Toyota Recall: Four Different Causes. So Which is it?

Toyota floor matToward the end of last summer (September 30, 2009) we reported that Toyota was recalling 3.8 million cars and trucks made between 2005 and 2010. At the time, the company claimed this was merely a problem with “accessory all-weather floor mats” sold in some models. In other words, it had nothing to do with the vehicle itself. The remedy was simply to remove the driver-side floor mat.

Shortly after, in late November, we reported on another Toyota announcement that they would “fix” the problem by installing shorter accelerators in the recalled Toyota and Lexus vehicles. So it wasn’t a poorly designed floor mat, but a gas pedal that was too long?

Toyota Gas Pedal AssemblySkip forward to January of 2010 and things begin to heat up for Toyota. They announced a recall on millions of vehicles made between 2005 and 2010 because of a mechanical problem with the accelerator.

And just today (February 2nd, 2010) CNN is reporting that federal investigators are looking into whether the sticking accelerators are a result of a mechanical problem or if the issue has to do with the electrical system – in which case, the recent fix announced by Toyota would not actually be addressing the problem.

We have an open question for Toyota: Is it the all-weather floor mat accessory, the gas pedal length, mechanical friction in the accelerator assembly, or an electrical problem? Or are they separate issues?

There are 15 comments. Add yours.

  1. Tiesta Ruiz

    thx. This helped me a lot for my report for one of my classes!!

    Reply
  2. ELG

    Electronic components are not reliable in a hostile environment (it’s not nice under the hood). I drive a Ford with an alleged tendency to roll over, something I can live with since you can feel when you’re about to lose it. Electronic systems fail with no warning. My next car might be a ’77 (with aftermarket MP3 player).

    Reply
  3. Drausio Luiz de Camargo

    I believe cars have been using aftermarket floor mats since cars have been invented. If this is the problem Toyota is playing fool of themselves, because if they can’t design an acelerator pedal that doesn’t get entangled in the floor mats regularly sold in the market, how they will be able to adress much more complex issues like preventing an electronic failure causing the fly-by-wire trottle system of acelerating the car ?.

    Reply
  4. Melinda B

    Before even leaving the showroom lot, my 2005 Highlander’s brakes failed. Since then, I sometimes reach the floor before the brakes work. There are no recalls on this model but it’s had other problems as well.

    Reply
  5. Cliff J

    Why is it, with fewer complaints, Toyota has many more crashes?

    Reply
  6. chris mcintosh

    2003 and2004 mustang cobra recall because of accelerator pedal becoming entangled in floor carpeting. 100 complaints-2 crashes-no fatalities.

    jan.27,2010-ford halts production of a mini-bus in china because of parts for the accelerator purchased from same supplier as toyota although the company has received no complaints .the recall affects fewer than 2000 units.this unit is sold only in china

    Reply
  7. Rickey L. Harington

    Toyota makes great cars,used to be right on par with Honda and Ford. The problem with Toyota is the lack of effort to fix the issue. Zero effort. But at least they are going to double their efforts as stated by their management. Lets see: what does zero times two equal? That might be why Toyota is now on par with the rest of the also ran brands.

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  8. David A.

    My wife has a 2007 camry,which took off from a dead stop causing her to hit another car.There is no way it’s a floor mat,gas pedal problem.I be willing to bet its the computer part made in China.

    Reply
  9. Bill J.

    Very simple. Due to the minimal accel. pedal clearance there is a possibility that an improperly secured or aftermarket floor mat may cause pedal entrapment. Especially when people stack all weather floor mats on top of the OE floor mat. The changes to the pedal are to assure that improperly installed floor mats do not cause problems. This is one issue and not two as it appears you want people to believe. The second issue is a very rare condition where the acelerator pedal may stick or slow to return to a normal position. Toyota has suspended sales and shuttered factories in order to remedy the situation. Ford had 28% of all NHTSA complaints for unintended accleration. WHich plants did they shut down? Answer- None.

    As far as electrical problems, if it’s a problem for Toyota then it’s a problem for all carmakers and currently most car companies are investigating the possibility. Drive by wire technology is common among all car companies and the same potential exists.

    This is the moment that US based car companies and their Unions have dreamed of for years. A chance to play catch up to Toyota. I have no doubt that they will blow the opportunity, while Toyota will learn from their mistakes, re-double their efforts and once again make the big three look silly.

    My advice to Toyota owners is to take your vehicle the dealer. Get it fixed. Then drive it for the next 20 years.

    Reply
  10. Charles W. Cummings

    Approximately 3 months ago, my wife and I purchased a 2010 Prius from a local dealership. There were no floor mats in the vehicle as we were told that there currently was a problem with floor mats interfering with the accelerator pedals and that this problem was being addressed by Toyota. Within 2 weeks of purchasing the vehicle, we began having a problem when the car was in the reverse position. The car would stop abruptly…extremely abruptly, and would do this every time the brake pedal was depressed. We took our car to the Toyota dealer where we had purchased it and drove it into the service drive. I spoke with the Service Manager who told me that they had had no such customer complaints about the brakes in the Prius. Nothing further was done. At the beginning of February, I called the service department at the dealership and spoke with the Assistant Manager. I informed him that we were still having problems with the brakes (not consistently, but periodically). He told me to bring the car in and he would physically inspect it to see if he could diagnose the problem. We will bring the car in.

    Reply
  11. Jim Sheffield

    My wife and I have had two Camrys, she has a Hilander now with 115,000 miles, I have had a Tundra and two Tacomas,(a 2007 now), and we have never had a problem with any of them. When our kids cars are in the shop getting worked on(BMW, Chevys,and Fords) they want to borrow one of our Toyota’s for dependable transportation. We will always buy Toyota’s.

    Reply
  12. eskymi

    Hey at least we have several reasons why the Toyota’s are taking off. I wanna know why there are 3 complaints of SUA on the Honda Accord that occurred in the last 2 months. I wanna know why Ford has 40 or more complaints about SUA on their F150 from 2007-2008-2009….they must have electrical problems because they aren’t saying it’s a stuck pedal, or a floor mat.

    Seems like all the manufacturers are having problems. Main reason Toyota has more, 1…more cars sold…2. Many of there drivers are OLDER and either make mistakes, or can’t react quickly enough.

    Go to NHTSA and check FORD F150 from those years. Same complaints as Toyota, sitting at a light and engine just revs, passing with cruise on and pedal sticks, lightly touching gas and car takes off, pulling in to parking spots and car lurches, surges or jumps forward. But since most drivers of F150’s are MEN and younger, they know what to do in a SUA situation so fewer accidents, fewer investigations….more strength to push brake to get car to stop.

    Reply
  13. awhitlock

    Yes my brakes on my car has never worked right either. I feel like they need to check everything on these vehicles or let you get another vehicle. Now people are scared for their life.

    Reply
  14. dmzabel

    I recently purchased a 2010 SCION and pretty much thought it was surving my purposes however from the start I found the brakes to stop very abruptely and not smoothly like the other cars that I have owned in the past. When I step on the brakes the car sort of locks in a jerking stop not a smooth stop……I even mentioned it to the Toytota dealers where I purchased it………so far I have not seen anyting relating to this but I can’t help but wonder if anyone else has noticed this……..????

    Reply
  15. cheska crawford

    It is surprising how dangerous a single vehicle can be even if the driver is not negligent. Toyota should have foreseen possible problems and conduct a battery of tests before releasing their products out in the market.

    Reply

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