Please help me with information on buying!

I have a beautifully kept Avalon in my sight. It is a 2001 with 2 owners previously. It has maintaince records. I have read so many strong positive comments from consumer owners. Almost too good to be true! Just would appreciate any insights. The price is $5000 for the car. Mileage is 147,000. I do not particularly like the grill. But that is not important. Grandma needs something cheap in repairing, and maintaining. Grandpa not here. Help this grandma out. I only have 2 grandkids that roll with me. Any suggestions of a nice safe reliable car for us, is greatly appreciated!

Overpriced. At a dealer and if it is an XLS model with most options, it is worth about $4500. It’s worth about $3000 from a private seller. This assumes it is in clean condition, implying it needs nothing immediately to make it roadworthy.

Another problem is the age and mileage. It may be reliable, but at this point, there are no more repairs, just maintenance items. It could last several years, or it might not. This is no knock on Toyota. I would look for an Avalon that is about 10 years old with 100,000 miles or so. If you really want this car, get a prepurchase inspection by a mechanic you trust. Expect to pay maybe $125 for it. Hidden issues with the engine, suspension or transmission could cost a lot.


Same answer as to all the other 4 million threads asking if a vehicle should be bought. Spend the 100.00 to 125.00 dollars for a mechanic to check the vehicle for problems. That is not a complete guaranty but does improve your chance of a decent vehicle. Also if this a Craigslist add take someone with you that has some vehicle knowledge. This vehicle is 16 years old so all those reviews are almost worthless as the vehicle should stand on its own.

1 Like

A 17 year old car and reliability do not go hand in hand in my book :owl: Get it preinspected, might need brakes, tires belts whatever, could be a couple grand within the first year!

1 Like

Thanks everyone! I really gained some insights from your shared posts. I think I will try to find a higher model car, with around 100,000. And pay a mechanic to check it out for me. Yeah, I was really worried about the year. It is quite old. I was wondering about the exhaust system. It looked garage kept. But looks could be deceiving. I’d rather be safe, than sorry! I appreciate you sharing your knowledge.

Do you not have a family member or a friend that can help with this vehicle search?
Edit: It seems whoever these grandkids belong to should also be involved.

Another thing to keep in mind is where the used car has been up until now: for example, has road salt caused visible or hidden rust in crucial areas; and especially this year, is it one of the tens of thousands of cars that sat in flood water?

Going by the year, price and mileage you posted

If it’s the one at Foothills in Burlington, There is a 10,000 mileage discrepancy going by carfax.
It has less miles on it now than it did 2 years ago.

I wouldn’t trust Carfax for accurate information

a coworker had a 01 avalon with 200k miles and rearended someone last yr. they totaled it and she got almost 3k. still had collision insurance. there are very few <100k 07 avalons around me. they seem to get driven.

Carfax doesn’t trust Carfax for accurate information.

1 Like

Used Avalons can make great vehicles. My grandmother drove one and she loved it. CarTalk has a partner publication called BestRide that lists cars for sale. I looked up the 2001 Avalon and found that they are selling for about 20% less than the price you were quoted. Maybe you can negotiate the price down a bit? The 2001 Avalon has no known big problem areas and older Toyotas are considered very reliable. It is great that the maintenance records are included. If you do buy it, make sure it had the timing belt done and ask your mechanic, what might be needed before you buy. Those things may help get the price down. Good luck!

GorehamJ has it exactly right. I sold my 2003 Avalon and got a 2014. I now think that was a mistake.
Two things expecially: 1. Check for engine sludge. That generation of V6 had a sludge problem if oil was not changed on time. Someone can look inside the valve cover, that’s where it builds up if it did. If you can’t see it, don’t worry. 2. Definitely get a timing belt change if it can’t be documented.
Otherwise, based on experience, I give this car a 100% gold plated recommendation. Yeah, of course you might negotiate the price down.

1 Like

Timing belt? That’s another $1000 right away.

1 Like

I’m not sure I’d walk away on this too quick. Since it has maintenance records, you could go through them to check on the big ticket items. For this car, it would be CV joint boots, timing belt, brakes, tires and spark plugs.

The timing belt needs to be changed every 7 years. If the schedule has been followed, it should have been done in 2008 and 2015. The water pump should have also been changed with it each time.

The CV joint boots are usually good for about 8-10 years depending on your climate. Usually the axles are replaced instead of just the boots. Look for NEW axles. Remanufactured axles usually don’t last very long.

The spark plugs should have been changed at around 120k miles. You will need to have the tires and brakes inspected.

Then look to see if the oil changes were done at least every year or 7500 miles, coolant changes every 5 years and ATF (automatic transmission fluid) changes every 30 to 50k miles.

If all this checks out, this could be a good vehicle, especially if you can talk down the price.

1 Like