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Toyota Has More Troubles Than Just Sudden Acceleration

7 comments

The Safety Record is reporting about Toyota’s mounting troubles that go beyond the sudden acceleration problem that is potentially caused by floor mats interacting with the accelerator pedal.

Last month, Toyota launched its largest recall in the company’s history for all-weather floor mats that may entrap the accelerator pedals after four died in a Sudden Unintended Acceleration (SUA) crash in California; the company is currently under investigation for a severe rust problem with Tundras; and litigants are clamoring for what’s in those four boxes of documents that former corporate attorney Dimitrios P. Biller — who has accused Toyota of destroying evidence in rollover cases — dropped off at a federal courthouse in Texas.

Toyota has recalled the floormats of 3.8 million vehicles — including the Camry, Lexus, Avalon, Prius, Tacoma and Tundra. This massive recall was in response to the tragic California sudden acceleration crash that killed a California Highway Patrolman, Mark Saylor, along with his wife, daughter and brother-in-law.

… [T]he National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ["NHTSA"] has tied the fatal crash to the one outstanding Toyota SUA investigation still open at the Office of Defects Investigation. NHTSA has been investigating SUA complaints in Camry, Tacoma, Sienna and Lexus vehicles since 2003. Ten of those investigations were closed after a finding of accelerator pedal interference — from an unsecured accessory floor mat or an interior trim panel — or closed with no conclusion.

Not all Toyota owners believe the sudden acceleration problem is tied to the floor mats. At least one Toyota owner, Jeffrey Pepski, experienced a sudden acceleration problem without the all weather floor mats and was able to pull the accelerator up with his foot, yet the Toyota continued to accelerate out of control.

"I was trapped in a runaway vehicle," Pepski recalled. "I was able to push down on the accelerator as well as push up the accelerator with my foot. If the floor mat had been the cause, I would have dislodged it and the acceleration I was experiencing would have gone away and that didn’t happen."

How can you protect yourself if your Toyota vehicle is running out of control? If you have a push button start/stop, you must press and hold the stop/start button for three seconds. After three seconds the engine should shut down. However, many Toyota and Lexus owners are not aware of the additional time needed to shut down the engine in an emergency situation.

You could also shift the vehicle into neutral. However, the "gated shifter", which has a series of detents to separate the gears can make it difficult to find the neutral position in an emergency. Other manufacturers — such as BMW and Audi — have safety programming that will automatically shift the vehicle into neutral if the car detects the driver attempting to accelerate and brake at the same time. However, Toyota and Lexus have chosen not to implement such a safety feature.

Lacking the return-to-idle featured, braking a Toyota or Lexus requires much more force and can result in significant brake fade or loss, particularly during long duration SUA events.

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"Toyota has already hinted that it is looking into more substantive fixes beyond the floor mats," says Safety Research & Strategies President Sean E. Kane. "I suspect that when Toyota does implement a fix it will likely include software updates to address the on/off ignition delay and the brake-to-idle issue."

In addition to the sudden acceleration problem, Toyota is facing issues concerning a rust/corrosion issue in Toyota Tundras, deaths caused by relay rod failures in Toyota trucks and literally boxes of documents dropped at the courthouse steps in Texas by Toyota’s former in-house counsel.

Toyota owners must be aware of these potential safety problems and take extra precautions with their vehicles. If you own a Toyota or Lexus, contact your dealer or representative to stay updated on recalls and other safety information.

You can also learn more about vehicle defects and safety at our web site.

Learn more and become a fan of Langdon & Emison on Facebook.

7 Comments

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  1. up arrow

    Here is another great exemple of how the American press just gives lip service to the foriegn auto companies.Just alittle news about there cars problems but if it were the big three it would be front page news for weeks with the people killed and how they were trying to cover it up.HOW about doing a real story and bring Toyota to the front about there cover up.

  2. Joel Benson says:
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    should I buy a 2010 Toyota Prius?

  3. Curtis says:
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    SHOULD YOU BUY A NEW PRIUS? YES AND TAKE A CROSS COUNTRY TRIP WHILE YOU’RE AT IT. DUH!

  4. John Miles says:
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    I own two 2010 Priuses and love them. It is unfortunate that Toyota is not fully implementing the safe brake system into it’s full line of vehicles but I also feel that the deaths could have been easily avoided if the driver had not panicked. The vehicle does have a “neutral” position and I am sure the brakes were still operational at the time of the crash. Never forget the first rule in an emergency – DO NOT PANIC.

  5. Brett Emison says:
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    The Toyota brakes are not robust enough to stop the vehicles when the engine is accelerating out of control. In an emergency situation it is difficult and confusing for drivers to stop the vehicle. All Toyota owners should review my post on what to do if you experience a sudden acceleration event. My post refers to some very helpful advice from a test driver at Consumer Reports.

  6. up arrow

    Toyota has had serious vehicle problems for over a decade now. How is it that Toyota can get away with blaming the owners for known engine problems? Ask any engine oil sludge victim to tell you how serious (and dangerous) this Toyota malady is!

    I’ve been following the engine oil sludge matter for nine years—yes, nine years now! I first exposed a link on the Toyota Financial Services website about this problem in auctioned vehicles. Toyota removed that link in less than 48 hours later.

    I exposed this problem on Edmund’s Town Hall and was immediately banned by the administrator. However, over 5,000 postings resulted on that site after my departure. I’ve been dogged by Toyota supporters online for years as they have attempted to deter my postings about the engine oil sludge problem.

    Toyota has denied an inherent engine problem. The NHTSA allowed them to send a letter to the owners asking them to do proper oil changes. In the meantime, engines have failed in the wake of better than recommended oil changes! Serious incidents have occurred on highways with this problem, too. One woman’s Sienna caught fire and almost killed her—it did kill her two show dogs!

    The NHTSA or some *effective* agency with appropriate resources needs to monitor Toyota’s follow through. We, the buying public, are at risk, IMO. Toyota’s tactics are below the belt, I feel, and I am far from alone in this opinion. There are now over 3,000 who have signed the Toyota Engine Oil Sludge petition. The Toyota engine oil sludge YouTube video is being viewed around the world.

    Someoone needs to call Toyota to task. Someone needs to make Toyota take responsibility for its defective vehicles. What is happening is unconscionable!

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    Mat causing the stuck Toyota (Lexus) accelerator? Hardly! This is yet another way for Toyota to blame the owner. Is there any major vehicle defect where Toyota will not blame the owner? Take a look at the “Toyota Owners Unite for Resolution: Engine Oil Sludge” online petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/TMC2003/petitio… . There are over 3,000 petition signatories already yet Toyota says that only 3,200 people had the sludge problem? Gross underestimation? Of course!

    Toyota’s major safety issues are being blamed on the drivers of its vehicles! This is a low blow by a company! Talk to the owners who have experienced non-deployment of the Toyota air bags (if they are not DEAD!) and see what they have to say about safety issues in Toyotas!

    Take a look at the YouTube video entitled “Toyota Engine Oil Sludge” at http://www.youtube.com/watch… which has been up for only a couple of months but has gotten almost 3,000 views. Go to the “Toyota Oil Gel” web site at http://www.toyotaoilgel.com to see what one Toyota owner has put together.

    Next, read http://www.uc2.blogspot.com to fine out how one Toyota dealership treats an owner who wished to exercise his freedom of speech rights. Name-calling, flattening of tires, threats, and even attempts to run over the protesting Toyota owner are just some of this Toyota dealerships tricks to dealing with a dissatisfied customer!

    Toyota—SHAME on you for trying to once again incriminate the Toyota owners—and DEAD ones at that!! You need to confess about your quality issues and resolve the current and former issues that Toyota owners had had to face over the last few years!! Stop the facade—stop the blame game—stop the FRAUD!!