The Toyota safety recall -- your questions answered
Every day seems to bring a new recall by Toyota as the news wires fizzle with more speculation and reports of more problems. In Ireland seven Toyota models are being recalled (see panel) for a possible problem with the accelerator pedal. Let's deal with that issue first
1. What exactly is the problem?
There is a possibility that certain accelerator pedal mechanisms may, in rare instances, mechanically stick in a partially depressed position or return slowly to the idle position.
2. What is the cause?
Some accelerator pedal mechanisms may become worn. As a result, friction may increase and result in the accelerator pedal being hard to depress, slow to return or, in the worst case, stick in a partially open position.
3. Are there any warnings that this condition exists?
The driver may notice the accelerator pedal is harder to depress or is slow to return. In some cases, the driver may notice a rough or chattering feeling when depressing/releasing the accelerator pedal.
4. Have there been any accidents reported as a result of this problem in Europe?
Toyota says it has had no reports of any accidents caused by this issue in Europe.
5. Who will be responsible for carrying out the recall work?
Qualified technicians. There is no cost to the customer and the vehicle's warranty will not be affected.
6. Has Toyota already made changes that prevent the problem occurring in the vehicles it is building now?
Yes, they have made a running change in production to the models involved from August 2009.
7. Have there been accidents or injuries reported in Ireland?
There have been no reported accidents or injuries. In Europe 26 incidents have been recorded, but no accidents. Toyota insists the recall in Ireland is precautionary.
8. But I have heard about crashes in America?
Toyota has two separate issues in America. The first is the same as the European problem: a sticky accelerator pedal.
The second is that floor mats have become loose and have trapped the accelerator pedal.
The second issue has caused incidents but is only happening in American models. These incidents in the US are currently under investigation.
However, it should be noted that loose or ill-fitted floor mats in any make or model of vehicle can cause an accelerator pedal to become trapped.
9. I own one of the vehicles on the list. What should I do?
Toyota will write to you confirming all the details. Once you receive your letter you should contact your local Toyota dealership and make a booking. If you have any further questions or concerns you can contact the Toyota customer help line on 01-4190222.
10. Should I carry on driving my Toyota before it is fixed?
Absolutely, it is only in extremely rare cases that the pedals may develop this problem.
It is not a sudden problem, it is a wear and tear issue and may be progressive over many months.
11. And what about the Prius? I hear the car has problems with the brakes?
The recall is being taken in response to reports of inconsistent brake feel during slow and steady braking on bumpy or slick road surfaces when the ABS is actuated.
It will entail a change to the ABS management program of the vehicle's Electronic Control Unit (ECU) in order to improve response time and the system's overall sensitivity to tyre slippage.
The specific software change has been communicated by Toyota Ireland to its dealers, and the procedure will take around 40 minutes using standard test equipment which is in use at all authorised Toy- ota dealers in Ireland. This recall for the Prius only effects 58 cars.