Q. Toyota Recall Comments
Thank you for your questions/comments.
On February 8, 2011, the U.S. Department of Transportation released results from an unprecedented ten-month study of potential electronic causes of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched the study last spring at the request of Congress, and enlisted NASA engineers with expertise in areas such as computer controlled electronic systems, electromagnetic interference and software integrity to conduct new research into whether electronic systems or electromagnetic interference played a role in incidents of unintended acceleration. News Release.
To contact NHTSA with your comments,
On April 19, 2010, Secretary Ray LaHood issued a statement on Toyota's agreement to pay the $16.375 million fine. News Release.
On April 5, 2010, Secretary Ray LaHood announced that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is seeking the maximum civil penalty of $16.375 million against Toyota Motor Corporation for failing to notify the auto safety agency of the dangerous "sticky pedal" defect for at least four months, despite knowing of the potential risk to consumers. News Release
On March 30, 2010, Secretary Ray LaHood announced two major investigations designed to answer questions surrounding the issue of unintended vehicle acceleration. The prestigious National Academy of Sciences – an independent body using top scientific experts - will examine the broad subject of unintended acceleration and electronic vehicle controls across the entire automotive industry. Separately, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is the Department of Transportation’s auto safety agency, has enlisted NASA engineers with expertise in areas such as computer controlled electronic systems, electromagnetic interference and software integrity to help tackle the issue of unintended vehicle acceleration in Toyotas. News Release
On Feb. 9, 2010 the US DOT learned of a third Toyota recall involving 2010 Prius hybrids and Lexus HS 250h vehicles experiencing brake system problems. Some 2010 Camrys prone to brake fluid leaks have also been recalled. "Last Thursday, NHTSA opened a formal investigation of 2010 Toyota Prius hybrid vehicles in response to consumer complaints about braking difficulties, and today, Toyota has acknowledged a safety defect," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. LaHood also reminded owners of affected vehicles: "If you are concerned about your car's braking performance, contact your Toyota dealer." NHTSA announced last week it was opening a formal investigation of the 2010 Prius to look into allegations of momentary loss of braking capability while traveling over an uneven road surface, pothole or bump. News Release
On Feb. 4, 2004, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it is opening a formal investigation of the Toyota Prius Hybrid MY 2010 to look into allegations of momentary loss of braking capability while traveling over an uneven road surface, pothole or bump: News Release
On Feb. 3, 2010, Secretary LaHood made the following statement on the Toyota recalls:
"I want to encourage owners of any recalled Toyota models to contact their local dealer and get their vehicles fixed as soon as possible. NHTSA will continue to hold Toyota's feet to the fire to make sure that they are doing everything they have promised to make their vehicles safe. We will continue to investigate all possible causes of these safety issues."
NHTSA's consumer advisory on the Toyota recalls from 2/1/10 is included below.
Monday, February 1, 2010
CONSUMER ADVISORY: Toyota Owners Advised of Actions to Take Regarding Two Separate Recalls
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today informed owners of certain Toyota, Lexus and Pontiac Vibe vehicles about the actions they should take if their accelerator gets stuck or is slow to return under certain conditions.
Today's advisory is precipitated by continued reports of consumer concern and confusion about two separate safety recalls Toyota announced over the past week involving accelerator pedals. Each recall has a different root cause - pedal entrapment and sticky pedal.
Pedal Entrapment Recall:
In October, Toyota announced the recall of 3.8 million vehicles for accelerator pedal entrapment by the floor mat. That recall was recently expanded to include another million vehicles. When an accelerator pedal is depressed to or almost to the floor, as is done during attempts to merge onto a freeway or pass another vehicle at highway speeds, it can become trapped in the fully open position by an out of position or unsecured floor mat.
Toyota has begun to notify owners of the availability of a remedy for this entrapment recall. The accelerator pedal will be reconfigured by dealers. At the same time, Toyota will develop replacement pedals for these vehicles, which will become available for some models in April 2010. Owners who first choose to have the pedal reconfigured can also receive the brand new pedal when it becomes available. New all-weather floor mats will also be provided. In addition, Toyota will install a brake override system on certain models. The brake override system would ensure the vehicle would stop if both the brake and the accelerator pedals are simultaneously applied.
Until consumers receive the remedy, it is imperative that they take out all removable floor mats on the driver's side or ensure that any mats are properly secured. The agency has confirmed that 5 individuals, in 2 incidents, have died as a result of pedal entrapment in the recalled vehicles. Failure to follow this advice with regard to removing or securing the floor mats could lead to additional deaths and injuries. At such time as Toyota has the recall remedy for these vehicles owners will receive a letter instructing them to go to their dealer for the repair.
Toyota, Lexus and Pontiac vehicles affected by the entrapment recall are:
- 2007-2010 Camry
- 2005-2010 Avalon
- 2004-2009 Prius
- 2005-2010 Tacoma
- 2007-2010 Tundra
- 2007-2010 ES 350
- 2006-2010 IS 250 and IS350
- 2008-2010 Highlander
- 2009-2010 Corolla
- 2009-2010 Venza
- 2009-2010 Matrix
- 2009-2010 Pontiac Vibe
Sticky Pedal Recall:
In January 2010, Toyota announced the recall of 2.3 million vehicles for a problem internal to the accelerator pedal that causes it to be harder to depress, slower to return to the closed position or get stuck in some partially depressed position. Some of the vehicles included in this recall are also included in the pedal entrapment recall. Toyota has announced a remedy repair that will be available right away. The company is also having new pedals manufactured. Owners who first choose to have the pedal repaired may later receive a new pedal when it is available.
While we are aware of no deaths or injuries due to this condition, consumers should take the following steps prior to receiving the recall remedy. Owners of these vehicles should pay attention to the operation of their accelerator pedals. If their accelerator pedal is harder to depress than normal or slower to return, it may be a precursor to a stuck pedal. These vehicles should be parked and a dealer immediately notified. Should a pedal become stuck in a partially depressed condition while driving, owners should put their car in neutral, bring it to a stop and call their dealer.
Toyota, Lexus and Pontiac vehicles affected by the sticky pedal recall are:
- 2007-2008 Tundra
- 2008-2010 Sequoia
- 2005-2010 Avalon
- 2007-2010 Camry
- 2009-2010 Corolla
- 2009-2010 Matrix
- 2009-2010 RAV4
- 2010 Highlander
- 2009-2010 Vibe
Actions Consumers Can Take If They Cannot Stop Their Vehicle:
Regardless of the cause, if a consumer is experiencing unintended acceleration in their vehicle, they should take the following steps:
- Brake firmly and steadily - do not pump the brake pedal
- Shift the transmission into Neutral (for vehicles with automatic transmissions and the sport option, familiarize yourself with where Neutral is - the diagram may be misleading)
- Steer to a safe location
- Shut the engine off (for vehicles with keyless ignition, familiarize yourself with how to turn the vehicle off when it is moving - this may be a different action than turning the vehicle off when it is stationary).
- Call your dealer or repair shop to pick up the vehicle. Do not drive it.
For more information, consumers can contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Hotline at 888-327-4236 or the Toyota Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331 or the Lexus Customer Assistance Center at 1-800-255-3987. Information from Toyota is also posted at http://www.toyota.com and http://www.lexus.com.
Information about vehicle defects:
NHTSA has several sites dealing with vehicle defects. There is a Vehicle Defects Investigations database, a Customer Complaints database, Recalls database, etc. You can search to see if anyone else has complained about a particular problem, or file a complaint about a vehicle by visiting http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/index.cfm