Toyota Motor Corp. said Monday that it has a repair to stop one cause of unintended acceleration that has led to a recall of eight of its most popular vehicles.
The Japanese automaker has briefly stopped selling and manufacturing the vehicles and has recalled more than 4 million worldwide to fix the gas pedal problem. Toyota has also recalled cars because of a floor mat issue.
Here’s what owners of the affected autos need to know.
When can I expect to receive instructions on how I can get my gas pedal fixed?
Certified letters will start going out at the end of the week. But because the automaker has to contact millions of owners, Toyota said it would take some time to process and mail the instructions to all who are affected.
Customers who don’t receive a letter right away still should wait until they receive it to make an appointment. But if their vehicle exhibits symptoms of rough pedal action, a sluggish pedal return to idle or unanticipated acceleration, they should contact a Toyota dealer.
How do I schedule an appointment?
Don’t call Toyota’s toll-free customer service number. You need to call a local dealership. But Toyota wants you to wait for the certified letter, which will confirm that your car is included in the recall. Because there are so many cars involved, Toyota wants owners to have an appointment before arriving at a dealership to avoid a crush and long waits.
Will Toyota give me a loaner while my car is being fixed?
Toyota says that’s the plan, although in some cases dealers may be able to fix your car right away.
Do I need to go to a specific dealership to get the repair done?
Any Toyota dealer can perform the repair. Some plan to operate their service bays 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until the company gets the bulk of the repairs behind it.
What happens if I don’t hear from Toyota?
It may take a number of weeks to receive your notification letter. Many vehicles — including certain Camry, RAV4, Highlander and Corolla vehicles — are not included because their pedal comes from a different supplier. If a customer does not receive a letter at all, his or her vehicle is unaffected.
Which models are included in accelerator pedal recall?
Toyota stopped sales of the following models: 2009-10 RAV4, 2009-10 Corolla, 2009-10 Matrix, 2005-10 Avalon, 2010 Highlander, 2007-10 Tundra and 2008-10 Sequoia.
It also stopped sales of certain 2007-10 Camry sedans, depending on where those vehicles were manufactured; owners of Camrys, RAV4s, Corollas and Highlanders with vehicle identification numbers that begin with “J” are not affected by the recall, Toyota says.
Where can I find the VIN number on my car?
The vehicle identification number, or VIN, can be found by looking through the windshield for a black tag located on the driver’s side of the dashboard. The tag should be where the dashboard meets the windshield.
What if I have another Toyota brand?
No Lexus division or Scion vehicles are affected by this recall.
Also unaffected are Toyota Prius, Tacoma, Sienna, Venza, Solara, Yaris, 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, Land Cruiser, Highlander hybrids and certain Camry models, including Camry hybrids, all of which remain for sale.
What happens if I am not the original owner of the vehicle?
Toyota said you should visit www.toyota.com/recall/ to make sure your auto is on the list. If it is and you are not the original owner, call the automaker at (800) 331-4331.
What is the gas pedal fix?
Toyota said the problem was with a “friction device” within the pedals. The automaker plans to install a steel reinforcement bar into the pedal assembly to reduce friction.
When will Toyota start making the autos again?
Production of those vehicles, on six assembly lines in the U.S. and Canada, ceased Monday but will begin again Feb. 8, the automaker said. These cars will have the reinforcement bar installed as they move through the factory.
Wasn’t there another recall for the same issue?
Toyota is in the process of recalling vehicles to address rare instances in which floor mats have trapped the accelerator pedal in certain Toyota and Lexus models and is notifying customers how it will fix this issue.
Some vehicles are involved in both recalls. Toyota said in such instances it planned to make both fixes at the same time.
The floor mat recall affects the 2007-10 Camry, 2005-10 Avalon, 2004-09 Prius, 2005-10 Tacoma, 2007-10 Tundra, 2007-10 Lexus ES350, and 2006-10 Lexus IS250 and IS350.
It was recently expanded to also include the 2008-10 Highlander, 2009-10 Corolla, 2009-10 Venza, 2009-10 Matrix and 2009-10 Pontiac Vibe (manufactured by Toyota).
What should I do if I have an accident in a Toyota or Lexus vehicle that I believe may be related to unintended acceleration, or if I have other safety concerns?
Contact Toyota’s Customer Experience Center at (800) 331-4331.
You can also file a complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The federal agency’s Office of Defects Investigation has a hotline that is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST at (888) 327-4236.
You can file a complaint online at www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/.
What should I do if myself or a loved one were seriously injured in a Toyota due to sudden unintended acceleration?
You should contact a lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights.