Toyota has a fix for gas pedals that stick on models including Camry, Corolla

Toyota Motor told its dealers that it had found a repair for sticking accelerators.
Toyota Motor told its dealers that it had found a repair for sticking accelerators. (Tim Boyle/bloomberg)
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By Peter Whoriskey
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 31, 2010

Toyota told dealers Saturday it has developed a fix for the accelerator issue in the millions of cars it recalled last week, and that the parts for the repairs would be available as early as this week.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has approved the remedy, Toyota Motor said. But according to NHTSA officials, while the company has shared its remedy with the safety agency, it does not formally approve such fixes.

In any case, it seems a repair is on its way.

"We got a call today," said Jack Fitzgerald of Fitzgerald Auto Mall. "There is a fix."

The world's largest automaker announced on Jan. 21 that some of its gas pedal systems can get stuck, opening the throttle and propelling the car forward. The models affected include the RAV4, Corolla, Matrix, Avalon, Camry, Highlander, Tundra and Sequoia.

Since then, dealers and frightened Toyota owners have been waiting for a remedy.

The company did not disclose exactly how the fix for the gas pedal works, but dealers and others have said it probably entails a part that would help force the accelerator pedal to spring back up.

Officials with the NHTSA have been wrangling for at least five years with the automaker over complaints that cars were accelerating on their own, according to the Center for Auto Safety.

The negative publicity surged in August, after a San Diego driver called 911 to say that his car would not stop. The driver, a veteran California Highway Patrol officer, and three family members were killed after their car sped out of control.

In September, Toyota linked the problem in some vehicles to improperly installed floor mats. Customers were advised to remove them.

But the scrutiny continued, and last week, the company halted production of eight of its models and informed authorities of a problem with some of its accelerator systems.

Fitzgerald called the company's decision to shut down the factories in order to resolve the problem "a heroic thing."

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