Toyota loses our trust

February 08, 2010

We own a 2005 Toyota Avalon. Since 2007, we have complained of erratic acceleration and downshifting problems. We also reported electrical issues involving the dashboard lights blinking on and off. Each response was "your car passed all of our diagnostic tests."

Last year, while accelerating for a traffic light, our car surged forward hitting a vehicle. Luckily, no one was hurt. On January 25, 2010, while accelerating on a bridge incline, the car did not slow when the gas pedal was released. I applied the brakes and steered off the road, hitting a curb.

I contacted our local dealer and was asked to bring in the car a few days later. After performing diagnostic tests, we were informed the vehicle was fine. The surging could not be explained. When asked if the car had the gas pedal that is subject of the current recall, the service manager wasn't sure. After checking, he confirmed it did have the recalled pedal. We expressed concern about driving the vehicle. The service manager assured us they found no problems and said the two incidents were not related to the faulty gas pedal because they took place too far apart. After contacting Toyota corporate (repeatedly) we finally had the "pedal fix" completed yesterday.

One dealership employee told us "If it is related to the gas pedal, it will be the first complaint on the East Coast." We have owned Toyotas for over 25 years. We fully understand recalls. It is difficult to understand downplaying the concerns of customers. Truthfully, we feel no safer after the new part was installed. This does not seem as if it will take care of the problem any more than the floor mat recall.

For now, I suppose we have no further recourse and only hope we do not have a more serious accident. Toyota needs to do more than apologize for this situation. For those of us who have experienced this problem, it has been terrifying. They need to further address our concerns.

Kathie Figallo, Baltimore

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