Toyota is issuing its largest recall in the automaker's history due to an issue with floormats.
The Federal Department of Transportation has issued an "urgent" warning to owners of several Toyota and Lexus models advising owners to remove the driver's side front floor mats to keep them from getting in the way of the accelerator and brake pedals.
This notice has come out after a fatal crash in late August that involved a 2009 Lexus ES350 that crashed after the front floor mat caused the accelerator and brake pedals to stick.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging owners of the affected vehicles to remove the floormats and to not replace them with anything else.
* 2007-2010 Toyota Camry
* 2005-2010 Toyota Avalon
* 2004-2009 Toyota Prius
* 2005-2010 Toyota Tacoma
* 2007-2010 Toyota Tundra
* 2007-2010 Lexus ES350
* 2006-2010 Lexus IS250 and IS350
TOYOTA OWNERS ARE CAUTIONED ABOUT FLOOR MATS AND ACCELERATOR PEDAL INTERFERENCE
Toyota to Launch a Safety Recall on Specific Toyota and Lexus Vehicles
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today alerted Lexus and Toyota owners about conditions that could cause the accelerator to get stuck open under certain conditions. The agency strongly recommends taking out removable floor mats on the driver's side in certain models and not to replace them with any other mat, either from Toyota or any other brand.
"This is an urgent matter," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "For everyone's sake, we strongly urge owners of these vehicles to remove mats or other obstacles that could lead to unintended acceleration."
NHTSA notes that there continue to be reports of accelerator pedal clearance issues which provide the potential for an accelerator pedal to get stuck in the full open position. A stuck accelerator may result in very high vehicle speeds and a crash, which could cause serious injury or death.
NHTSA said that Toyota has announced that it will soon launch a safety recall of various model year vehicles to redress the problem. However the safety agency warned owners to remove all driver-side floor mats from the models listed below immediately as an interim safety measure in advance of the recall.
Toyota and Lexus vehicles affected by this consumer alert are:
* 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
In September 2007, Toyota recalled an accessory all-weather floor mat sold for use in some 2007 and 2008 model year Lexus ES 350 and Toyota Camry vehicles because of similar problems.
Today's advisory was precipitated by continued reports of vehicles accelerating rapidly after release of the accelerator pedal. The incidents appear to be related to factors including the use of a variety of unsecured mats, the particular configuration of the accelerator pedals in these vehicles, and the unique steps needed to shut off the engines in some of these vehicles with keyless ignition.
For more information, consumers can contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Hotline at 888-327-4236 or the Toyota Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331 or the Lexus Customer Assistance Center at 1-800-255-3987. Information from Toyota is also posted at http://www.toyota.com and http://www.lexus.com.
Toyota/Lexus Consumer Safety Advisory Potential Floor Mat Interference with Accelerator Pedal
Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. takes public safety very seriously. It believes its vehicles to be among the safest on the road today.
Recent events have prompted Toyota to take a closer look at the potential for an accelerator pedal to get stuck in the full open position due to an unsecured or incompatible driver's floor mat. A stuck open accelerator pedal may result in very high vehicle speeds and make it difficult to stop the vehicle, which could cause a crash, serious injury or death.
Toyota considers this a critical matter and will soon launch a safety campaign on specific Toyota and Lexus vehicles. Throughout the process of developing the details of the action plan, it will advise the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Until Toyota develops a remedy, it is asking owners of specific Toyota and Lexus models to take out any removable driver's floor mat and NOT replace it with any other floor mat. The following models are affected:
• 2007 - 2010 Camry
• 2005 - 2010 Avalon
• 2004 - 2009 Prius
• 2005 - 2010 Tacoma
• 2007 - 2010 Tundra
• 2007 - 2010 ES350
• 2006 - 2010 IS250 and IS350
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.