Late last month, Toyota announced that it would begin its biggest recall action ever, summoning 3.8 million cars and trucks back to its dealers to combat "pedal entrapment" by cutting down the accelerator pedals of customer cars to avoid them getting hung-up on floormats, resulting in "unintended acceleration." Although Toyota plans to eventually substitute redesigned units for the shaved pedals (beginning in April), for the moment, it's shaved pedals or nothing.
Up until now, we didn't know what went into the modification process or how the finished pedal looks, as Toyota has worked hard to keep this process confidential. However, thanks to an anonymous Autoblog reader who happens to work in service at a Lexus franchise, we now have a much better idea of what goes into the process. Our source reveals that he's only witnessed the alteration carried out on a ES350, not the IS or any other Toyota model, but we imagine the process is quite similar for other vehicles.
In any case, the procedure is surprisingly involved, with the automaker providing the following tools to every dealership: A cutter, an electric sanding wheel, a gauge to measure how much of the pedal is to be removed and a smaller foam block to go under the carpet. Lexus is disbursing people from its area offices to train dealer technicians on the process, and Toyota is undoubtedly doing the same.
We'll let our source take it from here:
"We will have to remove the gas pedal from the vehicle and place it on a vise. Using the gauge, we are to mark the amount to be removed and cut it off. After this, we take the sanding wheel and angle the edges to make a smooth contoured surface that both looks nice and will not stick to the floor carpet or floor mat.
Also included in the repair is to replace a foam block under the floor carpet with a smaller one to lower the height of the floor slightly behind the gas pedal. What was explained to us is the foam block is glued to the bottom of the floor carpet from the factory. The block will need to be removed by heating the top side of the floor carpet with a hair dryer – not a heat gun. This is to prevent burning of the floor carpet.
(Click through to the jump for the rest of the process and more details)
Related GalleryToyota/Lexus gas pedal recall modification
The dealer rep did state that any carpets damaged would not be warranted by Lexus and is the responsibility of the dealership to replace. He did not have much to offer about the computer cutting power of the engine when both pedals are pressed at the same time, but did state they were still working on a solution. I would guess that after completing a few of these, the job can probably be performed in around an hour.Our source was kind enough to supply us with before-and-after photos of the pedal which you can view in our gallery below. Not sure if your car is covered under the recall? Click here to learn the full details.
We have not modified any pedals for customers, as the recall will begin sometime after the new year. I cannot touch on customer satisfaction because of that, but in my opinion, most customers probably will not even notice. The customers who are not satisfied with the modification will have the option to have the pedal replaced at a later date as parts are made available."