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Quick Tips, Tricks & Odds n' Ends
Links To Page Content In No Particular Order

Startup/Shutdown Screen Toyota's Tricky Logo Wireless Phone Charging
Center Console Organizer Dashboard Sensitivity Training Interior Light Replacement
Cabin Filter Replacement Emergency Trunk Release Stopping a Suspension Squeak
Electrical Circuit Diagrams Speaker Replacement The Throttle Blip
Brochures & Specifications When Your Avalon Sings The Secret Menu
Windshield Wiper Replacement Accessory Mode From Run Rear Window Cleaner


Have you set up a startup or shut down screen in your entertainment center yet?  You may have a favorite photo of a loved one you want to see each time you start the car....but, if not here are a few options.  To set it up just click on the thumbnail then save the full size version (right click, save image as)  Transfer the image to a memory stick (jump drive) in a folder named StartupImage or DisplayOffImage (note label folders exactly as shown or this won't work).  Any photos saved in StartupImage can be shown for a few seconds as the car is started.  Photos in the folder DisplayOffImage will display if you turn the display off.  Go figure.  Broken

Once the image has been saved to one of those folders, plug the memory device into your car's USB port and turn on accessory mode.  Go to Settings/General and scroll down to Customize Start Up Image or Customize Screen Off Image.  Make your choice and all the images in the appropriate folder will be shown.  Choose which to upload then which to be displayed (just follow the prompts).  I love the broken screen for the Screen Off image but, of course you can simply toggle between an assortment of pictures once they've been uploaded to the car.Avalon





 


That Toyota logo is trying to tell the world something.  Have you ever looked at it, really looked to try and find some meaning/message in the pattern?  Like so many visual puzzles, once you see it you'll always see it.  The logo spells....Toyota.

  


You can wirelessly charge your phone and you don't have to pony up for the Limited model to do it.  The Limited has a Qi charging pad built into the lid of the electronics cubby at the front of the center console.  It allows drivers to drop their Qi enabled phone on the sliding door and instantly start charging.  Now 'all' Avalon owners can do the same. Search eBay for "Trident Qi Charging Pad" and you'll find the item shown at right.  Once received all you have to do is connect the pad to a 5v USB source in the electronics cubby (the existing USB plug will work fine or slip a multi-port USB converter into the 12v accessory plug).  The Trident pad sits on top of the door and is so thin it doesn't inhibit the door sliding up/down at all. 

Photo Credit Tyler Spaulding

 


 You can set the sensitivity of your dashboard soft touch buttons.  This will be handy for those who find themselves inadvertently activating or changing things just by moving their hand a little too close to a button.  There are two methods, the one you use depends on your particular dash setup:

Method 1 (seems to work best with Limited models)

 

This works best with the car in a dark or shaded place.  You have to be able to see the dash lights.

 

1. Turn power switch on to ( ACC).

2. Within 30 seconds, press the radio "seek track" up and down buttons simultaneously for 10 seconds or more. All panel switches on the navigation/receiver will blink Indicating you are in the change sensor mode.

3. Select a sensitivity level using the "Seek track" up or down switches. The number of blinks for each sensitivity level is: 4 blinks for high (default), 3 blinks for medium and 2 blinks for low sensitivity.

4. To save and exit, press the Setup button.

 

Note. The up switch will only increase sensitivity and the down switch will only decrease sensitivity. It does not loop back around.

 

Method 2  (reported to work with Touring and some other models)

 

1. Vehicle ignition to ACC

2. Within 30 seconds press the "PWR\VOL" on the radio for off

3. Press the AUDIO and SETUP switches simultaneously for 10 seconds or until "Capacitive Sensor Setting" is displayed on the screen.

4. Set the sensitivity level by using the SEEK TRACK up or down buttons.  One beep is low sensitivity, two beeps is middle sensitivity

three beeps is high sensitivity.

5. Touch any button other than SEEK TRACK UP or DOWN to exit.


If you're tired of digging around in your center console trying to find chargers, cords, cameras or whatGrid-Itever you keep down in that well here's a solution.  It's called a "Grid-It".  It's a flexible board covered with heavy duty elastic bands criss crossing the surface.  As you can see in the photo, it holds a lot of 'stuff'.  The one shown fits fairly nicely (at 10.25x5.13" it's just a hair long but not a problem) down in the console.  When you need something there's no rummaging.  Just pull the Grid-It out and pluck what you need from the elastic.  You can find it on Amazon in assorted sizes, shapes and colors.


Depending on your Avalon model, there may be a hidden diagnostic menu lurking in your nav/setup screen.  To access it:  Put your car in accessory mode (press start button once).  Once your system is completely booted up (you're past the warning screen) press and hold the "Info" button on the dash while turning headlights on/off three times.  The hidden menu will appear with the options shown at left.  From there you can choose a large assortment of screens, some of them shown here.   Suggestion: Don't change any settings unless you're really sure what you're doing.



Are you ready to change out the interior light bulbs of your Avalon?  It's a very simple and inexpensive process to remove all the incandescent bulbs from the doors, overhead dome, sun visor and other sockets replacing them with more modern looking leds.  But it helps to have pictures and that's where "Pauls Travel Pictures" site is extremely valuable.  He also helps out with other common maintenance chores.  Here's a link.



Have you replaced your cabin air filter?  This is one of those maintenance items that's easy to forget since it only comes around every 30k miles or 36 months.  The filter has a big job, catching all the dust, pollen and other small particles that are drawn in from the great outdoors while you're driving.  All that gunk slowly clogs the filter reducing effectiveness and blocking airflow to your vents.  Replacement is a simple 5 minute task.  First you need a new filter.  This is the one I'm using but purists might opt for the OEM Toyota filter.  Once you have the new filter in hand, remove everything from your glove box then open the door at the rear (photo left).   Remove the door and you'll see the old filter.  Pull it out, noting the direction the arrows are pointing.  Air flows from top to bottom for the Avalon.  If you're using a Toyota filter it will feature an arrow with the word "up".  Install so that points upward.  Some aftermarket filters feature an arrow with the wording "air flow."  in that case the arrow will point downward.  Slide your new filter in, replace the door, replace your glovebox contents and you're done for another 3 years (sooner if you live in a dusty place).  


 From the 'helpful hints' file: You may know this but maybe it'll help someone who missed a page in the manual.

Let's pretend. You just tried to start your Avalon and the battery's dead. There's a perfectly good car with a perfectly good battery parked in front of or beside you and you have a set of battery cables tucked away with the spare tire. No problem then, just push the button to open the trunk and....wait, the battery is dead. Now what?
Trunk Loop
There's a way. You dimly remember something in the owner's manual  but you don't carry that with you. This is when you're going to be glad you practiced 'pulling the loop'. If you've never checked it out, this might be a good time. Slide into the back seat, pull down the armrest and open the hatch (pass through for gas cars, access panel for hybrids). At the top, you'll find a cable with a looped end.  Trunk Loop

Pull the loop and voila! The trunk pops open. Now there's a pretty good chance you'll remember the loop is there if you ever need it.

Gas Door Pull

While the trunk is open, this might be a good time to check the manual release for the gas filler door.  It's on the left side of the trunk and is covered by an oval plastic piece just below the hinge. Remove the cover, then you'll probably have to feel around a little to find the loop. You'll probably never use it but ya just never know. Stuff happens.


Bushing NutsWhen your rear end starts squeaking (stop laughing) it's probably time for an easy fix.  My Avalon needed new (or lubrication for the) stabilizer bar bushings at just 30k miles.  The fix is easy. 

BushingJack up the rear of the car, crawl under with a 12mm and a 14mm deep socket and ratchet wrench.  Remove the nut for the stabilizer bar link and two nuts holding the cap on the bushing.  Pop the cap off, slip the old bushing off the bar, lube the inside of the new bushing (or your old one) with a nice coat of white lithium grease and put everything back together.  It might take you a half hour.  My car went from this sound recorded next to the left rear wheel when bouncing the rear end to absolute silence.  Note There are identical bushings in the front suspension so if that's where you locate the sound perform this same procedure there.

 


Diagram

 If you do any of your own work on a car, any car, you'll probably have to deal with an electrical circuit.  There's a wire color for everything on the vehicle and someplace there's a diagram showing that wire path.  This is that place.    All you do is fill the boxes with year, manufacturer and other info to zero in on the diagram that will help you out.  It's a terrific aid that should be bookmarked in your 'car stuff' folder.

 


Speaker replacement shouldn't be scary.  If you've destroyed one of the originals or just want to replace your oem tweeters and woofers with something of  higher quality, replacement is a fairly simple do it yourself project.  This Crutchfield pdf file provides all the detail you need including recommended tools.  You can find speaker recommendations on Avalon related forums and in discussion groups.


Almost everyone waits too long to replace windshield wipers (if it's been more than a year you're one of them).  Fortunately for Avalon owners wipers are super simple to change and not necessarily expensive so why put it off?  You don't need an engineering degree to remove our OEM wipers.   Just locate the latch shown at right and, using a small screwdriver or even a sturdy fingernail, flip it up (photo left).  Now just slide the wiper toward the center of the car and off the 'hook' at the end of the arm.  You're halfway there and it's taken all of 30 seconds.  Now, if you've chosen to order Toyota's refill blades (which are just the rubber part of the blade) remove the rubber from your blade assembly by squeezing the inside (fat) end and sliding the assembly out of the holder.  Remove the metal pieces from each side and place them in your new 'blade' then reverse the disassembly process.  If you've gone with an aftermarket blade (Anco, Bosch, Michelin, RainX) it's even easier.  Just slip the new assembly onto the hook until you feel it 'click.'  Done!


Have you ever tried to clean the inside of the Avalon's rear window?  If you have, you know it's nearly impossible to reach the bottom.  If you haven't then you're either going to need a special tool or an easily bribed small child to get the entire glass clean.  I was fresh out of small children but recalled having a washcloth attached to a stick long long ago to reach a similar space.  You could do that but it's the 21st century and there's something better.  Check out the modern version; Invisible Glass microfiber towel on a stick.  The pointy angles allow you to reach down into those far nether regions you'd never get a rectangular pad into.  Shop around, prices vary widely between Amazon, Walmart and eBay.  Oh, pick up a spray bottle or can of Invisible Glass while you're at it.  Good stuff.


 Did you know your Avalon automatically 'blips' the throttle when you downshift in sport mode to match engine rpm to speed, just like back in the day when you double clutched your stick shift? Did you know different suspension parts (not just struts/springs) are used for 18" wheel models for sportier handling? Actually, there's a lot that isn't mentioned in sales brochures or your owner's manual. That's what makes this press release fascinating. You can really learn a lot about your car. Check it out!


Buying Pre Owned?  A good way to sort out the various years and models is to pull information from their assorted brochures and spec sheets.  So, here's a collection.  Just click the link for the brochure or other item you need then download the pdf file that magically appears.  You'll notice very little change from year to year except some items that were options for earlier models became standard later.

2013 Avalon Brochure   2014 Avalon Brochure   2015 Avalon Brochure   2016 Avalon Brochure   2017 Avalon Brochure   2018 Avalon Brochure

Comparison specs for:  Avalon Touring & Limited    Avalon XLE    Avalon Hybrid 
Note: these three items are from a 2018 manual, not all options will apply for some earlier models


You can put your Avalon in accessory mode directly from run mode.  This is handy if you want to turn the engine off but you want to listen to the rest of a song or a news report without being forced to completely restart the system after engine shut down.  Here's how: Park your car but instead of putting the transmission in park, put it in neutral (foot on the brake of course).  Now press the engine start/stop button.  Your engine will stop but you will stay in accessory mode.  Now you can put the transmission in park and continue listening to the radio or watch a video on your nav screen (if equipped); anything you can normally do in accessory mode without having to reboot the system.  Accessory mode will automatically shut down after 20 minutes to save the battery or you can press the start/stop button again to shut everything off or press the brake pedal and the button to restart the engine. 


So, I wander out to the garage for my normal evening door lock check and my Avalon is singing to me. Ok, more like humming. It's the first time I've ever heard that and start exploring. It's coming from the rear of the car and sounds like an electric motor. I ask myself...self...why is the fuel pump running with the car off? Time to dig out My Owners Manual and wouldn't ya know, MOM told me about that and I missed it. So, just in case, some day, you find your Toyota parked and quietly humming this is what it's doing. MOM page 8.

"Approximately five hours after the engine is turned off, you may hear sound coming from under the vehicle for several minutes. This is the sound of a fuel evaporation leakage check and, it does not indicate a malfunction."

I prefer to think of it as just a happy car