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Runaway engine '04 Camry

Fortunately I was just pulling out of my driveway and only going maybe 2 mph. Brakes went almost to the floor but did keep the car in check. Before I could reach to put the car in neutral the engine decelerated. My question is, if I had instead turned the key to acc, would I have been able to steer the car? I know someone will ask, floor mat wasn’t the issue,

You can steer the car without power steering anyway. I suggest you try the ACC experiment in your driveway. Put the ignition switch in ACC and first see if the steering unlocks. You won’t have power steering because the serpentine belt has to be moving to provide power for the steering assist to work. My guess is that the steering will remain locked in ACC, and the experiment will tell you whether it does or not.

As I also have an '04 Camry (4cyl AT), I am very interested in this. I have “runaway” experienced twice. The first time result is shown in the photo. I’m pretty sure this was just foot-on-wrong-pedal; passenger asked me a complicated question just as I was pulling up to the parking bumper. Fortunately, no damage to people or property. But I did feel like a fool.

Second time was pulling up to a drive-thru ATM. I was wearing big galoshes. With left side of (right) foot on brake, right side of sole was still dragging on accelerator. Accelerator was winning for a moment, until I realized what was happening and rolled foot to left.

Could you have had your foot on both pedals? A small push on the accelerator needs a big push on the brake to make it stop.

The runaway condition might have been caused by a faulty Idle Air Control valve.

IAC valve controls the engines idle speed anytime the accelerator isn’t being depressed.

I had a coworker who’s IAC valve malfunction caused a runaway condition. Only in their case, vehicle took out two gas pumps as they pulling into a gas station.


04 Camry doesn’t have an IAC that I know of. It is drive by wire. Idle speed is regulated by the ECU controlling the throttle. At least that’s the way I understand it.

As you may recall, One of Toyota’s recalls was for a sticky gas pedal. There was a slot in the back of the pedal, and as it wore, it could stick on a raised spot on the floor below. I don’t recall all the details. The raised spot may have been part of the gas pedal assembly.

The Camry generation of 2002-2006 does indeed have electronic throttle controls . . . but it was never part of the gas pedal “fiasco”

At least not officially

I’m sure my foot wasn’t on both pedals at the same time. I’m pretty sure that’s physically impossible. I know my vehicle ('04) wasn’t included, but I thought '05 was?

As I said, I believe that whole generation of Camrys . . . 2002 through 2006 model years . . . was not included

Just curious, do cars with the newer electric steering function have a similar fail-safe mode, where you can still steer them manually even if the electric power is cut to the steering unit?

There wasn’t a recall repair on the 2002-2006 Camrys but they were included in the Economic Loss Settlement. This added 10 years of additional warranty (150,000 mile limit) to the throttle related parts and PCM.

Well, I never had a problem with my 2005 Camry

Then you are the second luckiest guy in town, @db4690. I’m the luckiest.

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Very good question. I’m waiting for an answer also. I would hope the answer is yes.

Try turning the wheel with the ignition off. umm, but the steering lock activates then. Auxiliary on, engine off, power is possibly still on the steering. I’ll check next time I’m in the car.

I have to believe it’s universally “yes.” Just like hydraulic PS, the effort rises significantly (especially on larger vehicles). I’ve tested my Insight by turning the ignition OFF while slowly coasting down a hill. Much harder to steer, but not dangerous in such a small car.

The benefit is, if the engine stops, you still have PS as long as the ignition is in the RUN position (power brakes - not so much after a few stops).

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The solution is always to put the shifter in neutral, let the engine race, steer and coast and brake to get to a safe parking spot and then shut everything off. Computer controls will generally not let the engine self destruct by overrevving, and even if they do, the choice is yours. Your life or a bent valve?