Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

I just experienced a Toyota unintended acceleration

Hello, I think there have been threads on

this before. But as this just happened to me

I’d like to know of any updated information.

What happened:

August 2, 7:20 PM, 2010.

Odometer 55,572 miles

1 mile north of Deer Springs road, heading south on I-15.

I had the cruise control on, going about 70 mph. I was going uphill and accelerated firmly

to increase speed and pass vehicle. removed foot from accelerator and acceleration continued,

increasing speed continuously far above the 70 set on the cruise control. I applied brake,

and still throttle continued strongly. The braking was effective enough to slow the vehicle

against the throttle, especially on the uphill grade. So I pumped the brake and navigated

three lanes over to the right shoulder, slowed to near stop, put it in neutral, all the while

throttle still running. With vehicle stopped on the shoulder I moved it to park and turned off

the power. After a few minutes I turned the car on as normal, drove cautiously to the near

exit, tested mild acceleration and braking, then drove cautiously the remainder of miles home,

careful not to accelerate strongly.

Earlier in the day, a precursor event happened. I was driving northbound on Del Dios

highway, I accelerated firmly and the throttle stuck after I took my foot off the accelerator.

This only happened for a moment, when I heard and felt a thump under the floorboard under

the accelerator and brake area and the throttle disengaged. I thought that was maybe due

to the floormat sticking somehow, but I thought at the time it seemed weird and not

consistent with floormat sticking over accelerator. The later event seems clearly not

consistent at all with floormat – it was some sort of throttle open event.

Notes: The event was easily dealt with because of light traffic. If it was heavy traffic, merging, etc. it could have been dangerous.


1)I just now contacted the dealer, but haven’t heard back from service manager. Who else should I contact or report to?

2)Is it possible the gas pedal fix they talked about in the past might help this? At that time, my model was not listed for that.

3) If it is an electrical system screw up, is it possible that in future the throttle might stick AND the brakes stop working at the same time?

  1. you ahould report this to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA). Visit their wensite for instructions. Also report the problem to Toyota per the instructions that came with yuor owner’s manual. And write to the dealership manager telling him of the problem and that you have not received an answer from the service manager. I’ll bet that will ring his bells.

  2. yes, it is possible. You car does use electronic “by wire” acceleration.

  3. unlikely. You’d have to have a seperate problem with each of the systems simultaneously.

Thanks for your reply. Researching online, the Kevin Haggerty case, described at the end
of this web page:
seems a little similar to mine.

That is troubling because it suggests the problem may be likely to repeat, and is not
due to a freak cosmic ray event or something.

This is a bummer, otherwise I love my 2009 Camry hybrid. And I need to use it for long
business drives – another one scheduled for this weekend.

With the car off, why don’t you press the gas pedal down and slowly release it several times to see if it sticks down, or if you can detect a catch in it anywhere?

I just did some testing. With the car off, I can’t reproduce any sticking or catching
at all. I can’t get the floor mat to stick on it either – that explanation is clearly BS
for this car – I have only the OEM floormats. It is true the mat was not securely
attached at the time, but I think that is not it at all.

I also turned the engine system on, and did some testing. With it in neutral, depressing
the accelerator does not rev the engine (I guess that is good, and proper). I also tried
in park, then also the engine does not rev much but if I push the accelerator hard down
I can get it to rev a little – that seems weird, but perhaps standard.

After not getting an email from the dealer service manager, I phoned the service department
and made an appointment for tomorrow. But they are clearly going to claim it is a floor
mat issue, and give me some sort of floor mat fix (that I think my model wasn’t recalled
for anyhow). And they say they’ll do a diagnostic on it, but I am reading that these
problems don’t show up on diagnostics but that they are real problems (in the links I
posted above).

You don’t say what year but there has been testimony in Minneapolis today at a hearing. A guy was convicted of manslaughter and has served 4 years of an 8 year sentence. Going about 90 off a ramp and hit a car. Claimed he could not stop the car. This was a 96 and of course Toyota has no knowledge of any problem. What a sham and a shame.

At any rate they had about 9 people with 96 Camrys testifying that they had the same accelleration issue. One guy said they replaced his cruise control unit and the problem has not yet reoccurred. Its pretty clear Toyota has had problems going way back with this either with the cruise, computer, brake interlock, or something and refused to do anything or say anything about it. People have died and are in jail because of it. Beware.

Until this issue is solved why would you have ANY type of floor mat in use? get ris of it.

It just sounds like your cruise control did not cancel its speed by pressing the brake.

It is likely a sensor not the “bigger problem” Toyota experienced. I have found this to happen once in a blue moon with some of my cars over the years.

It may be hard to fix but maybe not. Just shut the cruise control off until then.

It is possible the throttle could stick and the brakes could stop working at the same time if you do things the way you did. I don’t think you should have waited to shift to neutral. I think that is the first thing you should have done. I am glad your brakes were able to stop you against the force of the accelerating engine, but why take the chance of overheating your brakes? If this ever happens again, I suggest you:

  1. Shift to neutral.
  2. Pull over onto the shoulder.
  3. Shut off the engine.

In addition to Whitey’s good advice, do NOT pump the brakes. If the throttle is stuck open, pumping the brakes will use up the stored engine vacuum, eliminating brake power assist and make a bad situation much worse.

Thanks for all the replies. This makes sense, but I was in the third from right lane on
a 70 mph Interstate going uphill. Going to neutral could have suddenly slowed me down
without the ability to maintain speed as I tried to navigate across lanes. So I balanced
the brake to the accelerator while moving across lanes. If the brakes started to overheat
or stop working I was prepared to try putting it in neutral.

Anyhow, here’s an update. I emailed the dealer service/operations manager with my
description of the event before I took it in for service. He emailed back that he would
investigate it fully. I took it in Wednesday – they did the floormat recall service,
which now includes reshaping part of the accelerator pedal, and also installation of
a “brake override system” for ordinary Camrys but not for Hybrids, the service guy said
because Hybrids “come with it” in the first place.

With the car in the shop 3 days now, it seems like they are having trouble with the
testing. I am wondering if there is a difficulty with implementing
the test. Wednesday afternoon I received a voice message mentioning difficulty with
the diagnostic laptop computer. Thursday afternoon I received a message mentioning
difficulty connecting with the Toyota technical computer system. This morning at
10:30 I called for an update, again working with the computer was mentioned and I was
told I should be called back in about an hr. – 3 hrs ago.

Hi TGBrophy.

Please feel free to check out for information related to Toyota Sudden Acceleration problems or call them at 508-252-2333.

Good day!

“all the while throttle still running. With vehicle stopped on the shoulder I moved it to park and turned off the power”

How exactly did you put the car into park with the engine revving at full throttle?

Hmmm…Over the past 12 hours or so, some folks seem to be intent on reviving old threads that have been abandoned by the OP. I’m really not sure that any of this will be read by the OP because the thread is 2 months old, but I do have a comment to add in regard to one of the OP’s statements:

“So I pumped the brake and navigated three lanes over to the right shoulder…”

Unfortunately, I have seen this type of strange reasoning before.
Why would you pump the brake pedal if your car is speeding out of control?
Is it because you want to allow the car to continue to go faster than it would if you applied hard force to the brake pedal?
Is it because you want to overheat the brakes and cause them to fail?

tgbrophy–In the unlikely event that you decide to return to this old thread, if this type of situation presents itself again, you should:

Immediately put the transmission into neutral.
Steer toward the right shoulder of the road.
Apply firm and steady pressure on the brake pedal until you can safely bring the car to a stop.
THEN, you should place the transmission into Park (if possible) and shut down the engine.

I think that part of my description was imprecise. I was agitated at the time, but I do
know the car was stopped on the side of the road when I turned it off. Either it was
actually still in neutral when I punched it off, or the combination of applying brake plus
slight up hill grade were strong enough to stop the car while I put it in park and turned it

Update: I took it to dealer and reported the incident. They gave me a case number, and
a Toyota “Master Mechanic” investigated the car. He said he could find nothing wrong with
the car. When he spoke with me after investigating, I was a little irritated that he
seemed to suggest the incident did not happen, or discredit my report. Things like “you
say high revs, but there is no tachometer on that car…” And strangely he said, “I know
that road well (where I reported the event) it is actually downhill there (as opposed to
the uphill that I reported)…” I have since returned to the precise spot and verified
that it is indeed slight uphill has I reported in the direction I was travelling.

Anyhow, I have driven the car about 8,000 miles since with no problem. So it does seem
"fine" other than that strange incident.

Thank you, but please see my reply above on 8-6-2010.

If you are content to assume that this symptom will never again appear on this car or on any subsequent car that you might own, that is fine. However, I would like you to know–just in case of the unexpected–that pumping the brake is counterintuitive and just plain wrong. Firm, steady application of the brake pedal is what you need to do under these circumstances.

tg, did you register this incident at NHTSA? Here’s the link:

What does “accelerated firmly” mean? You used that phrase TWICE. Clearly you mean something by it.

If you were going the speed limit, what were you doing so far over on the left side of the road, three lanes according to your account?

I hear they are giving away toasters with every “event” registration, and handcuffs with every phony “event” registration.