• Mar 18, 2010
Are you tired of hearing about Toyota recalls and safety concerns? If that's the case, we must regrettably inform you that there's an update to note on a previously reported issue, this one potentially affecting some 1.2 million Corolla and Matrix models from 2005, 2006 and 2007. This issue concerns a possible defect that may cause affected vehicles to stall due to a failure in the engine's electronic control unit. At this time, Reuters reports, this is not a recall, just an investigation.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration first began investigating the problem back in November of last year, and up to that point, the government agency had received 26 such complaints. Apparently, there's no rhyme or reason as to when the cars will stall out, and it can happen at any speed, even at a steady cruise on the highway or through an intersection.

According to a letter sent as a response to a query from NHTSA, Toyota is suggesting that this particular issue doesn't create "an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety," calling the problem more of an inconvenience to owners. NHTSA says Toyota even issued a bulletin back in September of 2007 to dealers outlining a fix to replace the ECU with an improved model.

For what it's worth, we'd wager that electronic gremlins are the very last thing Toyota wants the public to hear about right about now in the wake of recalling some 8.5 million vehicles so far this year, most of which were to address potential mechanical problems with the accelerator pedal and ill-fitting floor mats that can cause cases of unintended acceleration. The automaker has repeatedly ruled out electronic problems as the cause of its sudden acceleration issues.

[Source: Reuters]


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  • 39 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      I just think that Japan should recall Toyota
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is all leading up to the eventual replacement of all ECU's in Toyota Motor Companies vehicles....
      • 4 Years Ago
      I am sick of this BS. Automakers issue recalls all the time. 3 Months ago this wouldn't even be news, now it is a HUGE DEAL OH MY GOD WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE IN A FIERY CRASH...


      Grow up America.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is another example of how the Toyota Production System (TPS) is broken. The drop in quality became evident in 2007 when Toyota's ratings fell in the annual Consumer Reports Survey. Reasons for the decline of the Toyota brand are discussed at

      http://www.philosophiesofbusiness.com/blog/
        • 4 Years Ago
        bizphilosophy: put it in your TPS Report.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's starting to sound like Toyota is operating like Microsoft... Release a buggy product, provide updates later to fix it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I thought the engine's electronic control unit was bullet proof?? there was no way a glitch could be in the system...
        • 4 Years Ago
        yep, I have.

        Have you ever been on a road where all the drivers are attentive?
        No? I haven't either.

        Have you ever been rear-ended by some idiot on the cell phone and in a hurry, on a road where its feasible to stop and turn, much less on the highway where the guy is on autopilot because everyone should be going 65-70?
        • 4 Years Ago
        How difficult is it to restart the car when this happens? Does it start immediately, take a couple of tries or do you have to come to a halt and wait a few minutes and try again?

        I could see how this could be potentially dangerous to any driver in the middle of a multi lane freeway during rush hour if you can't restore power quickly.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Did Toyota EVER say that? No. They said the ECU wasn't the problem in the unintended acceleration. They did NOT say the ECU is bulletproof and would NEVER be a source of a problem. Ugh..
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ahhh just remove the floor mats that will fix it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Toyota is suggesting that this particular issue doesn't create "an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety," calling the problem more of an inconvenience to owners.

        yes, its an inconvenience, not a safety issue, when it stalls out on the freeway and a college girl get rear-ended at 65mph. nor is it an inconvenience when it stalls out in the seedy part of town.

        lovely
        • 4 Years Ago
        Have you ever stalled a slush? It's not like you come screeching to a halt.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I thought they said they had NOTHING wrong with the Electronics!!!!???
      • 4 Years Ago
      i'm sorry, but if you're still buying Toyota's at this point in time, then you deserve what you get, you'll get no sympathy from me. I'd take back my 1999 Mercury Cougar if the only other car available was a Toyota.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "26 out of 1.2 million. A little over 0.002%. Unless it’s a manufacturing flaw in the ECU that affects every unit, why in the world would this warrant a recall? Just replace the damn thing when the customer brings it in. No different than a car with a bad spark plug coil or a dead battery. People who expect every car to be perfect 100% of the time are living in a fantasy world. Sometimes you get a bad one – fix it or sell it, but move on."
        • 4 Years Ago
        I do find it strange that the Cobalt investigation began after 1500 complaints while Toyota only needs 26 complaints. Oh, I bet Toyota wished the US government had stake in them now.
        • 4 Years Ago
        0.002% is only based on what is actually reported to NHTSA. The actual number could be higher. This exact thing happened to my wife's 06 Matrix (auto). The car just died in the middle of the road. After towing it to the dealer, the car was ready next day with a new ECU. The car works fine now. If this happened on the highway or high volume traffic areas, this could have been a lot more dangerous. Therefore, a recall may be the right thing to do.

        However, I used to work in the industry and I know that every manufacturer keeps very good track on the warranty repairs. The manufacturer can very easily track this issue down to the supplier, process, lot number or date of manufacture - there is traceability. If this does turn out to be a simple issue, then be it. But if it is not, and the manufacturer cannot properly trace the issue, then it becomes a major quality concern. Especially, if the manufacturer in question is percieved as the quality benchmark.
        • 4 Years Ago
        But if its some part that could have been made better, like an ECU with more shielding, why wouldn't they do it? Why do people like you assume that every one this has happened to has reported it to the NHTSA?
      • 4 Years Ago
      My 2003 Corolla S which looks identical to this pic here has almost had this issue a couple time. To keep it from stalling I put the car in neutral and kept the RPM's up a little. I thought it could be a bad mass airflow sensor, but am glad to hear it's not just me. Also the issue appears to only happen when it is very cold out for me.
      • 4 Years Ago
      2nd Gen Priuses also had an ECU defect that would cause them to just stop running on the highway. You could pull over to the side of the road no problem as it slowed down.

      It was quite a common sight to see one stopped on the side of the expressway here in NorCal at that time. I remember I'd see one about every 2-3 weeks during my commute.

      Toyota found the bug and fixed it and updated them and you don't see it happening anymore, not for a long time now.

      http://www.autoblog.com/2005/10/14/toyota-to-reboot-75-000-prius-cars/
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't get it. If you go to the toyota website, on the homepage it says "Toyota wants to thank you with our biggest offers ever". Funny, I don't recall Toyota thanking us for anything in the past. Why now?
        • 4 Years Ago
        *squint*
        I see what you did there.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Oh and "recall Toyota..." (no pun intended)
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