Dealers feel rush to fix recalls

Earl Stewart, owner of Earl Stewart Toyota, shows the faulty accelerator pedal on one of the recalled vehicles in North Palm Beach, Fla., Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010. (AP)

February 4, 2010 9:38:17 PM PST
Toyota customers are trying to get their cars repaired following the recall announcement.In Fayetteville, the Toyota dealership started at 7:30 a.m. Thursday and the service bays were packed most of the day.

Tom Costello the general manager of Rick Hendrick Toyota has been selling Toyotas for more than 20 years, he says he is on a mission to restore trust in his dealership, one frustrated customers at a time.

"The true loyal customers are not really that bad," Costello said. "They're just glad to come in and get it done. They're a little nervous about it ... which is understandable. But they're happy to come in and get it done."

What customers are getting done takes 15 minutes up to a couple of hours depending on the make of the recalled vehicle.

One of the repairs calls for the insertion of a small shim about the size of a postage stamp inside the gas pedal.

"And what it'll do is it'll actually take this pedal and actually increase the clearance here," Service Technician Henry Giles said. "That way it won't drag."

Another part of the recall repair - in some models - involves cutting the end off of the pedal and grinding it down until it's nice and smooth.

"We got a template that we use to make sure we got the right size and they're all the same size when they're cut," Costello said. "And what that does is it just gives a little bit more room from the floor mat so that nothing can catch on it and drag on it."

Costello says he's ready to repair all Toyotas that come to his service department even if the car wasn't purchased from his dealership.

"If they're worried or concerned they need to come in and let us take a look at it," Costello said. "We like to make as many appointments as we can so that can get everybody in a timely fashion and get them in and get them out."

Costello says his dealership can handle about 50 or 60 customers a day. Based on the amount of Toyotas in the area, they expect their service bay will be packed probably for weeks to come.

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