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Toyota Avalon - To Buy or Not to Buy?

seabushseabush Posts: 68
edited March 2014 in Toyota
I've done quite a bit of research, test driven the Avalon XLS, and believe this is car for me. I was curious to know if there are any prominent mechanical issues with the 2004 model. I was close to buying the Lexus 330 but decided against it based on comments regarding the transmission. Are there any similar or notable issues with the 2004 Avalon XLS?


  • bwiabwia Boston Posts: 1,945
    It seems you have a hard time trying to make up your mind between the XLS and the ES330. Both cars are bullet proof so it boils down to personal taste. On this thread most will probably convince you to buy the XLS.

    The $30,000 price quote seems high, in the Boston area you could do much better. Good luck with your purchase and welcome to the Avalon family.
  • I put a refundable deposit down on a 06 Avalon XLS. After reading some other reviews and this forum, I am not so sure I am comfortable with the Avalon. I test drove it and enjoyed the ride- but it was only a 15min ride. Any words of encouragement? :confuse:
  • hylynerhylyner Posts: 216
    Some 'encouraging words' 4U. Don't base any decision entirely on negatives in cartalk forums. Why? These forums (particularly 'Problems and Solutions' forums) are by definition focussed on negatives. Another important factor is that more negative than positive is often because of our human nature. We all tend to react to the 'bad' first. If you want to see more 'good' news about Avalons, read the 'Avalon' thread in the 'Sedans' forum. Or look up some of the more credible Consumer Polls, like JD Power Associates, where a broad cross section of the car buying public is reported. Good luck in whatever your decision might be. For what it's worth, Avalons are generally highly regarded across the board. Whatever your choice is, make sure you do a thorough test drive in it, under as many conditions as possible, before making your final decision. There are other competitive makes and models which are good also, but I tend to favor the Avs because we've owned several and they've always been good cars.
  • scoti1scoti1 Posts: 676
    I would take it for a longer test drive and drive it under varying conditions -- highway speeds, stop and go, try coming to an almost stop then accelerate, etc. That way you will feel more comfortable with your decision.
  • I purchased an XLS at the end of December and drove it from Denver to my home in Jackson Hole, WY. It was a great drive. Quiet, silky smooth, Went through some bad road conditions along the way and the car handled beautifully. Later, gave some people a ride in the back seat... they loved the legroom and reclining seat.
    It is a little hard to see when backing up... other than that, it is a great car.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591

    As negative I am at points with the Avalon, it is still on the top of the list of CR large cars. Nothing comes close to this car in its category. And I am as critical as anyone. That being said, the 06 or better an 07 would be a good bet. Never buy a car the first model year and possibly the second. The higher trim models elevate the price alot, pushing this car into another category, which to me, makes it a whole nother story and deal. That being said also, it is one of the most comfortable, effecient, reliable cars on the road today. If I had to buy a new one, which I would not, I would purchase the touring model. This is all my OPINION. You have to buy one to suit your needs. I have a need for towing a small utility trailer on a weekly basis. The new cars had a capacity that is reduced compared to the previous models. I drive an 02 Avalon XL that is slightly upgraded(TokicoHP struts/Energy susp. PU bushing, Slotted Rotors, PIAA driving and FOG lights and XM stereo, and well as a 04 BMW 325ci.

    Bottom Line: If you need a big family car or highway cruiser, where you don't want the fufu, and you don't need to tow, this is a very excellent choice.

  • peteo511peteo511 Posts: 1
    I am presently looking at a 2002 Avalon XLS loaded, 78,000 miles. This car was 1 owner and actually owned and driven by a minister who had serviced at dealership every 3 to 4k miles, there is a recorded paper trail with no major faults. The owner is trying hard to make this sale and has even offered to have timing belt replaced. This would be my 1st experience with a Toyota. Should I be worried about mileage or major mechanical problems lurking in the near future? Any inherent faults with this model? Thanks
  • finfin atlantaPosts: 591
    From my experience with a '99 XL and an '03 XL, you will the owner of a good car. There are certainly some things to check such as how well it was maintained. And the mileage is a little high. But you have a great car here to drive for several more years.

    Change the timing belt and have a mechanic check the car, then do it. The thing you will most likely not like is the auto temp AC control. And check the front struts for wear as they are the weak points on an otherwise good car. Also check the battery cables and the battery terminals for corrosion buildup.

    Buy it right.... and enjoy it. :)
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Depending on the price, sounds like a nice vehicle. Have the VIN number checked.

  • johnmsjohnms Posts: 2
    O.K. I need some of your assistance so I can prove my wife and even some neighbors wrong. They all claim I am making a mistake in buying a 2001 Avalon w/ 362k miles.

    If I hadn't known the company and the individual driving it, I probably wouldn't have. It was religiously maintained with oil changes every 3k miles and mostly highway miles. They just put a new set of tires on it and we agreed upon $1500. They said it has started to run hot (about 3/4 up the gauge) when in stop and go traffic and when the ambient temperature is high. I drove it yesterday, and couldn't get it about the 1/2 gauge.

    My question is, has anyone had any experience with this situation on a high mileage Avalon. I haven't taken possession yet, but can only think of changing thermostat, water pump, and flushing out radiator.

    Any and all input is greatly appreciated! johnms
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Wow. This extremely high mileage. You would have to know the person and know what recently has been changed. If the temp. was an issue, when was the thermostat and waterpump changed last???? How are the CV joints, axles at that mileabe?????Brakes?????? I have an 02, and have had a few issues with it, since I bought it although I do like the car, I don't think I would buy another one. At that mileage, the bushings in the trailing arms and sway bars and pretty much degraded. I guess it all depends on what you are going to use it for at $1500 and how much was put into it and how much you want to put into it.

  • johnmsjohnms Posts: 2
    You're right, the mileage is extremely high but i rode in it for 12 hours last month and wouldn't have believed the mileage without looking at the odometer. It was a 'company' car with my employer for their salesman. Even though i didn't get a folder of all the service records, i did get a few. They didn't skimp of maintenance and had oil changed religiously at 3k. I just need to resolve the overheating with a/c on in city driving and then will inspect the items you mention. Looks like a new radiator will need to be purchased. the timing belt, and I asssume water pump, was replaced at 327k. I plan to use it when I can to avoid dring my truck with its poor mpg. Plus i have 15 year old son who will be licenced in about 6 month. I just couldn't pass it up after spending the 12 riding in it last month.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Good second car. Get it checked out. Good luck. Let us know.

  • Hi,

    I recently came across an 1999 Avalon XLS for sale that had low mileage - 90K miles. I had the car inspected by Toyota dealership for a pre-buy checkup. The following is what they reported to me.

    1. The front and rear brakes need to be replaced. The rotors are warped and brake pads almost half gone.

    2. The timing belt is likely to be done.

    3. The fan belt is a bit frayed and should also be replaced.

    4. The transmission fluid is slight dirty.

    5. The valve cover gasket and engine seals show signs of leak.

    6. The original battery is gone and replaced with a wrong sized battery and does not have a holding clamp.

    7. The rear wheel has one lug nut missing.

    8. The spark plugs need to be replaced along with the wires as they looked frayed.

    I spoke to the Toyota dealership regarding the cost of repairing the aforementioned list. They quoted me $2500. I am wondering if it is worth getting this vehicle even if I spend that much amount to repair it. I would have spent about 9-10K including repairs.

    My concern is the quality of vehicle, the way it was maintained. However, if people feel it could be rescued, then I would like to consider it. I love the way Avalon drives.

  • Ramesh...couple of points to consider on the 99 avalon.. first of all, you asked if it would be worth paying the 2500 in repairs to fix the car... well that also would depend on how much they are selling the car for. If it's a real bargain, then maybe worth it, but if the price is high, and then you still have to add 2500 to it, then maybe not. I will say that 2500 to fix the list you presented seems alittle high to me.. but then again it is toyota and their parts and labor does run high.. also, the car has 90K miles on it, based on yearly avg, thats not alot of miles, something alittle over 11000 a year, below avg.. however some people would view 90 thousand miles as about 1/2 of the cars life. but again, eveything hinges on the selling price of the car Plus the expense to bring it back to good running order. also before I bought it, I would get the vin and run it thru some outfit like carfax to get the vehicles past history.. Good Luck.

  • I'm close to closing on an '07 Avalon but am undecided about side moldings. Haven't been able to see them anywhere and was wondering if their placement would protect against door dings. Anyone seen 'em or know about them? Thanks.
  • kublerkubler Posts: 7
    I just purchased an Ltd with factory installed side moldings. They look very good, they add to the appearance. I think that they should make them a standard accessory on every Avalon.
  • Thanks for the info. Will the placement of the moldings protect from door dings? I am purchasing a Ltd as well, but it's on the lot. They said they can install the moldings with two-way tape. I agree with you that they should improve the looks, but I realize that's a personal thing. I was also hoping for protection.
  • kublerkubler Posts: 7
    Any side molding will protect the doors from some dings and obviously only if the other cars door lines up with your protective molding.
    The best protection is still to park the car a little further away and hope that no one will park next to you.
    Mine came with factory installed moldings,but I was told by my dealer that they can be installed on site as well. I assume that the procedure they use must be similar as at the factory.
This discussion has been closed.