In this space we have been following the recent Toyota recalls and you can read previous posts from November 5, November 30, and January 22. There have been two recalls because of problems with the accelerator pedal in many models. This started after four people were killed in a car accident in California when a Toyota went out of control and off the road.

Toyota is now saying that it knew late last year that problems existed with the accelerator pedal assemblies. The company’s most recent recall, announced last week, is now known to include Pontiac Vibes which were designed and built by Toyota for General Motors. The Pontiac brand is now discontinued but the recalled models were 2009 and 2010. They are similar to the Toyota Matrix which is part of the recall.

The Two Recalls Very Similar

It is unclear now whether the two recalls are distinct from each other. At first, Toyota identified the floor mat as the problem because it shifted and interfered with the gas pedal. Then it conceded that the gas pedal itself was faulty and Toyota dealers have been shortening them for people who bring their vehicles in. They have also been giving out new floor mats.

According to Toyota, about 1.7 million vehicles are involved in both recalls and the problem appears to be one of premature wear in some of the mechanical parts of the CTS throttle assemblies. The defective gas pedals were made in a CTS facility in Streetsville, Ontario but that company has made no statements.

The Vice president of industry trends for TrueCar.com, a site that tracks the auto industry and provides pricing information, states that it is “questionable” as to whether the two recalls are separate.

At this point, no Pontiac Vibe owners have reported any problems. However, if any do encounter problems with the gas pedal, they should go to a GM Buick dealer or a GMC dealer to have the situation corrected.

Toyota’s U.S. safety spokesman, John Hanson, says that Toyota is working on a recall remedy and will have to get it approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That means it will be a few more weeks before the remedy is available to Toyota drivers.

If You Have a New Toyota

Since Toyota has identified the problem as relating to wear in the throttle mechanism, it is continuing to sell new models on the assumption that they do not have any throttle malfunction.

However, if you have a new model, be attentive to the gas pedal. According to Hanson, this problem gives a sequence of indications that you can identify:

1.The gas pedal feels rough when you press it down, instead of smooth

2.The gas pedal fails to return to its position quickly after you take your foot off it

3.The gas pedal sticks in an open position after your foot is removed from it

If you notice the first symptom, do not wait for the other two to happen. Immediately take your car to a Toyota dealer for repairs.

For most people, buying a new car is a major outlay, second only to their house. We expect the vehicle to be safe and reliable. But car accidents are not always caused by driver negligence — sometimes the vehicle is a defective product and we must turn to the car manufacturer for compensation. You can read more on our Product Liability page.

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