The Toyota recall panic – why?

There’s obviously a lot of news about the Toyota recall at the minute. Whilst it did raise a little smile when Toyota boss Akio Toyoda drove off in an Audi after apologising to customers (there’s reasons why he did this though), I’m perhaps not as worried about this as some.

Now, this “sticky gas pedal syndrome” (as US readers would say) could explain the few accidents I’ve had in Lexus cars over the past few years. Regular readers may remember how I broke the first one back in 2005 and then the second one in 2008. Should I blame Mr Toyoda for my accidents? Well no. I’ll tell you why.

Sticky accelerator pedals have been a known problem in Lexus and Toyota cars for some time. Ask any Lexus IS200 owner and they’ll tell you about the pedal sticking to the carpet, especially when there’s a bit of moisture in the air or it’s cold. Have a look here, here or here for evidence from Lexus owners forums going back years for various models. The horror stories coming out of the US are fairly confusing and very sad. Some people have crashed and suffered injuries. I can’t understand why they didn’t try the steps I had to take when my pedal constantly used to stick..

a) Stick it in neutral (I’m guessing you should be able to do this in an automatic too, but I’ve never driven one in anger)
b) Use your foot to pop the pedal back up again.
c) Turn the engine off if all else fails. Sure, you’ll have no power assisted steering and your brakes will be heavy as feck, but it’ll slow it down.

Toyota make good cars. Don’t be put off by this recall. End of!