Recalls: Toyota to shorten gas pedals to prevent them from getting stuck?

Source: AutoBlog

For the last couple of months, Toyota has been in hot water.  At least one accident has already been blamed on a dislodged floor mat, which can cause the gas pedal to become stuck under in a wide-open position, leading to unintended acceleration.  In all, there are 3.8 million affected vehicles, and Toyota says it has over 5 million dollars earmarked for recalls.

Source: Inside Line

The problem was reported to be in the design of the floor mat catch, which can allow the floor mat to slide forward, blocking the gas pedal from returning to an “idle” state.  Now, it’s being reported that Toyota may announce that it will shorten the gas pedal on affected vehicles.

An interesting design issue surfaced a month or so ago, wherein it was found that when the gas pedal is pushed down on some Toyota vehicles, the amount of power able to go to the braking system is minimized, which can lead to one of the affected vehicles not being able to stop as quickly, if at all.  Some cars have “smart throttles” now, which prevent the car from accelerating when the brake pedal is pushed down.

Consumer Reports has an excellent article on how to stop your car if you experience the issue at hand, and they include other makes as well.  They say to shift your car into neutral.  Don’t turn the key off or hold down your Engine Start/Stop button (where equipped) to stop the car, as will shut down your power steering and brake systems as well, making the car more difficult to maneuver, and possibly harder to stop as well.  By shifting into neutral, you leave the power steering and brake systems active, and most modern cars have a limiter in them to prevent engine damage from keeping the gas pedal floored.  Once you’ve come to a complete stop, you can turn off the engine.

The affected models are the following:

  • 2007-2010 Camry
  • 2005-2010 Avalon
  • 2004-2009 Prius
  • 2005-2010 Tacoma
  • 2007-2010 Tundra
  • 2007-2010 ES 350
  • 2006-2010 IS 250 and IS 350

The following YouTube video shows a news report which shows the aftermath of the accident which prompted the investigation and subsequent recall.  It also shows the car which was involved in the accident:

By John Suit

Sources: AutoBlog, Consumer Reports, Inside Line

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