Toyota Recall: Floor Mats and Pedals

Toyota and recalls are becoming synonomous. Toyota has issued a recall of over two million Toyotas to deal with the longstanding problem of accelerator pedals that can become entrapped in floor mats or jammed in the carpeting.

There has been concern about this for some time now. In 2009, NHTSA had noted the continued concern about “accelerator pedal clearance issues which provide the potential for an accelerator pedal to get stuck in the full open position.” NHTSA has also noted the obvious: a stuck accelerator plus high vehicles equal car accidents that can cause serious injuries or death.

Toyota has issued this recall before but it did not include enough cars. This recall includes: about 600,000 4Runner SUVs from the 2003-2009 model years; 761,000 RAV4 compact SUVs from the 2006-2010 model years; 17,000 Lexus LX 570s from the 2008-2011 model years; 372,000 RX 330, RX 350 and RX 400H vehicles from the 2004 through early 2007 model years; and 397,000 2004-2006 Toyota Highlander SUVs and hybrid versions. The recall will replace floor carpet covering and retention clips on the driver’s side that are probably the cause of these pedals getting stuck.

The history of this debacle is long and sordid and it underscores tension between Toyota, the former safety and quality golden child, and federal regulators. Toyota has long been receiving reports of Toyotas rapidly accelerating. Toyota responded by issuing a recall. But not of all of the vehicles that were experiencing these problems with unsecured mats. Toyota has cleaned up, I believe, all of the loose ends today with this 3 million plus vehicle recall. But, of course, the larger question is why it took this long.

If you are keeping score at home, that is 14 million recalls for Toyota since 2009.