The Columbus Toyota dealership is preparing to keep its service department open extended hours and work full shifts on Saturdays and Sundays to fix a sticky gas pedal problem on a number of its models.
There could be as many as 3,000 recalled vehicles in the Columbus region, Jay Automotive Group President Jay Stelzenmuller said Monday afternoon. More than half of those are Camrys.
“We are waiting on the parts,” Stelzenmuller said. “They should be here Wednesday or Thursday. We are mobilized and ready to go.”Jay Toyota at Bradley Park has recently expanded its service department 18 to 41 stalls, Stelzenmuller said.
“We are going to work until we get our hands around this problem,” Stelzenmuller said.
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Jay Toyota is encouraging customers to call the dealership at 706 322-8891 to set up an appointment to have the cars fixed.
“We will get you in as soon as we can,” Stelzenmuller said.
Toyota Motor Corp. said Monday its dealers should get parts by the end of this week as the automaker apologized to customers and tried to bring an end to a recall that has affected 4.2 million vehicles worldwide.
The company said in a statement that it has begun shipping parts and is training dealers on the repairs. Some dealers will stay open around the clock to fix the 2.3 million cars and trucks affected by the recall in the U.S.
Toyota suspended sales of the models last week, but spokesman Mike Michels said dealers can begin selling the cars as soon they are fixed. However, cars already on the road will be the dealers’ first priority, he said in an e-mail.
There are about 120 new vehicles at Jay Toyota that were subject to the stop-sale order.
Engineers traced the problem to a friction device in the assembly that is supposed to provide the proper pedal “feel” by adding resistance, Toyota said in a statement.
The device has a shoe that rubs against a nearby metal surface during normal pedal use. But wear and environmental conditions can over time cause the pedals to not operate smoothly or in rare cases stick partially open.
The company said a steel reinforcement bar will be installed, reducing the friction.
“With this reinforcement in place, the excess friction that can cause the pedal to stick is eliminated,” the statement said. “The company has confirmed the effectiveness of the newly reinforced pedals through rigorous testing on pedal assemblies that had previously shown a tendency to stick.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told Toyota last week that it was satisfied with the repair plan. Legally Toyota did not need NHTSA’s approval, but the company would be unlikely to proceed without the government’s blessing.
Toyota told its dealers in an e-mail that they should determine what vehicles to repair first. The company said it “strongly recommends dealers prioritize consumer vehicles first, followed by dealer owned inventory.” The repairs are expected to take about 30 minutes of work, and drivers should not notice any change in the feel of the pedal.
Owners are expected to receive information by mail beginning this week. The company will cover all repair costs.
The recall in the U.S. includes the 2009-10 RAV4 crossover, the 2009-10 Corolla, the 2009-10 Matrix hatchback, the 2005-10 Avalon, the 2007-10 Camry, the 2010 Highlander crossover, the 2007-10 Tundra pickup and the 2008-10 Sequoia SUV. It also has been expanded to another 1.9 million vehicles in Europe and China.
Toyota said that not all the models of Camry, RAV4, Corolla and Highlander listed in the recall have the faulty gas pedals, which were made by CTS Corp. of Elkhart, Ind. Dealers can tell which models have the CTS pedals. Models made in Japan, and some models built in the U.S., have pedal systems made by another parts supplier, Denso Corp., which function well.