Breaking: Department of Transportation Investigating Toyota Electronics as Cause of Unintended Acceleration

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Breaking: Department of Transportation Investigating Toyota Electronics as Cause of Unintended Acceleration

The U.S. Department of Transportation has now said it will look into electrical issues as a possible source for the unintended acceleration of Toyota products. Toyota recently recalled 2.3 million cars and trucks due to pedals that stick or are slow to return and has since announced a fix for the problem that it says is mechanical, not electronic.

According to an unnamed Transportation official, interviewed by Automotive News, the Federal government’s investigation into the pedal issue will include a look at Toyota’s electronics.

Shinichi Sasaki, Toyota’s to man in charge of quality today repeated Toyota’s position that the problem was mechanical and not electronic. The maker of the supposedly faulty pedal, CTS Corp, has said that it does not believe the problem originates with its product.

The accelerator pedal recall affects 2.3 million vehicles in North America, including eight models: 2009-2010 RAV4, 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2005-2010 Avalon, 2007-2010 Camry, 2010 Highlander, 2007-2010 Tundra and 2008-2010 Sequoia.

This news come on the day that Toyota launched an advertising blitz in U.S. newspapers, with Toyota U.S.A. president Jim Lentz quotes as saying, “We have launched a comprehensive plan to permanently fix the vehicles we’ve recalled because in rare instances, accelerator pedals can, over time, become slow to release or get stuck. We know what’s causing this and what we have to do to fix it.”

Apparently the Feds aren’t so sure.

[Source: Automotive News]

  • DM

    Finally the real issue may be getting addressed. Keep the pressure on and the real issue might certainly be uncovered!

  • Jeff Finn

    . I own and drive a 2008 Toyota Camry V6 SE since December 2007; I now have 30,000 miles on the car.
    A few months after I had the car, I experienced a stuck throttle on the freeway going 70mph, it defiantly was the floor mat, it has slid forward and the edge was warped up and was on top of the accelerator pedal, I was very lucky. The car had been delivered to me without the two hold down clips. After this incident I went to the dealer and they had a whole drawer full of the hold down clips behind the parts counter and gave me them for free. This was before any media notification or mention from Toyota. Some reports in the media are not fully explaining the issues Cleary. Toyota first recalled the rubber winter mats that people put on top of the regular mats. Then Toyota recalled the regular mats…I still have them in my car, there is not a problem if the clips are installed. As part of this recall, Toyota will reprogram the Electronic control module (ECM) so that stepping on the brake will disable any command from the accelerator like on some European cars, like Volkswagen. Though it has been proven by Car and Driver magazine that as is, the brake is strong enough to override the gas pedal.
    Toyota was also going to come out with a slightly reshaped pedal to reduce the likelihood of the pedal getting trapped under a floor mat. They also said in the mean time you could take the car in to the dealer and they will shave down the pedal for more clearance. The current uproar over the CTS pedal confuses matters, is Toyota going to go forward with the plan for a slightly different shaped pedal, because I believe it is all the same part, that they a least for now want to install the shim. In the media it is mentioned that problems have been occurring since 1999 and 19 deaths, plus 2000 accidents. The CTS pedal has only been in use for Toyotas since 2005.
    I believe several problems are being lumped together. Some of those deaths and accidents are from the floor mat. Some could be from people having a senior moment and confusing the gas pedal for the brake pedal. The CTS pedal problem accounting accidents too. There may be some software problem we do not know about, and Toyota could easily hide any software fix by adding it too some other software upgrade like the brake pedal override. My car, the 2008 Camry V6 SE does not have the CTS pedal, it has Denso manufactured part, Toyota has a plant in Kentucky with two assembly lines, on assembly line installed just the Denso part, the other assembly line in Kentucky and the Subaru Indiana plant assembly line that makes cars for Toyota installed the CTS part. I previously had a 1998 Toyota Camry V6 LE (Dec. 2007) since new and drove it to 283,000 miles in ten years, it ran flawlessly all that time, never broke down.
    The quality control of Toyota in my opinion has slipped, as far as the Camry is concerned. There is a plethora of TSB’s (Technical service bulletins) on the Generation 6 Camry. Luckily I seem to have purchased a good car.

  • Chuck

    Finding an electronics problem will not be easy. If it’s hard to find then its also hard for it to occur.

  • Chuck

    It was shown that magnetic interference can cause false pedal data between pedal and ECM. You can see the test at empirepao.com

  • Marilyn

    Keep the pressure on…I KNOW this is electronic. My 2008 Prius still only has a floor mat recall (mine came with anchors already) yet my car has the acceleration problem…in a way that could ONLY be electronic. I had the cruise on and it was set for 68 mph…accelerated to 73 to pass a truck and next thing you know the car is at 93+mph. I tapped the brake to disengage the cruise, and nothing happened…I braked hard, still continued to accelerate…and had to turn cruise off at switch. Fortunately I was on a rural highway and had the luxury of time…and not approaching stopped traffic. My current workaround is to turn off the cruise whenever acceleration from cruise is required. The car has numerous other \issues\ but Toyota continues to assure me it is operating as designed. Finally this giant will get put in the same position as American automakers. Forced to keep drivers safe.

  • Don

    We have a 2000 Sienna XLE we bought new. In 2003, with cruise on and speed @ 70 mph, I accellerated a little to pass a car that suddenly wanted to stay right along side of me. Instantly it was as if the cruise was on \resume\ and it wanted to take me to 120 mph! After a second or two of panic, I checked to see if the floor mat was the problem (no), hit the brakes to shut off the cruise (no good), stomped on the accellerator pedal several times (felt normal but no reaction), turned off the cruise, and then repeated all of the above. I was getting ready to shift into neutral when the problem ended and we were back to normal driving mode. I left the cruise off the rest of the trip and took car to Toyota dealer next day. They could find no problem and a call to Toyota said no other problems had been reported so they had no clue! We still have the Sienna, drive it daily, and have never had this happen again. However, I do NOT use the cruise in traffic, or accellerate with it on. As far as I’m concerned it is cruise contol or fuel mechanism related. I have a 2007 Camry V6 – no such problem so far :).

  • John Scher

    Before I read some of the comments on the possible cruise control program, I thought about the cruise contro as a possible source of the problem and went on the internet to see if I could find any information. To my surprise, About.com Auto Repair had some very interesting information about the system components of cruise control and what can go wrong. There are several possibilities but one of the most obvious seems to be that the vacuum diaphram inside the actuator can develope a leak and leaking or broken vacuum lines are usually the cause of this problem. I’m assuming tyhat all the possible cruise control sytem components possible malfunctions have been thoroughly gone over by Toyota engineers but I learned long ago…nothing should ever be assumed.