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Toyota Avalon 2004 and earlier



  • fndlyfmrflyrfndlyfmrflyr Posts: 668
    You don't have to be a Geezer to appreciate the rear seat knee room.

    The rear seat knee room was a major factor in our purchase decision. In our case it was wanting enough knee room so our 8 year old and her friends wouldn't be kicking the back of the front seats. Now she is the primary driver of the Avalon and her 6'7" friend and other tall friends easily fit front or back. She's not the only teen around here driving an Avalon.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Could agree more with the amount of room for adults. I also sat in a LS 430 last year and have similar observations but with some caveats. The front seat travel of the LS 430 is longer (superior) to that of the Avalon. I am 73" and I have to put the Avalon seat all the way back. In addition, there is not telescope feature of the wheel so a precise fit is only for the the majority but not for all. Nevertheless, the combination of the available room, fore and apt, bench seat for some of us, etc. along with its many other virtues make it a large car with few rivals.

  • jluther2jluther2 Posts: 18
    When replacing rotors & brakes is it okay to replace only the front brakes & rotors with slotted & drilled rotors or should both axles be replaced?

    Currently only having probems with the front brakes.


  • nomad56nomad56 Posts: 134
    YES! You can replace only the fronts. Most of the work is done by the front brakes. Do you really need slotted, though??? Brembo makes a nice rotor for all four corners, combined with a ceramic pad it makes a great setup. -nomad56-
  • sanandtonsanandton Posts: 342
    I need some leather tips. My Wife drives a 2000 Avalon with Tan leather. Recently we began having a problem with Black dyes from her clothes leaching off onto the leather. It is a devil to clean off. I usually maintenance the leather in our cars with Maguires or Zymoil (? spelling)leather care. Is there anything that can be done to prevent this? Am I alone with this problem?
  • Also have dye transfer from clothes to the tan leather seats in my 96 Avalon. Same thing happens in my MDX too.

    I find using combination cleaner and conditioner products don't work as well cleaning as cleaner only products. Using a separate cleaner makes the job a two stage process, first use a cleaner then use a conditioner, making the job take twice as long. I've tried several brands and found Meguiar's leather cleaner and conditioner didn't clean as well as Eagle One cleaner or BlueMagic cleaner.
  • sanandtonsanandton Posts: 342
    I will give one of the products mentioned a shot this weekend.
  • The third week after we brought our 03 Avy home, the wife came running up stairs in a panic about ink stains that transferred from her folders to the leather seats. We tried leather cleaners to no avail...the solution = hair spray. It worked removing every shade of blue.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591

    Fronts do most of the work. Fronts can be changed separately without do the rear, which happens mostly on front drive cars. Usually fronts changed at 40-50K or so, and then they both are changed at 90-100K the next time.

    Any quality rotors with ceramic or semi-metallic pads will do. The slotted I like but just a personal preference. The advantages are better WET braking performance and less over-heating. It rains ALOT here in northern NY and I pull a small utility trailer sometimes, so I find this advantageous. The disadvantage of slotted rotors is #1. you can fill a little vibration in the brake pedal and as well as a "whirring" sound when applied if you open the windows. It is the slots hitting the pads. The sound is slight, you have to listen for it, but nevertheless is there and some would rather not have this. They are more difficult to 'turn" properly if needed to be adjusted. Another advantage to slotted, is they "disglace" the pads, sort of like cleaning them. If you have ever seen the surface of a pad after 40K miles, especially stop and go, you would see a hard sheen to it. This does not happen with slotted rotors.

    Bottom Line: Get what you like and can afford and make sure they are done properly. Have them or you bleed the system too, but any air or a change of fluid every 3 years, regardless of mileage.

  • bigmike2bigmike2 Posts: 96
    Picked up my new XLS Saturday, July 17. Maybe my experience might be useful to others. It shows how
    easily you can make a deal through net if you hit someone who wants to make the sale and will work
    at it, but, also the vast the difference in dealers and how incompetent some can be in using the internet.

    I live in New Orleans. I went to a couple of local dealers and test drove the care, but the prices were marked up above invoice and I could see it was a waste of time trying to haggle from there down.

    I weighed the idea of finding exactly what I wanted in another region and flying there to pick it up and drive it back vs. getting something a bit more expensive here with things I didn't want. What I wanted was Premium Luxury Package (Leather, etc), Vehicle Stability Control/Anti-skid, and Moonroof.

    If I could have gotten only those, the invoice price was about $29,300, which includes a $600
    holdback for the dealer.

    Around here, those options could only be obtained with a lot of other extras.e.g. the heated seat
    option added $300; others put the invoice up around $29,900 -- $30,000. Sticker was $34,000.

    The exact invoice was hard to figure because some of the extras were from the Gulf States distributor and not priced on either edmunds or the consumer reports pricing service (Consumer reports pricing service is $12/model. Thought it was worthwhile, once I decided what I wanted.)

    I looked at dealer sites in the Atlanta area and found a similar problem with add ons, but some cars that were close to what I wanted, say with only mats. However when I checked airfare, I found what I thought was going to be a $100 one-way trip only applied with a 10 day-2 week advance purchase. Otherwise it's $150-200 and you don't get in early enough to guarantee being able to drive back to New Orleans in one day, meaning a potential motel bill.

    Buying out of St. Louis, with the only unneeded option being heated seats, meant a $250 one-way
    ticket and a 2 day drive.

    So, I decided to give internet shopping a try. I went to a number of dealer sites within a 100 miles and looked for cars that had what I wanted. Since Avalons aren't high volume cars, there wasn't a big selection, so I knew I didn't have a lot of bargaining power. I finally emailed three dealers that had what I wanted. I told each of them I would give them what I figured invoice was, $29,900 (as I said above, I was guessing a little bit), but that I knew they had to make something, so I was willing to talk if they gave me a reasonable offer. I also mentioned that I was emailing several dealers and was ready to buy. One dealer was local, two were in Baton Rouge, 90 miles away. I gave them both the email address, office phone and cell phone so they knew I was ready to buy.

    Within a couple of hours, I had a quote of $30,500 both by email and voicemail from Cynthia Tassin of Coleman Toyota of Baton Rouge. I don't know if the plug is allowed here, but I thought I'd try since I was very impressed with her willingness to close the deal and go the extra mile.

    Also within a couple of hours, I got an email from the other Baton Rouge dealer saying he was checking inventory and carefully considering the price, blah blah and would get back with me in a
    few hours.

    I never did hear from the local dealer, so I called their internet sales guy to see if he had gotten the offer. He acted like he hadn't, then said he was looking at it, but _his_ invoice was $30,600, that he'd have to get a good bit more than that, that his friend's mother was interested in the car, etc., etc. I told him that it was a little more than I could affordm and quickly got off the phone.

    I called Cynthia back and made the deal for $30,400 plus tax in about 10 minutes. I might have
    gotten another hundred or two off, but was willing to pay that because it had been pretty painless
    deal and she had responded quickly. She was going to have it detailed and we were to pick it up the next day in Baton Rouge.

    Everyone was happy that evening until the wife wanted me to show her the car on the dealer site and she found that it was the dark gray, which I had thought was an acceptable color. She was scared to tell me, but she didn't like it. To make sure I found another local dealer that had that color in stock and we drove and looked at it just before it got dark. I had to agree with her that I didn't like it either.

    So next morning I had to sheepishly call Cynthia and explain. I was pretty emabarassed, but she
    wasn't ready to give up on the deal. I told her about the other Baton Rouge dealer having a
    satisfactory color in stock, but she said she wasn't allowed to trade cars with them. (I still
    hadn't gotten a quote from the other dealer.) She said she'd call back and, in about an hour, she
    had found one in the desert sand (gold color) at another dealership. I had the emergency kit, but
    she said she could remove that, but it had mudguards, so it would be an extra hundred - $30,500.

    Plus it didn't have the air deflector for the sunroof, but they would install that for $50 which was their cost (Invoice is $63). I also let them charge $175 for documentation, but was still happy. She said could have it the next day for us to pick up.

    That night, almost 48 hours after the initial offer, I finally got an email from the other Baton
    Rouge dealer offering "rock bottom internet price" of $30,900 plus tax and title. I didn't jump at

    We went and got the car. I paid cash and they said I had to see the finance manager for the paperwork. Was afraid that they would come up with some extra charges. Turned out he just wanted to
    make the mandatory offer of an extended warranty. It was about $900 for ten years, but wasn't from
    Toyota. When I turned it down, he said: "I thought you'd say that," and we completed the paperwork.
    Hardly high pressure :)

    We drove back home. I got to drive it back because my wife was too scared to. We have been very
    satisfied. Five or six days later, I got a call from the local dealer asking if I was still
    interested in their car. Two and a half weeks later, I got a call from the Baton Rouge dealer. They just don't get it.
  • warakawaraka Posts: 10
    Bigmike2 -- Interesting purchasing experience and it reinforces the fact that women influence most car buying decisions.

    My, My, how have times changed; in 2000 you would be lucky to get a dealer to entertain a reduction of $500 below MSRP. Today, an XLS can be had at invoice or less. Good luck with your Avalon, enjoy the ride.
  • To get invoice pricing from independent distributors such as Gulf States Toyota, go to Kelly Blue Book,

    Try it for Gulf States area and the Southeast area. It's much better than the Edmonds site or Consumer Reports because it gives the dealer invoice pricing for each option. The port options are priced differently and have different packages in each area.
  • miss66miss66 Posts: 12
    The "pricing" site isn't very current so I'm asking for help at this forum. I am trying to purchase an'04 XLS Avalon.I can only find them loaded with sunroof,leather,skid control,locks and mats. I really prefer fabric, but it's too late to get one of those. I'm being quoted prices in the 30 to 31 thous. area by the local dealers in Maryland. Aren't those prices too high for this late in the year? I figure the car will be a year old in a matter of weeks. Also,I can get and XL with fabric but without an alarm deterrent system, which is what I want. Has anyone ever had a Lo Jack installed by a dealer? Any tips on negotiating? Have absolutely no ability in that area. Really would appreciate any input.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636

    Absolutely too high.

    If you check Boch Toyota they show 9 04 XLS's in stock, 4 with invoices in the 28K range. You ought to be able to email them and get an invoice price offer.

    Lojack only makes sense for cars with high theft rates unless you are just paranoid. The hightest theft rates cars in the US are 10 year old Toyota Camry's and Corollas and Honda Accords and Civics.
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    How about replacing just the rear struts with HD units but not the fronts. There seems to be no control on the rear, especially with something in the trunk or back seat passengers. I'm thinking about an ES300 or the 05 Avalon and don't want to sink a lot of bucks into it. 30K miles.
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    Well, I tried to insert the image with this format as described below, "To post an image, use image." but all I see is a red x.

    I listed this string in the above format: " .jpg " without quotes. It changed it when I submitted and added a - and a space before the .jpg. - .jpg

    " image "

    Can anyone tell me what the problem is?

    The link below works fine.

    If no pic appears, click on this, or, paste this into your browser. .jpg
  • 1stavy1stavy Posts: 18
    My first generation Avalon (95')has reached 275,200 miles. I'm curious, have any of you seen or heard of any with more miles on original engine, tranny, etc?
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    As reported by others, I have 30k on my 03 Avalon and the struts that never were much for control, are much less so - mostly in the back. Any rear seat passengers or stuff in the trunk and it thinks it's a Buick. Has anyone only replaced the rears with heavy duty aftermarket rear struts? If so, do you notice any imbalance in damping back to front?
  • Gee, only a couple hundred thousand more miles than my '96.

    Besides the regular oil and coolant changes, what maintenance has your '95 needed?

    I'm getting ready to do a fluids change (brakes, transmission, and coolant at the next oil change. Time to replace the tires too. Still on the OE front brakes, but will probably do a four wheel brake job too.

    By the time I add the costs to change belts and hoses, brakes, fluids, put new tires on, and maybe new shocks, there is a significant investment to be made in a 9 year old car.

    The car still rides and handles well, gives reasonable mpg, and looks very good inside and out.
  • 1stavy1stavy Posts: 18
    I'm tough on brakes, so pads probably changed more than normal. Otherwise, first noticeable(big) repair was power steering pump at 253,000 ($450)then brake lines failed on each front wheel within two weeks of each other at about 263,000 during morning rush hour on the busiest highway in the state! Didn't panic on first failure, realized brakes were locking when i let up off gas pedal and car would slow way down. I initially thought the tranny was going before I realized the brake on one side was locking with the telltale odor. Second brake line went gradually enough so that I could drive to a friends house and call the tow truck. When quizzed, the tow truck driver told me that he frequently rescues 1. Mercedes 2. Volvo 3. Jaguar
    4. BMW 5. Ford. He rarely sees Toyota, Nissan, Honda or their corresponding luxury progeny broken down. My car is Black with tan cloth interior and still gets looks from the youngsters when I drive by. People can't believe it's mileage and it has no rattles. I'm surprised by how similar its front looks to the 92' LS 400 that parks in the same lot. You'll have many more good years of reliable ownership for as long as you choose to hold it.
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 591
    My '99 XL was flawless, except for a stoplight bulb burnout and a battery, after 4 years and 92,000 miles. All service was done as required and the car was great to drive. It was still running on original brake pads as most miles were highway or suburban. These cars should last 200k plus with proper service. Enjoy yours...
  • I hope to get at least 200k out of my '03 that I will put over 40k miles/year. Happy and surprised to hear the exceptional life of your brakes. I got 75k miles out of my '99 Aurora's brakes and I thought that was exceptional. I would be very happy if I could achieve the results you have observed. Sounds like our driving conditions are similar so I was wondering how many miles I can expect on tires. Mine is an XLS with the 16" Michelin MXVs (which I was easily able to get 80k miles from on the Aurora). I know cars are different when it comes to tire life.
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 591
    My '99 was driven on rural roads and GA/FL interstates for most of its life. Dunlop tires lasted less than 40k and lost all wet weather traction long before that. I used two sets. A set of Toyo Proxes put the car on rails.. with much improved handling.. but the cost was a dropoff in soft ride quality and a lot more tire noise. The brake pad life amazed everybody. That car should last 200k plus if maintained.

         But the '03 XL is a different car. The front brake pads went out under 40k. They could have gone a little more but that was enough for me. The rears look like new. But then, this car has been driven much more in suburban settings than interstate travel. The factory 16" MXV's went 40k but would have gone 50k plus with more frequent alignment and a better air gauge. My fault. With more interstate driving, my guess is 60k max...more is possible. I buy the MXV's (H rated) because of the quality. Just wish they were not so expensive.

         The only problem to date with my '03 is that the battery went bad. Significant corrosion buildup on the negative terminal. The battery case actually cracked near the top. The dealer said everything is fine now, with a new battery. If you own an '03 you might want to look at your negative battery post.

         These are great cars for the money. Sounds like the '99 Aurora was a good car, too. Enjoy.
  • Thanks for your input. I have been very happy w/MXV4s since having them on a '95 BMW 530i. Very quiet and handled good enough for me. I switched to Turanzas the last time on the Aurora and they felt sportier w/perhaps a hint of more noise but so little that I'm not really sure that they were noisier. Sold the car to someone in my office well before they were worn out so not sure about life. Probably will stick w/MXVs on Avalon however. I too wish that they were less expensive. I once worked for a machinery OEM to the tire industry and I can tell you that they were our toughest customer regarding specifications of the machinery, not to mention that they were they ones who invented the radial tire!

    I rotate tires every 5k miles although have never had an alignment but the guys at the tire place check my wear patterns periodically. I'll let everyone know what what tire and brake life can be expected with 95% highway miles.

    Regarding past posts, I am 40 years old (my understanding is that the typical owner is much older) and I purchased the car because of its reliable reputation, quiet and comfortable ride, and awesome cabin atmosphere. I have had riders favorably compare to their Cadillacs regarding ride and rear seat room.

    I appreciate your comments on the forum.
  • berobberob Posts: 35
    The check engine light came on today in my 2000 Avalon with 65k miles. I know that there are probably multiple possibilities for the cause of the lights, but is there a pattern with these cars of a certain thing (e.g. oxygen sensor?) being the cause of the light? Thanks in advance for any assistance.
  • dfurnierdfurnier Posts: 26
    We have a 2003 XL and love it, BTW.

    I recently installed a Roady. Originally I used the FM modulator with all wires almost invisble (plugged into the outlet in the console and ran the wires under the console and through the ashtray and mounted the Roady with a "custom" stand). Looked good, but then I later tried the tape adaptor. Couldn't believe how much better the quality was. Doesn't look as good though - I don't like the wires running up to the tape.

    Does the radio have an aux input for a direct connection? It's a JBL stereo (upgraded from base, I think) with Toyota 16824 printed on the face plate. Or, can I plug in where the tape player hooks up (I don't play cassettes)? I haven't taken the JBL radio out to check. I don't want to tackle that unless it will hook up for me. (I don't want to break anything, I'm good at that). Or is there a better way? Any and all advice is welcome.
  • berobberob Posts: 35
    The check engine light came on today in my 2000 Avalon with 65k miles. I know that there are probably multiple possibilities for the cause of the lights, but is there a pattern with these cars of a certain thing (e.g. oxygen sensor?) being the cause of the light? Thanks in advance for any assistance.
  • sanandtonsanandton Posts: 342
    I also installed the roady in my Wife's 2000 Avalon XLS with the upgrade JBL. I took the stereo out to do it. I could not identify a direct input jack. I contacted the makers of Roady, and currently there say that there are no direct wired RF adaptors on the market either. I also like the sound better with the cassette adaptor, but grew tired of the wires. I spliced the cigarette plug behind the console and installed the regular RF modulated cig plug combo behind the dash for a more finished look. I have virtually no wires showing now.
        I have also noted that when music is playing the background noise is virtually unnoticeable. I use the 107.7 frequency and found the best response in the NW corner of SC. Good luck. I love that XM variety. It is amazing the improved clarity vs regular radio you notice when you get a nearly pure signal as with the cassette adaptor or as is in my Tahoe factory unit.
  • bigmike2bigmike2 Posts: 96
    I recently got an Avalon as described above and was very interested in getting satellite radio and figuring our how to plug my mp3 player in somewhere. There seemed to be lots of gripes about modulators and there wasn't much Avalon specific info on an internal hookup (which looked scary on a new car that the wife mainly drives, if you know what I mean), and it seemed like there wouldn't be any spare inputs.

    I suppose I have two questions:

    1. Any recommended sites with installation info for Satellite and any tips to someone who's never done this?

    2. Has anyone had any bad experiences with a cassette audo adapter? I have a Sony and used with my mp3 player it sounds very good. But, I blame it for killing the cassette player in the used-to-be wife's 94 Deville, which now won't eject her german language lesson tape. I have also noticed that when I use it in the 99 Lumina that I drive, I hear a clicking, as if the cassette mechanism is trying to play the "tape". It hasn't caused a problem yet in the lumina, but I haven't used it much because I'm afraid it will screw up the tape player.
  • dfurnierdfurnier Posts: 26
    Sanandton - I take it you are using the RF modulator now? I found lots of interference as I traveled (and not in an urban area) and as stated earlier, the sound quality was poor. Are you using other than the free modulator that came with it during the recent promotion?

    BigMike2 - I have only been using the tape adaptor for a couple of months and have had no problems. There is a hiss you can hear between songs (like there really is a tape in). Don't know if it's indicative, but our two eldest kids left their cars and three adaptors here when they went overseas and our youngest tried to use his Walkman in one of the cars the other day and only one of them worked.

    But overall, I'm pleased. I certainly would like to find a way to hook it up direct, though. I just don't want to break anything trying to figure it out myself. Best Buy installed the Roady originally and broke the ashtray ($200 for a new one). I hired them to do it because I didn't want something broken - they did pay for it though. In all fairness to them, they probably never installed one in an Avalon the way I asked them to, and probably work on hundreds of different makes and years.
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