Loose all-weather floor mat jams accelerator pedal. Photo: NHTSA
will recall all models of the 2004-2009 Toyota Prius to ensure that the driver' side floor mat cannot interfere with the accelerator and brake pedals, possibly causing the accelerator to stick.
This afternoon, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued an "urgent" warning to owners that strongly advises them to remove any floor mats on the driver's side and not replace the mats with anything else. Toyota said that both aftermarket and factory floor mats could be involved.
Biggest recall in history
As reported this afternoon on our sister site TheCarConnection.com, Toyota has reportedly agreed to recall up to 3.8 million vehicles to check for the problem, the 2004-2009 Prius among them.
will be the largest recall in the company's history, four times the size of a 2005 recall involving faulty steering rods.
Toyota Camry floormats and carpetingEnlarge Photo
[UPDATE: Toyota spokesperson Wade Hoyt said on Wednesday, September 30: Despite widespread reporting to the contrary, this is not yet a recall, but a safety advisory to owners of affected models. Our engineers are working with NHTSA on a potential fix beyond the retention hooks that are already in the vehicles.
A company statement added: 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.]
Other Toyota vehicles affected are the 2007-2010 Toyota Camry, the 2005-2010 Toyota Avalon, the 2005-2010 Toyota Tacoma, and 2007-2010 Toyota Tundra pickup trucks. Two Lexus models are included as well: the 2007-2010 Lexus ES 350, and the 2006-2010 Lexus IS 250 and IS 350.
Two weeks ago, Toyota ordered dealers to inspect all cars for mismatched floor mats after a grisly fatal crash in late August, in which an occupant of a 2009 Lexus ES called 911 to report a stuck accelerator and non-functioning brakes.
Four passengers died when the car crashed, rolled over, and burned. Accessory floor mats fitted by the dealership that were too large for the vehicle were suspected.
What should I do?
Toyota issued advice for drivers to keep in mind in the unlikely event that their vehicle continues to accelerate even after the gas pedal is released. The company suggests:
Sudden acceleration redux?
The NHTSA advisory notice and the recall are bound to reignite concern over cases of supposed "sudden acceleration" in the Toyota Prius and other models.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Hotline is (888) 327-4236. Toyota owners can reach the company's Experience Center at (800) 331-4331; Lexus owners can contact the Lexus Customer Assistance Center at (800) 255-3987.