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Toyota Avalon 2004 and earlier



  • Like MostlyJazz I have purchased a set of 4 Bridgestone Blizzak tires mounted on steel wheels in preparation for our upcoming move to Chicago. Our Saab has almost identical original tires to our Avalon XLS, and the snow tires will be swapped between the two vehicles as needed.

    Blizzak tires are unparalled in snow and ice, but wear very rapidly on dry pavement. If you have the capability of swapping wheels in your own garage in response to weather forecasts, the life of the snow tires can be greatly expanded, perhaps to several seasons.

    For "normal" snowy conditions we will, like BWIA, rely on our regular all-weather tires.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591

    This is not the gospel, on IMO. I write to you from 30 minutes from the Thousand Island Bridge in very Upstate New York.

    With wifes being a precious item, as your Avalon, it is difficult to decide. How long are you planning on keeping the car??? Your winters usually last about 5 months right??? Winter tires on in late November and off in early April, right???

    If you are not going to keep the car say 4 years or more, than I would think that being 2 AS tires that are the exact same, would be the way to go. This is guesstimately on 20K a year.

    You still will need two ALL season tires or summer tires after the winter, so it really depends on how long you are going to keep the vehicle.

    If for a long time (we keep our vehicles over 10 years routinely), then the purchase of Winter tires would be a very good idea. They are snow and ice, not just snow, with differnet compounds. Choice one that sheds water well since much of the time in Boston it warms up.

    I agree with all the posts above, with the exception of the recommendation about the Blizzak. Bridgestone hyped their name for a Winter tire before anyone else, but Consumer Reports did not choose their tire as one of their best, nor a "best buy". Actually, I find them over priced. From what I remember, the Goodyear Winter Snow High Performance (again, overpriced), and the Dunolp Winter High Performace were the best. Michelin and Bridgestone as well as Goodyear tend to be overpriced without giving superior performance in snow, water, ice, braking, handling, etc.

    Refer to that article even though they have changed and updated their models this year.

  • Tire Rack (a major vendor) has a very full consumer evaluation and rating report on their website. Consumers (as opposed to consumer groups) consistently rate the Blizzak tire very highly, if your PRIMARY INTEREST is the ability to traverse snow and ice. The performance versions to which Abfisch refers sacrifice some degree of traction in favor of handling on dry surfaces and reduced wear. In difficult conditions performance is the last thing on my mind, and I stand by my recommendation and the recommendation of thousands of Tire Rack customers.
  • Abfisch appears to be recommending the use of two snow tires, presumably on the Avalon front wheels. Tire experts consistently recommend four snow tires, with the obvious objective of avoiding unequal handling characteristics.
  • deepandeepan Posts: 342
    if one is going with 2 snow tires the recommendation is to put them on the rear tires. This is because with braking (typically at the front wheels) if the rear doesnt have good traction is continues to slide or so ive heard.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591

    If that is what you read I am sorry. That is not what I meant. What I meant to say above was that this person above, is still going to need 2 more AS radials in the spring, regardless of whatever winter tire choices he has. I never recommended two snow tires nor do I have them on my vehicle.

    I do think that consumer ratings are helpful. But...consumers, unless you are very wealthy, can NOT make side to side comparisons, on the same car (they were a BMW and a Honda Accord I believe, on similar roads and similar conditions. So, theretofore, this is more objectivity in a comparison of tires when CR or any other publication can duplicate this than subjective ratings on different cars, in different circustances, etc. You would be comparing apples to oranges as well as the excitement of a new winter tire on all 4 wheels.

    Additionally, the above does not consider cost into the entire purchase, which makes one wonder if cost should be a consideration. For most of us, it is, or else you would be driving a LEXUS or the like. Tires, are a non durable good on a vehicle. Most have to be replaced several times during the course of ownership, especially those that keep their cars for decades or longer. Instead of emotionally making recommendations, I find it genuinely helpful to find out the entire situation with how long the owner planes to keep the vehicle, to evaluate further if the initial investment in four rims and winter tires would be cost prohibitive. I have them but that doesn't mean they are good for everyone. At 6 months winter each year, and at 15K average per year, you would have to keep the car for 5 years (37500 miles) if you can get that in order to at least exhaust the tires.

    Other tire sites, especially the Canadian ones (1010 tires and tire trends) have a good selection of winter tires as well.

    I'll write again with other winter tips when I have the opportunity.

    Good luck to everyone during their winter drives.


  • stmechstmech Posts: 19
    I have had Bridgestone Blizzak snow tires on my 2000 XLS during winter months since December 2001. I live where we get a decent amount of snow and we have hills (not mountains). I tried one winter with the OEM all-season Michlins. This was clearly not acceptable. I consider the snow tires to be absolutely essential. Particularly because of hilly conditions (even if you only have one decent hill). It is true that plowing is quite efficient, but hills make the snow tires necessary anyway- both for going up and down the hills. I also have an Audi A-6 which has Dunlop Graspic snow tires in the winter. I consider the Blizzaks to be superior to the Dunlops because of far better dry road handling and lower sound with very close snow performance between the two. I would definately get the Bridgestones again, but would not say the same for the Dunlops. Over three full winters I have gotten about 25,000 miles on the Bridgestones. I replaced two that were most worn at the beginning of this winter. I purchased my tires (mounted on steel wheels) from Tire Rack. Highly recommend them for good prices and great service.
  • My Tire Rack Blizzaks got their first tryout this week following the very heavy snow that hit southern Indiana and northern Kentucky. My area received 10" of a mixture of snow, freezing rain and then more snow. Two days later the road surfaces are like concrete, and very slippery.


    In the worst conditions of loose snow, and later ice, the Blizzaks on my Avalon have been superb. In a quiet area of a supermarket parking lot, I was unable to induce a skid. Heavy rutted snow in my subdivision was no obstacle.


    My Saab sits forlornly in the driveway. It can't move on its all season tires.
  • Hey,


    I have a 96 toyota avalon xls and I live in Minnesota and its been freezing lately and it has just warmed up to 30 some degrees so I decided to wash my car and now that I retry to start it the lights on the dash all light up and my doors all unlock and the trunk pops open. Then the engine never starts. Any idea about whats happening?
  • famwaldfamwald Posts: 114
    The subwoofer on our '98 XLS went bad within the first year. My husband took it back to dealer who said nothing was wrong with it. DH couldn't be bothered with the hassle (it was his car) but they just don't last. Not a problem unless volune is up loud, then we notice.


    Factory-installed moon roof wind deflector on same '98 has never vibrated (here in Tennessee). Seems to have a rubber gasket on base.


    Gas mileage does depend on traffic & driving - try a fuel injector cleaner like Chevron Techron or BG K44. It might help. I average 21 mpg but don't sit in commute traffic.
  • I recently wrote of my favorable experience with Bridgestone Blizzak tires following a difficult Kentucky snowstorm. Personal business found me in Chicago for the Windy City's first storm of the season. Freeways and major highways are well serviced by crews in the Chicago area, but they become clogged with slow-moving traffic. I chose to use side streets through residential neighborhoods, through slush, packed snow and about 7 inches of loose snow. My Avalon performed impeccably, with only the occasional warning light from the TCS system to advise me of wheel slip. My 20 minute journey became a 25 minute journey, but otherwise everything was normal. By using city side-roads I successfully avoided traffic holdups, other than at traffic lights.
  • HELLO, out there! Any comments on the brand new Avalon? I've been seeing commercials on TV, but no discussion yet on the Town Hall - let's go!!
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Um, you just kidding?


  • mikes.mikes. Posts: 336
    Read the Avalon 2005 thread, it has a ton of posts.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Check out the Toyota Avalon 2005+ discussion - I think it's just what you are looking for. :)


    And this gives me an opportunity to explain that we're now trying a new approach for moving vehicle discussions off the Futures board when that becomes appropriate. That discussion was moved from Future Vehicles and renamed, and this one is now renamed to Toyota Avalon pre-2005. We are hoping this will make for a smoother discussion transistion when a "Future" hits the streets.


    We hope you will continue to participate in and enjoy both discussions!
  • jsnowjsnow Posts: 3
    I just recently purchased a new 2004 avalon and seem to be having a pulling/drifting to the right. I've been to Toyota 2 to fix the problem to no avail. The alignment seems to be in spec. they crossed the front tires.


    It does not always pull. It mainly pulls when the road surface is very smooth. If there is any crown, it pulls even harder.


    Anyone else have a problem like this?


  • Can you advise how to replace the cabin air filter in a 2002 toyota? Thanks.
  • Sounds familiar (within spec). Some cars do not have adjustments for caster or camber. Front end toe-in normally does not have any effect on pulling. My old Avalon has no caster or camber adjustments for the front. The dealer kept saying the car was within spec, but a real front end man got rid of the drift (also to the right). In my case there was enough 'slop' in the mounting holes to change the alignment a tiny bit, enough to make a difference.


    On another of my cars that also has no adjustments, I had to buy a camber adjusting kit (all it is a bolt that isn't round, making room for a little movement) so the front end could be adjusted.


    I've also had one car that had rear toe uneven and that cause a pull (was within spec and still was after adjusting - just at the other end of the spec).


    Suggest you make a few calls and find someone that knows how to make an adjustment to correct pull, even if the car is within spec.


    Tire pull is a common problem, but crossing the front tires, if that is the problem, will either fix the problem or make the car pull in the opposite direction.
  • I have subdued all but one of the glitches on my 03. At all times, hot ft cold, upon initial acceleration, there is an intake noise similar to an old four barrel carb with the air cleaner off. Of course the Avy's noise is more subdued but very noticeable given the relative silence of the rest of the car. Anyone know of a fix? Should I stiffen the intake ducts? Is there an insert to tame the sound waves? We have a yard full of v6 cars and none of them make this noise. Dealer says TADT. They all do this.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591

    Is it the XL or XLS??? Steel wheels??? Have a problem with wheel runout when I purchased mine and did the same.

  • jsnowjsnow Posts: 3
    It is an XL with 15" alum. wheels.

    I actually went on a long trip this weekend and what I found was the car is just plane terrible at tracking straight. Any crown in the road sends it off to the left or the right. To go straight requires the wheel to be constantly cocked to compensate. I initially thought it was a pull, but now I think it just tracks bad. Changing from the left to right lane is almost impossible to do smoothly since the wheel needs to go from being cocked one way to the other.

    I'm not certain whether this is an Avalon thing or a poor alignment thing.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    This problem doesn't occur on our 2000 XLS with 16" Michelins. It's not an 'Avalon thing' in my experience.

    I drive our Avvy on trips from the Boston area to Delaware every 3 - 4 months - it's like on rails for 350 miles. It's so comfortable I usually only stop once or twice and get 29 - 30 mpg for 65 mph trips. Even in rain or slippery conditions, it always is easy to control and gives me a lot of confidence.

    You need to have your alignment and tires checked. I think that 15" are a bit small for a car this size.
  • HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have a 2002 XLS with over 71,000 miles on it. My lease ends Oct. '05. I would like to lease a 2005 in October but don't want to take a hit for the mileage.

    Has anybody had an experience where the dealer waived the excess mileage if you leased a new Toyota?
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Why don't you try asking this in one of our leasing discussions on our Smart Shopper board while you are waiting for an answer here?
  • rzepa1rzepa1 Posts: 55
    I have 2001 XL with the same wheels which used to have the same problem. My XL came with General Tires. Once I swapped the tires at ~20K to Mitchelins, the problem went away.
  • rzepa1rzepa1 Posts: 55
    Does anyone know if/where I can get sun visors for Avalon which are little bit wider. My wife is 5'4'' and having sit at the heighest settings,
    she still gets blinded by the sun with the visor down.
  • betrayedbetrayed Posts: 3
    We bought our Avalon 2000 just 18 months ago.Suddenly ,at 78,000 miles,we have had a horrendous repair incident [over$$ 2000 ]and want to know if anyone else has had the same.

    the thermostat stuck in the closed position,the engine overheated causing the frost plugs to pop.At the same time,the heater core started leaking.It leaked outside,which we could see, BUT what we couldn't see was that the floor of the car ,underneath the rugs,was filling up with coolant.The engine was steaming under the hood.We sure knew this was a problem,but it was far worse than we ever could have thought.

    In order to replace the $17 frost plugs,the engine had to be tilted and many things moved around. {WHY ON EARTH IS THE CAR MADE THIS WAY?]
    But that's not the worst!!!
    In order to replace the heater core,,the whole dashboard was taken out ,also the airbags.
    Again ,we ask, WHY IS THE CAR MADE THAT WAY?
    Two thousand dollars is a lot after having the car only 18 months.
    The interesting thing is that we spoke to many Toyota repair men,and some newspaper car journalists,and ALL said this NEVER happens with a Toyota car of this age.We already knew that,as we have been buying the brand since 1973,always keeping them for many years and passing them on to our sons with complete confidence.right now we have a 95 Camry which has had no trouble of consequence ,and a 1992 forerunner which our son still drives in the Michigan winter,and which still looks good.We have always looked after our cars and we know what to expect of Toyota. UNTIL NOW

    One repair man told us that the Avalon is the one toyota that does not have a pan under the heater core to guide any coolant leak outside the car.Is that true? If so,,We think it is a bad design flaw. Our car rugs have been sodden.We keep putting whole rolls of thick paper towel which sops up green coolant.Now we think it's almost dry,but we are now faced with maybe having to replace the rugs [expensive,no doubt]
    One of our main problems is that we don't know if we can trust this car any more.Or Toyota. After 30 years we feel BETRAYED
    Has anyone else experienced this?
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    You should have gotten ample warning that the engine was beginning to overheat by the indications on the gauges and idiot lights, and you should have pulled over and shut the car off immediately. If you kept on driving, you are lucky you did not cook the engine completely.

    By the way, most thermostats these days are designed to usually fail open, but I suppose even then, every once in a while one could fail closed, and this is a much more serious failure mode.

    I don't own an Avalon, by the way, but I have experienced thermostat failures in both modes in my nearly 40 years of driving. If it fails closed, you need to take immediate action by pulling off and shutting down your engine.
  • betrayedbetrayed Posts: 3
    Badgerfan,we did this.We discovered the problem after being parked for an hour.There was no prior indication

    But what about the questions we asked?
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    I cannot answer the questions you asked. It is very strange that you had no indication of trouble before you shut your car down and it sat for an hour. You obviously had a huge buildup of pressure which blew out your frost plugs and heater core, etc. This pressure would normally be relieved by the radiator cap unless you had a very rapid boilover and generation of steam in your system was so fast the radiator cap could not relieve it fast enough.

    Did you have a faulty radiator cap as well?

    All in all, a very strange situation, in my opinion.
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