[N/A] '97 Toyota Avalon XL?

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by SkyChaser, Nov 15, 2020.

  1. SkyChaser

    SkyChaser Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2020
    Messages:
    296
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    SkyChaser
    The search for my Escort's replacement is still on. The "Taurui" at the local dealership were rejected due to their relatively high price point (3-3.5k) and their inordinate amount of rust. The 500 was clunky and I think would be needing brake work soon. The Subaru stationwagon has almost 270,000 miles on it, and it's also 3k.

    It's hard to find a cheap used car around here with little rust and low miles. ;) However, I did find a '97 Toyota Avalon XL at a semi-local Ford dealership, with only 155,xxx miles. Does anyone happen to have any experience with this type of car? Any tips or gotchas about it? It's only 2k, but it's an automatic. I guess it's not often that an automatic transmission is a detracting factor. LOL

    I really want to get a super sweet-looking '90 Toyota Celica ST, but it's in Las Vegas and has 262k miles. It was a manual, though! :p

    Anyway, anyone know anything about Avalons?
     
  2. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    Messages:
    5,776
    Location:
    Broken Arrow, OK
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    SoonerAviator
    It's just a big Camry. I doubt you can go wrong with it with only 155K in the clock and at $2K. Check CV joints and suspension/strut condition. The 3.3L v6 is known for going 250K miles without issue. The only thing that was a common pain point back in that year range was some power steering issues. You might do some research if that affected the Avalon and have a mechanic give it a once over as that could be an expensive repair (comparitely speaking to the value of the car).
     
    SkyChaser likes this.
  3. NoHeat

    NoHeat En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Messages:
    4,057
    Location:
    Iowa City, IA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    17
    My mother-in-law had a 2003 Avalon since new. Reliable. Never had a mechanical problem, aside from normal maintenance and wear. Luxury features were nice for its day, like heated seats and sunroof.

    Mother-in-law quit driving during Covid, and I didn’t want contact with car shoppers, so I sold it to a used car dealer for $3k. He immediately offered it for $9k. Whoever bought it from him got a great car.
     
    SkyChaser likes this.
  4. Jim K

    Jim K Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2019
    Messages:
    849
    Location:
    CMI
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jim
    I don't know anything about Toyota avalons, but I applaud your frugality.
     
    MuseChaser and skier like this.
  5. SkyChaser

    SkyChaser Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2020
    Messages:
    296
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    SkyChaser
    Don't. It's either that or no flying, so it's more a necessity than choice. :)
     
  6. kc4wsd

    kc4wsd Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2013
    Messages:
    157
    Location:
    NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    kc4wsd
    My mom is the second owner of a 2003 Avalon with 270K miles.
    She bought it in 2009 when an older couple traded it in on a new Avalon.
    They put right at 122K miles on it and the man wanted to keep it, but the woman wanted new one.
    No major mechanical issues.

    Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
     
    SkyChaser likes this.
  7. Jim K

    Jim K Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2019
    Messages:
    849
    Location:
    CMI
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jim
    I kinda figured. You could buy a decent car for what a ppl costs. I still applaud your decision making.

    ETA: Most young people would take out a loan and buy the new shiny, and then wonder why they can't get ahead.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2020
    MuseChaser and SkyChaser like this.
  8. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted Management Council Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    Messages:
    27,153
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    iFlyNothing
    I tend to think of that as one of the best periods for Toyota in terms of reliability. I hate Toyotas and wouldn't want to own one (save for the MKIV Supra or perhaps an MR2), but if you're looking for something reliable, that seems like a good choice.
     
    SkyChaser likes this.
  9. rtk11

    rtk11 Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2015
    Messages:
    1,631
    Location:
    Southern California
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    rtk
    The Avalon will serve you well. It's not sporty, but it is larger and comfortable. And it is a Toyota, so it'll be pretty reliable.

    What part of the country are you in? There are ZX2s in the 1-2K range here in SoCal...
     
    SkyChaser likes this.
  10. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Messages:
    16,948
    Location:
    Dallas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Spike Cutler
    A BT Bro used to keep a former company car, a '97 Avalon, at an airport we both frequented and, him being a Very Good Guy, I was allowed to use it when I went there. It had well over 200,000 miles, and it was nigh-on perfect. Maybe - maybe - could have used a set of struts, but it ran sewing-machine smooth, quiet, drove great. Nice buggy (it even had satellite navigation built in, and it was funny watching the car progress off-road as I drove on highways that did not exist when the base map was generated).

    I'd say a Toyota of that era might be the only car that could rival a similar era GM with a 3.8 V6 for durable, long-lasting transportation.
     
    SkyChaser likes this.
  11. MarkH

    MarkH Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2018
    Messages:
    372
    Location:
    Mojave Desert
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    MarkH
    The Avalons are (in my opinion) the most underrated luxury car bargain on the market today.

    They are very reliable, easy to maintain, and less complex than their Lexus counterparts. I would look for one on Craigslist, aiming for under 150K miles and a sub $3K price point (depending on location).

    If I was in a "risk taking" mood, I would look for one that has a rough shifting transmission for around $1k (most of the time this can be fixed with a fluid change, but if not, you can turn a profit parting it out).

    The biggest issues I see in these is that they are so reliable that the owners either forget to do regular maintenance, or decide they want a new car so they just stop doing maintenance. Plan to change the transmission fluid and coolant at a minimum, also change the brake fluid and shocks if you want it to drive like a new car.
     
    SkyChaser likes this.
  12. MarkH

    MarkH Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2018
    Messages:
    372
    Location:
    Mojave Desert
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    MarkH
    Just to clarify, I would look for under 150K miles and $3K price because they exist.

    As for reliability, I would not hesitate to send my mom out in one with 300K miles if it was maintained.
     
    SkyChaser likes this.
  13. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    May 11, 2010
    Messages:
    17,211
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bro do you even lift
    Well it's a two door Camry. To me it's a pointless car. It's not a sports car. It's not sporty. It's a boring four door sedan minus two doors.
     
    Zeldman and SkyChaser like this.
  14. NoHeat

    NoHeat En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Messages:
    4,057
    Location:
    Iowa City, IA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    17
    It has four doors.

    upload_2020-11-16_11-51-49.jpeg
     
    skier and SkyChaser like this.
  15. jsstevens

    jsstevens Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Messages:
    5,630
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    jsstevens
    My parents had 3. A 1995 that they sold to my son with 240000 miles on it. He eventuality wore it down until he parked it. (A wreck didn’t help though he drove it for a couple of years after that. A 2000 that my dad totaled (though neither was hurt) and a second 2000 that my mom bought and drove after my dad died.

    they are not sporty but they are solid, comfortable, bulletproof-reliable cars. And decently economical for their size.
     
    SkyChaser likes this.
  16. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    May 11, 2010
    Messages:
    17,211
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bro do you even lift
    Huh. I guess that is because it is an older one. Well, it's still a boring four door sedan. I know, says one who drives a Sentra.


    Edit: Wait wait wait, I was thinking about a Solara, not an Avalon. My bad.
     
    SkyChaser likes this.
  17. SkyChaser

    SkyChaser Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2020
    Messages:
    296
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    SkyChaser
    Thanks, guys. It's boring, but it's a car, just under 2k and therefore cheapest, not hundreds of miles away (I'm in S. MN), with lower miles than anything else I've run across that doesn't have some other huge problem, gets decent MPG, and over 20 years old for the insurance discount. There's not any room for potential unreliability in the budget, so boring will have to do for now.

    A little something dies inside of me, though, thinking of buying a Toyota, especially a boring one. LOL That's the problem with budgets, I guess! :)
     
  18. MarkH

    MarkH Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2018
    Messages:
    372
    Location:
    Mojave Desert
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    MarkH
    You’re thinking of the Solara, the Avalon was Toyota’s “full size” sedan.
     
  19. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2017
    Messages:
    6,572
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    San_Diego_Pilot
    A Toyota will last absolutely forever. A very well engineered and cost-effective car. I hesitate to call them cheap.. because the quality of construction and workmanship is anything but

    Even a brand new $100,000 Ford or Chevy SUV feel "cheap" to me.. hollow sounding dashboard and gaudy chinsy blow molded plastic pieces loosely snapped together everywhere.. inevitably by the time it hits 50,000 miles it will rattle and squeak and by the time you hit 100,000 mikes you will have serious issues with suspension, transmission, and just about everything else
     
    RyanB likes this.
  20. jsstevens

    jsstevens Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Messages:
    5,630
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    jsstevens
    If you wrench on your own cars, the Toyota Avalon is very well supported as well. The 1997 (looks pretty much identical to the 1995 my parents/son had) shares lots of parts with both the Camry and the Lexus (not sure which model). I helped my son do a good bit of work on his and pats were readily available and relatively cheap. (with a few exceptions. Why is a starter $200+?!?) But they are pretty dang bullet proof. Also, there's a ton of You tube "how to fix x" content.
     
  21. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted Management Council Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    Messages:
    27,153
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    iFlyNothing
    The Avalon is definitely the most boring of all Toyotas, and that says something. So make sure to balance it out with something impractical. :)
     
  22. SkyChaser

    SkyChaser Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2020
    Messages:
    296
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    SkyChaser
    Something impractical? At this stage in the game, that would be flying. :D
     
  23. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 7, 2016
    Messages:
    5,781
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Half Fast
    Quotation from the latest issue of Flight Training (p. 8):

    Pilot priorities. It's OK to drive a crappy car so that you fly a cool airplane (and they're all cool airplanes). Cars are only good for driving to the airport, and pilots should spend as little "airplane money" on cars as possible.
     
    RyanB, redrum4me, SCCutler and 4 others like this.
  24. SkyChaser

    SkyChaser Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2020
    Messages:
    296
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    SkyChaser
    My new crappy car at the airport this morning:
    [​IMG]
    The cool airplane I fly:
    [​IMG]

    To be fair to the car, part of its "crappiness" is just that I didn't want a new car. It's actually a very nice car - it even has some of the finer luxuries in life like power windows and air conditioning... :D It just occurred to me that I now drive a car older than I am. And all so I can go fly airplanes older than I am. So totally worth it, though - I finished up the last half hour of solo cross country this morning by flying to the airport I flew my first ten hours at. It was fun to be back there, and know I flew myself. I think the only things that changed since last time I was there were the calendar - it was November instead of March - and there were homemade cookies on the table instead of donuts. :) Some times, it's really fun when stuff stays the same!
     
    NoHeat, RyanB, Ted and 5 others like this.
  25. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 7, 2016
    Messages:
    5,781
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Half Fast
    If the car gets you to the plane, it’s doing its job.

    If it also gets you to work, that’s a bonus.

    :D
     
    RyanB and SkyChaser like this.
  26. Ventucky Red

    Ventucky Red Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,243
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    John S
    Glad to see you have your priorities right :D
     
    SkyChaser likes this.
  27. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2019
    Messages:
    1,959
    Location:
    Central NYS
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    MuseChaser
    Too late to the party, but I was going to recommend looking for an '89-'92 Volvo 240. Mileage would not be an issue, unless it's over 300k. Last I looked could be at for around $1k give or take. Easy to wrench. Bulletproof engine. They don't call them Swedish Bricks for nothing. I've owned two. Kind of like a funky, off-the-beaten-path version of what you ended up with, only way boxier. I'd buy another one in a heartbeat. ReeeAaalllyyyyy slllloooooowwwww...but still fun, somehow.
     
    SkyChaser likes this.
  28. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2005
    Messages:
    12,253
    Location:
    Southeast Tennessee
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    This page intentionally left blank
    240 is great if u can find a stick shift one.
     
    SkyChaser and MuseChaser like this.
  29. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2015
    Messages:
    8,244
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Aztec Flyer
    Well done! Just what you need...reliably uneventful and boring.
    Once one discovers flying airplanes, cars don't matter. :cool:


    The only new vehicle I've ever owned was a 1982 244 GLT. 4-speed with the planetary overdrive. All my friends were buying 320i Bimmers; which proved fragile in the northern Rocky winters. My Volvo had a blast furnace for a heater, and lots more comfort and space. Drove it for more than 18 years. Gave it away to a friend's kid when I moved overseas. He drove it to college for four years and then sold it to his uncle.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2020 at 10:01 PM
    MuseChaser, SkyChaser and Jim K like this.
  30. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2017
    Messages:
    1,743
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ and Ensenada, Mexico
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    rgbeard
    To the OP: was a manual transmission a no-go for you? Simply curious.
     
  31. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2015
    Messages:
    8,244
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Aztec Flyer
    I think more the other way around. Appears to have a preference for a manual is the way I read it.
     
    SkyChaser likes this.
  32. SkyChaser

    SkyChaser Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2020
    Messages:
    296
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    SkyChaser
    I actually wanted a manual, but I couldn't find a single one anywhere close by, much less with a decent mileage on it. My Escort was a manual (I bought it and then learned how to drive it) and I loved it.
     
  33. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2019
    Messages:
    1,959
    Location:
    Central NYS
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    MuseChaser
    Manual, rwd... my unwavering requirements for my main daily driver. Oh... and relatively cheap. Getting almost impossible these days. Sure miss my E36. Last of the great ones. Best $8500 I ever spent, vehicularly speaking.
     
    SkyChaser and Ted like this.
  34. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted Management Council Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    Messages:
    27,153
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    iFlyNothing
    Most of us are a good bit older than you if you’re younger than that Toyota, and the planes we fly/flew are older than us as well, and it was that way when we were driving cars older than us too. :)

    In 13 years of flying, the production year of the planes didn’t really change. The 172 and Archer I did my private and instrument in were 70s models. Then came the Aztec (69), 310 (67), 414 (77) and MU2 (72). Other planes ranged anywhere from mid 60s through late 70s as well. I only once logged PIC time that I recall in a plane younger than me, younger than you too, and it’s now at the bottom of the ocean. So I guess I was right to never trust a plane younger than me.
     
    Jim K and SkyChaser like this.
  35. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2015
    Messages:
    8,244
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Aztec Flyer
    You young punk kids need to learn not to brag so much. :D
    In the 46 years since I did my first flight towards my PPL I've never flown a plane that was older than me. :p
     
  36. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted Management Council Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    Messages:
    27,153
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    iFlyNothing
    Oh, so you’re rich is what you’re saying! ;)
     
  37. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2015
    Messages:
    8,244
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Aztec Flyer
    "Rich in experience" I think they call it. :D

    (Looking back, it's sometimes hard to imagine the Cessna 150s in which I learned to fly were only one or at most two years old back in those days. And the Aztec I own today was made the year I graduated from engineering college, 41 years ago. So it's a "new" plane by our standards these days.)
     
    SkyChaser and Ted like this.
  38. RyanB

    RyanB Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Messages:
    12,391
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ryan
    Hey, congrats on the new wheels! I’d say that car will last you for a good while and should be quite reliable as well. I know it might not be the most fun thing to drive, but it really doesn’t look that bad! Also, kudos to you for flying an airplane with the wings in the right spot! :)

    Thanks for the update!
     
    GRG55, Jim K and SkyChaser like this.
  39. jsstevens

    jsstevens Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Messages:
    5,630
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    jsstevens
    Nice car. I prefer sporty with a stick like you but the Avalon’s are really comfortable highway cruisers, darn near bulletproof reliable and pretty economical as well.
     
    GRG55 and SkyChaser like this.
  40. 3393RP

    3393RP En-Route

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2012
    Messages:
    2,930
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    3393RP
    My '99 Camry is pushing 200,000 miles, and I've spent less than $4,000 maintaining it for the last 20 years.
     
    SkyChaser likes this.