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Toyota Recall: Older, Higher-Mileage Vehicles More At Risk

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2005 Toyota Avalon XLS

2005 Toyota Avalon XLS

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Toyota's recent recall for an issue that might lead to a sticky accelerator pedal covers about 2.3 million vehicles going all the way back to 2005. But is the owner of a 2005 Toyota Avalon with 150,000 miles more likely to experience this as, say, the owner of 2010 Toyota Corolla fresh out of the showroom?

The short answer is yes. Today, Toyota did clarify for TheCarConnection.com that this is an issue that becomes worse (and more likely) with time as well as wear, so the issue would be more likely in older or higher-mileage vehicles. And in a release the company says: "Due to the materials used, wear and environmental conditions, these surfaces may, over time, begin to stick and release instead of operating smoothly.  In some cases, friction could increase to a point that the pedal is slow to return to the idle position or, in rare cases, the pedal sticks, leaving the throttle partially open."

Yesterday, in a conference call with reporters, Toyota Motor Sales president and COO Jim Lentz, along with Toyota's VP of product quality, service and support, Bob Waltz, explained that excess moisture in closely spaced components within the accelerator linkage (those used to provide the resistance "feel") creates a binding affect due to surface tension—much like you'd experience between two wet glasses—causing the accelerator to fail to return to idle.

Toyota officials said that because the issue didn't involve any actual mechanical failure it has been difficult to diagnose and replicate, as it would only recur under very specific humidity and temperature conditions.

Lentz also clarified yesterday that in most cases the throttle has remained open at about 15 percent—not the full-throttle situation that people with the unrelated pedal-entrapment issue have experiences—so it's been easier to stop the vehicle.

Toyota retrofit fix for sticky-throttle recall

Toyota retrofit fix for sticky-throttle recall

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Beginning late this week, Toyota dealerships will begin installing a retrofit shim—termed a "precision-cut steel reinforcement bar" by the company—to bring a smoother accelerator feel and eliminate the chance of sticking. Already-owned vehicles will have priority over those on dealer lots, the company says.

Meanwhile, Toyota is resuming production of affected models next week with a new accelerator-linkage design.

Here's the list of models affected by the sticking accelerator pedal recall:
2005-2010 Avalon
2007-2010 Camry (some, and not Hybrid models)
2007-2010 Tundra
2010 Highlander (except Hybrid models)
2009-2010 Corolla
2009-2010 Matrix
2009-2010 RAV4
2008-2010 Sequoia
2009-2010 Pontiac Vibe

For a timeline on the recent Toyota and Lexus recall, along with what to do if you have a stuck accelerator, visit our index-- Toyota And Lexus Recall: Everything You Need To Know.

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Comments (21)
  1. Still waiting for them to announce that there was an electronic problem as well ......
     
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  2. Great, just when I was thinking my 99 Camry was OK, its not.
     
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  3. Some Toyota exec was on NPR yesterday. Terri Gross grilled him on whether current customers can get the new design instead of the "fix" and he kept dodging "we'll consider it on a customer by customer basis" and eventually clarified to "It's between the customer and the dealership to negotiate"
     
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  4. makes sense that older vehicles are more likely to be impacted - particularly if this does have to do with material issues (wear and tear). however, continue to wonder whether "software" or "electronic stuff" is at fault.
     
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  5. I still think Toyota is hiding a lot of the details. There are just too many vehicles this is happening too. I smell a huge cover up between Toyota and its suppliers.
     
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  6. I'm sorry, call me stupid, but I just don't understand the diagram. Apparently the "reinforced shim" keeps the pedal teeth from engaging as fully in the complementary teeth of the fixed part?
    There's GOTTA be a better inforgraphic than this to explain what the hell is going on here.
     
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  7. There has to be more to this story. For instance, why did Toyota have a solution it was so sure of, almost right away. It had to have been thinking about this even before the recall.
     
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  8. Wow, I didn't realize that the recall had to do with potential for the accelerator to stick... that would just be freaky.
     
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  9. seems to me that this is no voluntary recall, i think someone made an offer to toyota they couldnt refuse...
     
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  10. What about all the out-of-control Lexus and Prius?
     
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  11. I agree that the before/after drawing is not clear at all. Someone needs to write a good engineering article showing the issue and fix. Then the auto engineering community can have at it.
     
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  12. Certainly this could happen to any automaker. What is troubling about Toyota is the cover up-this problem is 5 years old??? So much for consumer loyalty-it wasn't the beautiful design of the cars that appealed to drivers-Toyota and Lexus make ugly cars.
     
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  13. It does not matter if car is old or new. A young man in my area had a 08 Avalon with sudden acceleration and he ran into his apt building with his son in the back seat. They were not hurt and insurance agreed to pay to fix his building. From what I have read Toyota has known about this problem since 1999 til now especially with the early camry models.
     
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  14. Not liking "The Fix". It seems that 2 cent metal shim placed at the top of the gas pedal is the answer. Also Seems like a cheap way to get people off their back. But will it solve the problem? Any vehicle problems after the fix will be covered up for years. Maybe they can use the same shim to fix the prius brake issue.
     
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  15. 1997 toyota tacoma=315000 miles and 2002 highlander with 200000 miles.Between these 2 vehicles I had to replace a starter on the tacoma and a front caliper on the highlander plus normal wear items.515000 trouble free miles.I'm going to keep driving them.
     
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  16. I drive an '02 Toyota Camry. While backing out of a parking space- I had to return to the space as a car came around the corner rather suddenly....when I pushed the gas pedal to return forward I SHOT forward and smashed two vehicles and kept going!! I had to turn off the motor to get the car to stop accelerating! To this day...I did not know what happened! I have also noticed a rapid acceleration at times when I did not push the pedal that hard. Hmmmmm...think I will get this checked.
     
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  17. Hmmm, seems the problem lies with the introduction of the electronic throttle which go back, I read, as far as 2002 Toyota Camry/Lexus.
     
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  18. Hey Pam, do you realize how stupid you sound. I bet you still drive a toyota too. Must be blonde.
     
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  19. I believe you are right Pam. Almost the exact same scenario happened to me about 6 months ago, was driving an '03 Camry. Our local dealer has offered to do the same "fix" to the car, however he would CHARGE us for it as it's not on the recall list. I pretty much loathe Toyota at this point.
     
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  20. Trisha: Yeah, there are pictures and a complaint posted on another website by a Camry owner with almost the same situation.
    As for you, easyrider - FYI: I am a nationally published writer with an active membership in Mensa AND I consider your post to be a violation of this site's Terms of Use.
     
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  21. I SEE THE SCION XA IS ALMOST LEFT OUT OF THESE SO CALLED ACCIDENT'S. WELL MINE TOOK OFF AND AS HUMAN NATURE WILL TELL ANYONE TO DO MY HUSBAND LOOKED DOWN FOR A SECOND OR TWO AND ENDED UP INTO A POWER POLE AND NOW HAS A COMPRESSION FRACTURE OF THE T-12 SPINE, BADLY DAMAGED LUMBAR,KNOCKED HIM OUT AND BRUSED HIS STOMACH ALL ACROSSED WHERE THE SEAT BELT WAS AND IT WAS SWOLLEN SO BAD IT WAS JUST SO SAD TO SEE HIM VERY STRONG WHEN HE LEFT HOME AND COME HOME AND COULDN'T EVEN GET OUT OF BED BY HIMSELF. HE JUST HAD TO SLEEP IN A RECLINER FOR ABOUT A MONTH. DON'T THINK THE SCION XA'S ARE NOT DEFECTIVE BECAUSE THEY ARE. I DO SEE SOME REPORTS OF THEM BUT I GUESS THERE ARE NOT AS MANY OF THOSE ON THE ROAD AS THE LEXUS OR PRIUS I DON'T KNOW BUT IT WILL KEEP HAPPENING, I KNOW THEY HAVE A BRAKE RECALL AND DON'T THINK THE GAS PEDAL'S ARE NOT DEFECTIVE, THEY ARE JUST AS BAD AND THE OTHERS! HE IS STILL NOT DOING WELL AT ALL WITH A BROKEN SPINE AND BADLY DAMAGED LUMBAR STILL TO THIS DAY AND THIS HAPPENED DEC 28,09 AND HE'S BADLY HURT. I'M PISSED AT TOYOTA THEY KNEW THESE CARS WERE DEFECTIVE AND SOLD THEM ANYWAY AND THAT'S A FACT! I JUST THANK GOD THAT IT DIDN'T KILL HIM OR LEAVE HIM IN A WHEEL CHAIR FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE..OK I'M THROUGH.. : {
     
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