Local dealers ready for recalled cars?

Service department at a Toyota dealership (AP)

February 3, 2010 9:17:19 PM PST
Toyota dealers are gearing up for an expected surge of recalled cars in their service departments. One dealership, Rick Hendrick Toyota in Fayetteville started fixing recalled cars Wednesday.

The sales manager says they haven't heard any complaints from Toyota customers about stuck accelerator pedals, but says some of owners are nervous so they started making repairs.

The fix is putting a tiny metal shim in accelerator pedals. On Wednesday, the dealership had enough parts for about three dozen cars.

"We put this in and it takes about 30 minutes to repair," Service Manager Paul Atwood said.

Toyota owner Sravidya Boddiluri says she did not have any problems, but is glad to get her car fixed.

"I feel more safe now, cause I have a 15-month-old baby that's very important to me to get my car fixed," Boddiluri said.

The dealership manager says a little less than half the new cars on the lot are affected by the recall. But General Manager Tom Costello says customers, not inventory, get priority.

"We'll fix anybody's car," Costello said. "They don't have to have bought it here, they could be in the military it doesn't matter any car that's re-called we will fix and take care of."

And Toyota dealers say they hope that promise reassures customers and down the road restores buyers' confidence.

Dealers say they expect to be swamped with recalled Toyota's starting Thursday.

They are asking owners to make appointment to bring their Toyota in, but say they'll take as many drive-up customers as they can.

They are extending service department hours through next week.

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