really awful
Crashes / Fires:
15 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
8 / 2
Average Mileage:
38,110 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2004 Toyota Avalon engine problems

engine problem

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2004 Toyota Avalon Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #22

Apr 022015


  • 104,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Avalon. While driving approximately 65 mph, the vehicle suddenly experienced unintended acceleration and the speed erroneously increased to 105 mph. During the incident, the brakes also malfunctioned and the driver was unable to apply pressure to the brake pedal. The contact switched the shifter to the neutral position to slow the vehicle down and stop. The contact indicated that the failure occurred on multiple occasions. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 104,000.

- Orange, TX, USA

problem #21

Dec 072013

Avalon 6-cyl

  • miles
My daughter was in a car accident in Dec 2013 involving our 2004 Toyota Avalon. We suspect the cruise control did not release as it should have. She had been using the cruise control and tapped the brake to release it as she exited a highway she then stepped on the brake to slow down as she exited the eastbound highway to maneuvere the exit curve to merge onto a southbound interstate highway. On the curve she noticed the car wasn't slowing down as it should, and when she braked harder, the brakes locked up sending her into a swerve. The car traced a path similar to an upside down question mark. She crossed two lanes, and the rear of the car hit a wall landing her facing traffic right next to the roadway. When the car came to a stop, both the gas pedal and the brake were completely depressed to the floor, and the engine had shut off. Her foot had not been on the gas pedal for some time since she was using the cruise control. The insurance company totaled out the car. Thankfully, there were no other cars involved, but my daughter was pretty shaken up and had to be treated for headaches/neck soreness due to whiplash. When she restarted the car (she had to turn the key off first, then on), the pedals returned to normal and she was able to move the car across to a safer location on the shoulder of the road to await help. Toyota's gas pedal recall started with the 2005 Toyota Avalon, so we had no recourse for action and the car is now gone, so there is no evidence to inspect. We are convinced the gas pedal sticking / cruise control refusing to release was the cause of the accident and want to pass on the information so that others can be protected from injury

- Melbourne, FL, USA

problem #20

Jun 122012

Avalon 6-cyl

  • 14,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Avalon. The contact stated that the vehicle suddenly accelerated while she driving at low speeds of under 10 mph. The contact lost control of the vehicle, traveled over the curb and crashed into a mail box. The police department was present however, no injuries were reported. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The vehicle was repaired. The failure mileage was 14,000 and the current mileage was 40,600...updated 12-26-13

- Toms River, NJ, USA

problem #19

Jul 072013


  • 90,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Avalon. The contact turned the vehicle on and when he shifted into drive gear, the accelerator pedal was extremely difficult to depress. The vehicle was not driven since the failure occurred. The vehicle was not diagnosed nor was it repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 90,000.

- Tequesta, FL, USA

problem #18

May 252012


  • miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Avalon. The contact was driving approximately 5 mph into a parking space and depressed the accelerator pedal however, the vehicle erroneously surged forward and crashed into a parked vehicle. The contact was not injured. A police report was filed of the incident. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer where the front end of the vehicle was repaired. The technician was unable to determine the cause of the failure. The unintended acceleration recurred and the vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was unavailable. The VIN was not available.

- Thornwood, NY, USA

problem #17

Dec 092011

Avalon 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles
The contact owned a 2004 Toyota Avalon. The contact stated that while driving 10 mph, the brakes were applied and the vehicle accelerated abnormally. The contact then crashed into the side of a home, causing major damage to the contact's vehicle and the home. There were no injuries. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer where they diagnosed the vehicle and advised the contact that there were no failures found within the vehicle. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure and the current mileage was 80,000. Updated 5/7/12 the consumer has since traded the vehicle.

- Plaque Mine, LA, USA

problem #16

Aug 212011

Avalon 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 140,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Avalon. The contact stated that while entering a parking space, the vehicle suddenly accelerated. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for inspection of the failure and the manufacturer was not made aware of the defect. The vehicle was not repaired. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileage was 140,000. The dealer was notified of the problem on 8/22. Car was towed to dealer shop's service center on 8/25. Manufacturer was notified 9/1/11 inspector from Toyota factory to inspect car week of 9/19 at dealership premises. Updated 10/27/2011

- West Mansfield , OH, USA

problem #15

Nov 032010


  • 40,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Avalon. The contact was shifting from neutral to drive when the vehicle suddenly accelerated to 50 mph. The contact attempted to engage the brakes but they did not respond. The vehicle crashed into three vehicles before it finally stopped and then the engine stalled. The vehicle was towed to a repair shop where it was inspected by a representative from the manufacturer who stated that nothing was wrong. The vehicle was destroyed. The current and failure mileages were approximately 40,000.

- Happy Valley, OR, USA

problem #14

Nov 032010


  • 37,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Avalon. The contact stated that as she shifted into drive and depressed the accelerator pedal lightly, the vehicle rapidly accelerated to 50 mph. The contact attempted to stop the abnormal acceleration by depressing the brakes but to no avail. She crashed into three cars as a result of the sudden acceleration and was reported as injured. A police report was available. The vehicle was destroyed. The contact called the manufacturer who advised that they would send someone to inspect the vehicle. There were also pictures available. The current and failure mileage was approximately 37,000.

- Happy Valley, OR, USA

problem #13

Feb 082010


  • 53,082 miles
1. I was at nellis air force base performing a ceremony. After the ceremony I entered the vehicle with wife to go to the base shopping area. The vehicle was parked in a parking space with a concrete tire stop, and wall in front. Entered the vehicle to back out. It came out quicker than normal off axis and the rear bumper impacted the concrete protector to a pole with very little damage. I put the vehicle in neutral and felt no out of the ordinary indications. 2. I put it into drive with my foot on the brake to pull forward then back out. The car accelerated at full power sufficient enough to kick out the concrete tire stop behind the vehicle, and total the front end of the 2003 Toyota Avalon X ls to the tune of 17684 dollars.. I purchased the vehicle in December of 2008 and had no prior problems, and not being a recalled Avalon no warning. I went through the NHTSA database for Avalon from 2000--2010 and found I had the exact same problem others reported. 3. Toyota dealership was contacted at the time of the accident. When I called corporate later in the month they did not even have the vehicle in my name. I asked for an inspector and they sent one his name email etc is on file. When I called Toyota corporate again they said I would get a letter from their claims department. About the findings.in 2-4 weeks. They did not offer to pick up the rental or to provide any assistance.. note: I put in speed control and air bags for I had to put in something to make the menu work. It accelerated out of control with my foot on the brake the exact cause is to be determined, I could not control the speed so that fit closest. The air bags did not deploy for it hit on an angle, a flaw in the design. If you accelerate at full power into a brick wall they should deploy. Parking space speed unknown put in 30 mph to make the form work. Form needs updating this should be optional.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #12

Feb 132010


  • 75,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Avalon. While the vehicle was traveling 40 mph the contact attempted to engage the brakes and the vehicle suddenly accelerated without warning. The contact attempted to slow down the vehicle but the brakes would not engage. In order to stop the vehicle the contact had to shift into neutral gear and apply the emergency brake; however, when the vehicle came to a stop the engine was still surging. The failure mileage was 75000 and the current mileage was 77000.

- South Yarmouth, MA, USA

problem #11

Dec 292009


  • 60,000 miles
My 2004 Toyota Avalon suddenly accelerated while backing out of our garage. It sped backwards only stopping when it slammed into our front deck. Over $5000 damage, but no injuries.

- Mariposa, CA, USA

problem #10

Nov 022008


  • 45,400 miles
While backing slowly, the right foot was moved from accelerator to foot brake pedal. As pressure was applied to the foot brake, the car accelerated in reverse, continued turning, smashed along side of another vehicle and turned a half circle. Driver's left foot pressed the emergency brake causing car to stop. Total elapsed time no more than two seconds.

- Costa Mesa, CA, USA

problem #9

Feb 272006


  • miles
My 2004 Toyota experienced a sudden acceleration on a slight upgrade which caused the car to go into a rapid uncontrollable spin. This resulted in a head on collision with a pick up truck. My wife suffered injuries to her head when the rear view mirror flew off the window and struck her in the head. This resulted in memory loss and she now suffers from recurring headaches. The car was a total loss.

- Volant, PA, USA

problem #8

Dec 162009

Avalon 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Toyota Avalon. While the contact was attempting to pull out of a parking space at a low speed the vehicle had suddenly accelerated without warning causing the contact to crash into a nearby vehicle. No one was injured during the crash. A police report was not filed for the incident. The vehicle has not been diagnosed by the dealer and there were no prior warnings. The current and failure mileages were 67,000. Updated 3/30/2010 after backing out of a parking space, the consumer shifted the vehicle into drive and it accelerated. Updated 06/04/10

- Rockville, MD, USA

problem #7

Jul 142007


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
On July 14, 2007 my parents were involved in a single-car crash in the residential area of new bloomfield, mo. My 84-year-old father was driving a 2004 Toyota Avalon, suddenly left the right side of the roadway, flipped the vehicle, and landed upside down, back on the pavement. My 79-year-old mother was killed instantly from head trauma, and my father passed away from injuries sustained in the accident 7 weeks later. The authorities could not determine the cause of the accident, and my father could not remember any details, as he had extraordinary internal trauma and was in icu for most of his remaining 7 weeks. I have petitioned the auto insurer, allstate several times, but they have not responded to my E-mails, and although it is likely this vehicle has been destroyed, based on all the media about sudden acceleration of Toyota vehicles, this could certainly have been a contributing factor to, if not the cause of, this horrific accident. We have been vexed by the whole incident, and it never occurred to me to request having the Avalon inspected (highly rated vehicle and all...), until all the recent media of other deaths involving Toyota vehicles. Updated 03/10/10 updated IVOQ 08/03/10 updated 9/21/2011

- Loveland, OH, USA

problem #6

Jul 152008


  • miles
Three times during the past year, my 2004 Toyota Avalon XLS, acelerated while driving along the road. Brake was applied and the vehicle continue to work without incident. Why has this happened" is it a defect??"

- Dripping Springs, TX, USA

problem #5

Jul 312006

Avalon 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Nov., 2003, going 25 mph in heavy traffic I hit a pot hole and the car suddenly accelerated. I had my foot on the brake already as there was a red light ahead and had to use extreme force to stop the car. I put it in neutral and it stopped racing. July 11, 2006 I was traveling at 75 mph and heard a noise as if the car was racing. It was registering 5500 rpms. I slowed to 65-70 and it went down to 5000 rpms. I got off at the next exit and when I came to a stop it returned to normal. For the next hour I traveled at 75 with the car registering approx 2000 rpms. July 31, traveling approx. 25 mph in heavy traffic I tried to slow to avoid hitting the car in front of me as it turned right. It was extremely difficult and I would have hit it if it hadn't turned. Again I had to use significant pressure on the brake to bring it to a stop. As it came to a stop I noticed that it was at 3000 rpms. When it was completely stopped it returned to a normal 500 or so. August 2, 2006 as I was about to ascend a hill, it suddenly accelerated without my applying more gas, but returned to normal when I stepped on the gas. I didn't notice the RPM reading. Today I traded the car in, rather than risk injury to myself or others by continuing to drive it. The Toyota dealer was previously unable to duplicate the incidents or find the source of the problem. The dealer is going to try to find the problem.

- Bangor, ME, USA

problem #4

Feb 082006

Avalon 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,000 miles
: the contact stated while backing out of a parking space the vehicle accelerated without warning. As a result, two other vehicles were damaged. However, no injuries were sustained. A police report was taken at the scene. The vehicle was towed to an independent repair shop and then taken to the dealer. The dealer was unable to duplicate the problem. The manufacturer was contacted. Repairs to the rear end totaled $7014 plus sales tax

- Floral Park, NY, USA

problem #3

May 282005

Avalon 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 9,317 miles
Having traveled up a steep road, I proceeded to turn into an acquaintance's driveway. I began to apply the brake as I came to park behind her vehicle. Suddenly without warning, my 2004 Toyota Avalon surged ahead and crashed into her parked vehicle causing my front bumper to go under the back of her 2004 sebring convertible lifting it up off the ground. The air bags did not deploy. I called my Toyota dealer and they suggested I not drive it (I was to go out of town for the memorial day weekend). So I had it towed to the dealer as I wanted them to check this accerlation problem. I had $2537.16 damage to the front end of my Avalon, that included damage to my front bumper, grille, headlamp, panel hood, radiator and front fenders. The sebring had approximately $650 damage. It took 10 days to repair. The dealer said that he could find nothing wrong with my vehicle. It was hooked up to a computer to see if any systems had failed. He also could not duplicate the problem. I feel certain that this accident was caused by a power surge of some kind. My Avalon has only 9500 miles on it. I bought it in July of 2004 and in September 2004, I experienced a similar power surge. Traveling up a hilly road no more than 30 mph, as I reached the top of the hill as the road straighten out, the car took off. It lasted only a few seconds, but scared me. However, I did not report it. The thought of another power surge has me very hesitant about feeling safe in this automobile. I have been driving accident free for 47 years. I am in very good physical health.

- Bethel Park, PA, USA

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