Some Toyota Owners Experiencing Unintentional Acceleration Despite Recall Repairs

According to federal regulators, some Toyota owners have continued to experience sudden acceleration problems even after their vehicles were repaired as prescribed by the automaker.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has received at least seven such complaints in the last two weeks. The complaints allege that after their accelerator pedals were modified or the driver-side floor mats were replaced, their Toyota vehicles continued to surge uncontrollably.

Although the NHTSA has not yet verified the allegations, the complaints are reason for concern. Toyota has recalled nearly 10 million vehicles in recent months to repair or replace what it claims are defective accelerator pedal mechanisms or floor mats. Although Toyota contends the problems are being caused by defects within mechanical systems, it has commissioned a third party review of the electronic throttle systems of its vehicles. The NHTSA is also conducting its own study of certain electronics systems of recalled vehicles.

HIS Global Insight analyst Aaron Bragman said, “There is already doubt out there that the solutions Toyota has put forward really fix the problem of unintended acceleration.” However he said that it is important to completely investigate the recent complaints received by the NHTSA before jumping to conclusions.

One complaint submitted to the NHTSA alleges that the owner of a 2010 Camry experienced unintentional acceleration on February 17, just five days after having recall repairs performed by a local Toyota dealer. The complainant claims that the dealer installed special brake override software as a part of the recall repairs performed.

In the complaint, the owner said, “Had the incident happened one minute earlier, I would have been in a high car/pedestrian area and would not have been able to avoid an accident,” and goes on to claim, “The fix done by Toyota is not the fix for the acceleration problem.”

Although seven complaints received by the NHTSA allege sudden acceleration following a recall repair, several others complained of other problems including the illumination of vehicle check engine lights soon after the repairs were performed.

Toyota spokesperson, Celeste Migliore said she was unaware of complaints claiming unintentional acceleration problems following recall repairs but said, “We very much would like to have any of those individuals who claim they’ve had unintended acceleration after the fix go back to the dealership.” She added, “If there was an accident, we want to see the vehicle and the driver and the accident report.”

In recent weeks, the NHTSA has received an increasing number of complaints alleging unintentional acceleration experiences with Toyota vehicles and many date back several years. As a result, the NHTSA says it now has reports of 52 fatality accidents. Just a few weeks ago, the agency said it had received 34 reports of fatality accidents associated with unintentional acceleration in Toyota vehicles.

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