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Toyota And Lexus Recall: Everything You Need To Know Page 2

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Loose all-weather floor mat jams accelerator pedal. Photo: NHTSA

Toyota/Lexus Unintended-Acceleration Recalls Index:


September 29: Toyota Recall Affects 3.8M Prius, Lexus Cars

Toyota orders Lexus and Toyota dealers to inspect all cars for mismatched floor mats, after a fatal crash in Santee, California in late August and reports of unintended acceleration.

September 30 (update): Toyota clarifies that this is not yet a recall, just a safety advisory, and that Toyota is working on a system for floor-mat retention hooks.


October 7: Toyota's Answer To Deadly Floor Mats: Zip Ties!

Toyota instructs dealers on a system to keep floor mats in place—involving zip ties.


October 14: Stick Accelerator Strategies: Consumer Reports Tests Them

Consumer Reports tests stuck-accelerator strategies and concludes that the so-called smart-throttle technology that some automakers use quells most unintended acceleration concerns.

November 2: Toyota Floor Mats To Blame In Stuck-Accelerator Issue

Toyota declares that floor mats are to blame in cases of Toyota and Lexus unintended acceleration.


November 6: Toyota-Lexus Floor Mat Problem Is Now Officially A Recall

Recall of 3.8 million vehicles is now officially a recall, not a safety advisory.


November 25: Toyota To Shorten Then Replace 3.8M Accelerator Pedals In Safety Recall

Toyota recalls 3.8 million vehicles to replace accelerator pedals, and install an override system on vehicles with push-button ignition.


December 7: CR: 41 Percent Of Acceleration Complaints Involve Toyotas

CR analyzes NHTSA complaints and notes that 41 percent of "sudden acceleration" complaints involve Toyotas, even though market share was roughly16 percent.


January 12: Toyota Installing Brake-Override System To Counter Unintended Acceleration

Toyota says that it will fit a brake override system (smart throttle) to all of its Toyota and Lexus vehicles by the end of the year.


January 21: Toyota Issues Recall For Sticking Gas Pedal; Affected 2.3 Million Cars

The second major recall issue begins. Toyota recalls 2.3 million vehicles for a separate issue—sticking gas pedal mechanisms. About 1.7 million vehicles are affected by both recalls and 4.2 million are affected in some way by either one.

January 26: Toyota Stops Sales Production Of Stuck-Accelerator Cars

Toyota suspends U.S. sales and as well as production on models affected by the sticking-accelerator recall—reportedly after the U.S. Transportation Department had reminded Toyota of its obligation to do so.


January 27: Toyota Recalls Another 1.1 Million Vehicles, Brings Tally To 5.4 Million

Toyota adds another 1.1 million vehicles to the list affected by the original floor mat recall, bringing the total tally to 5.4 million. The number of those affected by the sticking gas-pedal mechanism recall remains at 2.3 million.


January 28: Redesigned Accelerator Mechanism In Production

Toyota advises that its parts supplier, CTS, is now producing redesigned accelerator pedal assemblies.


February 1: Toyota and NHTSA Shockingly Slow On Unintended Acceleration Issue

The New York Times reports that the slow response will be the subject of Congressional hearings.


February 1: Dealers To Start Fixing Gas Pedals This Weekend

Parts for the accelerator retrofit are being shipped, dealerships will be trained, and recall fixes will start by the weekend, Toyota says.


February 2: Older, Higher-Mileage Vehicles More At Risk

Toyota clarifies that although excess moisture causes the accelerator linkage to stick on affected vehicles, the issue can become more likely with age and wear.


February 8: Toyota Recall Already Denting Residuals, Resale Values

ALG and Kelley Blue Book have reduced Toyota residuals/resale values across the board, due to damage to the brand's reputation from the recalls.


February 15: Toyota-Hired Firm Finds No Problem With Electronic Throttle

Exponent, an independent firm hired by Toyota, is "unable to induce unintended acceleration" in test results of electronic throttles, which have been accused by some safety advocates to be related to the issue.


February 16: Toyota Recall: Ford, Honda, And Hyundai Gaining The Most

Ford, Honda, and Hyundai--but not GM and Chrysler--are getting the most of the market share that Toyota has lost so far due to the recall.


February 18: Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda Shifts Gears, Will Testify To Congress

Toyota's CEO, who had previously said he would leave U.S. officials to respond to federal hearings, decided to testify in person.


February 23: NHTSA Has No Software Engineers or EEs To Analyze Toyotas

The Washington Post observes that the federal agency completely lacks those qualified to inspect Toyotas for the issue, leaving them dependent on external consultants.


March 15: Toyota Sudden Acceleration: Is It All Older Drivers' Fault?

Data on Toyota sudden-acceleration complaints points that the bulk of incidents ending in fatalities have involved drivers age 61 to 80.


March 16: The Strange Saga Of Sikes And His Suddenly Accelerating Prius

San Diego's Jim Sikes, a bankrupt real-estate salesman, claims to have experienced his Prius accelerating out of control, starting another media frenzy.


March 16: With Incentives, Toyota Taking Back Its Market Share

After sales nearly grind to a halt in January and February due to all the negative publicity surrounding Toyota products, the company introduces its March Sales Event program, featuring its highest incentives ever. By mid-month, sales are surging.


March 19: The Punching Bag Hits Back: Prius Crash Was Driver Error, Toyota Says

Federal investigators find that one of the highest profile Prius unintended acceleration cases--of a driver in Harrison, New York, who hit a stone wall--appears to be the fault of the driver.


April 12: Toyota Creates Rapid Response System (For Public Relations Anyway)

Toyota becomes more proactive and aggressive in its PR tactics, reacting against Center for Auto Safety Clarence Ditlo and deploying more lobbyists to Capitol Hill.


May 4: Auto Safety Bill: Higher Fines, Black Boxes And...Brake Tests?

In the shadow of the Congressional hearings, freshly drafted versions of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010 include significant reform. Most notably, the Senate version requires minimum braking distances with the throttle open, proper spacing between the pedals, and standardized event recorders.


May 26: Death Toll From Toyota's Sudden Acceleration May Be As High As 89

NHTSA revises the figure on how many deaths have been potentially linked to Toyota's unintended acceleration issues, from 52 to 89. The agency's overall number of complaints regarding the issue has hit 6,200.


July 13: Drivers At Fault In So-Called Sudden Acceleration Toyotas, NHTSA Says

The Wall Street Journal obtains preliminary conclusions from NHTSA, unconfirmed, that point to drivers being at fault in many of the cases, with the brake pedal never applied in some.


August 6:  Six Months After The Recalls: Toyota Bruised, Lexus Less So

Experts think that Toyota has lost about 1.5 percent market share over the long run, as a result of the recalls.


August 10: Feds Clear Toyota On Throttle Issues, Steering Issue Remains

NHTSA releases a preliminary finding that it could find no evidence of electronic throttle control issues or electronic failure in Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles, and suggests that driver error had been to blame in many of the cases.


August 11: NHTSA: Toyota Electronics Have No 'Sudden Acceleration' Fault

In 35 of the 58 accidents that could be analyzed using black-box recorder data, the brake pedal had not been depressed at all, and 14 showed only partial braking.

TCC's Bottom-Line Advice: What if the accelerator sticks?

  • Manage priorities in those precious seconds.
  • Don't try to turn off the engine, don't try to lift the accelerator. Shift to neutral, then steer and brake to a safe pullout.
  • Think about exactly what you would do if the accelerator pedal does stick. Consult your owner's manual for tips.

And specifically from Toyota-- What to do if you experience a sticking accelerator while driving:

  • 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.

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