Product Liability

Toyota begins repairing “sticky” gas pedals

Indiana-based CTS Corporation is cooperating with Toyota by sending new gas pedal assemblies to replace the ones Toyota claims are potentially defective, but the supplier says that the new pedals won’t solve the sudden acceleration problem that afflicts so many Toyota vehicles.

Toyota issued a recall of 2.3 million cars and sport utility vehicles in January, on top of the 4.2 million vehicles it recalled in September the potential to accelerate unexpectedly — a problem Toyota says is caused by floor mat interference with the gas pedal.

The auto manufacturer then suspended sales and further production of all the models it had recalled last month, saying that the accelerator pedals could wear out and grow less responsive. The suspension included the Camry and Corolla, the second and fourth most popular cars in the U.S.

Mitch Walorski, director of relations for CTS, told ABC News that a very rare set of conditions could cause the pedals to act less responsively than normal, but that this potential wasn’t to blame for any of the unintended acceleration incidents that have caused numerous injuries and deaths.

CTS says that Toyota’s sudden acceleration problem predates its use of CTS gas pedals, and that Toyota “acknowledged that they did not cause any accidents or injuries related to that condition of the pedal.”

Safety advocates and auto experts say that Toyota still hasn’t explained why its vehicles receive more complaints of random acceleration than any other brand of vehicle. Sudden, unintended acceleration is the cause of more than 2,000 consumer complaints. It also has been cited as the cause of 815 separate crashes that have resulted in 341 injuries and 19 deaths.

“I think the bulk of the problems we’re seeing have nothing to do with some kind of accelerator pedal or with the floor mats,” safety expert Sean Kane of Massachusetts-based Safety Research & Strategies told ABC News. “It has to do with other components in these vehicles, most likely in the electronics,” he added.

Toyota angered many dealerships this week when it ordered the new gas pedal assemblies shipped to its factories and not to the dealership service departments. Some Toyota dealerships reported that anxious customers were  demanding a fix or too afraid to drive their cars.

However, Toyota announced today it would begin shipping replacement parts to dealerships.

The 30-minute repair will add a steel reinforcement bar that is designed to keep it from sticking in certain situations.