2008 Toyota Avalon - Clatters

The engine in sons 2008 Avalon clatters when first started. It sounds like collapsed lifters of years ago. I am the father. Should he just change the oil and keep driving it? The dealer suggests he just drive it.

My Toyota does that when its really cold out and remain that way until the engine warms up. Did that since I bought it new 20 years ago and its normal for this car.

Wow, Thanks so much. I have heard as much even from a dealer but…made me kind of nervous. Do you have that 6 cylinder as well?

How many miles? Does it use much oil? How long has it been since the oil was changed?

Those engines aren’t known for noisy valves, I think you might be hearing noisy VVTI cam gears, that noise only lasts for 2 seconds during start up.

If the correct oil is in there, enough of it, and the noise goes away as the engine warms up, I agree with those who say it’s OK to drive and not worry - but don’t neglect oil changes and monitoring of oil level, just in case there’s something else going on.

He might check and see if the recommended oil has been changed retroactively - for my 1999 Honda it was 10W30 when new, but now Honda says 5W20 even for the old ones like mine.

I bought the car new in 2008 and drove it for 4 years and 110,000 miles then dealt it away to my son who just graduated from college and was teaching high school math. I drive a 2012 Avalon with 90,000 here now. We have always serviced this car and it uses no oil.

Ask your dealership about customer interest bulletins for the variable valve timing parts, both the control valve and related mechanisms. Usually a diagnostic code is thrown, and a ticking noise can by an add’l symptom. SB0105-11, SB0094-09R2.

I’ve read that some low cost oil filters lack a good check valve that would normally keep oil from flowing back to the oil pan when the engine is off. When you start the engine the oil pressure takes longer to build. Is that true? I don’t know. But I’d try doing an oil change and make sure you use the right weight oil and a top quality filter.

1 Like

If this Avalon has been maintained properly during your ownership. As others have suggested, I would change the oil and be sure to use a quality filter. In addition to a quality oil filter, the other items to be aware of, naturally, are the correct oil type and it’s viscosity. Then, test and just drive it. If it still does this upon start up, let us know and we can ponder the next steps at that time. Let us know once all the above has been addressed and verified as adhering to what it was designed to use. That should be the ticket…

This car uses a paper insert for an oil filter, if this is cam gear noise the oil and filter won’t make any difference.

We need a description of the noise to understand the nature of the problem, how long does the noise last?

The 2008 has 185,000 miles on and it uses no oil.

This uses a filter like this, right? So no anti-drain valve in it. Anyone know what the white plastic piece is?

About a year ago my son and I got in the car and he started it up and I immediately said “shut this off there is no oil in it!” It sounded to me like the lifters clattering on a 327 with out enough oil in it. We checked the oil and it was full. It clattered for about a minute and then smoothed out. We took it to the Toyo dealer and they were rather evasive but pretty much said “don’t worry about it.”