California Autos Examiner

Monday, February 01, 2010

Toyota's Shimmy, Shimmy Shake

Over the weekend I recorded a brief video clip on the Toyota accelerator issue. At that time, the official repair method for fixing cars already in customer's hands was not yet official, so I referred to the part as a "shim." We now know that it is not a shim but a "precision-cut steel reinforcement bar." Heh, heh I wonder how long it took them to come up with that language?

At any rate, this is supposed to prevent the pedal from sticking.  However, as I mention in the video, I am dubious that this is really that much of a problem.  Drivers who have experienced sudden acceleration do not describe a situation where the car surges forward and then slowly returns to regular speed, as you might expect with a sticky pedal that slowly returns to its default position.  Also, the drivers make no mention of noticing that the car had been exhibiting odd pedal feel prior to the event.  What is described is much more consistent with a sensor malfunction or software bug:  Something that happens once and then does not reoccur. 

What bothers me further is that if 2.3 million cars are going to get a shim, sorry,  precision-cut steel reinforcement bar, what are the chances that we are going to see some botched repairs causing accidents?  Toyota is going to push hard on dealers to get the repairs done and dealers will in turn have their mechanics working extra hours or hire additional workers who will not have as much experience to take up the slack.  Sounds like a recipe for trouble to me.  All this in the name of a repair that I sincerely doubt does much good and could potentially do some harm.

While I do not suspect some massive conspiracy, I do not believe that all of these cases can be attributed to floor mats and sticky pedals.  Well, that is my two cents on the issue.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

beware the shim-sham!!