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

October 7, 2009
Toyota's diagram showing how to properly install floor mats

Toyota's diagram showing how to properly install floor mats

In a move almost too strange to be fiction, Toyota is apparently advising its Toyota and Lexus brand dealers to zip tie loose floor mats to the seats in the 3.8 million vehicles affected by the recent safety recall. Of course, it's phrased much more eloquently than that.

"We have reviewed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration what we’re calling a semipermanent floor mat installation process, and we’re providing these instructions to our dealers," Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons told Automotive News.

The "plastic wire ties" obviate the need to turn out a whole new fastening system for the mats and vehicles, allowing Toyota and Lexus dealers to continue selling new and used inventory.

Dealers are instructed to secure the floor mats to the driver's seat frame with zip ties. A label is then attached to the zip tie warning dealers and customers alike that the mat is now tied to vehicle, and not to stack other mats on top of the now semi-permanent mat.

If you have one of the following vehicles:

  • 2007-2010 Toyota Camry (sedan)
  • 2005-2010 Toyota Avalon (sedan)
  • 2004-2009 Toyota Prius (hatchback)
  • 2005-2010 Toyota Tacoma (pickup truck)
  • 2007-2010 Toyota Tundra (pickup truck)
  • 2007-2010 Lexus ES350 (sedan)
  • 2006-2010 Lexus IS250 and IS350 (sedan)

it is subject to the recall and may face repair by the "zip tie" method.

Whether customers are expected to return to the dealerships should the mats need to be removed for any reason, and if they'll be charged for "reinstallation" isn't clear. The "fix" has been circulating out to dealers around the country since last Friday.

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

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

It's certainly a fairly sure-fire method to keep the mats from encroaching on the gas pedal, and low-cost and resourceful at that, but you have to wonder how Lexus owners in particular will feel about a key aspect of their safety coming down to a pair of plastic zip ties.

Perhaps it will become a "feature" for the 2011 model year: the Lexus Wire Tie Floor Mat Retention System.

[Auto News - sub. req.]

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