AMHERST - Help has arrived for area residents driving Toyota vehicles potentially affected by a recall involving some 270,000 vehicles nationally.
"This is something that's very rare with Toyota and we're moving as quickly as possible to remedy the situation," Amherst Toyota general manager Glenn Roberts said Thursday. "Toyota has been in the position for years where they continue to make the vehicles as safe as possible. Customer safety is paramount."
Roberts said the dealership has received numerous phone calls from owners of the vehicles included in the recall. Toyota owners have been supplied with a question and answer information sheet and have been invited in for a free inspection of the pedal.
The dealership has also extended the hours of its service department to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays to keep up with the demand.
The fix for the sticking accelerator pedals has arrived and customers will be receiving letters by registered mail. They can also call the dealership to make an appointment.
"We're making every effort to serve our customers the best we can," Roberts said, adding that no faults have been found to date in any vehicles inspected. "We're encouraging anyone with a vehicle in the recall to call us and bring their vehicle in so we can do a free inspection."
Roberts is not sure how many vehicles are impacted locally, but would not be surprised if it's between 800 and 1,000.
Toyota said it identified a problem with a lever and spring mechanism that begins to stick and release due to wear and environmental conditions. In some instances, the friction of the accelerator pedal may increase to a point where the pedal may become harder to depress, slower to return or become stuck in a partially depressed conditions.
Company engineers have developed a solution that involves modifying the pedal assembly to eliminate excess friction. A precision-cut stainless steel reinforcement bar will be installed into the assembly to reduce the surface tension between the friction shoe and the adjoining surface.
The company had suspended delivery of the eight affected models on Jan. 26 and halted production at some of its North American plants earlier this week. That suspension was expected to end Thursday.