April 17

Sticking Gas Pedals

Car Safety


While Toyota is taking a great deal of heat these days for it’s sudden acceleration or sticky accelerator problems let’s put this issue into perspective.

For certain, this is a serious concern, and one that warrants immediate correction. The issue though, is not unique to Toyota. The US NHTSA (National Highway & Transportation Safety Agency) has investigated complaints of this concern for many years from other manufacturers such as Ford and Chrysler.
Sticking Gas Pedals

Through the years I have serviced several cars that have had sticking accelerator pedals: sometimes due to a sticking throttle cable, other times due to a floor mat that holds it down.

While the cable usually requires a shop to repair it, a floor mat caused acceleration problem can be prevented by the car owner. Take the time to be sure that you have only one floor mat on your driver’s floor and that it in no way interferes with the movement of your gas, brake and clutch pedals (if equipped).

Toyota’s problem is different from a simply badly placed floor mat and may well be an electronic issue. How many cars have had the problem? Complaints for Toyota’s concern are approximately 2600 occurrences. There are 43 confirmed deaths with speculation that the real number may be 100.

Interestingly, the NHTSA has fielded 3526 sudden acceleration complaints from Ford vehicles in the past, but there has certainly been very little press about that. Toyota will certainly need to address the concern and it is. After Audi’s poorly handled foray into a similar issue in the 1980’s, where they blamed the drivers, at least Toyota is doing something about it.

As a vehicle owner you must always be prepared for your gas pedal sticking, no matter what kind of vehicle you are driving.

Though it is very unlikely to ever happen, what do you do if you find your car suddenly accelerating?

First off, shift into neutral or press in the clutch on a standard transmission, then shut off the engine; or shut off the engine by turning your key backwards. If your vehicle has a start/stop button, hold the button down until the engine stops. This may take a couple of seconds on this type of vehicle so a shift into neutral is the first step.

Be prepared, and think through your action so that, should you have a sudden acceleration, you are ready to stop.

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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