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Toyota Avalon 2004 and earlier



  • Fourteen months ago in my 2000 Avalon xls my remote failed to work. Couldn't open the door or the trunk. Had to access the car with the key. Took it to Toyota and they re-programed the remote (whatever that means), charged me 50 bucks, everything fine. Until this morning, same thing happened again. Remote won't work, will have to take it back to Toyota. Anyone else have this problem? Thanks.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Sorry you are having problems with the remote. Is it a Toyota remote????? Had a very good aftermarket AVITAL remote, alarm, and autostarter put on. In the Northeast on a 2002 and no problems to date. Use of 0W-30 helps in sub zero conditions.

  • My wife is complaining about the heater in both her "new" 1997 Lexus 300 (my old car) and my "new" 2000 Avalon XLS.

    She claims that the air blows cold after a while. I presume that the heater supplies hot air until the desired temperature is reached and then cools down a little to keep the temperature steady.

    I never noticed this while driving the Lexus over the last three years. Maybe the extra low temperatures in Mass lately have affected how the heater works?

    Both cars have automatic temperature control.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    We had some problems with heat distribution in my wife's 2000 xls earlier this winter. We had just had the 30K service and when I checked the paperwork noted that the a/c filter hadn't been done.

    I took it back, they changed it (n/c) and heater air flow problems went away.

    Good luck!
  • I have often wondered whether Toyota would be interested as marketing an Avalon (this one or the next) as a Lexus?

    I could see an LS-330. Even the current model lends itself to Lexus treatment, thus leaving the low end of the Lexus range as IS-300 (Low price, competes with BMW 330), ES-330 (Competes with BMW 530), and LS-330 (General luxury car at sub-$40K).

    The only trouble is that the Avalon is bigger inside than any Lexus ever made, even the current LS-430.
  • gteach26gteach26 Posts: 576
    Is the Avalon really bigger than the LS 430? If so then.. wow. I might be looking at it much closer when the '05 model comes out.
  • There is a newish LS 430 on the horizon that could be larger, but the current Avalon is definitely bigger than the current LS 430.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Sat in a 04 LS430 last month. I am not sure what you are describing by bigger, but I did note the following. The LS430 seat not only articulates to move the bottom seat forward more towards your knees but the seat travel if much more than the present Avalon. The steering wheel also telescopes so the driving position for a bigger person is much improved. It is also a heavier car as I find the Avalon, big but light at supralegal speeds. The Avalon (and I like my O2) does not "hunker down" on the highway when go above 75MPH. It gets a little light, especially with the "light and fuzzy" steering. My opinions only, not the gopsel. The AValon is 1/2 the price, but their is a significant jump in the Lexux.

    In addtion, the Lexus LS430's truck is at least as big, and the fuel tank is 22.2 gallons (US) versus the Avalon 18.5. While not getting the same gas mileage, you can run approx. 550 miles on the Lexus without fill up.

  • While all the exterior dimensions are smaller than the Lexus, the Avalon has a slightly wider shoulder room (0.1 inch) and a massively greater legroom in the back (40.10 inches to 37.60).

    In other dimensions the Lexus is an inch or so larger. I was comparing the Avalon with the LS 400 recently which is why I made the mistake - sorry. And I'm sure that the space is efficiently used in the 430.
  • pmcb48pmcb48 Posts: 192
    I am wondering what current (especially 2000-2004) Avalon owners feel about the quality of the Avalon's ride. Too soft? Bottoming out on dips or when heavily loaded? Or is it just right? Some people feel aftermarket shocks are needed, like the Tokico HPs. Is that a rare or more common opinion? No information as yet regarding possible suspension options in 2005. Any thoughts are welcome. Thanks.
  • Hi everyone. Just purchased a used 2000XLS Avalon for my wife. Love the tight quiet ride and smooth power. We have discovered a problem with the CD changer. I assumed it was empty when we bought it. It had the CD stack on the display flashing. Is this normal for an empty changer? When we loaded a CD into it, it took it in OK, but does not recognize a CD has been loaded and will not eject it or play it. It just keeps clicking as if trying to position the CD correctly.
        Is this a common problem, or is it a rare occurence. luckily have a warranty from the dealer and will be taking it in this am. Any answers this AM will be appreciated.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    CD Problem: Don't have the 5 disc, but make sure the interior is warmed up. Not sure if you are in a colder climate. My does not work when it is below freezing, understandably. Other than that, use your warranty. Installation of an XM radio would negate the mechanical hassles of these other devices.

    Avalon Ride Comments: Reference CR article I believe, JAN 03, review of Avalon. I think it was last year this time. Pros and Cons interesting. Most people enjoy it as is, not me, but most. Depends on your driving situations.

  • All is well now. Dealer swapped out the stereo for a new one. It was faulty. He could not get out the CD, but allowed me to drive a 2004 Passat W8 4motion as a loaner. Wow that was a fun car, but kind of loud on the road noise. So I'm calling it even. It was a collection of Mozart no biggie. Had to have the rotors replaced too. Also under warranty without batting an eye. I figured why complain about a $4.00 CD with that kind of service.
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 591
    If you ask enough Avalon owners about the car, you will find the large rear seat and trunk are are two *very* important reasons they bought it. No car that is Avalon length has that much available space. The 18.5 gallon gas tank is also nice. Overall quality is well known. The price is also very reasonable for all that you get.

    A Lexus LS430, mentioned above, is not in Avalon's class. You can buy any TWO Avalons made for just one LS430. And in 3 years an LS430 depreciates about what a good Avalon costs. The ride..the feel...nothing is similar here except dependability. No comparison is meaningful.

    Some say Avalon has problems with a soft ride. The car will bottom out on occasion. Above 80 mph in a high crosswind is scary. Curvy roads at speed can be exciting. Steering feel above 25 mph is non-existent. Believe, this is not an Acura TL or BMW 5 series. But most owners who post here seem to accept these things. (My opinion, the worst thing Avalon offers is Auto-temp on the XLS. Too many problems posted. And it didn't even work properly on the DEMO '03 I drove!)

    Avalons can be modified - wheels, tires, etc. - and some owners have explained that very well and in detail here. For me, the car fine as is. Our greatest worry, as Avalon owners, is what Toyota will do to the next generation. But if we read these many boards often enough, at least we will be among the first to know... Enjoy.
  • I wouldn't buy a new 430. I reckon that this time next year an early 430 will go used for around 30K.

    I went from Lexus ES 300 to Avalon, and I think that the Avalon offers (mildly) better value. The Avalon's ride could be better, but the majority of people want a "Japanese Buick" (and having driven a Buick as an insurance replacement for several months, the Buick shows exactly what's wrong with American design).
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Great posts above. Sounds like you have a respectable Toyota dealership, and you are lucky. Some are not. OEM rotor quality does not get an excellent or very good from me. Had a severely warped front R from the get go.

    Perhaps the new model will address some of the CON issues.

  • lyn03lyn03 Posts: 5
    I read an earlier post about the check engine light coming on. I'm having the same problem. I had an earlier post about my car's oil consumption. My 01 Avalon was in the shop for 5 1/2 weeks this past summer getting a complete engine overhaul for oil consumption. Right before Thanksgiving the check engine light came on. I immediately took it to the local dealer. They changed a few things and the light went out for a couple of days. When it came on again I again took it to the dealer. They kept it all day and did nothing to it. They said they had no idea why it was on. It has now been on steady since the beginning of December. After having my car in the shop for so long this summer, I just am fed up with having it in the shop. By the way, when it kept burning oil there was only 20,000 miles on the car. When this new problem arose, there was only 25,000 miles. I am now nearing the 3 year (in March) warranty. I did not buy the extended warranty. I am considering doing that now.
  • Perhaps it was my post you read concerning a check engine light problem. A few weeks ago I took my car to to a Toyota service department for the fifth time since August with this same engine light problem. I was told that my car would be checked out extensively this time. The good news is that I picked it up nearly two weeks ago and the light has not come on again.

    The January 15 invoice reads that an evap test had shown the filler neck and gas cap to be faulty, so they were replaced. That, however, did not solve the problem since the light came on again three days later. So I took it in once more. My most recent invoice, dated January 23rd, reads as follows: GAS CAP DEFECTIVE. REPLACED GAS CAP. Apparently the new gas cap from eight days earlier had somehow been faulty and needed replacing. Anyhow, I'm thankful that the light is currently out.
    Now for the bad news. When I phoned the service department the morning of January 23rd, I was told that my car had been fixed, but I was also told that a Toyota employee had driven my car through a yellow light at a camera-equipped intersection the night before. (I believe I was also told that the employee had driven my car home that night.) In any case, the service employee said that I may or may not receive a violation notice, but if I did she told me to simply forward it to the service department and someone there would pay it.
    Three days later I received a $70.00 traffic violation ticket from the city, and of course I'll send it to the dealership and have them take care of it; however, I read the ticket and learned that the traffic light had actually been red, not yellow (which I suspected had been the case), and that the violation had occurred at 11:02 PM! What I'm wondering is how outraged should I be by what has happened, and what -- if anything -- should I do about it. First of all, it strikes me as unusual that an employee would be driving my car after working hours as part of the testing process. I figured it would only be tested during working hours. Also, why would the employee be so careless as to run a red light? And for what reason would he/she be driving my car after 11 at night? (From the still picture it appears that someone could have been in the front passenger seat, though I'm not sure of that.) Since I wasn't there, I have no way of knowing who was in my car that night and what that person, or persons, might have been up to.

    At the very least, isn't it unusual that a customer's car would be "tested" after 11 PM? I wonder how widespread this practice may be. Do employees routinely drive customer's cars home at night, if, indeed, that is what happenend? Has anyone had a similar experience? I guess I wouldn't have even been aware of this if the camera hadn't caught my car running the red light.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    And go visit the owner of the Toyota dealership. Make arrangements for a representative of the police department of the municipality where the red-light incident occurred to be present.

    Ask for a sworn statement to be taken by the police that the person driving the car was the employee of the Toyota place.

    Then have your lawyer open a discussion with the owner about compensation.

    Do you know if this ticket, even if paid by Toyotie, is going to impact your insurance?

    I think this practice is very, very unusual.
  • "Well, when our employee sat in the car the vehicle involuntary moved forward and didn't stop, even for the red light.

    They all do that, you know."
  • danielj6danielj6 Posts: 285
    By now I hope that you already retained an attorney. This red light-running incident can and probably will make your insurance company raise your rates. This is a moving violation and whether you were the driver or someone else may be of little consequence to your insurer. Your attorney will go to bat for you with all parties. In addition, you might be able to get compensation from that dealership. Just make sure they don't dupe you into offering you free maintenance and car washes.
  • petlpetl Posts: 610
    In Ontario, Canada, red light runners caught on camera are not subject to higher insurance rates. It's like receiving a parking ticket. The violation is against the vehicle, not the driver. Many consider it a money making scheme (like photo radar). The only time it will affect insurance rates is when the driver is caught by a police person and receives a traffic violation in his/her name. It may be different in the state in which you reside. Contact the municipality and/or your insurance company to confirm. A costly lawyer may not be required.

    I agree with the others, there is no reason for any employee to be driving a client's vehicle at that time of the evening. It should not be difficult to prove that they are responsible for the ticket. They have already admitted that one was forthcoming. The employee may have been less than truthful with the employer (the Toyota dealership) when explaining his side of the story. He should be reprimanded (unless it was approved by the service manager or owner). You should also be compensated for the stress and inconvenience incurred.

    Also, I would suggest that you pay the fine yourself (assuming they will give you the amount required) to insure that it is paid. Or, demand proof that they have paid the fine within the alloted time. Good luck.
  • Apparently the laws regarding camera-caught red light runners are precisely the same here in Georgia as they are in Ontario. I called the city police twice and was assured both times that my insurance rates would not be affected, since the violation, as you noted, is treated as though it were a parking ticket. One of the officers told me that my insurance would be affected -- again, as you say -- only if I were to be stopped by a policeman.

    I plan to call the dealership tomorrow to let them know that I have received a ticket and to discuss the matter with them. I feel that I should receive some sort of compensation for what was done. And I'll make darned sure the fine is paid on time -- by February 25th -- either by Toyota or by me.
  • I finally called the Toyota dealership today and talked to the woman at the service department who had warned me a couple of weeks ago that I might be getting the traffic ticket. I told her the employee had run a red light, not a yellow light as she had told me, and she answered, "I know."

    I asked her if it wasn't unusual for employees to be driving customers' cars after hours and she replied that, actually, it was not all that unusual. She said that whenever she leaves for home in the early evening some of the guys are still working -- which presumably means they might be out "testing" automobiles.

    I then asked her if 11:02 P.M. wasn't a bit late for their guy to be out in my car, and she said yes, 11 o'clock at night was quite late. She then told me that she was certainly going to "ask some questions" and that she would talk to her boss about the situation. (Perhaps that means her boss doesn't already know about it.) I guess she'll let me know how this matter will be dealt with.

    I told her that if I ever bring my car in again for service/repair I definitely do not want employees driving it after working hours. Her reply was that she understood how I felt.

    She asked me to forward the ticket to the dealership where it would be taken care of promptly and I would be provided proof of payment. But in case Toyota doesn't get back to me I'll call the police department in a few days to find out if payment has been received.
  • berobberob Posts: 35
    Shortly after starting my "new" 2000 Avalon, I hear what sounds like a brief "electric motor" type noise. It only lasts a second or two, it seems to come from behind the dash, and it sounds sort of like what a power mirror motor sounds like. I hear it 2 or 3 times and then that's it. Any idea what it is?

    Also, some part of my stereo system cuts out briefly from time to time. I can't tell where its coming from but its almost as if the stereo sound disappears. It might be that I'm losing a speaker, but I just can't tell the source. The sound goes from being robust and full stereo sound to quieter mono sounding. Again, any ideas here? Thanks in advance for any assistance.
  • nomad56nomad56 Posts: 134
    berob-the noises you describe sound like you have automatic climate control....the system makes adjustments to the gates that direct and MIX the startup, the car is not really prepared to warm your cabin, so it makes a few revisions to the airflow and air MIX. Look at the indicators on your AC control panel to see if they change with these noises...

    STEREO-I need more info. Are speakers cutting out(turning off), or do they just sound that way?-muted/muddy. Is it possible that at the occurance of the problem the only thing you are hearing is the sub-woofer??? -nomad56-
  • I notice that many ads for Korean and similar cars claim that "comparably equipped" models cost much less than a Camry. The intimation is that you pay too much for a Tier One import.

    This doesn't take into account the high depreciation on Korean cars. One car that costs "$2,000 less than a Camry" depreciates $2,700 more in three years.

    Other problems include expensive costs to run - one SUV manages 15 mpg city, 20 mpg highway, whereas the Highlander uses 18/24.

    Although there are longer warranties on the Korean cars, the Tier One makes have a record for reliability. A typical difference is 5 years/60,000 miles against 3 years/36,000 miles. The 10 years/100,000 miles powertrain warranty are often not transferable to subsequent owners.

    So the conclusion is that buying a Tier One car may be cheaper than a Korean car (and that extra on the purchase price you only pay once) - and you get the pleasure of driving one of the better cars in its class.

    Don't get me wrong - I think that Korean cars against American cars shows that Korean cars are the better bet. But they're not a real competitor for the Tier One cars.
  • 1stavy1stavy Posts: 18
    I'm currently taxing my research skills to come to a decision on what car to buy. I have a 45,000 yearly commute in a Northeastern state. My current car is a '95 Avalon XL with 252,000 highway miles on it that still rides like a champ and has never stranded me or needed more than fluid changes, preventative timing belt change, battery, brakes. I have access to auctions, thus lower prices and am considering a step up in comfort without risking reliability. I've test driven a '99 GS 300 and '99 Es 300 both have great amenities and qualities but not enough room in back seat for my three kids. I can get 1997-1999 Lexus LS 400 from $15k-$19k w/45k+miles , 2000 Acura RL w/ under 35k miles for $17k and under, 2000& 2001 Avalon XLS w/30-40kmiles for $16k-$20K. I've wanted the LS400 for years now and hope to test drive one soon but am very impressed with the Avalon ride and amenities for the price. My mantra is to get the best deal for the money. Is it unreasonable to think that I could expect to get close to 300,000 miles from the Acura RL, LS 400 and 2000-2001 Avalon with routine maintenance? Am I incredibly fortunate and unrealistic to think that another car can hold up under the strain of such a commute? Your opinions and expertise are most welcome.
  • berobberob Posts: 35
    Thanks so much for your thorough reply. I think you're right on about the noise I describe. I do have automatic climate control and the noise I'm hearing does sound like it could be the system adjusting the gates and the air mix.

    As for the stereo, I'm having trouble determining if a speaker is actually cutting out or if the problem is something else as it is random and only happens occasionally. It does kind of have a mono, muted, muddy type sound but then quickly returns to normal? Are you suggesting that the subwoofer is cutting out or is something else cutting out leaving me only with the subwoofer? Is any of this a common problem? Is there an easy fix? Thanks again.
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