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98' Avalon XLS
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
First off, I would like to say hello to everyone. My name is Kevin and I am 18 years old. This is my first post here as I just joined the Toyota community today.

I apologize beforehand if there were any previous threads about the problems I am dealing with. I tried looking for them through the search but couldn't find any. Also, I am not that educated when it comes to cars and mechanics, so any advice or information would be very helpful to me.

I was handed down a '98 Avalon XLS about 3 years ago when I was about the age of 16. The first owner of the car was my grandpa who was handicapped and he beat the crap out of the cosmetics of car - getting dings in every possible places, spilling soda on the radio which corroded the buttons making them fall off, and exchanging paint with everything from cars to poles. He's a really good guy and all, it's just that his driving was a bit horrible but understandable because he was handicapped. The second owner was my older brother who had this car for one year and I'm pretty sure he drove it rough because it was his first car. Finally, when he joined the Air Force it was passed down to me for my sophomore year in High School.

I received the car with 65,000 miles and added about 22k more. I noticed some weird things about it even before I got it. There's some rattling in what seems to be the front suspensions of the car. The rattling comes and goes, it's usually more evident on a cold day while going over little bumps or cracks on the road. Also, I am missing a couple buttons on the stock Bose stereo. The 3-6 preset buttons are very loose, they fall off really easily just from touching them. The 1-2 I accidentally vacuumed, so bye bye to them:facepalm:. And I am missing the Audio control button/knob. I was wondering if anyone had extra buttons or know where I can get replacements. Also, for the A/C, the High button is jammed in, so I was wondering what I could do to release it.

Now for the part where I think I contributed. I drive the Avalon really hard most the times which is probably why I have these issues right now. Not too long ago, maybe about 2 months ago, my car began to have issues starting up. Almost as if the battery was dead and I do think the battery is old but I thought batteries don't die that easily because the engine refuels them. I noticed it first during a gas station where my fuel was low and I tried to start it up after refueling. The engine made one little noise as if it was about to start up but died out. Then as I kept trying to start it up, the engine finally started but the rev gradually went down and it died out. After trying one my time, I gassed immediately on the start in order for the engine not to die out which somehow saved it. Then, the engine was stable and didn't stall out on idle. That was the only time it was that serious. Now the engine just make a little chirp noise and doesn't start from time to time, but usually it starts perfectly on the first turn of the key. What I notice when my car usually does that is that the radio, which I leave on when I turn off the car, doesn't turn on when I put the key into the On position until about 10 seconds later. From reading everything I wrote so far, I'm guessing I should try replacing my batteries before checking my ignition. But thinking about it, it could be my ignition switch because I tend to start it very quickly, incorporating putting the key in and turning it to start all in one quick motion.
Another issue is that my car is not very smooth when transitioning from 1st gear to 2nd gear. It sort of jerks forward. I notice it more when I drive it calmly than driving it fast. I just recently did an oil change and it's still noticeable.
Lastly, I don't know if this is a problem or not because it could just be something with how old the car is but when I start the A/C on my car it makes a very loud humming noise that drowns out the engine noise.

**Oh yeah, forgot to add. My driver's side window makes a harsh loud noise when going down.**

I think from all this cars been through, if there was such a thing as car control, like animal control, I would go to jail from all the abuses. I apologize for all the extra useless info I wrote. Thanks for your time.
 

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Kevin, I don't profess to know it all, but I would take the following action to correct your issues:

1: bring the car to an alignment shop and have them diagnose the issues with the front end. Sounds to me like you have a strut mount which is failing, a sway bar connector link, or a sway bar mount which is failing. The alignment shop will be able to diagnose it for free or a minimal charge.

2: Take the car to advance auto parts or autozone and they will test your battery, alternator, and starter and tell you what may be failing. You need to put a load on the battery to tell what it's capacity is and whether it is good or not.

3: I would just replace your stock radio with either an aftermarket one, or a stock replacement from a junk yard or e-bay.

4: The cheapest thing to try for the hard transmission shift is to drop the pan and replace the tranny filter and fluid. While your are down there, replace the fluid in the differential if it has one. If you don't know how to do this, I would buy a Haynes repair manual for $20 or less from any auto parts store. This will tell you how to do basic maintenance on your car.

Post back if these suggestions don't help or more issues/questions develop.

Best of luck.

Russ
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your input and advice! I will try and do the things you listed and keep you posted on whether it has helped or not.
 
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