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Toyota Avalon 2004 and earlier



  • hawiianavownerhawiianavowner Member Posts: 76
    300+ miles and still enjoying the car....BUT the Toyota service dept. had the car for a full day and a half-told me to come and get it because the diagnostic computer failed to pickup any codes (please explain cliffy). Yes the airbag light did not flash as I left the lot. BUT all I did was stop to put in gas and the light started flashing again upon restarting the car. Being late for an appointment, I was unable to return to the service dept. immediately.
    So some time next week, I must return to the same place and give them another try!?
    I am hoping someone else out there had this problem already so i can give the service people some hints as to what to look for. Being told that perhaps it is an "intermittent problem" in not satisfactory for a safety device, much less a flagship/$27000+ car.
  • footiefootie Member Posts: 636
    They haven't solved the problem yet. Local Toyota Zone "Master Technician" has worked on the car twice. Took the back seat out, etc. Thought it was a piece of plastic in the door trim above the window...No luck.

    I am going to have my dealership work on it on next visit.

    The Edmund's review on Avalons is something every potential buyer ought to read.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Member Posts: 3,581
    tbzhang, Did you get the XL or XLS? Let me know and I'll let you know what is up with your security system.

    Hawaii... The air bag light flashes and there is no code? That is very unusual. When is it flashing and how long does it flash? You are aware that it will flash for several seconds after start up right?

    footie, I am curious about this noise you are hearing. Do you have a moonroof? Before you have anybody tear the roof apart, allow me to tell you the most common cause of excess wind noise. People are not closing the roof properly. The let it shut until the roof looks flush from the inside. They don't let it move up into its recess. From the inside, it looks like the roof is shut but it isn't. I can't tell you how many very intelligent people make this mistake and I include a demonstration of this when delivering a car. This is also the most common cause of roof leaks.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Member Posts: 3,581
    Why would you lock a car with the windows down? If you have an XLS, you will set off the alarm by doing what you are describing.
  • avfanavfan Member Posts: 17
    Thanks for answering Cliffy1. The car locks for several reasons. I have three kids. Sometimes they grab the keys and play with buttons, sometimes the button gets pushed by accident when it is in my purse or pocket, or when I have several items in my hands along with my keys. I do not have an XLS or the security system. Please help if you can. I keep the windows down when the car is in the garage.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Member Posts: 3,581
    I think the power door lock button should work when reaching inside. Either I am wrong (which does happen from time to time) or you are hitting the wrong button. Are you sure you aren't accidentally hitting the window lock button? In the worst case, you can always manually flip the lock next to the door handle.
  • footiefootie Member Posts: 636
    Thanks for the thoughts Cliffy. I haven't heard or had any problems with the moonroof from a windnoise point of view.
    The roof noise in our Avalon XLS is a clicking, popping sound from the passenger, rear roof area and it appears to be caused by driving over rough pavement. It doesn't happen on every bump I hit, but about 50% of the time. It is reproducible and has been demonstrated to Toyota zone and confirmed by our local delivery dealership.
    We've had this clicking, popping (along with four other rattles and squeaks that have been fixed) since June 2 and 3 unsuccessful passes at it by Toyota "Master Technicians" to resolve.
    Very disappointing that there was even one. I've had three Corolla and one Camry loaners during service, and driven them over the same interstate that I drive each day to/from work, they were all quieter from a rattles and squeaks point of view than our Avalon.
  • avfanavfan Member Posts: 17
    Thanks again CLiffy1. I am certain I am not hittng the wrong button. I guess I will have to take it in to the dealership.
  • potatoepotatoe Member Posts: 8
    Headroom is a big problem for me, in my 2K XLS (and I'm only 5'10"). I have to leave the moonroof slider back all the time, and I tilt my head to the right.

    Yes, the moonroof takes up an inch or two of headroom. I wish I didn't have one. The Passat does have great headroom, as do Mercedes and Audis (I think). The avalon could be as good if they just gave it a couple of inches more seat travel, downward.

    Who knows, maybe the 2001 will have some refinements like that.
  • potatoepotatoe Member Posts: 8
    It looks like our 2K Avalon is a HUGE success for Toyota. Sales statistics thru July are available here:

    As I read it, this year is @ 87% ahead of 1999. Not bad!

    By the way, that site has stats for other makes too. Click "home", then "Industry Stats" and "choose an automaker". Buick LeSabre sales are down from last year, but still far ahead of the Avalon, so the Avalon is not the #1 large car. Not yet!
  • potatoepotatoe Member Posts: 8
    Some months ago, there were posts here about a glare problem. When the sun is just right (behind you, mid-afternoon high), it shines through the top of the windshield, off the lower dash, and onto the windshield.

    It doesn't happen often, but it is really blinding. Has anyone found a fix for this problem?
  • jwalexjwalex Member Posts: 1
    As the owner of a 2000 xl I tried locking the car with driver's side window down. Then upon reaching inside to unlock with the switch on the driver's side door I found that avfan is correct; indeed it did not respond. Pressing the lock side of the switch caused a clicking sound as of trying to relock already locked doors. So I would guess that this is just a quirk in the system and not a bug in a particular car.Of course it's just as easy to use the manual unlock by the door handle anyway,isn't it?
  • hawiianavownerhawiianavowner Member Posts: 76
    Thanx, cliffy for responding. The light will come on at startup, stay on for several seconds, and then begin flashing throughout the rest of the trip.If the trip is interrupted by a brief stop, it will flash upon resumption of the trip. Of say 12 times I have used this car so far, there were only two trips that the sensor did not flash the whole time. Once in the peak heat of our Hawaiian day, it stayed off for about ten minutes, but then began flashing(I did not stop the car). The other time was after picking it up from the dealer (when it started flashing after I stopped to fill in gas. Any additional thoughts?
  • n4pyn4py Member Posts: 10
    My avalon also will not unlock by pressing the unlock button through an open window. I believe
    this is intentional to prevent someone from taking a coat hanger or stiff wire and pushing it through the side of a window and then using it to press the unlock button. It is much more difficult to move the maunal button this way.
  • uwilsgduwilsgd Member Posts: 4
    Is there a way to stop the Avalon XL from automatically locking when put into motion or at least have it unlock all doors when the turned off? Seems like it only unlocks the driver door with turned off, can an option be set to unlock all doors at that point?

  • spector1spector1 Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 xls and it seems that the car scrapes bottom much too frequently when driving normally on So. Cal Freeways which have an undulating road bed. Seems to have too low a clearance. Any others with the same problem.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Member Posts: 3,581
    You have a real problem. Get it to a dealership quickly. I was unclear about when and how long your light came on but from your latest description, you can't wait on this.
  • vinceb1vinceb1 Member Posts: 1
    After looking at about every car possible, I'm close to getting an Avalon XLS but two things about it bother me. Any suggestions?

    First, I'd like a more sports-like suspension. suggests that "sportier suspension tuning" is coming. In 2001? Or is there aftermarket equipment that will help? (I really don't want to get a BMW! I've have good luck with Toyota's in the past, one over 100K and one over 200K.)

    Second, the audio system doesn't seem to have any form of dynamic range compression on CDs. I listen to a lot of classical music and had to keep adjusting the volume during my two extended test drives. Is there a setting I missed?

    I'm resigned to an automatic, although I've driven nothing but stick for decades. Seems like the Japanese has forgotton about manual transmissions in conjunction with 6 cyl.
  • avfanavfan Member Posts: 17
    Thanx for the response jwalex and n4py. The coat hanger theory sounds reasonable. This is why I like this forum so much. You have saved me a trip to the dealer and a day or two of being without my Avalon.
    In regard to UWILSGD Automatic locking and unlocking please note that several months ago someone wrote in a response to a question similar to yours. Look back in the files about 2 to 3 months ago (I don't know if there is a way to search for it). I tried the procedure they reccomended but it did not work. It may be because I have an XL or the fact that I don't have the security system. If you can't find it or no one responds I may have saved the procedure. I won't have time to look for it until the weekend. I'll watch the postings until then.
  • jmiller475jmiller475 Member Posts: 5

    thanks for the info regarding the roof noise. Please keep me posted. I'd like to know what they say. There are far too many squeaks and rattles in my car and I'd like to eliminate as many as possible.


    I was told that you could not turn off the auto-lock feature. However, I did go to a shop in that installed after market theft alarms and they installed a module in the car that unlocks all four doors when the car is turned off. This is a much better feature than having just the driver's door unlock.
  • msumner1msumner1 Member Posts: 6
    After reading MMCF's post regarding mud flaps from Metro Toyota of Michigan at, I ordered a set and installed them this evening. I have had my 2000 XLS for 9 months, and have 11,000+ miles on it with no problems, however it has always bugged me that Toyota did not offer mud flaps, as wheel spray marks really show up on white pearl paint. These flaps came in a Toyota box, with bilingual markings (english and french), so I suspect that they are from Canada (the instructions, however, are only in english). Molded into the flaps are "Avalon Left Front" etc. Before ordering, I checked with my local Toyota dealer here in Southern California, and was told they were not available. They are black, fit perfect, are straigt forward to install, and came with all required hardware. The front flaps utilize two existing screws on the front side of the inner fender, and require a 1/16" hole be drilled in the underside plastic of the front fender. I had to jack up the car to drill this hole. The rear flaps utilize three existing holes, and also require one 1/16" hole be drilled in the front face of the inner fender plastic. I did not remove the rear wheels, but in hindsight it would have probably been easier to remove the wheel as clearance is tight. I have not seen the Contura aftermarket mud flaps mentioned in previous posts, but these are Toyota factory parts, look great and fit perfect, even to the point of having a molded-in bump to fill in the gap between the front fender and the rocker panel. At $80 a set, plus $8 for shipping, they are a bit pricy, but they do go on a $30,000 car! I won't miss scrubbing tar streaks off the rocker panels every week!
  • losylosy Member Posts: 14
    Can anyone recommend a Toyota Dealer in Northern CA, that is easy to work with and will sell me an Avalon for a fair price? Thanks
  • hawiianavownerhawiianavowner Member Posts: 76
    FWIW, there are several sources of mudflaps that I have found by using both the search engine for aftermarket parts and YAHOO. It seems most US dealers are importing them and marking them up as needed. I have gotten quotes ranging from $61, $80, $99 and $130. All before shipping., in Canada quoted me $64(@$42 US) Canadian but wanted $50 Canadian to ship here. It should be less for any of you on the continent.
    However toyotaparts4u is offering colorkeyed mudguards (AND NO drilling) for less than than $57 plus shipping. Apparently these come from the previous maligned (in this forum) SE dealership group. Will update when I get them. BTW, thanx to the previous posts for the addresses... I also lost a bid on ebay at $61 plus shipping.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Member Posts: 3,581
    The link to Popular Mechanics has some glaring errors. Each vehicle they mentioned had some errors. Most glaring on the Avalon was the claim that the 2001 will be over 200 inches and have an upgrade in HP and suspension. The 2001 will be unchanged from the 2000. Beware what you read on the Internet.
  • hawiianavownerhawiianavowner Member Posts: 76
    I don't subscribe to Popular Mechanics, but the link seems to be an excerpt from an article...was the misinformation circulated to newstands or going to be circulated in a future edition? I guess dealers like cliffy will find out when the customers start coming in and asking for the "crisper, harder new lines, etc" for 2001!
  • marsha7marsha7 Member Posts: 3,703
    just add a little more HP and a sportier suspension, coupled with Toyota's quality, it could be damn close to the perfect car.
  • losylosy Member Posts: 14
    Can anyone explain how the traction control and vehical stability work. I am considering this option, but an having trouble finding any information on it.

    Thanks for the information, I will give Walnut Creek Toyota a visit.
  • thepope1thepope1 Member Posts: 23
    TO CLIFFY...

    Have now driven our '00 XLS about 1,000 miles. Love It! Cannot believe the dynamic improvements over the '98 model. Only complaint is a paint chip picked up on the leading edge of the hood. (Where is the chip-resistant paint?) However, near that chip was a factory 'nub'. Factory is paying to fix all and blend in.

    Here's my question: I've noted there are some areas, under the fenders, that the spray-person missed. Also, there appear to be open areas around the fender inserts. Is this normal? Is it O.K. to apply more undercoating/sound proofing material? Is there a particular brand I should look for?

    Thanks for your response. You should look forward to greatly increased sales on this winner.
  • potatoepotatoe Member Posts: 8
    It's good to hear that you will visit WC Toyota. Good luck! If you feel like it, let us know if things go well.
    One thing - the internet group is located in a separate building from the dealership, across the street, in the back of the car lot.

    Traction Control:
    The "VSC" option on the Avalon includes 3 functions; Traction Control, Brake Assist and Vehicle Skid Control.
    All 3 functions build on the ABS system.

    Traction Control - keeps the drive wheels from slipping when too much power is applied, or the road is slick. I think it does this by using the ABS sensors to detect wheel spin, and then it brakes the slipping wheel(s) and, if necessary, cuts back the throttle. Since the Avalon doesn't have the power to spin its wheels on dry pavement, Traction Control is most useful on snowy or wet pavement.

    Brake Assist - helps you stop quicker in emergency situations. The computer detects when the brake is applied more quickly than usual, and instantly applies full braking power. (ABS still keeps you from skidding.) People sometimes hesitate to stomp on the brakes, so this can help in avoiding or minimizing an accident.

    Vehicle Skid Control (VSC) - helps the car corner better when it starts to slip sideways. For exmple, in an "understeer" condition (the car isn't turning as quickly as desired), "VSC controls the engine output and at the same time brakes the front wheels and inside rear wheel to help control the understeering tendency of the vehicle." (Portion in quotes is from the Avalon "Product Information" booklet.)
    VSC is sometimes considered a performance feature because you have to corner really really hard to activate it on dry pavement. It can also enhance safety on slippery roads.

    IMHO, the Avalon's VSC option is a great value. Lexus, Mercedes and others charged a lot more for these features in recent years. Unfortunately, somebody decided that it's primarily a bad weather option, so not many cars are shipped to California with the feature. At least, that's how it was 9 months ago.
  • tsj525tsj525 Member Posts: 1
    Have an appointment with area service rep for my 1999. Has 29000 miles has had struts, strut tops, stabilizer bar, front and rear. Dealer hears noise cant fix, car rides real hard over bumps almost like bottoming out.

    Also have intermittent air bag light.

    Had brake noise at 5000 miles, they did pads and cut rotors. Now I think the rotors are warped, the shake at high speed braking.

    Has anyone had the reps look at struts-I know there are service bulletins but I want to be prepared for there statements.

    Any help would be great.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Member Posts: 3,581
    Thanks for directing a question to me, Your Eminence. At the factory, a hard undercoating is applied to the seams in the undercarriage and wheel wells. It does not cover the whole underside. You can apply any regular undercoating if you wish.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Member Posts: 3,581
    You stole my thunder on the VSC. Well done and exactly correct.
  • jmbkljjmbklj Member Posts: 19
    Are 2001 prices known yet? When will they be available?? thanks
  • alanbergcaalanbergca Member Posts: 1
    I'm thinking of buying a 2000 Avalon and looking for the smoothest ride. Does the Avalon XL with the 15 inch wheels ride more smoothly than the Avalon XLS with 16 inch wheels? Thanks for any advice.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Member Posts: 3,581
    The prices are out now. Unfortunately, my Toyota computer is down (as it always is on Sunday) so I can't tell you the prices but I did see them yesterday.
  • finloverfinlover Member Posts: 7
    A while back potatoe made reference to a webpage that had the 2000 Avalon sales figures. It would be fun to find out how popular each of the colors were. Does anybody know?
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Member Posts: 3,581
    I can't tell you the national figures but here in VA, we sell a good 35 to 40% in Silver. Silver spruce and desert sand make up the next two most popular with green, black, red and white following in that order. The blue and cognac are almost non-existent.
  • jmbkljjmbklj Member Posts: 19
    Cliffy.....Any idea when we would be able to see the 2001 prices on Edmunds?
  • finloverfinlover Member Posts: 7
    Thanks, Cliffy for the breakdown--very insightful. About what I expected although I'm surprised white didn't fare better. We see a lot of white Avalons in Texas because of the heat, I guess. Before we bought our 2000 we were really looking forward to the cognac brown hoping it would be similar to Lexus' fabulous antique bronze mica. When we saw a cognac one in a mall parking lot it looked to be painted the same color as the '79 Olds parked next to it! (but maybe with a tan vinyl roof and a stand up hood ornament, hmmm...)
    Oh well, count me among the lemmings that bought a silver one.
  • losylosy Member Posts: 14
    Thanks for the explanation on the VSC option. I have also noticed that this option is difficult to find in CA. I'll post in the next few weeks how things go with WC Toyota.
  • tossuptossup Member Posts: 1
    I purchased a new 2000 Avalon some 3 weeks ago. I noticed very dark oily spots where the Avalon was being parked. I had the oil changed (At 800 miles) and noticed that the undercoating had the consistency of wheel bearing grease, wet and gooey. Not only is it hanging down in gobs, it's falling off. I've taken the car to three different shops (Ziebart and ect.) for an opinion and they have all said the same thing,(That the undercoating had been improperly mixed and should be removed and the proper undercoating applied.)
    Do you know of other instances where this is happening?
    The undercoating was applied at the factory.
    Any Ideas as to how this stuff should or should not be removed and reapplied?
    I've asked for assistance from Toyota, but it seems to have fallen on deaf ears. They, Toyota, are now passing me from one person to the next without any resolution to this problem.
  • bwiabwia Greater BostonMember Posts: 2,733
    I was in Atlanta this past weekend (August 25 - 28)and I did NOT see a 2000 Avalon; however, I did see one pre-2000. In the Boston area the 2000s are very common. I have seen them in all colors except blue, white and cognac. Could it be that the Avalon is too ugly for the eclectic tastes of ATL? or was I too blind to notice?
    Any sightings any one?
  • hawiianavownerhawiianavowner Member Posts: 76
    OK, I just got my color-matched mudguards...took me 40 minutes because I didn't have my socket set nor a right-angled driver. Also the rear set did not require any drilling as promised but it looks like the front ones will require drilling of a hole into the bottom plastic trim piece for a proper install.I am considering a less permanent solution to drilling a hole such as silicon caulk.

    They fit perfectly and look real nice. I am glad that i did not get the black ones. But to each his own. They appear to be made of the same materials that bumpers are made of, so they should last. BUt they do not appear to be as sturdy as the OEM ones I had on my 93 Corolla, which were a heavy black rubbery material.
    To sum up:
    If you want OEM, black mudguards, these are from Toyota-Canada. will sell them to you
    for $64 Cnadian plus shipping. The lowest US price for these imported mudflaps are $61 plus shipping, which is right around what they have gone for on EBAY. If you want them right away,the high end of the price ranged from $99 to &120! See post #176 for install. info. on these OEM mudguards. To avoid the problem of a lack of clearance in the wheel well, you a need a right angle driver with philips attachment.I used a crescent wrench to turn my philips driver head, socket wrench would have been easier. Or a right angle or flexi- drill.
    If you want color-matched mudguards, these are sold by SE region dealerhips, I got mine from at a discount $56.41, plus $8 shipping. They install easily.
  • hawiianavownerhawiianavowner Member Posts: 76
    On my undercarriage, there are areas like Cliffy described in post #187, seams and welds that are undercoated and also sprayed with the exterior color. There are also areas like thepope1 described in #184, which are definetely undercoated in the familiar black asphalt/rubber compound, in particularly most but not all of the wheel well areas.
    I also have small areas like you describe, I just thought it was protective grease. My avalon is also @ 3 weeks "old" and was made in 7/00. I had planned on adding to the undercoating on some of the post #184 bare areas, and vulnerable spots depending on how badly the "grease" is coming off. I would be leery of any advice, comments or recommendations from those aftermarket undercoaters. My Dads 1970 Corona had body rust after 3 years (with a ziebart job). So did my moms 1966 dodge. Cons. Reports said this is mainly because ziebart jobs at that time covered the drain holes. Both my 1986 Corolla(after 6 years) and 1993 Corolla (after 8 years) had no body rust, and all I did was spot spray some areas with additional undercoating (less than one can).
    According to CR, this is due to the improvements in corrosion control by most if not all automakers. Plus they recommend rinsing/shooting off your undercarriage several times a year, and being careful not to block any drainage holes if you do add undercoating. In Hawaii, we have year round salt in the air, rain etc but at least no slushy roads in the winter.
    If we both have a bad batch of undercoating it seems that it still provides protection to a certain extent, though perhaps not enough in certain conditions.
    But if it is just grease, maybe that is why a poor response from Toyota so far.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Member Posts: 3,581
    There shouldn't be any greasy undercoating on the Avalon unless you purchased it in the Southeast region where you are forced to get the "Toyoguard" package or the dealer sprayed it with a conventional undercoating.
  • hawiianavownerhawiianavowner Member Posts: 76
    Cliffy1: Are you saying that the factory applied coating you describe in post#187 would be covered with exterior color paint (in my case, silver spruce), and the conventional-looking black stuff was applied by my dealer? They did try to sell me the "Toyoguard" package but I said no.
    Also, some areas are dry to the touch, but I do have some soft greasy areas as described by tossup.
    It's not something I would complain about since I got it for free,but any additional light you can shed would be appreciated.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Member Posts: 3,581
    The hard, dry stuff with paint on it is factory and the gooey stuff was either done at the port or the dealership.
  • david_gdavid_g Member Posts: 2
    I just purchased a 2000 Avalon XLS. Salesman strongly recommended that we only use regular gasoline (89 octane). My wife noticed that the back of the owners manual suggests that premium gasoline will improve the performance of the car. The salesman said that this was wrong. Any comments? BTW the price was about $600 over invoice.
  • bobtensbobtens Member Posts: 3
    Toyota came out with 2001 increase for the Avalon. Was posted on Toyota's internet site. MSRP is increased by $300.
  • tjlewtjlew Member Posts: 10
    Look at item # 63,64 & 65 on this forum.
    Hope this helps.
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