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 |  Feb 03 2010, 1:59 PM

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With Toyota insisting that it’s safe to keep driving your recalled car, while other folks advise against it, owners are no-doubt confused about risking the trip to the office or finding another way to get around. Toyota insists the instances of sticky accelerator pedals are rare, but if you do choose to keep driving you recalled Toyota, you should know what to do in case you do experience, “unintended acceleration.”

In case of unintended acceleration or a sticky gas pedal, follow the five steps below:
1. If you need to stop immediately, the vehicle can be controlled by stepping on the brake pedal with both feet using firm and steady pressure. Do not pump the brake pedal as it will deplete the vacuum utilized for the power brake assist.

2. Shift the transmission gear selector to the Neutral (N) position and use the brakes to make a controlled stop at the side of the road and turn off the engine.

3. If unable to put the vehicle in Neutral, turn the engine OFF. This will not cause loss of steering or braking control, but the power assist to these systems will be lost.

4. If the vehicle is equipped with an Engine Start/Stop button, firmly and steadily push the button for at least three seconds to turn off the engine. Do NOT tap the Engine Start/Stop button.

5. If the vehicle is equipped with a conventional key-ignition, turn the ignition key to the ACC position to turn off the engine. Do NOT remove the key from the ignition as this will lock the steering wheel.

Once the vehicle is safely stopped, contact your local Toyota dealership to make an appointment to have the recalled part fixed.

The Recall for sticking accelerator pedals affects 2.3 million cars and trucks including: the 2009-2010 RAV4, 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2005-2010 Avalon, 2007-2010 Camry, 2010 Highlander, 2007-2010 Tundra and 2008-2010 Sequoia.

 |  Feb 03 2010, 1:00 PM

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Just hours after Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood advised Toyota owners affected by the recent recall to “stop driving” their cars, LaHood has retracted his statement. LaHood made the comments earlier today appearing before a heading into the recalls.

“What I said in there was obviously a misstatement,” said LaHood. The DOT is now urging owners to contact their local dealership to have the problem fixed as soon as possible.

Toyota currently has two major recalls, the first being a floor mat entrapment issue for 5.5 million vehicles, and the second is a sticking gas pedal recall for 2.3 million vehicles.

Toyota recently announced a fix for the 2.3 million recalled models, which include the 2009-2010 RAV4, 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2005-2010 Avalon, 2007-2010 Camry, 2010 Highlander, 2007-2010 Tundra and 2008-2010 Sequoia. The automaker has insisted that the recall is due to a mechanical fault, however, the DOT has now said it will look at the possibility that unintended acceleration is related to electronics and not a mechanical issue with the pedal.

In a statement Toyota said that, “We appreciate Secretary LaHood’s clarification of his remarks today about Toyota’s recall for sticking accelerator pedals. We want to make sure our customers understand that this situation is rare and generally does not occur suddenly. In the rare instances where it does it occur, the vehicle can be controlled with firm and steady application of the brakes. Our message to Toyota owners is this – if you experience any issues with your accelerator pedal, please contact your dealer without delay. If you are not experiencing any issues with your pedal, we are confident that your vehicle is safe to drive. Nothing is more important to Toyota than the safety and reliability of the vehicles our customers drive. Our entire organization of 172,000 North American employees and dealership personnel is working around the clock to fix the accelerator pedals for our customers.”

For more information on Toyota recalls, visit the automaker’s new recall website:

http://www.toyota.com/recall/

 |  Feb 03 2010, 11:53 AM

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If you are currently driving a recalled Toyota model, you shouldn’t be, says Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (above). In a statement given at a House Appropriations subcommittee on transportation, looking into the recent Toyota recalls, LaHood told owners to, “stop driving it. Take it to a Toyota dealer because they believe they have a fix for it.”

Toyota currently has two major recalls, the first being a floor mat entrapment issue for 5.5 million vehicles, and the second is a sticking gas pedal recall for 2.3 million vehicles.

LaHood urged owners of recalled cars to contact their dealer and, “exercise caution until repairs can be made.”

Toyota recently announced a fix for the 2.3 million recalled models, which include the 2009-2010 RAV4, 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2005-2010 Avalon, 2007-2010 Camry, 2010 Highlander, 2007-2010 Tundra and 2008-2010 Sequoia. The automaker has insisted that the recall is due to a mechanical fault, saying in a statement that:

“After many years of exhaustive testing—by us and other outside agencies—we have found no evidence of a problem with our electronic throttle control system that could have caused unwanted acceleration. Our vehicles go through extensive electromagnetic radiation testing dynamically. We have our own test facility in Japan, we are also building one in Ann Arbor. The testing examines microwave radiation and every other type of magnetic wave and we have never been able to force our systems to fail through any of the tests that are done on them. There are many redundancies and fail safes that are built into our system.  If the accelerator pedal and the throttle on the engine don’t match in their communication to each other the throttle returns to an idle position.”

The U.S. Ministry of Transportation has also been investigating electronic throttle issues and unintended acceleration issues on Toyota and Lexus vehicles for years but has never been able to find a problem.  The Ministry of Transportation, has now said it will look at the possibility that unintended acceleration is related to electronics and not a mechanical issue with the pedal.

For more information on Toyota recalls, visit the automaker’s new recall website:

http://www.toyota.com/recall/

[Source: CNBC]

 |  Feb 03 2010, 10:54 AM

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The Japanese Ministry of Transportation has now asked Toyota to investigate its new third-generation Prius model after complaints from owners of potentially faulty brakes. This news comes as Toyota currently has recalls out for millions of vehicles (not including the current Prius) which are mostly for two separate recalls. The first recall for 5.1 million vehicles is for floor mats that can cause the accelerator pedal to stick, while the second is for 2.3 million vehicles where Toyota has now said that over time the accelerator pedal could become stuck or slow to return to its “off” position.

In the sticking pedal recall, Toyota has said that the issue is mechanical and not electronic, but some individuals have refuted that claim and, most recently, Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, commented publicly that his 2010 Prius suffers from unintended acceleration that is caused by the car’s software.

Toyota has admitted to receiving complains about braking issues in the Prius and a quick look at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, returns 102 complains, most of which cite a loss of braking ability when driving on rough roads. One complainant says she was injured in a crash when the brakes on her Prius failed. The Japanese transportation agency has on record 14 reports of braking-related complains with the Prius.

Toyota’s Prius does not use the same pedal mechanism as found in the other recalled models, but rather uses a more complex system of regenerative braking to recharge the onboard battery. Such regenerative brakes feel much “grippier” than traditional brakes.