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Toyota Avalon Basic Maintenance Questions



  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    I have an 02 Avalon with 67K. I change the oil every 5K. I use synthetic oil, ONLY during the winter months. All other times, using regular 5W-30. The winter weight is 0W-30 Mobil 1. IMO, there is very little difference, in regular driving with changes at those intervals, with a filter change as well. My last car, a 92 Civic, sold at 236K, had everything working on it, with about maybe 1/2 pint used in the 5K interval. Certainly would have gone to 300K. IMO, synthetic would be of benefit in certain situations, extreme heat, stop and go traffic, longer intervals, pulling a trailer, etc, but for the average golfer, it is cost prohibitive, if you want to get to retirement early.

    I do see a demonstrable difference during the winter months. Cracking time is reduced, warm up is reduced, and the heat comes on sooner. So is sub zero climates, synthetics certainly have more of an advantage from the get go.

  • mikes.mikes. Posts: 336
    I switched to using Mobil1 3 or 4 years ago for what several mechanics have told me is better engine life. I change every 5k with a new filter. I buy it at Costco and get it a fair bit cheaper then anywhere else.

    Abfisch, you asked earlier about the cost of tranny filter and I told you about 35 bucks. Add 10 to that and you should be in the ball park, sorry.

  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591

    Thanks. I bought two tranny filters. I was wondering if it is worth changing the gasket too when you change the filters or can you reuse the old one??? I guess it depends on if you tear it or not. Do you use some high temp. gasket goo in the tube also??? I am going to give it a try, once I get this info. Interestingly, the Toyota Service manual has nothing on it, and my wife's 03 Honda Civic manual talks about fluid changes only for the AT, not filter changes.

    While I am not a mechanic, and perhaps from a data standpoint, the use of synthetic oil would give longer engine life, the facts are that most of the time, people do not hold onto there cars for longer than 300K, or 200K. Using regular oil, three times as cheap, with 5K intervals would ensure most of minimal if any problems until that mileage. The longest I have own a car is to 236K, still going strong to the next owner, with regular oil changes and just using synthetic during the cold winter months up here. I cannot substantiate the cost of synthetic every 5K, unless you drive very short trips, and less than 10K a year. That hasn't happened since back in the day.

    Thanks for the info and the good helpful incite.

  • fosman77fosman77 Posts: 13
    I have a new Limited with 500 miles. I am going to change to synthetic at 1000 miles again at 5000 and then every 5000 thereafter. I am also going to change the trans fluid every 5000. This may be overkill but the tranny has a drain plug and only takes about 3 qts, Cheap Insurance.
  • Yesterday, (07-08-05) I had my oil changed at the local Goodyear dealer. The mileage was just under 5,000 miles. Today, I hit 5,000 miles and now the maintenance required light is on. Anyone out there know how to turn if off? Any and all help is most appreciated.
  • I just purchased an '06 Avalon XL. I understand that 1) dealers make a lot of money off of extended warranties and 2) that Toyotas are very reliable cars. My last car was a used '97 Bonneville that I drove for about 90k miles until $4k of engine and transmission repairs finally ended its useful life. I've always owned GM cars until now. I'm being offered a 6yr, 100k mi warranty for $1700. Up to 100k miles, what kind of repairs can I expect to be making (and unexpected ones?) - Electrical? A/C? Head gasket? Suspension? Fuel pump?

    How long will this car last until I can expect to be putting major ($500+) repairs into it? The dealer told me that, for instance, the eletronics were totally redesigned in the new '05 car. What is Toyota's track record for warranty items when they release new styles for their Avalons/Lexus/Camrys?

    Thanks in advance for the help.
  • nimiminimimi Posts: 249
    Here is what Consumer Reports says about this: "In our judgment, extended warranties aren't worth the money, especially if you buy a reliable car--one whose predicted reliability we rate excellent or very good--or plan on keeping the car only three or four years. Yet salespeople, who are compensated for selling such warranties, will push them on new car buyers. If you plan on keeping a car for at least five years and feel you must have an extended warranty for peace of mind, we recommend one backed by the vehicle manufacturer, not by an independent insurance company. In our experience, manufacturer-backed warranties are often better than the independents', easier to make claims against, and have less fine print."
  • kuolkuol Posts: 7
    No, only Air filter. Thanks! :D
  • I purchased a 2001 two years ago used and have put 20000 miles on it.. It runs beautifully however comments about gelling have recently caused me to switch to synthetic oil. I change the oil religiously. My question is: at 50000 should I have transmission fluid changed, brake fluid flushed, radiator flushed? Also, I recently had the check engine light come on. The dealer said to tighten the gas cap. I cleared the code and drove the car to Florida and back(3000 miles). The light came on when I got back to NY at the end of the trip. It appears that it is coming on when it is cold outside(under 60 degrees). Possibly I am running lean. Should I have the injectors cleaned. I hesitate to go to the dealer for diagnosis. They seem to deal with replace and pay instead of diagnose. Also, I have heard nothing about the 8 year do I verify I have it on this vehicle?
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    adirondack1, i hope your living in the NE and have the opportunity to enjoy autumn up there!

    can't comment on your scheduled maintenance since i don't own an avalon. what does your manual say at 40 and 50K? did you have these things done?

    i'm curious, you managed to clear a CEL code thrown by the OBD system. How'd you do that, with someone else's reader? did you pull the code(s)? now that it's on again, you might want to pull the code(s) you have stored now, and see what they mean.
  • I cleared the code by disconnecting the negative battery cable for 30 seconds. It works very nicely.
  • deepandeepan Posts: 342
    i do a tranny & coolant change every 48k kms so it might be a good idea. I think Toyota also recommends it.
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 591
    No problem with the oil gel... mostly due to poor upkeep by the owner. Use good oil, change the filter, don't worry. Synthetic is not necessary but many who post here use it and all seem to like it.

    Change the transmission fluid at 36k miles or less. A flush is better as you get all the fluid, not just part of it. But it might not really be necessary. I do it anyway.

    Brake fluid and coolant are discussed in the manual but 4 years sounds long enough for both of them. Keep the gas cap tight and read the error code again. Injectors may be fouled due to low annual mileage and cold weather. Maybe.

    Enjoy the Avy.. I'm on my second one. Great cars. :)
  • user777user777 Posts: 3,341
    now that you've got the light again, why not go to the local automotive parts store and see if they'll read the code(s) for you. maybe interpreting the code(s) will help you determine what's happening when the ambient is cold.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591

    We live in the same area, only I am on the other side of the Adirondacks near Ft.Drum, NY. Own a 02 Avalon with 73K on it. Here is my take, similar but not exact.

    1. Use synthetic oil only in the winter. Change it at 5K intervals.
    2. Tranny change at 40-50K, and a full change including filter 80-100K.
    3. Brake fluid should be changed, regardless of mileage every 3 years.
    4. If you put on 20K like I do, then why not change the water pump, timing belt and radiator fluid ALL at the same time. Timing belt should be done at 80-90K, just about the time the radiator fluid needs changing, the two V belts, and ya might as well do the water pump too cause they are right there.

    5. Buy some inexpensive steel Toyota or similar steel wheels and use winter tires on all four. Much surer during the winter time.

    Good luck.

  • Our Camry has been an excellent car in every respect. Outrageous bill padding caused us to part company with the Toyota dealer.

    The car was in the service department for a $150 inspection and oil change, notwithstanding the necessity for some inspection items was suspect. Front and rear brake inspection was included. Simply looking at them inspects front disk brakes. Inspection of rear drum brakes require wheel and drum removal. The service manageress approached me with a grim look on her face and told me the car’s brakes required cleaning, at $50 extra. Front disk brakes require no cleaning. Cleaning rear drum brakes with the drum already removed consists of dropping the drum on the floor upside-down from about 12” so the brake dust drops out, and blowing out the brake assembly with an air hose for a few seconds. In fact, most of the dust drops out when the drum is removed. I asked her if I looked like I had just fallen off a turnip truck. She looked a little sheepish. I haven’t been back since.

    We recently replaced our second car with an Acura. Early indications are the Acura dealer has an equally impressive but unnecessary inspection regimen. I’ll put up with it during the warranty period, but then it’s sayonara. My theory is the cars are so good Toyota and Acura dealers have to cheat to achieve acceptable service department profits.
  • I recently purchased the 100K/7yr/$0 deductable for my 06 Limited for $985 (dealer cost). For THAT price I think it is a good deal. The first price offered was $1695 which essentially is the MSRP price. For 7 years of peace of mine, $985 was worth it to me, but I'm not sure $1700 would be. Remember, you can buy that Warranty from any Toyota dealer, and it is good at all Toyota dealers in the country. Shop around, I'm sure you can get it for under $1200 ,maybe lower.
  • Got underneath my car last weekend to change the oil. Draining the oil was no problem, but I looked high and low for the oil filter and never could find it. Wal-Mart sold a Fram filter for the car (same as my 2003 Avalon), but where is the filter? I saw, under the car, something that looked like an oil filter adapter, but it was capped off, and the way to take it off was witha a square key, kind of like an allen key but square instead. Is this the filter area? Is it simply the element that needs to be changed? The Toyota maintenance manual says nothing about an oil filter.

  • finfin atlantaPosts: 591
    Welcome to the world of filters from long ago, now making a comeback. No more spin-ons. The square hole is for a square remove the whole thing. The filter is inside. Another member can give you the exact details..but you had it right, the filter element is inside and not really visible. A prior generation filter will not work. Hope this helps.... :)
  • Thanks for the input. I thought that was what I was seeing, but wanted to be sure. Now for the $64 question (which may be closer than I want to admit). Where can I get one of these beauties? Obviously Wally World doesn't carry it, and the dealer will probably charge me as much as it costs for the whole oil change. Advance, or Autozone perhaps?

  • n0v8orn0v8or Posts: 169
    Go over to the 2005+ Avalon forum and run a search for messages related to "oil filter". You will find all you wanted to know and more. Filter cartridge price from mail order Toyota Dealers is less than $5 if you buy 10 at a time, otherwise closer to $6.

    The square plug is for access to a drain. An adapter comes with each filter element. Inserting it in the opening behind the square plug drains all of the old oil out of the filter. You use a 65mM cap-style wrench (type B at Wally-World, $3.99) to subsequently remove the filter housing and replace the cartridge.

    Download the PDF file referred to in one of the messages to learn how to replace and position the O-ring seals (new ones come with the filter kit).
  • brown3brown3 Posts: 26
    I just got an '06 XLS . . . as part of the deal I get free oil changes at the dealer every 5000 miles, but I was wondering . . . in the past, I've always done the first oil change on a new car at around 1000 miles, figuring the oil was picking up more "stuff" during the break-in period while the parts were wearing in. Is this still considered to be a good idea with new cars like the Avalon?
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    No harm done. Dealership sounds like a good one. If they continue to want your business, I am sure they would consider it.

    Good luck with the new one.

  • I thought it would be 6 of them because it is V6.
    I opened and replaced only three.
    I could not find more.
    Anyone knows?

  • finfin atlantaPosts: 591
    There should be universal agreement in this forum, 'shysnow', that a V6 Avalon would need six sparkplugs for a complete tune-up. Some may be harder to find under the hood but they are there. Trust us...get 3 more plugs, change all 6, and enjoy your Avalon. Great cars. ;)
  • As I asked in #86, I found only three of them.
    3 more spark plugs are waiting for their home.
    Avalon is the great car, but some parts are little bit hard to maintenance by ourselves.
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 591
    Not a DIY person here..but let's guess. The three you found are in front near the radiator. The three you can't find are in the rear, between the engine and the firewall. There is an engine cover on top of the engine. Remove it carefully (may need an allen wrench). You will see lots of things: fuel injector lines, wires, etc. Plugs will be visible in deep sockets, with boots on the top. Remove plug boots, change plugs. Replace engine cover. Finished. You will need at least one extension on the socket wrench, maybe two, and a universal to reach these things as they are well hidden.

    Other members who do this all the time may have more details. Hope it helps..... :)
  • mem4mem4 Posts: 52
    I changed the oil in my '06 Limited for the first time this weekend (1000 miles). When I put back 6.4 quarts the level was above the upper mark on the dipstick. I had to remove 200-300 mls to bring the level down to the upper mark. Has anyone else had this happen? Did I just not get all of the old oil out? I had the car on ramps and more or less level when draining and I changed the filter.
  • n0v8orn0v8or Posts: 169
    I have a couple of questions:
    Your use of the words "ramps" and "level" in the same sentence confused me. I raise only the front wheels (~4.5") because the drain plug is at the rear of the pan. Did you just drive on ramps in the front?
    Was your engine hot before draining the old oil. Cold oil can take a long time to drain out, and some cxan remain behind due to surface tension.
    6.4 quarts was perfect for me. Just below the full mark on the dipstick, with filter change.
  • n0v8orn0v8or Posts: 169
    I forgot the most important question: did you start and run the engine for a minite or so (to check for leaks) before checking the level on the dipstick? The level in the pan will be too high until the engine pumps oil into the new filter.
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