Fix for Recalled Toyota Gas Pedals Reportedly Found

A fix has reportedly been found for the sticking Toyota gas pedals that have led to the recall of millions of vehicles and been linked to at least 19 deaths caused when Toyota vehicles accelerated out of control.

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc. announced a comprehensive plan on Monday to eliminate the excess friction that has caused accelerator pedals to stick on some vehicles. The repair involves the addition of a shim to a part of the pedal assemblage. According to Toyota officials, the shim will prevent a resistance spring from locking up due to friction, which has been the cause of some of the Toyota gas pedal problems.

In September 2009, a Lexus and Toyota recall was issued for 3.8 million vehicles that contained certain all-weather floor mats, which Toyota indicated could get stuck under the gas pedals, causing unintended acceleration.  In January, Toyota issued another recall for 2.3 million Toyota vehicles, including 600,000 that were not subject to the prior floor mat recall due to an actual mechanical problem that was causing some gas pedals to stick. Shortly after, the company stopped production and sales on eight of its most popular vehicles, including the Corolla, Camry, and Tundra. The company has also announced it is recalling nearly 2 million vehicles in Europe and almost 80,000 in China.

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Toyota officials say that the replacement parts are already being shipped to dealers, who are being trained on how to install the parts correctly. The company says that some dealers will leave their service departments open 24 hours a day to address cars affected by the Toyota recall.

The widespread reports of problems caused by defective Toyota gas pedals has led lawmakers to call for congressional hearings before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on February 10, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee on February 25. U.S. Representative Henry Waxman, the Energy and Commerce committee’s chairman, said the Toyota acceleration problems have been linked to at least 19 deaths over the past 10 years.

In addition to scrutiny by lawmakers, the company faces a growing number of lawsuits over recalled Toyota vehicles connected to the gas pedal problems. There have been at least seven individual lawsuits filed against the company, as well as three Toyota class-action suits.

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