Toyota released a fix for its recalled vehicles with problematic accelerators -- a small steel reinforcement bar that will be installed to reduce surface tension and stop the accelerator from sticking.
However, Toyota owners are asked to wait for their certified letter from Toyota in the mail (they're being mailed this week) before calling and setting up an appointment with their dealership, said a Toyota spokesman.
"We anticipate that the fix itself should take about 30 minutes," said Curt McAllister, a spokesman for Toyota told WalletPop."If there's a heavy volume (of appointments) in that particular dealership, the dealership -- based on need -- can provide loaner cars."
McAllister said that its dealerships would be open for extended hours to deal with fixing approximately 2.3 million vehicles nationwide. Some dealerships may be open 24 hours a day and seven days a week to deal with demand (and given up to $75,000 by Toyota to do so.).
Toyota's once-sterling reputation has been tarnished by the recent recall, with several people harshly criticizing the company and its inaction. Even U.S. Transportation Secretary Ron LaHood told a House appropriations panel today that everyone should stop driving recalled cars immediately, "Stop driving (the car) and take it to a Toyota dealer."
Currently Toyota is shipping the parts and technical manuals to its dealerships, McAllister said.
"However, if a customer comes to the dealership before their notification, they won't be turned away," McAllister said. "We understand some people aren't going to wait. . . . Our focus is on our customers."
He said that the fixes would also be installed on sales vehicles, but only after customers were serviced.
For those experiencing an accelerator that is hard to depress or slow to return to normal, drivers should apply a firm and steady pressure to the brakes, pull up to a safe locations and call the nearest Toyota dealership for assistance.
Toyota also released these more detailed guidelines for an emergency stop:
- 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.
For questions or more information, contact the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.
The Toyota models affected by the recall:
- Certain 2009-2010 RAV4*
- Certain 2009-2010 Corolla*
- 2009-2010 Matrix
- 2005-2010 Avalon
- Certain 2007-2010 Camry*
- Certain 2010 Highlander*
- 2007-2010 Tundra
- 2008-2010 Sequoia