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Toyota dealership works to correct recall problems

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY -- Dealer Alan Murphy of Toyota of Albany said the dealership is working steadily to repair defective gas pedals in local Toyota driver's vehicles that fit the recall order that Toyota Motor Corp. issued Jan. 21.

Murphy said Toyota of Albany, located at Ledo Road in Lee County, has received numerous calls from concerned drivers.

"We had five or six that came in to get their vehicles checked," he said. "Four of those vehicles fit the recall."

Toyota Motor Corp's recalled eight vehicle models because some accelerator pedals were found to have the possibility of remaining stuck in a depressed position.

Tuesday, dealers began receiving parts to repair the problem. The parts are pieces of steel about the size of postage stamps that can be inserted into the accelerator mechanism to eliminate the friction that

causes the problem.

Murphy said Wednesday afternoon that the dealership had already received 150 parts.

"The parts are all different samples for different models," he said. "The same piece is not going to be able to fit in and fix every vehicle."

Murphy said the actual repair takes about 30 minutes to complete and that the dealership is preparing to extend service hours to assist customers.

"We are going to begin roll shifts based on need," he said.

Murphy said many of Toyota of Albany's customers have been calm and patient despite a warning early Wednesday from U.S.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who said owners of recalled Toyotas should stop driving them. LaHood later said he misspoke and told owners to get their cars repaired.

"As a whole, Toyota has had less than 50 complaints (about the accelerator problem) nationwide," he said. "It is a problem that occurs over time and use."

Murphy said the important thing for the dealership is to keep their customers informed.

"The customer needs to know what is going on," he said. "If they are concerned they can come by and talk to a service technician."

Murphy said technicians can inspect a vehicle with a simple diagnostic

test.

"It is a quick procedure," he said. "They will be able to tell if the vehicle fits the recall."

Toyota of Albany customers whose vehicles are found to have the accelerator problem will be placed on a list to have their vehicles repaired as quickly as possible.

"We have several vehicles scheduled tomorrow to be fixed," said Murphy Wednesday.

The Toyota recall in the U.S. covers 2.3 million vehicles and involves the following models: 2009-10 RAV4 crossovers, 2009-10 Corollas, 200-10 Matrix hatchbacks, 2005-10 Avalons, 2007-10 Camrys, 2010 Highlander crossovers, 2007-10 Tundra pickups and 2008-10 Sequoia SUVs.

Murphy said at Toyota of Albany has less than 30 percent of its inventory impacted by the recall.

"We still have 70 percent of our inventory available for sale," he said.

In a statement released by the Toyota Motor Corp. last week, the company said the gas pedal situation is unusual and "generally does not occur suddenly. In the rare instances where it does occur, the vehicle can be controlled with firm and steady application of the brakes."

Murphy said the dealership researched past service records to see if the gas pedal incident had occurred previously.

"There has not been one case in nine years where we had a problem with acceleration," he said.

Murphy said recent information from Toyota Motor Corp estimated that every affected vehicle within this market will be repaired within the next two weeks.

Besides the 2.3 million U.S. vehicles recalled of the gas pedal problem, Toyota recalled 5 million vehicles to fix floor mats that could inadvertently trap the accelerators pedals.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.