"Chevy is not doing so well so lets make public all the recalls that toyota has. Simple politics."
This sentiment is resonated elsewhere. Normally Chinese hate Japanese because of the invasion and atrocities inflicted during WWII. However I received many email from engineers of Chinese descent to show support for Toyota, with stories or theories about political motivation leading to the last recall, and information of serious engineering analysis demonstrating how the problem could not have happened.
Also, safety in product design stops at where it is 'cost effective'. This is not limited to automotive or medical products. Common sense and simple economics.
It is real. It happened to me (not my car, though). I was driving my brother-in-law's Chrysler Town & Country mini-van. Floored it to pass a slow moving truck on the interstate. When I let up on the gas, the van kept accelerating. Fortunately, this was in very light traffic. This was in the time frame of the Toyota problems, so I was very aware of unintended acceleration. Full braking only kept the van from speeding up more. Yes, I verified that I was pressing on the brakes, and not the accelerator. I reached down and pulled the accelerator pedal up with one hand, and the car slowed down.
I immediately pulled over to the shoulder and began an investigation. The car had an aftermarket floor mat with a big lip around all the edges to retain melting snow. The mat was intended to keep the carpet clean and dry during the winter months. The bottom edge of the accelerator pedal, when floored, became trapped in the full-throttle position by the tread of this floor mat. The entrapment was repeatable every time the accelerator was floored.
Needless to say, I immediately removed this floor mat, and advised my brother-in-law to get rid of it as soon as we returned home.
Could Chrysler have anticipated this interaction? Maybe. But the particular floor mat had a tread design that obviously would entrap the accelerator pedal under certain conditions. By brother-in-law said he bought it at a "big box" store, where it was sold as a "custom" fit for the Town & Country.
While on my motorcycle one day in a parking lot (fortunately) my untied shoe lace got fouled up with the (foot) shift lever. As I stopped in the parking space I couldn't put my foot on the ground due to the tangle and the bike fell over. Very embarassing.
Question: should I sue Honda who obviously should have forseen this problem and designed the hardware around the shift lever so it could tangle with the laces or Nike for producing the shoes with laces that had a tendency to come untied and were long enough to become entangled with a motorcycle part?
This could have been big bucks if I found the right lawyer. I don't know what I was thinking at the time.
I suppose the best answer to your question, Rob, is that engineers can only anticipate this sort of thing if it lies somewhere in their past experience, or in the past experience of the auto industry. A lot of commenters on this site have relayed their own stories of floor mat problems, including one commenter who received the "incompatible" mat from the dealership that sold him the car. I suppose this boils down to whether the mis-use is reasonable, or whether it would be incomprehensible for any engineer during the design process.
One item I have never seen mentioned or posted but had a personal experience 3 times on 3 different brand/make vehicles, is the initial installation of the mat !
NO vehicle made anywhere in the World, with few exceptions of cars in Russia and India, come with Mat from the Assembly line !
They are installed by the Dealer as part of the PRE-DELIVERY.
In Effort to cut cost that is usually a minimum wage teen or ex-con on partial day release, not a $45 hr skilled technician.
Case #1 Floor mat missing on Driver Side 2012 MY Hyundai Elantra Touring
Case #2 2000 HONDA Civic, mounting snaps damaged during installation and the mat was preventing the accelerator to be fully depressed, but did not "jam" it.
Case #3 FORD Transit Connect, the mat "holders" kind of turn "T" knob get unsecured and the mat gets loose about every 3 weeks, 3 times at FORD the mats replaced 2 times, but no one ever thinks of replacing the T hardware that is secured to the vehicle floor, but so far no stuck throttle incident just plain anoying - well as side benefit of the FORD ESP, the dealer each time the vehicle is in for the mat issue feels obligated to replace better part of the vehicle under Warranty, so we got NEW transmission, NEW Door locks, New bulb here ant there, and so on - they always inspect the entire vehicle and do this and that - at no charge, but I feel sorry for FORD, so far the poorly engineered T hardware costed them probaly $6,000 in dealer claims - ya the car shifted better after the transaxle was replaced, but it did not bother me, but the Service Writer Assistant that had to test drive the car "after the mat replacement" apparently did not like the shift points - not sure how many Transits he drowe (I have driven only mine) but to him the transaxle was "deffective" and I did not argure with him when for FREE they replaced it at 36K miles. (That was $200 less than changing the ATF !!!)
But my point is that any comeback under recall or warranty is a gold mine for any Dealer to sell more "service" repairs or just do MORE Warranty work that is really NOT necessary.
Funny thing was that the HYUNDAI dealer also found "AFT seapage" and had to work on the AT. The "fluid" was definitely changed as it was different color when I got the car back - another FREE AFT change, just due to missing mat in a NEW car that the dealer had to wait 3 months to get - amazing !
Are Mats and AT somehow misteriously connected ???
Idiots and over simplification of complex technical reports...........
What is a "reasonable" clearance around accel pedal? 3 inches? 5 inches? 8 inches?
If we make something idiot proof... we will then make better idiots!
Clearly this isn't an issue that can be resolved by engineers. May as well blame engineers for a bad color choices or restricting the car to be only sold to people with IQs above a certain level or shoe size range (will it work for Andre the giant?)
It is not a "design flaw" and making slight "improvements" doesn't change this.
It is the result of unrealistic expectations being placed on products. Some how technology is supposed to be address everything? Products are suppose to be without ANY compromises (last forever, do all / be all for everyone)?
Out of 10s of millions of Toyota's cars in the time frame in question.. there are less than 200 "sudden accel flaws" reported that warrant $100s of millions in legal, legislative , tech effort?
People need to step back and apply a bit of (apparently "not so") common sense to this topic. I am for constant improvement, but this is ridiculous way to get it.
As to the "clean bill bill of heath" given to the electronics given by the NASA report.... If you read the entire 175 pages , you would realize there were problems with the electronics on the tested cars. Found: were tin whiskers, none of their examples effected the acceleration issue, but my experience indicates the tin whisker (shorts) are random in location and duration (very , very thin, 0.0001" - easily broken during inspection)... so there is no way to prove/dis-prove it's possible affect on these cars.
To simplify the "likely" explanation for sudden acceleration to the general public - the risk of tin whisker shorts were dismissed. They just couldn't definitively pin the acceleration problem on tin whiskers in these (few) samples.
Some think the problems of tin whisker formation have been resolved... Apparently no one at Toyota / NASA got the message.
I am glad someone brought up the homicidal "push to start" button, which is gradually replacing the tried-and-true twist on/off ignition switch. It takes 3 seconds, i.e., a football field at freeway speeds, to shut down a Toyota with push-to-start. Every piece of equipment on a machine shop floor has a more prominent push to stop button next to its start button -- why should a car have a personal computer style hold-to-stop button? Couple this with the thick floormat, the lack of brake pedal override (which all German drive-by-wire cars have had for a decade), and a manual +/- shift gate next to the PRND label, so that putting the lever as near as possible to N puts it in upshift instead, and you have the multiple points of failure recipe for the Saylor tragedy.
My Aspen hybrid has the familiar old-school ignition key style start. My wife's Prius has the Start push button. While I am sure that I would think to turn off the ignition key of the Aspen in the case of a runaway scenario, I don't know if I would be just as quick to think to disable the ignition with the push button of the Prius.
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