Sign up today for an exclusive discount along with our 30-day GUARANTEE — Love us or leave, with your money back! Click here to become a part of our growing community and learn how to stop gambling with your investments. We will teach you to BE THE HOUSE — Not the Gambler!

Click here to see some testimonials from our members!

M-m-m-my Toyota

M-m-m-my Toyota

By Ilene
--thanks to miffed Toyota driver, Timothy D. Naegele

Toyota Sienna mini vans on display at the LA Auto Show 2009 in Los Angeles

Reports of sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles has led Ken Bensinger and Ralph Vartabedian to investigate the claims that certain dates and models of Toyotas are designed defectively. They concluded that the original explanation, floor mats getting stuck under the accelerator pedal, is not likely the key problem. Instead, they suggest that the electronic throttles in models after 2002 are malfunctioning, in some cases, leading to terrifying and deadly accidents.

That’s bad.  But not even the only problem Toyota is facing. Mr. Bensinger and Mr. Vartabedian have also written about a federal investigation into Corolla and Matrix cars, model year 2006, which are subjects of complaints about stalling, sometimes while being driven at freeway speeds, and sometimes in dangerous spots, such as in the middle of intersections.

The TIME article cited below also points out that even though Toyota is recalling millions of vehicles at risk for speeding out of control, it is not clear the auto manufacturer understands what the problem is – the floor mat being stuck under the accelerator pedal, or a problem with the electronic engine control system malfunctioning, or a combination of these problems as well as others? Toyota’s critics are complaining that the problem is with the electronic engine control system, though this allegation has yet to be proven.

Keep reading for more details and a new Toyota tune at the end.

Data point to Toyota’s throttles, not floor mats

By Ken Bensinger and Ralph Vartabedian, LA Times

Eric Weiss was stopped at a busy Long Beach intersection last month when he said his 2008 Toyota Tacoma pickup unexpectedly started accelerating, forcing him to stand on the brakes to keep the bucking truck from plowing into oncoming cars.

Toyota Motor Corp. says the gas pedal design in Weiss’ truck and more than 4 million other Toyota and Lexus vehicles makes them vulnerable to being trapped open by floor mats, and on Wednesday, it announced a costly recall to fix the problem.

But Weiss is convinced his incident wasn’t caused by a floor mat. He said he removed the mats in his truck months earlier on the advice of his Toyota dealer after his truck suddenly accelerated and rear-ended a BMW.

"The brakes squealed and the engine roared," the 52-year-old cabinet maker said of the most recent episode. "I don’t want to drive the truck anymore, but I don’t want anyone else to, either."

Amid widening concern over unintended acceleration events, including an Aug. 28 crash near San Diego that killed a California Highway Patrol officer and his family, Toyota has repeatedly pointed to "floor mat entrapment" as the problem.

But accounts from motorists such as Weiss, interviews with auto safety experts and a Times review of thousands of federal traffic safety incident reports all point to another potential cause: the electronic throttles that have replaced mechanical systems in recent years.

The Times found that complaints of sudden acceleration in many Toyota and Lexus vehicles shot up almost immediately after the automaker adopted the so-called drive-by-wire system over the last decade. That system uses sensors, microprocessors and electric motors — rather than a traditional link such as a steel cable — to connect the driver’s foot to the engine…

Independent electronics and engineering experts say that the drive-by-wire systems differ from automaker to automaker and that the potential for electronic throttle control systems to malfunction may have been dismissed too quickly by both Toyota and federal safety officials.

Unlike mechanical systems, electronic throttles — which have the look and feel of traditional gas pedals — are vulnerable to software glitches, manufacturing defects and electronic interference that could cause sudden acceleration…

"With the electronic throttle, the driver is not really in control of the engine," said Antony Anderson, a Britain-based electrical engineering consultant who investigates electrical failures and has testified in sudden-acceleration lawsuits. "You are telling the computer, will you please move the throttle to a certain level, and the computer decides if it will obey you."

Although Toyota says it knows of no electronic defects that would cause a vehicle to surge out of control, it has issued at least three technical service bulletins to its dealers warning of problems with the new electronic throttles in the 2002 and 2003 Camry…

NHTSA, the nation’s primary agency for auto safety, has conducted a total of eight investigations of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles since 2003, prompted by defect petitions from motorists and its own examination of complaints. But the agency has tested electronic throttle systems only twice in those probes, its records show…

In a worst-case scenario, consultant Anderson says, stray electrical voltages, electromagnetic signals or bad sensor readings could cause an undetectable error within the car’s network of up to 70 microprocessors, setting off an unpredictable chain of reactions. One of those, he said, could be a command to completely open the throttle…  full article here.>>
 

Toyota vehicles in another federal safety probe

By Ken Bensinger and Ralph Vartabedian, LA Times

Federal safety officials have opened a probe into two models of Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles after drivers complained that their cars inexplicably stalled in traffic, sometimes at highway speeds.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration posted a document this week launching the investigation into Toyota’s Matrix and Corolla cars. It’s the latest in a string of quality-related issues for the Japanese automaker in recent months…

The new investigation is another blow to an automaker that has seen its long-held reputation for quality come under attack amid a flurry of safety-related recalls and investigations this year.

Last week Toyota said it would recall more than 4.2 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles in the U.S. and Canada because their design increases the risk that they could suddenly accelerate out of control. In addition, Toyota recalled 110,000 Tundra pickups because of a rust problem that could cause the spare tire to fall onto the road, creating a hazard for other vehicles.

Neither the Corolla nor the Matrix is included in the massive recall announced last week. That affects the 2007-10 Camry, the 2004-09 Prius, the 2005-10 Avalon, the 2005-10 Tacoma and the 2007-10 Tundra, as well as the 2007-10 Lexus ES 350 and the 2006-10 Lexus IS 250 and IS 350.

Toyota has said those vehicles could accelerate out of control because the gas pedal is prone to being entrapped by the floor mat…

As part of that recall, Toyota will modify or replace pedals in 4.26 million vehicles, as well as add safety software that it plans to begin using in all new vehicles starting next year.

Times research shows that at least 19 people have died in accidents involving Toyota vehicles that have accelerated out of control since the 2002 model year. That’s more than all other manufacturers combined, according to NHTSA, which has called the situation a "very dangerous problem."   Entire article here.>>
 

Toyota’s Big Recall Unlikely to Quiet Critics

Toyota’s announcement last week that it will recall more than 3.8 million vehicles is unlikely to end the controversy over the car’s sudden-acceleration problems. Following complaints about the problem — and a deadly accident in California last summer — the company acknowledged that floor mats, if not secured properly, could get stuck under the accelerator pedal, leaving a vehicle’s throttle stuck open. Hence the recall, to replace the accelerator pedals and floor mats.

But critics complain that Toyota was slow to acknowledge the problem, and may still not be dealing with it adequately. "I don’t think Toyota has handled it well," says Clarence Ditlow, the director of the Center of Auto Safety in Washington, D.C. Ditlow says the record shows that Toyota executives first became aware of a possible problem 10 years ago — a scenario Toyota disputes — when the company replaced the floor mats on Lexus models sold in Great Britain. "There have been six different defect petitions [filed with the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, or NHTSA]," says Ditlow.

Other critics contend that Toyota may be imposing a fix without fully understanding the problem. "For years, Toyota Motor Corporation has dismissed complaints of sudden acceleration as being the driver’s fault," says David Wright, a Redlands, Calif., attorney, who recently filed a class-action lawsuit against Toyota. "But neither driver error nor floor mats can explain away many other frightening instances of runaway Toyotas. Until the company acknowledges the real problem and fixes it, we worry that other preventable injuries and deaths will occur," Wright says. He contends that errant electrical signals may be triggering some of the sudden accelerations…

NHTSA came to a similar finding. After conducting an extensive technical review of the issue, including interviews with consumers who had complained of unwanted acceleration, NHTSA concluded that "the only defect trend related to vehicle speed control in the subject vehicles involved the potential for accelerator pedals to become trapped near the floor by out-of-position or inappropriate floor-mat installations."

Toyota saw that as vindication…

As part of the recall, the shape of the accelerator pedal on millions of Toyotas will be reconfigured to address the risk of floor-mat entrapment. In addition, Toyota will install a brake-override system that cuts engine power in case of simultaneous application of both the accelerator and brake pedals. The cost of the recall could top $4 billion, according to speculation in Tokyo, which Toyota officials in the U.S. have declined to verify…

Nevertheless, Toyota, which has seen its sales in the U.S. fall 28%, was planning to spend more than $1 billion on advertising, incentives and "incremental" production, starting in the fourth quarter…

Full article here.>>

*****

Toyota Song--Replace actual lyrics with the new ones below.

My Toyota (to the tune of My Sharona)

Oh my little speedy one, speedy one,  
When you gonna stop on a dime, Toyota? 
Oow I make your motor run, your motor run
Gun it coming off the line, Toyota 

Are you gonna stop? 

Speeding up,
Such a scary ride, always speeding up
For a fright, of the horrible kind
My my my aye-aye whoa!
M-m-m-my Toyota 

Race a little faster huh, ah will ya, huh, 
Fast enough for terror in my eyes, Toyota 
Keeping it a mystery, gets to me 
Careening over highway lines, Toyota

 
Are you gonna stop?
Speeding up
Such a scary ride, always speeding up
For a plight, of the terrible kind
My my my aye-aye whoa!
M-m-m my Toyota 

Are you gonna crash a tree 
Crash a tree  
Is it just a matter of time, Toyota?
Is it just destiny, destiny
Or is it just a game with my mind, Toyota?  

 
Are you gonna stop? 
Speeding up,
Such a scary ride, always speeding up,
For the fright, of the horrible kind
My, my, my, aye-aye, whoa!
M-m-m-m-m-m-m-my, my, my, aye-aye, whoa!
M-m-m-my Toyota
M-m-m-my Toyota
M-m-m-my Toyota 

 


Tags: , , , , , ,

Do you know someone who would benefit from this information? We can send your friend a strictly confidential, one-time email telling them about this information. Your privacy and your friend's privacy is your business... no spam! Click here and tell a friend!





You must be logged in to make a comment.
You can sign up for a membership or get a FREE Daily News membership or log in

Sign up today for an exclusive discount along with our 30-day GUARANTEE — Love us or leave, with your money back! Click here to become a part of our growing community and learn how to stop gambling with your investments. We will teach you to BE THE HOUSE — Not the Gambler!

Click here to see some testimonials from our members!