How Many Recalls Does It Take to Fix a Toyota?

So far, Toyota has launched five recalls to address what it claims are the only causes of unintended acceleration: sticky accelerator pedals and floor mats. And yet, these “fixes” have failed to fix some vehicles.

Since the recalls were announced in September, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received 97 complaints from owners who said they experienced one or more bouts of sudden unintended acceleration after the dealer performed the recall repair. Randy and Alice Whitfield of Quality control Systems Corporation have been downloading the complaints as they come in and are posting links to their complaints on their website:

http://www.quality-control.us/toyota_speed_control.html


Here’s a sampling of what’s out there (click on the ODI number to be taken to the original complaint record on NHTSA's site):

Make : TOYOTA Model : CAMRY Year : 2009

Manufacturer : TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION

Crash : No Fire : No Number of Injuries: 0

ODI ID Number : 10320920 Number of Deaths: 0

Date of Failure: March 18, 2010

VIN : 4T1BE46K39U...

Component: VEHICLE SPEED CONTROL

Summary:

MY 2009 TOYOTA CAMRY. UNTIL TODAY, I THOUGHT THIS MIGHT BE A BIG HOAX, BUT IT HAPPENED TODAY AT 2:55 PM ON MY WAY TO WORK. MY CAR ACCELERATED WITHOUT WARNING. I FORTUNATELY WAS ONLY TRAVELING ON A SIDE ROAD FOR A BRIEF MOMENT AND WAS ABLE TO HIT THE BRAKES AND SHIFT INTO NEUTRAL AND THEN STOP THE CAR. ABOUT 2 WEEKS AGO I HAD THE "RECALL" CORRECTION COMPLETED. NEVER HAD AN ISSUE PRIOR TO THIS "CORRECTION"


Make : TOYOTA Model : COROLLA Year : 2010

Manufacturer : TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION

Crash : No Fire : No Number of Injuries: 0

ODI ID Number : 10318746 Number of Deaths: 0

Date of Failure: March 9, 2010

VIN : 2T1BU4EE6AC...

Component: VEHICLE SPEED CONTROL

Summary:

2010 TOYOTA COROLLA ACCELERATOR WAS STUCK AT 40 MILES PER HOUR. JUST MISSED HITTING ANOTHER CAR ON THE ENTRANCE RAMP IN FRONT OF ME. THIS CAR WAS SUPPOSEDLY FIXED BY WESTBURY TOYOTA IN WESTBURY, NY ON FEBRUARY 9TH. THE CAR WAS BROUGHT BACK TO THE DEALER TODAY, MARCH, 10, 2010. WHERE THE DEALER TOLD ME THAT OWNERS ARE MAKING THIS WHOLE PROBLEM UP, AND TRIED TO CHARGE ME $100.00 FOR AN ELECTRONIC DIAGNOSTICS TEST ON THE CAR. HE ALSO REFUSED TO GIVE ME A LOANER CAR OR RENTAL CAR AT TOYOTA'S COST WHILE THEY CHECKED THE CAR OUT FOR A STCKING ACCELERATOR PEDAL PROBLEM BECAUSE THE RECALL "FIX" WAS ALREADY DONE ON THIS VEHICLE. OBVIOUSLY THE "FIX" DID NOT WORK AT ALL. I AM AFRAID TO DRIVE THIS VEHICLE BECAUSE IT COULD HAPPEN AGAIN WITH FATAL RESULTS.

Make : TOYOTA Model : AVALON Year : 2005

Manufacturer : TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION

Crash : No Fire : No Number of Injuries: 0

ODI ID Number : 10320417 Number of Deaths: 0

Date of Failure: March 14, 2010

VIN : 4T1BK36B45U...

Component: UNKNOWN OR OTHER

Summary:
I HAVE A TOYOTA AVALON (2005) THAT HAS BEEN IN TO TOYOTA FOR ALL THE RECALLS (FLOORMAT, ACCELERRATOR). ON MARCH 14, 2010 I WAS LEAVING A PARKING LOT WHEN THE CAR ACCELERATED AND I COULD NOT STOP IT EVEN BY PUTTING 2 FEET ON THE BRAKE. I STEERED THE CAR OVER TOWARDS THE CURB, JUMPED IT AND PUSHED THE IGNITION BUTTON WHILE BOTH FEET WERE ON THE BRAKE. THE CAR THEN STOPPED. I WAITED ABOUT 10 MINUTES THEN DROVE SLOWLY AND APPREHENSIVELY HOME. I CALLED THE DEALER FIRST THING MONDAY MORNING AND WAS UNABLE TO GET THE CAR INTO THE SHOP UNTIL TUESDAY MORNING. THE CAR REMAINS AT THE DEALER'S AS THEY ARE STILL TRYING TO RECREATE WHAT HAPPENED. I WAS TOLD THEY WERE TALKING TO KANSAS CITY AND CALIFORNIA. MY FEAR IS THAT NOTHING WILL BE FOUND, THEY CANNOT ASSURE ME THIS WON'T HAPPEN AGAIN. I AM VERY APPREHENSIVE AS I AWAIT THE OUTCOME. DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE?


Toyota, no doubt, has gotten many more such communications from their customers.

“What’s the number that might show that this is a failed experiment?” Randy Whitfield asked. “And it is a kind of experiment. It is based on a hypothesis that there are no electronic issues. These complaints seem to show that (the current recall remedies) are not the answer to all the problems these vehicles are experiencing with sudden unintended acceleration.”

While we parse that number, we ought to ask if the current remedy is making the problem worse. There is a subset in this group who report that they never had a sudden acceleration incident until after the service techs took out the reciprocating saw, hacked off their existing pedal and replaced it with another, smaller pedal. Could the vibration from the saw be jostling the electronics in the pedal assembly? Gosh, probably not. After all, Toyota is 100-percent certain that its super-duper robust electronics could not be the source of any problems. So, we’re going with “owners are making this whole thing up.”

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