Loose all-weather floor mat jams accelerator pedal. Photo: NHTSA
As reported earlier this afternoon on our sister site TheCarConnection.com, Toyota may
will recall up to 3.8 million cars and pickup trucks to ensure that the floor mats on the driver's side are not interfering with the accelerator and brake pedals.
will be the company's largest recall ever, four times the size of a 2005 recall to replace defective steering arms.
[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.]
Toyota's diagram showing how to properly install floor mats
Is your car on this list?
The vehicles affected are:
At the same time, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued an "urgent" warning to owners of the affected models, strongly advising them to remove the floor mats on the driver's side and not replace them with any other kind of mat.
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:
Dealer order, previous recall
Two weeks ago, Toyota had ordered dealers to inspect all cars for mismatched floor mats after a fatal crash in late August, in which an occupant of a runaway 2009 Lexus ES called 911 to report a stuck accelerator pedal and non-functioning brakes.
That car subsequently crashed, rolled over, and burned, killing all four passengers. Suspicion focused on accessory floor mats, fitted by the dealership, that were too large for the vehicle.
Toyota has already conducted one recall for a similar problem, but limited to an accessory all-weather floor mat fitted to the 2007 and 2008 Lexus ES 350 and Toyota Camry.
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 drivers can contact the Lexus Customer Assistance Center at (800) 255-3987.