Toyota is replacing accelerator pedals on recalled vehicles for owners who are unhappy with repairs. The move follows complaints by some Toyota owners that their vehicles have experienced incidents of unintended acceleration even after repairs were made.
Over the past several months, Toyota has recalled more than 8 million vehicles around the world because of issues with sudden, unintended acceleration. The problems have been blamed on defective floor mats and sticking accelerator pedals. In addition to seeing its reputation for quality and reliability damaged, Toyota has been criticized for taking too long to respond to and disclose this serious safety issue.
In the U.S., five deaths have occurred in auto accidents involving the unintended acceleration of a Toyota or Lexus vehicle. Last August, a California Highway Patrol trooper and three members of his family were killed in such a crash in San Diego County, just south of Orange. At least 47 other fatalities over the past decade alleged to be the result of Toyota unintended acceleration crashes are currently being investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In January, Toyota told dealers to begin installing a small metal bar on vehicles recalled for sticking accelerator pedals. That was intended to keep condensation from forming inside the pedal assembly, which the company said could cause the pedal to become stuck.
But recently, questions were raised as to whether that fix was working. Earlier this month, we reported that the NHTSA had received around 60 complaints from Toyota owners whose vehicles had undergone the fix claiming that it hadn’t resolved issues with sudden unintended acceleration.
According to a report in The New York Times, a company document shows Toyota has told dealers to provide replacement accelerator pedals to owners unhappy with repairs. The memo was originally dated March 2010, and was reissued on Thursday with the part numbers for the replacement pedals and the procedure dealers should follow, the Times said.
The Times said the memo directed dealers to provide replacement pedals only if customersâ€™ cars had already been repaired, and the owners had asked for them. “Accelerator pedal replacement is based on specific customer request only,â€ said the memo. â€œDealers are not to solicit pedal replacement.â€
A spokesperson for Toyota said the company had agreed with the NHTSA to provide the pedals as part of its recall. â€œThere have been cases where the pedal feel was not satisfactory to the consumer or the dealer. In those cases, a new pedal has been put in,” the spokesperson said.