I’m looking at a 1997 Toyota Avalon with 244,000 miles on it for a good price. It gets excellent reviews on KBB.com, with a number of owners going into the 350,000 - 450,000 mile range with theirs.
In reading up on the issues, the main one I see is rack and pinion leakage. I’m not very concerned about that, as it’s not that expensive of a job.
The other issue that I see is “failure of the engine is caused because the engine oil gels. Engine oil gelling will also cause excessive engine oil usage. When proper maintenance schedules for oil changes are followed, oil gelling should not occur. Toyota has issued an 8 year unlimited mileage goodwill repair for this condition”.
Obviously, not following proper maintenance schedules for oil changes can cause engine failure on any car, but I would like to know if this car is more susceptible to “sludging” than most cars, and assuming the oil on the dipstick looks fine, how can I tell if there is “oil gelling” without removing the valve cover, for example?