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Toyotas Suddenly Accelerate; Owners Up In Arms 1146

Posted by kdawson
from the off-to-a-bad-start dept.
cyclocommuter writes "Some Toyota owners are up in arms as they suspect that accidents have been caused by some kind of glitch in the electronic computer system used in Toyotas that controls the throttle. Refusing to accept the explanation of Toyota and the federal government (it involves the driver's-side floor mat), hundreds of Toyota owners are in rebellion after a series of accidents caused by what they call 'runaway cars.' Four people have died." The article notes: "The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has done six separate investigations of such acceleration surges in Toyotas since 2003 and found no defect in Toyota's electronics."
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Toyotas Suddenly Accelerate; Owners Up In Arms

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  • PEBAAC (Score:5, Funny)

    by jaavaaguru (261551) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @12:35AM (#29973490) Homepage

    Problem exists between accelerator and chair?

    • Re:PEBAAC (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wing03 (654457) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @12:51AM (#29973656)
      I'd think not. It's called "drive by wire" technology. I bought an '09 Civic and the thing has a sensor attached to the gas pedal instead of the traditional wire directly to a butterfly valve. I read somewhere that if the PCM didn't think things were right, there's a failsafe "limp home" mode that trips the throttle plate to some slightly higher than idle position and disconnects the pedal and any other controls. One of the sales guys who I met in the process of buying this car insisted that the computer controlled throttle makes it more responsive and safer. Throttle by wire IMO, is fucking with the KISS rule.
      • Re:PEBAAC (Score:5, Insightful)

        by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmythe.jwsmythe@com> on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @01:06AM (#29973812) Homepage Journal

            I have a friend with a car that has a drive by wire throttle, to facilitate the traction control. That car is now having a problem when accelerating. It's only at particular throttle positions, but it acts funny. My car with a good ol' fashion cable between the pedal and throttle body is very very reliable. If the cable goes, I can replace it fairly cheap. It's much more expensive to replace the more exotic parts.

        • Re:PEBAAC (Score:5, Insightful)

          by fractoid (1076465) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @03:28AM (#29974802) Homepage

          If the cable goes, I can replace it fairly cheap. It's much more expensive to replace the more exotic parts.

          Also, if the cable gets wet, you have a wet cable. If the leads to the potentiometer have cracked insulation and get shorted out by dirty water or contact with metal, you have a hard open throttle. I know which I'd rather have.

          This is why drive-by-wire stuff is scary. Power assist is fine, but if your hydraulic power steering loses pressure you can still steer the car (even if the steering is much heavier). Vacuum-assisted braking has enough storage to last 2-3 brake pedal pushes, and after that the brakes still function even if they too are much heavier. Antilock braking is scary enough even though it's comparatively failsafe. Handing over complete control of any further automotive function to a computer is goddamn terrifying.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by maxume (22995)

            If I were programming/designing the drive by wire system you describe (don't worry, I'm not), I'm pretty sure that I would read a shorted potentiometer as closed and only use about 1/3 of the range of the thing (so it would be apparent if it failed in the other direction).

            Going a little further, I would only use about 1/3 of the range of it, in the middle, so a short would be an obvious failure condition (as would the highest resistance of the potentiometer).

      • Re:PEBAAC (Score:5, Informative)

        by pandaman9000 (520981) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @01:08AM (#29973818) Homepage

        Throttle by wire has been proven to be extremely responsive. More importantly, it is part of a closed-loop operation, whereby the ECU can properly evaluate requested levels versus actual in pretty much everything. If the fuel line is pinched, for example, flooring it would cause devastating detonation, EXCEPT in "by wire". Once the fuel present was mismatched to the air, the ECU would force the throttle to close somewhat, regardless of pedal position. The exception is in many cases of a wide open throttle request, when some output levels like fuel overrich are ignored, and the ECU uses an internal map of what "should be going in and out, given the max power request.

        It is exceedingly easy to test the Throttle Positioning Sensor in modern vehicles. In fact, your ECU probably tests idle throttle position every time you turn the key on for a while without staring the engine. The ECU will also log 'implausible signal' for TPS that get an out of range reading, or inconsistent reading throughout the range.

        Note: This information was gathered while researching diagnosing my personal car, a B5 Audi S4. It is a summary, not the automotive gospel.

        This sounds like people getting paid for being stupid. I do not approve, but who am I, eh?

        • Re:PEBAAC (Score:5, Interesting)

          by __david__ (45671) * on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @03:34AM (#29974844) Homepage

          It is exceedingly easy to test the Throttle Positioning Sensor in modern vehicles. In fact, your ECU probably tests idle throttle position every time you turn the key on for a while without staring the engine. The ECU will also log 'implausible signal' for TPS that get an out of range reading, or inconsistent reading throughout the range.

          You are basically correct. I have first hand hacking experience with the drive by wire throttle because my Grand Challenge team automated a Toyota Prius for the last Grand Challenge. There are 2 completely independent signals that go from 2 independent sensors on the pedal to the computer throttle component. The signals have to move in lock step with each other or the computer will detect a fault. If a fault is detected the throttle goes completely off and the car has to be turned off and turned back on to recover.

          So for the throttle to stick down both pedal sensors have to fail in the same way at the same time, which seems highly unlikely to me. Or there could be a bug in the computer control section, bus as a software engineer I can assure you that that would be impossible. ;-)

      • Re:PEBAAC (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bongey (974911) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @01:55AM (#29974228)

        Throttle by wire IMO, is fucking with the KISS rule.

        To propose that somehow mechanical cables are safer because they are simpler is severely flawed.
        Have you every seen how easy it is to get a mechanical throttle to get stuck? Also in a wreck the cable the throttle can become pinched, stuck at full throttle not fun. Look at the back of street/strip drag car they have emergency kill switch on the back bumper for this reason, along with wanting to kill the fuel pump.
        A mechanical throttle lacks any safety controls. A simple cable is in fact simple, but it is a stupid cable.
        Twice I have seen a mechanical fail.
        90s Camaro SS , guy had dropped about 10k in the motor only to have the throttle get stuck, redline, broken valves.
        My Saturn has become stuck more than once when it is cold, never caused an accident.

        Just because you drive car,bought a car, doesn't give you divine insight on how a car works, and somehow your experience brings insight to the conversation.Spend a little time working on/ modifying a car and you will quickly discover; mechanical cables suck ass to put in and are more prone to failure!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jamesh (87723)

        Never had your accelerator cable become stuck then? I think that if you do the numbers you'll find that a fully mechanical system has a far higher chance of an unsafe failure mode (eg butterfly valve stuck open) than the 'fly by wire' systems.

    • I also think not... (Score:3, Informative)

      by vaporland (713337)
      My mom's best friend was killed when her husband was parking their Toyota Camry at a restaurant on the Pacific Coast Highway, and the car suddenly accelerated through a fence and off a tall cliff onto the rocks below. Her husband survived with severe injuries, and he swears that the whole floormat excuse is BS. The car had been giving them acceleration issues prior to this incident, but the mechanic they took it to could find nothing wrong.
  • by the_humeister (922869) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @12:36AM (#29973502)

    I have to say that the decline in manual transmission driving has really diminished people's driving abilities. It's one thing that the there's an acceleration issue. It's another thing to not consider putting the car in neutral when something like this is encountered.

    • by Dyinobal (1427207) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @12:40AM (#29973530)
      because everyone is always so clear headed when their vehicle suddenly accelerates for no clear reason,and\or has the time to calm down before they collide with something.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @12:43AM (#29973554)

        The case the media is portraying constantly had enough time to call 911 and ask for help.

        Neither driver nor emergency responder thought of this solution that really should be second nature if you've had THAT much time to react.

        Now, other cases may have been less lucky but for that specific case its kinda darwinistic.

      • by maharb (1534501) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @01:27AM (#29974028)

        Those that drive manuals would be more clear headed because driving is an active activity where one is engaged with the machine. I don't mean to be a dick but people who drive manuals inherently understand how the fuck a car works because it is required to get the thing moving and stopped. The new generations of people who drive only automatics truly don't understand what is going on with their cars even if they had time to think clearly and then you have the people who may know but have never had to react in that way.

        When you drive a manual transmission daily you will probably encounter several situations a year where "both pedals in" is required to keep you safe. Essentially anyone who has driven manual has practiced the solution to this problem. Anyone in a automatic has not. In a automatic cars you can just hit the breaks and forget about what that meant the car had to do.

        So I believe the parent is correct in his assumption that manual transmissions create drivers that are better equipped to handle situations on the road than the average automatic only driver. I am not saying that every person who drives a manual is a great driver, just that they are better equipped to handle situations on the road assuming all other variables are equal.

      • by cyn1c77 (928549) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @01:47AM (#29974170)

        because everyone is always so clear headed when their vehicle suddenly accelerates for no clear reason,and\or has the time to calm down before they collide with something.

        Way to prove the grandparent's point!

        Seriously, if my car were to accelerate without warning, the first thing I would do would be to push down the clutch. The second would be to apply the brake. And if that didn't work, I would pull the emergency brake. Meanwhile, aim for something soft without people in it.

        If you can't mentally run through that four step list in a throttle malfunction, you shouldn't be driving. I mean, come on...The first two actions should be instinctual, panic or not.

        • As an owner of a 2009 Toyota Camry LE, I can confirm that my car will occasionally (maybe once every 30 minutes on average) start accelerating (not fast, maybe 1 mile per hour per second) for about 2.5 seconds, even when my foot is steady on the gas pedal, and even when I'm driving on a completely flat surface, with the cruise control off, and with no external forces like wind outside or gravity pulling the car up/down a hill. This absolutely has nothing to do with the floor mat because it happens when my feet are not shifting at all. I'm a test engineer and have a good sense of cause and effect, how changes on the inputs to a system affect the outputs. The next thing I'm going to do is remove the floor mat and see if it still happens.

          Anytime your car starts to accelerate when you don't want it to, you can always just put the car in neutral. You have to train your brain to do this automatically and quickly, because if you start accelerating rapidly, you will also need to focus on the road and not cause an accident. My wife almost got in an accident several years ago because our old 1993 Ford Explorer had a sticky gas pedal. We've since gotten rid of that clunker (thank goodness), but when it was happened I told her it was important for her to train her "muscle memory" to put the car in neutral. Many people who don't know how to drive a manual transmission also don't ever use the neutral on their automatic transmission vehicles.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Predius (560344)

      With Toyota Hybrids, the gearshift lever is just a switch for all positions other than park. Flip it all you want between R, N, D, B and all you're doing is asking the ECU to alter what it does with the 'synergy drive', it doesn't change any gears.

      I've played around a bit with my Highlander Hybrid, it does some odd stuff... Put it in Park or Neutral, give it gas, and it'll fire up the gas engine and rev it a bit? Floor the brake pedal, give it some gas, and again, it'll rev the gas engine but not transmit

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        With Toyota Hybrids, the gearshift lever is just a switch for all positions other than park. Flip it all you want between R, N, D, B and all you're doing is asking the ECU to alter what it does with the 'synergy drive', it doesn't change any gears.

        If that's true for N, I smell a lawsuit. Neutral had always meant "physically disconnect engine from wheels". Are you absolutely sure you're correct? I wouldn't ever drive a car in which this isn't true.

        I've played around a bit with my Highlander Hybrid, it does some odd stuff... Put it in Park or Neutral, give it gas, and it'll fire up the gas engine and rev it a bit? Floor the brake pedal, give it some gas, and again, it'll rev the gas engine but not transmit any power to the wheels?

        What's strange about it, and how does it prove your point? Now if you gave it gas on Neutral and it'd drive, then yeah...

      • by TheModelEskimo (968202) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @01:08AM (#29973822)
        Are you asking us questions or what? I want to take those as statements of fact but it's like you're teasing us with some inappropriate punctuation or something.
  • Floor mat, really? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @12:39AM (#29973520) Journal

    So Toyota says it's floor mat. But here's something I don't understand after reading TFA... all people who had that problem (and lived to tell the tale) insist that they were braking hard as the car was accelerating. If it were really just gas pedal stuck in a floor mat, then surely applying brake would force the car to decelerate regardless?

    • by SteveWoz (152247) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @01:12AM (#29973870) Homepage

      I have owned many Prius's. I currently drive a 2010 one. Let's say that I'm in some place where the speed 85 mph is legal. I can nudge my cruise control speed lever and my speed barely goes up, say from 80 to 81.I nudge at again and again, up to 83. Then I nudge it again and the car takes off, no speed limit. Nudging the cruise speed control lever down has no effect until I've done it about 10 times or more. By then my Prius is doing 97. It's scary because it's so wrong and so out of your normal control. I tested this over and over the night I observed it.

      It's scary because you don't think of things like putting the car in neutral when this happens. I am sure you can't turn the car off with the keyless power button, the only option on this model.

      Braking does disable this scary cruise control effect. It is a natural response, so the problem is mitigated a great deal.

      I have not seen this happen before so I think it's new to the 2010. I have the package which includes parallel parking assist and cruise control distance limiter.

    • by ThrowAwaySociety (1351793) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @02:42AM (#29974534)

      So Toyota says it's floor mat. But here's something I don't understand after reading TFA... all people who had that problem (and lived to tell the tale) insist that they were braking hard as the car was accelerating. If it were really just gas pedal stuck in a floor mat, then surely applying brake would force the car to decelerate regardless?

      Funny thing about the brake. It's operated in the same way as the accelerator, and located in a place where most people don't normally look while they're operating it.

      This was famously the case with Audis in the early '90s. Audi, designing for the heel-to-toe autobahn driver, put the brake and accelerator pedals closer to each other than on most US-market cars. Cue a number of reports in the US from drivers screaming, "I was mashing the pedal as hard as I could, and the car just wouldn't stop! In fact, it kept going faster and faster!"

      No defect was ever found (though that didn't stop the media from demonstrating it) and the problem was only reported in the US, although the same cars were sold worldwide.

  • What exactly were they testing?

    Were they testing implementation of the design and build quality issues, or were they reviewing the design itself?

    Passing the former by no means guarantees you'll pass the latter.

    That said, are there any reports of this happening in vehicles that for whatever reason lack floor mats?

  • by Stupendoussteve (891822) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @12:42AM (#29973544)

    There you have it, the HAM in the truck in the other lane rag chewing on HF about his new rig has managed to seize control of the Prius.

    I for one welcome our RC Prius wielding retired overlords.

    Hihi

  • by scotts13 (1371443) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @12:43AM (#29973552)
    And again, nothing was ever found to be wrong with the cars. Seems most of the drivers were used to American cars, and the Audi had both brake and accelerator a little to the right of the more typical position. They were pressing the accelerator instead of the brake. Fact is, in almost all commonly available cars, if you stand on the brake and on the accelerator simultaneously, the car will go nowhere. For events to have happened as described, you'd need the simultaneous failure of two unrelated systems, which both healed themselves miraculously after the event. Additionally, same as last time, there are a few unfortunate cases followed by a deluge of similar claims. I wonder why...
    • by sjames (1099) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @01:08AM (#29973820) Homepage

      In the case of the state trooper, witnesses did report that the brakes were on fire as he went by.

      I'm presuming not so much actual flames as burned up brake pads billowing smoke.

    • by dattaway (3088) * on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @02:25AM (#29974424) Homepage Journal

      I have a 2009 Highlander Hybrid. It happened to me last week. No floormats to get in the way. Accelerator pedal returned to "home: position. The event went like this: full acceleration by me to merge into traffic and complete release of accelerator. The acceleration continued at 100% for another full second. Over 150KW of power. Now I wonder what kind of computer fault would have happened if I had pressed on the brake to compensate for the uncontrolled acceleration.....

  • by IICV (652597) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @12:44AM (#29973562)
    God damn it, this again? All these "sudden acceleration" accidents are caused by morons "suddenly" putting their foot on the gas pedal. Afterwards, they say that the car accelerated by itself - and it's impossible to prove them wrong.
  • The computer went bonkers over a year ago. All the warning lights came on, etc... I bought it in South Florida, moved several times, put 140k miles on it, and live in the San Francisco Bay Area now. I took it to the Toyota dealership here and wanted an explanation!

    They kept it a few months, brought in an expert, and told me it was a faulty sensor. The on-board computer thinks the hybrid battery is dead, yet it is continuously sending out a full charge! The dealership told me the faulty sensor was embedded i

    • If you didn't want to pay a lot to fix your car, maybe you shouldn't have gotten one that was as complex and with as many specialized parts as a Prius. My wife's cousin used to work at a muffler shop in a college town. All these kids who brought their daddy's Jags and Beemers to the shop were stunned to find out how expensive parts were. That's what happens when you buy a more select brand of car.
  • by skydude_20 (307538) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @12:45AM (#29973576) Journal
    F-22 raptor - 1.7 million lines of code
    F-35 joint strike fighter - 5.7 million
    Boeing 787 - 6.5 million
    Premium class automobile - ~ 100 million

    IEEE Spectrum: "How hard should it be to stop a runaway luxury car?" http://spectrum.ieee.org/blog/computing/it/riskfactor/how-hard-should-it-be-to-stop-a-runaway-car [ieee.org]

    IEEE Spectrum: "This car runs on code" http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/advanced-cars/this-car-runs-on-code [ieee.org]
    • by tokul (682258) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @03:10AM (#29974700)

      F-22 raptor - 1.7 million lines of code F-35 joint strike fighter - 5.7 million Boeing 787 - 6.5 million Premium class automobile - ~ 100 million

      F-22, F-35, Boeing - flown by professionals
      Premium class auto driven by morons

      Two different things. Different environments and different safety measures

  • With American cars, the floormats are optional and come with a big price tag. This is a safety feature to prevent exactly this type of problem.

    It's exactly like when Ashlee Simpson appeared on SNL and was caught lip syncing. She knew that she couldn't sing live, so she played her auto-tuned voice over the speakers. When the playback stopped and she was shown to be faking it, she danced a little jig. American car floormat pricing is like that little jig.

  • Isn't a stuck floor mat a far more likely explanation than a mysterious computer bogeyman? Even with a recall there would be tons of cars that never changed them out. No doubt this should be investigated, but the article seems to be nothing but speculation and hearsay.
  • by theendlessnow (516149) * on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @01:06AM (#29973808)

    My Geo Metro had the EXACT same problem. It would suddenly jump from 1mph to 1.1mph very quickly. They wouldn't admit the problem either. We figured it was due to having an odd number of cylinders.

  • Driver error. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MaWeiTao (908546) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @01:12AM (#29973878)

    I guarantee you this is another example of driver error in the same vein as the unintended acceleration that afflicted Audi 5000's years ago. If I'm not mistaken I think the problem in the Audi was that the position of the pedals was slightly off from what people were accustomed to causing them to think they were pressing down on the brake when they actually had the accelerator down to the floor. There have been a few other cars with similar issues.

    I'm quite certain the problem with these Toyota's is similar. How in the hell could a car possible start accelerating on its own? And even if the accelerator is drive-by-wire the brakes are not and will likely never be. This means that if the owner got on the brakes hard they'd be able to slow the car. Even if the ECU didn't cut power when braking as some cars do, the engine won't be able to overpower the brakes. About the only possible culprit I see is cruise control, but again, that should be fairly easy to defeat.

    The fact is that when some people panic they freeze up and are unable to do anything else. As with the Audi, they press the gas accidentally, the car lunges forward and they panic, pressing down harder on the pedal. It reminds me of what happened to my father years ago. He was teaching my sister's friend to drive. For whatever reason she got on the gas, started barreling towards a car and hit it. She freaked out and froze, her foot firmly planted on the gas. My father actually had to take her leg and lift it off the gas because she was completely unresponsive.

    And the problem is that sometimes the issue isn't actually unintended acceleration but some other problem that gives that impression. I know of some cases, for example, where a transmission doesn't engage properly for whatever reason. The driver tries to accelerate but the car doesn't move, so they give it more gas. The transmission eventually does engage and the car lunges forward more aggressively than anticipated. The car may have a real problem, but the driver didn't respond to the issue appropriately.

    People nowadays are far too ignorant about they drive. Some people barely know what they're driving, let alone how anything works. As part of driver training basic instruction on the mechanical operation of a car should be mandatory. This would allow drivers to better respond to problems and make them better informed when they deal with mechanics so that they don't get taken advantage of so easily. It's like Toyota's recall over the floor mats. Are drivers so oblivious that they don't notice their floor mats riding up under the pedals. It's not like those things slip under there that easily. Too many people seem to take driving as seriously as they do sitting on the sofa watching television. But they sure do manage to have quite an ego about what they drive.

  • by hubang (692671) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @01:19AM (#29973954)
    Toyota has a serious problem. Have for years. It's not the floor mats.

    I was driving a '98 Toyota Camry. Foot on the brake. B-R-A-K-E. Yes, I know the difference. Car in drive. Waiting for a right turn. The car revved up high. I did manage to throw it into neutral, and the engine continued to surge. Luckily I didn't hit anything. And it was pure luck.

    The car did not have All-weather floor mats.

    I have racing experience, and a background in Mechanical Engineering.

    The reason the problem hasn't been found is that it's probably a subtle fault (like the AT&T crash back in the early '90s, or the stress concentrations in the DeHavilland Comet) and they're (by they I mean the NHTSA) probably not looking very thoroughly, due to lack of manpower. They don't do investigations of car crashes the way they do for other serious engineering failures, like plane crashes or bridge collapses.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @01:26AM (#29974012)

    I had this same problem with a 1989 Jeep Cherokee in 2000. People died because of similar problems. On the internet and in court, Jeep claimed it was user error. The problem is people don't know enough about their cars to diagnose it, but it turned out to be the Throttle Position Sensor. Which would randomly rev the engine to 4000 RPM's instead of the idle of ~900 when you put it into gear. Yes, absolutely unpredictably. It was not easily duplicated for a mechanic, because when the TPS first started to go bad, it was very infrequent.

    The problem is your normal routine is start the car and put it into gear almost immediately. The engine takes more time to rev noticeably past idle speed, at which time you're already moving and lost control of the car. Jeep claimed this was an unreasonable explanation, because they had an engineer sit in the car, depress the brake, put the car into gear, and then rev the engine and be unable to overpower the brakes. I found this only to be true if I were standing on the brakes, something I wasn't in practice to do, from a stop. It also overlooked the problem that once you let the car start moving, getting it stopped again was extremely difficult.

    So everyone always assumes there are enough idiots out there for it to be driver error, but it happened to me, so I never trust any of the car manufacturers when this problem creeps up which it does fairly often. Also, it seems like extremely poor engineering on the manufacturer's part to fail to acknowledge this possible avenue of failure. Seems more like they are just covering their asses to avoid culpability.

    I was in college at the time, and this is probably one of the more valuable lessons I've ever learned in engineering and something I think would be valuable in software engineering also. Never, ever dismiss complaining customers as morons just because its the simplest explanation especially regarding a safety issue. People actually put up with a lot. More often than not, when people complain and it is difficult to do so, there is merit to the complaint. A proper investigation is required, and a open mind, and wide imagination help determine the failure states.

  • by ctmurray (1475885) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @01:43AM (#29974144) Journal
    The ABC web site has a video from Consumer's Report [go.com] on what to do in case of uncontrolled acceleration. They use a Toyota to demonstrate that pumping the brakes results in brake failure - so the brakes cannot always overcome the engine. The Toyota off button requires holding down for three seconds, which is not obvious (until this happened) even to Toyota owners. They recommend putting into neutral and braking to demonstrate that this does work the best. At then end they show a VW where the full on brake does override the full on accelerator, and this is where good programing could make the car "failsafe" (I know, not the correct term but cut me some slack).
  • Well, then! (Score:5, Funny)

    by foo fighter (151863) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @01:52AM (#29974206) Homepage

    Hundreds of Toyota owners?! Well, then: if a percentage of the population of Toyota owners of North Dakota are upset, by all means, everyone who has ever owned a Toyota should raise their torch and/or pitchfork!

  • by crispytwo (1144275) on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @02:32AM (#29974462)

    The government & Toyota are probably right about the floor mat. But that's what recalls are for.

    This is exactly what happened to me and I was heading to a cliff - 3rd gear - floored and I had the presence of mind to turn off the ignition. Seriously - I was terrified.

    Picture this, you turn a corner, accelerate, change gears, and suddenly you are going around 80 Km/h with about 1 block to the edge of cliff and a 90 degree turn on a residential street with a cliff in front of you.

    I had the time to turn off the ignition and jerk to a stop... BTW taking it out of gear under full acceleration is not simple either. I can hear the vacuum cleaner sound of the engine too - it was crazy. However, when the engine red-lines - it kill the accelerator for a second and then lets it restart... grabbing the ****ing anything with that is un-fun.

    AFTER it stopped I could diagnose the problem being that the driver's side floor mat came off the hook that is supposed to hold it in place and inched up over the gas-pedal... thus couldn't un-press it until the carpet was pulled back.

    Since there was a slot in the peg that holds the carpet in place, I took a handy dandy twist tie and wrapped the peg with the carpet in place preventing the carpet from EVER popping off that peg. Since then - no scary shit.

    Toyota and Nissan should fix this problem - at their cost - and it should be a recall. - After all - it's a 10 cent fix - a peg that has a simple spring latch on top would fix it with no problems. Picture hanger anchors have used that technique for decades now.

  • by sethstorm (512897) * on Wednesday November 04, 2009 @03:04PM (#29983104) Homepage

    Toyota: Moving you forward into the next traffic jam. Whether you like it or not.

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