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Toyota Avalon 2004 and earlier



  • rubicon52rubicon52 Posts: 191
    After returning 2 defective Acura RLs to my local Acura dealer in the past 30 days, I decided to consider getting an Avalon instead. One of my concerns was that I thought the Avalon to be a "lesser" car than the RL. I got the Nov issue of Consumer Reports which has ratings for both cars. Was very surprised to find that Consumer Reports actually rates the Avalon slightly ABOVE the Acura RL even though the RL lists for $9K more! Feel much better now about getting an Avalon. One thing I was curious about. In the Avalon forums there is lots of talk about rattles in Avalons. I've owned 7 Toyotas and thought they have all been well built. What do Avalon owners that have previously owned Toyotas think about the build quality of the Avalon? Thanks.
  • avfanavfan Posts: 17
    Rubicon52. I owned a used 95 Camry. I had it for three years before someone ran a red light in front of me. I T-boned him (a van) at 40MPH. Aside from being shook up I walked away with very minor injuries. I loved that car and would have bought another 95 or 96 as I liked that style. I made the mistake of test driving a 2K Avalon and fell in love with it. I bought one and now have 10K miles on it. The only problem I had with the Camry was the radio needed to be replaced. The new Avalon is roomier and "feels" sturdier. The ride is also smoother. I have not experienced any of the rattles mentioned before. The only slight annoying item is the glare from the speedodemter. I thought it would really bother me, but it is not as bad as thought it would be. The crah test ratings are also better on the Avalon. I will always buy Toyota. Hope that helps.
  • avfanavfan Posts: 17
    Now that I have sung the praises of Toyota I need to address an item that I read about a while ago. Any new information would be helpful.

    The tires seem to be wearing premiturley. I have 10K on the car (2000xl). The tires are
    Dunlop SP Sport 4000 A/S P205/65 K15
    Max tire pressure reads 51PSI. (They came with car.) I thought that was very high and used the car manufacturures recomendation of 31PSI. My guess is that it is wearing quickly because it is a "sport" tire. However I don't think I should be replacing tires at 10,000 Miles.
  • avfanavfan Posts: 17
    That should be R15 not K15
  • rubicon52rubicon52 Posts: 191
    Avfan. Thanks for your input. I also have a 95 Camry and know what mean about that year's style - nicer than the new Camrys. Drove my father's Avalon around last night and it is pretty much as you described it. In the 5.5 years I've owned my 95 Camry, I've replaced the battery and a tail light bulb - that's it. I've calculated average yearly repair (excluding regular maintenance and wear out items like brakes) costs for several of my Toyotas and the number comes out ridiculously low like $25 per year and one repair every 2-3 years. Not much room between this and perfection.
  • rubicon52rubicon52 Posts: 191
    Avfan. I believe the original tires on my 95 Camry were Dunlop SP4000's. They lasted 35K miles which I thought was a little low. Replaced the Dunlops with Pirelli's and they lasted about 30K miles. I seem to remember a posting from someone in the Camry forum saying that original equipment Generals did not last nearly as long as the Dunlops. I agree that 10K miles is really low. One thing I found out with the Pirelli's (got them from NTB) is that they came with a 50K guarantee and replacements are prorated. For example, if the tires are guaranteed for 50K and you only get 10K out of them, they will replace the tires at only 20% of the cost of new ones. Of course, with only 10K miles on them, the tire place may try to make the case the something is wrong with your car (alignment?). I don't know. But my point is that a tire guarantee can pretty much cover you against premature wear.
  • Michelins are by far an awesome tire company. If you want a long lasting tire and a very very very smooth ride, try the X-One on your Camry. 6 year unlimited mile warranty can't be beat.
  • Even though I put them in less than two months ago, my short term memory bank ran out of capacity BUT I seem to remember that there were bolts/screws that unscrewed with a little effort, or just holes that accepted the supplied screws readily. Nothing else to pry up or tear apart.
    The main reason I can't say for sure is because my precious Ava is in the shop after being assaulted by a flying mattress. Tore off the outside mirror completely, along minor scratches and dents (and I wasn't even in the same lane). The fool who failed to tie it down was a driver for a mattress company(what- no training?).
    OK enough of that-back to your problem. I installed the rear mudflaps in the dark so I am pretty sure that everything that needed to, came off with a philips head driver.
  • How on earth did you explain the mattress thing to your insurance carrier, much less get them to believe you? That's got to be one for the record for sure!
  • my insurance company immediately contacted their's...turns out the truck carrying the mattresses was JUST picked up from the dealer and there was an issue of when was the policy in effect from...hopefully the driver's co workers and boss won't let him forget it for a long time.
    A side story to this was that I had put on the 3M clear bra and headlight protectors-the headlight lens survived unscathed even though the headlight assembly cracked from the impact. Also I saw the mattress out of the corner of my eye and was able to swerve enough to avoid head on damage to the hood and/or windshield. Anyway, the first ding/damage to a new car is so painful even if the damage is repairable.
  • Hey, thanks for the response--and I'm still chuckling about your tiff with a mattress. Must have been a heck of a surprise!
    And I love your State--We've visited a few times and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Cheers!
  • ratledgeratledge Charleston county, South CarolinaPosts: 233
    Cliffy - I saw a 2001 XLS yesterday on the road: dealer tags, looked to be 'loaded' - nice Silver Spruce jobbie. It had what appeared to be molded in small mud-guards (same color as car body) on the back. Is this new, or a custom add-on? They weren't "full-size" mud-flaps, just an extension of the body molding under/behind the read wheel openings...

  • gnv_avgnv_av Posts: 1
    I'll start by saying I like the Avalon. But...

    I have a 2000 Av XLS that I had since April. I have a rattle coming from the dashboard driver's left side. I found out that is is the AC vent on the left side of the steering wheel. When I'm driving and put my hand on it, it stops. I have no rattles on my Altima.

    I've never been pleased with the radio. In town I have awful reception. As I'm driving the local stations drifts. It's doesn't go completely out but there is a lot of static. It's not worth the money I paid for it. The radio or CD also decreases in volume when it's playing. This happens on a flat road, when I'm driving, or standing still. They replaced one radio, but I still have the same problem. I think the speakers sound okay. But I prefer my stick antenna radio/CD in my 99 Altima over the Avalon. My 98 Altima or Galant never had any radio problems.
  • gcroftgcroft Posts: 15
    Sorry to hear about your misfortune and thanks for the mudflap feedback. Unfortunately my avalon has no empty holes to screw the flaps into so i guess ill rip out the plugs and see how it goes!
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    I just had to walk outside to look at a 2001 and see what you are referring to. I don't see anything on the 2001 Avalon that resembles even a mini mud flap. Do you live in the Southeast? If you do, what you are seeing is one of the famous SET options. These are things that are added by the distributor and are not genuine Toyota equipment. If you don't live in the South, I'm really lost.
  • ratledgeratledge Charleston county, South CarolinaPosts: 233
    Yep, Cliffy! I'm one of those lucky suckers that live in the SouthEast that get hit with an extra $530 'monopoly' fee plus the extra $30 for delivery... It seems pretty strange that I'm less than 500 miles from the factory, but it costs me more to get delivery here than it would if I lived in Washington state, some 2500 miles from the factory, eh? Oh, well - no reason to complain - it's not like I haven't known that for years.

    hmmm... SET option, eh? It's actually pretty slick - I wonder who makes it? It does look like it is perfectly fitted and color-coordinated to the point I thought it was factory original. They are about 4 or 5 inches deep - not at all like you would expect for a typical mudflap, but appear to be effective for their design. More rounded and contoured and sculpted perfectly into the wheel mouldings - they sort of wrap around the lower rear of the opening a bit as well.
  • Well i just measured my color-keyed mudflaps from SET and they only extend @ 3 inches down so i think cliffy is right. Go back @ 200 posts and see who sells them-they sent me an email picture before I ordered them to help me decide between oem black ones or the colored ones.
    BTW GCROFT, it came back from the shop w/out two of the anchor thingies that holds the fender and liner together and accepts the mudflap screw (i had removed the front mudflap before taking it in). I am going to ask the bodyshop tomorrow about them. It's probably something like a plastic nut.
    So if you mess anything up, I'll find out the proper name for them in case you need to get some too.

    Well, I have been reading about Avalons for ever, and I finally bought a new 2001 Avalon XLS, Black with Stone interior, Gold Package, paid $30,900.


    The car is really great. I wanted something easy to drive, smooth and reliable. I was sick of my V8 Explorer Limited, big engine, noisy, you know.


    I really wanted a navigation system in my next car, so I have been checking everywhere to see what is available. I didn't want anything other then an in dash unit. For around $3200, you can have installed the Alpine Navigation system, it's DVD based, and pops out of the dash (goodbye 6 disc CD changer), very James Bond.

    But then you have a dead space (alpine is only 1 din), and you have to fill that with something, my plan was to use some type of Pioneer deck and use the Pioneer steering wheel wireless remote to operate the cd, radio.

    Anyways, it would be a real mess to intergrate everything, around $3600.00 by time you are done.

    Then what happens if you don't like it?

    So I just bought the Garmin StreetPilot Colormap, by the time you get the software and memory cards, its around a $1000.00.

    But, it's mobile! It's small! It's color! And it works. And, whats cool about it is that it fits perfectly on the right hand side of the computer display on the Avalon.

    It's a little further to the right then I wanted, but with some velcro, it sort of finishes off the dash.


    I would really like to add some extra zip to my Avalon, anyone know of any performance exhaust parts? Or any other 'small' add-ons that I can add to spice up the engine?

    Plus, has anyone added different wheels?

    I would KILL to see a picture. I really think the Avalon could look twice a good with some sportier wheels. My current pick is the Mille Miligia Spider Chrome wheels. They are 17", and should help enormously. Check them out at the Tirerack, would love to know peoples opinions.


    None. The only problem I have had was my Avalon was slightly out of alignment right out of the dealership. Fixed today and just fine. I have 500 miles on my car.

    I have read all the complaints from everyone here about rattles and squeeks.

    I have been psychotic about listening for any little noise in my new Avalon, and have not heard ANYTHING. God knows my Ford had noises, BYE BYE noise trap.

    I have a theory.

    The 2000 Avalon has quality issues. I know the 2001 has not been out long, but unless I am wrong, I have not read about one person complaining about rattles or squeeks in a 2001.

    EVERY car in its first year has problems, and I would bet the 2000 Avalon is no exception.

    If you own a 2001 Avalon, and have some squeeks or rattles, I would love to hear about it.


    Audio controls on the steering wheel!!!! Come on Toyota, just steel the one you just added to the Lexus GS430 and strap it on to the steering wheel.


    Navigation would be a huge plus also. At that point though, other then a bigger engine, SERIOUSLY, why would anyone buy a Lexus?
  • bwiabwia Boston Posts: 2,454
    Great review and I agree with your last sentence, "why would anyone need a Lexus" given the genuine luxury features offered in the Avalon 2.0/2.01 XLS.
    I want a navigation system so badly that I would do almost anything to get an in-dash system (but not at the expense of six disk CD player), something similar to the pop-up version in the Volvo S80.

    The New England auto show is in Boston from Nov. 4 to Nov. 12. I will check to see what after market accessories are available and report back to this forum.

    Good luck with your Avalon and enjoy the ride.
  • Aloha everyone!!!Glad to see the bugs are gone...Ok down to business...Sorry Gcroft I did not get then proper name from the bodyshop-they didn't know either, except they had a whole tray full of them and called them anchors. They have a square body to fit the fender holes and a flat round head with a small hole for the mudflap screw. Then there are two wings or shoulders that pop out from behind when you push the anchor in just like drywall anchors. These wings could give you a hard time if you try to pry these anchors out. But by putting a screw in the wings flare out further. Good luck w/your flaps.
  • Help! Want to purchase a 2001 avalon xls and dealer wants to add $250 to the cost for advertising. Is this common, and is 3% over invoice a good deal? Thanks
  • A little more than 3% over cost plus fees is about what we paid. We have the XL with Leather and other options. Found it better to go at a price I was happy with in total vs. trying the invoice plus. When using invoice plus xxx amount, it always seemed that it opened the door for more additions. We then agreed at approx. 1100 over invoice (plus tax only) on the road. I feel like we got a fair price, dealer got a fair price, and I have no regrets.
  • rb42rb42 Posts: 1
    I bought a used 1996 Toyota Avalon xls from a well know used card dealer. I took it in 3 times for vibrating and they keep balancing and rotating tires, it took some of the vibrating away but not all. I was wondering I have dunlop tires on the rims that came with the car and they also don't keep the proper air pressure. I have to check and fill every other week, I love the car but this vibrating is very annoying, please help with some advise what could be the problem.
    Thank You
  • I bought a used '96 XL, and had a vibration problem. There was a bad rear tire; Dunlop. Once it was replaced, vibration ended.
  • Which dealer was this?
  • bwiabwia Boston Posts: 2,454
    Not much to report from the New England auto show in Boston. There were NO aftermarket accessories for the Avalon or any other car for that matter.

    I saw a new offering from Hyundai, the XGL-300. This model is suppose to be an Avalon killer, and if looks could kill, it would be a prime suspect. The car is sharp with interior refinements that rival its much more expensive Japanese and European competition.

    It is a bit underpowered at 192 hp, however, it offers all Avalon options (i.e. leather, heated front seats, moonroof, VSC, wood dash and steering wheel, etc.)as standard equipment for about $25,000.

    Obviously, Hyundai does not have the pedigree and quality reputation of Toyota but this car, the XG-300, attracted a lot of visitors. Has anyone seen or test drove this new entry?
  • To rbacsafra: The dealership is Claremont Toyota. Talk to Dan, the Fleet Director.
  • oh baby on the price huh? hehe.
  • gcroftgcroft Posts: 15
    Thanks for the feedback..I'll try that this weekend...glad i haven't had time to rip them out
  • csmlocsmlo Posts: 9
    im in the market to lease a 01 avalon. I went to the dealer and we made a deal to price the car at 500 over invoice which comes out to a 533 a month for an xls for 39 or 544 for 36 months lease. The xl loaded(leather package) comes out to 465 a month. I love the dash on the xls but it's a nice difference in price, anyone have any suggestions? thanks.
    p.s. pros and cons for xl and xls thanks
  • I purchased my 2000 XLS in October 1999 in the LA area. There were no XLS's with VSC installed. I talked to over 20 area dealerships to no avail. I go skiing a lot and could really use the traction/skid control in the mountains. Since VSC uses the already installed ABS speed sensors, the XLS display contains the VSC alert functions, and the cable harness is installed, why couldn't any Toyota dealership install the missing parts by just ordering them as replacement parts? I contacted Toyota and they thanked me for my suggestion but could/would not go further with any assurances a VSC kit would be offered to the dealerships. This would be much cheaper than ordering the parts one-by-one. I really feel that since Toyota advertised this option but did not ship many of their cars with this option installed, they have an obligation to correct this. A year ago on Edmunds Help Email Bulletin Board, there were hundreds of comments all over the US with the same complaint that no one could find a Toyota with VSC installed. It would be so easy for Toyota to correct this problem. It would be a good will gesture. It would also make the cars safer especially in snow country.
  • Just came from the local Shell station where upon filling the gas tank on my 2k Avalon I saw the meter reading 15.5 gal after three automatic shutoffs.Thereupon I proceeded to fill the tank to the brim by running gas slowly and when I had accomplished this the meter read 16.5 gal
    This car is tough to fill to the brim. There's something like 3.5 ft of pipe between the gas filler cap and actual tank entry; much of it runs horizontally underneath the car to the tank which is mounted pretty much amidship.
    Anyway, I'm wondering what most Avalon owners do. Do most fill to the brim as in my scenario above; especially if you're checking gas mileage on a miles per tank basis?
  • I purchased a 2000 Avalon XL back in April. The car was rattle free for the first three months. Then a VERY annoying "dash" rattle developed.

    The rattle would occur when the car would go over a bump/change in the road, but only when one side of the car would encounter the road change.

    The noise sounded like it was coming from the base of the windshield right where the dash/windshield meet. I looked for anything loose. I did find the radio unit had all of the driver side mounting screws loose, but that did not fix the problem.

    I had noticed the rattle would not tend to occur just after it had rained. So, last weekend I had enough of the rattle so I went looking again.

    I found the problem, but it wasn't that obvious. On the outside of the car at the base of the windshield just below the wiper blade arms there is a plastic cover over the wiper motor and air intake for the vents.

    I removed the plastic piece and noticed the passenger side of the plastic piece had some weather stripping but the driver's side did not have any. I cleaned the plastic and inserted some weather stripping on the driver side of the unit.

    The rattle is GONE! I've been driving the car all week and the quiet Avalon has returned.

    My "dash" rattle was really on the outside of the car.
  • cliffy1cliffy1 Posts: 3,581
    Don't fill the tank like that. The emission control system can cause the check engine light to come on if you overfill that pipe. When checking mileage, fill the tank at the same gas station in the same manner twice. If you stop and one shut off the first time, stop at the same point on the second tank. Calculate the mileage this way and it should be as accurate as is possible. Filling at the exact same pump in similar weather conditions help as well.
  • On my 95 Avalon with a 18.5 gal tank, the most I ever filled it up was around 15 gals and 3 gals left to spare. NEVER top off your tank like cliffy1 says. As for a tank, the best mileage I have ever gotten with a full tank driving through Texas on I-10 with the a/c on and full load and cruise on 75mph was 33mpg. I filled up at exit O in Anthony,TX and stopped at exit 400 (our regular stop) to fill up and there was still a few gals left in the tank. I know I can make 500 miles easy if I keep a steady speed and no stops.
  • I have a question on my 95 Avalon. Do you know if the headlamp assembly from a 98-99 Avalon (clear reflector type) will fit a 95-97 Avalon? It looks like it will fit but I am not exactly sure. Do you know or have seen this done before?
  • My new 2001 Avalon XL recently has kind of "woo.." noise when I turn the steering wheel at big angel under low speed, like turning into a parking lot or a U-turn.The sound is not loud but audible when you turn off radio and happens sometimes. Is this normal for Avalon or am I over-concerned? I have never heard such noise on other cars before.
  • I am in the market for a Toyota Avalon.

    I read somewhere that using premium fuel is required for the 95.

    Is this true ?

    Is this true for all Avalons, all years ?
  • I have a 95 and 89 (mid-grade) octane is RECOMMENDED but not required. It says this in the owners manual. I have a 95 XLS with 81,000 miles and 87 octane works great. I use Chevron and Mobil..whichever is the lowest here in SoCal. I have gotten 34MPG on a roadtrip to Texas from California with the cruise on 75mph, full load, and the A/C on. 87 (Regular Unleaded) octane fuel will work fine for all 1MZ-FE V6 Avalons for every year.
  • I forgot to add that I have gotten the 34mpg with 87 octane fuel.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Rdballer - great news on your rattle. Was the weather stripping you used, the foam kind you can get at the hardware store?

    Trudy - Our 2000 Avalon XLS had a front suspension noise that occured under similar circumstances turning right out of our drive way coincident with the nose of the car dipping down. Toyota confirmed that the sound was not within the parameters of 'operating as designed' and they replaced the front strut assemblies.

    Good luck
  • iajstiajst Posts: 4

    My 2000 Avalon had the same sound as you described in the first month of ownership, a high pitch "wooing" sound when you turn the steering wheel sharply, only audible when the radio is turned down. In my case, the sound only came on each time after I drove for as least half an hour. It seemed like the steering needed to warm up before making the noise. The sound was coming right out of the steering column where the air bag is.

    I made the mistake of leaving the car with the dealer without pointing the noise out to the mechanic as it happened. And as you guessed it, they could not duplicate the sound and told me that there was no problem. In my next visit, I made sure the steering was warm and the noise was there for everyone to hear. Fortunately, with the car stationary and the ignition on, I could produced the sound right there in front of the mechanic and his service manager.

    They repaired it, I think it had something to do with a defective part in the steering column. In my case, it had nothing to do with the suspension. They had to order parts, which took a couple of days but they give me a loaner for that time.

    Take your car to the dealer and make sure they, the mechanic and the service manager, hears the noise. If this is happening to you and it did to me, this may be a "common" problem. There may even be a service bulletin issued. In any case, it is easily fixed and no, you are not overly concerned, just a smart driver. Get them to fix the defect before it turns into something worst.
  • Thanks, iajst & footie. The timing of that sound is different than what is in iajst's case. My car has the noise right after it is started. The noise may lessen when it has been driven for sometime like an hour or so. Anyway I have taken the car to dealer today and see whether they can fix the problem this afternoon.
  • It seems like time to start thinking about this. I'm wondering what people have found the traction to be (without tc). This will be my 1st winter with my '96XL. I've found Blizzak's to be great on my old car and am curious as to how the XL does with all-seasons.
  • The weather stripping I used was the kind you can pick up at the hardware store for sealing around doors/windows in a house. The foam in the stuff I used was a little softer than the weather stripping I found on the plastic piece on the passenger's side of the card, but it seems to have worked.

    I was beginning to hate to drive the Avalon before I made this change because the noise was driving me crazy. It's wonderful to have the quiet car back.
  • Having put 15,000 miles on my 2000 XLS, I purchased a new interior air filter from my local dealer ($36). I was pleased to find inside the box very clear illustrated installation instructions (the manual indicates that this item should be dealer installed, reported in previous posts to cost $68 labor). The filter is located behind the glove box, which must be removed. It is a relatively easy procedure if one is somewhat handy.
  • I have a '97 Avalon XLS. I have just discovered this site and wondered if other owners have experienced unsatisfactory performance from their keyless entry.

    Inconsistent or no response to the remote being activated is very common, even with new batteries. I could be right beside the door and have it fail more often than not.

    Has anyone experienced similar problems and how did your resolve it? The dealer has been totally unhelpful. After hearing from them for the umpteenth time "that's just the way it works" I gave up and resolved to be disappointed until my next car. It's shame as I have no other significant irritant to speak about.

    Any shared experience would be appreciated.

  • I am looking for help with pricing information on a 2001 xl with the alloys and power seat option. What can I expect to pay versus invoice in the midwest? I am being quoted 4-500 over. Any help would be appreciated.
  • I have a 95 XLS and I feel your pain with the keyless entry. The radio frequency of the keyless entry is very weak. No resolutions here for me yet. I might go find a "aftermarket" add on for factory systems to get the flashing light confirmation including a chirp to affirm that it is armed or disarmed.
  • in the paper toyota avalon XL base model for 22967, which is just slightly below invoice.
    The invoice for option 3 which is the wheels and remote I think adds another 536.
    This is the car I will be getting too, let me know what you find.
    Also I may add the bench seat or leather.

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