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    If you drive one of Toyota's recalled models, follow these tips to ensure your safety before you get the fix (Toyota).

    by: Gary Hoffman, AOL Autos
     

    In an era of bank bailouts and free-falls in housing prices, one more certainty of life has been turned on its end: Drivers of some Toyota models now need to figure out whether it’s safe to drive around town in cars once reputed to have the best quality in the world.

    With apologies to Clint Eastwood in “Dirty Harry,” the answer can be best summed up with the line: “Well, do you feel unlucky…?”

    Toyota recently recalled 2.3 million vehicles in the U.S. so it can solve a problem with sticking accelerators. The recall includes Avalons, Camrys, Corollas, Highlanders, Matrixes, RAV4s, Sequoias, and Tundras (see the list here). In an unrelated but recent recall, Toyota announced that the Prius and Lexus HS 250h models would also fall under a recall for problems with their braking systems. Toyota said that dealerships will start receiving the remedy for the problem this week and owners will be notified to bring their vehicles in.

    Toyota and most automotive experts will only say that the risk of driving these cars is extremely low. The company's tips on what to do (see table below right) aren't likely to allay all the fears owners have.

    Toyota will not expressly say that they recommend drivers stop driving their vehicles. Toyota President Jim Lentz has said publicly that he is still letting his family drive their Toyotas. Officially, the company Toyota stopped short of recommending that people continue to drive the cars, but nor did it recommend that they not do so. It called the problem rare and urged people to contact their dealerships if they have concerns.

    What To Do If You Experience Problems With Your Accelerator Pedal

    What if you experience a sticking accelerator pedal while driving? Each circumstance may vary, and drivers must use their best judgment, but Toyota recommends taking one of the following actions:
    If you need to stop immediately, the vehicle can be controlled by stepping on the brake pedal with both feet using firm and steady pressure. Do not pump the brake pedal as it will deplete the vacuum utilized for the power brake assist.
    Shift the transmission gear selector to the Neutral (N) position and use the brakes to make a controlled stop at the side of the road and turn off the engine.
    If unable to put the vehicle in Neutral, turn the engine OFF. This will not cause loss of steering or braking control, but the power assist to these systems will be lost.
    If the vehicle is equipped with an Engine Start/Stop button, firmly and steadily push the button for at least three seconds to turn off the engine. Do NOT tap the Engine Start/Stop button.
    If the vehicle is equipped with a conventional key-ignition, turn the ignition key to the ACC position to turn off the engine. Do NOT remove the key from the ignition as this will lock the steering wheel.

    The above steps were provided by Toyota.

    Federal transportation officials are privately saying that people should drive their Toyotas but should stay alert to potential problems with the accelerators.

    “There is not enough data to be clear about what you should do,” said Don Friedman, an engineer with the Center for Injury Research in Santa Barbara, Calif.

    Strictly speaking, people should not drive the vehicles, Friedman said. But he quickly added that the odds of an accident due to a faulty Toyota accelerator fall roughly among the normal risks of everyday life. 

    So, there's your answer: while the risk exists, so does the risk that you'll be involved in an automobile accident. Remember, in 2009 there were more than 40,000 deaths from automobile accidents. Only five of those can be attributed to Toyotas with unintended acceleration problems. You'd be better served worrying about all the other issues on the road -- from careless drivers on mobile phone to every day mishaps.

    At these odds, safety experts expect many people to drive their Toyota anyway.

    “People should not expect every Toyota to have a problem,” Friedman said. “The ones that are going to be serious are going to be giving some erratic indications. These things don’t just happen instantaneously.”

    Still, Friedman believes the problem potentially exists in as many as 5 percent or more of the vehicles recalled.

    At least five deaths and 17 injuries are being investigated for possible connections with unintended Toyota accelerations, according to press reports and safety organizations.

    Unfortunately, the problems with faulty accelerators don’t occur at a particular vehicle mileage. They are more likely to occur when wear and corrosion have damaged parts and interfered with their interactions, Friedman said. The harsher the normal driving conditions, the more likely the accelerator problem would arise.

    Consider these tips if you're going to continue driving your Toyota before it's fixed:

    • Do a trial run and practice putting both feet on the brakes and stopping the car from a speed of 25 mph. If there's a member of your family driving your Toyota, make sure they have practice doing the same.
    • Know your environment. If your Toyota is driven in harsh conditions (very cold, very hot, or very sandy or dusty areas), it will likely wear sooner than a vehicle in a more temperate climate. This could, in some cases, bring about problems with the sticky accelerator sooner than others.
    • Be aware of your car's overall health. Does your vehicle get a lot of wear and tear during the year? Do you drive more than 15,000 miles per year? Constant use of a vehicle, especially without proper maintenance, can mean it is even "older" than its mileage.

    Toyota now says it has a remedy for the problem and the redesigned pedals are now being produced at its component supplier. Owners will start to see letters from their dealer this week. Detailed information and answers to questions about issues related to this recall are available to customers at www.toyota.com/recall and at the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.

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    1 - 20 of 141 Comments
    turtlesnt Mar 16, 2010 4:28 PM
    Arvig I would love to find a blog in which you are activley posting. I started reading your crap on an auto buying tips comments section, where your horrible attitude and constant trolling frankly irritate me. I have found several posts in which you post incorrect information, but yet deliver it with the arrogance of the truly ignorant. Hope you read this soon, as I am looking forward to logically and factually disassembling you on a blog you seem to like trolling. Au revoir Turtle
    Report This
    arvig Feb 21, 2010 1:15 PM
    Oh, as an aside Mrpushrod1, I went to one of you URL's. It doesn't say they are buying up ALL of the world's lithium supply. Just that they are buying interest in a lithium mine. Nothing nefarious there. But please, do continue your inane tirades, please. It's good comedy relief.
    Report This
    arvig Feb 21, 2010 1:13 PM
    OOO...Mrpushrod1 says I must own a Corolla with cruise control steering. I guess his glue sniffing is a lifestyle choice, not just a hobby. Gee, I even commented to him before that I don't own a Toyota, but his biased delusional tripe can't let him accept that. Nope, he must post such in order to keep his world view intact. I even posted that unlike him, I'm not a fanboy and if I like an American car, I'll get it. But if I like an import more, that is what I'll buy. But nope, he can't comprehend that either. Oh well, delusional people with a bias can't handle the truth. Oh well, keep sniffing that glue. Oh, I own a 2009 Infiniti G37x. Feel free to find some way to flame it (Yes, it's made by Nissan, but then again a Cadillac is made by GM which is the same as a Chevy if you want to go that route. :P ). BUT, in the 90's I owned two Chrysler products. See...I will buy American if I like an American product at the time. Unlike you, I'm not a fanboy. :P Oh, as an aside..did you know that GM is recalling 1.4 million vehicles for engine fires? :P
    Report This
    mrpushrod1 Feb 14, 2010 4:57 PM
    arvig: You obviously don't know how to roll up your sleeves and research. This is why you own the Cruise ship Corolla with the dangerous steering. http://online.wsj.com/article/*******************************************.html http://green.autoblog.com/2010/01/21/toyota-secures-lithium-supply-deal-in-argentina/ http://www.thedeal.com/corporatedealmaker/2010/01/toyotas_lithium_mine.php The list is endless: Arvig -- If you are capable a Google search and can spell Toyota & lithium then you can say something intelligent next time around
    Report This
    lafm2005 Feb 13, 2010 6:21 PM
    Whats scary, are all of the Kia and Hyundais on the road, which are nothing more than cheap Toyotas !
    Report This
    lafm2005 Feb 13, 2010 6:16 PM
    For the safety of the masses, the government should require the removal of all suspect Toyotas from our roads.
    Report This
    arvig Feb 13, 2010 5:54 PM
    Well, Mrpushrod1 and his alias fordawm oozed out of the woodwork again to post their drivel based on lies, just to troll for replies. I like how MrPushrod1 takes a comment from ONE review and decides it MUST mean a Toyota Corolla steers like a "cruise ship". Sorry, but making an assumption based on a set of words that themselves are subjective does NOT make it fact, MrPushrod1. So please, stop your drivel. Then again, you're the lunatic who seems to think that Toyota is buying up all the lithium in the world based on other posts I read, yet also never offers any proof of that. Delusion is the key to your world view I see.
    Report This
    mrpushrod1 Feb 13, 2010 3:36 PM
    Even with a trade deficit of 1 trillion a year. I would be more than happy if Consumer Reports set up their auto testing facility in India. Their quality is worst than Ford and GM when they were producing the Pinto and Vega. Can you imagine Consumer Reports recommending the Corolla and placing it near the top of the list even though they stated it steers like a cruise ship i.e. Consumer Reports states the Corolla steering is light and vague. People are scared to drive their Corollas on the highways. This is a potential recall now. I am surprised Consumer Reports in not recommending Toyota (Consumer Reports Gem brand) owners to just relax and reset the gas pedal with their left foot when it sticks on the worst handling sedans in America (Toyota Avalon and Lexus LS460). At Consumer Reports safety takes a back seat to selling magazines. These followers (CR auto testers) will start recommending Fords as soon as the public perception changes toward Ford (even if Fords are unsafe at the time).
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    fordawm Feb 13, 2010 3:23 PM
    I love the way all of the redneck governors and senators from states where they build Toyotas are crying now and begging for mercy. The same ones who wanted to cut the heart out of GM and Chrysler.
    Report This
    fordawm Feb 13, 2010 3:18 PM
    I would never drive or let a loved one drive or be a passenger in a Toyota until the fix is in. And the fix is not some little metal shim attached to the accelerator peddle.
    Report This
    arvig Feb 12, 2010 1:09 AM
    And you prove my points that I made in another article, that you're some aol autoblog troll by spewing forth more half truths and stastictics made up by you, period. Your fiction isn't the truth, period. Does Toyota have a lot of hurdles? Of course. But then again so does any car maker who suffered under a major recall. AGAIN, almost every make has had a major blot on their record due to some recall. This is something you'll ignore in your rambling of course. Oh well, keep on frothing at the mouth, Mrpushrod1. Prove my points yet again by posting yet again. I'm sure you'll have some comment back. And you'll prove my points yet again with said comment. Bye now!
    Report This
    mrpushrod1 Feb 12, 2010 12:19 AM
    FIXED COPY -- Toyota has other obstacles to overcome. Till now, Toyota has been building the worst handling vehicles sold in America. For example: both the Lexus LS460 and Toyota Avalon posted the slowest speeds in Consumer reports accident avoidance tests. This did not stop Consumer reports from giving them the highest test scores out of any comparable vehicles. I quote Consumer Reports Corolla review: THE STEERING IS A BIT LIGHT AND RATHER VAGUE. This is a possible recall now because the Corolla handles like a cruise ship. Consumer Reports put safety in the back seat in order to cater to the demographics of their customers and sell more magazines. They highly recommended all of these dangerous vehicles. Currently, Consumer Reports does not disclose the data (individual weight applied to each of the tests in the test suite) it uses to calculate the final test score of a vehicle. This allows their auto testers to pick and choose the winners (highest test scores) according to what their customer base wants to hear. Did the stitching in the leather interior affect the score more than safe handling? Only the biased testers at CR know. Furthermore, the CR reliability study is not random like reputable institutions such as J. D. Powers. There survey is sent only to their (cult like) members that purchase the biased CR magazine. Data derived by CRs surveys is always tainted toward the big three (Toyota, Honda, Nissan). This is obvious when data is compared to national random surveys. This ordeal has been a wakeup call for the arrogant auto staff @ Consumer Reports ************* Toyotas even a few days after Toyota recalled them. Fortunately for Ford and GM all eyes are on Consumer Reports and Toyota. They let the public down by ignoring safety for years to prosper financially. I bet Consumer Reports will go with the flow and start critiquing Toyota. Toyota will have to start producing completive safe handling agile vehicles in the future because the perception game is finally over.
    Report This
    mrpushrod1 Feb 12, 2010 12:14 AM
    Toyota has obstacles to overcome. Till now, Toyota has been building the worst handling vehicles sold in America. For example: both the Lexus LS460 and Toyota Avalon posted the slowest speeds in Consumer reports accident avoidance tests. This didn&************************ Consumer reports from giving them the highest test scores out of any comparable vehicles. I quote Consumer Reports Corolla review: &********************* STEERING IS A BIT LIGHT AND RATHER VAGUE&************************ is a possible recall now because the Corolla handles like a cruise ship. Consumer Reports put safety in the back seat in order to cater to the demographics of their customers and sell more magazines. They highly recommended all of these dangerous vehicles. Currently, Consumer Reports does not disclose the data (individual weight applied to each of the tests in the test suite) it uses to calculate the final test score of a vehicle. This allows their auto testers to pick and choose the winners (highest test scores) according to what their customer base wants to hear. Did the stitching in the leather interior affect the score more than safe handling? Only the biased testers at CR know. Furthermore, the CR reliability study is not random like reputable institutions like J. D. Powers. There survey is sent only to their (cult like) members that purchase the biased CR magazine. Data derived by CRs surveys is always tainted toward the big three (Toyota, Honda, Nissan). This is obvious when data is compared to national random surveys. This ordeal has been a wakeup call for the arrogant auto staff @ Consumer Reports ************* Toyota’s even a few days after Toyota recalled them. Fortunately for Ford and GM all eyes are on Consumer Reports and Toyota. They let the public down by ignoring safety for years to prosper financially. I bet Consumer Reports will go with the flow and start critiquing Toyota. Toyota will have to start producing completive safe handling agile vehicles in the future because the perception game is finally over.
    Report This
    fbyshr Feb 11, 2010 8:18 PM
    you have a much better chance of winning lotto then have your toyota gas pedal stick ; the manufacturer who makes the pedal for toyota makes them for many other major car companies so why pick on toyota; and in the rare event the pedl sticks because you have 3 floor mats on the driver's floor along with a couple empty soda+water bottles and a couple packs of cigarettes slap the car in neutral coast to the side of the rodad and turn the car off before the motor blows you bg dummy!!!
    Report This
    ihcub76 Feb 11, 2010 8:06 PM
    yes at one time it was great to get a foregin car,they were better then the ours,BUT now i think we who need cars should buy american made.the foregin made our american companys make a much better car.WE NEED THE MONEY FOR OUR COUNTRY,yes we have manufecturing of cars and ect but the bulk of the moneys are still going to the auto makers overseas,not going to our benefit our children are paying a great price for schooling.thes companys pay no taxes to the states.
    Report This
    eyedoc1 Feb 11, 2010 7:59 PM
    You SHOULD apologize to Clint. The quote is "do you feel LUCKY...well, do you, punk?" Do your homework.
    Report This
    sstein2 Feb 11, 2010 7:57 PM
    Here's a few better tips. Park it. Have Toyota come tow it in for repairs. When they are through, take it to an American car dealer and trade it in on a good car.
    Report This
    laneeric Feb 11, 2010 7:56 PM
    sechlergary- YOU ARE AN IDIOT!!!!!!!!!!!!! I work a Toyota dealer, that is NOT AN ISSUE!!!!!
    Report This
    sechlergary Feb 11, 2010 7:52 PM
    The problem is the cruise control, not the accelerator. Both feet on the brakes won't stop it. turn it off. To be on the safe side, remove the cruise control completely from the car. (the part under the hood)
    Report This
    ronshort2 Feb 11, 2010 7:45 PM
    I love seeing all of this, I knew that all of America couldn't be that far out there. There is only one reson that this whole Toyota recall issue is as big a deal as it is. It is standard practice to go after the big guy, take down number one. How about some facts. NHTSA started *********** since that time there have been over 390 million vehicles recalled. There are on average 600 recalls every year. Over the last three years alone NHTSA recalls have includded 23.5 million vehicles. And a strange but true fact....just last October, 2009 one of the original big three auto manufacturers recalled 4.5 million US vehicles for a faulty speed speed control deactivation switch. Yet somehow the whole thing came and went pretty much invisible to the public eye???? And finally at this very momet the NHTSA is investigating aprox. 40 possible recalls, only three involve Toyota. Strange we have not heard much about the other 37
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    Please keep your comments relevant to the Before Your Toyota Is Fixed, Should You Drive It? article.
    Toyota and most automotive experts will only say that the risk of driving these cars is extremely low. The company's tips on what to do aren't likely to allay all the fears owners have.
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