The Toyota Avalon is one of the best full-size cars on the market. It owes its elite status to an enormous V6 engine, composed handling, and a host of other excellent features.
The car also gets some credit for its comfortable interior.
With a reliability score of 84 out of 100 on J.D. Power, the Toyota Avalon is also one of the most reliable cars in its class. However, the Avalon has some of its own issues, and we will be discussing the commonest of them below.
1. Speed Control Problems
On Carproblemzoo, a vehicle complaints aggregator, the Toyota Avalon has a total of 3,820 reported problems. Further information on the platform shows that 574 of these problems are related to the vehicle’s speed control.
Most owners who reported this issue claimed that their Avalons accelerated out of control at some points. While some of them reported mild damage or none at all, some others reported sordid accidents, some of which gravely damaged the car.
Some of the complaints also involved a problem with the vehicle’s adaptive cruise control. The Avalon’s cruise control apparently slams the brake out of the blues. This leads to the vehicle surging forward on some occasions and accelerating beyond the previously set speed.
The Toyota Avalon’s accelerator also gets stuck on many occasions, according to complaints on the platform. This is, however, common with pre-2010 Avalons.
Sudden acceleration was also named the worst problem of the Toyota Avalon on CarComplaints.
Possible Causes and Solutions
Acceleration issues aren’t peculiar to the Toyota Avalon, and they affect numerous other vehicles as well. Being one of the most reported problems about the Avalon, here are the possible causes:
- A clogged or damaged mass airflow sensor: The mass airflow sensor measures the air entering the engine air intake system. So, when the MAF is faulty, it transmits inaccurate data about the car’s air-fuel mixture.
- Damaged oxygen sensor: When you have a damaged oxygen sensor, it causes a lot of problems for acceleration. That’s because the oxygen sensor analyzes the car’s air-fuel ratio and then sends data to the car’s system. A damaged sensor will, however, fail to regulate the air-fuel mixture, thereby impeding the Avalon’s acceleration.
- Faulty catalytic converter: The catalytic converter is a component tasked with regulating the amount of exhaust that exits the engine. When it fails, it could cause problems, not just for the engine, but also the car’s acceleration.
- Timing belt alignment problems: A damaged or worn-out timing belt could affect acceleration. However, the problem could also persist, even with a new timing belt that has been misaligned.
- Blocked or debris-infested fuel system: The fuel system includes components like fuel injector, fuel filter, and fuel pump. A fuel filter clogged with dirt and debris will hinder the engine’s efficiency and ultimately impact acceleration. In the same vein, a clogged or faulty fuel injector will obstruct fuel delivery, which can also affect the car’s acceleration.
Now that we’ve identified the causes, let’s talk about some solutions.
Acceleration issues are very serious and should not be taken lightly by car owners. Once you notice any issues with your Avalon’s acceleration, we advise that you take the car to an auto expert. The expert will then identify the problem and work up a solution.
2. Issues With the Airbag
The second commonest problem with the Toyota Avalon is linked to the car’s airbag. On Carproblemzoo, Avalon owners have made 551 reports about airbags in Toyota models since 1996. Specific issues include:
Failure to Deploy
Several owners complained about the failure of the Avalon’s airbags to deploy when needed. Some of the owners got involved in crashes and sustained very serious injuries because of the airbag’s failure. Owners reported injuries including concussion, fractured back, injured spine, amongst many others.
Airbag Lights Flashing
A number of owners also reported the airbag lights turning on and off at intervals. The owners expressed concern about the airbag deploying at an inopportune time, which could put their safety at risk.
Possible Causes and Solutions
Airbag-related problems are very serious and could prove lethal, in some cases. Let’s check out some of the causes of airbag-related in the Toyota Avalon.
- Defective Sensor: A faulty sensor can lead to the airbag light coming on and off intermittently. The best thing to do is to contact your dealer or mechanic and have them check and reset the system.
- Weak Car Battery: If your car battery is weak or depleted, it could affect the airbag sensor’s efficiency. This may be corrected by recharging the backup battery, and a sensor reset in some cases.
- Previous Deployment: Many experts advise replacing a vehicle’s airbag once it has been deployed. That’s because the airbag may wear out, which will, of course, affect its functioning during a crash or collision.
- Clock Spring Failure: Airbags are often connected to a component known as the clock spring. A breakdown of the clock spring may lead to the warning light coming on abruptly.
If you notice any irregularities with your airbags, we advise leaving the car in your garage until you fix the problem. You may contact your dealer, manufacturer, or a trusted mechanic to diagnose the system and fix the problem.
3. Power Steering Problems
Toyota Avalon owners have also reported problems with the car’s steering on numerous occasions. On Carproblemzoo, there were 341 reports about the Avalon’s steering. Let’s check out some of the frequently reported issues.
Faulty Steering Column
Some Avalon owners reported that the vehicle’s steering column adjustment lever looses frequently, leading to a collapse. A couple of the owners reported losing control of the car as a result of this and almost getting into a terrible crash.
Rack And Pinion Leak
There have also been reports of leaks from the steering rack and pinion gear. This makes it difficult for drivers to steer the car and should be considered a potential safety risk.
This is perhaps the most concerning report related to the Toyota Avalon’s steering system. Owners reported the collapse of the steering wheel while driving, which messes with the driver’s control of the car. However, our research showed that this is more likely to happen after the car crosses 100,000 miles.
Many Avalon owners also reported noticing very loud noises when turning the steering wheel, even at low speeds.
Possible Causes and Solutions
Below are the causes of steering-related problems in the Toyota Avalon:
- Low Fluid: Every vehicle, including the Toyota Avalon, has several fluids which play specific roles in the car. Amongst these fluids is a power steering fluid which helps to improve the functioning of your car’s steering. If your car runs low on the fluid, it could cause a power steering failure or lead to strange noises.
- Contaminated Fluid: For optimal performance of the steering system, it is important that the fluid is clean and free of contaminants. A contaminated steering fluid will affect the pump and make the steering stiff.
- Damaged Pump: Steering failure in the Toyota Avalon could also result from the pump wearing out with age. If the pump fails completely, the steering loses fluid pressure, and you’d need to replace the pump.
Fixing the Avalon’s steering problems requires technical expertise, which is why we advise consulting your dealer or mechanic. This could cost you as much as $1,000 or more, especially if it’s a problem with the steering pump or the rack and pinion.
General Pros And Cons
Here are some of the pros and cons of the Toyota Avalon:
The following are some advantages of the Avalon:
- Hybrid Option: Besides helping you to save some gas, hybrid cars are also very environment friendly. Thankfully, the Toyota Avalon has a hybrid variant with an estimated 44 miles per gallon in the city and 43 MPG on the highway.
- All-Wheel Drive: Automakers are often reluctant to include an All-Wheel Drive option in sedans. However, this isn’t the case with the Toyota Avalon, as it comes with an AWD option running on a 2.5-liter engine.
- Space and Comfort: The Toyota Avalon boasts legroom of about 42.1 inches in the front row. What really sets it apart, however, is the 40-inch legroom in the rear seat which guarantees comfort and space for up to three adults.
- Advanced Safety Features: The Toyota Avalon is a safety leader in its class, thanks to myriads of potent safety features. They include:
- Pre-Collision Braking System
- Lane Departure Warning System
- Advanced Cruise Control
- Rear-View Camera
- Blind Spot Monitoring
- Pedestrian Detection
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also gave it a perfect five out of five rating, having conducted a safety test.
- Technology and Entertainment: Journeying in a Toyota Avalon means zero boredom thanks to numerous entertainment features. Some of the features include multiple charging ports, subwoofers, Amazon Alexa, as well as JBL speakers.
Here are some of the shortcoming of the Avalon:
- Limited Availability of AWD: The introduction of the All-Wheel Drive is a welcome development; however, it still isn’t available on all trim levels. This is because Toyota has limited the AWD option to Avalon models with 2.5-liter engines. This has denied drivers the pleasure of having a big engine and the All-Wheel-Drive simultaneously.
- Fuel Economy Isn’t That Great: The non-hybrid variants of the Toyota Avalon have a combined MPG of less than 30, denoting an average fuel economy. This needs to be better.
- Acceleration Problems
- Steering Problems
- Airbag problems
- Slow response from manufacturer
What Do the Reviews Say?
“The Avalon has few rivals—the large sedan segment is collapsing as more new-car buyers opt for SUVs—but it’s one of the best of its breed.”
Source: Car And Driver
“While SUVs look to be the future, sedans still represent around 30% of all new car sales here in the U.S., and as such, Toyota isn’t quite ready to give up on them just yet, and the Avalon is arguably the strongest competitor in this shrinking, but not yet insignificant segment.”
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