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Toyota recalls another 2.17 million vehicles in the U.S.

Toyota Motor Corporation has announced another recall on Thursday concerning some 2.17 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles in the United States for inspection and repair of accelerator pedals that may be entrapped in the floor mats or caught in the carpeting.   

The Japanese automaker added that more than half of the recalled vehicles will be added to the massive recall in 2009 that repaired gas pedals that were being trapped in floor mats.

To date, the world’s no. 1 automaker has recalled a total of 19.2 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles around the world, with more than 13.7 million vehicles recalled in the U.S. alone.  These safety problems have been plaguing the auto giant since fall of 2009. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated earlier in the month that their 10-month review of 400,000 pages of Toyota documents, along with the investigation conducted with the support of NASA engineers revealed that electronic flaws were not to blame for the consumer complaints of sudden, unintended acceleration.  Toyota has paid the U.S. government a record $48.8 million in fines for its handling of three huge recalls.  This latest recall has officially closed NHTSA’s investigation of the received complaints.

One of the reported problems is that the accelerator pedal can get stuck in the plastic pad part of the driver’s floor mat if the floor carpet around the accelerator pedal is not properly replaced after service.  To fix this problem, Toyota is recalling 20,000 2006 and early 2007 Lexus GS 300 and GS 350 all-wheel-drive sedans.

The other issue is that in other cars, the retention clip used to secure a piece on the vehicle’s center console may come loose if not installed properly, and may then lean toward the accelerator pedal and interfere with the accelerator pedal arm.  This problem prompts the recall of 372,000 model year 2004 through early 2007 Lexus RX 330, RX 350 and RX 400h SUVs, as well as approximately 397,000 2004 through 2006 Highlander and Highlander Hybrid SUVs.  Toyota also announced that RX and Highlander owners will be notified soon about how to proceed with the inspection through the dealers.

In addition, Toyota is also expanding the recall previously announced in November 2009 in which gas pedals could become trapped on extra-thick floor mats that did not originally come with the car. Dealers will reshape the cars’ gas pedals and floorboards to avoid getting stuck even when thick, all-weather floor mats are used.  

The vehicles covered by the giant recall of about 1.5 million vehicles include about 603,000 Toyota 4Runner SUVs sold from the 2003 through 2009 model years; about 17,000

7L_V8/allB/allCT/allsct/bdyDrs4/bdyTSport_Utility/drvT4WD/engD3URFE/fuelTGAS">Lexus LX 570 SUVS sold from the 2008 through 2011 models years; and about 761,000 Toyota RAV4 vehicles sold from the 2006 through 2010 models years.