Biggest Floor Mat Recall Ever

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Toyota has announced that they intend to recall 3.8 million driver’s side floor mats just as soon as they come up with a replacement for the existing mats. In the meantime, owners of the affected vehicles are advised to remove their driver’s side mats. The reason? The accelerator can get stuck under the mat and the driver may not be able to slow the vehicle, potentially resulting in an accident.

This recall announcement is due in large part to a tragic accident that happened last month. There’s a very accurate news story about the accident that’s worth a look (see the YouTube clip after the break).

This was aired on Good Morning America on September 16th, 2009

YouTube Preview Image

The clip has a factual error – at 1:02, the reporter says that the “issue is mats that aren’t anchored down.” She then shows one floor mat on top of another. While she is correct- this can be an unsafe condition – two driver’s side floor mats is not a standard factory configuration.

First of all, all driver’s side factory floor mats (from all manufacturers) have a basic fastening system. There’s a metal eyelet at the back of the mat (the side closest to the driver). There’s a hook embedded in the carpet that attaches itself to the eyelet. As long as the eyelet is attached to the hook, the mat can’t slide out of position…unless the carpet fails or the mat somehow detaches from the hook.

The more common issue is that some people put an aftermarket mat on top of the factory carpeted mat. Floor mats are a popular after-market option for a lot of obvious reasons, but they’re not supposed to be placed on top of the factory mat. Cheap after-market rubber floor mats can slide right over the accelerator, and that can lead to obvious problems.

The Lexus push button starter

The Lexus push button starter

Another issue at play here is the increasing popularity of push-button starters. Unlike good old-fashioned “keys” that can be yanked out of the ignition when the engine races, a lot of drivers don’t know how to shut off their push-button engines.

Finally, there’s the fact that the hook and loop system is pretty cheap. It’s supposed to work, but obviously it doesn’t sometimes. Like the news report says, this is an issue the affects all vehicles. Having said that, it’s a pretty basic system. If we can’t rely upon a hook and loop…we’re in trouble.

Here’s what you can do if your accelerator gets stuck:

  • Don’t panic
  • Without losing control, lift your feet up, reach down, and grab the mat
  • Put your vehicle in neutral
  • Shut off the ignition (pull out the keys or hold down the ‘start’ button for three seconds)
  • Stomp on the brakes with a firm, steady push (don’t pump)
  • Stay calm and don’t panic

It will be interesting to see what Toyota comes up with for the recall. In the meantime, be safe – this can happen to any vehicle. Here are the vehicles affected:

  • 2007

Filed Under: Tundra Recalls

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  1. Mickey says:

    Jason I said it on all websites I can. It breaks down into 2 categories. Category 1 is the use of aftermarket mats that aren’t design for Toyota models. I’ll be using a Tundra and Prius as models since I have both 07’s. I have both original carpet mats down first and on top of the I have the Toyota’s weather mat. Both hook on to the hooks together. When I bought the weathermats the note stated not to place on top carpet mat. Over 2 years now neither one has come off unless I take them off to clean. The hooks are stiif that way and don’t move at all. The mats stay the same way also. I can show you a wear mark on my Tundra weather mat where I put my foot the past two years. Now Category 2. This category is for the unattentive driver who doesn’t pay attention to their surroundings. Even though I have both mats on both vehicles my wife and I both check to make sure the mats haven’t moved. Obvious common sense tells you when you get in the mat is pushed way up by feeling with the foot, and when you try to push the pedal also you have more resistance and it’s harder to do. If you’re able to call on a cell phone then you’re able to put the vehicle in neutral then brake and turn off motor if you don’t even try to figure out what’s causing the issue. Apparently people aren’t bright to know what to do when an emergency hits. I can’t believe this recall is even valid. People don’t want to take the responsibility of their own actions anymore. It’s sue happy nation we live in and get rich quick scheme. Has anyone read the Owner’s Manual? My god they put it in every car for your own good. I went through mine on the Tundra but not the Prius. I asked my wife yesterday what would she do if that happened to her. She knew the 3 second rule on her on/off switch and put in neutral and brake then. She’s a nurse and can handle the stress. I asked her if she read her owner’s manual. She said half of it. Only the area she didn’t know about she did. That’s how she found out about the 3 second rule to shut the engine off. Now that’s prepareness. I really believe this isn’t Toyota’s fault for people not being attentitive about their surroundings and not knowing what to do in an emergency. I did 21 years in the Navy and that’s all we did was prepare for the worse. You have to take training like that and used it out here in the civilian world to stay ahead. Jason if you want I have a pic of both mats together on my Tundra if you want me to post it.

  2. mk says:

    What a crock of B.S.! All mfgs. have floor mats. Heck, my neighbor came over a few months ago and bought a brand new 2009 Honda Fit and the floor mats he bought as an extra option for a rip off price of 100 bucks for a set of 4 matching set from his Honda dealer DID NOT even have the clips installed in the carpet. The Honda dealer, even though he bought the car from them, wanted to charge 25 bucks to put a small slice or two in the carpet and install the plastic clips so the Honda factory floor mats would be secure and not shift around. How about Honda recalling their Honda Fit for not having the plastic hook anchors for the floor mats as standard eqmt.? This whole recall issue is total B.S. for I have been driving for 24 years and even now with my 09′ corolla and 2010 Tundra, use the factory carpet floor mats underneath the rubber aftermarket floor mats sitting on top NOT anchored. They do NOT slide around much and fit underneath the accelerator pedal up another 6-8 inches so it would be awful difficult to slide them backwards that much to get stuck on top of the gas pedal or around it. Never had one problem in 24 years of driving like this. It is just an unfortunate accident that happened and just happened to be a Lexus under Toyota’s brand and probably the family will sue Toyota for millions since 4 people died. Tragic lose and it could have happened to Chevy, Dodge, Ford, Honda, Hyunda, Kia, Mazda, etc., etc. just as easily. Don’t understand the need for a recall just from Toyota. If so, it should be for all car mfgs. and come from the NHSTA.

  3. Das4c says:

    Floor mats…really! Toyota’s solution is to ensure the correct mat is installed and only one is installed, like some knuckle head puts one on top of another! Thanks to these special people we are going to have even more warnings and notices that common sense should provide a average person. We its obvious that its Toyota specific because if it across the board it would be a equipment recall. Who needs instructions on how to install floor mats? Now everyone is going to look at me like I’m a idiot because I happen to own a Tundra and apparently WE do not know how to install a mat or how many to install!! Who has ever look in their owners manual on how to install a FLOOR MAT?? Here’s your sign! Give me a break!!

  4. I agree with all the comments above – floor mats are a no-brainer. How this is a “Toyota” issue is beyond me. My guess? No one will remember this happened in another 24 hours – most consumers are smart enough to recognize that this recall is, at least in part, largely a result of user error.

  5. Das4c says:

    My bad I didn’t read your guys postings! I suppose common sense isn’t that common after all. Category 3 do what Toyota says and put ONE, 1, UNO Toyota floor mat in anchor. Sounds real easy but apparently not!

  6. Ken says:

    This one is a good one for Paul Harvey to comment on, rest his soul. Floor mats? Where does the stupidity end?
    Like the woman who sued McDonalds over the spilled coffee… She now has a lawsuit against Dairy Queen. Purchased milkshake, spilled it in her lap, now claims it made her frigid.

  7. Mickey says:

    That’s funny Das4c the one they are referring to in that accident only had the carpeted floor mats… I’m not going to change my way and have both mats there. Had it for two years and not had it come off once. Like I mentioned above sue happy nation.

  8. mk says:

    Actually, my neighbors new Honda Fit had floor mat instructions on where to mark the cuts in the carpet so we could install the plastic clips into the carpet to hook the cheap $100.00 rip off floor mats onto. It took a little reading, but I gotter done. I have 2 sets of floor mats in both my vehicles, I guess I am a knucklehead like yer’ said – Getter done aahh you hoser?
    If the floor mats move around that much which they don’t, common sense tells you to take them out or make it work and getter’ done.

    Your local hillbilly redneck signing off.

  9. Goofballtech says:

    I end up in some muddy places for work sometimes and didn’t want to stain my stock carpeted floor mats so i removed the mats and the hook. I put in some Husky Heave Weather Floor matches that were made for the 2010 Tundra and love them. They have all the little plastic spikes on the bottom to keep them from moving. About everyother week when i see that they have moved up about an inch or so i reach in while getting into the truck and take the 3.5 seconds to grab and slide it back. Done deal. I know it’s hard to image. But 3.5 seconds per two weeks…… sometime we have to sacrifice our time for the greater good.

    Some people are 1D1075

  10. Goofballtech says:

    Please ignore the spelling errors. Just been one of those days…….

  11. Googballtech – LOL. I feel your pain.
    Ken – Good point – he would have had a field day with this one. Maybe Andy Rooney will say “Whyyyyy is it that Toyotaaa has to recall flooor mats?…”
    mk – That’s a good story about the Honda. I’ve seen that before on other models, but I can’t think of them.
    The bottom line – RTFM America. It takes 20 minutes.

  12. Das4c says:

    So let me get this straight. Isn’t preparing for the worse kinda like looking at the worse case scenario, yea? 2= bad things 1= good things I’m so proud to know my tax dollars are being waste! Back on subject, what is the solution that Toyota is proposing?

  13. carlos says:

    had a toyota dealer that checked out my transmission for some problems..and they never logged it in my there is no file about me going in with the problem..and I have the problems with the transmission and out of warranty..HELP….

  14. Das4c – Toyota doesn’t know yet I don’t think.
    Carlos – Not sure. If you’re out of warranty, you’re usually out of luck. The transmission has a 60k mile warranty, so you’re outside of that, correct?

  15. carlos says:

    yes over 60k but dealership did not want to help me because I did not buy it from them so they gave me the run around until i went over the 60k and now that i ask for proof that i had told them i was having problems with it ..nobody wants to help me…they said they had sent toyota a video of what the tranmission was doing to toyota..the dealership told me toyota had said everything was ok..but now out of warranty and im still having problems with transmission and asking toyota about it they are saying they never got no video from that im out of luck..and stuck with a crewmax 5.7 v8 with bad transmission…………..

  16. carlos – I’m not sure why it would matter if you had proof that you thought something was wrong before the warranty ended. Just because you have a piece of paper that says “something doesn’t feel right,” that’s not going to change the final result. Once you’re out of warranty, you’re out of warranty, you know? As for the dealer claiming to send video and then not actually doing so, sounds like a great opportunity to start the formal complaint process. See this post for step-by-step instructions on how to get what you want:

  17. Justin says:

    Nothing against Toyota or you guys, but I’m sure you guys would be all over any of the domestics if something similar occurred with them. Like it’s no big deal with Toyota and people are being sue happy, but if GM did it, better watch out. It is interesting, I haven’t heard of this issue nearly as often with most makes/models, but is a common theme across multiple models with Toyota/Lexus.
    I can understand a scenerio where the floor mat gets stuck on top of the pedal. This would keep the accelleration constant. But the weight of the mat won’t push the pedal all the way to the floor causing the drastic accelleration people are describing. So in some circumstances, I believe the mat may truly be at fault. But I cannot say the mat is the cause each and every time from the many reports I’ve read. In many of the reports, people have removed the mats and still experienced the issue. They’ve had Toyota/Lexus technicians experience it and admit it wasn’t the mat that caused the problem. Really makes you think though. I’m sure most won’t believe the reports listed below, but check the link out. Even listen/watch the video in the top left corner.

  18. Mickey says:

    I understand what carlos is saying. I had a 92 GMC Sonoma. I had developed a cracked exhaust manifold and brought it into the dealership in Virginia. I had 63,875 miles on it. They stated the repair will cost $375 which at that moment I didn’t have all the cash available but got the oil change done. Had to wait for my next Navy paycheck. I went their on payday to have it done. I had 64,125 miles on it. Now the advisor tells me that if I had brought it in before 64,000 miles it was under warranty. I stated I brought it in at 63,875 miles and was told what it cost for replacement nothing about a warranty. He looked to see where I was in the computer and it didn’t state I was there. So he stuck to his guns. I went in my truck and found the receipt and brought it out to him and it showed my oil change and how much for replacement of cracked manifold. The advisor then told me you’re over the warranty by 125 miles so I can’t warranty the work. I was shocked that a dealer would be like that. It came down to what they stated I didn’t buy the truck there but I should try to take it back to Louisiana where I bought it. So I called BBB, and 1-800 number for customer care. Then I used the Navy Legal system onboard the Carrier I was on to send them a letter. Got the phone call from the dealer that they had a rental for me and they were going to replace the manifold under warranty. Needless to say I never used that dealer or any other dealer with that truck again. So that paper did carry a bigger load than you think.

  19. Mickey – That’s a good story for sure – a lot of after-market warranty companies will try that piddly little crap to avoid payment. You made the right call to get the BBB involved – that’s what it takes sometimes. The car business has changed a little since 1992, but that sort of thing still happens. However, I think that you had a recommendation for replacement. Carlos did not – that’s a small (but important) difference.

  20. Mickey says:

    True….Just sorry to hear such a thing with so little miles on it. I have alot of miles because of my travel. I think alot has to do with the way you use your truck. Being mine is mostly on the interstate and not in stop & go traffice gives me the edge. Good factors is my tires lasted almost 62,000 miles but I traveling over 12 hours to in-laws and I didn’t want rain or anything to cause any problems. My brakes are still on the original. My front brakes still have half the pads on them where my back has over a third of the pads left. I’m shooting for 75,000 to change them. No problem with warpage either. To me I’m a believer in taking care of the truck and it will take care of me.

  21. TXTee says:

    Mickey – I wish I could drive like you. You’re probably the only person I know of that can get the tire mileage ratings stated by manufacturer. I laugh at the guys when they start quoting the mileage because I know I’m only getting 2 years out of the set no matter how many miles I drive.

  22. Mickey says:

    Thanks TXTee. My work causes me to travel in order to cover the company where workers are either quitting or shorthanded/vacation. I don’t mind the travel. I get paid twice the amount I do if I stay home. Free suite at the hotel and $40 for food a day. So you see why I travel. So I like the comfort and piece of mind that my Crewmax Limited provides. Yes I’m also probably the only one who’s sticker states 20mpg highway. I get 23 going 55mph. No need to rush where I’m going. Now coming back home we will kick it up alittle to 75. Like I said you do the proper maintenance and oil changes you’re good to go. I was the same way with my 06 Silverado and 03 F-150. The F-150 really was bad on mpg’s no matter what I did. 16mpg in the city and on the highway. The chevy I got up to 27mpg only on one trip. 23-25mpg was the avg.

  23. Das4c says:

    Mickey, that’s very nice and informative. I once had a case of I don’t care, what does this have to do with floor mats and a recall? To be honest it sounds like a lot of BS! Can we get back on subject?

  24. Mickey says:

    Das4c If you don’t like what’s being said, your choice. You still will be waiting till Toyota comes out with the fix. Personally it’s the I don’t care blues.

  25. Justin says:

    This is hilarious!!! Yup, just the kind of fix I want.

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