The Truth About Cars » Pedal The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 13:51:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Pedal Pedals For Dummies Wed, 04 Aug 2010 15:29:59 +0000

Imagine yourself going down the road with your foot on the brake pedal all the time. This is a Japanese inventor’s idea to stop driver error and unintended acceleration. To accelerate, you move your foot sideways against an accelerator bar. To brake, you stomp on the brake. A horrible thought – if you are a personal injury lawyer.

“We have a natural tendency to stomp down when we panic,” says the inventor, Masuyuki Naruse. What’s more, in an accident, you are very likely to accelerate, because of the impact. In the split second it takes to change from gas to conventional brake pedal,  with the new pedal, you are already braking.

There is little chance to hit the wrong pedal with the new setup.” When the pedal is pushed down, it always activates the brakes,” writes the New York Times.

Naruse developed the pedal 20 years ago, after he mistakenly stepped on the gas – as many others did, but often not admitted. Naruse did something about it. Natuse holds patents for the pedal in Japan, the United States and six other countries.

Naruse is not the only one who have designed a single pedal solution to prevent accidents caused by pedal misapplication. Regulators in Sweden are testing a single-pedal prototype by the inventor Sven Gustafsson.

Katsuya Matsunaga, an engineering and psychology specialist at Kyushu Sangyo University in Fukuoka City says: “Simply speaking, the conventional pedal setup, which forces drivers to switch back and forth between pedals, is dangerous.  Mr. Naruse’s pedal works because it takes into account how our bodies work. It makes sure that when we make a mistake, the car stops.”

According to Naruse, Toyota engineers tested a prototype in 2000, but did not like the design. In May, Naruse invited Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota, to try a Lexus sedan fitted with the latest version of his pedal. Mr. Naruse said he had received no response.

Tip of the Skype to you-know-who. 

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Chrysler Stuck With Stuck Gas Pedals. From CTS Sat, 05 Jun 2010 16:19:19 +0000

Chrysler is sending out recall notices to owners of 25,000 Dodge Calibers and Jeeps. The reason: Accelerator pedals could become stuck and cause unintended acceleration, Chrysler said according to a report in Reuters. Sound familiar? Wait, there is more …

Five weeks ago, the NHTSA opened an investigation into potentially sticky accelerator pedals in Chrysler vehicles, based on five consumer complaints, says the report.

The interesting part: The pedals were made by CTS, the same company that was a the center of Toyota’s pedal gate.

According to Chrysler, the accelerator pedal for the Caliber and Compass is a “completely different” design and is manufactured with different tooling than the Toyota pedals.

Chrysler said they don’t have to reflash their computer with brake override, because it already has that feature.

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Pedal Sticktion Sickness Contagious: Nissan Affected Tue, 06 Apr 2010 15:44:17 +0000

Lighten up, Toyota. You are not alone. Today, Nissan recalled 25,024 cars in Japan because some of their accelerator pedals have caught the stickyness sickness, and may not want to come back to idle once you take the foot off the gas.

Cefiro, Bluebird, Sunny, Primera and Tino models built between October 1998 and August 2002 are affected by the recall, Nissan said today in a recall notice posted on the Japanese Transport Ministry web site.

One “light injury” had been reported resulting from an accident linked to the potential flaws, the statement says.  A month ago, Nissan had recalled 539,864 vehicles in the U.S. for potential faults in brake-pedal pins and fuel gauges. Because all eyes were at Toyota, nobody noticed. Too bad that “a problem shared is a problem halved” doesn’t really apply.

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Ask The Best And Brightest: How About Those Repaired Toyota Pedals? Tue, 23 Mar 2010 18:51:31 +0000
Nearly a month ago, Toyota’s Jim Lentz was asked by National Public Radio about the then-new “shim fix” for sticky accelerator pedals.

NPR asked: “if I’m a Toyota owner subject to this recall and I say ‘I don’t want a repaired accelerator pedal, I want a new one.’ Is that an option?” To which Lentz replied: “it will be looked at on a case-by-case basis.” When NPR asked for Lentz to clarify what he meant by “case-by-case basis,” he said “It’s really up to… between the dealer and the customer. We would like to see customers get this fix done with the precision cut steel bar and see how that is. I think the customers are going to be very satisfied with overall quality of the pedal and the feel of the pedal.”

At the time, this was interpreted as a not-so-great sign for Toyota’s “precision cut” shim fix. Reinforcing the impression that some might not be happy with the fix, a Toyota memo to dealers has surfaced today at the AP [via Google], which requests that:

If a customer is not satisfied with the operation and/or the feel of the accelerator pedal after the reinforcement bar has been installed, please assist us by assuring a replacement pedal is provided at no charge to these customers

Which makes us wonder: is there anyone out there who has had the shim fix done to their recalled Toyota only to have the problem reoccur? Has anyone requested a replacement pedal instead of the shim fix, and had a Toyota dealer turn you down? Toyota is probably playing it safe by asking dealers to provide new pedals, but we’re cant help but wonder why they would cast suspicion on the shim fix this way. Any ideas?

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Canadian Suit Alleges Toyota Electronic Throttle Control Defect Mon, 01 Feb 2010 22:41:50 +0000
According to a PR Newswire release, a class action suit has been filed against Toyota and supplier CTS, alleging “inherent design defects,” specifically a “lack of failsafes” in Toyota’s ETCS-i (Electronic Throttle Control System-intelligent), in use since 2001. As in not the pedal assembly. A similar suit was filed in the US last November. Today, Toyota’s Jim Lentz was emphatic that electronics were not the issue with the ongoing recall, but shortly after the US suit was filed, Toyota quietly announced that an electronic brake override system would be installed on certain vehicles with automatic transmissions. Is that as good as an admission of guilt? You can bet the lawyers are already saying so. The full release is available after the jump.

TORONTO, Feb. 1 /PRNewswire/ – A national class action has been commenced on behalf of all Canadian owners, operators, lessors and/or passengers of Toyota vehicles with the ETCS-i throttling system.

The claim seeks compensation for losses and injuries as a result of the purchase or use of numerous Toyota vehicles. The defendants named in the lawsuit are Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., Toyota Motor North America, Inc., Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc., Toyota Canada Inc., Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. and CTS of Canada Ltd., CTS of Canada Holding Co., CTS of Canada GP Ltd., CTS of Canada Co. and CTS Corporation.

The claim, filed with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, alleges that Toyota and CTS Corporation knew or ought to have known of inherent design defects in the ETCS-i System and its component parts that have been used in models of Toyota vehicles manufactured since 2001. The consequences of these design defects, including the lack of failsafes used by other auto manufacturers, have resulted in numerous reports throughout North America of uncontrollable unintended accelerations, including cases of collisions involving severe injuries and death to drivers and passengers of these vehicles.

Joel P. Rochon, a partner at Rochon Genova LLP said: “This is a complex problem spanning several years and many models–we are concerned that the recent announcement of a “fix” appears not to address the ETCS-i Systems itself, nor the issue of a lack of failsafe which would permit the driver to regain control of the vehicle in the event of an unintended acceleration.”

“Having only purchased a brand new car a few weeks ago, I simply cannot believe that Toyota would have sold me this vehicle”, said the proposed representative plaintiff Steven Hamilton. “I can’t even resell my car now–I am seeking a full refund.”

The allegations raised in the claim have not yet been proven in court. The plaintiff and the proposed class members are represented by the firm of Rochon Genova LLP.


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