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Toyota announced an all out recall of both floor mats and accelerator pedals beginning in late 2009, but the issue was clearly known by the company years prior. Recent reports indicated that the automaker was well aware of floor mat-related issues dating back to early 2007. Not only was the company aware of the issue, it responded by posting a technical service bulletin (TSB).

Back in March of 2007, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened an investigation into pedal entrapment on the Lexus ES350. Within two weeks, Toyota issued a TSB to dealers regarding possible pedal entrapment caused by floor mats. Later that year, Toyota warned dealers of the same possible risk on all Toyota models and instructed dealerships not to install optional floor mats. A portion of the TSB is posted below:
NEVER install more than one floormat at a time in the driver's seating position... If applicable, any secondary set of floormats MUST be placed in the trunk with all the packaging material intact. DO NOT install the secondary mat on top of the primary floormat already in the driver's seating position.
In September of 2007, Toyota voluntarily recalled 55,000 floormats from Lexus and Toyota vehicles, but stated that no known problem had been found with the mats or vehicles. NHTSA closed the investigation, but the problems didn't end. Toyota continued to send TSBs for 2008 and 2009 model year vehicles to remind dealers of potential pedal entrapment problems.

The TSBs are clear proof that Toyota was aware of the potential problem and it shows they acted in a way consistent with other automakers by addressing the problem at the dealership level. The mistakes the company made include admitting that the floor mats were not part of the problem and then doing nothing else to discover and fix the real problem.

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[Source: Reuters]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      "Don't install two floormats at once" is hardly a smoking gun.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think the point missed by most if not all posters so far is that this is a common practice for most auto makers.

      I remember the ball joint bulletin for Dodge Durangos instead of a recall, though it was a pretty widespread problem, and you couldn't easily change them out yourself. But if you came in with bad ones, they replaced them b/c of the bulletin. It's been the secret money saver for the industry for years.
      • 5 Years Ago
      While it should've been better publicized I knew about the TSB when it first came out, along with all the other TSBs that come out. If Toyota, or any manufacturer, tried to put out every TSB to the public two things would happen. 1) Some people would ignore them and Toyota would still be in this mess. 2) People would get angry at the manufacturer for too much communication and junk mail. They'd still be angry either way. Accelerator pedal issues are not unique to Toyota nor is this a recent thing. I recently did an online traffic school that was developed prior to the Toyota fiasco. There is a section on there about sticking or non-functioning accelerator pedals and what to do in an emergency. This tells me that other cars have had this problem in the past...but the media is being selective on who it attacks. A new law on what should determine a recall and what should determine a TSB should be in effect. If you make it too strict than you'll lose a lot of jobs as car manufacturers will be very picky about whether they stay in business or not. If you make it too lenient than a small percentage of people die.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is just stupid, they're right this is beating the dead horse...

      That tsb is not a recall. In fact, it's common sense not to put more than one floor mat in a car, as stacking them in ANY car can cause pedals to get stuck. The tsb is basically a warning for the vehicle prep people to not install the mats over each other.

      It states " ...If the optional Toyota Camry All Weather Floor Mat (either by it self or if it is PLACED ON TOP OF AN EXISTING CARPETED FLOOR MAT) is NOT SECURED by the retaining hooks (clips), the mat can move forward and interfere with the accelerator pedal returning to the idle position. "

      Note that the main point is NOT SECURED, OR PLACED ON TOP OF ANOTHER FLOOR MAT. Securing the mat is common sense, but sometimes they come loose, or people don't secure them to the retaining hooks. Toyota was proactive in changing the design of the new mats so they wouldn't interfere with the pedal movement even if the owner was ignorant enough to miss these common sense preparations.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Additonally @mact,

      If you read the full article, we're only told that statement was made to dealers. No mention of that statement going into the earlier TSB or directly to customers.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm sure the majority of people on this enthusiast site knows too. But how much of the buying public riffles through TSBs before a car purchase or even know what a TSB is?

      And among those that might read them, how many are trained to make the connection between the technical lingo and potential to create the types of incidents that have been reported?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Do pianos come with a warning to not slam the cover on my genitals? The public must know!
        A lot of laws are made to protect the morons from themselves. As in, don't we all not know why we must wear a seat belt when we ride a car? If you don't know why, I think we should let evolution take care of it for you.
      • 5 Years Ago
      whoops, double post.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Isn't this just common sense anyway - Don't stack anything that would interfere with the gas pedal.

      I recently bought a 1989 Mercedes that had a clear plastic mat on top of the OEM mat. I drove it about 20 minutes before I realized it was sliding all over the place and getting in the way. I just took it out and threw it in the trash can at the supermarket I was heading to.

      End of problem.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Holy crap,,,Toyota had a recall...When...Why wasn't I told....Come up with NEWs!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      So Toyota was aware they had a problem that could be deadly, but they weaseled out of a recall and got away with only a TSB. Then people died.


      NHTSA should hang for this too...
        • 5 Years Ago
        If the problem is people being too dumb to know that piling stuff in the driver's floorboard might eventually cause interference with the pedals, what exactly are they supposed to recall? The people?
        • 5 Years Ago
        They were supposed to recall the floormats. Like they did. A bit late for some.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This has baffled me the entire time about the Toyota witch hunt. Why should it ever need to be stated that you shouldn't put in more than one floor mat? Who would ever do that? Can you name me any car in which you couldn't pile enough crap in the floor board to eventually interfere in some way with the accelerator pedal?

      It really bothers me that the NHTSA still isn't addressing the real safety problem: handing licenses to idiots.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Still flogging the dead horse.
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