Toyota Owners ~ This Could Save Your Life

By
Real Estate Agent

 

The recent Toyota recall for accelerator problems is massive. 

Some owners are not sure if their cars are included or not.  In the past recalls have occurred in many cars and models.  A recall is usually only good for one repair.  In other words if the problem re-appears the car company generally will not fix it again.

  • Several Chevrolet recalls come to mind.  Our Chevy Silverado truck had a recall for a "hard" or sticking gas pedal.  It was fixed by Chevy only to return a couple of years later.  The second malfunction is not covered.


The Toyota recall is very scary. 
Most drivers will panic if the accelerator becomes stuck and they cannot slow down the car. 

  • Please review these steps and memorize them.  Discuss them with every driver in your household especially young or inexperienced drivers.


IN THE EVENT YOUR ACCELERATOR STICKS

As soon as you detect any abnormal acceleration - do not wait - take immediate evasive action

  • Remain calm 
  • Do not slam on your brakes!!!!
  • Do not shut your engine off!!!!
  • Shift your transmission into neutral  Your car can no longer gain speed as the power has been disabled to the wheels.
  • Turn on your 4 way flashers or hazard lights


If you experienced an accelertion abnormality you should still be able to use your foot brake to slow your car and stop it once it is in neutral.

IN THE EVENT OF BRAKE FAILURE

  • Do not shut the engine off!!!!

  • Shift into neutral

  • Engage 4 way flashers

  • Try to apply your parking brake gently


The easiest parking brake to use is a hand or lever brake. 

  • Apply firmly but slowly.
  • Don't jerk it all the way on in one motion.
  • Increase pressure as the car begins to slow down. 
  • Look for a parking lot or a place to safely coast into or stop.

The most important thing - do not panic - in either event get the car in neutral fast.

 

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Rainer
76,706
Mike Sparks
The House Company Galveston Texas - Galveston, TX
Galveston Island Real Estate

Good advice,, mainly it's hard not to panic though, but always remember to just shift to neutral.  I wonder what the drivers of Toyota Corolla's do though that experience steering that is unresponsive?  Pray?

Feb 22, 2010 06:17 AM #1
Rainer
65,518
Patrick Scott
OConnor Title Guaranty, Inc. - Chicago, IL

Every automatic I have ever owned also has 3rd, 2nd and 1st gears also.  On slick winter roads, I often use the lower gears in progression from 3rd, to 2nd, and finally to 1st, to slow to a near-stop without skidding.  Semi trucks, I believe, refer to it as 'engine breaking'.  I don't know how well this would work while the pedal is stuck, as the gears would be engaged.  But you can't go all that fast in first gear.

Feb 22, 2010 07:17 AM #2
Rainmaker
244,734
Bonnie Vaughan
Scranton, PA
CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin

Mike,  I am not sure about that defect. Get the car stopped fast is my best advice.  I had a problem with a car one time where it lagged after making a turn.  I forget what the problem was now but it was fixed.  Had something to do with the power steering box.

I did hear that Toyota pulled some slight of hand by recalling cars for improper floor mats instead of owning up to the real problem. 34 people lost their lives.  I wonder how many died after Toyota made the phony recall?  The hearings should be real interesting because these internal docs were just revealed.

We rely too much on computers to run these cars.  Almost like having Hal take over.

Not sure about you, but I will never ever consider having a Toyota in my driveway.  They have lost all credibility to me.

 

Feb 22, 2010 08:53 AM #3
Rainmaker
244,734
Bonnie Vaughan
Scranton, PA
CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin

Patrick,  from what I have heard when this happens the car accelerates rapidly to over 100 mph.  From my personal driving experience ( and I am an experienced semi driver) getting that car into neutral immediately is critical to stopping it. It is a shorter distance to coast from 50mph than it is 100mph.

Not to knock women, but most have never done much more then gone from park to drive.  Going to neutral is only one click.  Someone not familiar with their transmission might waste valuable time trying to figure it out.  On my car I have to move the selector down and to the side to get to "manual" side of the transmission.  Mine is on the floor.

I use the lower gears on an automatic in bad weather as well.  Especially with anti-lock brakes it gives you added control.  I hate anti locks on bad roads.  I'm thinking of installing a kill switch on my car to disable them. 

 

 

Feb 22, 2010 09:04 AM #4
Rainmaker
228,006
Gene Wunderlich
1st Action Real Estate - Murrieta, CA
Realtor & Legislative Liaison

I own one of the Toyota's in question and have not had a problem (I'm still here, knock wood) and will get it in when I can. If the engine is racing you can't downshift but you should shift immediately into neutral. Your motor is going to race like mad and may eventually blow itself out but you'll still be alive. Don't shut the motor off because that will also shut down your power steering and brake assist and you'll be equally screwed. I had this happen in a Ford van several years ago and somehow had the presence of mind to shift to neutral and start stomping on the gas pedal. After about 3 or 4 stomps whatever was binding it up let loose and I drove immediately to the dealer. As in most threatening situations, if you keep a cool head you will survive. Thanks for the tips.

Feb 22, 2010 11:34 AM #5
Ambassador
891,536
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Car and Driver did a test, and even in VERY high horsepower cars, the acceleration can be controlled by the brakes... if the brakes don't fail.  I'm not convinced that there aren't other issues on the toyotas, but panic is the biggest danger. 

C&D Article

Feb 22, 2010 02:21 PM #6
Rainer
65,518
Patrick Scott
OConnor Title Guaranty, Inc. - Chicago, IL

Gene, you CAN'T downshift?  I'm just asking.  I don't have a Toyota.  It jst seems to me that, while neutral is the logical first step, and if the brakes aren't cutting it, the lower gears will do it if it's not a lot of bother to get into low gear.  Again, I haven't driven every kind of vehicle, so I don't know really how all are set up. 

Feb 22, 2010 05:24 PM #7
Rainmaker
244,734
Bonnie Vaughan
Scranton, PA
CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin

Gene,  Excellent information.  You are right about keeping a cool head. 

Feb 23, 2010 05:47 AM #8
Rainmaker
244,734
Bonnie Vaughan
Scranton, PA
CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin

Lane,  I have been watching the testimony today and the history of Toyota's action or inaction.  I think there is much more to this problem. I'm skeptical that these so called fixes are actually addressing the problem.

One woman reported she depressed the gas pedal to merge onto a highway.  The pedal depressed all the way on its own, and she was rocketing down the road at 100mph.  As inexplicitly as it started - it stopped by itself.

Toyota conducted a test with an outside firm on only 6 Toyotas and Lexus and determined no malfunction existed.  Not a very comforting sample.  That test is flawed as far as I'm concerned.  Since 34 people died and many many others were injured or survived the occurrence, that sampling is laughable. 

I understand some of the wrecked cars and affecgted ones still exist.  Those are the ones that need to be examined.

When you are trying to find causation you hire a re constructionist and an engineer to look at the actual vehicles.

Feb 23, 2010 05:56 AM #9
Rainmaker
244,734
Bonnie Vaughan
Scranton, PA
CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin

Patrick,  during the testimony today one person stated they could not downshift.  The tried to put it in reverse and a lower gear and it would not go.

One person said she put the car in neutral and that did not stop it.  She is the same one who said it corrected itself miraculously.  Shifting into neutral depending on the road, whether it is level or downhill, may not show an immediate result.  She still heard the engine racing, perhaps she did not realize the wheels were actually slowing down.  Unless you could reconstruct the circumstances exactly it is difficult to say what result using neutral may have had.

I'm going to hazard an uneducated guess here.  It maybe that the built in computer safe guards prevent the  transmission from engaging when the rpms are at a certain level to protect the transmission.

In the case of a semi - unless your rpms are within what is called operating range, the gears will not mess and engage.  You can't engage the gear no matter how hard you jam the gear lever. This prevents you from using a gear that is not designed to handle those rpms.

The testimony I just heard from Toyota indicates they STILL are not sure what the problem is.  This is not comforting if you own a Toyota.

Feb 23, 2010 06:09 AM #10
Ambassador
891,536
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

IF what they are saying is true, there is a serious software issue.  I'm not convinced that the victims are correct in their memory, but I am leaning towards a software issue anyway.  Toyota will NOT want to admist a software problem.  They can't blame that on an outside supplier. 

Feb 23, 2010 12:10 PM #11
Rainmaker
244,734
Bonnie Vaughan
Scranton, PA
CNE SFR - Buyers/Sellers - Lackawanna & Surroundin

Lane, One theory I heard was something about electro magnetic interference. One large Toyota dealer in the Maryland area said they have never had one of these cars in for repair. It would be interesting to note what states were involved and where exactly these occurences took place.

I don't think Toyota knows right now what to repair

Feb 23, 2010 02:49 PM #12
Ambassador
891,536
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Bonnie, I think that toyota WANTS to make repairs, and they know that they can't "not" make repairs... so they are doing something.  But I think that when it is all said and done there will be a few software issues that will surface, as well as some panicked drivers. And lawyers that can see the lawsuit lottery.

And remember Audi didn't have any real problem... the problem came down to driver error, but it devastated the company in the US for years. 

All that said, there should be a throttle closure when the brakes are applied.  Several other manufacturers do it, but Toyota hadn't.

Feb 24, 2010 01:01 PM #13
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Bonnie Vaughan

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