Edmunds.com Engineers Assess Floor Mats and Runaway Acceleration

Edmunds.com Engineers Assess Floor Mats and Runaway Acceleration


Edmunds.com Engineers Assess Floor Mats and Runaway Acceleration

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — November 17, 2009 — The vehicle testing team at Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive consumer information, has confirmed that it is possible for the floor mats of essentially any vehicle to dangerously interfere with its accelerator pedal, as is suspected in the recent Toyota and Lexus accidents that generated a huge recall and many news headlines.

The Edmunds.com testing team recently reviewed the floor mats of vehicles in its test fleet. Out of the 12 vehicles inspected, three floor mats were out of position, and two additional vehicles had broken floor mat attachment mechanisms that could allow the floor mats to move out of position at any time.

"Two things are clear: floor mat attachments of all types have their problems, and you've got to make sure the mats are properly re-secured after a car wash or vacuum," the team reported in the Edmunds' InsideLine.com Long-Term Road Test blog at http://blogs.insideline.com/roadtests/2009/10/floor-mat-walkaround.html.

In one recent case of unintended vehicle acceleration, a Toyota driver mentioned to NHTSA that the car had been washed just before the incident occurred.

The specific geometry of the accelerator pedal plays a major role in whether a misplaced floor mat can create a stuck throttle. The design of the pedal in affected Toyota and Lexus models is particularly problematic, according to Edmunds.com's testing team, which was easily able to replicate the unintended acceleration problem.

"From what we have observed, the Toyota and Lexus acceleration issue involves the pedal and the mat, so redesigning the pedal's shape or hinge geometry could alleviate the problem," concluded Dan Edmunds, who served as Engineering Manager of the chassis and brake development group at Hyundai America Technical Center and Senior Chassis Development Engineer for Toyota's Technical Center before joining Edmunds.com as Director of Automotive Testing in April 2006. "Some people believe there is more to it than that. We can't rule out that there may be different failure mechanism in play in some of the reported cases, but the floor mats certainly are a problem."

More information on this issue can be found in the article How to Stop a Runaway Vehicle (And Make Sure it Never Happens in the First Place) at http://www.edmunds.com/car-safety/car-safety/how-to-stop-a-runaway-vehicle.html.

About Edmunds (http://www.edmunds.com/about/)
Edmunds publishes four Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers, enthusiasts and insiders. Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive consumer information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site. Its most popular feature, the Edmunds.com True Market Value®, is relied upon by millions of people seeking current transaction prices for new and used vehicles. Edmunds.com was named "Best Car Research Site" by Forbes ASAP, has been selected by consumers as the "Most Useful Web Site" according to every J.D. Power and Associates New Autoshopper.com Study(SM), was ranked first in the Survey of Car-Shopping Web Sites by The Wall Street Journal and was rated "#1" in Keynote's study of third-party automotive Web sites. Inside Line launched in 2005 and is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. CarSpace launched in 2006 and is an automotive social networking Web site and home to the oldest and most established automotive community. AutoObserver.com launched in 2007 and provides insightful automotive industry commentary and analysis. Edmunds is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit.

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