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Toyota Floor Mat Safety Recall: My Prius Goes On Notice

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Third-gen Toyota Prius test drive

Third-gen Toyota Prius test drive

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You're well aware that Toyota is recalling the 2004-2009 Prius--among a list of vehicles--for an issue with floor mats. Here at High Gear Media, we have at least two vehicles affected by the recall, both 2004 Toyota Prius hatchbacks, both even the same shade of blue.

One of them's mine, and in the nearly six years we've owned our Prius, it's been relatively fault-free. Early on, we replaced the navigation screen under warranty. Two accidents cost about $3500 each, though they were parking-lot scrapes--the price of very light wheel spindles, suspension A-arms and lots front-end plastic.

Every car company has recalls, and Toyota is no stranger to them. This recall has some unfortunate related deaths, and it's also been an ongoing, growing recall for a few years. While Toyota says there's no evidence the floor mats are to blame, it's expanding the list of affected vehicles in the hopes of getting ahead of what could be an even worse calamity for families, as well as the company. And in the meantime, while it works on a solution, Toyota's released an interim solution involving zip-tie fasteners, making sure that mats would be held in the proper position.

In the meantime, the company's sent out letters to owners of the affected vehicles, which include:

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

The letter includes the hedge that "this defect does not exist in vehicles in which the driver side floor mat is compatible with the vehicle and properly secured," but it does offer advice to all owners of the vehicles in question. Namely, to remove all floor mats from the driver's side until the issue is resolve, and to learn how to shut down their vehicles in case of an accident. We're betting thousands of Prius and Lexus owners never knew that holding down the "Start/Stop" button was the equivalent of a reboot--but now, we do.

So if you're among the 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus owners affected by the recall, but you haven't received a letter, here's mine in text and PDF--with wishes for safe driving:

Toyota Floor Mat Recall, 11/2009

___________________________________

Certain 2004 through 2009 Model Year Prius
Potential Floor Mat Interference with Accelerator Pedal
Safety Recall Campaign (Interim Notice)

Dear Toyota Owner:

This notice is being sent to you in accordance with the requirements of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. Toyota has decided that a defect which relates to motor vehicle safety exists in certain 2004 through certain 2009 model year Prius vehicles. The defect is 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. Toyota has determined that this defect does not exist in vehicles in which the driver side floor mat is compatible with the vehicle and properly secured.

Toyota is currently developing a campaign remedy and will notify you when it is ready. In the meantime, we are providing important information regarding the issue and steps you may take in the interim.

What is the risk?
A stuck open accelerator pedal may result in very high vehicle speeds and make it difficult to stop the vehicle, which could cause a crash, serious injury or death.

What will Toyota do?
We will notify you again as soon as a campaign remedy is available for your vehicle.


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Comments (7)
  1. So they are developing another campaign remedy aside from zip ties?
     
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  2. This problem is really kind of farcical; how does one end up with the wrong floor mats installed from the dealer? How can it come "unsecured" if the design of the securing mechanism isn't faulty?
    Anyway, glad to see Prius owners paying attention. Now if only we could get them to do it in traffic :P
     
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  3. @toy: The permanent solution: Redesigned accelerator pedal, it would appear.
    @greedo: Dealers will throw any old shit in there that covers the floor & makes 'em lots of money. Don't have proper Toyota mats? Buy something at Pep Boys & charge $99 for "appearance package". Crooks, all of 'em.
     
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  4. another thing for the wimpy prius owners to worry about...
     
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  5. Yeah, so what's the real remedy in this, and what's really been happening. And what about THE REST OF THE WORLD...where the same vehicles are sold, right? Is it just U.S. mats???
     
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  6. The famous liability case here involves the San Diego CHP Officer who crashed his loaner Lexus IS350 sedan with his family onboard, killing all four of them. His dealer incorrectly installed a floor mat from a particular Toyota SUV on top of the sedan's regular mat. It apparently got stuck up and under the car's accelerator and he couldn't stop the car. It eventually crashed and burned after hitting an SUV. He didn't think to push the car's 'Start' button for 3 seconds-that would've stopped the car's engine and he could've pulled the car out of harm's way. No doubt that's kind of tough to do when your Lexus is accelerating up to 80-90 and 100+ mph on crowded California streets, eh? His dealer should be sued up the ying-yang for this and Toyota says they're working on a solution to this, too, indeed they're not off-the-hook by any stretch of the imagination. Sad and tragic case, though.
     
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  7. Sounds like Toyota and the dealers need to get a little closer from a communication stand point so the mats are installed properly for the consumer. Also-to the dealers-are you taking consumers through the systems in the vehicles?
    They did when I bought my Lincoln MKX.
     
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