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Toyota Avalon Brakes, ABS, VSC, etc.



  • claytonpclaytonp Member Posts: 5
    I recently bought a 99 Avalon with just over 119,000 miles on it. I drove it about 75-80 miles without any problems and all the sudden the "TRAC OFF" light came on? The owners manual says to take it to the dealer but the wheels are not spining when I step on the gas and there does not seem to be any indication of a problem. Any ideas here?
  • gomst1gomst1 Member Posts: 58
    Most likely there is a leak at the brake master cylinder. That leak goes to the brake booster and sucked by the engine from the vacuum line connected to the brake booster.
    I believe you should be able to visually see the leak if you can see/access that part of the brake pedal where the brake pushrod is seated. Good luck.
  • guestguest Member Posts: 770
    Just had one fail on my 05 Av. Under warranty but already this model has been back to dealer for more warranty work than my 96 Av was.
  • flyer5flyer5 Member Posts: 2
    Anyone figure out how to fix the short buzzing noise that occurs when depressing the brake pedal?
  • whilstwhilst Member Posts: 19
    Problem was bad Power Brake Booster.
    Air leak from around clevis pushrod allowed ambient air(14.7psi) to gradually push diaphragm to apply pressure on Master Cylinder and causing "Master cylinder pressure sensor" to cause ECU to light up ALL lights!
    I found this and repaired.
    Dealer wanted to diagnose for 3 hrs. and replace sensor to see what else was needed!!
    Screw that.
    $550 part and my 2.5 hrs. labor-Fixed.
  • whitcrewhitcre Member Posts: 1
    the indicator in my dash says there is a brake light out but there isn't. a new switch is $200, just to tell me a brake light is out. is there a way to "jump" around the switch so i dont have to replace it
  • gomst1gomst1 Member Posts: 58
    You may have a brake light bulb that is not of the correct wattage. The amount of current draw from the brake bulbs is what is being monitored. I don't think your problem is with the brake switch. Good luck.
  • tomittomit Member Posts: 2
    Having been through this exercise several times with my '95, I went ahead & changed all rear lights - tail, stop (including the one in the rear window), turn signal, license plate, etc. The warning light in the dash has stayed out for 2 years now.

  • steve326asteve326a Member Posts: 58
    I concur. Change all your lights in rear and problem will be solved guaranteed.

    97 XLS w/ all the toys!
    Enjoy & Long Live The Avalon!
  • memechanicmemechanic Member Posts: 3
    I can step on the brake but cannot release the handle from P position. Also, no brake lights come on. I checked all the bulbs but they are OK (!?)
    Anyone would know what could cause such problem? Avalon 97 XL.
  • steve326asteve326a Member Posts: 58
    What gives it away is your inability to shift out of park. Check your fuse box for a blown fuse that covers brake lights. Also check the brake pedal switch for your brake lights. The shift release works off the brake lights. One last thing, check the shift lever position switch. If you ever notice, the release lever doesn't activate while not in park. If the switch doesn't sense park, it won't release either. There is an emergency shift release you can use if you need to for the time being.

    ** 97 XLS w/ All The Toys! **
    ** My Baby! **
    ** Enjoy & Long Live Your Avalon! **
  • scgrnmomscgrnmom Member Posts: 4
    I bought my Avalon new in Feb 03. I have 63,200 miles and my car is shimmying when I brake. I just bought 4 new tires (not Michelins). I've had the car back to the tire dealer 3 times. Vibrated when on Interstate. 2nd time back they did a wheel alighment & rebalance. 3rd time they tell me that it's my rotors. They are very bright (I think on the back). I replaced rotors & pads (used ceremic pads) in Oct,05 with less than 40,000 miles. I checked with the dealer & asked how long do brakes last? Could be 60,000 but said it was probably MY driving. In June of 06 (47,346 miles)I had similar problems & was told it was my rotors again. I left my car in GA with my daughter while I was away & she took it to a Toyota dealer & they turned the rotors at a cost of $99 each. I've had my tires rotated, several wheel alighments & here I am again, in July 07 & dealing with the same thing. When I look at the rotors, one of them on the front is very rusty. Last visit to the Tire dealer said that the caliphers may be sticking & would need to investigate that. I have a private extended warranty & the brakes (pads & rotors) aren't covered, but the caliphers are. I am getting tired of this routine.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    The dealer could easily check for sticking calipers by using a type of thermometer that can measure rotor temperature. It is true that overheated rotors will warp. It is also true that cheap rotors will warp, or rotors that are under-engineered for the weight of the car.

    One possible and final solution for you...presuming your calipers are checked and NOT sticking (again, by testing the temperature after the car has been driven)...is to install a higher quality aftermarket rotor. Certainly many people have successfully beaten the "rotor dance" by doing this.

    I don't think turning your old rotors was a good idea as it creates a kind of vicious circle...by cutting the rotors they have less mass and with less mass they can heat up even faster, thereby warping faster, etc

    Visiting Host
  • scgrnmomscgrnmom Member Posts: 4
    The old rotors were turned with only about 10,000 miles on them. My daughter took my car to the Toyota dealer while I was away on a trip.

    I've been asking others about the brakes. I used blue ceremic pads when I put new pads & new rotors on. They were supposed to be the best. A friend says they cut into the rotors more & perhaps a softer pad would help.

    We checked the rotors for wear & they do not all look alike. One looks more worn than the other 3. Haven't taken it to the shop yet to check the calipers.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well that's quite suspicious...perhaps the rotor is not moving properly on its slide (if that's the type your car uses---can't recall)...but pads should wear the same.

    Yes you're right, some pads are "very good" but hard on rotors.
  • scgrnmomscgrnmom Member Posts: 4
    I went in this morning for an oil change. The mechanic looked at the rotors & said they all looked the same to him. (I didn't think so) Anyway, they are the ones with the holes in them that would help them keep from overheating. The guy said he didn't think the caliphers were sticking, but I want a second opinion. The Parts place I bought the rotors said they are the best & so were the pads and she said she suspected the caliphers.

    If I have to buy new rotors, should I buy new pads too?

    I have to make a trip to Virginia in two weeks. The Toyoto Dealer I bought the car from is up there. Would it be safe to drive that far & look into getting the work done there?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well drilled rotors might have chewed up your pads. Don't use drilled rotors!!! Get a good quality stock rotor and a pad like Performance Friction brand or some such.
  • mcclearyflmcclearyfl Member Posts: 149
    There have been many posts regarding the problems associated with overtightening the wheel lug nuts, invariably resulting in a heavy pulsation normally associated with warped disks or sticking calipers.

    I have just replaced the tires on my 55K 2003 Avalon XLS, and the pulsation was immediately obvious. The lugs on all four wheels were greatly overtorqued, and required considerable effort with a long lugnut rod to loosen them. I tightened them to a little more than finger tight, and drove round the block a couple of times. I then retightened them, taking great care to perform this operation very evenly and carefully, spreading the pressure across the whole wheel. I applied sufficient torque that I could easily loosen the nuts with the small wrench that comes as standard equipment.

    The excessive pulsation has gone. There is a very slight vibration that I consider normal for an Avalon that has never had a brake service, though my 2002 Saab (which has a much better disk system) is a smooth as the day I bought it.

    So check those wheel lug nuts !!
  • dpyerdpyer Member Posts: 1
    I had an oil change yesterday and was told that my front brake pads have less than 10% left with only 18k miles on my '06 Avalon. That doesn't sound right to me but was told that with city driving, the pads can wear down that quickly. Anyone else experience this?
  • btitlebtitle Member Posts: 1
    I was driving at a slow speed with a fair amount of traffic and when I went around a curve I heard a noise from the rear of the car and the car felt like I had gone over a curb. I then applied the brake and the brake pedal was completely depressed but the car did not brake and I hit another car. The impact was not too great but the entire right front of my car crumbled, however, the air bag did not inflate. The car was on a busy street so the police moved it when they arrived. I assume the brakes worked at that time but there was no discussion about it. The car is now in the body shop and I spoke to the proprieter about having the brakes checked. Does anyone have any suggestions about what I should do. I am a recent widow and my husband always took care of the cars so I am at a loss.
  • scgrnmomscgrnmom Member Posts: 4
    I'd written before about my Avalon concerning the brakes and being told I had disk problems after recently getting new brakes, tires, etc. I was in Springfield, Va & took my car to the Toyota Dealer. He said there was nothing wrong with my brakes. There was still plenty of space on my disks. He said, there was no point in getting a brake job done or replacing the disks. You might as well keep driving it until they wear down.

    The car shimmys when I put on the brakes. I have 4 new tires. Will this not wear my tires out very quickly?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well you should wait until a detailed report comes back from the body shop. Presumably, an actual catastrophic failure of the brakes would not heal itself and should be readily apparent.

    If the brakes check out perfectly, I'm afraid you'd have to at least consider driver error (hit the wrong pedal) or confusion.

    Also, they should check for debris under the brake pedal (old water bottle, etc.) and possibly a defective power brake booster---which would give you a very very hard pedal so that it might feel like there were no brakes (but there are if you push hard enough).

    Also, you might very well have hit something in the road prior to the crash, damaging the rear brakes.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    That's warped rotors. Sure that might result in some irregular tire wear over a long period of time. Probably nothing you'd notice unless this condition went on and on for an intolerable period.
  • njrealtornjrealtor Member Posts: 3
    I purchased my 2006 Avalon new and I have been the only driver. At approximately 24,000 miles I was told by the dealer that the pads were half worn; both front and rear. At 27,798 miles the dealer informed me that they needed to be replaced. I am the only driver of the car, I do mostly highway driving and I don't do any towing. It seems to me that this repair work for nearly $500.00 should not be necessary with such little mileage. In addition to this, the dealer informed me that my two rear tires are bald and they need to be replaced.

    I called Toyota customer service and was told that although I have an extended warrant, brakes are wear and tear items and are not covered. The agent could not care less about the fact that the mileage was only 27,798. She suggested that I take it to another Toyota dealer for a second opinion. Regarding the tires, she suggested that I contact Michelin, the manufacturer. She staterd this was "not a Toyota problem to resolve".

    Has anyone had this problem with the brakes and or tires? What might be the cause of this and what recourse should I take. My other car is a 2000 Avalon and I never had these difficulties. I was the sole driver of that car until I got the 2006 model.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • popsavalonpopsavalon Member Posts: 231
    There seems to be questionable issues with your dealer. If the pads were half worn-out at 24K, how did they completely wear out in 3K? Tire issues do go back to the tire manufacturer, but "bald" rear tires only on a front wheel drive car certainly doesn't seem normal.

    I would find a reputable independent shop (maybe a Michelin dealer) for a second opinion, since brake pads and tires are not covered under Toyota warranty anyway.
  • finfin Member Posts: 594
    With suburban driving the brakes could be half gone (front) and the rear should be almost new. As above, how did 3k miles finish off the pads? Not likely. My experience, anyway.

    If the tires were rotated properly how do two go bald and two not? They should all be pretty close. Take the car to a Michelin dealer and ask the question...

    This whole thing sounds strange. Like the dealer wants some money you don't need to spend. Good luck, keep the forum posted :) .
  • njrealtornjrealtor Member Posts: 3
    I have a similar problem. Please read my post My 2006 Avalon need new brakes.
  • mermidonmermidon Member Posts: 1
    This morning I had a bizarre situation with my 2007 Toyota Avalon. My community received 1-2 inches of a dry snow overnight. I left my home prior to a snow plow showing up and needed to travel down several small hills to leave the development.

    To say the least, the road was slick. So I kept my speed to about 5-10 MPH. On four separate occassions while traveling this 3/4 mile stretch, my ABS system failed on me. On each occasion, the ABS kicked in and was pumping like mad. After pumping for what was probably several long seconds, the brake pedal would sink to the floor. During these events, my car did not feel as if it was decelerating at all. And of course, once the brakes hit the floor, I had absolutely no braking ability.

    Please note that I was not manually pumping the brake, but letting the ABS system do its job. In addition, I don't believe I lost the ability to steer the car, although steering was incredibly tough since the roads were so slick.

    I was finally able to get down the various hills by mainly hitting up against curbs (and fortunately missing mailboxes and telephone poles along the way). Once I got to the main road (which was plowed), my brakes appeared to work fine. So I continued to work since trying to head back to my house up those snow covered hills didn't appear to be a good option.

    The local Toyato dealer was kind enough to get me an appointment within the hour of my call to them. However, they were unable to find anything wrong with the brake system. They tried to simulate the ABS failure in a snow covered parking lot (which was several hours after my event...and thus the snow was at least starting to melt and turn into slop). Of course, they couldn't recreate the failure, but instead confirmed that the ABS system was working as intended. They also ran diagnostics, which showed that no ABS failure code was recorded in the system. Lastly, they called Toyota corporate who claims that no one else had reported a similar situation.

    Of course, my car was out of alignment due to my curb riding. So I left with a $85 bill for an alignment along with the "call us if it happens again". I asked the service manager if he knew what he was asking me to do -- wait until the brakes fail again and hope that I'm still around to talk to them about it.

    To say the least, I probably won't ever buy another Toyota. Not sure how long I'm going to hang on to this one either...which I also use to transport my family in. So much for their safety rating in my book.

    I appreciate all advice, tips and suggestions!
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    The ABS' brake pressure sustaining pumpmotor is just a 12 volt DC fractional HP motor very much like your windshield wiper drive motor. This is the very same motor also used for TCS, VSC, EBD, and BA functionality.

    If you read the owners manual carefully you will find that these other functions have a time out delay to prevent overheating of this pumpmotor. What the manufacturers do not seem to be willing to say, admit, is the ABS functionality has this very same limitation, if the pumpmotor begins to overheat then you will lose ABS capability .

    If you happened to start out the morning with anything less than an absolutely FULL battery charge then even the WORSE. I would also clean and burnish the battery posts/terminals/connections as just a bit if additional insurance.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    If you didn't lose hydraulic fluid I can't really understand how this could happen. I could understand a loss of vacuum to the power brake, giving you a very HARD pedal that might feel like loss of brakes.
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    When ABS activates to prevent wheel lockup/skid it releases brake pressure fluid back into the reservoir at/from the individual brake calipers. If the ABS pumpmotor cannot keep up with the rate of brake fluid pressure depletion due to ABS then the pedal will go (slowly...??) to the floor since the "makeup" fluid pressure must now come from the master cylinder.

    That could be the result of a low battery, poor battery positive and/or negative connections, poor connections to the ABS pumpmotor, or a "tired" ABS pumpmotor. Most modern day vehicles have a time-out system to prevent the prolonged use of the ABS pumpmotor in support of other, ancillary, functions such as TC, VSC, EBD, and BA. Basically "reserving" some portion of the ABS pumpmotor for its primary purpose/use.

    If some of these ancillary functions were highly active just prior to the need for ABS it is entirely possible that ABS capability would be foreshortened accordingly. And given the conditions stated it seems highly probable that TC would have been in use and maybe even VSC.

    The ABS pumpmotor very likely has a permanent magnet rotor and it doesn't take many overheating cycles to compromise the magnetic aspects of the rotor. Therefore a weakened pumpmotor functionality.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Really??!! Are you 100% sure about this? I'm....shocked...that this could be a default position for an ABS failure. :surprise:

    Got any links for this? I need to know more about it.
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    100% sure..??

    No, NEVER.

    The problem could also have been a bit of debris blocking one of the ABS fluid pressure solenoid relief valves open slightly. Debris "washed" away, nothing for the techies to find wrong with the ABS.

    But my experience has been that an ABS failure light indication is often the very first indication that I need to replace a failing 12 volt battery. The ABS pumpmotor self-test puts a VERY heavy load on the 12 volt power source and distribution system and if the battery is even slightly marginal.....
  • finfin Member Posts: 594
    You have answered your own question: ...but instead confirmed that the ABS system was working as intended. They also ran diagnostics, which showed that no ABS failure code was recorded in the system.

    So, it was working as intended and it failed..but... it passed! This example is more proof that modern auto electronic systems are simply far too complicated. Scary trip. This should not happen in a modern sedan.

    But then, you never lost control of the car. An ABS working well gives you control as the wheels don't lock. Same for skid control. You might not stop but you go where you steer. These systems generally override any manual input. The sinking pedal allows this to happen within the systems therefore no error code. Probably.

    It may be as *wwest* has described it above. Electrical current is critical to the modern auto. A voltage drop could slow the response time and maybe still not show an error. In any case, you are along for the ride. This might happen in any ABS/VSC car depending on the system settings, electronics, etc. ....Where is my 1959 Buick......? :)
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    "...Where is my 1959 Buick....?"

    Either in the junk yard or already melted down as scrap..

    Exactly where it should be.

    The way I remember it cars of that era were more prone to brake pedal "fade" for a myriad of reasons. Blown master cylinder seal being the most common but not far above on eof the 4 brake shoe pistons.
  • amauhryamauhry Member Posts: 55
    But my experience has been that an ABS failure light indication is often the very first indication that I need to replace a failing 12 volt battery

    As wwest indirectly pointed out, if the system is over/short of voltage for whatever reason you should get a MIL in the dash along with a trouble code stored in memory. A MIL and corresponding DTC should appear for any abnormalities in the system (ABS, EBD, BA, VSC, etc.). What happened to “mermidon” was completely out of wack, especially for the fact that the tests done by the mechanic showed no symptoms at all. mermidon didn’t mention, however, if he noticed any warning beeps and/or lights in the dash just prior to the incident.

    My two cents: pay attention to the dash when starting your car. If any of the brake system icons don’t clear a couple of second after ignition, leave your car where it is and jump out of there!

    '08 Limited
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    MIL and/or CEL is reserved for engine problems/emisisons.

    ABS/EBD/VSC/etc will not cause an MIL.
  • superfiremansuperfireman Member Posts: 1
    New front pads, rotors, calipers and rear pads. This after the RF caliper locked-up on us during a trip. Did all the work myself. Now the brake pedal travels to far and is too soft. So I bleed the brakes RR LR RF LF. I did this 4 times, and went through 2 large bottles of fluid. Still have the same brake softness and pedal travel. Funny thing is...I noticed that if I pump my brakes once... the brakes work perfectly. If I just apply them as I should, the pedal travels too far and the brakes are soft. 120k on the car and it has ABS and toyota's version of traction control, forgive me I don't remember the acronym...lol. System has been checked for leaks and the power booster is holding air pressure as it should... Any thoughts on how to get my brakes back to normal???

    Thanks!!! :cry:
  • finfin Member Posts: 594
    Not sure about the wheel sequence for bleeding air and otherwise purging the lines but the problem sounds like air is still trapped in the system. Air can be compressed, liquid cannot, so when you apply the pedal you are simply compressing the air and the brake does not function as designed. Make sure the master cylinder is always full and always close the cylinder bleed valve with pressure applied. Another possibility is a failing master cylinder. Hope this helps, others may have more ideas.. :)
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    There is usually an additional bleed valve on or near the ABS pumpmotor assembly/manifold.
  • freweightfreweight Member Posts: 1
    I have a 1998 toyota avalon with 151,000 miles on it. MY ABS light comes on after the driving the car for about 5 minutes. The TRAC light also begins to flash at about 1.5 second intervals. I took the car to a toyota dealership, They indicated that the actuator needed replacing at a cost of $1300. I asked for the diagnostics. They indicated that the car is throwing codes 21 -24 as well as 43. I kinda sensed that the technican was guesssing. I can't explain why but he did nto seem committed to his diagnosis. has anyone else had similar issues and if so, were you told that the actuator need replacement?

    Any help would be most appreciated :

  • kman20kman20 Member Posts: 1
    did you ever get this resolved? what was the problem? I have same issue, and mechanic can not figure it out.
  • petrock1963petrock1963 Member Posts: 2
    I am working on a friends car and they are having a problem with the brakes locking up with out appling any pedal pressure. So far I replaced the pads and the drivers side calipar it seemed to be sticking when I first jacked it up. After bleeding
    the system and test driving low and behold I still have the same trouble.
    The power brake booster seems to pass its operational checks. I have never heard
    of this problem before any ideas on troubleshooting.
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    Traction Control...??

    Remove the ABS pumpmotor fuse temporarily to see.
  • petrock1963petrock1963 Member Posts: 2
    I am going to see if I cant locate the fuse and try that.
    The weather is bad so I may not mess with it for a day or two.
    That is what I need is a starting point.
  • ballawayballaway Member Posts: 3
    Hey Guy's and Gal's I found out on the weekend that there is a Plug in Module for the Avalon GXI Mk3 2005 model that throws the ABS System into Bleed Mode only service technicians have this module could this be you problem?
  • ballawayballaway Member Posts: 3
    Could be a lot different, if you have ABS System you mst open the bleed valve before pushing back the piston otherwise you could damage the ABS sytem.
    also you need to use two spaners to remove the lower caliper bolt, one open ender on the locking nut and one on the bolt. Also on the 2005 GXI Mk3 you would need the Technicians Module to throw the ABS System into Bleed Mode if you don't have one then apparently you can't bleed the brakes on completion so I am told if anyone knows different please let me know?
  • ballawayballaway Member Posts: 3
    Water can get into your braking system, as Brakefluid is Aquascopic it absorbs moisture (Water). Any good mechanic should have a Brake Fluid moisture content checker if this says it has moisture change it, simple decission.
    If you don't change it you system could gas up under heavy braking because the boiling point of water is only 100 deg C, and the boiling point of dot 4 fluid is 400 deg C. Gas Up means your brakes would not work at all on first push after sustained braking such as decending a steep winding road. this is caused by the steam created which is compressable.
    I have had this happen in a Camry Taxi where the fluid was not flushed completly but pads were changed.
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    A simpler way is to raise both driven wheels off the ground, start the engine, shift into drive, and let TC, or ABS if you also apply light braking, put the system in "bleed" mode.
  • delledelle Member Posts: 2
    This question concerns a 1996 Toyota Avalon with about 87,000 miles on it. Until an incident today, the brakes were working normally. After traveling a few miles and having stopped at a few stop signs and traffic signals, I approached a red light at about 30 mph. I applied the brakes. Instead of the brake pedal encountering resistance after being depressed about an inch or two, it went all the way to the floor before encountering resistance. The brakes engaged at that point and I was able to stop the car by pressing down harder than normal. The "BRAKE" light went on. I then pulled into a parking lot. The brakes continued to work the same way, with the pedal going all the way to the floor before engaging. I checked the brake fluid level and it was okay. No brake fluid leaking under the car.

    I'd appreciate any advice anyone might provide to help me diagnose the problem. Thank you.
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