February 6, 2010 (San Diego) – Toyota announced it has identified the cause of a sticking accelerator problem believed to have caused the death of CHP officer Mark Saylor and three of his family members in a fiery Santee crash. The manufacturer has ordered recall of 2.3 million Toyotas.
This weekend, Toyota began sending letters to owners urging them to schedule appointments with Toyota dealers to fix the problems. Toyota also halted production on some new models at five North American plants.
“Ensuring your safety is our highest priority,” a statement from the company assured. According to USA today, there have been eight cases of sticking pedals among 2.3 vehicles included in the recall.
Congress has announced plans to hold hearings on Toyota safety issues. This week, concerns also arose over the 2010 Toyota Prius, as 80 complaints of problems linked to braking software were reported in Japan, including five non-injury accidents attributed to the problem.
Toyota has announced two safety recalls to address conditions related to the accelerator pedal. The first recall, "Floor Mat Entrapment," http://www.toyota.com/recall/floormat.html regards the potential for an unsecured or incompatible driver's floor mat to interfere with the accelerator pedal and cause it to get stuck in the wide-open position.
The second recall, "Pedal," http://www.toyota.com/recall/pedal.html is being conducted because there is a possibility that certain accelerator pedal mechanisms may mechanically stick in a partially depressed position or return slowly to the idle position.
As part of the recall campaign, new car sales of vehicles subject to the pedal recall have been temporarily suspended until the problem is remedied. In addition, Toyota has temporarily halted production at some North American plants to focus resources on remedying the recalled vehicles.
North American vehicles equipped with accelerator pedals manufactured by CTS are the only vehicles included in the stop, sale and delivery. All vehicles equipped with Denso produced gas pedal assemblies are unaffected regardless of where they were produced.
Avalon: VINs beginning with 4T1; MY 2005 - 2010
Matrix: VINs beginning with 2T1; MY 2009 - 2010
Tundra: VINs beginning with 5TB; MY 2007 - 2008
Tundra: VINs beginning with 5TF; MY 2007- 2010
Sequoia: VINs beginning with 5TD; MY 2008 - 2010
Camry: VINs beginning with 4T4; MY 2007- 2010
Camry: VINs beginning with 4T1 with CTS accelerator pedal; MY 2007- 2010
Corolla: VINs beginning with 1NX and 2T1; MY 2009 - 2010
Highlander: VINs beginning with 5TD; MY 2010
RAV4: VINs beginning with 2T3; MY 2009 - 2010
Determining whether the Camry is equipped with a CTS or Denso accelerator pedal can be done with a visual inspection without removing the pedal. Denso pedals are constructed of all black plastic versus the CTS pedal which is made of metal. The CTS pedals have shiny metallic components on both sides at the top of the arm which are clearly visible from the footwell.
Motorists who notice that their accelerator pedal is hard to depress, slow to return or unsmooth during operation should drive to the nearest location, shut off the engine and contact a Toyota dealer for assistance, according to the company.
If the accelerator sticks while driving, Toyota recommends taking one of the following actions:
If you need to stop immediately, the vehicle can be controlled by stepping on the brake pedal with both feet using firm and steady pressure. Do not pump the brake pedal as it will deplete the vacuum utilized for the power brake assist.
Shift the transmission gear selector to the Neutral (N) position and use the brakes to make a controlled stop at the side of the road and turn off the engine.
If unable to put the vehicle in Neutral, turn the engine OFF. This will not cause loss of steering or braking control, but the power assist to these systems will be lost.
If the vehicle is equipped with an Engine Start/Stop button, firmly and steadily push the button for at least three seconds to turn off the engine. Do NOT tap the Engine Start/Stop button.
If the vehicle is equipped with a conventional key-ignition, turn the ignition key to the ACC position to turn off the engine. Do NOT remove the key from the ignition as this will lock the steering wheel.
If you have additional questions, contact the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331. The Toyota Customer Experience Center hours are: Mon.–Fri. 5:00 am-6:00 pm PST, Sat.–Sun. 7:00 am-4:00 pm PST.