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2009 Camry Unintended Engine Surge

Folks, Here’s the situation – 2009 Camry, 32,000 mi. No recalls on record for its VIN. Parked in parking lot and preparing to leave. NOTE: At no time does my foot touch the gas pedal. OK…Foot on brake. Start engine, shift to reverse and back up under idle power. Turn wheel to align for departure and stop. Foot still on brake; shift into drive. Uncommanded (by me) engine RPM shoots up! Now hard on brake to stop forward lurch while simultaneously shifting to neutral. Engine RPM now screaming. Shut off ignition. Again, no touching of gas petal in this whole process. Turn the car back on and all it normal All has been normal for a month. Can’t get the incident to repeat. No “check engine” lights at any time. Car operates perfectly. My mechanic – no symptoms; no can fix. Nearby Toyota dealer – all they know how to do is make appointments; won’t provide discussion access to anyone who has experience under the hood. So… I appeal to the wisdom and experience of the Community.

I take it you have Toyota OEM floor mats and they were not hitting the gas pedal. Also, was the gas pedal shortened under recall. There are only 2 other causes, pedal failure or throttle plate motor.

What you describe is entirely possible.

Just a few weeks ago, I happened upon a T-bone collision in one of the parking areas for the County Park near my home.

A woman driving a Camry of similar vintage to yours rode up and over the median in the middle of the parking lot, and T-boned a late-model VW Golf that had the misfortune to be driving through that parking lot. Unfortunately, the woman driving the Camry didn’t have the presence of mind to throw the transmission into neutral, and apparently she wasn’t strong enough to exert enough pressure on the brake pedal to overpower the engine.

While many of the sudden uncontrolled acceleration incidents with Toyotas were chalked-up to floor mat problems, that explanation did not explain all of these incidents, and I have a lingering suspicion that it is possible for the drive by wire system on Toyotas of this era to suddenly develop a mind of their own–so to speak. There is a recall on many Toyota models of this era to alter the software so that application of the brake pedal will immediately cut the throttle, but–as we all know–a HUGE percentage of recalled cars are never brought in for these free repairs/software updates.

I suggest that you phone the Toyota dealer’s service department, give them your VIN, and ask, “Are there any Open Recalls on my car?” With any luck, yours will be one of the ones that was recalled. Yes, I know that you stated “no recalls”, but it is a good idea to double-check this detail.

If it is one of the tens of thousands that were recalled, then the question arises of why it was never brought in for that recall…

I’m also suspicious of “drive by wire” systems. They can be designed and built with every safeguard built in to assure flawless operation but then there is the glitch factor. No amount of planning or designing can eliminate a glitch of some sort or another.