3.8 Million Toyota, Lexus Recalled Over Floor Mats

09Avalon

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration issued a wide-ranging announcement late today that Toyota will recall 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles. The recall stems from faulty floormats that can become stuck under the accelerator pedal causing unexpected acceleration. The defect is suspected to be the cause of one recent fatal accident.

The recall includes the following models:

  • 2007-2010 Camry
  • 2005-2010 Avalon
  • 2004-2009 Prius
  • 2005-2010 Tacoma
  • 2007-2010 Tundra
  • 2007-2010 ES 350
  • 2006-2010 IS 250 and IS350

NHTSA suggests all owners remove the driver-side floormat from these cars immediately and not replace them with anything. Toyota has released a warning for owners including steps to take in case of an accelerator issue. We've posted the notice below.

Toyota Notice

Should the vehicle continue to accelerate rapidly after releasing the accelerator pedal, this could be an indication of floor mat interference.  If this occurs, Toyota recommends the driver take the following actions:

First, if it is possible and safe to do so, pull back the floor mat and dislodge it from the accelerator pedal; then pull over and stop the vehicle.

If the floor mat cannot be dislodged, then firmly and steadily step on the brake pedal with both feet. Do NOT pump the brake pedal repeatedly as this will increase the effort required to slow the vehicle.

Shift the transmission gear selector to the Neutral (N) position and use the brakes to make a controlled stop at the side of the road and turn off the engine.
 
If unable to put the vehicle in Neutral, turn the engine OFF, or to ACC. This will not cause loss of steering or braking control, but the power assist to these systems will be lost.

-If the vehicle is equipped with an Engine Start/Stop button, firmly and steadily push the button for at least three seconds to turn off the engine. Do NOT tap the Engine Start/Stop button.

-If the vehicle is equipped with a conventional key-ignition, turn the ignition key to the ACC position to turn off the engine. Do NOT remove the key from the ignition as this will lock the steering wheel.

In the event owners choose not to remove their floor mat, Toyota strongly recommends that they ensure that the correct floor mat is being used, that it is properly installed and secured, that it is not flipped over with bottom-side up, and that one floor mat is not stacked over another. Information on proper floor mat installation can be found on http://www.toyota.com and http://www.lexus.com.

Owners with questions or concerns, are asked to please contact the Toyota Customer Experience Center (1 800 331-4331) or Lexus Customer Assistance Center (1 800 255¬3987), or consult the information posted at http://www.toyota.com and http://www.lexus.com.

Comments 

LP

That's a lot.

Tim M.

I've never been a big fan of Toyota and seeing recalls for them usually gives me a little glee, but this is just asinine.

The instructions their giving should just be common sense to anyone, regardless of education. I just don't see how you could possibly be that ignorant of your vehicles interior layout/condition and drivability to let this condition occur. I've driven cars with badly secured or placed floor mats, it's readily apparent that something is wrong.

I'm sorry for the death, but having read about the incident, the guy panicked and if the situation gets to that point, none of these warnings will mean a darn thing.

I find it hard to understand how a floor mat jammed under the accelerator pedal could cause a fatality. There are a number of things that a motorist must be prepared to do instinctively, without lengthy analysis in an emergency -- kick the transmission out of gear, kill the ignition, apply the foot brake, and if that fails, apply the parking brake.

That said, other than reasons of saving a few pennies, I don't understand why automobile manufacturers haven't solved this problem decades ago. I've flown a variety of small aircraft -- fixed wing and helicopters -- where securing the back end of floor mats with a couple of nickel-plated snaps is a standard solution. If the vehicle operator has his/her heels on the floor while pushing pedals, the mat will inevitably tend to creep forward unless it is secured.

I'm glad it was not mine...

Frank

Good for Toyota for stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility. We all know it's the Chrysler and General Motors buyers who have jumped ship to Toyota who are struggling with how to install a driver's floor mat.

Doing the right thing

This was not a result of a lack of common sense. The reference fatality happened in a dealership loaner car. The mat gets wedged between the pedal and the floor so it appears that the pedal is unobstructed. If the brakes get pumped once or twice, you lose power assist and the brake pedal gets hard. Then the brakes overheat and they're useless. The parking brake is tiny and completely ineffective. There is no key and the engine start button "tap" is disabled anytime the car is in motion, though it can be overridden with a little known three second hold. Neutral is shown on the shift diagram immediately next to the manual sport upshift gate so people put it in the wrong position and at 120 mph, it doesn't take long before you've run out of time. RIP to the driver and his family.

That's a costly recall for such a basic item.

i agree it really is such a basic component, how could they get it so wrong is baffling...
vigorous safety checks is part of their product line checks - before they make is available to the public.

freethinker

Rental cars tend to have had their floor mats replaced with a rubber lining bolted to the floor.

Juan Carlos

I am glad over this if they went with this design in order to save a penny and give a big bonus to some big head honcho. serves them right! sad some people are no longer with us.

segfault

I've mentioned this in other threads here, but for many years, BMW has used an accelerator pedal design that pivots at the floor rather than under the dash. With that design, a stray floormat is not likely to engage the accelerator unless it's completely covering the pedal. If the floormat is moves up an inch or two over the bottom of the pedal, the force required to move the pedal that close to the fulcrum is so high that it probably wouldn't do anything.

I do not understand how a floor mat stuck "under" accelerator pedal could cause car to accelerate when you are supposed to push the pedal in or down to accelerate. In either case, whether under or over, if the accessory was sold by Toyota/Lexus then they should take it back and issue refund for selling the product. I do not believe dealers indicated that you can not stack carpeted mat and all season mat over each other at the time of sales.

Paola

I think many are confused at how the gas pedal was stuck in the on position, so to speak, by a floor mat... could somebody post some pictures of this car's pedals and the floor mat in the jammed position?

AJ

Juan Carlos: I think you have Toyota confused with the American brands. How could you be so cruel as to be glad over this? These people died because of a careless error. I wonder what the repercussions will be for the dealership.
BTW: How DID the mat cause the car to accelerate anyway?

glenn t. kell

I own a 2008 toyota 2008 trundra pickup truck,the power mirror control module night lighting is inoperative ,toyota refuses to acknowledge the fact that is none working.Very petty problem you say, how petty is floor mats and look at the end
results. national highway traffic safety association complaint file # 10277020,problem lies in the wiring harness,same harness also used on several other units that toyota produces ,,, a big problem waiting to happen

victoria

I own a 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix and I had my drivers side mat get stuck under my gas peddle when I was going to Sacramento awhile back ,I ended up somehow putting my other foot under the gas peddle and prying up to loosen the peddle .I feel that it doesnt matter what type of car you own it still can happen.

DL

the "First" line of instructions is interesting -- i'd like to see someone trying to reach down and adjust a stuck floor mat while his/her car is careening down the road at a high speed ... sounds like a reckless stunt maneuver to me.

applying the brakes may be dangerous if the car cannot stop, because the brake system will fail if the system heats up too much (most Lexus and Toyota are not exactly known for their athletics after the Supra was killed).

shifting into Neutral should occur first. this leaves the engine running to power the steering and brake vacuum, while the engine is just revving ... play out the scenario a few times in your mind and it will come naturally.

Erik

I belive this shows the intellegence of people who buy toyotas, they cant even figure out how to turn the car off or put it in nuetral....I hate floor mats for the sliding around. And ever one with loops and hooks has the hoop ripped through. I suppose people will have to live with ruining the carpet

toyota sales person

Ive been selling toyota's for 10 years and own them too. what happend to the (state policeman) and the others in the lexus is bad, but someone in that car should have had some common sense to know to ,shut the car off, or put it in neutral, the floor mats are not to blame, ive seen so many people come in with rubber matts over the factory matts to protect them, ur not supposed to do that. they will slide forward and push the peddle down. or they customer will unhook them from the clips in the floor. allowing them to slide forward.ive never had any problems with mine, i guess its because of common sense, something that people are lacking these days. Everybody wants to jump on the band wagon and blame someone else, or even sue because of their mistakes.

Lisa

This actually happened to me in my 1994 Grand Am. The floor mat went underneathe the pedal, thankfully I figured out what was wrong before an accident could of happened.

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