German car and they succeeded. Toyota sales people did not want to work for my business. I guess they took me for granted since I was on my third Toyota in a row. Toyota seems more interested in adding more and more SUV buyers and raising their prices while not adding content. Honda is adding more content and holding or lowering prices.
    While this car may not appeal to all Avalon owners and buyers, I would recommend a test drive of the PASSAT you may like the differences. I did.
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