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Toyota Avalon 2008-2010



  • tfeltontfelton Posts: 80
    Ever since I bought an '87 Taurus I've used Mobil 1 synthetic oil and I change my own oil, etc. I've also been very regular with regards to changing the oil and filter about every 7,500 miles. However, I just read recently where you're better off changing the filter a couple of intervals, topping off the oil but not changing the oil. For example: changing the oil, then change the filter at 6,000; change the filter again at 12,000; and then change the oil and filter at 18,000. The reasoning is the it has been show there is more wear on the motor with fresh synthetic than with broken-in synthetic. I've sort of tried this with my '08 Avalon. This last Christmas we took a 3,000 trip to see family. I didn't need to change the oil yet, but would have half way through the trip so I simply changed the filter before I left. My Avalon has 16,000+ miles on it.

    This is a long way of asking if anyone else has tried this system or read about it. Of course finding out if it's good or bad takes thousands of miles and then how do you know it was the oil that did in the motor. I have a '98 Sienna with 210,000+ miles on it and the motor still runs smooth and gets good mileage. With that car I changed oil and filter about every 7,500 miles.

    One note, synthetic is a lot cheaper than it used to be so this isn't a question about saving money but is about doing the best for the car.
  • tfelton....Like you I have used Mobil 1 synthetic for a number of years. I have not heard or read about the system you discussed of changing the filter and oil on different intervels. If I'm understanding you correctly that means that you would basically be changing your oil ever 12K correct? Well Mobil 1's extended life Synthetic is supposed to be good for 15,000 miles. But here again I think when you change your oil is also dependent on your driving conditions. I still change mine ( oil and filter ) every 5 k. but that's because the manufacturer calls for oil changes every 5,000 miles and since the warranty is still in effect I don't want to give them any "outs" if something were to go wrong... but I'm pretty sure once the warranty expires, I'll be changing my oil and filter every 7500 miles.. going 12 K seems like pushing it to me... however your talking to an old schooler where we learned to change oil and filter ever 3,000. miles.

  • mlinggamlingga Posts: 58
    Can you document the statement that "there is more wear on the motor with fresh synthetic than with broken-in synthetic?" This sounds totally illogical, and strikes me as likely another example of the urban myths that have grown around synthetics (i.e. "synthetic oils do not allow an engine to break in correctly" and "synthetic oils don't contain zinc additives so bearings wear out faster"--both of which are nonsense).

    How an oil would become better with wear is unclear to me. Happy to be taught otherwise though, so I'd love to see your source of information.
  • Does the 2008 come with XM and Bluetooth?
    I think if you get the upgraded JBL sound system on the 2009 it includes both, but not sure about the 2008.

    I'm also curious about VSC. I believe this is included on the 2009 but an option on the 2008? If so, is there a package that it generally comes with? Just trying to find an easy way to identify cars with these options as I'm shopping for used if I can get one with these options.
  • I just took my '08 Avalon Limited in for service with same complaint about text button. I compared with FM stations in my wife's '05 Sienna, she was getting text, but I wasn't on the same stations. Service department invoice states my complaint as "Text on radio is not appearing for name of station." Their response is "Could not find any abnormal condition." I don't think anyone at my dealer's place understands how the text button works, because no one in sales or service ever said it doesn't work with FM like previous Toyota radios. Now that I look at the owner's manual more closely, the only places it talks about the text button is in sections about the XM radio and CD, so I'm assuming now it only works in those modes.
  • I just purchased a 2008 Avalon XLS without navigation at the end of December. The JBL radio (upgrade) does have bluetooth and is XM capable - you still have to subscribe to it.

    VSC is now standard on the 2009 but is available on the 2008 as a stand alone option. Most of the XLS/Limited models that I looked at came with it anyway.

    The option packages usually include the 8 way power passenger seat with heated front seats, or the memory mirrors/drivers seat which also includes the heated seats, although you may still be able to get the heated seats without the two mentioned upgrades - depends on what is available in your area. Hope this helps.
  • Yes, that helped a lot. Thanks! It sounds like if I want bluetooth and XM, then I should be looking at 2008 or better.
  • My cousin is a chemical engineer for one of the big 3 auto makers and when I called him about the synthetic getting better with age, he stated that they performed many tests on cars using all types of oils and NO WAY do oils get better as they age. They found synthetic protects better from day one and continue to protect and lubricate best between recommended changes.I guess this explains why the vehicles I've owned over the years have gone at least 100k and some over 200k w/no significant oil consumption between changes.
  • nceencee Posts: 419
    I guess what it boils down to, is change your oil regularly, no matter what you use for oil, and you'll get plenty of miles from your vehicle.

    I used regular oil in my Park AVenues and got 331,000 on one of them, AND it didn't burn any oil still.

    My other Park avenue's both had high miles (but I got rid of them for the Avalon:)

  • jpm1908jpm1908 Posts: 17
    A Toyota dealership mechanic told me and he said that one can get away with every 10K when using synthetic. I was wondering if the Avalon warrantee stipulated the frequency of synthetic oil changes.

  • nceencee Posts: 419
    Or so it seems.

    When my 2008 Avalon is cold, and I first drive off, there is a clicking / grinding sound that seems to come from the left front corner. Much like if the CV joint was bad?

    The car has 3,500 miles on it.

    The noise is MUCH worst when taking off and turning left right from the start. So I start the car up, and turn hard left under acceleration and it makes the noise.

    The noise or frequency is less after about 10 - 20 minutes. If I park the car long enough for the parts / car to cool down, it happens each time.

    The car also seems to be shifting or not, much more during this time. I have on occasion been going down a very slight incline and had the car almost stop when I let up off of the gas pedal. It's like the car is in low gear when I do this, even if I'm going 25 - 35 MPH.

    The car was in last week for this, and at that time they said they has to re-set the VCS sensor?

    All pretty weird, and folks had this happen to them?

    Is there something I should tell me dealer?

    I'm guessing the worst that can happen is it gets worst, and the dealer can then figure out what's wrong?

    I say this, because they didn't hear anything yesterday when I dropped the car off, for them to check out.

    I'm thinking I'll need to leave it there over night for them to hear and maybe figure out what's wrong.

  • aus1aus1 Posts: 20
    I also have an 08 but have not experienced this issue.

    Definitely leave it over night at the dealer.
  • nceencee Posts: 419
    Hi. Yeah I'm going to, as the noise(s) from under the car are getting worst and more frequent:(

  • The noise that I get (it seems when it is cold) is a popping sound that seems to come from where the windshield meets the dashboard on the drivers side.

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    Brake light switch always on.....
  • I don't know about the grinding noise, but on the transmission issue, the Avalon does have some issues. My cousin has a 2005 Avalon Limited, and the transmission does occasionally has to be 're-flashed' they call it. Sometimes the transmission will do a weird shift, or seems to get stuck, only for a couple of seconds. I personally think Toyota should have addressed this problem before they keep sticking this flawed transmission into their cars.
  • Not defending Toyota but the transmission in the 2008 is a new 6speed and is completely different than the 2005. I owned both and the difference in driveability is amazing. However, Toyota apparently not properly address an issue around the junction of the steering box and column. There were "bad welds" but this is more likely a design issues. They had to replace the steering box in my 2005 due to the very same clicking/grinding sound described here. There was even a TSB. You might want to ask them to check this.
  • nceencee Posts: 419
    Well hopefully I find out today.

    I just dropped it off, for the 3rd time. The first 2 times they said they couldn't find anything. On my way to the dealership, I heard it 8 times, including once turning into the parking lot. I had them take a ride with me, right then, and we turned left twice. Once out of the parking lot, and once back into the parking lot (all in the span of 50 yards) - it made the noise both times, and more then loud enough to hear. He said "Well I heard it, you are not crazy". "This will make it easier to figure out".

    Here's hoping.

  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    " 6speed...."

    But with the very same 1-2 second transaxle downshift delay/hesitation according to the description for the (same..??) new 6 speed in the 2010 RX350.

    The problem arose from Toyota's adoption of "real-time" ATF line pressure control along with "abolition" of the ATF line pressure accumulator back late in the last century. With no accumulator and the engine at idle or nearly so the ATF pump can not be relied upon to supply quick "make-up" line pressure, say when two sequential gear changes are required in QUICK succession.

    Ford is using the same FE improving technique but with a variable displacement ATF pump so "high" pump volumes/pressures can still be attained with the engine idling but virtually nil at high engine RPM.
  • nceencee Posts: 419
    Well they ordered a axle today, and when it comes in, and they then take it apart, they will see if thats the problem.

    They said everything pointed to the axle, but if they take apart I would be without the car for a few days? They didn't have a car they could let me use for a few days???

    Now if that isn't the problem when the part comes in, the will have to provide me with a loaner, as my car will be torn down.

    They said the part should be here next Tuesday, and unless something happens before then, I have an appointment to drop if off next Friday afternoon.

    I'll let folks know the out come.

    So based on the above comments, this may be a temporary fix? Replacing the part, but not fixing the issue surely isn't the way to FIX the problem … or is it?

  • Skip,

    It is very possible the noise you hear coming from the front left corner of your vehicle is that of the brake actuator motors for the ABS, traction control and VSC systems, which are controlled by solenoid valves. The valve themselves are a little bit noisy, with the motors being the noisiest. This operation is required in order to monitor the integrity (safe/fail) of the above systems. I do hear a subtle grinding noise coming from the front left side of my car, but I’m confident there’s nothing wrong with it.

    Now about your transmission:
    The anchor-dragging effect you feel when you release the gas pedal is normal. Upon releasing the gas pedal your automatic transmission downshifts in order to slow down the car. The Avalon transmission has high gear ratios on the low gears, specially the first gear (3.30:1). In other words this means, the higher the gear ratio the stronger the “engine-braking” force will be. It is that force you feel that is effectively slowing down your car dramatically, which is primarily due to the high gear ratios on the reduction gears. If you are very familiar with all these concepts I can give you more in-depth details of how the Avalon’s tranny works. I also have the same experience with my transmission, but I’m confident there’s nothing wrong with it.

    Another point you should know is, when the engine coolant and transmission fluid temperature is cold your tranny will cycle between first, second and third gear only; the colder the temperature the longer the tranny will remain in this state. This restriction makes the tranny behaves a bit "abnormal"; however, when the vehicle reaches operating temperature (gauge temperature needle in you dash is half-way) your tranny will cycle through any gear depending on your speed only.

    '08 Limited
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    "...The anchor-dragging effect...when you release the gas pedal is normal...."

    NOT, NO, NEVER...!!!

    There are NO automatic transmissions and absolutely NO FWD or F/awd modern day vehicle that will automatically downshift when the driver releases the gas pedal. For FWD or F/awd that would be 'way too dangerous. Almost all transaxles will actually upshift in this circumstance.

    On the other hand if you should apply the brakes even ever so lighty you might encounter this "anchor-dragging" effect.

    On the "third" hand, if the gas pedal is released QUICKLY while the transaxle is still in a low gear (1st..??) the ECU will assume the intent is to slow the vehicle using engine compression braking and remain in the lower gear.

    But an actual downshift, not..!!

    Unless you then apply the brakes, maybe.
  • Now that you have taken an "all knowing" position on the deceleration issue, I suggest that you drive an Avalon (and maybe other Toyota vehicles) and experience first hand the transmission downshift that helps deceleration on downhills, etc., prior to any actual braking.

    My 07 Avalon was the first vehicle I have owned that utilized this feature, and it seems to work rather well. The braking effect is more noticeable at lower speeds.
  • nceencee Posts: 419
    Thank you for the insight. I believe, and so does the dealer, that the 'Grinding noise" is a bit LOUD and not normal. It's loud enough that folks standing around will say something or point to my car as I drive by. It only started to happen recently, and I'm comfortable it's not normal. I never had it on my 2007 Camry or my wife''s 2003 Camry, or any other toyota / car we've owned. If it is normal, I would give some consideration to trading the car, as it sounds like the front end is going to fall off, or at best seize up or something.

    As for the anchor dragging effect … I don't like it. I better understand it now, but I don't like it. I would think the car would get much better MPG if it didn't do this, and I never heard anyone say, they wish their car did it, and if it had, they would not have had that accident. But I know living in an area with tons of hills / mountains, I would much prefer if it disengaged when I let up, so that I could go to the road and take advantage of coasting.

  • finfin atlantaPosts: 591
    As to the automatic transmission, post #515 is 99.9% correct. Under normal conditions, when the accelerator is released, automatic transmissons will go to a higher gear or remain in the same gear, depending on speed. To downshift to a lower gear would be at least unpleasant and possibly dangerous in some cases, such as low traction situations. Also, as #515 points out, low vehicle speed and/or brake application may alter the normal shift pattern and produce different results.

    That said, my '07 Limited does, on occasion, at certain speeds, while slowing under certain conditions, actually go to 4th gear from 5th for no reason. On rare occasion it has even gone from 4th to 3rd for no apparent reason. If anyone else observes this illogical behavior, you are not alone. :confuse:

    And, never allow an AT car to disengage or "coast" in neutral. There are multiple risks in this, not the least of which is lack of vehicle control. There is no direct clutch as in a manual shift to connect the engine to the road and help control the car. Allow the top gear to work and drive "connected".

    Enjoy the Avalon..... great car.. !
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    '...And, never allow an AT car to disengage or "coast" in neutral.."

    IMMHO this is yet another "urban legend", or more correctly stated, an "old wives tale".

    Many, many years ago the gearbox, non-synchro gearbox, was considered to be a key part of the braking system. Back in those days finding yourself "out of gear" and gaining speed downhill could be a heart in throat event, if not worse.

    Many states still have these laws on the books obsolete as they may be.
  • It is now obvious to me that the dragging effect on the Avalon has nothing to do with downshifting. Funny, but I have the indication in front of me all this time (in the dash) but I overlooked it. Thank you wwest for making me dig deeper.

    However, wwest, if I’m traveling at 30 mph, and contrary to your suggestion, the Avalon transaxle will NOT upshift upon releasing the gas pedal; low speed restriction won’t allow engagement past the 3rd gear. Since it can’t go up or down the obvious conclusion is that it remains where it is in terms of gear.

    The abrupt deceleration the Avalon experiences when the gas pedal is released could be the result of the mechanical decoupling between torque converter and transmission. Engagement between the two still continues by means of fluid coupling. The ability of the Avalon to disengage the lock-up clutch upon releasing the gas pedal is a feature not found in every modern car; my daughter’s ’03 Camry I4 does not have it and certainly my previous Camry ’04 V6 didn’t have it either.

    No matter what, there’s no question in my mind that the dragging effect is part of the normal operation of the Avalon, and as far as I’m concerned its mile-per-gallon is very close to that of my daughter’s Camry (in both city and highway) and much better than my old Camry ’04 V6.

    ’08 Limited
  • wwestwwest Posts: 10,706
    I've most likely overstated.

    Its not that these transaxles will not downshift during a "full throttle lift" coastdown, just that they will not downshift to a ratio wherein a significant level of engine compression braking will be felt/incurred.

    In reality in this situation an upshift is much more likely and it is those inadvertent upshifts that Toyota and Lexus are having the most trouble with(***). Not the upshift itself, mind you, but the need, often randomly ocurring need, for a quick return to acceleration. An acceleration that requires a downshift but now with the engine already at idle (little/no ATF pumping capacity) and that previous "inadvertent" upshift just having EXHAUSTED all of the ATF line pressure.

    And be aware that while the transaxle will not "downshift" during a full lift throttle coastdown, even the slightest touch of theh gas pedal will often result in a downshift into the most appropriate gear range for your current road speed.

    Now...the lock up clutch.

    Almost all, if not all, automatic transaxles will release the lock up clutch the INSTANT you apply any level of braking as otherwise the "solid" engine/gearbox coupling might result in stalling the engine.

    And.. you are right but for the wrong reasons.

    The "feeling" you have is much more likely due to the lock-up clutch being engaged, resulting in a "solid" coupling rather than the "soft" one with the torque converter in the drive path.

    If you have carpet mats be sure they are well secured and cannot slide forward over time. There are instances of un-intended acceleration due to the mat sliding forward and getting trapped behind the brake pedal but lying over the top of the gas pedal. Apply the brakes severely and the mat forces the gas pedal down.

    In your situation that might even be the reason your car is downshifting inadvertently. Move your foot to the "wrong" place on that carpet mat and the gas pedal gets "nudged" slightly down and the transaxle downshifts accordingly.

    *** I first noticed this anomally in my 2000 AWD RX300. As I slowed or braked ligthly to come to a stop at about/below 10MPH the RX would feel as if someone had bumped me slightly from behind. And in slowing, braking lightly or not, coastdown, from 40-30 MPH the RX would get a slingshot feeling, a feeling of "surging" forward as if I had let up on the brakes.

    This was all the result of a transaxle design modification Toyota made late in the last century which resulted in a flaw for which they have yet to come up with a satisfactory fix.

    With the engine at idle the ATF line pressure cannot be sustained to/at a level to keep the clutches tightly enough engaged to support even the slightest level of
    torque for engine compression braking so that issue is eliminated by simply upshift the transaxle.
  • "Almost all, if not all, automatic transaxles will release the lock up clutch the INSTANT you apply any level of braking as otherwise the "solid" engine/gearbox coupling might result in stalling the engine.

    And.. you are right but for the wrong reasons."

    Don’t go so fast my friend.

    I’m talking about a specific design, that of the U660E transaxle found in my car You are, however, talking in general, which it may or may not apply to that transaxle.

    Here’s a fact about the 3rd generation Avalon transmission that you are not aware of:

    1. The torque converter clutch lock-up mechanism is engaged in all gears regardless of vehicle speed as long as:
    Engine coolant temperature is equal to or greater than 140° F (otherwise, it won’t engage)
    You don’t step on the brake pedal (otherwise, it will disengage)
    You don’t release the gas pedal. (otherwise, it will disengage)

    Here’s another fact you are not aware of about the U241E transaxle found in my daughter’s 2003 Camry I4 and the U140E found in my old 2004 Camry V6.

    2. The lockup torque converter mechanism is not engaged in all gears. Requisites for engagement:
    Engine coolant temperature is equal to or greater than 122° F (I4) and 131° (V6)
    You don’t step on the brake (there’s no mention about gas pedal)

    Whoever has owned the Camrys above know for fact these cars’ tremendous ability for coasting. Can I relate this with the metal-to-metal coupling between torque converter and transmission? I have plenty of privileged information to find the answer. I just need the time.

    Facts 1 & 2 are neither my imagination nor my invention. Rather, they’re Toyota’s.

    ’08 Limited
    ps: thx for the carpet mat thing. It was a very good piece of advice.
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