Technicians who tested a Toyota Prius after its owner claimed its gas pedal stuck were unable to recreate the same condition, according to a draft congressional memo obtained…by CNN.

In addition, owner Jim Sikes’ claim that the car kept going even though he slammed on the brake while his gas pedal was stuck to the floor does “not appear to be feasibly possible,” said the draft, obtained from sources familiar with the investigation.

The memo, written for members of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, summarizes the observations of a representative present at the testing of the Prius, as well as another car “allegedly involved in sudden unintended acceleration events…”

Technicians from Toyota and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration took Sikes’ Prius on a test drive and attempted to duplicate the same experience, the memo said, but were unsuccessful. A congressional staffer and another Toyota technician tested another Prius.

“Every time the technician placed the gas pedal to the floor and the brake pedal to the floor, the engine shut off and the car immediately started to slow down,” the memo said. “NHTSA and Toyota field representatives reported the same results with the 2008 Prius owned by Mr. Sikes.”

These findings certainly raise new questions surrounding the veracity of the sequence of events that has been reported by Mr. Sikes,” said Kurt Bardella, spokesman for Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, and ranking member on the committee.

There just may be a few concerns about Mr. Sikes’ truthfulness. He’s a bankrupt realtor $700,000 in debt including months behind on payments for his leased Prius. Which I imagine Toyota has threatened to repo.

The bankruptcy statement isn’t clear on how much he makes from his AdultSwingLife website.

  1. Lowfreq says:

    ‘That is where John is wrong. The brake pedal does not push the master brake cylinder. It sends a command to the computer, who uses regenerative braking to conserve energy.’

    This is not accurate. All hybrids and all electric vehicles sold here are electro-hydro. They maintain an hydraulic friction braking system as well as regenerative braking system. So John is correct. The hydro brakes could easily stop this Toyota as well as all other models they are investigating.

  2. Cap'nKangaroo says:

    Do the brakes become less effective as they become hot? My drum brakes certainly do. I have questions for both sides, but agree with Bobbo that intermittent problems are the hardest to duplicate in a lab or repair facility.

    But my biggest question is why rely on a draft memo written for a congressional committee, that was “obtained from sources familiar with the investigation.” Could ulterior motives be behind the leaking of a draft memo?

  3. Greg Allen says:

    If this guy is guilty of trying to pull a scam on Toyota, I’d support a serious penalty.

    I’m usually a bleeding-heart liberal but what this guy allegedly did is despicable.

    I wouldn’t care too much of Toyota had gotten fleeced, but this goofball makes a mockery of all the people who have been killed or injured by run-away Toyotas.

  4. Hmeyers says:

    Never trust a “man on the edge” with a seemingly ridiculous an absurd high publicity event.

    These are the kind of people that claim they found a finger in a Pepsi can.

  5. lens42 says:

    No doubt this was a scam, but the interesting part of the report is the line that says, “attempted to duplicate the same experience, but were unsuccessful”. This implies that they *were* able to successfully duplicate other unintended acceleration cases, however in everything I’ve read, I’ve never seen any mention that the problems were reliably reproduced. If they had been, I’d think Toyota would shout that from the hills to show that they’ve definitively solved the problem. So far, nothing like that has been announced.

  6. Uncle Patso says:

    # 28 Norman Speight:
    “[…] WTF is wrong with just turning off the key? […]”

    I’m not sure this is true with the Prius, but on every other car I’ve seen made since at least the 80s, when you turn off the key the steering wheel locks (not pointing straight ahead) and the power brakes lose power and braking becomes very difficult. A bad combination. Better to shift into neutral.

  7. Dallas says:

    The outcome of this story was obvious from the beginning.

    Toyota is in a predicament. They should sue the bastard and make an example of him. However, that would bring further attention to the problem since sheeple only read headlines.

  8. The0ne says:

    I think Norman might have a “special” vehicle and not a normal one. He’s still here isn’t he. If I’m going 55MPH and turn off my key it’ll lock up the steering and brakes become hard as a brick after a single press, kinda like when you’re car is idle in a parking lot.

    I think my 2008 car is old though. Time to get a new job and a newer car!

  9. Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

    #39 Theone…you don’t turn the key to the lock position, that’s just dumb. 🙂 Then, you only need a degree or two of steerage to get to the shoulder, and the brakes aren’t power but they certainly will work–unless you have no ass muscles.

    A couple autumns ago I was pulling a big trailer with a big pickup and ran out of gas (bad gauge: not my truck). No power steering or brakes. But I had no trouble getting to the side of the interstate safely.

  10. Daniel says:

    I own a Prius and I thought this was a hoax from the start. No system is infallible but the sudden explosion of “sudden acceleration” issues just smells like BS.

    However, for those that don’t know, the Prius does not have a key. There is a security keyfob that enables the system to work, but you have to press a power button. You can power the car off by pressing it, but you do lose all control as the car is “fly by wire”. You can however put the car in neutral. If the accelerator was really stuck “on” even through the electronics and not through a mechanical failure, the car should still go into neutral.

    • Agree, powering the car off makes it even more dangerous, ’cause brakes, steering etc. just stop working!
      Switching to neutral is probably the only way out.
      p.s. you can also try to use a parking brake..


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