Toyota announces plan to fix pedals on recalled vehicles (w/ video)

Toyota announced this morning that it will start fixing accelerator pedals in recalled vehicles this week. Toyota dealers should be receiving parts this week to fix accelerator pedals on the 2.3 million vehicles it recalled Jan. 21.

“Nothing is more important to us than the safety and reliability of the vehicles our customers drive,” said Jim Lentz, president and Chief Operating Officer, TMS. “We deeply regret the concern that our recalls have caused for our customers and we are doing everything we can ““ as fast as we can ““ to make things right. Stopping production is never an easy decision, but we are 100% confident it was the right decision. We know what”s causing the sticking accelerator pedals, and we know what we have to do to fix it. We also know it is most important to fix this problem in the cars on the road.”

Lentz said that many dealers will have extended hours and some may remain open 24 hours to get the job done. He said that fix should take a short time (approximately 30 mins) depending on the workflow at the dealership.

Toyota owners will be identified by mail when to set up an appointment to make repairs.

Customers can also visit www.toyota.com/recall or call the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.

Check out a video by Jim Lentz in the video posted after the jump and list of the common FAQs from Toyota in the press release.

Press Release:

On January 21, Toyota announced its intention to recall approximately 2.3 million select Toyota Division vehicles equipped with a specific pedal assembly and suspended sales of the eight models involved in the recall on January 26.

Toyota vehicles affected by the recall include:
“¢ Certain 2009-2010 RAV4
“¢ Certain 2009-2010 Corolla
“¢ 2009-2010 Matrix
“¢ 2005-2010 Avalon
“¢ Certain 2007-2010 Camry
“¢ Certain 2010 Highlander
“¢ 2007-2010 Tundra
“¢ 2008-2010 Sequoia

No Lexus Division or Scion vehicles are affected by these actions. Also not affected are Toyota Prius, Tacoma, Sienna, Venza, Solara, Yaris, 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, Land Cruiser, Highlander hybrids and certain Camry models, including Camry hybrids, all of which remain for sale.

Further, Camry, RAV4, Corolla and Highlander vehicles with Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) that begin with “J” are not affected by the accelerator pedal recall.

In the event that a driver experiences an accelerator pedal that sticks in a partial open throttle position or returns slowly to idle position, the vehicle can be controlled with firm and steady application of the brakes. The brakes should not be pumped repeatedly because it could deplete vacuum assist, requiring stronger brake pedal pressure. The vehicle should be driven to the nearest safe location, the engine shut off and a Toyota dealer contacted for assistance.

Detailed information and answers to questions about issues related to this recall are available to customers at www.toyota.com/recall and at the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.

How Toyota Will Fix Recalled Vehicles

Toyota has pinpointed the issue that could, on rare occasions, cause accelerator pedals in recalled vehicles to stick in a partially open position. The issue involves a friction device in the pedal designed to provide the proper “feel” by adding resistance and making the pedal steady and stable. The device includes a shoe that rubs against an adjoining surface during normal pedal operation. Due to the materials used, wear and environmental conditions, these surfaces may, over time, begin to stick and release instead of operating smoothly. In some cases, friction could increase to a point that the pedal is slow to return to the idle position or, in rare cases, the pedal sticks, leaving the throttle partially open.

Toyota”s solution for current owners is both effective and simple. A precision-cut steel reinforcement bar will be installed into the assembly that will reduce the surface tension between the friction shoe and the adjoining surface. With this reinforcement in place, the excess friction that can cause the pedal to stick is eliminated. The company has confirmed the effectiveness of the newly reinforced pedals through rigorous testing on pedal assemblies that had previously shown a tendency to stick.

Separately from the recall for sticking accelerator pedals, Toyota is in the process of recalling vehicles to address rare instances in which floor mats have trapped the accelerator pedal in certain Toyota and Lexus models (announced November 25, 2009), and is already notifying customers about how it will fix this issue. In the case of vehicles covered by both recalls, it is Toyota”s intention to remedy both at the same time.

Toyota Answers Customer Questions About The Solution For Sticking Accelerator Pedals

1. What is the solution Toyota announced to fix sticking accelerator pedals?

Toyota”s engineers have developed and rigorously tested a solution that is both effective and simple. A precision-cut steel reinforcement bar will be installed into the accelerator pedal assembly, thereby eliminating the excess friction that has caused pedals to stick in rare instances.

2. What is the problem that could cause accelerators to stick and led to the recall?

The issue involves a friction device in the pedal designed to provide the proper “feel” by adding resistance and making the pedal steady and stable.

This friction device includes a “shoe” that rubs against an adjoining surface during normal pedal operation. Due to the materials used, wear and environmental conditions, these surfaces may, over time, begin to stick and release instead of operating smoothly. In some cases, friction could increase to a point that the pedal is slow to return to the idle position or, in rare cases, the pedal sticks, leaving the throttle partially open.

3. How does a steel reinforcement bar solve this problem?

The steel reinforcement bar will reduce the surface tension between the friction shoe and the adjoining surface. With this reinforcement in place, the excess friction that can cause the pedal to stick is eliminated.

4. How does Toyota know that this solution will be effective?

We have confirmed the effectiveness of the newly reinforced pedals through rigorous testing on pedal assemblies that had previously shown a tendency to stick. Nothing is more important to Toyota than the safety and satisfaction of our customers, and we have high confidence in our solution for fixing our customers” vehicles.

5. When can I get my vehicle fixed?

We will begin contacting customers to let them know when to bring in their vehicles for the fix, and some of them will be notified as early as this week.

At Toyota, our highest priority has been to quickly and effectively address the needs of owners of affected vehicles. Parts to reinforce the pedals are already being shipped for use by dealers, and many Toyota dealers will work extended hours to complete the recall campaign as quickly and conveniently as possible — some even staying open 24 hours a day.

6. How long will it take for a dealer to repair my automobile?

The actual repair involves about 30 minutes” work.

7. Is the repair covered by warranty? Will drivers have to pay any money out of pocket for this work?

Toyota will cover all repair costs associated with this work.

8. Does the reinforced pedal feel any different?

Drivers should not notice any change in the feel of the pedal.

9. Is my car safe to drive if it has not yet received this solution?

To be clear, the condition is rare and generally does not occur suddenly. It can occur when the pedal mechanism becomes worn and, in certain conditions, the accelerator pedal may become harder to depress, slower to return or, in the worst case, stuck in a partially depressed position.

Customers who experience an accelerator pedal that is hard to depress, slow to return or is unsmooth during operation should drive the vehicle to a safe location, shut off the engine and contact a Toyota dealer contacted for assistance

In the event that a driver experiences an accelerator pedal that sticks in a partial open throttle position or returns slowly to idle position, the vehicle can be controlled with firm and steady application of the brakes. The brakes should not be pumped repeatedly because it could deplete vacuum assist, requiring stronger brake pedal pressure. The vehicle should be driven to the nearest safe location, the engine shut off and a Toyota dealer contacted for assistance.

10. What if my vehicle is also affected by the floor mat recall? Which will be addressed first?

We are working to coordinate the pedal entrapment and the sticking pedal recalls to minimize the number of customers who will have to have two service visits.

11. What do I do if I experience a sticking accelerator pedal before my car receives the remedy? Should I bring my car to a dealer?

Customers who experience an accelerator pedal that is hard to depress, slow to return or is unsmooth during operation should drive the vehicle to a safe location, shut off the engine and contact a Toyota dealer contacted for assistance.

Otherwise, no action is required at this time unless you feel you are experiencing this condition. We will begin contacting customers to let them know when to bring in their vehicles for the fix, and some of them will be notified as early as this week.

12. Can I return my vehicle to Toyota if I purchased it in the five-day period between when the recall was announced and Toyota stopped the sale on my vehicle? What are my options?

Toyota will work with customers who have concerns about their new vehicles on a case-by-case basis.

13. Which models are affected by the sticky accelerator pedal recall/stop sale?

Toyota”s accelerator pedal recall and suspension of sales is confined to the following Toyota Division vehicles:

* Certain 2009-2010 RAV4,
* Certain 2009-2010 Corolla,
* 2009-2010 Matrix,
* 2005-2010 Avalon,
* Certain 2007-2010 Camry,
* Certain 2010 Highlander,
* 2007-2010 Tundra,
* 2008-2010 Sequoia

Highlander hybrids and Camry hybrids are not affected by this action and will remain for sale.

Further, Camry, RAV 4, Corolla and Highlander vehicles with VINs that begin with “J” are not affected.

14. What is a “VIN” and how do I find it on my automobile?

A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a 17-character sequence of numbers and letters that is used by the automobile industry to uniquely identify motor vehicles. It can be viewed through the windshield on the driver”s side at the front of the dashboard.

In addition, the VIN number is also located on a sticker located the driver”s side pillar, with the tire inflation information and on the vehicle”s registration.

15. Why are mechanically similar Lexus and Scion vehicles not affected by this recall?

The recall affected pedal is confined to one of Toyota”s suppliers. That supplier”s pedals are not used on Lexus and Scion vehicles.

– By: Omar Rana