Thursday, February 25, 2010

Absolute tosh

I will side with the motorists and suggest that Toyota does have a problem with the electronics of some of their cars, not particularly in Aus that I know of.

My 1986 Mazda 626 had cruise control and it seems Mazda has not worked on them much over the years even until R bought his Mazda 3 barely a year ago. I was driving his car up a steep hill with cruise control on at 100 kmh. The car was struggling to get enough power to maintain the speed. The throttle was probably fully open (do cars still have throttles?) When I crested the hill, away she went, up to 120 kmh. Defective technology. There was no danger and so I took no action and soon enough the system picked up that the car was going to fast and backed off.

I don't doubt there is a problem BUT, please this testimony before the American parliament is absurd nonsense.

Smith was at the wheel of her new Lexus ES 350 and had just merged with traffic when her car suddenly and inexplicably surged from 70 to 160km/h.

Granted, alarming.

Despite Smith frantically slamming on the emergency brake and even putting the car in reverse, the vehicle continued to speed down the freeway.

Emergency brake? Does she mean handbrake/parking brake? That is what it is, a parking brake. It will retard you but not at full throttle. Putting an automatic into reverse is futile. Reverse is locked out, but neutral is not.

"I figured the car was going to go its maximum speed, and I was going to have to put the car into the upcoming guardrail in order to prevent killing anyone else and I prayed for God to help me," Smith said.

She must be one hell of a skillfull driver to imagine herself slowing her car by putting it into a guard rail.

"I called my husband on the Bluetooth phone system," Smith said, wiping away tears.

"I knew - I'm sorry. I knew he could not help me, but I wanted to hear his voice one more time."

Fair enough to want to talk to your husband when you think your life is in peril, but hey, it is an emergency situation and you can make a telephone call?

But at that moment, Smith said "God intervened" and the car came very slowly to a stop and her ordeal was over.

If god intervened and slowed your car, then it must have been the same god who made it speed up. Lawyers for Toyota's defence, I would be picking up on this one. Witnesses like her will see Toyota get off very lightly.


  1. God intervened when I slapped some sense into my ex hubby....God intervened when I said screw this and left the lying sack of shyte.
    Oh, wait, sorry...does this mean these were the results of my own actions? *gasp*

  2. My current Corolla has just turned four and the one I had before that was nine when it died (because I foolishly blew a head gasket).

    I have no complaints with my current car and any problems with it's predecessor were of my my own making.

  3. American hogwash. She's looking for a TV special.

  4. I know a bird who's got little devils dancing on her window sill.

  5. She was quite emotional as I saw on the telly, that lady.

    The U.S. government owns 60% of GM and a part of Chrysler,
    Toyota employs a non-union workforce, most of their plants are in the south, Republican states.
    GM workers are unionized and unions support the Democratic party and GM plants are all in the north, Democratic States!
    It all makes good sense to give Toyota a good whack.
    Politics as usual.

  6. Keep in mind Audi suffered a similar bout of claims regarding 'unintended acceleration' as it is known.

    While there may well be a known issue it probably effects only a tiny number of cars - the real problem is loud-mouthed cunts looking to make a quick buck by cashing in on the story and riding it for all it's worth.

    I'm getting a little sick of this whole saga - problem? Maybe. Sensationaised? Absolutely. Keep in mind toyota isn't the only manufacturer to issue a recall, but the way the media has stirred this up you'd think it was the first safety recall ever!

  7. No Jayne. God made you do it.

    Victor, whatever year old they are, they do seem to get to a point where things start to go wrong. My present car was ten when the window lifting mechanism failed and then blew a head gasket, not my fault.

    RH, playing the part for sure.

    What great info Ian. I had no idea. She was played on PM. I could hear the emotion. I don't doubt it is a frightening experience.

    Mutant, I agree it is sensationalised but people's deaths have been attributed to this problem. You tell me? Surely shifting to neutral will overide everything? And that modern power four wheel disc brakes cannot stop a car under acceleration?

  8. Ian, I meant that I did not know about the union stuff.

  9. Presumably it never occured to her to turn the engine off.

  10. amazing how panic affects one's mind! Makes for an exciting story however ;)

  11. Er, yes Brian. Why didn't I think of that. Only back to accessory lest you lock the steering, but a very perceptive remark from a non car owner.

    Exciting story indeed Fen. It grabbed my attention.

  12. Andrew,

    I've owned cars in the past. Just not at the moment. It's too damned expensive to drive anywhere nowadays, unfortunately. Besides, if we had a car right now, Michelle'd expect a lift to work in the mornings...and I prefer a warm bed to a freezing car seat any day.

  13. Andrew, one of the problems for some of the involved vehicles is the lack of a physical key-in-ignition set up. They run a keyless-go or push-button start run through a proximity key - Toyota's self-protecting software stops the car from being shut off whilst moving. Not a bad idea. Most owners are unaware that emergency shut-down requires a three second hold of the button to kill the engine.

    As for the neutral shift - that shouldn't be a problem - you just need to be aware enough to do it.

    And I don't by any means wish to trivialise those deaths genuinely accredited to this issue. However I'm seeing reports of people claiming 'unintended acceleration' in Toyotas with cable throttles or others not affected by the recall action. It's turning into mass-hysteria with no need to do so.

  14. Method in your madness Brian.

    Mutant, they will come out of the woodwork if any compensations is mentioned.

  15. Anonymous5:19 pm

    Hey, isn't the basic ability to control a car (note - NOT mobile lounge room) a part of reality, or has it changed. This is the stuff of bad science fiction, where the machines control us... I would refuse to buy, or at least I would hack into, a car that had its control systems so remote from human control....A simple switch in the power line feed to the computer would sort it out...
    (fuck, I miss the Fiords)

  16. Michael, you would be of an age to remember brake light switch failure, especially the hydraulic ones but the electric too. My car won't move from Park if I don't have the brake pedal depressed. I just know what will happen on day.

  17. Anonymous11:56 pm

    Andrew - fuck, I hate that when something breaks at a bad time - and then you gotta spend ages figuring out how it worked, and why now, it doesn't work.

  18. Has anyone noticed GM has an even bigger recall.

    Despite this, I will always buy Japanese cars for their 2nd-to-none build quality and reliability.

  19. Ah Reuben, GM cars did not take over control though. That alarms people. Agree about Japanese cars.