Possibly injuring its reputation for safety, Toyota is recalling 3.8 million cars, trucks and SUVs in the U.S. on concerns that driver’s side floor mats could cause accelerator pedals to stick and possibly cause a car crash.
The automaker urged owners of many of its Avalon, Camry, Prius, Tacoma, Tundra, Lexus ES 350, Lexus IS 250 and Lexus IS 350 models to remove floor mats until the company finds a remedy for the problem. The recall affects only certain model years beginning with 2004 models. The floor mats should not be replaced, the company advises.
Additionally, owners of the recalled vehicles will also be individually notified of the floor mat safety issues by next week at the earliest, according to the Associated Press.
“Should the vehicle continue to accelerate rapidly after releasing the accelerator pedal, this could be an indication of floor mat interference,” Toyota (Stock Quote: TM) advised in a press release.
Drivers experiencing this problem should dislodge and pull back the floor mat if possible. If it’s not safe to do so, drivers are advised to firmly step on the brake pedal with both feet and shift to neutral to stop. If that’s not possible, drivers are advised to turn their engines off or to ACC. You’ll be able to keep control of steering and braking, Toyota says.
Owners of the recalled cars who don’t want to take out their potentially dangerous floor mats are urged to make sure that theirs is the correct floor mat, it’s properly installed and secured as shown in this pdf file.
In August, a stuck floor mat may have been the cause of an accident and death of a family of four in a dealer-loaned Lexus ES 350.
Toyota says it’s very serious about public safety and believes it makes some of the safest vehicles on the road.