Toyota Motor Corp. said today it will reshape or replace accelerator pedals on 3.8 million vehicles involved in the company’s largest recall ever.
The company said it will reconfigure the shape of accelerator pedals to cut down on the risk that they may be jammed in the floor mat. In addition, it will replace original equipment floor mats with redesigned mats.
The models involved are:
• 2007 to 2010 model year Camry
• 2005 to 2010 Avalon
• 2004 to 2009 Prius
• 2005 to 2010 Tacoma
• 2007 to 2010 Tundra
• 2007 to 2010 Lexus ES 350
• 2006 to 2010 Lexus IS 250
• 2006 to 2010 Lexus IS 350
In addition, Toyota will install a brake override system on the involved Camry, Avalon, and Lexus ES 350, IS 350 and IS 250 models “as an extra measure of confidence.” The system will shut off engine power if drivers press the accelerator pedal and brake pedal simultaneously.
The automaker said it will send first-class letters to owners of the Camry, ES 350, and Avalon by the end of the year. Owners of the five other models will be notified throughout 2010.
Early next year, dealers will be trained to reshape the pedal. Replacement parts shaped the same way as the reconfigured pedal will be available at dealerships in April, Toyota said. Customers who initially have their pedals reshaped may elect to have them replaced.
A former Toyota engineer who is now with automotive analysis firm Edmunds.com, said in a statement today that the solutions from the recall should work.
“Our tests have confirmed that an out of position floor mat can cause the throttle to stick because of the shape and geometry of the current gas pedal,” wrote Dan Edmunds who served as senior chassis development engineer for Toyota’s Technical Center before joining Edmunds.com as director of automotive testing in April 2006.
“Temporarily shortening and replacing the accelerator pedals are viable solutions to alleviate the problem,” Edmunds wrote.
Toyota, the world’s biggest automaker, announced the recall in late September, citing the risk that a loose floor mat could force down the accelerator, a problem suspected of causing crashes that killed five people.
Toyota has said it has confidence the problem is linked to floor mats and not a vehicle design flaw or problems related to braking, fuel or accelerator systems.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said discussions included “several vehicle-based” factors that may contribute to pedal interference and a driver’s ability to control and stop the car when the accelerator gets stuck.
Toyota has said that the cost of any related repair work have no effect on its business as the company has set aside nearly 500 billion yen ($5.6 billion) in provisions for recalls.