Car stops in middle of freeway



I was driving my new 2008 Toyota Corolla (approximately 1000 miles on it) and had just taken an exit from one freeway onto another busy road, which was down a hill. About halfway down the hill, the power to the gas pedal mysteriously disappeared, and while the engine was running, it did not move the car, nor could I hear it racing when I pushed on the gas pedal. I was in the middle lane and was unable to get to the side of the road, although I eventually was able to crawl into the V space at an exit. Traveling at 5 mph in the middle of a freeway with no power when big trucks are coming down the hill at 70 is no picnic. When I stopped the car and started it again, it would move forward seemingly with no problem. After the highway patrol arrived, I had them follow me to get off on a city street, and drove directly to the Toyota dealer. They could find no problem. I then had to drive the car 70 miles home, fortunately in bumper to bumper traffic. When I got home I parked the car for a week, but finally decided I’d have to drive it again sometime. I called the dealer where I purchased it and was told that “they wouldn’t take it apart to find such a problem, but I could come in if it happened again.” I went to a third Toyota dealer who said there might be a computer problem, but after they checked it out, they, too could find nothing.

I’m afraid to drive this car on the freeway. This is the first “long” trip I’ve taken since I purchased it two months ago.

I am reluctant to drive the car at all, but especially to take it out on the freeway.


Intermittent problems such as this are difficult to pinpoint.

Are there and codes being given? No check engine or ses light?

This being a 2008 may not produce any TSBs yet.

Ask a tech (NOT the ‘service writer’) if there is test equipment that can be hooked up to monitor the systems. Perhaps a fault may register to trouble shoot.

You need something that can be hooked up for a while until the fault reappears.

In my mind I feel Toyota should be able to help more here than what you’ve claimed. After all it IS a brand new vehicle.


You probably have a computer controlled throttle which isn’t directly controlled by the gas pedal. I can’t believe they didn’t offer to even clean your battery terminals, which probably don’t have anything to do with the problem. There’s definitely an electronic problem.


There were/are no check engine lights or any other lights on. The techs say that no error codes show on the car’s computers. They seem to have driven it about 20 miles trying to get the problem to reappear, but of course it didn’t. Maybe I need to drive it 70 miles again, and see if that’s how long it takes to get the problem to kick in?


The most likely culprit is a bad throttle pedal sensor. Basically nearly all new cars use an electrical switch where the throttle pedal is and no longer a cable to the engine.

Toyota likely went the cheap route and only have a single sensor which if it goes you do exactly as prescribed. Luxury cars(Audi/BMW/MB) where safety is built in typically have a redundant switch which takes over and the failure triggers a check engine light.

I would simply ask them to replace this entire throttle assembly and/or check all the wiring(plugs) associated.