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Consumer Alert: Toyota and Lexus Vehicle Recalls

Consumer Alert: Toyota and Lexus Vehicle Recalls

By Jeff Youngs, February 24, 2012

2010 Toyota PriusOwners of Toyota-manufactured vehicles, whether or not subject to recall, are encouraged to visit the automaker's Web site or call their dealer for assistance. Toyota has made information on its current recall programs available at www.toyota.com and www.lexus.com. In addition, owners with questions or concerns are asked to contact the Toyota Customer Experience Center (800-331-4331) or Lexus Customer Assistance Center (800-255-3987).

Over the past several months, the media has inundated consumers with stories about trapped floor mats and sticky throttle pedals producing reports of unintended acceleration, brake system software problems, and most recently potential electric steering issues on millions of Toyota and Lexus vehicles. While there are many rumors and misconceptions as a result, the facts are that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched two major recalls centered on vehicles manufactured by Toyota Motor Corporation-the automaker that manufactures Toyota, Lexus and Scion models and, in a joint venture with General Motors Co., the Pontiac Vibe. In addition to the NHTSA recalls, Toyota Motor Corporation has voluntarily recalled a number of its Toyota Prius and Lexus HS 250h vehicles to address problems with the braking system on those vehicles.

The Toyota, Lexus and Pontiac Floor Mat Recall
In October 2009, the NHTSA launched a recall campaign (09V-388) notifying Toyota and Lexus owners about potential conditions that could lead to unintended acceleration. The recall was designed to prevent the driver's floor mat from trapping the accelerator pedal, thereby resulting in high vehicle speeds and the potential for a crash. As early investigations pointed to problems with unsecured or incompatible driver's floor mats interfering with the accelerator pedal, the NHTSA and Toyota (the manufacturer of Toyota, Lexus and the Pontiac Vibe, a mechanical clone to the Toyota Matrix) warned vehicle owners to immediately remove-and not replace-all driver-side floor mats.

The following models are affected by the Floor Mat Recall:
Toyota has been working closely with the NHTSA on the matter and is educating consumers via its Web site (www.toyota.com/recall) about the proper way to stop a vehicle with a stuck accelerator pedal.

According to Toyota, in the event that the vehicle should continue to accelerate rapidly after releasing the accelerator pedal-a possible indication of floor mat interference-it is recommended that 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 brake, pull to the side of the road, 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.
  • After braking is initiated, 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 you are unable to put the vehicle in Neutral, turn the engine OFF, or to ACC (back one notch). 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.


2010 Toyota Matrix XRSThe Toyota and Pontiac Accelerator Pedal Recall
Shortly before the end of 2009, the NHTSA expanded its investigation into other possible causes producing unintended acceleration in Toyota-produced models. One area of focus was the electronically-controlled accelerator pedal.

In January of 2010, the NHTSA launched a recall campaign (10V017000) directed at Toyota accelerator pedal mechanisms that may become hard to depress, slow to return, or stuck in position. The automaker also halted sales of certain models until a repair or replacement parts were available. As was the case in the floor mat recall, the Pontiac Vibe (a mechanical clone to the Toyota Matrix) was also recalled.

The following models are affected by the Accelerator Pedal Recall:
According to Toyota, in the event the vehicle should continue to accelerate rapidly after releasing the accelerator-a possible indication of a stuck pedal-it is recommended that the driver take the following actions:
  • 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 (one notch back). 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 (one notch back) to turn off the engine. Do NOT remove the key from the ignition as this will lock the steering wheel.


2010 Lexus HS 250hThe Toyota and Lexus Anti-lock Braking System Recall
In February of 2010, Toyota Motor Corporation announced its third major powertrain-related vehicle recall in the past several months-this recall was for faulty anti-lock brake software in Toyota Prius and Lexus HS 250h models. The anti-lock brake system, or ABS, is an electronic system that prevents individual wheels from locking when the brakes are applied with heavy force, allowing the driver to maintain steering control. Owners of the two hybrid models have reported inconsistent brake feel during slow and steady application when braking on rough or slick road surfaces when the ABS is activated.

To address customer concerns, Toyota Motor Sales will conduct a voluntary recall involving nearly 150,000 vehicles to update software in the vehicle's ABS system. According to the automaker, only the Toyota Prius and Lexus HS 250h-both of which share similar ABS systems-are affected. No other Toyota, Lexus or Scion models are involved in this recall, according to the company.

The following models are affected by the Anti-Lock Braking System Recall:
Note: All Lexus HS 250h vehicles are subject to recall, but only Prius models manufactured after May 2009 are affected.

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