Popular New Cars
Popular Used Sedans
Popular Used SUVs
Popular Used Pickup Trucks
Popular Used Hatchbacks
Popular Used Minivans
Popular Used Coupes
Popular Used Wagons
Thanks for everyone's responses. Weird that the front wobble on slight turning movements even resolved itself, but it did.
Glad to see you got the balance problem solved.
These Michelin Energy tire came OEM on my '03 Avalon. They're OK in the dry, nice and quiet, but if you have snow, they're almost dangerous.I took them off at 30k and replaced them with Michelin Harmony("X" at Costco and "Destiny" at Canadian Tire)A little noisier on the highway than the Energy, but better in the wet and the snow.
All the best and drive safe.
ps: sorry i posted in the wrong place
Tirerack has an updated comparision that I always find most useful and correlate that with Consumer Reports limited but unbiased testing. I like big bang for the buck as tires are a recurring expense if you keep the vehicle a long time, which I seem to do. Click on the most favorite tires for the car, to see what others and buying and saying.
After reading the forum for a short bit here, I may have something to add. My current car I own now which will go to my wife once my settlement comes and I get my avy, had a very nasty shimmy. New tires w/ balance, rt axle, lower ball joint helped but didnt solve. Finally found the problem and it strikes me as a possible cause for some of you which you can check into for yourselves. Has anyone here who has had unsolvable shimmying ever checked out your motor and tranny support mounts? My front mount was wiped causing the whole engine/tranny/axle to shift back and forth. Not saying it's your problem, just an avenue to explore.
Thanks for the compliment. I am old, but have been improving cars for decades now. I take it, the KYB struts are the GR2's. You will notice an IMMEDIATE difference. IMMEDIATE. I have no experience with the KYB mounts but for a 1997 Avalon, replacing the mounts is an excellent idea if you are going to replace the struts at the same time. There is little shop time diffence and the OEM mounts usually are worn. I would use the KYB ones if I were in your situation.
As far as the bushings are concerned, if I had to do it over, which I have not intention, I would replace the sway bar bushing ONLY. My Avalon is not as old as yours, so it is difficult for me to say exactly, and everyones "feeling and tastes" in ride quality are a little different also. But changing the CAB(Control Arm Bushing) in the front and TAB(trailing or suspension arm bushing in the rear) made the car rock solid BUT started to transmit vibration into the cabin, that would be unacceptable to a larger percentage of Avalon owners, who are mostly older in age. Not in spirit. So....I guess none of this is bad, but the sway bar bushings made a Huge difference in keeping the car suspension geometry neutral which is the most significant thing you can do for neutral handling and emergency handling(like missing deer). These did not seem to transmit all that much vibration into the cabin. Note, that every once in a while(yearly), PU sway bar bushing may need relubrication. Not a big deal for me, but some may find this a great big hassle.
My 02 Avalon, handles maybe one grade below, my BMW 325ci with the sports suspension,below 50 MPH. After that speed, it is impossible for the Avalon to feel like the BMW. It plows much more secondary to its front driving and unequal weight distribution. It still gives a very comfortable ride and floats ever so slightly although the TokicoHP struts do have about 60K on them now, so they all wear after awhile. At 80 MPH, the car is rock solid down the freeway. It does transmit, as I said, vibration, that say over RR tracks, makes some of the CD's I have rattle together telling me I am feelin just a little too much, for me. For a younger person, they may not mind, but I am almost 50 now.
I use premium, but standard tire sizes 205/65 R 15 and inflate my tires to the standard Toyota recommneds for that size which is 31 PSI.
I hope this helps. I am running winter tires now as snow season is here.
Recently, the darn windshield wiper pump went. I have NEVER had a car in all my decades that a wiper pump went. Toyota wanted $60 for the pump, and an 1 hours worth of time. No way. Got it from NAPA for $25.33 and have it up on jack stands in the garage now. It is easy to access from the underbelly and taking the R side fascia/splash panel off. Taking off the R front tire helps as well.
Hope this helps all. Enjoy the car for what it is, which is a comfortable, sound, electrically superior car, not without its faults(Brakes/Suspension).
Good. It is a NON interference engine, but 90K is a good time to replace the timing belt, other belt, thermostat and water pump, all at the same time. Do the other suspension items, one at a time, until you achieve what you want. I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised. I like those older Avalons, they were a very good buy. The new ones do not interest me at all.
Give me more. I need age of the Avalon, mileage and what has been done. I don't care what the dealership says. They are not really interested in you, this forum, or repairs, just routine maintenance. The ride quality is a function of tire, pressure, struts, springs, bushings in the control arms and shock mounts. That is it. Just that simple. Just because stuts/shocks are not leaking, does not mean they are functioning correctly or well matched to the vehicle in the first place.(Do you know that the same shock is used in the Camry, Avalon, and Solara. Same part #).
Give me more info.
Sam's current prices in St Louis
Comfortred $92 92T
Michelin Energy MSV4 S8 $116
Michelin Pilot XGT $85
Bridgestone Turanza LS-H $122
Tie rods have to do with the steering. Control arms have to do with the suspension, as far as my knowledge will take me. You have a good car, with good tires.
While I am not trying to despect you neighbor of yours, who owns an import repair business, I have been working on my own cars since a teen. I have owned an 02 Avalon XL since its inception. The car is a very good car, but it has its weak points, like any car. So does my BMW. The freakin interior trim came off on the driver's door interior. Not inspiring for a BMW. I fixed it so it will never come off unless it burns.
Look at CR(Consumer Reports). You will see a pattern. Suspension and brakes are the weak points. HVAC system is another weak point, especially on the XLS, exactly why I did not get it. The control arms and traiing suspension arms have rubber bushing in them. Rubber does not hold up good over time. It decays with time not matter what climate. Look at for instance your windshield wiper blades. Same concept.
OEM shocks at 65K are more than 50% decreased in their ability to dampen. They may not be leaking, but they are not the same, no matter what your neighbhor says. It is a hydraulic device period.
Hope this helps.
Do not give up on a relatively good car. Not great, but good, acutally very good. Replacing rubber bushings that are bad and rotted, are a reasonable idea, ridiculous means they are either in decent shape or really don't want the work. Either way, the struts/shocks are usually the way to go first as they are more of a wearable item. The bushings are usually bad at about 100K and 6 years but it depends on the region of the country you live.
I had the bushings changed by a qualified mechanic and had the shocks changed some time ago by a spring and alignment shop. Theses are the guys that do this type of work best. I did the sway bar bushings myself. They are easy and you don't need a press or lift.
The labor charge seems fair. The parts are cheap, it is the labor that is expensive. Always. But the ride is where your "chief complaint" is, and I would start with the struts, since I beleive you said you got very good tires.
My car, 02 Avalon XL at 87K now, even with premium shocks and all the PU bushings they make, wallows just a hint, but allows corrects itself right away, on any road imperfection. Hallmark of good control and decent ride. Owed to a premium strut/shock. The PU help even more, although they transmit vibration into the cabin, sometimes more than I would like, they work effectively IMO, hold the suspension geometry, AND do NOT rot like rubber so do not have to be replaced again, ever, supposedly.
I really like the car and use it for an everyday beater. I don't beat it up, but it is a winter car, I use it for light towing. During the late spring and summer months I get out the BMW, use that and work on the Avalon to get it ready for the next fall/winter. With the bench seat, it is hard to beat the comfort of that car, Avalon I am talking about. Not as engaging as the bimmer but just a nice reliable capable car, without the need for a Big SUV, which I personally dislike.
Plan to get 300K on this Avalon. I live in way upstate N.Y. near the Canadian border. Any good wheel and axle, suspension and alignment type of shops near you, should have a handle on this stuff. KYB GR2's or TOkicoHP's are the premium stuts to get. Energy Suspension is the only company that makes PU bushings for the Avalon. I would do the struts/mounts(Toyota OEM)and see how that goes. Should be with an alignment around 1K, seems like alot, but not if you are going to keep the car another 100K, then it is small change. See how that works. Not that I want to spend anyones money, but the new cars are not worth it. And I guarantee the ride will change in your vehicle.
Let me know how things turn out. The Toyota seems to have aged nicely now although it has the advantage of a heated garage. As things wear, I will just replace/repair them.
Everything you said above makes sense. I would want my son in a big chunk of metal, and a old caddie is a big chuck of metal. Nice. They are a bit problematic with the electronics as they grow old but nevertheless, a good car IMO for a young son to learn on. I had a Pontiac Catalina as my first car, and it was great.
Those shocks I talked about will give you the OPPOSITE RIDE of the Cadillac, so it you are looking for a floating ride, those are the wrongs struts to put in the Avalon. The car hoping sideways, over undereven surfaces during cornering is most likely the struts. My vehicle does none of that. Or you would have to be pushing it pretty hard through a corner, say over 70MPH, not likely for most Avalon owners.
NO. The sway bar bushing, hold the sway bar to the chassis. The CAB(Control Arm Bushing and Rear Suspension Arms)link the chassis to the wheel hub. They are different bushings at different locations on the front and rear suspension. The later are impregnated into the stamped metal parts and are difficult to get out, either by cutting or melting out. The sway bar bushings are much easier sliding off after you take off the bracket that holds them in place. They are all relatively cheap, $50 or less per pair, but the labor costs and then the 4 wheel alignment add up.
Nevertheless, for your purposes, the struts should like they need to be addressed if you have higher mileage on the car and you are unhappy with the handling characteristics.
You should also know, that worn shocks or struts, your car or someone elses, Cadillac or Toyota, are less resposive and less capable of controlling the vehicle in "Emergency Manuevers", one of the criteria CR(Consumer Reports) uses in their evaluation with vehicles. That is why the new ones come with those electronic stability control. I am not a fan of this but this is the new thing.
Premium shocks makes electronic stability control less mandatory with a reasonable mature driver. Just my opinions.
Let me know what you do with your Avalon as time goes on. Good car.
Mine on concrete transmits a bit of vibration. You would not like it I don't think. But except for one portion of the roadway up here, it is blacktop and much smoother. I presume your tire pressure is correct and not overinflated. I have no experience with "softer" aftermarket shocks. Perhaps someone else on the forum does. Other than those items, I have nothing else. Mine does not hit "hard" in the front while going over concrete. That statement makes me suspicious of the struts bottoming out of their suspension travel. Compare it to someone else's is a good thing.
My 02 rides a little stiff, very controlled and does not dive at all when braking hard. But does very little floating anymore as it did when I bought it.
I hope this helps.
Last winter denali1 recommended Bridgestone Blizzaks as superior for snow and ice, if pricey. CR Nov 2006 rated these highly, in 4th place after Goodyear Eagle Ultra Grip, Nitto and Continental models.
Are all these winter tires available for the 05-07 Avalon? What other experience can owners share?
I have winter tires, Dunlop M2's on steel wheels with Toyota wheel covers. I have been running them since I bought the car in 02. I have 4 of them. Makes a big difference in the winter, although this winter in the NE they were rarely necessary. Couldn't think of going through winter without them. Same size as came on the car. I would use CR as your guide. I have found in the past that both Bridgestone and Goodyear, while excellent tires are over priced along with Michelin. I have found the other brands as good, and more reasonably priced.
My other question is what winter tire size to choose. The 2005 XLS comes with 17" wheels; winter tires in this size can cost 50% more than 16" tires, here... I am considering getting 225/60/16 on steel rims. Any comments on how these would fit on the 2005 XLS?
I like the Dunlop's that I have, and have had them for 4 seasons now. If your terrain is alot of ice and dry, then I would not get the M3's. I would have to look at the last report but if there is not a great difference, most of the winter driving is on snow, ice and wet roads. Plus, as you mentioned, at this point in the year, your choices are limited.
As far as size goes, there is absolutely a difference. Both in snow traction and price, something CR does not really focus on. They focus on more of the same size on the same car on same conditions. Reasonably, objectively so.
I would do this. Look at what comes on the Avalon XL, standard model, not the XLS, Limited, Touring, etc. Whatever that size is in the steel wheels, that is the size I would get, 16". On a 17" rim, which is usually taller, the profile of the tire is lower and usally the tire is slightly wider, both of which, are mirror opposites from dry sporty conditions. You want a high wall, thinner tire in other words without changing the handling of the vehicles too drastically.
Yes, that's exactly what I'm considering for winter tires -- 16'' rims and higher wall tires, same outer circumference as the XLS all-weather tires on 17" rims.
I just would like confirmation that putting XL 16" rims on a 2005 XLS is OK. Are the core wheel size, brakes, etc. the same in the XL and XLS? Is the only difference the rim & tire size that Toyota puts on each model?
As far as I know, and I am 99.5% sure, Toyota uses the same rotors diameter, caliper, pads etc and there is NO difference in mounting a 16" or 17" wheel on the vehicle. To double and triple check me, call the dealership and go to www.tirerack.com and plus in your spec. for your Avalon. If all the answers are like mine, then I am very sure.
Getting the size that comes on the XL would ensure min/neglible speedo error, and very close or exact number of revolutions of the tire per mile.
I did the same with mine, as I said in 2002. I run 205/65 H 15" in the winter, and actually the same or a third (have a third set of rims) 215/55 H 16 in the summer. No speedo error. Slight diff. in ride comfort versus handling but miniaml.
Increasing wheel and tire size has its limitations, some which are dramatic. Although some may think the 20" or 22" wheels look good, there are many problems that they cause. Bubbling of the side walls is a frequent one. Balance is another. Wet weather traction diminishes as well as ride quality. Cost for replacement is considerably more. Speedometer error is yet another.
Consumer Reports did a review along time ago it seems now. The two cars they changed tire and wheel size were a Honda Accord and I believe a BWM 5 series. In summation, increasing the wheel/tire size plus one, or 1" along with lowering the profile, gives the best advantage for handling, response, ride quality, etc. Anything more than that, and the benefits do NOT outweigh the disadvantages.
If you are looking for an increase in sportiness, 18" wheels might be the answer, along with the touring model. Otherwise, changing the shocks to sports shocks, and the use of PU bushings will "tighten up" the ride considerably without giving you the inherent disadvantages of going to larger tire/wheel sizes.
I have an older Avalon with sport shocks, PU bushings, and stock wheels. You cannot get the tires to squeal under 50MPH in a 90 degrees turn. And this is with OEM size tires although the tires are not the ones that came on the car. Still the ride is quite compliant, the car is quiet, solid, and comfortable. A show car, no. A BMW no. A quality daily reliable driver, yes.
What are "PU" bushings?
Sorry. PU bushings, stands for polyurethane bushings. Ummm...I am not sure if you work on your car alot, so I will keep this short and simple. I like short and simple for me anyway.
Bushings are the rubber round pieces that hold your front and rear suspension pieces together, along with the bolts. They let the pieces fit with one another and provide an interface between the parts to hold them together and keep them from wearing, vibrating, making noise, etc. The ones that come from the factory are usually made of rubber. Like wiper blades, they are exposed to the elements alot, and decompose and compress with time, causing the car's suspension to become less "tight", loss geometry, and create what used to be a new car feel like an old car.
While any new bushings are better than old, PU are different than rubber. There are trade offs but it is more positive than negative.
go to the "energy suspension" website for a better description than I can provide. They are cheap enough, fit precisely, and renew any old ride into a new ride. You would get much more enjoyment out of a set of PU sway bar bushings for the front and bar, cost no more than $75 and a couple hours of your time, versus new wheels and tires over 1K. And they will last the lifetime of the vehicle, at least 10-15 years worth, more than most people keep there cars.
They made them for the Avalon for the sway bars and the control arms. The sway bars you can do yourself if you are mechanically inclined. The control arms better left to a mechanic that has the right equipment.
I had them on our 97 Camry. Seemed to work fine in snow. Didn't have the torque of your Av on start though. Keep a feather foot.
The post above indicates you need to watch the throttle at startup. Definitely. If turning from a start, be even more careful. The wheels will spin, yes. But so do most other FWD cars if you give too much power. Like yours, my '07 Limited will spin the tires in light rain with too much power applied. Adjust to the car.
Note: My "snow" driving is only in light snow in TN and GA mountains. Someone from the more snowy states may post a different experience. And if it really gets deep perhaps a set of winter snow tires might be a good idea. Enjoy your Avalon...
The Avalon really does require a "feather" touch which can be hard to do when wearing winter shoes. I wish the accelerator were not so sensitive. I guess I yearn for the days of mechanical linkage and strong return springs.
My 2000 AVY XLS (83K miles now) is due for Tire change. The car was running on 205 60 R16 Michelin Energy till now and I found them to be pretty decent.
Has any one upgraded to 215 60 R16 for the Avalon ? How has your experience been ?
Also any recommendations on tire choices alongwith indicative prices and retailers would be welcome.
If you go to a 215, you would need to go to a 50 or 55 to keep things like the speedometer correct. See if you can cross the numbers at Tire Rack, Discount Tire etc. We have used Goodyear Allegra sold at Sams with excellet results on Camry and Avalon. They are reasonably priced and an upgrade from OEM Goodyears. I believe this is aimilar to the Regatta II at other stores. Seems like they had a 75,000 rating too. Lots of siping so good in winter.
The 55 series appears to be a better choice as to size. Things to consider....
have anyone of you experienced similar issues with your avalons ?
Yes, our 2003 pulls to the left. I had an alignment done, and they couldn't get it in spec, so we installed a kit to allow further adjudtment. Still pulls to the left, but it may be wind, road crown, etc. Sometimes it's fine. Maybe wind or crown neutralizes it in that case, but who knows. This one could have been damaged before we got it. I do have a rear wheel bearing going @ less than 60k. At least I think it's the rear. Not too loud yet. We will be leaving for an 1800 mile trip and will be fully loaded. That should be interesting. Hope it hangs in there.