The Toyota Avensis is manufactured in the UK by the well-known Japanese car company since 1997. Available in 4 door saloon, 5 door estate and 5 door lift back editions it has the power to transport the average family round the country’s roads in a relaxed, comfortable style.
Over the years the Avensis has seen 3 generations, with each receiving a new facelift to keep the look of this vehicle up with the times. Each successive iteration has seen Toyota add new features such as adaptive cruise control and front lighting systems.
It’s always tough writing our famous common problems lists for Toyotas as these cars are known for their reliability. However, no vehicle gets off completely scot-free. There are a few issues that worry rather than plague the Avensis so be on your guard against the following faults when considering purchasing a second hand vehicle.
You might have to get up pretty early in the morning to catch this one. Condensation can build up in the headlights, especially at the cold break of day. Fortunately even if you do spot this issue in a potential purchase, it is simple enough to solve. To resolve this problem you are probably looking at taking out the whole unit and replacing it, which could be a costly enough problem to take your eyes elsewhere.
The good old diesel particulate filter gets clogged up pretty quickly on the Avensis. Too much soot in this part can cause stalling and a very rough ride as well as a particularly pungent aroma wafting around the car’s cabin.
Fortunately the main cause of this will usually be down to the owner not getting out on the open road enough, where the car can get up to the required speed to clear out the filter. See if the owner will let you take it out for a good 10-15 minutes on the dual carriageway at 50 plus mph and the problem may just clear.
One of the recalls that affected the Avensis concerned a problem with the steering column, which caused a rattling noise when cornering. Most vehicles that suffered from this fault were taken in and fixed under warranty, but nonetheless you should remain vigilant in case your potential purchase slipped through the net. There is another issue with the steering rack that causes a squeaking or knocking sound that’s more serious, requiring a full part replacement to fix.
Another Avensis recall concerned an imbalance in the braking. This should have been fixed by the service centre but you may want to check the service history to see if your potential purchase was affected by this fault. Do your proper due diligence too and check that all the braking distances are as expected when out on the open road.
When out on the test drive get the Avensis up to a nice cruising speed. Now keep one ear open for a whining or grinding sound coming from the front of the car. The most likely cause? Issues with the clutch, which is known to wear out prematurely. You don’t want to buy a car with this kind of underlying fault as you will be looking to fork out quite a bit of cash on a fix.
The EGR valve on the Avensis is prone to blockages. Fortunately, this is an easy enough fault to spot as it will cause plumes of black smoke to come pumping out of the exhaust and when you’re behind the wheel you’ll notice some very erratic idling. If you do want to purchase a second hand Toyota with these symptoms, then you should be able to clear the fault quite quickly by giving the valve a good clean.
As we mentioned it’s hard to go wrong with the Toyota Avensis. This car has what it takes to hold its value well and there should be a huge range of different variants available on today’s second hand market. It’s a very good choice for a family car that needs to give the kids a lift to school, get the groceries back from the supermarket and haul everyone off to the North to see Grandma and Grandpa.