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.
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 the 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.
If 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, Toyota advised.
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 (800) 331-4331.
Separately from the recall for sticking accelerator pedals, Toyota is also 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 Nov. 25, 2009), and is already notifying customers about how it will fix this issue. In the case of vehicles covered by both recalls, Toyota intends to remedy both at the same time.