If the aftermath of recalls and the suspension of several of its most popular cars, Toyota Motor Corp., has been bombarded with email queries and phone calls from owners of affected vehicles. On its web site, Toyota details how to test your vehicle for potential problems and it has provides a FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) section.
The precautionary test the Q&A format of frequently asked concerns follow:
Drive to empty parking lot and practice how to put your car in “N” (neutral) position. Get the feeling of how the car responds to your actions, especially braking and turning, while the car’s gears are in “N” position.
You must have learned this in your driver’s education class, but a refresher may be a good idea. If you are not sure what putting the car in “N” means, then you really should ask an experienced (and good) driver to teach you.
Putting the car in neutral is very different from turning off the engine. Under normal circumstances, turning the car off while moving can be dangerous, as you will have an extremely difficult time turning the wheels or applying the brakes. Turn the car off, only if you cannot put the car in “N” position.
The FAQs list:
Which models are affected by the recall/stop sale?
Toyota’s accelerator pedal recall and suspension of sales is confined to the following: 2009-2010 RAV4, 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2005-2010 Avalon, Certain 2007-2010 Camry, 2010 Highlander (except hybrid models), 2007-2010 Tundra, 2008-2010 Sequoia.
Lexus and Scion vehicles are affected. Also not affected: Toyota Prius, Tacoma, Sienna, Venza, Solara, Yaris, 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, Land Cruiser, Highlander hybrids and select Camry models, including all Camry hybrids, which will remain for sale.
What is the condition that has prompted Toyota to take this action?
In rare instances, there is a possibility certain accelerator pedal mechanisms may, mechanically stick in a partially depressed position or return slowly to the idle position.
What is the likelihood that my vehicle will experience this condition?
The condition is rare and does not occur suddenly. It can occur when the pedal mechanism becomes worn and, in certain conditions, the accelerator pedal may become harder to depress, slower to return or, in the worst case, stuck in a partially depressed position.
Are you continuing to investigate other models?
Toyota is confident all models that contain the potentially sticking pedals have been identified.
Why has Toyota stopped selling the affected vehicles?
Until Toyota has finalized an appropriate remedy to address the potential for sticking accelerator pedals, a sales suspension is necessary.
How long will this stop sale be in effect?
New cars covered by this recall will not be delivered until a remedy is finalized and then implemented.
When do you expect to have a remedy?
We’re making every effort to remedy this situation for our customers as quickly as possible.
What options are you exploring for a remedy?
We are reviewing a number of different options, and we hope to announce a remedy soon.
What should I do if I believe my vehicle is affected by this condition, i.e. I have noticed that my accelerator pedal is hard to depress, slow to return or is un smooth during operation. What should I do?
The vehicle should be driven to the nearest safe location, the engine shut off and a Toyota dealer contacted for assistance.
What if you experience a sticking accelerator pedal while driving?
Each circumstance may vary, and drivers must use their best judgment, but Toyota recommends taking one of the following actions:
• If you need to stop immediately, the vehicle can be controlled by stepping on the brake pedal with both feet using firm and steady pressure. Do not pump the brake pedal as it will deplete the vacuum utilized for the power brake assist.
• 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. 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.
If I am an owner of one of the affected vehicles, what action do I need to take?
Toyota is working quickly to prepare a correction remedy and will issue owner notifications in the future. No action is required at this time unless you feel you are experiencing this condition. If you are experiencing this condition, immediately contact your nearest Toyota Dealer for assistance.
Toyota stated that this did not affect new/low mileage vehicles, has the situation changed?
The law requires that the entire universe of new vehicles identified in our recall notice must be included in the stop sale.
Why are you stopping production at your factories?
Production is being stopped temporarily at five North American production facilities to assess and coordinate activities related to the recall announced on January 21.
What should I do if I still have questions or concerns?
If you still have questions or concerns that have not been addressed here, please contact the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331. The Toyota Customer Experience Center hours are: Mon-Fri, 5 a.m.-6 p.m. (PST), Sat, 7 a.m.-4 p.m (PST)