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Toyota owners likely can have cars fixed next week
Vehicles recalls affect 7 million worldwide
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Gainesville-area Toyota owners affected by the company’s recall likely can have their cars fixed next week.

Toyota Motor Corp. announced Monday that it has found the solution to the potentially faulty gas pedals and has begun shipping the parts to dealers.

Jimmy Hernandez, fixed operations director with Milton Martin Toyota in Gainesville, said he expects to receive the parts Friday and said owners could begin scheduling repairs Monday.

"Contact us on Monday to go ahead and schedule an appointment," Hernandez said. "Unfortunately, we’re getting a lot of those calls now, but without those parts I don’t want to make that level of commitment."

Beginning Monday, the Browns Bridge Road dealership will expand its operating hours and is hiring additional staff to handle recall repairs.

"We’re hiring appointment coordinators and additional technicians," Hernandez said. "We’re doing everything we can to perform this recall as quickly as we can."

In Gainesville, Hernandez said there are between 1,000 and 1,200 Camrys alone that are included in the recall.

Steve Winter, executive pastor at Gainesville First United Methodist Church, is the owner of a 2009 Camry. He has practiced what to do in case the pedal sticks, but said he has owned many Toyotas over the years and plans to continue driving the vehicles.

He said he is most concerned about fitting the repair into his schedule.

"I am mildly concerned," Winter said. "But it’s not like I’m going to quit driving the car."

Hernandez said there are a number of customers who are very concerned and want their cars repaired right away, while others are merely aware of the small chance the gas pedal could stick but are not panicked.

Hernandez said the repair is simple and should take about 30 minutes.

Engineers traced the problem to a friction device in the assembly that is supposed to provide the proper pedal "feel" by adding resistance, Toyota officials said in a statement.

The device has a shoe that rubs against a nearby metal surface during normal pedal use. But wear and environmental conditions can over time cause the pedals to not operate smoothly or in rare cases stick partially open.

The company said a steel reinforcement bar will be installed, reducing the friction.

The pedal recall is separate from another recall involving floor mats that can bend and push down accelerators on certain Toyota and Lexus models. The two recalls combined affect more than 7 million vehicles worldwide.

Toyota said Monday it is in the process of recalling vehicles to fix the floor mat problem. Some of its cars are affected by both recalls, and the company said it intends to fix both problems at the same time.

Hernandez estimated both repairs would take between two and a half to three hours. The company will cover all repair costs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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