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Toyota: Fix Developed for Sticking Accelerator Pedals

February 01, 2010

TORRANCE, CA - Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. announced it will begin fixing accelerator pedals in recalled Toyota Division vehicles this week.  

Toyota said its engineers have developed and tested a solution that involves reinforcing the pedal assembly in a manner that "eliminates the excess friction that has caused the pedals to stick in rare instances." In addition, Toyota said, it has developed an effective solution for vehicles in production. 

Parts to reinforce the pedals are already being shipped for use by dealers, and dealer training is under way. Many Toyota dealers will work extended hours to complete the recall campaign as quickly as possible, the automaker said, with some even staying open 24 hours a day. The company has also halted production of the affected vehicles for the week of Feb.1. 

Toyota said it 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 said. 

To fix the problem, 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 said it has 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 us than the safety and reliability of the vehicles our customers drive," said Jim Lentz, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Sales. "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." 

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

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