A brief guide to the problem with Toyota accelerator pedals on certain models that have resulted in an unprecedented global recall.

 

What is the cause?

 

Some accelerator pedal mechanisms may become worn over time. Toyota says that as a result of this wear - combined with certain operating and environmental conditions - friction in the mechanism may increase and intermittently result in the accelerator pedal being hard to depress, slow to return or, in the worst case, stick in a partially open position.

 

Are there any warnings that this condition exists?

 

Toyota says that in some cases, the driver may notice that the accelerator pedal is harder to depress or is slow to return. And in some cases, the driver may notice a rough or chattering feeling when depressing/ releasing the accelerator pedal.

 

The technical fix?

 

Toyota’s engineers have developed and  - Toyota says - rigorously tested a solution that involves reinforcing the pedal assembly to eliminate the potential risk of excess friction that could cause the pedal to stick.

 

Has Toyota already made changes that prevent the problem occurring in the vehicles it is building now?

 

In Europe, a running change in production has been implemented model by model since August 2009.

 

Does this mean that Toyota knew there was a problem? If so, why has it waited so long to instigate a recall?

 

Toyota says that the change introduced in August 2009 was a quality improvement. It was not introduced as a solution to a technical defect/problem which would require a Service Campaign or Recall. 

 

The change was made after Toyota 'became aware of rare cases where the accelerator pedal did not return to its idle position as swiftly as it ideally should'. Toyota says that these few cases 'did not represent any risk or safety concern', but Toyota still changed the accelerator pedal within the context of a running production change, 'with the intention of improving the quality of the product delivered to the customer'.

 

However, since the implementation of this change, Toyota says it became aware of new, different, but related cases of the pedal sticking. This led to further investigations and as a consequence, a safety recall has been implemented.

 

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