Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010 | 2:05 a.m.
Beyond the Sun
At least one Las Vegas Valley Toyota dealership is extending its service hours to repair problems that could cause cars to accelerate out of control and prompted a recall of a number of models.
The problems involve a sticky accelerator and floor mats that can also cause the accelerator to get stuck.
Rich Abajian, general manager of Findlay Toyota, 7733 Eastgate Road in Henderson, said his dealership is willing to stay open as late as necessary to make the repairs.
“Our customers will decide our hours,” he said.
Roger Camperi, service and parts director for Findlay Toyota, said the dealership is installing shims on accelerator pedals so the pedals won’t stick or accelerate arbitrarily.
Findlay is fixing 100 to 125 vehicles per day, Camperi said. He said the dealership has repaired 600 vehicles for both faulty accelerator pedals and the floor mats.
Vehicles are also receiving a computer update that will shut off a vehicle if the accelerator pedal gets stuck and the engine is at full throttle, mechanic Mike Baldwin said.
Toyota spokesman Mike Walker said 1.4 million shims have been shipped nationally. Dealerships are also sending letters to customers asking them to drop off their vehicles for free repairs.
Other local dealers did not return calls seeking comment.
Overton resident Alicia Gren took her 2007 Camry to Findlay Toyota on Wednesday morning as a result of the recall.
She said she’s never had any trouble with Toyota vehicles but wanted to have her car repaired as a precaution.
“I’ve driven Toyotas since the ’80s,” Gren said. “Things happen, but I’ve never had any problems. I like Toyota.”
It takes about 30 minutes to install a shim and up to two hours to fix the problem with the floor mats, Camperi said. The floor mat entrapment repair is only available on Camry models right now, he said.
Toyota has also directed dealerships to shorten accelerator pedals to prevent them from getting stuck on the floor mat, Baldwin said. Mechanics are placing a small pad behind the carpet, too, that helps lift the pedal up and prevents it from sticking, he said.
Abajian said he hasn’t received any complaints about floor mat entrapment or sticky gas pedals. But there have been 16 incidents of malfunctioning accelerator pedals and multiple deaths because of floor mat entrapment reported nationwide, he said.
Most of the crashes caused by floor mats occurred because the wrong mats were placed in the vehicle, Abajian said.
“Toyota stopped the (assembly) line and put the safety of customers first,” Abajian said. “Toyota is also investigating to see if something is wrong with the 2010 Prius. They are investigating to see whether the anti-lock brake system needs to be adjusted for a quicker response.”
The company announced Monday that it will conduct a voluntary safety recall on approximately 133,000 2010 Prius and 14,500 Lexus Division 2010 HS 250h vehicles to update brake software.
Henderson resident Steve Hary Jr. said he purchased a 2010 Prius two months ago and had an incident where the brake response was slow. He took his car to Findlay for an anti-lock brake software update.
“I had a problem where I had to pump the brakes a couple of times, but they’re taking care of it,” Hary said.
He said he owned a 2003 Prius before buying his new car and never experienced any problems with the brakes.
Abajian said customers who haven’t had problems with their vehicles should still bring them in for repairs.
Drivers can receive more information on the recall and repairs by contacting the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.
Toyota Motor Sales recalled the following vehicles because of reported incidents of sticky gas pedals: certain 2009-2010 RAV4 models, certain 2009-2010 Corolla vehicles, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2005-2010 Avalon, certain 2007-2010 Camry models, 2007-2010 Tundra, 2008-2010 Sequoia and certain 2010 Highlander vehicles.
Vehicles recalled because of floor mat entrapment are the 2007-2010 Camry, 2005-2010 Avalon, 2004-2009 Prius, 2005-2010 Tacoma, 2007-2010 Tundra, 2008-2010 Highlander, 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Venza and 2009-2010 Matrix. The 2006 and 2007 IS 250 and 350 Lexus vehicles were also recalled.