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Published: Friday, 1/22/2010

Accelerator issue forces Toyota into 2.3M recall

ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK - Toyota Motor Corp. said yesterday it is recalling 2.3 million vehicles in the United States to fix accelerator pedals that can become stuck, the latest in a string of quality problems that have bedeviled the Japanese automaker.

The recall affects the 2009-2010 RAV4, the 2009-2010 Corolla, the 2009-2010 Matrix, the 2005-2010 Avalon, the 2007-2010 Camry, the 2010 Highlander, the 2007-2010 Tundra, and the 2008-2010 Sequoia.

The latest move comes just months after Toyota recalled 4.2 million vehicles over concerns that accelerator pedals could become lodged under floor mats, causing sudden acceleration. That problem was blamed for several crashes, including an accident involving a Lexus that accelerated to more than 120 mph before crashing in San Diego, killing four people.

But Toyota said yesterday's recall is because of potential problems with the actual gas pedal mechanism, causing the accelerator to become stuck regardless of whether the vehicle contains a floor mat. Toyota said in rare cases, the gas pedal mechanism wears down, causing the accelerator to become harder to press, slower to return or, in some cases, stuck.

Toyota says the current recall is traced to problems with the gas pedal mechanism that cause the accelerator to become stuck. Toyota says the current recall is traced to problems with the gas pedal mechanism that cause the accelerator to become stuck.
DAVID ZALUBOWSKI / AP Enlarge

In a letter to federal safety officials, the automaker said the problem seems related to the potential build-up of condensation on sliding surfaces in the accelerator system that helps drivers push down or release the gas pedal.

Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons said the automaker does not yet have a solution to the latest problem but is working on it.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a statement the problem is "a serious safety issue and we are pleased Toyota is taking immediate action to address it."

Toyota suggests drivers of the recalled vehicles should firmly apply their brakes if the gas pedal becomes stuck and contact their nearest Toyota dealer after parking in a safe location.



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