Stuck Gas Pedal

Toyota said today it will reshape or replace accelerator pedals on 3.8 million vehicles involved in the company’s largest recall ever. The announcement expands the scope and expense of the recall, which was announced on Sept. 29. The step will be taken to reduce the risk that the pedal may be jammed in the floor mat. In addition, the company will replace original equipment floor mats with redesigned mats.

The recall involves 2004 to 2009 Priuses—and recent year models of the Camry, Avalon, Tacoma and Tundra, as well as Lexus models ES 350, IS 250, and IS 350.

Toyota will send first-class letters to owners of the Camry, ES 350, and Avalon by the end of the year. Owners of the other models will be notified throughout 2010.

In late September, Toyota announced the recall, saying that a loose floor mat could force down the accelerator, a problem suspected of causing crashes that killed five people. ABC News cited reports of 16 acceleration-related deaths and more than 200 accidents. Toyota said it has confidence the problem is linked to floor mats and not a vehicle design flaw or problems related to braking, fuel or accelerator systems. The recall could cost Toyota more than $5 billion.

Dan Edmunds, an Edmunds.com analyst and former engineer, said the actions proposed by Toyota today “are viable solutions to alleviate the problem.”