Toyota Cars Recalled for Accelerator Problems

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Modified on 2010/02/28 23:10 by Darren A. Wilson
Toyota is one of the biggest car companies in America, selling over 2 million automobiles in North America in 2008. Toyota has a reputation for making products that are safe, reliable, and usually of a better quality than domestic brands.

Some, however, are alleging that Toyota is making cars with a serious design flaw in them, which may lead to fatal accidents. Most recently, there has been a problem with the accelerators in at least eight Toyota models, resulting in the recent recall of these Toyota models:

2009-2010 RAV4, 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2005-2010 Avalon, Certain 2007-2010 Camry, 2010 Highlander, 2007-2010 Tundra, 2008-2010 Sequoia

The problem is that since at least 2000, almost 20 motorists have died in car accidents caused when their Toyota's accelerator locked up, sending their cars speeding down the road with no braking ability. Various Toyota vehicles have been involved in this problem, including the 2002-2003 Toyota Solara, the Prius, and the Lexus ES300.

Since then, there have allegedly been over 2,000 reports of sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles that could not be stopped with the use of brakes. The situation gained more publicity in August 2009, when a California highway patrol officer and his family were killed due to their Lexus's sudden acceleration. This event caused Toyota to issue a public safety alert about the following vehicles:

2007-2010 Camry

2005-2010 Avalon

2004-2009 Prius

2005-2010 Tacoma

2007-2010 Tundra

2007-2010 ES 350

2006-2010 IS 250 and IS350

The public safety announcement was followed by a January recall of the products listed earlier.

Toyota at first claimed that the problem was due to the interference of improperly installed floor mats, which were jamming the gas pedal, and made a statement urging Toyota owners to put their floor mats in the trunk until the problem was further investigated. The floor mat theory had to be retracted, though, once it became apparent that there were still acceleration problems in cars where the floor mats were tucked safely in the truck.

Some people have suggested that the problem is caused by a malfunction in the car's electrical system, but there is no hard evidence to prove this as of now. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is working with Toyota to come up with an explanation for the malfunctions. Until then, here are some steps you can take if your car suddenly accelerates like this:

(1) Put your foot on the brake hard; don't "slam on" the brakes and risk losing control, but apply very firm, steady pressure, using both feet if you have to.

(2) Shift the car into neutral. Neutral is normally denoted by an "N" on the shifter.

(3) The car will slow and come to a stop while the engine is revving.

(4) Aim for a wide shoulder or other open area. Avoid vehicles and other obstructions. Once you are stopped, turn off the vehicle.

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