Over four million Toyota vehicles are being recalled due to a technical issue with their gas pedals. Another 100,000 or so are being recalled for a second issue related to brake lines. The consumer panic and rage at Toyota is palpable, and one of the stalwarts of the automobile industry is now a late night punchline.
So the question stands: would you buy a Toyota right now? My answer would be yes, and here are seven reasons why:
1. The problems are fixable. The acceleration issue is caused by the floor mat jamming up the gas pedal. Though I’m sure some expensive, scientific solutions can solve this issue, you could always just remove the floor mat! Seriously. It’s just a floor mat, and yes, it is removable by hand. The other issue with the brake lines is a little more serious, but any Toyota dealer will fix that problem immediately and for free. So if you even suspect you have a vehicle with the issue, bring it to a dealer and act like you know for a fact that the vehicle is defective. Either they’ll believe you and fix it, or they’ll look at your car, see that there’s no problem and tell you, and you have peace of mind.
2. I’m a good driver. The best defense against any kind of vehicular hazard is safe, cautious driving. If you’re rolling around in a vehicle with suspected acceleration problems, don’t drive fast. Avoid freeways. And if the issue actually crops up, through the vehicle in neutral, apply the brakes, and remain calm! If you suspect your Toyota might have that brake line issue, give yourself plenty of time to brake, and of course, don’t drive fast. Most importantly, monitor every action you take in the car; chances are there will be some obvious warning signs that your vehicle is defective before disaster strikes.
3. The recall has created more panic than necessary. Most of the rationale behind the recall came from one, single accident. Granted, that accident left four people dead, but four deaths out of the millions of Toyota drivers around the world are pretty good odds, and that’s not even accounting for whatever human error might have been involved in the accident (see point number 2). Most of the fear and frustration about the Toyota recall is merely public mob mentality. If you’ve watched the news at any time in the last 20 years or so, you know all about how quickly the public can form an opinion based on just about anything.
4. Toyota has an excellent track record. Toyota vehicles, prior to this recall, have a reputation of being solid and reliable. One defect does not mean the entire corporation is falling apart. Now, you could argue that that one issue being the brakes and gas pedal is pretty serious, but again, I point you to the rest of this article as the counter-argument that these defects are workable.
5. Older Toyotas do not have this issue. 2005 is the furthest back the recall goes. There are plenty of Toyotas from 2004 and later that are still out there, available for sale and perfectly reliable.
6. The public panic will make Toyotas cheaper. Every bit the capitalist, the first thing I thought when I saw the recall was “Wow, they’re going to be GIVING away Toyotas now!” I’m not looking, but if I were, I’m sure there are some absolute STEALS available out there right now from both dealerships and private owners looking to offload their Toyotas out of fear or profit.
7. The Prius is still king of the hybrids. The Prius is the most popular and successful hybrid currently in production. If you want to have a hybrid vehicle, Toyota is virtually the only show in town, recall or not.
The bottom line is, if you are in the market for a new or used car, don’t throw out Toyota as an option just because of the recall. As you always should when shopping for a new vehicle, do some research. Just a few minutes Googling the recall can give you all the information you need about Toyota. If you’re still concerned after you’ve looked into it, then don’t buy one. As in all things in life, though, don’t ever let blind fear influence your decisions!