Toyota: It's a recall, but not really - - 5th Generation Camaro Enthusiasts
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post #1 of 4 Old 10-07-2009, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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Toyota: It's a recall, but not really

Toyota again trying to avoid the word RECALL.

Government study points up potential safety shortcomings in Toyota and Lexus models if accelerator sticks

As Toyota undertakes its largest recall ever starting with having 3.8 million owners remove the driver's side floor mats to keep them from jamming accelerators wide open, a government report from last year indicates many owners will likely have a terrible time trying to stop their cars in the event of a stuck gas pedal, fire or other emergency.

The report concerned National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tests on the Lexus ES 350, but the features it talks about can be found on some of the other six Toyota and Lexus models covered by last week's safety warning.

The report said Lexus ES 350 owners would need 150 pounds of force, five times the normal foot pressure, to halt their speeding car. They likely would have trouble finding the neutral gear in an emergency. And the three seconds needed to turn off the engine by continuously pushing the keyless power stop-start button, found on many Toyota models, "is not widely known by owners." The three-second requirement is not even mentioned in the owner's manual. Yet one out of 10 of Lexus ES 350 owners surveyed said that they had experienced an instance of the accelerator becoming stuck open by floor mats creeping underneath. See the whole report by clicking here.

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The government's findings led to a 2007 recall of the ES, but it didn't help an off-duty California Highway Patrol officer and three family members who were killed in August when their borrowed Lexus ES struck another vehicle at an estimated 120 miles per hour. Before they died, a passenger called 911 to say their accelerator was stuck and they couldn't shut the engine off.

The other interesting document was how Toyota's characterized the new recall covering seven Toyota and Lexus models in an official letter to the government this week. It's a recall, but not really:

"Although Toyota is willing to identify this campaign as a safety recall in the owner communication about the campaign, Toyota has not determined that the vehicles identified (as the ones that potentially have stuck accelerator problems) contain a 'safety-related defect' within the meaning of its federal safety laws," says Chris Santucci, a Toyota Motor North America assistant manager in the letter to NHTSA. See the whole document, which includes the models subject to recall, by clicking here.

Some owners may wonder what Toyota constitutes a defect if they ever have an stuck accelerator in their Toyota or Lexus. When the car's throttle is wide open, such as when the accelerator sticks, the vacuum that puts the power in power brakes "is reduced significantly," the 2008 report on the ES says. If the runaway vehicle goes around a sharp curve that causes the electronic stability control feature to activate, the braking power will return, but only during the emergency maneuver.

The markings for the neutral position on the automatic gear shifter were confusing, in close proximity to the "sport" upshift mode. Many owners said the position "was not immediately obvious." As for the power start-stop button, NHTSA's survey of 600 owners found "the button delay operation is not widely known" and "because of this, drivers found themselves unable to turn off the engine when the vehicle is in motion." NHTSA spokesman Rae Tyson says the button issue has been turned over to an outside committee of automotive engineers.

The three-second delay is a safety device itself, intended to keep drivers from accidently turning off their cars' engines while they are in motion, says Toyota spokesman John Hanson. But he said it's yet to be seen what comes out of Toyota's recommendations for a permanent fix.

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post #2 of 4 Old 10-07-2009, 04:31 PM
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Yeah they called them "Service Encouragement Bulletins" for a while...


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post #3 of 4 Old 10-07-2009, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
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IMO its a faulty gas peddle.

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post #4 of 4 Old 10-07-2009, 06:45 PM
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IMHO it's a faulty company.

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