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2010 Toyota Vehicle Recalls

Two separate but related recalls of automobiles by Toyota that occurred at the end of 2009 and start of 2010.

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If you can't stop a car with a jammed accelerator, you shouldn't be driving.

  • Feb 3, 2010
  • by
Rating:
-3
First, I think Toyota have done absolutely the right thing in recalling vehicles and ceasing sales - this underlines their commitment to safety and desire to maintain their reputation. Clearly, it's an expensive decision (and judging by Fight Club, I suspect most major manufacturers would just pay for the lawsuits), and I hope it doesn't have a long term impact on their sales. Audi had a similar problem a few years ago and their sales never really recovered.

Toyota's responsible approach is starkly contrasted by the federal agency involved. It's really thrown a spanner in the works (that hopefully doesn't get lodged under the brake pedal) with an alarmist "don't drive" reaction. This was completely unnecessary, and one wonders how much is motivated at keeping Toyota sales down to help US car makers (ooo, conspiracy theorists unite). If we all stop driving cars due to infinitesimally small risks, then there would be no vehicles on the road.

Finally, I'm actually shocked that in the tiny, tiny chance of a stuck gas pedal that so many people don't know what to do. Are drivers so disconnected from the mechanics of the machine that they can't take avoiding action? Is the driving test too easy or has nobody ever driven stick? Have modern cars kept us so abstracted from what's really going on that if the cruise control button fell off, we'd just keep going in a straight line forever? For anyone who doesn't know, if your gas pedal is jammed: (1) use the brakes with both feet, (2) move into neutral and (3) turn off the ignition. This shouldn't be a life-threatening event (unless you're texting or smoking pot).

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February 23, 2010
I just gotta say the comments are very helpful. Thanks.
 
February 14, 2010
Duh, turn off the ignition? That's what happens when you have to look up everything on the computer instead of figuring it out for yourself. It's called the dumbing down of America. I was driving the company car once and the engine quit thus locking the steering wheel while we were on a curve and there was a Mack truck in the lane outside of me and I couldn't even honk my horn. I didn't die. I figured it out.
February 14, 2010
Scary but true. Your story proves that common sense is (1) a life-saver and (2) not that common!
February 15, 2010
Another time the brakes went out on my Datsun. No one had ever told me how to pump up hydraulic bakes or even that my Datsun had them, but the first thing I tried saved me.
 
February 11, 2010
Hey, you drive in California, half the drivers are on something or cellphoning. How can you spend 30 seconds talking to a 911 operator who only wants to know where you are!
February 14, 2010
That's a fact. I saw someone reading a book the other day while driving on 101 - the first and only time I've ever called 911 on someone for dangerous driving. Some of the drivers in Cali not only lack driving skills but also the basic instincts of self-preservation.
 
February 09, 2010
Good article ! Panic is the biggest threat. Hitting the brakes hard when needed and gently turning the ignition switch OFF AND ON will prevent steering wheel lock up, loss of power steering and braking and maintain the momentum needed to maintain control until the vehicle can be safely stopped. Unfortunately this mechanical presence of mind is not well developed in individuals whose driving experience has been with automated vehicles. Emergency response should be part of all driver training programs.
 
February 05, 2010
Actually, for a while, Toyota was paying out instead of bringing the issue to light, until the situation became too big to be contained. And as far as Toyota "doing the right thing" and being responsible, it seems that the only reason they're taking any action is because they have been forced to. In this December 2009 article from the LA Times, it is shown that Toyota knowingly refused recalls, settled out of court on several cases to keep them out of the media, and repeatedly denied the real cause of the accidental acceleration in exchange for cheaper fixes to the problem. http://articles.latimes.com/2009/dec/23/busi...ota-secrecy23-2009dec23. I'm guessing they're wishing they had really done "the right thing" to begin with now that they're almost 2 billion dollars in the hole, by some estimates. For the record, I am NOT a domestic automaker enthusiast, so I have no hidden agenda, I drive a Mazda. But I do have a problem with companies choosing cheaper solutions over the lives of their customers!
February 05, 2010
I think Toyota would argue that they didn't know the extent of the problem and didn't find the second diagnosis until later, but I take your point and that's an interesting LA Times piece. I suspect most of these companies would probably settle a few lawsuits than face a recall. The policy of using the same parts across an entire range of products, which I remember was extolled in business school as manufacturing genius, seems somewhat catastrophic when one of those parts has a fatal flaw! Mazdas are great little machines...
 
February 05, 2010
great review, and great points - thx!
 
February 04, 2010
I totally agree! Yes, Toyota took a while to determine the proper course of action, but so would any major company with billions at stake. They do need to do something and their current solution may not even be the correct one, but EVERYONE should know how to stop a car with a stuck accelerator as it can happen to ANY CAR! ABC and Consumer Reports released a video recently demonstrating what to do in this situation that everyone should watch. The only thing I don't agree with you 100% on is turning off the ignition. I would not do that until I had successfuly pulled the car over as shutting off the ignition will cause a loss of power steering and power braking. Unfortunately, I think you are right that most people are completely disconnected from even a basic mechanical understanding of the 3200 lb piece of heavy machinery they take way too much for granted every day. And we are talking about Toyotas here which has quite possibly become the epitome of the appliance car brand. I'm pretty sure more people died from the flu last year than people have died from a stuck accelerator in their Toyota. A lot of this is Chicken Little behavior. Nader would be proud.
February 04, 2010
Thanks! Absolutely - I should have made that clearer. Don't shut off the engine until you're stopped!I like the phrase "appliance car brand" - very apt. It's scary to see how this story is developing in the sense that it could potentially put Toyota out of business.
 
February 04, 2010
I agree with you that Toyota has done the correct thing. I don't agree that those who can stop a car using heroic measures are safe. I imagine myself on the Massachusetts Turnpike during rush hour in the left hand lane, realizing in some way that the brake pedal does not work. One way to get the brake to work is by putting both feet on the brake pedal? A twenty-car pileup would probably result. Those of us who believe that we could not complete that maneuver safely are VERY happy that Toyota drivers have the option of a newly designed brake device. I hope that all car companies are that careful.
February 04, 2010
The problem wasn't brakes that wouldn't work ... it was an accelerator that was stuck.
February 04, 2010
Hi there - the brake problem on the Prius is a different issue, but I was referring to the gas pedal recall. In the gas pedal problem, head for the brakes. Hopefully one car doesn't have both the gas pedal and brake problem! Incidentally, in the brakes problem: "consumers allege a momentary loss in braking during brake applications while traveling over an uneven road surface, pothole or bump in the roadway." Obviously this is dangerous but it's not a total loss of braking for more than a fraction of a second.
 
February 04, 2010
Excellent review with some very salient points. Toyota is doing the right thing while the government overreacts. It is simply not possible to erase all risks in this world.
February 04, 2010
Thanks! Don't the safety police just drive you crazy?!
 
February 03, 2010
YES AT YOUR HEADLINE!  This was never a good situation for Toyota, but they didn't need Ray LaHood to step in and scare the bejesus out of everyone either. Toyota already started their own recall months ago, but the Department of Transportation admitted that they had to put a lot of pressure on Toyota for the current massive recall. 

They also didn't need LaHood to tell everyone to stop driving their recalled vehicles, yet to take them to the dealership ASAP.  That's causing undue alarm.  I've been driving my recalled car for nearly 3 years now just fine.  I want to know how many car accidents have happened that were directly related to this issue.  Now opportunists who crash their recalled Toyota or Lexus are going to blame it on the car. 
February 03, 2010
Thanks - I couldn't agree more. The lawsuits from this are going to go on for years. Drivers need to be reminded that driving is inherently a dangerous activity - you're sat on a 15-gallon bomb most of the time. As a parallel, my Honda CR-V has a oil filter position that's alleged to cause engine fires, according to a class action lawsuit I was apparently part of. Honda settled for around $8,000 per vehicle owner if they had had any sort of engine fire. Potentially, it's the same sort of risk as the jammed pedal, but CR-V sales just kept rolling on...
February 03, 2010
I was thinking about the Honda parallels to this, too, but of a different case. Apparently, the electronics for the rolling windows of certain Honda Fits can catch fire and explode or something like that, and one person actually died from this. You'd think that would be bigger news than this sticky gas pedal thing. Maybe this is a conspiracy!
February 03, 2010
Absolutely. Those roller motors were the same ones used in the plane that didn't crash into the Pentagon because it was actually en route to the tax haven of Atlantis being driven by Elvis. Of course, they'd never shut down the US car giants like this since they masterminded the Kennedy assassination in between genetically modifying corn to make us buy their cars. It's all true.
February 03, 2010
Sorry, I just LOL'ed IRL.  Speaking of genetically modified corn, have you ever seen King of Corn?  @PeccatorImpius just wrote a review about it.  I watched half of it online last night and it almost makes me wanna go vegan.... Almost.
February 03, 2010
:-) I haveen't seen King of Corn, but I'll check out the review and update the Netflix list (providing https is *really* secure and not just being used a front to finance Cuba).
February 03, 2010
...I'll take my chances :P  Here's the link on truveo if you just want to watch it online ;)
 
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Quick Tip by . February 03, 2010
I've been driving my recalled Toyota just fine for almost 3 years. Now I'm suppose to stop driving it altogether?
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Two separate but related recalls of automobiles by Toyota Motor Company occurred at the end of 2009 and start of 2010. Toyota initiated the recalls, with the assistance of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, after several vehicles experienced unintended acceleration. The first recall, on November 2, 2009, was to correct a possible incursion of an incorrect or out-of-place front driver's side floor mat into the foot pedal well, which can cause pedal entrapment. The second recall, on January 21, 2010, was begun after some crashes were shown not to have been caused by floor mat incursion. This latter defect was identified as a possible mechanical sticking of the accelerator pedal causing unintended acceleration, referred to as Sticking Accelerator Pedal by Toyota. The original action was initiated by Toyota in their Defect Information Report, dated October 5, 2009, amended January 27, 2010.  Certain related Lexus and Pontiac models were also affected.

As of January 28, 2010, Toyota had announced recalls of approximately 5.2 million vehicles for the pedal entrapment/floor mat problem, and an additional 2.3 million vehicles for the accelerator pedal problem. Approximately 1.7 million vehicles are subject to both.  The next day, Toyota widened the recall to include 1.8 million vehicles in Europe and 75,000 in China.  By then, the worldwide total number of cars recalled by Toyota stood at 9 million.
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