Toyota will begin fixing accelerator pedals on recalled cars in the United States this week, the manufacturer has announced.
The sticking throttle problem, which has led to a recall of more than six million Toyotas worldwide, stems from a friction device in the pedal which is designed to provide "feel" by adding resistance and making the pedal steady and stable when depressed.
The device includes a shoe that rubs against an adjoining surface during normal pedal operation. The massive, worldwide recall has been sparked because, under specific conditions and over time, the system can begin to stick and release instead of operating smoothly.
The solution is to install a precision-cut steel reinforcement bar into the throttle assembly to reduce the surface tension between the friction shoe and the adjoining surface (see diagram). The parts to reinforce the pedals are already being shipped to the U.S. for use by dealers, and Toyota says dealer training to fit the part is under way. The company also announced that some dealers will stay open 24 hours a day to ensure that customers aren't inconvenienced more than necessary.
"Nothing is more important to us than the safety and reliability of the vehicles our customers drive," said Jim Lentz, president of Toyota's U.S. operations. "We deeply regret the concern that our recalls have caused for our customers and we are doing everything we can – as fast as we can – to make things right."