• Aug 17, 2010
2010 Toyota Camry – Click above for high-res image gallery

If you didn't think that Toyota has been getting a lot of 'unintended acceleration' questions from concerned customers, this might change your mind. The Japanese automaker has posted a short release on the company's media website called "Why is my car doing this?" that explains how technology in cars today can "cause engine rpm to increase slightly without warning." The informative little missive explains how cold start idle-up, transmission shift, catalytic converter protection, air conditioning idle-up and power steering idle up can raise the pulse of your engine.

We were hoping that the rest of the world already knew that, for example, jamming the A/C when it is hot will cause the engine to rev a bit higher, or that starting your vehicle when it's cold outside will cause the engine to race for a few minutes. Guess not. Our favorite example is for protection of the catalytic converter. Toyota tells us that, on manual transmission models, the engine control computer will "keep the engine rpm above idle as the driver shifts between fifth and sixth gear at high speeds" to prolong the life of the emissions component.

While the list of reasons your engine may idle may sound incredibly obvious, it suggests that some customers are a bit skittish every time they turn on their Toyota, and that can't be good. Hit the jump to read for yourself.



[Source: Toyota]
Show full PR text
Modern technology in today's automobiles can cause engine rpm to increase slightly without warning, but don't panic. There's a reason for this and once you understand why, you won't be surprised when it happens.

Here are a few examples of these common occurrences from the experts at Toyota:

Cold start idle-up: An increase in engine idle speed normally occurs just after a cold start on the first drive of the day. This high idle speed is a normal condition of a cold engine. The engine idle speed will reduce as the engine warms up.

Transmission shift: When accelerating while driving at a slow to moderate speed, the driver may experience a slight pause, as the transmission downshifts to a lower gear, followed by a notable increase in engine rpm as the vehicle accelerates.

Catalytic converter protection: On some manual transmission models, the engine control computer may keep the engine rpm above idle as the driver shifts between fifth and sixth gears at highway speeds. This momentary rpm increase is designed to enhance the life of the catalytic converter.

Air conditioning idle-up: On vehicles with an engine-driven A/C compressor, the engine idle rpm will increase slightly as the compressor cycles on. This is done to reduce the chance of an engine stall condition due to the increased load being place on it by the operation of the A/C compressor.

Power steering idle-up: On vehicles with engine-driven hydraulic power steering, the driver will note a slight increase in engine idle rpm when the steering wheel is turned while stopped or at low speeds. This is a normal operating condition and is done to reduce the chance of an engine stall due the increased load placed on it by the operation of the power steering pump.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 43 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Just my opinion, but I don't think this is helping either Toyota's image, or the general perception of Toyota owners: that these are appliances, and owners approach them with a binary thought process: stop, go, the end. No need for explanations. I realize that those who frequent AB tend to be a little more 'clued-in' than the average, but to have to explain such basics doesn't look good on Toyota owners.
      • 4 Years Ago
      anyone buying a piece of crap Toyota, is an un-american freak who knows absolutely zero about a real automobile. It is not a big surprise that they cannot tell one pedal from the other. The Toyota moto should be, ask not what you can do for your country, but what you can do for Japan.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Appliance buyers don't understand their appliances, imagine that.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Good idea.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Floor mat speed-up: An increase in engine speed normally occurs just after you step firmly on the gas pedal and the bottom of the gas pedal sticks under the top front edge of the floor mat. This high speed-up is a normal condition when an aftermarket floor mat is installed. The engine speed will reduce as the car slams into another object.
        • 4 Years Ago
        See, the thing is, how many floor mats slip *backwards*? Mine always want to slide forwards, and cozy up to the steering column.
      bob
      • 4 Years Ago
      Reason why Toyoto's go 100 mph when Brake Pedals are Used . Hum , Maybe , Just Maybe the Electric Switch or Electric Control Board is getting w we bit worn out and has mysterious moments it is doing something it should not be doing ! You Recon ? So , by an American Made Auto ! At least WE Americans know how to make systems which when they go out , they need Replaced and do not have mysterious KILL , KILL , KILL owner events ! Or maybe auto feels , it's time for a new suite and desires to be Melted and made new (Owners Included) lol
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yay. Belittling your customers by talking down to them is so in right now.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Remember the Apple Antenna gate? Totally a non-issue and only detectable in countries with underdeveloped mobile networks - US and UK. Finland newspaper took failed to replicate the issue on the borders of coverage area.

      The reason the non-issue was so publicized was that these articles/news items attracted more clicks/viewers than any other item on any given day. I bet there are many who lost their investment betting on Apple shares plummeting.

      Toyota faced the same situation - non-issue got munched over and over with anti-Japanese vengeance of the US press and blogosphere for exactly same reasons.

      Unintended acceleration non-issue was a rating increasing magnet and mantra. But media went as far as faking tests!

      It turned out, nothing really happened.
      Carlos
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why is my Toyota so incredibly boring?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Carlos
        I think that's a very valid question for Toyota.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Just like in politics...(or after you catch someone cheating on you)...if your explaining yourself, your LOSING. I do not see other automakers having to explain themselves either.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Just can't understand why Americans still buy dodgy Toyota cars, the big three are selling some really nice cars these days from the new Fiesta to the Taurus which have surpassed Toyota in my opinion even without Toyota's acceleration out of control/no brakes/no steering problems taken in to consideration.

      Nothing wrong with Apple it won't stop me from upgrading my 3GS for a I-Phone 4 next year its not a life threatening problem like Toyota. Just as well it was not one of the Big 3 cars we would never have heard the last of it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Anyone that thinks this is a bad idea, simply doesn't get that the VAST majority of people have absolutely no idea how a car works.

      I would be willing to bet that the percent of people that know that the AC turns on (in almost all cars now a days) when you turn the vents to hit the windshield is in single digits.

      I would be willing to bet that a similar percentage of people know that the AC takes engine power (except for some hybrids that might run the AC off of the battery) to run and thus will reduce your mileage.

      I actually applaud Toyota for this.

      Informing their customers about this and that is not a bad thing at all. They should have YouTube videos explaining this stuff.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "I would be willing to bet that the percent of people that know that the AC turns on (in almost all cars now a days) when you turn the vents to hit the windshield is in single digits."

        Think about what you just wrote.

        I would be willing to bet that the percentage of people who drive a new-enough car in which the AC turns on automatically the way you describe is in, well, single digits.
        • 4 Years Ago
        My '87 Volvo 740 did this. My '04 Volvo S60 did it. My '05 Volvo S60R does it (redesigned from 04). My girlfriend's mom's '00 Focus sedan does this...

        What is being talked about is when you turn the ventilation system to the one that has a picture of a windshield and some wavy lines. The Focus (and my S60) even lights up the A/C light if it was off before switching to this mode.

        It's to dry out the air so your windows don't fog up. I use it whenever it's raining and cold outside.
        • 4 Years Ago
        How young are you? I had a '74 Ford that the AC switched on when you selected defog. It's not new.
        • 4 Years Ago
        No way.. my '95 Dodge had that feature and I know my '02 Subaru does too. The GF's '02 Toyota has it, and I am not positive, but I believe my dad's '96 Honda does as well.

        I actually don't like that feature - I rather turn the AC on when I want to, but it's been around for a long time.
    • Load More Comments