The regular media will be way ahead of us, but Toyota's unintended-acceleration saga is just too big for us not to mention. You may have tuned out because of all the talk about Prius brakes and Corolla steering, but some trucks are also affected by the 10-million-vehicle recall and stop sale: '07-'10 Tundra pickups, '08-'10 Sequoias, '09-'10 RAV4s, and certain '10 Highlanders (those with a "J" at the beginning of the VIN are not subject to recall). If you've gotten a recall letter, get to your agency to have the pedal assembly fixed.
The problem is, the pedals may not be the issue. The Los Angeles Times reviewed federal data about injuries linked to sticking pedals and found that the only fatality happened in a car that wasn't equipped with the pedal assembly currently under recall. Just one injury occurred in a Toyota on the recall list. Plus, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received "more than 100 complaints about sudden acceleration" in the Tacoma pickup, said the Times, yet it does not use the pedal assembly subject to recall and is not on the recall list. The '05-'10 Tacomas were included in the earlier floor mat recall, and Toyota has reopened its review of the complaints regarding the Tacoma in light of all the other acceleration issues.
A number of industry experts and a growing amount of evidence point to electronics as the cause of the problem. Complaints about unintended acceleration "skyrocketed" after Toyota began using drive-by-wire throttle controls in 2002, said the Times. Automotive News reported on federal testing that showed an engine speed increase in a '07 Lexus when an electromagnetic field was introduced near the throttle body, but those findings were ignored and the blame placed instead on floor mats.
Probably the most distressing thing we've heard is this: According to the Times, while Toyota told consumers that the pedal fix will solve unintended acceleration, Toyota was telling government investigators that it does not really know what's to blame. Toyota did not respond to our request for a comment about the story, but told Automotive News, "After many years of extensive testing, we've found no evidence of an electronic problem that could have contributed to unwanted acceleration."
•Apr. 24-25: Tin Bender Jamboree, Johnson Valley Hammer Trails, Lucerne, CA. Info: 805.783.2060, ext. 201, www.tinbenders.org
•Apr. 29-May 1: Arch Canyon Jeep Jamboree, San Juan County, UT, by Jeep Jamboree USA. Info: 530.333.4777, www.jeepjamboreeusa.com
•Apr. 29-May 1: Land Between the Lakes Jeep Jamboree, Marshall County, KY, by Jeep Jamboree USA. Info: 530.333.4777, www.jeepjamboreeusa.com
•Apr. 30-May 1: Spring Fling, Superlift ORV Park, Hot Springs, AR, by Superlift ORV Park. Info: 501.625.3600, www.orvpark.com
•Apr. 30-May 2: Superlift 4xAdventure Series, Big Bend National Park, near Terlingua, TX. Info: www.4xadventure.com
•May 1: Mud for Blood car, truck, bike show, and blood drive, at Hooters, Kennesaw, GA. Info: www.mud4blood.org
•May 1-2: O'Reilly Auto Parts 4Wheel Jamboree Nationals, Ozark Empire Fairgrounds, Springfield, MO. Info: www.familyevents.com
•May 6-8: Pine Barrens Jeep Jamboree, Hammonton, NJ, by Jeep Jamboree USA. Info: 530.333.4777, www.jeepjamboreeusa.com
•May 7-9: Dusty Times 250 desert race, Caliente, NV. Info: www.snoreracing.net
•May 8: Go Topless Day for Jeep owners. Info: www.allthingsjeep.com
•May 8: KRRP Spring Rock Crawling Competition, Kansas Rocks Recreation Park near Fort Scott, KS. Info: www.ksrockspark.com
•May 9: Bluff City Land Rover Adventure, Superlift ORV Park, Hot Springs, AR. Info: 501.625.3600, www.orvpark.com
•May 13-15: Big Bear Jeep Jamboree, Big Bear Lake, CA, by Jeep Jamboree USA. Info: 530.333.4777, www.jeepjamboreeusa.com
•May 13-15: 4x4 Safari by Two River Jeep Club, Pittsfield, IL. Info: www.trjc.com