Is Toyota’s Recall Fix Working?

Some Toyota owners whose vehicles have already had accelerator pedals modified or floor mats replaced have begun complaining that their vehicles suddenly accelerated, according to a report in The Los Angeles Times. The new complaints are raising fears that Toyota has yet to address the real reason behind its recent problems with sudden acceleration.

Since September, Toyota has recalled nearly 8 million vehicles worldwide for issues involving unintended acceleration. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has now received more than 2,000 complaints of sudden, unintended acceleration with Toyota and Lexus vehicles that involve more than 50 deaths and hundreds of accidents since 2000. Toyota has blamed the problems on faulty floor mats and defective accelerator pedals, but some believe a problem with the vehicles’ electronic throttle control system is behind the problems.

According to The Los Angeles Times, the NHTSA has received seven new complaints in the last two weeks from Toyota owners alleging that their cars surged out of control after they underwent recall repairs. In addition to these complaints, several others in the NHTSA database reported unusual vehicle behavior, such as errant check-engine lights, after the recall service, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The newly filed complaints claiming recurring sudden acceleration include incidents involving the Avalon, Camry and Matrix. Those models are currently being given new brake override software as part of the recall, along with the Lexus IS and ES, the Times said. The brake override software is designed to automatically reduce the engine to idle when both the brake and the accelerator are depressed. Last week, Toyota said it would also add that upgrade to the Venza, Tacoma and Sequoia.

According to the Times, some safety experts are concerned that the brake override software may in fact cause more problems by adding a new layer of software to the system.

Such brake override systems could eventually become standard in all U.S. automobiles. According to a report in USA Today, Secretary of Transportation,. Ray LaHood, told a congressional committee yesterday that the NHTSA is considering making brake-override systems mandatory for all cars.

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