Update: Toyota announces PedalGate solution!

Toyota announced this morning that they had devised a solution to the second recall, where sticky gas pedals cause unintended acceleration. They say their solution has been rigorously tested, and from the picture above, it looks like it angles the gas pedal towards the driver just a bit, which pulls apart a connection at the top of the assembly.  According to Toyota, this friction connection, which gives the pedal a “proper feel,”  is the source of the problem.

The reason they need this friction area is because their cars, like most cars these days, are equipped with electronic gas pedals.  Instead of a wire directly connecting the gas pedal to the engine, the gas pedal sends an electrical signal to the engine control computer which then decides how much gas to give the engine.

In addition to cars already on the road, Toyota says it has a fix for vehicles in production, which will be stopped for the entirety of this week.  I’d say that they are stopping production for two reasons.  The first one is that dealership inventory is already higher than normal and isn’t going to shrink any time soon, so why build more cars that won’t have places to go?  The second reason is to replace factory gas pedal inventory with whatever their new design is, which should be a gas pedal with the “precision cut steel reinforcement bar” from the picture above already built in.

Jim Lentz, in a statement to customers (video below), also states that some Toyota dealerships will be open longer hours in order to get recalled vehicles fixed as quickly as possible, and some of those dealerships will be open 24 hours a day until the recall is completed.  Finally, Toyota is doing something right!  I applaud them for this effort, even as late as it is.

Those of you who have a recalled vehicle will be getting a notice in the mail in a few days, and if your car is unlucky enough to be involved in both recalls, Toyota will be trying to combine the two for you, both in notices and taking your car in to be fixed.

It’s good to see Toyota finally trying to get out in front of this mess, and their apparent priority change from in-production cars to cars already sold is definitely a welcome sight.  If you have a recalled car, please email me and let me know how it’s affected you, if you’ve experienced the cause of the recall, or if you get your letter and would like to share its contents with me and other readers (your personal information will of course remain private).

Message from Jim Lentz, President of Toyota Motor Sales in the U.S.:

Once again, the vehicles recalled for sticking pedals:

• 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
Those vehicles whose VIN numbers start with “J” are not affected by the recall.  J is the VIN country code for Japan, so vehicles built in that country are exempt.
by John Suit

Source: Toyota
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