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Toyota Sienna Uncontrolled Acceleration



  • bertha06bertha06 Posts: 15
    Sorry, backwoods, just noticed your question about the cruise control. No, it was not engaged. I was driving along in town in a residential area, about 25 or so. It is interesting, though, about the radio wave theory. I actually was close to a new fire department, in fact where I wound up hitting the concrete wall was right in front of the new fire dept. Only good thing, I had instant help right there.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The whole story is so bizarre and has so many holes... One cannot help wondering if many people are going to (or already started to) try to milk this hysterical situation.

    Victor, you called it, you're a genius!

    Sikes is a total SCAM artist:

    * his Prius does have brakes that override the throttle
    * the guy is 3/4rs of a million dollars in debt
    * he still owes $19,000 to Toyota
    * Sikes has a history of items in his possession being stolen and him filing for insurance claims
    * Sikes owned and operated a web site called
    * There's also a report from KTLX with a neighbor stating he may have been involved in the porn industry.

    And the funny thing is so many people believed his story!

    C'mon, he can't hear the 911 operator telling him to take it out of gear, yet he has a full conversation with him? He heard everything else.

    And why did it top out at 90? Al Gore Jr. got his Prius to much higher speeds, 100+.

    This proves the anti-Toyota bias. If you believed the story, well, it's probably because you wanted to believe it.

    The smart folks (victor and myself, possibly a few others) were skeptical from the beginning.

    Be prepared - there will be more scam artists/oportunists trying the same sort of hoax.

    Next time maybe people won't jump at the chance to believe a porn industry scam artist debtor over an automotive manufacturer.


    Personally I find this story absolutely HILARIOUS!
  • bertha06bertha06 Posts: 15
    Too bad there are people like that out there that want to jump on the bandwagon and 'milk' the situation. However, there are still those of us that this problem really happened to, and as you know, teixeira, I posted about it happening to me long before the problem was getting all this media attention. It really does happen, even though there may be some idiots out there that will try to pull off a scam. Way back in April of 2009 when it happened to me, I found this message board called 'Toyota Sienna uncontrolled acceleration'. Hmmm, why do you suppose it is called that? And I remember, even then you were always on here trying to defend Toyota, and somehow trying to convince everybody that Toyota is still a good car. I will never trust them again, because they are still lying and covering up about the problem, otherwise the Sienna would be on the recall list. They just cannot be trusted. I still think you must have some connection with the company.
  • snevets23snevets23 Posts: 18 go, girl! You're right...with ateixeira's constant defense of Toyota despite countless readers' posts of the company's uncontrolled acceleration problems, there is something unsettling here. I, too, believe that ateixeira has some type of monetary connection to Toyota. In ateixeira's previous #178 post of 3/11/10, the statement was made that "Toyota sales are WAY up due to financing incentives and he/she quoted that Edmunds estimated the number to be +30%". In reality, the New York Times posted an article ( stating that Toyota sales for February were DOWN 9% and DOWN 12% year-to-date with 8 million recalled Toyotas worldwide, including 6 million in the U.S. alone, due to acceleration and braking problems. Ateixeira, you can continue to express your loyalty to Toyota all you want, but there is something definitely "rotten in Denmark"....or should I say JAPAN here! Just ask Bertha06, snevets23, and all the other countless other drivers who have experienced the nightmare. Unfortunately, there are also those no longer alive due to this problem who can add their voice to ours. Give it up!
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America I70 & I75 Posts: 21,387
    Last years sales in March were slow because of the recession. Local paper said three dealers said their sales were down from last year. Other brands are up from last year.

    2015 Cruze 2LT, 2014 Malibu 2LT, 2008 Cobalt 2LT

  • snevets23snevets23 Posts: 18
    Unfortunately, below is yet another untold story of heartache and tragedy involving a Toyota and sudden, uncontrolled acceleration. Note this is in 2002...long before the current extensive media exposure. 2-001cc4c002e0.html
  • imagicimagic Posts: 2
    Cruise control thread:
    I am a software designer and tester, who prides himself on the ability to break software. I do not own a Toyota, but I believe I have a handle on what is going on with this issue. I have called Toyota AND e-mailed them, asking them to contact me, but I have not heard from them which is why I am on this forum. I guess Toyota has their hands full right now.

    This problem has track marks of a software glitch all over it. This is of course is only a theory, but I believe it is one that makes good sound logical sense. Bertha06, you mentioned that the cruise control was not engaged. The fact that it was engaged or not may be irrelevant, for I believe the issue IS with the cruise control system.

    Acceleration and throttle sticking are two COMPLETELY different phenomenons. There are literally thousands of reason for a throttle to stick, but not that many for the car to accelerate. For an event to be triggered (i.e. acceleration) there must be either (1) an outside stimulus such as something pressing on the peddle, such as your foot or floor mat or (2) A system that is designed for the computer to accelerate the car, but is faulty. The only system designed to accelerate a vehicle is the 'Resume' or the 'Maintain speed' functions on the cruise control.

    So here is the million dollar question, as it were. What would happen if the car's computer was confused about what state it was in, meaning cruise control ON or cruise control OFF?

    There are things in software called Variables that hold pieces of data. For a cruise control, I imagine there are not too many variables. There would be a variable to store whether the cruise control is either On or Off, fairly straight forward. There would be another variable that would store what the currently set speed in MPH, so that the car could maintain that speed. Probably many more than that, but for our discussions those two are the most pertinent. There are also things called Functions in a program, which is basically a block of code designed to do 'Something'. For example, there would be a function to change the state from on to off and off to on and another function to set the speed of the cruise control. Each individual action for the cruise control system most likely has its own block of code in a Function to control that. Lastly, variables can either be Global (meaning accessed universally by all functions) or Local (meaning hidden to all except the function the variable was defined in).

    So if the cruise control was actually ON, but some of the local variables within these functions considered the system OFF, some very dangerous malfunctions could occur. For example, if the Resume function was engaged, then the car would accelerate on its own. HUGE RED FLAG HERE. There would be a brake function where when you tap the breaks it disengages the Cruise Control. This function might only be called, if the Cruise Control is actually ON. SO, if the braking function thinks the system is OFF, but it is really ON, then the brake function to disengage the Cruise Control would not be run.

    This is similar to a Three way switch for a hallway light. Normally, flip the switch up and its on and down and its off. But on a three way switch, it changes depending on what you have done with the third switch and you can't tell whether you are flipping the circuit on or off. This would also be a reason why they are not able to find the problem. Ironically, the system is working as it should, hence no diagnostics would uncover it. The system is working appropriately to the state it THINKS the cruise control is in.

    How could the state of the Cruise Control become screwed up like this? Well quite simply, an event happened that the Software designers did not plan for. Perhaps, something physical such as the cruise control was on and the car stalled for some reason. Perhaps, something happened that disconnected power from the battery to the computer, i.e. battery died, cables disconnected, short in the system, etc. Perhaps it was something in the code (a bug) that switched the state of the Cruise control when it shouldn't have. Weird things happen sometimes when unintended actions are performed during run-time. For example, two buttons were pushed at the same time. The number of things that can trigger a software glitch like this are too numerous to count.

    If the State of the cruise control IS the problem, Toyota must first test the software by purposely setting the variables to a wrong state and observe the affects. If they trigger the anomaly, then they at least know they have cornered the problem. Then the software engineers have somewhere to look to find what is screwing up the state of the system.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I play Devil's Advocate for a company that cannot defend themselves.

    I have no ties to Toyota, in fact I'm the Community Leader for the Subaru Crew, which is ironic.

    I own a Sienna but my daily driver is a Miata. I've been here on Edmunds for more than a decade and met dozens of Edmunds members at various events, so I have no hidden agenda.

    For what it's worth, yes, I do recall your story was well before the recent publicity.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    In ateixeira's previous #178 post of 3/11/10, the statement was made that "Toyota sales are WAY up due to financing incentives and he/she quoted that Edmunds estimated the number to be +30%". In reality, the New York Times posted an article ( stating that Toyota sales for February were DOWN ....

    They are up for MARCH, not February, MARCH.

    The incentive I reference began on March 1, how could I have been talking about February?

    You owe me an apology.

    Quote from Automotive News:

    Toyota's U.S. sales surged 40 percent in the first 10 days of March
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The guy belongs to the local Corvette club, so he's an enthusiast. No why would someone who knows about cars think putting it in neutral would make it flip?

    In hindsight, it was silly to claim that the brakes could not stop the car, but the brakes and the parking brake could.

    Parking brakes are weak and would hardly have any influence at all in stopping a 90+mph vehicle.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Did you guy watch SNL? They had a pretty funny clip of a fake Ford commercial that teased the Prius.

    Pretty funny.

    The media gave Sikes front-page news status, and everyone saw that, but will we see a front page story retracting those claims?

    I doubt it.

    Will SNL spoof...themselves?

    I guess what bugs me is when it happens to GM (Dateline's rigged explosion of the gas tanks) the media issues a huge apology, but when it's an import brand (Audi, now Toyota) that'll never happen.

    Couldn't find it on YouTube, even via search. If anyone else does please share a link.
  • victor23victor23 Posts: 201
    How is that, guys, every time someone has an opinion, we are looking for his hidden self-interest? Well, it works that way more often than not, but, come on! Every time someone has doubts about the global warming, he must have been suported by oil companies. If another guy defends, say, Toyota, he must have been on their pay.

    We, humanity, are pretty much corrupted, but I hope not to this degree yet. Could some of us have points of view and defend them even though not being paid? Those who can, thank you for still doing that!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Like I said, come to an East Coast auto show, DC or Philly or New York or somethin'. I've met a bunch of the Edmunds moderators (pf_flyer) and members, so no secrets here. Look at my post count. I joined Edmunds more than a decade ago, and was founder of the Subaru Crew before Toyota held any stake in them.

    How 'bout some jokes to ligthen the mood?

    Ya heard the new movie Mr. Sikes is working on?

    It's called Unintended Insemination.

  • victor23victor23 Posts: 201
    I do sympathize with those who have had this shocking and damaging experience. I do believe that such an occurrence, when genuine, should have been related to the electronics. This having said, there are some reservations about this article ( 7- 2-001cc4c002e0.html):

    1. 52 fatalities are *possibly* connected to the problem of unintended acceleration. This means, according to the currently official statistics which I've seen somewhere, that either 8 or 12 are confirmed (I can't recall the exact figure), and the rest are still under investigation, if they are connected or not. Of those ~12, it is never said what was the cause of acceleration (electronics, mat, pedal, human error, acts of God, etc). The "drivers who have experienced the nightmare" are numerous, but by no means "countless".

    2. Yes, this was in 2002. long before the current extensive media exposure. And, mind you, long before the electronic throttle control was used on that car, when the number of reports surged. So, we have a regular mechanic throttle, an elderly driver, and ... do you really believe in the mat or pedal explanations? Still there is room for electronics involvement, like cruise control (post #188), but what are the chances of a driver's error?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think another factor is elevated RPMs during the warm-up cycle. In the Subaru threads we were talking about how PZEV models run at 2000rpm during warm-up.
  • victor23victor23 Posts: 201
    I think another factor is elevated RPMs during the warm-up cycle. In the Subaru threads we were talking about how PZEV models run at 2000rpm during warm-up.

    Well, yes. My another car is 6-cyl Honda Accord. Every morning I start it cold and immediately pull out of my driveway, and it is pretty frightening when I am a bit distracted and don't remember to keep composure. Such a violent leap forward. But I am even more disturbed by "unintended deceleration" when that car downshifts during gentle braking at traffic lights. I even blamed the electronic brake assist at first. You know, poor workman always quarrels with his tools...
  • doggrandmadoggrandma IowaPosts: 144
    Edmunds is sponsoring a contest to get to the bottom of Toyota's UA problems. Your theory might just win the prize!
  • cuti932cuti932 Posts: 5
    Hi to all. I worked as an electronics Test Program Development engineer for almost 30 years. Here are the important rules regarding fixing a failure:
    Duplicate the failure, Analyze the real cause, develop & implement the fix and test it again on Many samples that have the Actual failure.
    The unintended acceleration (UA) has happened in many lines of Toyota cars in various scenarios. The main difficult issue is the UA is NOT REPEATABLE. So, the right thing for Toyota and to do is collecting the cars that has MANY UAs happened. Then, there is a chance that the UA can be repeated and observed/analyzed. There are many possible causes for a failure. It is not a good idea to imagine a way that the UA can happen. It has to be the real/actual cause to verify and develop the specific solution.
    Toyota never shows the intention to buy back the defective vehicles for investigation & fix like I describe above. The same for to make the $1M prize worth its value.
  • we just bought a 2010 toyota sienna even though not on recall yet. now im nervous we mad a bad choice. we have 3 kids and one on the way. is there anything we can do. do you guys have any advice? we didnt know much about the whole recall thing, all we read was the floor mat were causing this. now i know that is a load of crap. :( :confuse:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    No vehicle is perfect. Check on NHTSA's ODI database and there are complaints for all models.

    The odds of this happening are extremely small. For my 2007 model year, there are about 3 times more complaints for the Odyssey, for instance.
  • bigrob65bigrob65 Posts: 1
    How can we be sure that this fix is included in the 2011 version? Where did you read that?

    Thank you...
  • avucarguyavucarguy Posts: 56
    In a perfect world your plan would work. What is the fair price do you suggest Toyota pay for these vehicles? Most people seems to think their vehicle is worth more than what it is actually worth(including me). Would you be happy if Toyota only offer you trade in value for your Toyota with SUA? What would stop everyone and their cousins who owns a Toyota and decide they want a new car/truck to begin to file bogus SUA claims if Toyota decide to offer full retail price to buy back these vehicles. Somethings are easier said than done.
    I own a Toyota now and several Toyotas in the past, so do several of my in-laws, and my immediate family, and several of my neighbors. None of our car has SUA problems. My car now has 64K+ miles without issues except for what my kids broke in it. I believe Toyota is doing all they can. I just heard on the news today, NASA is also now being involved to try to figure this out(per Bloomberg TV).
    Your best defense against this situation is to be knowledgeable and know how to shift your vehicle into Neutral if this ever happens and floor the brakes.
    I do not work for Toyota or any other car company. I do not own stock in Toyota.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The question was posed in another thread and that's how it was answered, along with links for reference.

    Now that the Sienna has it, question is, do competitors have the same fail-safe mode?
  • doggrandmadoggrandma IowaPosts: 144
    How do you look for the sudden acceleration problem specifically? The NHTSA website is so cumbersome - typical government organization. Do you always have to look up complaints by make/model/year rather than type of complaint?

    Did you say on another post that 2007 Odysseys had more UA complaints than the same year of Toyotas?

    I still say all this is making me want to walk everywhere. It would probably be good for me. ;)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I didn't narrow it down, because to me ALL issues are important.

    For instance, with the Ody I saw lots of complaints about brakes. Sure enough, Honda now has a recall on the brakes.

    What surprises me is that with the Ody, Consumer Reports ratings clearly show issues it has has in the past:

    - transmissions before '04 had black dots
    - 05 to 07 suspension got black dots
    - 05 to 08 brakes got black and half-black dots

    All 3 can be explained. We know the Ody got a revised trans for 2004. The suspension is the coil spring issue they are having. And the brake issues are clear to anyone who has read through the NHTSA ODI complaints database.

    But here's the thing - Sienna shows no signs of problems under categories you'd think UA would affect:

    Engine, major
    Engine, minor

    All are red dots or half-red, i.e. better than average reliability.

    Issues are with Body Hardware from 04-06, and we know that was the door skin on the driver's door that a few people reported falling off (!) or more commonly rattling and getting loose. The other issues involved the 06-08 audio system, basically pre-Bluetooth.

    It's strange, to me, that most of the well known issues on both these vans appear very clearly on the CR ratings, but UA does not. :confuse:
  • doggrandmadoggrandma IowaPosts: 144
    Well, I hope Honda has fixed all the problems with the Odyssey, because I finally took the plunge and bought a 2010 EX-L! We now have more than enough room for the dogs and all the grandkids. I'm very excited, and I want to thank you for all your comments and insight into the pros and cons of the different minivans. You've been a real help. :)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You're welcome. And congrats! :shades:
  • meetoomeetoo Posts: 2
    While parking in a shopping center lot my 2005 Toyota Sienna suddenly accelerated into a tree directly in front of me. I reported to the police and my insurance, had the van towed and have filed a report with Toyota. What can I expect from Toyota? Are they going to try to make me feel like a fool?
  • victor23victor23 Posts: 201
    Report: Toyota crash data suggests driver error - Yahoo! News
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