2016 Lexus ES 350 sudden acceleration

Do know the cause of the acceleration? My 2016 Lexus ES350 excelertated on its own. I was at a cash station with the car in park doing some banking. I had the car in park. I accidentally tapped either the start stop button or the cruise control with my knee. There was this grinding noise that came from car. I turned the engine off and restarted the car. There was still a grinding noise but it was faint and not as loud. I but my foot on the brake and took the car out of park when all of sudden it took off on it own and started to accelerate at a high speed. I held my foot on the brake and pressed down on the brake as hard as I could only slowing the car down, but not enough to stop the car and over come the acceleration. I finally managed to stop after hitting the start stop button. I had managed to turn the car away from a major highway and went up a curb, miss a bank sign and hit a tree with the drivers side fender. Luckily there was no other cars or people in the area. I was not injured in the crash. My My car mats are securely fastened with the tabs or fasteners with the car. I need to know what is the cause of the sudden acceleration. Toyota needs to fix this issue before there are more care crashes and people killed. During this pandemic there is no one going out to physically look at the car only look at pictures of the damage. There needs to be someone going out and looking at this car checking and finding out what causes this problem.

My car had no acceleration issues. I got rid of it

You likely won’t care much for my response but I tend to believe your foot was on or partially on the accelerator pedal.
The grinding could be a heat shield rattle due to engine strain. I also do not see the engine overriding the transmission torque converter which should stall the engine since you mention “brake as hard as I could”.

File a complaint with the NHTSA which may or may not go anywhere. Apparently the NHTSA investigated a similar complaint on an identical car and declined any investigation.
Why? Because the event recorder showed that roughly 1/2 second before impact the accelerator pedal was fully depressed and the brake pedal was never touched until AFTER impact. In a nutshell, operator error although the operators seldom agree with that conclusion.


I am not a two footed driver. I order to place the car into drive you need to place your foot on the brake and then move the shift over to drive. If you don’t place your foot on the brake the car will not go into the drive position.

Ed M

I have seen something similar to that a few times it has happened to me a couple of times what I can’t understand why not shift the transmission out of gear that way the brakes will hold it even with the engine revving.


There were at least two causes as I recall. One was the floor mat creeping onto the accelerator pedal and causing it to accelerate. The other was the pedal sticking on the base. There is a raised area on the base that fits into a slot on the pedal, and sometimes that sticks. Chec the mat first.

Believe me may foot was not on the accelerator at all. Pressed down on the brake with one foot as hard as I could. The torque from the engine overcame the take petal. That grinding noise came from the front of the car not the back where the heat sheld was. Toyota has had issues in the past with unintended acceleration and blamed it on the mats getting stuck under the accelerator. They came up with those clips or fasteners to hold down the mats, which mine were engaged and locked in place. Why is it all blamed on the driver when there is some sort of electronic issue with the car. The care manufactures always blame the driver to get out of a law suit. How accurate are these so called black boxes or diagnostics engine software that checks your engine and car components. Remember the car manufacturers make these and data could be manipulated. I don’t trust them after what happened to me. If this ever happened to you you will see where I am coming from.

Ed M

The brakes on a modern car are powerful enough to overcome the torque of the engine. So, in addition to investigating the possible causes of sudden acceleration, I suggest that you have the brakes checked.

Honestly if you’re that far down the “Toyota is out to get me” rabbit hole, there’s little we could tell you here that would assuage your concerns. Your insurance company has the option to review the black box data, and a vested interest in turning up a problem with the Toyota rather than a problem with its driver.

I doubt you accidentally tapped either the cruise switch or the start/stop button with your knee. I have the same car as you, and I don’t think I could contort myself in such a way as to easily do either. Maybe if I shoved the seat all the way back, I might be able to hit the cruise stalk with my knee if the wheel were turned so that it was facing down. But that would be hard to do by accident because of all the things I’d have to set up just to make it possible.

The start stop button is on the dash, and it’d be pretty hard to activate with a knee even if you somehow got your knee up there without noticing.

If you’d like to continue the dialog, please go into more detail about the grinding noise you heard. How loud? Where was it coming from? Did it by any chance resemble this noise?


Is the vehicle still at the dealer? Normally Lexus will send a field technician out to inspect the vehicle and fill out a report (to cover themselves).

. Why is it all blamed on the driver

Like I said I have had similar happen to me and have seen others do as you did keep mashing on the brake when it doe’s not help I think most of time the driver panic’s as most are not professional driver’s and just do their workplace commute and around town errands they can; think fast enough to know what to do in an emergency I was a OTR truck driver f over forty years and was always aware of what was around me and thinking of what to do if this or that car did something un expected. Also as shadowfax said it would be almost impossible to hit either the star stop button cruise swicth with your knee.

I was still fast enough to turn the wheel to miss going onto a highway and threading it through and missing a bank sign. And catching a tree slitty with my driver side front fender. The brake was not strong enough to stop the car from accelerating as it did. When the car is accelerating at the same time the car brakes are trying to hold the car back the car does not come to a complete stop it keeps on moving.

Ed M

I will ask again why did you not take it out of gear the engine would keep revving but the brakes would have stopped it before you hit anything?


I am on the OP’s side here. If my car is accelerating at full throttle and the brakes are not applied hard enough to stop it, I am going to be far too busy to analyze the problem and come up with the best way to end the mess. I will be yelling holy crap, and looking not to kill someone else or myself.
The mechanism I have always used to stop a car is to turn a key, which I might have thought of, but these stupid cars without keys do not even give you that familiar choice. My other way of ending this in my personal car would have been to put the clutch in.

. My other way of ending this in my personal car would have been to put the clutch.

That would be doing the same thing in the end as taking it out of gear.


al lot of new cars are drive by wire. meaning there is no cable from your gas pedal to your engine its done by sensors on your gas pedal and the ecm. there have been a lot of problems like yours on fords that I know of. my friend had a mustang, he was going down to the corner of his block coming to a stop and the pedal went to full throttle. could possible the same as your problem.

We have brushed into a massive failure in the education of drivers. Virtually no one driving has given much if any thought to what to do if an emergency happens. “What would I do if the engine started making the car go faster and faster?”. Good question, right? So, somehow we have to get people to ask that question, and then learn the answer is “put it in N (neutral)”.

What would I do if I had a tire blow out at speed? Let up on the gas, slowly, and above all, keep driving. Do not jam on the brakes or you will lose control. Come to a stop where it is safe.

What should I do if someone slams into my car? Same answer, let up on the gas, slowly, and above all, keep driving. Do not jam on the brakes or you will lose control. Come to a stop where it is safe.

It seems like elementary stuff, but it’s not.


For someone who drives an automatic, it would probably take a lot of intentional practice to have it so that putting the car into neutral is a natural reaction when the car is moving unexpectedly.

If you think about it, having a throttle and a brake pedal sitting side-by-side, when both operate by the same foot, and both operate by pushing down…that is a disaster waiting to happen. Maybe instead of trying to develop a fully driverless car, it would be better to start with a throttle-less car, with a full brake override still operated by foot. Then the driver must stay awake, and the mash-the-wrong-pedal problem will be gone. (I had to go to the South to learn about “mashing”.)

(I had to go to the South to learn about “mashing”.}

Yeah we do a lot of mashing here in the south.}

I disagree.
IMHO, all it takes is thinking… What would I do if…?… beforehand.

In my case, I always throw the trans into neutral while I’m rolling into a parking space in a parking lot, so shifting to neutral is a fairly normal action for me. Perhaps that type of action is something that everyone should practice… just in case…